Alternate Rear Speakers - Vehicle Gear History

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timbre4

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I had mentioned in the 2023 Civic Frankenstein Surround thread that I had made some changes in the rear speakers aspect of aftermarket surround in two of my vehicles. I will now detail the circumstances and reasoning I've applied to these situations.

1988 Honda Civic LX stereo - first year for a lot of features on this model. It came with the factory AM/FM/Cassette head unit and dual cone speakers in front doors and optional speakers in the rear shelf. Over the years I changed to a Clarion head unit + 6 disc CD changer (then a 12 disc changer) plus Sherwood / Jensen amps. Added an Advent Equalizer with BBE; remember those? Awesome until one side started to fail so it went into the parts box. Changed out for Advent ECT speakers all around; remember those? They self-destructed within two years. Then Cambridge Soundworks briefly added component automotive speakers; I still have these up front, woofers in the door panels with crossovers wired up to tweeters mounted on upper portion of front doors. In the rear I enjoyed Polk Audio coaxial speakers with this 4 speaker stereo setup. Added a pair of Pyle 10" subs in truck boxes behind the front seats to feel the tactile movement of the bass. Can't remember now what head unit came after the Clarion.

1988 Honda Civic LX 5.1 surround - Pioneer AVH-P7600DVD head unit enters the picture. Front CSW speakers still good; CSW Ensemble III sourced for center speaker fitting perfectly into dash tray facing up (much like our Acura TL). I really had trouble with the Polk Audio rear speakers bottoming out with too much bass. I could not solve it with EQ or rolling off everything below 100 Hz. I changed to a different pair of the same brand and type but it persisted. Then I realized that since I'm the only one driving this car, I can do whatever I want! So I decided to grab a pair of CSW indoor/outdoor speakers removed from our bedroom and set them on the back seat and wired to them. I had done this already in the 4Runner (story below) so I set them facing forward. Problem was even moderating braking caused them to fall forward and face down. So that is why they face up. This will change next week. ;)

1997 Toyota 4Runner SR5 stereo - came with Sony AM/FM/CD head unit + speakers unknown, presumed stock. Tried to add amp + sub but it didn't work consistently for whatever reason. My son and I drove it all over the country and then he used it for college. At 305K the head gaskets went and this vehicle was parked for a year. We bought a 2001 4Runner as we weren't sure about motor replacement. (head gaskets labor is about the same as replacing motor) After endlessly looking at Toyota trucks, my wise wife suggested "just get an engine, you know what you're replaced on this vehicle." So I got a used engine (229K) installed and it runs great today at 325K.

1997 Toyota 4Runner SR5 surround - Pioneer AVH-P7800 head unit enters the picture. Huge breakout box has to go behind passenger seat, ton of wires! I decide the internal amps can drive the 5 main channels sufficiently. Added a Sony XPLOD amp under driver's seat and borrowed one of the two truck boxes from the Civic and put it behind the driver seat in the same manner for the same reason. So either vehicle I get in will present the subwoofer bass in the same manner. I could've put a big sub box in the back but one box connecting to my spine seems more than sufficient! Dash is too tall - how to implement the center channel speaker? I took a chance on the Alpine 1 DIN space center speaker. Once I got the system balanced, it worked great!

DIFFICULTY: What about the rear speakers? Most 4Runners in prior years provide whopping 4" speakers mounted on an odd bracketry at the foot level of the rear doors. One of them starting failing before the surround makeover; I was skeptical anyways so I set about shopping for replacements. Using Crutchfield for specs nearly all I selected said "does not fit your vehicle". So based on that, I took rear door panels off and ripped out the rigging supporting those 4" dual cone speakers. I still had a pair of Polk Audio 6.5" coax speakers so I drilled holes and made them fit into those way-too-low openings. They barely fit. They rattled when I turned them up - because I was not hearing them with 5.1 surround material. To hell with this!

SOLUTION: I also had a pair of Tannoy PBM 6.5 near field monitors doing nothing. So I put them on the rear seat facing me and they stayed in place. Lots of proper rich details coming out of the rear channels now. I cued up Stephen W Taylor's Crosstalk in the Crosswalk, as it has lots of little percussive impulses coming from back there and the Tannoy tweeters were revealing the details in such a rich flattering manner now. so that brings me to this week with the Civic rear speakers question. Using the Frankenstein laptop FLACs system drives the up-facing CSW rears really good (better than when just Pioneer DVD-A alone), but I know from the experience from the Tannoy rears in the 4 Runner is superior. I'd been watching another pair of Tannoy PBM 6.5s on eBay at $100 which is not bad but the shipping @ $60 seemed high. Then he sent me a discount offer of $75 + shipping. I looked at more listings and just speaker parts were being sold above $100 so I accepted the offer last night. I was thinking they were too nice for this application but there's just enough wear on the cabinets I won't feel bad about it!

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The Tannoy PBM 6.5 speakers arrived yesterday and I installed them this morning. The CSW outdoor speakers were good but the sonic signature of these Tannoy speakers (same as in the 4Runner now) really brings out detail + they can face me rather than up. I didn't read the listing close enough to realize no grilles; the only thing going in the back seat is the umbrella on rainy days. I will be careful! Created a saved search for the grilles on eBay,
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