Surround Sound Build in 2021 Challenger

QuadraphonicQuad

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marpow

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I am in the beginning stages of designing an after market new 5.1 and stereo audio system for my 2021 Challenger, any suggestions would be helpful. My ripped library is about 2/3 stereo and 1/3 surround mix. No MP3 or Car Play will be used.
1. I want to keep interior speaker placement stock. I have considered adding front pillar tweeters, but don't want to if I don't have to, to keep stock look.
2. Looking to go with JL Audio products.
3. The new audio will have to be separate from the stock UConnect head unit. Not sure yet f I will be able to use SiriusXM/Am/FM that comes from the factory head unit, probably?
4. 1 sub in trunk side wall. I only want a sub that fills out the low end just like at home. I don't want booming and shaking.
5. I have read that bringing the tweeters to the pillars has better sound reproduction keeping the highs from bouncing off glass. But with surround will have to use the dash center grill opening for the center speaker and don't know if bringing the front left and right forward is a good idea?
6. This will be a true 5.1 or 4.0 surround. The music used will be surround music mixed to be true surround, usually vocals center, rhythm section fronts, guitar rear left, organ rear right, just as an example, not every mix is the same. This will not be a stereo source spread to faux surround. Needed is a DSP that has the 5.1 capabilities for external out, most likely optical audio out and USB in.
7. Will need to put the 5.1 signal processor in center console or glove box, with remote browsing, while driving.
8. Of course amps, door and trunk dampening, new wiring all included.
9. The music source will be USB connected Samsung SSD external hard drive 1TB.
10. Will have to be calibrated and tuned to the dimensions of the car.
I am working with a tech who has a good grasp of what I want in surround and stereo, but the surround is not your every day request, so if anyone has any experience, I am all ears.
 

marpow

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Yes, very complicated on the research. I can see why people just buy an Acura for the pre built surround.
Basically my understanding so far is you need a DSP that will take the surround signal, my Samsung SSD with FLAC files that are ripped from surround discs USB into that DSP that will have the ability to separate the true signal that was given to it. I forget the ID of the Sony product we found. The factory head unit will stay and the new system will bypass it.
Then the 3 amps, sub, speakers all except center speaker, which needs it's own separate amp.
The DSP will have to be installed in center console or glove box as that is the controller, with a remote access. Will it work with either closed, unable to read remote? This unit has been ordered before anything else as placement of the DSP will be how everything gets added after.
This will take awhile to figure out. Sorry I am a beginner on this, but as usual scratch and claw and things usually get figured out
 

Blrac

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I looked into doing this with my truck. I already have the amp and subwoofer, and the pillar mounted tweeters (yes, big difference) but couldn't find a head unit that was capable of surround sound. There used to be a Sony unit, but long discontinued. I looked for one that plays blu ray thinking that would work, but again, no luck. It appears as if you can do 6 channel input with USB, but what format and does it work without a head unit or is that still required? It is rather expensive, but I would pay it if that's all I need to add to get true surround sound in my truck. Well, that and a center speaker. I would make it work though.

Keep this thread updated as I am intrigued.
 
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LuvMyQuad

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I don't know how that Harmony unit would work, but it seems as if it still needs software to play multichannel (according to the specs), but maybe I am misunderstanding. It is rather expensive, but I would pay it if that's all I need to add to get true surround sound in my truck. Well, that and a center speaker. I would make it work though.

The miniDSP Harmony unit would only provide the multichannel DAC, the DSP, and the power amps.

Note that the Harmony is 8 in x 12 out. You could bi-amplify all the channels and the Harmony would provide the crossover points in the digital domain plus do Dirac live processing.... room EQ for the car essentially.

You would still need a media player of some type. and I think that is going to be the biggest issue. My first thought would be a Blackberry PI running Kodi, but what about a display and a way to control it all?
 

marpow

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Digital audio outputsA2B® multichannel for linking amplifiers (future option via firmware upgrade)
I notice it says for future firmware upgrade, is that now or future?
 

marpow

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Here are 3 parts needed.
 

citysoundman

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I'm a member on DIYMA forum and I'd definitely recommend posting your questions there. Surround installations in a car is definitely complicated but I know people there discuss it. I'm at the tail end of an audio installation in my Subaru (stereo, not surround) so I've been in the weeds on this for some time now.

You said you're going to bypass your stock head unit? That seems to be the only way to do it, I think. If so then you could do something like use an iBasso portable music player connected digitally to an 8 channel DSP like a Helix. I think you can then have the 6 channels of surround AND the 2 front channels from your stock head unit connected up so both units will send to the speakers. If you want both front and rear outs from your head unit along with the surround channels then you'd need 10 channels minimum. But the downside of bypassing your head unit is then you won't have an easy way to adjust volume and track selection while driving (steering wheel controls). I went through this conundrum myself. I discovered I couldn't get a high SQ system through my stock Subaru head unit because of its built in all-pass and hi-pass filters. So I considered bypassing it by using a separate player/DAC but didn't like the idea of not being able to control thing from my steering wheel. So I ended up replacing my head unit with an aftermarket Pioneer (just installed it last week). I'm using the iDatalink Maestro to retain steering wheel controls on the Pioneer.

And just to ask - does your Challenger have a front center channel speaker?
 

marpow

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I'm a member on DIYMA forum and I'd definitely recommend posting your questions there. Surround installations in a car is definitely complicated but I know people there discuss it. I'm at the tail end of an audio installation in my Subaru (stereo, not surround) so I've been in the weeds on this for some time now.

You said you're going to bypass your stock head unit? That seems to be the only way to do it, I think. If so then you could do something like use an iBasso portable music player connected digitally to an 8 channel DSP like a Helix. I think you can then have the 6 channels of surround AND the 2 front channels from your stock head unit connected up so both units will send to the speakers. If you want both front and rear outs from your head unit along with the surround channels then you'd need 10 channels minimum. But the downside of bypassing your head unit is then you won't have an easy way to adjust volume and track selection while driving (steering wheel controls). I went through this conundrum myself. I discovered I couldn't get a high SQ system through my stock Subaru head unit because of its built in all-pass and hi-pass filters. So I considered bypassing it by using a separate player/DAC but didn't like the idea of not being able to control thing from my steering wheel. So I ended up replacing my head unit with an aftermarket Pioneer (just installed it last week). I'm using the iDatalink Maestro to retain steering wheel controls on the Pioneer.

And just to ask - does your Challenger have a front center channel speaker?
Thank you for the reply, I will take your consideration. Yes, it does seem very complicated but doable. I believe my DSP or the amps will have enough for all the channels/speakers. The Challenger does have 3 speaker grills on dash one being the center. There is a mode in the UConnect head unit called Surround that utilizes the center dash speaker, but it is some kind of faux mix, does not sound good regardless.
My tech started out with adding the right and left fronts in the pillars, would be custom, but I think he did some research and changed to we need to use the right and left with dashboard grills with the center channel dash grill. the reason is if you bring the right and left fronts forward it screws up the imaging for the front part of the surround.
The first step is before anything gets pulled apart when the DSP arrives, where is it going to go for control, will it pick up the remote sensor when driving if in the center console or glove box?
Layout of equipment, etc, then if I approve the build will start.
I am completely open to scraping the surround build and going to stereo only. I would rather have a kickass stereo than a problem filled surround.
 

LuvMyQuad

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The Challenger does have 3 speaker grills on dash one being the center. There is a mode in the UConnect head unit called Surround that utilizes the center dash speaker, but it is some kind of faux mix, does not sound good regardless.

My Grand Cherokee has a premium Alpine branded system. The Charger has the standard stereo system.

Ill have to have a look at the Charger because I don't drive it very often, but the Jeep has only a center speaker in the dash. The front left and right are in the lower door panels and it already has pillar tweeters. That accounts for 5 of the 12 drivers in the system.

Edit. I'm wrong here it does have 3 dash speakers.

That center dash speaker is only about 3" in diameter, if that. And mine does not only come on when in surround mode, it is on anytime the system is playing. It seems to reduce that left/right imbalance issue that is common in car systems.

I cant say the surround mode sounds bad, it just doesn't sound any better than straight stereo.

The first step is before anything gets pulled apart when the DSP arrives, where is it going to go for control, will it pick up the remote sensor when driving if in the center console or glove box?
Layout of equipment, etc, then if I approve the build will start.
I would think the display/control issue is the biggest hurdle. I'm surprised there aren't more ready made 5.1 components intended for video based systems for use in conversion vans. I mean, what do the rock stars do??

I am completely open to scraping the surround build and going to stereo only. I would rather have a kickass stereo than a problem filled surround.

But where is the fun in that? No "Boldly going where no man has gone"? To be sure yours is the first project of its type I've read about on QQ.

All i can say is the stereo reproduction in the Jeep isn't bad at all. Its not great, and its not kick ass, but its OK. Since 50% of what I listen to is talk radio and/or Sirius radio, it sounds good enough I reckon.
 
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