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Discussion Starter #1
So I have the infamous Becker two-piece system with active bass in my '92 300E and want to upgrade/update the sound in the car. Since the entire car is original and very clean, I am not going to ruin it by ripping anything out and installing a proper system. I will be retaining the 1432 in the dash with the BT mod from beckerautosound, and I will be upgrading the speakers (they all work and are not damaged, I just want better sound). I have read every thread on this topic and I am aware of how difficult it is to find proper speakers within the factory spec.

Things that I know, but feel free to correct me if I am wrong:
  • The 1532 in the trunk puts out 15 watts x 2 as far as I can find, from there the fader cuts that in half.
  • The factory speakers are 6-ohm, this gets cut to 3 when the fader splits F+R evenly.
  • Any replacement speakers will be 4-ohm which means a 2-ohm load when the fader splits F+R evenly.
  • Any replacement speaker will be 30 watts RMS, and this is even nowhere near what the stock system can put out; as far as I can tell people drop them in and everything works fine.
The speakers I want are Rockford T 142's which are 4-ohm, 40W RMS, 86 dB sensitivity. I feel the extra 10 watts might be too much for the factory setup to make work given the above.
I have bought two Dayton audio LW150-4 6", 4-ohm mid-woofers to place in the doors-I hope they sound better than stock as the stock mid-woofers are overdriven and distort constantly.

My questions are these:
  • Are there any really decent speakers out there, anywhere that I can drop-in without changing anything else that will sound good?
  • Has anyone ever added a SMALL (30-40 watt RMS) amplifier in-line after the 1532 to boost the signal? If so, what were the results? ( I have no problems putting together a plug-in, removable clean install for this)
I will be posting this in the Audio Forum as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
One word, Rainbow (speakers)
Can't find them, anywhere. LaJolla audio no longer supplies them and ebay.de/ebay.co.uk have them listed for obscene amounts of money ($700+) which I cannot understand. If anyone has a lead on them, let me know.


Somehow, I don't trust the $60 listing, it is eBay after all.

The Rockfords I'm eyeing have almost identical performance specs, and one of the very few that will fit the dash easily along with the rear adapters. I've had great experiences with RF in the past, which is why they're on the list as well.
 

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On my original TE, I pulled the metal rings off the back OE speakers and epoxied them to some full-range speakers I bought of the appropriate size. I don't remember what brand, but they sounded great and the fit was perfect because I used the factory bracket/ring....and they were JUST thin enough to fit in the door. I did this because I balked at the price of the Rainbows.........which some say are not available now.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #5
On my original TE, I pulled the metal rings off the back OE speakers and epoxied them to some full-range speakers I bought of the appropriate size. I don't remember what brand, but they sounded great and the fit was perfect because I used the factory bracket/ring....and they were JUST thin enough to fit in the door. I did this because I balked at the price of the Rainbows.........which some say are not available now.

Kevin
I thought about that, but since they are operationally fine aside from being old, I don't feel like destroying them. Someone may need one here one day...who knows.
I'd have no problem with Rainbows but they're only available overseas and for seemingly ridiculous prices.
 

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there are several other makes of european 120mm 2-way speakers that fit in the dash. ESX Qe120 Speakers, and CarPower CRB-120PP come to mind. these are direct fit, they come complete with the clips, you just need to move the wiring pigtail from the OE speakers to them to make it a plug and play install.

the activebass system, those speakers are in a tuned cabinet, and I'm not sure how well a different speaker will work. the activebass amplifier has a pretty hefty built in equalization curve to run them.


btw, re speaker watts. on a speaker, the watt number is the MAXIMUM size amplifier the manufacturer recommends you use. this is usually rated in 'music power' peak watts, not continuous RMS watts. with a smaller amp, they might not play as loud but at reasonable volumes, you'll be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
there are several other makes of european 120mm 2-way speakers that fit in the dash. ESX Qe120 Speakers, and CarPower CRB-120PP come to mind. these are direct fit, they come complete with the clips, you just need to move the wiring pigtail from the OE speakers to them to make it a plug and play install.

the activebass system, those speakers are in a tuned cabinet, and I'm not sure how well a different speaker will work. the activebass amplifier has a pretty hefty built in equalization curve to run them.


btw, re speaker watts. on a speaker, the watt number is the MAXIMUM size amplifier the manufacturer recommends you use. this is usually rated in 'music power' peak watts, not continuous RMS watts. with a smaller amp, they might not play as loud but at reasonable volumes, you'll be fine.
I have come across the CarPower and ESX, they are in my back pocket-I hate buying speakers when I don't have any reviews from people who have used them, such as those. As for the bass replacements, I figured it was worth the cost to see if they would work any better.

I understand IRT peak vs. continuous, but I don't want to install speakers that have too high a wattage rating as it will necessitate higher volumes from the amp which will cause clipping. I will eventually kill the speakers and/or amp if this occurs. I do understand that this will be higher listening volumes, but it is not easy to tell where the volume dial is at when there is no scale to tell-the clipping may occur before you realize it if the system is not balanced properly.
 

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I have the CarPower in my cabrio and my son's 300E, and the rainbows in my wife's E320 wagon. the wagon and the 300E have the same model Pioneer '50x4' CD deck, while my cabrio has a older Nakamichi CD deck. I can't hardly tell the difference. the 300E has the best sound because the activebass drivers still work, they are dead on my cabrio and the wagon.
 

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I thought about that, but since they are operationally fine aside from being old, I don't feel like destroying them. Someone may need one here one day...who knows.
I'd have no problem with Rainbows but they're only available overseas and for seemingly ridiculous prices.
In hindsight, I made a lot of mistakes when replacing my OE system. For one, if you're anything close to an audiophile, you'll never even come close to approaching what you have in your home, in a car. A car is about the worst environment to reproduce live or studio music in. To compensate for that, people put in giant sub woofers to rattle their windows and then brag about the quality of the sound.

I went with a top Kenwood 'Boy Racer' HU with all the bell& whistles, RF neodymium tweeters in the top dash, RF in the front doors and something else in the rear as I said previously, don't remember. It was a hell of a lot of work and after finally adjusting to the sound difference, the Kenwood amps crapped out. The OE system was very mellow and pleasing to the ears. If I had to do it again, I would have re-coated the paper OE speakers and relocated all the original Becker gear.

I guess it depends, in part, what you're going for in a car audio system. I would have given anything just to put the system back like it was, but some audio store made off with the tuner and amp(s). I still have the OE Becker HU. In my present TE, a PO went to even greater expensive than I did on my original TE. The HU, speakers and everything top dawg. At one time it had sub-woofers too. Except some lunatic tried to shove speakers too wide in the back door enclosures.

Kevin
 

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In hindsight, I made a lot of mistakes when replacing my OE system. For one, if you're anything close to an audiophile, you'll never even come close to approaching what you have in your home, in a car. A car is about the worst environment to reproduce live or studio music in. ...
BINGO, we have a winner!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
BINGO, we have a winner!
Oh, I'm fully aware of how terrible a car is for solid audio, have you ever tried a boat? I'm no audiophile but I know good sound, the closest I've ever came to car audio nirvana was the Naim system in a previously owned Bentley...solid research went into that system and it showed, I miss that stereo, and the car.

I don't want to butcher the stock system, I just want slight improvement if I can get it. I know audio tech has come a LONG way since '92, so I feel if any parts are replaced it would be that improvement I'm looking for.
 

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Actually, exaggerated and 'colored' car audio has come a long way since '92....not sure it totally surpasses what we had then. In cars like the Bentley and RR, TIME was spent in developing a sound system. By that I mean a team of engineers realized that they had a poor sound reproduction environ and worked with it.......not by rattling windows and tinny highs, but considered the limited spacial acoustics of the automobile. Dr Bose understood all this, but completely sold out to mass production parameters just when the going was gettin' good.

Sound system on a boat and a motorcycle are just plain wrong.....if you're out in the open like that and you desire high volume music, you're chooched anyway.






Kevin.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Actually, exaggerated and 'colored' car audio has come a long way since '92....not sure it totally surpasses what we had then. In cars like the Bentley and RR, TIME was spent in developing a sound system. By that I mean a team of engineers realized that they had a poor sound reproduction environ and worked with it.......not by rattling windows and tinny highs, but considered the limited spacial acoustics of the automobile. Dr Bose understood all this, but completely sold out to mass production parameters just when the going was gettin' good.

Sound system on a boat and a motorcycle are just plain wrong.....if you're out in the open like that and you desire high volume music, you're chooched anyway.






Kevin.
I definitely understand what you're saying, I think in terms of efficiency and quality of materials there have definitely been some advancements worth upgrading to. They definitely put the time in to engineering, that much I know first-hand. I would never expect to get anything close with off-the-shelf anything...ever.

When it comes to a boat, just get quality speakers, subs, and amplifiers...I mean loud and clear music is all you really want on the water anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
In hindsight, I made a lot of mistakes when replacing my OE system. For one, if you're anything close to an audiophile, you'll never even come close to approaching what you have in your home, in a car. A car is about the worst environment to reproduce live or studio music in. To compensate for that, people put in giant sub woofers to rattle their windows and then brag about the quality of the sound.

I went with a top Kenwood 'Boy Racer' HU with all the bell& whistles, RF neodymium tweeters in the top dash, RF in the front doors and something else in the rear as I said previously, don't remember. It was a hell of a lot of work and after finally adjusting to the sound difference, the Kenwood amps crapped out. The OE system was very mellow and pleasing to the ears. If I had to do it again, I would have re-coated the paper OE speakers and relocated all the original Becker gear.

I guess it depends, in part, what you're going for in a car audio system. I would have given anything just to put the system back like it was, but some audio store made off with the tuner and amp(s). I still have the OE Becker HU. In my present TE, a PO went to even greater expensive than I did on my original TE. The HU, speakers and everything top dawg. At one time it had sub-woofers too. Except some lunatic tried to shove speakers too wide in the back door enclosures.

Kevin
Is it even worth the cost to have the speakers refurbished? I mean with the availability of quality replacements on-hand. The stereo in the car sounds OK, especially for its age; the biggest issue is those damn door woofers distorting all the time even with the bass barely up two notches. I feel newer speakers would handle the sound better but I've never worked with one of these cars before, and trying to keep it as unmolested as possible. If it were not such a clean W124, I would not care and rip it all out to replace with quality components.
 

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Is it even worth the cost to have the speakers refurbished? I mean with the availability of quality replacements on-hand. The stereo in the car sounds OK, especially for its age; the biggest issue is those damn door woofers distorting all the time even with the bass barely up two notches. I feel newer speakers would handle the sound better but I've never worked with one of these cars before, and trying to keep it as unmolested as possible. If it were not such a clean W124, I would not care and rip it all out to replace with quality components.
Ok...if it were me and I had a working amp(s) and a tuner, yes, I'd update with newer quality speakers to match the efficiency and ohm rating of the factory speakers. And yes, materials are better in the cone for speakers exposed to the elements these days. And the neodymium magnets are a plus.

Certainly if you match the ohm rating and efficiency of the speakers, in theory they should sound fresher and have better range......given you're using high quality speakers like RF"s best. I'd have a tough time living with the old Becker and the cassette slot though. Even if Becker put in the junk drive adapter, don't you still have to run a continuous loop cassette to make it work?

I heard there was a Becker that was compatible with the remote amp(s) tuner that had a CD player. If there is such a beast, I'd look for that. But....if you already paid Becker to have the remote junk drive added, I guess that's that.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok...if it were me and I had a working amp(s) and a tuner, yes, I'd update with newer quality speakers to match the efficiency and ohm rating of the factory speakers. And yes, materials are better in the cone for speakers exposed to the elements these days. And the neodymium magnets are a plus.

Certainly if you match the ohm rating and efficiency of the speakers, in theory they should sound fresher and have better range......given you're using high quality speakers like RF"s best. I'd have a tough time living with the old Becker and the cassette slot though. Even if Becker put in the junk drive adapter, don't you still have to run a continuous loop cassette to make it work?

I heard there was a Becker that was compatible with the remote amp(s) tuner that had a CD player. If there is such a beast, I'd look for that. But....if you already paid Becker to have the remote junk drive added, I guess that's that.

Kevin
I have not had them do it yet, I need the faceplate lights worked on so I figured have them add the Bluetooth function they offer. It is an internal modification, I'm not quite sure how they get it to work, maybe someone can chime in that has.
 

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From what other members have said, the facelift models use a modern HU without the remote amp(s) and tuner. Because the older cassette models are analog, to mate a digital junk drive to the unit, you wind up using a tape loop to make that work. Unless they've figured out another way to crack the nut.

However, it's pretty easy to hack into a CD playing HU because it already has the digital interface.

Kevin
 

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i have a little Logitech Bluetooth audio module, that has RCA stereo out (and mini headphone jack line out), and I'm playing with it hooked up to the aux input on my nakamichi CD deck, but having issues with ignition noise getting into it and making an engine-RPM depedent whine. right now its living in the rolltop center box, and I ran a aux input cable from the back of my deck, under the wood switch panel and into that console box, I also ran power from the back of the cigar lightter to a cigar lgihter + dual USB pod I mounted on the inside forward wall of the rolltop box. I played with ferrite beads on the USB power wire to the Logitech bluetooth box, and that knocked hte whine way down, but its not enough, I think I need to put a nice fat capacitor across the 12V power wires into that USB power pod. and it might need another one across the 5V side which is whats powering the logitech brick.
 

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You Tube abounds with vids of hacking into a auto CD interface for a remote junk drive. I'd do it on my '95 Dodge work truck but I just keep feeding it CD's for now. However, those early CD players do NOT like PC burned CD's. Sometimes they play them, sometimes they skip songs and sometimes nada. I had a burned CD stuck in my player for almost two weeks before it spit it out. I don't quite understand that one, but it plays factory recorded CD's just fine.

Kevin
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I came across an interesting speaker, it's an expensive gamble however. I'd have to buy some caps to make a crossover but that's easy, my real concern is the mounting depth at 2.4". How deep can we go in the dash? I've read 2.5".
  • 6 ohms
  • 120 mm mounting screw diameter
  • 2.4" top mount depth
  • 60-120 watt power, not sure if RMS or peak
  • 95 dB sensitivity
  • No crossover
 
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