The perfect sound system for a roadster
by SCRM Garage
As far as roadsters go, they’re cool, some fun, some handle, some speed, some drift. But how about pumping up music in your roadster? Let’s all be honest, it does kind of make you look like a “doosh”. Nevertheless when we’re alone, cruising or even just in town driving with the girlfriend and you can’t be bothered listening to her wind lol. We all need music, (some may disagree).
We all know there are several kinds of convertibles, let’s start off with the typical 2-Door sports coupe roadsters/spyders, Take a look at this Mazda MX-5 Miata – NB
These things have very little room for car audio, we did a fair share of experiments with this. Now first off the NB actually came with a “BOSE” system and NON-BOSE system, of course if you have the BOSE system it’s not really a good idea to change it. Others kill to have it, also they work with 1/2 or 1 ohm i believe, making them quite un-modifiable, in order to improve it in anyway, you’d have to replace everything! – Including the head unit (there’s a work around for this), the amplifiers, speakers & tweeters.
This particular model has been through a fair share of setups, now at first we thought why did they decide to put small-ass on the windblocker? You can’t hear them unless the roof is on, and even then.. they just aren’t clear. So why not upgrade them? Well we had a spare wind-blocker to experiment with, we just cut it up to see how we’d go with the sound but came to the conclusion that regardless of how you tune it, that “rear” fill-in just doesn’t work right in these cars. It’s just too close your ears – of course this would be driver dependant – The driver of this vehicle was quite tall, therefore minor “tall-guy” modifications had been made, keeping the driver a little further back then the average MX-5 driver.
There’s basically no room for a subwoofer as you’ll see in the gallery, the padding under the carpet is quite thick, but when removed honestly does cause a lot of road noise (which is not easy to get use to after driving in a Mazda) – If it were a Honda or something, it’d be much more acceptable. A subwoofer in the boot does work just fine, you’ll see on the Miata forums that a lot of people do actually install subwoofers, even though it rattles like crazy. Dynamat does help dramatically.
Like all roadsters, the MX-5 needs bass in it’s doors, but of course at the end of the day it’s a door, it can’t handle a massive subwoofer, but a mid-bass driver will do just fine. Keep in mind the MX-5 has 8 inches of room to make your ears jizz! We experimented with 2 kinds of speaker setups, the Rockford Fosgate 6×8″ and Clearwater CWC-8 (9 was not available at that time). The Rockford Fosgate speakers work just fine, they get the done job and for a reasonable price. Also they provide a significant amount of mid-bass. We tried using some left over dynamat we had, it actually made a huge difference in terms of quality and rattling. We tried 3 different kinds, all provided some kind of improvement.
All the images below are all captioned appropriately. – the caption should appear above the image.
In conclusion, if you’re looking at building a sound system for a two-door roadster – We at Scream Garage recommend getting yourself a decent set of door speakers, aim for speakers that can provide a fair amount of bass – in the MX-5 you can fit an eight inch – some cars aren’t so lucky. In terms of bass the CWC-8 clearwaters were great! Of course any set of speakers that provide a realistic amount of bass will need to be backed up by a nice and powerful amplifier – Unfortunately in the world of amplifiers there are a lot of fake statistics – We recommend going for brand-names.
- Kicker (classic models KX ZX)
- Rockford Fosgate
- Vibe (stick with the high-end models) – this applies for both speakers and amplifiers. Vibe’s low end and high end speakers actually have a huge difference.
Definitely invest a decent amount in sound deadening or dampening material (Dynamat), our pictures are not an example to follow we just used what was left over, take a look at this installation here
Rear speakers, don’t help or let alone work. Depending on the vehicle for example if you’re thinking of a Nissan 350z a subwoofer in the rear helps, also the standard bose system actually provides a subwoofer as well as “rear-fill-in speakers” but in all honesty it isn’t all that. One of the best standard sound systems I have heard was in a 2012 Mazda CX-7, again they went with bass in the doors (of course being a really large vehicle, it has the freedom of building a mini sub box in each door). In a roadster it’s quite hard to get the same sound.
Now when the roof is down, bass changes everything – If you’re dealing with an MX-5 Miata or an S2000 a subwoofer just does damage. Some people find it necessary but in all honesty if you get the right set of speakers it provides more than enough bass with and without the roof. (If you have a hard top, a subwoofer does work fine. Moving back to the 350z the seating position is much lower and the body of the car is much taller, this means you have a higher cabin and it feels larger because in terms of Square Meters it is! and this means it has a dramatic effect on sound. A subwoofer in a 350z works wonders however an aftermarket subwoofer is too much, as it’s been placed right behind the driver seat (Australian Model) – It causes your “lungs” to rattle regardless of how long it’s set.
Head unit wise, in all honesty it is just depends on taste, this is not something that could be debated or called “the best” – All work fine with convertibles, keep in mind our vehicles will experience a fair share of sun, so if you buy something that looks like it’ll screw up from the sun, it’s probably better to play it safe and get something more durable. The LCD (Calculator like) screened head units work just fine, they can handle years of sun damage.