Audio upgrade for clarity

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by HariN, Jun 3, 2018.

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  1. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Ok, I may have figured something out, I should be able to investigate further tonight or tomorrow. Will post if it works as hoped.
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  3. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Have a solution for the firewall run, will work for me as I am only needing to run 8awg for a 200 watt rms sub. It's hot in Dallas, this is going slow but I will wipe the sweat off my phone and get photos as I go. Will try to post it all tonight. Actually really looks promising.

    More later!
  4. weave

    weave Active Member

    $1368 -- damn.

    I tell you what, any scrap yard that gets a totaled Clarity can make some serious coin off of stuff like this. Like I'm pretty sure the head unit would survive just about any accident.
  5. ernda

    ernda New Member

    Any idea if a newer generation head unit ala an new Insight or Odyssey would fit in a Clarity?
    chris5168 likes this.
  6. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Done and done! Here is how I did it but I am going to say I am buried with work so this will be a fast post and I'll add more details later. Here are some photos as well. The bottom line is that I could never find a way (that I liked) to go through the firewall. All the connectors and grommets in the firewall are very difficult to get to and modifying them made me uncomfortable. My solution was to bypass the firewall and go around it. There is room for, in my case, and 8awg (and you could probably fit a 6awg, 4 may be really pushing it) cable around the passenger fender and door area. There is even an unused grommet on the passenger door to pass the cable back into the cabin. Yes, this sounds a little rough, but it actually turns out well and completely invisible, and WAY easier than drilling the firewall. You can easily attach the cable to the factory battery positive harness as there are two unused bolts (powered) under the terminal cover. I bent the cable connector 90 degrees and it fit great (8 awg again). You can then fuse it near the battery and run the cable up under the plastic covers covering the windshield washer reservoir, up near the hood mount and then push it though foam that is between the body and the fender panel. I have a red heavy wire I used to test and chase the path with. You then take (small hands help) the cable and feed it though an unused grommet (removed it and cut a round hole in it for the cable) in the passenger door hinge area which comes out easily in the passenger foot-well. You will need to remove all the plastic trim pieces going down that side to run it aft, but that is easy and expected.

    Since the cable is running in an sorta "external" area I chose to encase it in a kevlar sleeve (pictured) to protect it from any abrasion.

    I have to run, it's a holiday weekend and I have to get the car back together for a family road trip (man do I have bad timing) tomorrow afternoon... If you have any questions I will try to answer them. Also, was kinda funny, I replaced (in another thread) the factory horns. The fasteners I had left over from the horn kit (unknown size, likely 8mm) actually FIT the bolts on the battery terminal harness!!! Go figure!

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  8. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    More photos. Should be self explanatory. For reference, but it shouldn't matter - it's a Touring Trim. Going to just get everything run aft and install the toys later. Will get it all installed and then post what I did and if I am happy with it. 10" Compact Amplified Sub, but will withhold the brand and model until I decide I won't laugh at myself. However, it test fits extremely well and I am losing almost NO space in the trunk. If this works I am going to be very happy.

    If you noticed the wire changing from RED to BLUE it is because the RED wire was cheap copper clad aluminum, and once I realized that had to take it back and get real wire (blue, true 8awg low oxygen, high temp silicone). Just in case you are wondering....

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  9. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Ok, first I have to say that I am satisfied with the overall results of my solution. I was shooting for a "premium factory" upgrade for the Clarity and I think I hit 95% of my goals but for the total price I am very happy. I am also VERY happy with the fact that I lost almost no trunk space with my solution.

    Woofer install, total price $210 (since I did the labor, that's parts all in, wire too). Yes, this was cheap, and a brand that, well... but for the price and fit for my install I just couldn't pass up giving it a shot.

    Speaker replacements, $260 add in a few bucks misc parts and tools and I got my "new" system for under $500!
    If you remove the time spent "figuring" access points, and best placement for things etc I could have done the whole project in a full day, but it took me 4 half days as that is what I had to work with. It has been a long time since I installed aftermarket stereo equipment, and I haven't been to IASCA for SQL/SPL comps since the mid 90's....

    What I got out of this was a system that I will call a premium factory system similar in sound to a Bose, ELS (Acura) or other premium 10 driver 300-500 watt setup. It is not what I would call an "aftermarket" system in bass response, but I am happy and stopping here for now. The woofer solution was wired such that later upgrades in the <500 watt class would be possible if I wanted to try it. For now, my wife is giving me that look when it is time to stop playing with the new car....

    Parts: JL Audio C1-650's for front and rear replacements of the factory drivers (see earlier post).
    Wire wrap:
    The wire was from Car Toys (8awg by the foot) plus an amp install "kit" that included the remote and fuse hardware I paid about $65 for it.
    This is a cool solution for the remote patch, worked great:
    Now to reveal the woofer/amp compact combo (I know, but it's in the pictures soooo...)
    Not Rockford Fosgate... Rockville! :confused::cool:;)

    It does hit low bass and has respectable output when you consider its SIZE and design limitations. My review on this would be that it reminds me more of the old Mass Drivers of the old days when you attached a coneless driver to chairs to help you "feel" the low bass without it actually moving air. I can feel the low notes in the seats and steering wheel almost more than hear them. It does add the low end I was missing and I think that once I spend some time tuning and tweaking it it will get better. The real issue is this, the trunk is actually pretty well isolated from the cabin, you need to displace a lot of air to get that "woofer" bass to penetrate into the cabin from the trunk. Without dual woofers or big ones with lots of moving air you are left with the "in the trunk" sound. However, for me this was enough and I am happy. It does not rattle anything in the trunk so far, and will not disturb the neighbors. It fills in the sub 120hz range I was missing (and though I need to test and don't have an RTA, seems to hit well in the low 40-60 range surprisingly). It helps that this is a sealed unit so the "range" is there even if the DBs are not. The install is very subtle and that is what I was going for. Here are the photos, feel free to ask any questions. I was able to attach the woofer so that I can still open and close the rear seat pass through without issue (both sides). Yes, it does sound more impressive with the seats forward, but...

    I chose to pull the high level signal from the rear doors. This was an amazing amount of work going back in after the initial install. Wish I had done it all at once as it would have saved a lot of time. I can say that this is the harder part for running the speaker wire as to pull it back though the grommet and door to car rubber wire guide is not easy. You have to use a nylon wire-snake for audio or get creative. I have a few more photos but this should cover most of it. Again, only lost 3 inches of truck depth in a place it was less than useful in the first place.

    * Oh, and yes - I ran out of wire wrap when I got to the trunk so I have a bit more to add to cover up the exposed wires you see next to the sub... tomorrow.

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    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
    Daniel M W and SkipperT like this.
  10. SkipperT

    SkipperT Member

    Congrats on the install and thanks for all the info.

  11. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Ok, update 24 hours later. Glad for Amazon Prime. So the Rockville sub quit the next day... Yep, died, no blown fuse no smoke, just protect mode and nothing. So, I am willing to consider the possibility of my normal good luck and getting a dud. Quick exchange through Amazon and (same day shipping) the replacement is reinstalled. Changed the fuse from 25 to 20 amps to see if they cheated (yes, wink nod I know) on the ratings and it is overfused beyond what the internet protections (overheat/overload/etc) could handle. It was cheap and you get what you pay for. Just wanted to report back. I will see how long the replacement lasts but for $12 I got a 4 year Squaretrade warranty with it (which will likely be impossible to use).

    However, the gamble still works for me as it let me determine what I needed and would be happy with for a truck compact sub. So, given this knowledge and hind-sight, I would likely replace it with a slightly better brand "CV": as this unit will fit in the exact same location. The Rockford Fosgate box is too big for that spot. The other same fit offerings are good but have smaller drivers. Now, admittedly, their also far better units so their 8's may be fine, I just wanted solid 60 hz response and historically I have not been impressed with single 8" woofers in that range (short of several in tuned enclosures achieving that "Bose" phenomenon with a trick in isobarics). I heard the Alpine 8 today and it is good. I also found this JBL at Car Toys and really like the idea of being able to remove it if I need to load lots of luggage. However, it is more than the other options, and is actually about twice the size of the above compact subs. They didn't have it hooked up for demo, but I am going back to investigate as this looked really promising for serious sound from a small (removable dock) package, and a fairly good brand.

    Anyway, I will be happy if the Rockville lasts and performs as it currently does for a couple of years. If you don't hear back from me on this then it went well. It's cheap Chineseum stuff inside, sad actually, as the metal enclosure/heatsink and driver have some heft to them, it isn't lightweight for its size by any standard, but the amp guts are pretty lame and poorly bonded to the thermal channels.

    Daniel M W likes this.
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  13. Kevin Wagoner

    Kevin Wagoner New Member

    Cash, YOU ROCK! This was exactly the information I was hoping to obtain on this thread. Sorry it took me so long to check back in.

    The detailed descriptions, and the many pictures, are going to help me get across the finish line. What I have left in my upgrade project is to get the power from front to back. I'm going to try to snake through 4 AWG as my amp can pull 1000w continuous RMS. (Having said that, my ears can't handle that kind of bass volume anymore...) I'll let you know how it goes and then will share some pix and specs!
  14. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Sounds good, you will likely figure this out, the cable diameter limit is mostly due to flexibility required to snake it into the cabin from the door jam, its tight. However, if you use high strand (pro audio cables) power cables they are really rubber snakes. I also think you could easily snake two 8 awg through the route and join them back up in the trunk. Yes, there is an electrical cost in doing so, plus dual fuses, but wanted to mention it. Let us know how it goes, but so far so good.

    ***On thing I will mention is that it has been raining a lot in Dallas this week and with this cable run solution I do technically have an exposed cable with a capillary patch to draw water into the cabin through that grommet. With a big wire you would have even more area for that intrusion. I grabbed a small tube of aquarium silicone, pushed my wire slightly back out of the cabin (footwell, towards the outside) and smeared silicone on it, then pulled it partly back in to draw the silicone into the grommet hole. I have check and although the outside wire can have a few drops of water on it the inside cable is dry. Just a heads up and note on my install. You may not notice the water coming in without checking as you will see when you do this. Like all the other external / internal routes on the Clarity frame, they rarely pass one sheet metal of thickness into a space, there seems to always be a metal pocket cut out. The place where that grommet comes in the foot well is actually recessed into the frame... Clarity challenges I now call them.

    Good luck!
  15. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    Ok, new information - for me at least.

    So today I was driving a longer trip and the ICE kicked in, I guess for the first time since I installed the woofer... and BOOM BOOM I was at an audio competition! Actually it freaked me out a bit as I was unsure where the vibrations were coming from they were at such a low frequency (30-40hz I am guessing) and volume (max of the sub my guess). I thought I had something really wrong with the engine for a second. There were 4 "pulses" of bass, then everything went back to normal. Here is the weird part, once i realized it was the woofer, I started diagnosing the source of the sudden sound. I thought it had to be a ground loop. I turned off the audio power, still happened, but was gone when I disconnected the speaker level inputs on the sub-amp. So I knew it was signal side and not "power" side.

    The really odd thing was it ONLY happened on the FIRST start of the ICE. If I was driving in HV mode and the engine cut on and off, it would not happen with each start, only the first. I had to power off the car, then start up again and do something to trigger the ICE to come on, first start, BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM, then all back to normal. Now, this is a VERY CHEAP amp, so who knows what other electrocity and angry pixies could be at play on this. However, the amp has a separate ground connection on the "signal side" in addition to the power ground. Again, ground loop thoughts... so I disconnected that ground and the problem went away. The woofer still outputs fine so far. I depleted my battery to under 50% so I could repeatedly test this using the HV Charge mode to trigger the ICE and cycle things a few times. I will go driving more and confirm but I think this was it. As for "WHY" only on the first ICE start and not others while driving I have NO idea. But it is interesting from a systems standpoint and something is different in the car on that first start.

    Anyway, just reporting for others, if you don't have this signal ground on your option, or use a real LoC or signal processor you probably wouldn't experience this anyway. But us cheapo's! :D:(

    Best wishes- Cash
  16. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    @Cash Traylor, there were some posts (can’t find them) that seemed to indicate that sometimes a subwoofer doesn’t play well with the on board noise cancellation system. I think it has 2 microphones. One in the front and you can see one on the headliner above the rear seats slightly off center. Might be worth checking out.
  17. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    I did remember seeing those posts and thought of that. And also remember issues with active noise cancelling in the Acura's I have owned. However, the Clarity (may or may not have ANC) is an odd ball in that I would think if the speaker abnormal bass blast during ICE start were an attempt at noise dampening, it would occur with each start, not just the first per power cycle. However, I am not an engineer, and do not play one on TV, so... For now, removing the extra signal ground seemed to solve the problem. So, I am back to being happy again. Still love the car, wish my local dealer had a clue about it, but I guess as long as we have forums like this for user troubleshooting and technical references we can be educated consumers and survive in spite of the dealer network issues.

    Best wishes!
  18. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    So, although the wiring change stopped the BOOM for ICE startups in HV mode, it did it today during ICE startup for acceleration (yes, I have a lead foot). However - again, only on the initial start, all "restarts" had no BOOM effect. So I am back to what Kentucky mentioned about the ANC. I think Honda presumed that the first startup-warmup of the ICE would cause some perceived vibration and noise and maybe this was the masking solution. Or, I just have a cheap woofer/amp... or, and maybe frustratingly as this would be the one time that upgrading the stereo would impact warranty, I have a bad head unit and this is the symptom. However, as even I would have to admit (since the door speakers could not reproduce a 30hz blast that you would "hear") this would not be covered under warranty. I can see the argument, the defect cannot be heard without the subwoofer, and the subwoofer is not factory, ergo....

    Oh well, If anyone has encountered this issue I would love to hear your experience. However I drove around for months after the upgrade to the JL C1's and had no issues, so this is definitely a amp/woofer "undocumented feature."


  19. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    I sincerely hope this is my last entry in this thread for the stereo install. Kentucky was right, it was the ANC. The odd thing that was throwing me was the fact it was tied to engine start and not road noise, or engine noise, as it only did it on the first start per power cycle. Today I went in and unplugged the ANC module. This was actually the easiest thing I have done so far in regards to the stereo install or any mod to the Clarity. The dash panels come off surprisingly easy (I should mention that the "wood" dash trim comes off at a slight out and up angle, maybe 15 or 20 degree, you pop up the front, then pull slightly up and out with them).

    Access was straight forward (once I had access to the visual aids). Now, I am sure I am about to tick off Murphy by saying this and tomorrow the gremlins will return, but so far the BOOM BOOM at ICE initial start is gone. I have photos and info attached for anyone curious and will be happy to answer questions, but it worked and so far no ill effects. My observations were that the ANC does actually reduce a bit of low frequency road and vehicle noise, but not a lot. It does effect sound quality and once disabled I had to "re-tune" the system EQ and amp adjustments, no big deal but was interesting, and really subtle - I'm picky. Honestly I think replacing the tires with touring class that have low road noise and better performance over the low rolling friction high MPG tires that come on it will make a bigger impact on noise cancellation than the ANC system does or did.

    Now, probably everyone here will know I can't leave it alone forever. I now have the full wiring schematic for the ANC system including the BUS line for the vehicle speed and engine control system condition data. I suspect it is possible to have the ANC active but remove the engine/vehicle speed data which I also firmly believe was the problem. I never experienced the ANC feedback loop you can get with an aftermarket speaker system - it was only the ICE start. So, since it was very easy to get to the ANC module, I may look into selectively removing the two data pins from the harness I suspect contain the "offending" instruction/commands. If I later get it figured out I will post here. But if it ends up in a Crutchfield Mastersheet I expect a free something from them! :rolleyes:;)

    You just unplug the ANC module, secure the harness so it doesn't end up a source of rattle, and put it all back together. It works and I confirmed no major errors using the Infotainment self diagnostics to check the system.

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    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2018
  20. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    A few more docs,

    Best wishes all.
  21. AlanSqB

    AlanSqB Active Member

    It’s probably getting the engine start info from the CAN-BUS in digital format. Probably no, non-software, way to remove that info.
  22. Cash Traylor

    Cash Traylor Active Member

    True, but I confirmed it will still initialize without the F-CAN bus inputs. They are actually simple data channels that can be easily placed to a standby state with a PIC chip, question is if the analog performance of the ANC module would be worth it to bother doing so. This would be just for shear entertainment and edification/fabricobling purposes. Would make AVE proud, if that reference is lost, then well - so would be my reason for doing it in the first place. Either way, I would say to most that if they decide to install an aftermarket sub, you will likely need to disable the ANC, and doing so seems to have little ill effects on the system or the ambient noise level of the cabin save the tire noise. Which will go away with better tires down the road, so to speak.

    insightman and AlanSqB like this.
  23. Michael Angelos

    Michael Angelos New Member

    Hey, man. Was there anything you came across that a I should flag to someone installing the system? I'm gonna get it done at a shop. I'm planning on swapping out the speakers adding an amp and a sub in the back. Where did you put the amp? what speakers and amp did you get? I can't find it on the thread, but I'm kinda lazy :)

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