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MACH was Ford Premium sound system, so I know it has capabilities for the 6 disk CD changer, so I know the upgraded RCU will be compatible with PAC Audio for my iPod.

But the biggest question is - say for instance I have my radio up all the way with MACH (considering I've seen many say 4 is plenty good enough, I probably wouldn't need it up all the way) what are my chances of blowing the stock speakers?
 

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You might not blow them but the sound won't be as good as aftermarket speakers.

I used pioneer 2 ways and am very happy with the sound.

They were pretty decently priced. :)

PM also sent to you.
 

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When volume is turned all the way up, most audio systems will eventually blow their speakers, good or bad. This is because when you turn the volume all the way up, you may end up asking your amplifier to provide more power than what it really can, and so the amplifier starts sending a square wave, which looks like a normal wave but with chopped peaks, which can cause a serious damage to the speakers. In fact, it's even more likely to happen with really good aftermarket speakers (something like Polk MM, Alpine Type R/X, etc) if you have relatively low power amplifier, because many of those speakers have low sensitivity. With those kinds of speakers, you may be forced to turn up the volume knob on the radio just to achieve a normal listening level causing the amplifier to send a clipped signal.
 

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It is very unlikely to blow speakers with a MACH, as the MACH is designed to reduce bass output with anything over half volume. That being said, the stock speakers still won't sound that great, and the stock amp can still make the speakers distort a bit. A good high quality speaker does make a lot of difference. On mine, just the front two were replaced with the Kenwood Excelon speakers, and they made a huge difference in the sound. I have used the Alpine Type R, and they don't shine a candle on the Excelons.
 

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When I was setting up my Alpine processor I completely tested and scoped the outputs on the Mach RCU. At half volume and above it begins rolling off the bass below about 100hz. It does this to protect the stock speakers. Total power actually increases very little past half volume. The perceived loudness difference is due to the bass frequencies not using a large chunk of the available power. Distortion goes through the roof past half volume though, and distortion is what kills speakers.

That being said about the distortion issue and bass roll-off, I completely agree with KhanTyranitar with regards to speakers. The Kenwood Excelons are a great choice because they are a very high sensitivity speaker. The higher the sensitivity, the higher the output from a given power amount. Every 3 dB higher the sensitivity is, the sound output is doubled from the same wattage. The key to speaker life and sound quality with the Mach RCU is to get a speaker with a high enough sensitivity that it will play at a satisfactory output level at half volume or below, before the hardcore distortion kicks in.

Some other really good choices are the Infinity Reference and Kappa series as well as the JBL GTO and Power series speakers. The advantage to the Kappas and the Power series is that in addition to having a high sensitivity, they also are a 2 ohm design. The Mach RCU drives a 2 ohm load easily, and compared to a 4 ohm load you gain a few extra watts. Any speakers with a sensativity above 90dB should serve you well. The ones I mentioned are all around 92db.

For a really nice sounding, stock looking system I would consider a component speaker set for the front. It's easy to install the Mach tweeter pods and it's easy to install aftermarket tweeters in them.
These are a great option for the front. We used them in my Dad's 02 with the Mach RCU and tweeter pods. 93db sensitivity, 2ohm impedance and they sound great:
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_18914_Infinity-Reference-6830cs.html
Combined with the matching rear speakers, the Mach RCU and tweeter pods you'll have a killer system that looks 100% stock.
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_18911_Infinity-Reference-6832cf.html
 

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Hey mad scientist,

I noticed you have a Kappa sub woofer from your signature. Can you comment? What kind of Kappa subwoofer is that? I know there were many models in the past. I am tempted to try out an Infinity Kappa 120.9w subwoofer. They can be found for as low as $135 online. Right now I have a RE Audio SRX12D4 in sealed box running off 250watt RMS amp channel. It fills low end very well with strong authority, I can't complain, but it is anemic above 60Hz. Based on Kappa's specs it seems like it should have better midbass output with low-end just as good is what I have, but there aren't many reviews of it. I only found this:


Infinity Kappa 120.9 or JBL P1222 sub or.. - DIYMA.com - Scientific Car Audio - Truth in Sound Quality
 

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Oh hey, by the way, I have a pair of those Infinity Reference coaxial speakers that madscientist mentioned. Only lightly used for two months or so, I have their box too. Will sell them for $30 bucks+shipping if anyone wants. They're good speakers, but after buying a new amplifier I was tempted to buy a component set instead. They have smooth, detailed highs and mids, with average midbass. Good sensitivity. 2ohm load. Ideally they should go to the rear since you can have component speakers in front with tweeters installed in the door sails.
 

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It is very unlikely to blow speakers with a MACH, as the MACH is designed to reduce bass output with anything over half volume. That being said, the stock speakers still won't sound that great, and the stock amp can still make the speakers distort a bit. A good high quality speaker does make a lot of difference. On mine, just the front two were replaced with the Kenwood Excelon speakers, and they made a huge difference in the sound. I have used the Alpine Type R, and they don't shine a candle on the Excelons.
This Kenwood is an interesting find but the new Alpine Type R speakers (introduced this year) are completely different from the old as well. The midrange driver is using new neodium magnet, new basket, and new surround, and I believe tweeters and crossovers have changed too. I should check them out at BestBuy or somewhere else.
 

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Hey mad scientist,

I noticed you have a Kappa sub woofer from your signature. Can you comment? What kind of Kappa subwoofer is that?
I have the older 120.3DVC. I have it wired in parallel for a 2ohm load in a 1 cubic foot sealed box getting around 300 watts RMS. I have also listened to the 120.7 and 120.9 in sealed enclosures.

The newer ones aren't as good in the 60hz+ region as the 120.3DVC I have, but even it isn't great. These are 12" SUBWOOFERS after all, not mid-woofers. This is why I used a 6.5" Kicker CVT in the rear deck. It plays 65hz to 140hz-ish, with 65hz and below being handled by the Kappa.

If you're looking for response higher than 60hz, you might want to consider a pair of 10's or even 8's in a sealed enclosure over a single 12". Of course, a good component set with good midwoofers and plenty of power in well sealed doors is the best way to get that 65hz-120hz thump. Keep reading over at DIYMA, and as they say over there: Sorry for your wallet :)

As for the new Type-R Alpine's, I'm going to have to hear them before I would ever reccomend an Alpine speaker ever again. Especially at their price point. The only Alpine speakers I've ever heard that weren't low sensitivity, hard to drive garbage were the Type-X PRO and F#1 Status components. The cheaper of those two sets cost almost what my entire system did and the latter cost more than my car is worth.
 

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^

My understanding is that cone size alone does not determine the frequency response curve. There are 10 inch subwoofers that will play deep sub bass with surprising authority and clarity even in sealed boxes, and there are 12 inch subwoofers that will play mid bass with little distortion, but the later is less common. Some biggish subwoofers had been reported to work well with high crossovers (in the neighborhood of 100Hz). Image Dynamics IDQ, Si Mag, etc. My understanding is that besides the cone size other variables are important. Besides hitting upper bass notes, it is also preferable that a subwoofer can do this without distortions. In particular, subwoofers with a low inductance (Le) parameter have a tendency to have low distortions in the upper end and blend with the front stage speakers well. (link). It's one of the reasons I am curious about this Kappa sub. A typical car subwoofer has Le of 3 mH or more. Less than 2 mH is considered pretty low. I know that Peerless XXLS has in the neighborhood of 1.8, Dayton Reference below 1, Kappa 120.9w around 1.1.

Dual 10" setup sounds tempting, except for the cost. Two Dayton References or Infinity Kappas 10s will cost $250-$300 for a pair. A 10 inch sub is not much cheaper than the 12inch version. I am not sure if I want to sink 2 times of what I can get away with if I buy a suitable 12 inch subwoofer. Still pondering.
 
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