Thunderbird Speaker Size Possibilities

Stanley

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6L V8
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I gather the Thunderbird uses 5x7/6x8 speakers. I'd like to move to something larger (and also a size with a greater range of support), and so I was wondering, for those of you who've mucked around with this, what's the largest size of speaker you can actually fit into the stock mounts (both front or rear) while still keeping the original speaker grills. I want to preserve the original look.
 
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A 6.5" round should fit without to much fuss. Just make sure the mounting depth doesn't exceed the door window clearance when the window is down.
 
6x8" is the factory size. 5x7" was (and still is?) the predominant aftermarket middle oval speaker size, but they have the same mounting points. However, the frame of a 5x7" is physically smaller and will leave a small air gap around the car's speaker cutout. I created a mounting ring for the JL Audio 5x7" below that I ditched when I put in the Alpine 6x8".

20231007_172158 (Large).jpg

6.5" round speakers are everywhere if you want other options. In terms of surface area though, the cones are smaller than 6x8", so I never really entertained making that swap in this car. 6x9" has been discussed a bunch in the past as well, but I find those unnecessary and inappropriate if you run a sub.
 
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I do have a sub, but my main issue is a shrill, flat midrange: I have great depth, great highs, but that middle range sounds hollow. I was hoping to fit in larger speakers specifically so I could get a bit more oomph in the almost but not quite low end, and was hoping that 6x9s would be better than 6.5" for that purpose. At the same time, I don't know a lot about speakers in general: I'm learning as I go.

I know there are specific mid-bass speakers that exist, but since I don't want to add more speaker ports or otherwise mess with the stock outer appearance (internals are fine), I was under the impression that just installing mid-bass speakers by themselves as a replacement for the fronts or rears would not work.
 
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I would imagine that 6x9" would be pretty straightforward to fit in the rear quarter panels with adapters, but the doors could pose some clearance issues. I've never really paid close attention to 6x9" speaker dimensions to know for sure.
 
You can put in any size you want with a jigsaw. When I ran a shop doing stereos, I had a customer insist on putting a set of 6x9's in a cougar. They will go, with some extreme butchery. I think that was a brand new 94, iirc.
Worse, he insisted on putting them in the back deck, not the factory location. :) Don't do that. If some asshole did that to my car, I'd be pissed. I'm sure the rear window leaked like a bitch. There are good speakers out there; jbl, infinity used to make some good ones.


Infinity Kappas are great. I'm kinda blown away by the price on the jbl,tho. The set I have was $150, lol.
 
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Infinity Kappas are great. I'm kinda blown away by the price on the jbl,tho. The set I have was $150, lol.
Before I decided on my Alpine R-S68, I was looking at the JBL Stadium 862F, which are just insane for coaxials at $250. I mean, I really wanted swiveling tweeters, but not that badly.

The nice thing about car audio speakers is I can think of no other electronic equipment that changes so little from one model to its successor. Alpine did a rare thing and removed functionality (the swiveling tweeter) from the R-S68's successor, but the R-S68 is still easy to come by. I got them new for $100.

As famous as they are, I never really got familiar with the Infinity Kappa over the years. I don't think Harman did a very good job of distinguishing them from the JBL Stadium now that I'm comparing the two though.
 
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I do have a sub, but my main issue is the lack of mid-bass: I have great depth, great highs, but that middle range sounds hollow. I was hoping to fit in larger speakers specifically so I could get a bit more oomph in the almost but not quite low end, and was hoping that 6x9s would be better than 6.5" for that purpose. At the same time, I don't know a lot about speakers in general: I'm learning as I go.

I know there are specific mid-bass speakers that exist, but since I don't want to add more speaker ports or otherwise mess with the stock outer appearance (internals are fine), I was under the impression that just installing mid-bass speakers by themselves as a replacement for the fronts or rears would not work.

I'm pretty happy with my speakers. I ended up with Pioneer 3-ways (6x8s) because I wanted tweeter, midrange and woofer for exactly what you're talking about, mid-bass. I also have an Alpine subwoofer in the trunk (I believe 12") to cover the lows. But the combination sounds great to my ears. I listen to hard rock mostly, if that matters.

I also tried to get replacement 6.5s in a 3-way option for my '93 Honda Accord (the rears got ruined) but I couldn't find any anywhere that would actually fit Honda's weird speaker area in the back, had to settle for 2-ways by Kicker I think. They're good but I really wish I could have found 3-ways for the back since I don't have a sub in that car. I was told to not worry about it, the 2-ways would do everything I want. Ya? Well, what I want is to split the sound 3 ways instead of 2 so that no one speaker is handling too wide of a range.
 
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I'm pretty happy with my speakers. I ended up with Pioneer 3-ways (6x8s) because I wanted tweeter, midrange and woofer for exactly what you're talking about, mid-bass. I also have an Alpine subwoofer in the trunk (I believe 12") to cover the lows. But the combination sounds great to my ears. I listen to hard rock mostly, if that matters.

I'm thinking along your lines and looking at 3-ways as well. I'm considering Audiofrog 6x9 three-ways in the doors, and their 6x8s in the back as fill. I need to check with my car guy though to make sure he can make the 6x9s work in the doors without changing the stock grills or other appearance aspect, since I want to keep the car interior looking original apart from the deck. If he has to cut where no one can see that's fine.
 
I'm pretty happy with my speakers. I ended up with Pioneer 3-ways (6x8s) because I wanted tweeter, midrange and woofer for exactly what you're talking about, mid-bass.
Which ones?
 
Are y'all running equalizers in your systems? I'm expecting the answer to be "yes"? A stereo 31-band would be able to get your sound dialed in fairly well no matter what speaker (assuming reputable brand) you end up using. Gotta get clean watts to them thought so your head unit has to be delivering clean power. I like to tweak my EQ when listening but with a 31-band it's tough to mount in an inconspicuous place and they usually end up in the trunk. Once you have your sound dialed in you probably won't want to change it frequently. I can't deal with the typical shelf boost/cut tone controls anymore. I can deal with a 12 or 15-band but not less...
 
Are y'all running equalizers in your systems? I'm expecting the answer to be "yes"? A stereo 31-band would be able to get your sound dialed in fairly well no matter what speaker (assuming reputable brand) you end up using. Gotta get clean watts to them thought so your head unit has to be delivering clean power. I like to tweak my EQ when listening but with a 31-band it's tough to mount in an inconspicuous place and they usually end up in the trunk. Once you have your sound dialed in you probably won't want to change it frequently. I can't deal with the typical shelf boost/cut tone controls anymore. I can deal with a 12 or 15-band but not less...

A bypass filter is just as important as an equalizer and is really the first place you should start. It's important to first block the lower (or higher) frequencies that your speaker is not capable of producing.

31 bands is overkill IMHO. Yes. As you said, 12 to 16 bands is plenty. My Pioneer DEH-80PRS has both a band pass filter and a multi-setup programmable 16 Band EQ built into it. I was really lucky to get one before they were discontinued.
 
Are y'all running equalizers in your systems? I'm expecting the answer to be "yes"?

Yeah, my Pioneer has a 13-band equalizer and I've spent hours tweaking it all over the place trying to dial it in, and I've put high-pass filters on and a crossover so my speakers aren't wasting effort trying to pump out stuff the sub is there for. And I've deadened the doors. It still sounds very shrill and hollow, because I get tons of highs and no mid-bass. It's driving me nuts. I'm trying to find a set of speakers that will handle my needs better than the JL C3s I have in the doors right now, but it's been very hard to find useful information.
 
They were the only good sounding one until jbl started making some. I'm glad ford put them in everything; I easily got rid of the ones I didn't like. My cars have 75W capable coax speakers similar to the stadias. GTO 682 something.
I find that a good coax speaker to cover 50-20kHz meshes well with a 12" sub to cover 50Hz and below. My 1.5 cuft box's -3dB point is 8Hz. I use an alpine deck with Time correction; it totally transforms the sound. It corrects for speaker distance, and lines up the staging. Rush sounds incredible. :)


?
 
Which ones?

Actually, I have no idea. I found the receipt from the stereo place that sold and installed them but it just lists Pioneer 6x8s though, oddly, it says they're 4-ways. I was sure I got 3-ways but since there's no part numbers listed how would I know. It was done in 2019 so whatever was current then.

Going to the Pioneer site, for my Thunderbird there seem to be a few options, all 4-way (with some 2-way). Either TS-800M, TS-A682F, TS-A683R or TS-A6880F. Interesting, some of those seem to show as out of stock at various online places, I bet those are probably the ones I have (Best Buy shows the TS-A683Rs available and Amazon shows the TS-A6880Fs, those might be the ones). Didn't realize they had 11mm Tweeters and 11mm Super Tweeters, woo hoo! Wile E. Coyote, Suuuuuper Genius. Aha, the TS-A6880Fs have 18mm Tweeters and 11mm Super Tweeters, $69.95 a pair at Amazon, pretty good reviews if that matters.

 
Rush sounds incredible.
Has to be my all-time favorite band. Best stuff was pre-Moving Pictures but there is a lot of good material post-Moving pictures. When I test out a system for clarity and accuracy I use "2112" as my reference!
 
I switched to a higher-end head unit which has a 13 band EQ, but the sad truth I keep running into is my cheap speakers (which still sound better than the stockers) just create too much distortion at the higher SPLs required for highway driving. No amount of EQ can fix something like that until I spend more money on proper speakers! :(
 
What higher end head unit is available in single din? I have tried the kenwood Excelon series and an alpine cde175bt.
Neither of them are even close to my alpine 9887 that they replaced.
I listen to cds still, so I need the cd as well as the bt.
I think the kenwood is a better sounding deck than the cde175bt.
 
The market for high-end single DIN head units focused on sound quality dried up a long ago. All the current expensive units consist of a touchscreen mounted on a single DIN chassis.
 
I had two of th9887 decks; built in parametric eq, sub engine, time correction. If they would make one with those features that was all digital,I'd buy it.
 
I had two of th9887 decks; built in parametric eq, sub engine, time correction. If they would make one with those features that was all digital,I'd buy it.
I have two of them also, but one stopped ejecting cds and the other one just stopped working.
I kept them figuring someone may want them for parts or repair.
But they are just sitting collecting dust now.
 
What higher end head unit is available in single din?

I'm not sure what features you'd be looking for and I don't have long experience in car audio to know the full historical context on decks, but I'm using a Pioneer DEH-X8800BHS and I'm quite happy with it. Ipod support still, FLAC support, Bluetooth, Spotify, Pandora and Sirius, 13-band EQ, handles CDs, does auto EQ correction and time alignment with a mic, has crossover and HPF/LPF support.
 
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I had Kenwood X595 before, then Ohio dropped a new law that banned all but handsfree calling so I had to upgrade to a head unit that allowed me to pair my phone to it. I really got to liking the 3-line display on the X595 and found that all new(er) head units use a simple 7-segment display, and really didn't want to downgrade to that. So I researched a little and settled on/found a used X998 and installed that. Is it perfect? Not at all, but now I get a better EQ and a few other features I'll never use (I don't listen to radio) along with the ability to make calls through it. :roll:
 
I have two of them also, but one stopped ejecting cds and the other one just stopped working.
I kept them figuring someone may want them for parts or repair.But they are just sitting collecting dust now.

'd buy them for parts; but it will be a bit. I'm working thru some stuff with paypal right now. My Discover card got swiped, and it was linked to papal.
What would you want for them?
 
I tell you what, if you want to send me both, I'll fix one, and send it back to you. The other one I'll keep for parts. I have the service manual, but Alpine only sells parts to dealers, I've hit that brick wall before. And it's likely a similar problem with both. An authorized repair starts at ~300 bux, last time I called one. I'll look at them, take some pix, and let you know what's wrong with them.
 
With regards to midbass, the tricky part is the losses from not having a proper enclosure. At low-levels it can sound ok, but once you crank it up, the flexing (enclosure losses) ends up acting like if the [open] baffle is smaller and smaller the higher the drive level. As you can imagine, the smaller the baffle, the more cancellation that occurs. Of course it is all dependent on how low you cross the speaker over (the high-pass filter), and the slope. A not-too-bad solution is obviously dynamat or similar to block out the holes and give the panel some mass to resist the losses.
 
A ported box loses a lot of mid-bass, while accentuating the low bass. That's one reason I use sealed boxes.
 
After some more screwing around I've realised that it's not so much that I lack midbass as that it doesn't carry over into the midrange area. A bassy song sounds properly bassy, but if it's got prominent vocals/bright guitars, that's where the hollowness/shrillness really comes through. Essentially the bass isn't spilling over up the frequency scale towards the middle, which is weird: it's isolated, and no amount of turning up the midbass solves it. I'm going to have the crossovers in the door speakers checked, and I've bought some speaker rings to help ensure they're properly sealed.

Otherwise, something that's been suggested to me is relocating the tweeters out of the doors. What do people use for unobtrusive tweeter pods for Tbirds (presumably on the dash)? I'd like to keep it subtle as possible.
 
You're going to need an eq. from what you describe, you have a peak somewhere around 1500Hz, and it's making things sound boomy. Try taping something over the port in your sub box, and see if it helps.
 
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