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My Sony, Zapco, Dynaudio Esotar, Morel, JL/Alpine, AudioQuest, Rockford Audio Upgrade

My Sony, Zapco, Dynaudio Esotar, Morel, JL/Alpine, AudioQuest, Rockford Audio Upgrade

  #61  
Old 07-03-2018, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by payluder View Post
How does the new system sound overall?

Hello Payluder, the systems sounds great,...

well, its like heaven and earth in comparison to the stock system of course


I mean, detail, staging, clarity, etc etc...

That is because:

The Sony RSX-GS9 head unit is the best sounding head unit currently available in the market.


The Dynaudio ESOTAR2 110 Tweeter and 650 MidBass is the current Reference Standard speaker for car audio...
The Zapco ASP-X4 Xover already have high quality component inside...
but of course my system is NOT perfect... yet


I still need to replace the "temporary" Sony XM-GS4 amplifier with BRAX Matrix MX4 PRO (should be launch by the end of this summer)...


I also need to add a pair of underseat subwoofer from Pioneer Carrozzeria TS-WH1000A, so at this moment, I don't really have low deep bass... that only a sub can cover...



and I also need to improve/upgrade the op-amp in the Sony RSX-GS9 from the current MUSES8920 (mass market version of MUSES op-amp) to their Reference Standard MUSES01,


same thing with the ZAPCO ASP-X4 crossover which have OPA275 op-amp (again high quality but mass market op-amp) will be upgraded with MUSES01...


Once I complete the four steps above, then it would be PERFECT enough for me
 
  #62  
Old 07-08-2018, 07:47 PM
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The Sony XA-300 Auxiliary input adapter for UniLink receivers arrived from Japan few days ago, and it came with a DIN control cable plus the DIN extension cable. My guess is the Japanese market model is Made in Korea because I saw several sold on eBay but they were made in Thailand...

















so this weekend I decided to open it up to modify the circuit, and
Turn out this unit have so much components inside, including a Burr Brown D/A Converter chips, several op-amps, a large control chip and way too many resistor and some capacitor:












This is the parts that I took out:












The PCB are so much cleaner after I took out most of the parts except the 3 relays and the small transformer (keep the transformer basically as jumper, don't detect any voltage differences between the two pole of the transformer):












I use direct point to point soldering to modify the flow of the signal on the circuit around the relays. I also use the DIN Connector to supply the Power and Ground to the relays, later I cut on end of the DIN cable to get to the positive and negative/ground wiring.
This is so much better then my previous RCA selector box which use many wire jumper instead of point to point soldering.
The PCB of this Sony unit also have much better quality than the previous RCA selector box.


Below is the schematic of the signal flow and after I close the box again (look the same as before it was modified)







I will took out the previous RCA selector box and use this modified Sony XA-300 instead, plus relocate it to the front passenger footwell, but I will do this later because I need to took out the Sony RSX-GS9 head unit, so I will wait until I am modifying the Sony RSX-GS9 op-amp.


By the way this is also a good exercise, since this is the first time I remove SMD mounted op-amp using ChipQuik SMD1 Leaded Low Temperature Removal Kit, so now I am pretty sure I can remove all those op-amp in the Zapco ASP-X4 X-over and Sony RSX-GS9
 

Last edited by BMW ALPINA; 07-08-2018 at 07:52 PM.
  #63  
Old 07-15-2018, 01:56 PM
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I just ordered a PAIR of JDM Market only Pioneer Carrozzeria Under Seat Subwoofer Model: TS-WH1000A directly from Japan.
A PAIR because I am going to go with STEREO Sub configuration.




TS-WH1000A????????????????????????


Hopefully it will arrive in 2 weeks


The review are overwhelmingly good:
https://minkara.carview.co.jp/partsr...spx?pt=1033768
(I used Google Chrome which auto translate to English)


Plus it is the thinnest under seat subwoofer currently available in the world with one of the highest wattage rating among them, and...
it is still MADE IN JAPAN!!! (not Korea or China or Mexico or other countries)...


still, once it arrived, the first thing I will do is open the housing to look at the Power Amp circuit to see if there is any capacitor or Op-Amp or resistor that I can upgrade
 
  #64  
Old 07-28-2018, 01:04 AM
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a PAIR of Pioneer Carrozzeria TS-WH1000A Underseat Subwoofer arrived from Japan.

It is a rare sight to see an electronic equipment still MADE IN JAPAN

By the way, both bottom and upper part are made of CAST and Machine Finished Aluminum. They are HEAVY!!!
I think I want to try them under the front floor mat... if they are not too intrusive, that would make the soundstage even more forward plus I think they are strong enough to withstand someone resting their foot on top of it... I don't know, I will install them tomorrow and report back.

Below are unboxing pictures:











 
  #65  
Old 07-28-2018, 03:30 AM
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I want to know if I can upgrade any op-amp inside, open up the casing,... there are 14 screws that lock the front and back plus 3 screw that lock the heatsink to the back cover...
It use a single NJM13700 op-amp inside and not much equivalent out there... so I decide to just leave it like it is...
Interesting design inside.
 
  #66  
Old 07-30-2018, 01:30 AM
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I installed the Pioneer Carrozzeria TS-WH1000A this weekend:

First I upgrade the Wiring Harness, specifically the 12Volts Positive and Ground Cable with larger Rockford Fosgate wire.
Side by side comparison


Upgraded wiring harness complete with TechFlex on the 12V wire:



Connect the harness of both Sub to the Fuse/Distribution block. Note that each subwoofer will have it's own dedicated fuse:



The attention to details are amazing, the large screw that cover the mounting holes is made of Machined Aluminum !!!



Connect the wiring harness and the remote control harness:



The harness came with very long wire for ground, but I cut them, soldered a much larger Rockford Fosgate and ground them as close as possible to the Seat Bolt:


Secure the subwoofer to the floor, and how it look without and with the floor mat on top (driver side):




Passenger side:



The 2 remote secure with the 3M velcro that came with the package:

 
  #67  
Old 07-30-2018, 01:41 AM
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How does it sound?

I set the sub in stereo subwoofer configuration. 63hz low pass set at Sony RSX-GS9.
They blend in with the Dynaudio Esotars ... and finally I can hear bass notes that were not reachable by the Dynaudio Midbass before.

I almost thought that both sub were not making sound, until I lower the gain on the remote controls of the sub and can feel the deep low bass is now missing...

You can hear the deep bass, but you can' NOT feel it hitting your chest like normal 10in sub would, and if you want to play loud, this subwoofer just cannot get there...
I guess no defying law of physics with such a small think enclosure...

They are perfect for my goal of having full range FRONT soundstage.

The only thing that worry me is, when I upgrade the power amp to BRAX MX4 Pro,... to power the 2 way Active Dynaudio Esotars.. maybe this pair of Pioneer Carrozzeria TS-WH1000A sub would not be able to keep up with the volume... but... if that happened... I figure something else...
until then...
This is a PERFECT Subwoofer that just blend in!!!
 
  #68  
Old 09-01-2018, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by BMW ALPINA View Post
How does it sound?

I set the sub in stereo subwoofer configuration. 63hz low pass set at Sony RSX-GS9.
They blend in with the Dynaudio Esotars ... and finally I can hear bass notes that were not reachable by the Dynaudio Midbass before.

I almost thought that both sub were not making sound, until I lower the gain on the remote controls of the sub and can feel the deep low bass is now missing...

You can hear the deep bass, but you can' NOT feel it hitting your chest like normal 10in sub would, and if you want to play loud, this subwoofer just cannot get there...
I guess no defying law of physics with such a small think enclosure...

They are perfect for my goal of having full range FRONT soundstage.

The only thing that worry me is, when I upgrade the power amp to BRAX MX4 Pro,... to power the 2 way Active Dynaudio Esotars.. maybe this pair of Pioneer Carrozzeria TS-WH1000A sub would not be able to keep up with the volume... but... if that happened... I figure something else...
until then...
This is a PERFECT Subwoofer that just blend in!!!

Looks awesome. Just curious, if you did decide to place them under your driver/passenger seats would they have fit?
 
  #69  
Old 09-01-2018, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by changerrs View Post
Looks awesome. Just curious, if you did decide to place them under your driver/passenger seats would they have fit?
Hello,
Yes, they will fit under the seat.

 
  #70  
Old 09-03-2018, 10:08 PM
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I also want to upgrade the current microphone for hands free bluetooth phone call that come with the Sony RSX-GS9 head unit to a better version (also by Sony model ECM-DS70P still Made in Japan) and it just arrived.
Notice this is a stereo microphone so I already bought a Stereo to Mono 3.5mm Jack Adapter:








Initially, I was planning to use another Sony Stereo microphone that I had in my storage box for a long time (I don't remember how I get this one, but this version have slight imbalance, the left mic is more sensitive than the right mic), plus it does not look as nice as the ECM-DS70P model so I decide to just buy the ECM-DS70P


Here is the picture of the other mic:




One last thing, I ordered 14 pieces of MUSES 01 to upgrade all the OP-275 op-amp inside the Zapco ASP-X4. If I am succesful with this project, then I will also upgrade the remaining 11 pieces Muses 8920 op-amp inside the Sony RSX-GS9 to MUSES 01 too. The MUSES 01 should arrive in the next few days.
 

Last edited by BMW ALPINA; 09-03-2018 at 10:14 PM.
  #71  
Old 09-05-2018, 11:19 PM
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Muses01 op-amps arrived today, I will start solding them this Friday evening


 
  #72  
Old 09-09-2018, 10:23 PM
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I spent my entire weekend both Saturday and Sunday removing the op-amp that came with the Zapco ASP-X4 and replace it with a better version.

So here are the details, more like journey

First disassemble the PCB:




Then I assemble the SMD to DIP8 adapter, use an IC socket so I can remove the op-amp without soldering in the future, than the MUSES01 on top, because I need to make sure there is enough clearance when I close the casing:






Ok, so it fit so I start the next step:
First upgrade my Goot Solder tips to a finer one:




Then I start the upgrade by removing the TL074 op amp first (this is basically my training before replacing the other op-amps that is much smaller and located in harder location):
Start by using ChipQuick kit to remove the TL074 op amp, then use wick to clean the metal from ChipQuick, then solder the new OPA1644.




I then connect it back to my car audio system (without the casing of course), the sound sound just a tad cleaner... no difference with detail or staging...

So move on to the next stages which is replacing the 14 pieces OPA275 op-amp, (only 14 pieces because I only use the first 2 channel out of the available 4 channel of the Zapco ASP-X4), using ChipQuick again...
the picture below is when I use Flux before I solder the metal from the ChipQuick kit to melt the soldered connection to the old op-amp:



Then soldered the DIP8 adapter:



Then insert the MUSES01 op-amp to the IC socket:



Then test it by connecting to the rest of the system in the car:




I had to soldered and test every 2 op-amp (if that part of the circuit have 2 op-amp for left and right), this way I can feel the improvement everytime I replace more OP275 to MUSES01 and also to make sure if there is soldering mistake (or shorts circuit), I can pinpoint which op-amp causing it (the last one I just soldered)... and yes, I do make some soldering mistake due to the very small spacing of the SMD pad spacing.

The first 2 MUSES01 soldered above was on the output stage of the Tweeter channel, when I test it, at first the right channel tweeter did not turn on so I had to resoldered all the connection and it solve the problem. Once the problem solved, I immediately feel big improvement in the quality of the sound, so I soldered more and more and more until I finished one hour ago (Sunday evening, and I started doing this on Saturday late morning)... yes, it took very long time to soldered just one adaptor to the SMD pad because it is very hard to solder a tiny connection and I have to correct so many error... sometimes I had to remove few capacitor just so my solder can reach the soldering point.

below is the picture when I finished with 7 MUSES01 for the tweeter channel,





and this is the picture when I finished with another 7 MUSES01 for the Mid Bass channel (so all op-amp that I need are soldered):






So how is the sound?
With every OP-275 replaced with MUSES01, there are step by step improvement, but not until I replaced the last OP-275 that it feel PERFECT!!!
It's like the last blurry layer was removed and I can hear everything so clear.
The sound of my system before this upgrade was already very good but I always feel that it is not perfect yet, and I thought it is because I still use the Sony XM-GS4 power amp instead of my future plan with BRAX MX4 Pro,
but now I know it is not the Sony XM-GS4 power amp that is the weak point but it is the OP-275 op-amp inside the Zapco ASP-X4 xover!!!

The staging is much more 3 Dimensional now, the details is so clear, I can hear crystal clear every minute detail of the reference song I use to test my system, improvement in the whole frequency, from Midbass/midrange and tweeter!!!
(notice I did not mention bass because my subwoofer did not pass through the Zapco ASP-X4 but direct from Sony RSX-GS9).
I am blown away by the level of improvement...

Then I try to see how much is the price of OP-275 (brand new) because I was thinking of selling all this OP-275 opamp as used parts on eBay...
and I was surprise to see that the OP-275 is only about $3 brand new each... while the MUSES01 cost about $46 each (both price at Mouser.com)...
well, again it shows that money doesn't lie... there is a reason why the MUSES01 cost 15 times OP-275
I guess Zapco was trying to save production cost with the Zapco ASP-X4...
I just want to point out again that for my application, the MUSES01 worth every single penny and more

Now, I am currently debating myself whether I should upgrade the 11 pieces of MUSES8920 op-amp inside the Sony RSX-GS9 to MUSES01 just because I don't think the improvement will be as much
as this upgrade from OP-275 to MUSES01 and part of it is because desoldering and soldering an SMD connection is really hard and a pain...
well,... hmmm...
I think I still going to upgrade my Sony RSX-GS9 op-amp... so stay tune

In summary, even if I stop at this stages, my current system is by far the best sounding car audio system I ever own...
and I had a few very nice car audio equipment in the past ... but nothing compare to this current one...

However, I will still complete my goal (more upgrade) which are:
a. replace the 11 pieces op-amp in the Sony RSX-GS9 from MUSES8920 to MUSES01
b. replace the Sony XM-GS4 power amp with BRAX MX-4 Pro
c. and if I really have free time, I still want to add 2 Dynaudio MW-182 ten inch woofer, install it either under my seat or on the floor in front of the front seat (drilling a hole on the car floor plan, IB setup),
use this as stereo subwoofer... but this got to wait until I really have free time since this involved welding etc...


 
  #73  
Old 09-13-2018, 04:10 AM
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After studying the Sony RSX-GS9 PCB (from many pictures I gather), I see that it will be quite complicated to disassembled the Sony RSX-GS9 PCB and there are many chances of damaging the connection between several PCB.
Plus the DIP8 to SMD adapter might create a height problem, also my feeling is the difference in sound between Muses8920 (from Sony) to Muses01 might not be that much.
After all, I already have the 14 pieces of Muses01 inside the Zapco ASP-X4 basically "influencing the color of the sound".
So I decide, this is more than good enough and I will not be replacing the op-amp inside the Sony RSX-GS9. I will focus my next effort (budget) on replacing the power amplifier and perhaps upgrading the subwoofer instead.



This weekend, hopefully I am not tired so I can upgrade the Bluetooth microphone and also the "Input Selector" box and some RCA cables
 
  #74  
Old 09-16-2018, 04:18 AM
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I upgrade the Bluetooth Microphone today because I suspect the microphone that came with the Sony RSX-GS9 is the reason for bad quality voice transmission, (my voice keep get cutting off).
as I had posted few weeks ago, after research on people's review, I bought Sony ECM-DS70P Stereo Microphone, and I also bought 3.5mm stereo to mono jack adapter because Sony RSX-GS9 only accept Mono Microphone.

Initially I was planning to put the new microphone right in front of me, on top of the steering wheel housing, but I see that it block my view to either the dashboard lower/side part or block my view of my ScanGauge OBD tools.

so while I am thinking where I should put the new mic, I remember that I need to replace the A/C air flow knob because the old one were scratched when I install the Sony RSX-GS9 long time ago...
below is the new A/C air flow knob:





And I suddenly have this idea to put the mic right near the A/C knob... initially, I though double tape, but then I hate to see the wire dangling from the Mic... I already have USB wire to the i-Phone and to the Sony RSX-GS9... so no more wire...
I decided to take out the A/C panel and see what I can do:




And I came up with this idea, first drill the plastic panel:




The Sony ECM-DS70P Microphone is unique that it's have a foldable 3.5mm jack, and it also came with extension cable. So I plug the extension cable into the hole that I drilled:




Than to secure that female jack (extension cable), I use Epoxy to hold it from behind the panel:





And then test fit, PERFECT



Whole A/C panel assembled back to the dashboard:




The Sony ECM-DS70P might look slightly tilted but that is because it is just freely turn when plug to the jack. tomorrow, I will align it perfectly straight and will put a dot of hot glue just to prevent it from moving freely anymore and stay straight

I test the bluetooth phone call function by calling my home phone number, my sons and I test it and my sons told me my voice is cleaner and not cutting off anymore. I haven't try it while driving (engine/road noise etc), I will test it tomorrow.
Hopefully this solve the bluetooth phone voice quality problem.


I also decide to replace my DIY RCA selector with a modified Sony XA-300 RCA selector today. I also replace AudioQuest Golden Gate RCA wire for the subwoofer with custom RCA wire. The custom RCA wire is basically a "Y" meaning 1 male to 2 male RCA.

The DIY RCA selector were located on top of the Zapco ASP-X4 in the trunk and now I place the Sony XA-300 RCA selector inside the dashboard. The Sony XA-300 RCA internal relay should be higher quality than my DIY RCA selector relay.

Here are the pictures:






 

Last edited by BMW ALPINA; 09-16-2018 at 04:30 AM.
  #75  
Old 09-16-2018, 12:11 PM
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Wow, this is wild. It makes my fit look boring.
 
  #76  
Old 09-23-2018, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by thenewenglander View Post
Wow, this is wild. It makes my fit look boring.
Thank You thenewenglander


And since I upgraded the op-amp, background noise, including alternator noise is more pronounced.

So today, I decide to do some experiment, to eliminate the source of the noise:
a. Pulling the Input RCA to the power amp, no noise, this mean it is not the amp
b. Reconnect the Input RCA to the power amp, and pulling the input RCA to the Zapco ASP-X4 X-over, no noise, this mean it is not the X-over
c. Reconnect the Input RCA to the Zapco ASP-X4, and pulling the input RCA to selector box (Sony XA-300), no noise, this mean it is not the selector box
d. And this mean the source of the noise came from the Sony RSX-GS9 head unit, which is strange...
e. So I decide to pull a 4 AWG ground wire from the same ground as the power amp to the head unit (using distribution block because Sony RSX-GS9 ground from the DC/DC converter is small wire).
and the alternator noise still there, so I try to find other ground and the noise is still there.
f. I decide to try to ground the RCA negative terminal, and the noise is still there
g. I decide to run an RCA cable (lay on the seat) from the Sony RSX-GS9 directly to the power amp, by passing the RCA selector box and Zapco ASP-X4, and the noise is GONE !!!
h. This means it is NOT the Sony RSX-GS9 that cause the alternator noise, so I try inserting the RCA selector box and still no noise...
i. When I open my Zapco ASP-X4 Crossover to upgrade the op-amp, I notice there is a small switch (that is hidden inside the casing and can only be accessed if I open the back plate cover).
Nothing in the Zapco ASP-X4 owners manual mention about this switch, but at Zapco website, it stated this feature: "Selectable ground reference for noise elimination"
So I decide to take out the Zapco ASP-X4 from the right rear panel (a pain since I had to take out the rear battery bracket, then remove the right rear plastic panel, then more bolt and struggle...
I open the back cover of the Zapco ASP-X4, and there are 3 selection, Floating, To Ground and Res... and it is default as To Ground
I try connecting the RCA again and this time I switch to Floating, and NO NOISE at All !!!, I also try Res and also No Noise...
I try look in the internet to understand more about this switch, and I found the answer inside Helix DSP Pro Mk2 user manual...
Turn out with Helix, the default setting is ISO (Floating), and Res means Resistor between Input and Output ground.
I wish Zapco explain this function in the Zapco user manual, plus nobody will know there is this switch unless they open the back cover of the Zapco ASP-X4,...
I am lucky to find this switch when I am upgrading the op-amp...

So I decide to switch it at FLOATING, and now NO Background NOISE and NO ALTERNATOR NOISE.

I learn more each day




 
  #77  
Old 09-23-2018, 02:17 PM
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Loving that center console. It looks great!
 
  #78  
Old 02-11-2019, 03:07 AM
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Problem:
I never turn off my Head Unit when I turn off the car because the button to turn off the Sony RSX-GS9 completely is very tiny, so the whole audio system were turn off just because I turn off the ignition key to locking position.It was never been a problem, My system do not have any turn on or turn off pop problem until very recently.
Here are the description of the problem:
If I insert the ignition and immediately start the car engine, NO PROBLEM.
But if I insert the ignition key, and turn the key to ACC position (but do not turn on the engine),
then a few seconds later, there are this CRAZY LOUD Sequence of SEVERAL Turn ON POP, it is really loud like sound of several explosions....
(it is NOT just a single pop)
This crazy turn on pop, do not happened all the time, but it would happened usually the first time in the morning... I think it happened when the Voltage from the battery is the lowest.
My system consist of Sony RSX-GS9 feeding Zapco ASP-X4 Active Crossover to Sony XM-GS4 4 channel amp.
I use the Sony RSX-GS9 remote turn on to trigger a relay which then provide the remote turn on for both the Zapco ASP-X4 Active X-over and Sony XM-GS4 4 channel amp.
This really baffle me because I did not change anything on my system that I think could trigger this problem. Basically I had not change anything on my system for quite a while.


SOLUTION:
I disconnect all my Dynaudio speaker from the power amp and connect the old stock Honda Midrange speaker instead.
I turn on the key to ACC and immediately I heard the crazy turn on pop again, I notice the clipping LED on the ZAPCO active crossover flashing while the turn on pop last.
I timed the time it took for the turn on pop until it disappear by it self, it is about 5 seconds.
Also, I notice that if I turn the key back off, and turn it back to ACC immediately, no turn on pop...
but if I wait at least 10 to 15 minutes and turn the key back to ACC, then the turn on pop return.

I think I understand what happened, I modified the Zapco ASP-X4 x-over op-amp and replace them all with MUSES01.
I think the MUSES01 require more current and higher voltage compare to the stock op-amp. and since I replace a lot of op-amps, it took longer for the Zapco ASP-X4 to stabilize.
If, I turn on the engine immediately, there are much more current available with higher voltage that the Zapco ASP-X4 will stabilize immediately and no turn on pop.

Next week, I plan to reheat all the soldered connection inside the Zapco ASP-X4 PCB just to make sure no loose connection on the op-amp adapter.

I already prepared for this scenario by using the PAC-TR12 module. I programmed the PAC-TR12 to delay the remote turn on to the Power-Amp by 10 seconds, this for sure will give the Zapco ASP-X4 Active Crossover enough time to stabilized.
and IT WORKS !!!

Here are the pictures:




I also improved the ground post connection and cover it with a YELLOW rubber tube:




and last, I install Solen Capacitor to protect my Tweeter, I used a Electric Junction Box from Home Depot to protect it:













 
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