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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 
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"No highs, no lows; it's Bose!"
^^ Come on, you know it's funny! The sad part, it's also true. It's not all bad, though. Bose's amps generally produce a stable, clean signal, plus the digital signal processing (DSP) and equalization (EQ) is usually pretty good. From what I've seen in the ND Miata, this seems to be the case. Basically, the only real issue is that we have cheap, terrible speakers mated to fairly decent electronics.

So let's replace the speakers!

I am not the first one to do this. I've gathered quite a lot of information from Miata.net forums (special thanks to randmness and whipped99) and just took the time to put it all together for my own installation goals. This thread is a highly documented recount of my experience replacing the stock Bose speakers in my 2016 ND Miata. It serves as an end-to-end guide for other people who would like to do the same.


Goals
- Do not introduce any new rattles
- Do not cut or splice factory wires or connectors
- 100% reversible installation, just in case
- 100% stealthy installation; you shouldn't be able to tell that it's modified
- Work with what we've got; leave the factory head unit and amps in-place
- Expect a noticeable increase in sound quality/clarity
- Do not expect a profound, order of magnitude improvement in sound quality


Scope
This guide is limited to the front speakers only; the door woofers and the A-pillar tweeters. I'm still doing research in replacing the headrest speakers and have not made much progress in that area.


Speaker Selection
I went with the JBL GX600c component speakers, and I do recommend them for your installation. They can be had for cheap on Amazon or eBay (I paid about $75 shipped). The most important aspect of these speakers versus most other options is that they are a nearly perfect electrical match with the existing Bose speakers. I'm very happy with the sound quality and they're a very noticeable upgrade over the factory speakers.

Do note that spending tons more for high end speakers would likely be a waste of money if you're limiting yourself to the factory amplifier. If you're also replacing the amplifier, then you'd also need to replace the factory wiring. And with that, this guide is very likely not for you, as your goals do not align with mine. :)


Tuning/EQ
With my setup, I have found that setting the equalizer to +1 treble and +3 bass gives me the best result. The Bose DSP is doing a lot more than just amplifying frequency ranges; it isn't that simple. With all of that in mind, I've found this to be the best setup in my car with my ears and my music selection. Your mileage may vary. ;)


Additional Materials and Parts
- Less than one foot of 14 gauge solid copper wire (16 cents a foot at Home Depot)
- Two audio grade 4.7 micro farad, non-polar electrolytic capacitors (Link: [url="http://www.parts-express.com/47uf-100v-electrolytic-non-polarized-crossover-capacitor--027-332"]Parts Express[/url])
- Four 14-16 gauge crimp splices (about $2 for a 10 pack at Home Depot)
- Some speaker wire; 16 gauge recommended, but doesn't matter too much
- Solder
- Electrical tape or shrinkwrap tubing
- Two 11 x 8 Lexan plexiglass sheets
- Some adhesive acoustic treatment (e.g. Dynamat or similar; "Peel and Seal" from Home Depot works and is what I use)
- Sacrificial Mazda-Bose Tweeters*

* = What we really need is the plug/connector that Mazda uses to connect to the tweeters. From what I've seen, the connector is identical on the Mazda 3, Mazda 6, and the RX-8. Unlike the 3 and ND Miata (no idea about the NC and the 6), the RX-8's Bose tweeters have the connector free-floating on some wire, as opposed to built into a shell that houses the tweeter. I've also found it easier to find RX-8 salvage parts, so this is what I went with. I bought a pair of RX-8 Bose tweeters for $15 shipped on eBay.

^^ As an alternative, you could just buy some header pins and try to make your own connector. To me, it wasn't worth it.


Recommended Tools
- A drill with 1/4 inch and 5/16 inch drill bits
- A jigsaw
- A wire stripper
- A phillips head screw driver, typical/normal size
- A tiny (not micro, but very small) flat head screwdriver for pushing tabs in
- Plastic upholstery removal tools (about $6 shipped on eBay; look for the bright orange tools)
- Pliers
- Soldering iron
- Sharpie


Instruction Style
I get confused with some instructions that include pictures. Sometimes, I can't tell if it's referring to the picture above the text, or the picture after the text. Well, I'm telling you right now, plain as day, that my pictures will always follow the text. In other words, a picture is always described by the text that comes before it. Otherwise, I will specifically say "the picture in step X". I hope this keeps things clear! :)


Due to forum limitations, I need to break this into multiple posts.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 
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City: Odessa
Name: Gerry
Model Year: 2016
Tweeter Installation
Let's get started.

1. Grab the A-pillar trim from behind the weather stripping. Place your hand about 3/4 of the way up and pull gently, but firmly. I used my thumb as a fulcrum for some leverage. You will hear a pop or two; there are two upholstery snaps in this piece. On my car, both of them popped at the same time. Pics:
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2. Pull up and out. There are no snaps this time, just some tabs for alignment purposes. Pic:
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3. Now you can turn the plastic trim over and see the tweeter and its wiring. Use your tiny flathead screwdriver to pop the tweeter out of its socket. There are three tabs holding it in; as soon as I popped two out, the whole thing came out. Pics:
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4. Pull the tweeter wiring out of its holder clamp. It's what I'm pointing to in this pic:
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5. Your A-pillar trim is now free. Put it aside in a safe place, away from my cat! Pic:
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6. Unplug the factory Bose tweeter from the car. Pic:
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7. Here's a pic of the GX600c tweeter (left) and the factory Bose tweeter (right):
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8. You need a connector for your new tweeter. You can either salvage one from another vehicle (see step 8a), or you can make your own (see step 8b).

8a. Salvage the connector from the other Mazda tweeter that you acquired. Here's the one I got from an RX-8:
Image

8b. In case you wanted to make your own connector for the tweeter, here are some up-close shots of the connector. The second pic shows the connector from the RX-8 that I salvaged. Pics:
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9. Keep track of the polarity. In the connector, from the view given in step 8b, the left pin is the positive pole.

10. Get one of your capacitors ready and mock up the high-pass-filter circuit. What you're building here is a very simple, first order filter than prevents lower frequencies from reaching your tweeter. Some people call this a crossover, but this isn't technically a crossover; it's just a filter. Notice in the second pic, when the circuit is mocked up, that I've placed the capacitor in series on the positive pole. It doesn't matter which pole you use, but it must be consistent with the whole system. Generally speaking, most diagrams and setups use the positive pole, so this is my recommendation. Pics:
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11. Once you've made certain that your polarity is correct and you're mentally prepared to cut and solder, then trim up the wires and solder everything together. You need about 4-5 inches of "slack". Pic:
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12. Go ahead and place the new contraption into your A-pillar. For now, it'll just float there. This is just a mockup of how we'll want it to fit:
Image

13. Now take a little piece of Dynamat and fold it into thirds. Do this with a second one, for a total of two. Pics:
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14. Stick those pieces on two sides of the tweeter, like so:
Image

15. Press the tweeter back in. It will be snug this time. Then cover the whole thing with a thin strip of Dynamat, leaving the connector dangling free in the same orientation as the mockup in step 12. Pic:
Image

16. Take your A-pillar back into the car. Connect the tweeter to the car:
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17. Slide the alignment tabs into place. Check to make sure the tweeter wiring isn't sticking out past the weather stripping. Press the car's tweeter wiring back into the holding bracket. Pics:
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18. Press the A-pillar back into place (remember where the snaps are) and your tweeter is done! Repeat on the other side of the car... :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 
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Location: Odessa
City: Odessa
Name: Gerry
Model Year: 2016
Door Woofer Installation

1. Use an upholstery pry tool to pull off the plastic cover next to the door lock. I had to pry once on the side, then once on the corner where there is a hole. Then it popped right off. Pics:
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2. With the cover popped off, you will see a screw. Remove that screw. Pic:
Image

3. Inside of the pocket as part of the door handle by the arm rest, you will see a rubber cover. Remove it. I couldn't really fit my fingers in there, so I used a small upholstery tool. You don't need much, if any, force; it's just a tight space. Pics:
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4. Remove the newly exposed screw:
Image

5. Grab the plastic door panel from behind, but be sure not to grab the weather stripping. Start by the bottom corner of the speaker and pull until you hear a pop, like so:
Image
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6. Work your way to the back of the car, popping the snaps off as you go. Pic:
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7. The last snap you should pull off is right where the body color meets the leather toward the FRONT of the car. On my car, this one was extra stubborn:
Image

8. From the opposite side of the door, you can easily see the lock assembly. From this side, pull toward you while also sliding it to the back of the car. It will separate from the rest of the door trim. Pic:
Image

9. On the bottom of the door trim, under the arm rest, you will find two electronic connectors. I've pointed one of them out in this pic; you can see the other in the pic, but I didn't point it out. Remove them. They have little tabs that need to be pressed before they will be released.
Image

10. Now place your door trim somewhere safe. Somewhere soft and away from my cat is a good choice.
Image

11. You can now easily see the factory speaker. Use your tiny flathead screwdriver to release the tab on the connector. Pull out and unplug the connector. Pics
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12. Unbolt the 3 bolts that hold in the speaker. Grab the speaker enclosure and pull it out. You may need to shimmy it a bit; it has a couple invisible tabs that were a little stuck, but it doesn't need much force.
Image
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13. Looking directly at the plug that is left on the car like this, the left-most and right-most slots are empty. The inner-left slot is the negative terminal, the inner-right slot is the positive terminal. Keep this in mind for polarity. Pic:
Image

14. Strip off an end of the 14 gauge solid copper wire. Take your pliers and flatten a tip. Work your way up the wire for about a quarter inch, flattening the whole thing. You're essentially making a very small spade connector. Go ahead and make two of them; cut them with some extra slack. Pics:
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15. Crimp the two connectors you just made into the crimp-splices. Then crimp them onto a 6 inch patch of speaker wire. Basically, now you're making a custom pigtail our of your connectors. Pics:
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16. Solder your new pigtail to the new woofer:
Image

17. Go back to your door. Push out the snap that holds the thick cable under the speaker, as in these pics:
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18. You now have space to slip in a sheet of Lexan. Do that, then grab your sharpie and mark where the factory bolt locations are. Pics:
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19. Now place the bracket that came with your speakers centered in the three dots you traced off the door. Use it as a stencil to trace a hole for the new speaker. Pics:
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20. Go ahead and free-hand a border around it. I kept the bracket on it to help me have a reference. Pics:
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21. Using a 5/16 inch drill bit, drill three holes directly through the "hole" line. This will let you fit your jigsaw blade in there and give you some start/stop points to work with. Pic:
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22. I clamped the Lexan and cut it with my jigsaw, moving it from section to section. Pics:
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23. Drill a 1/4 inch hole in each of the dots that you originally traced from the car door. This will let the original bolts fit easily. Pics:
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24. Place the new speaker in the inner hole. Make sure the terminals are facing "up", where "up" is the new speaker's mounting hole is exactly half way between two of the orignal mounting holes that bolt into the car. This is important; it will let us route our wires correctly. Once aligned, use your marker to mark the holes, then drill through them with a 1/4 inch bit. Pics:
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25. Pick a side that will face the car. On this side, apply some strips of Dynamat. Poke through the speaker mounting holes so you can keep track of them. Pic:
Image

26. On the side that faces the cabin, where the speaker will be inserted, apply some insulating material. Most speakers come with a foam ring, as mine did, so I went ahead and installed that. Pic:
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27. Place the new woofer into the Lexan contraption that we made. Place the plastic ring that it came with behind it on the other side. Use the small screws that it came with to install it, making sure that the speaker is facing "up" as defined in step 24. You must use the small screws so that they don't protrude out the back. It will look like this:
Image

28. Now place more Dynamat strips on any part that will come in contact with the door. It'll look like this:
Image

29. Snap this thick cable back in on your door:
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30. Use the original bolts to bolt the speaker back in. Be sure to route the pigtail up through the indentation in the door. Connect the pigtail to the factory connector (for polarity, see step 13). Tuck the slack behind the plexiglass. Pics:
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31. Most of my upholstery snaps got stuck in the door. Before reinstalling your door trim, check for all of these snaps. Use the tool to remove them, then you can easily slide them into your trim piece. Pics:
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32. Follow the door disassembly instructions in reverse.

33. Repeat steps 1 through 32 on the other side of the car.


*** That's it! You're done! ***


I hope this helps. Feel free to ask questions. :)

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 
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Nice write-up!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2016 
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Very!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 
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Very nicely done!

Just curious, the NB Bose amplifier and speakers run at some strange (not proprietary, but might as well be) resistance and unless you scrap the system entirely or use Clearwater speakers you need to use some funky electronics to make aftermarket speakers play nice with the amp. I didn't see any mention of any of this in your post. I take it the ND doesn't have any of those annoyances?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 
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BrilloHeadBen wrote:
Very nicely done!

Just curious, the NB Bose amplifier and speakers run at some strange (not proprietary, but might as well be) resistance and unless you scrap the system entirely or use Clearwater speakers you need to use some funky electronics to make aftermarket speakers play nice with the amp. I didn't see any mention of any of this in your post. I take it the ND doesn't have any of those annoyances?

Actually, the ND does have those annoyances, but they aren't as severe. That's why I suggested using some very specific speakers because they're a very, very close match to the electrical characteristics of the originals. I don't have everything memorized at the moment, but it was something like a 2.5 ohm door woofer with a 3.5 ohm tweeter that includes a high pass filter. The JBL's I mentioned are 3 ohm each, which is close enough. It does mean that the tweeter is a bit loud (amplified by the high pass filter since it reduces impedance), which is why I keep the treble relatively low. In the future, I do plan on incorporating an L-pad circuit to attenuate the tweeters and balance the sound better, effectively raising the load back to closer to stock.

If you're trying to replace your speakers in your NB with Bose, like you said, you'd have to either replace basically everything, or do some wonky stuff with the speakers. I have experience with both approaches - if you want help with either of them, let me know! I did a full replacement in my NB, including the wiring, and you couldn't even tell it was there. Even the new amplifier was completely hidden.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 
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Last time I was in Ben's car, he was playing music on his phone through a cassette adapter. Just sayin'. :p

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 
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Loren wrote:
Last time I was in Ben's car, he was playing music on his phone through a cassette adapter. Just sayin'. :p


Yep. I considered doing the total replacement of the whole system, but I never bothered to. Partly because the cost of putting in the system I wanted would be around the $1k mark, and with the overall poor acoustical qualities of the Miata and the usually limited amount of time I'm driving anything over 20 minutes. Who know's though. One of my Bose speakers are blown, so I might just go the easy route and buy the overpriced Clearwater speakers.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 
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I have the overpriced Clearwater speakers and it made quite a difference. My old ones had the buzz anyway so they needed to go.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2016 
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I could look into DIY Clearwater alternatives for you. Kinda busy for the next couple weeks, but I'll see what I can do.

Edit: if you can find a wiring diagram for the NB hat covers the audio system, I can almost guarantee a cheap solution for you. I'm just not having much luck finding one... So maybe we could take your door panel off and have a look? Basically, all I need to know is where the Bose system does its frequency filtering; whether it's an inline passive with the tweeter like my ND, a crossover before both components, or active from the amplifier. I also need to know the impedance of the speakers, but I believe (from my bad memory) that they're 2 ohm all around... Help me help you, haha!

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