Few quick updates, and a not-so-quick realignment...
For the pods, they're in there and they work great, but the texture is all wrong and the color's way off too... Need to pull & refinish. There's a little bit of reshaping I'm going to do as well, just to mesh better. The stage sets up nicely though, so I like them.
Also, the three sub config wasn't quite right; the subs were being underdriven and the enclosure was a little tight, leading to some noticeable very low frequency dropoff. I tried it with two and it sounded pretty good and I used it like that for a while - but I really liked the aesthetics of the three. So after playing around with a bunch of things, I came up with - two, but leave the third in place as a passive radiator. I had to add a bit of mass to the third to get the tuning low enough (epoxied some small washers evenly distributed around the underside of the cone). Sounds extremely good and keeps the look I was hoping for. I'd originally wanted to do a low-tuned ported enclosure in here anyway, but didn't have the room for the size port I'd need - this gets close to that effect.
Having said that, I'm going to end up going to some extremes to get rid of this head unit. The alpine integration unit is CRAP for someone like me; there's basically nothing really user configurable beyond crossover points, levels, and time delays - all the eq stuff is autotuned by mic and not user-configurable, and the software is horribly glitchy. And I like to tweak. Plus, doing line level conversion is a problem; I managed to get the signal *somewhat* clean, but not as good as I'd hoped for. The factory unit clips at different volumes across different frequencies, and I think even that varies based on the overall level at other frequencies. So I can get it to where I *think* there's no clipping, then I'll play a different song and it goes nuts. Not to mention hugely imbalanced relationship between frequency response and volume. I could put a remote knob from the alpine to control volume, but it would look out of place and would not be as ergonomic. Not to mention nissan's UI design is, in my opinion, complete and utter crap. There's a lot of awesome stuff about this car, but the head unit/control center UI is probably the worst single aspect of the entire vehicle, in my experience.
Of course replacing it is going to be more of a project than the entire rest of the audio system has been... the head unit handles all kinds of things: Besides the obvious audio/phone/nav/backup cam stuff, I already know it is responsible for sending the remaining range estimation to the dash, recording charge timers & turning on the charger as needed, displaying power/efficiency-related info, displaying climate control info, displaying and changing settings related to how door locks, lights, and other bcm functions operate, etc.)
So my plan is- build a car-PC, and write the software to handle the functions it's replacing. I plan on using one of these: http://www.bybyte.com/BBX-1_content.htm
as the screen/case in the factory location, with an AMD e-350 APU/motherboard (I thought APUs were pretty stupid until I started looking at what I needed for this project - The mobo I'm looking at has a good audio chip, toslink output, reasonable efficiency, passive cooling, draws less than 40w in cpu/gpu burn-in testing, and can even play some older games), a small (60gb) ssd, and this PSU (80w, 96% efficiency, TINY!: http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-80
) - plug in a USB GPS & bluetooth dongle (the mobo has wifi built in), then either a usb 3g/4g modem or just autoconnect to my phone for net (it's rooted and will do wifi, bluetooth, or USB tethering). Then this guy for interpretation of all the buttons: http://store.mp3car.com/Joycon_EXR_S..._p/com-159.htm
Still deciding whether a USB AM/FM radio and/or CD/DVD drive is worth it. I rarely (but not quite never) use either. The AM/FM would be easy to hide, but they're ridiculously expensive for what they are (~$120); the CD/DVD is just the opposite - dirt cheap, but not sure where I'd put it.
The real interesting part will be the CAN interface. I figure I'll just build a little board with a USB controller, Atmel ATTiny chip, and 3 CAN chips - I initially thought I'd just program it to act as a 'dumb' go-between, sending the PC everything and letting the PC interpret and act on the signals, but that would mean the PC would have to operate 24/7 since it controls charging as well... at 40w that could run for hundreds of hours on a charge, but that would be wasteful- So instead I guess I need the miniboard to function as a standalone charging controller at a minimum. Nothing else I've found needs to function when the vehicle is off, so everything else can still go through the PC software.
As for audio, the plan is to completely yank the alpine. Send a USB and toslink cable from the head back to where the alpine was, and input it this guy http://www.minidsp.com/onlinestore/deta ... t?sef=hcfp
by way of a minidig. Basically that means the optical signal goes to the minidig, which interfaces directly with the minidsp via digital i2s, where all crossover/time delay/ equalization/ etc. will be done - all before the first DAC. The only RCAs will be the 1-2ft long RCAs from the minidsp to the amp. (I do love this amp, btw... slightly larger than a paperback book, but quite surprisingly powerful, and dead cool every time I've checked it). Also bonus - I can then pull the minidsp configuration up on the screen and configure crossovers, eqs, delays, channel designations, levels, everything!
Also as a note, before I was just doing 3-way crossover & time delay, then driving the rear speakers with the factory outputs (faded almost to nothing so they didn't interact with the driver, but the rear passenger could still hear them). The minidig would allow me to independently control each of the 8 channels, so I'd be able to do left/right mid/twt, left/right midbass, sub, a true rear fill (low volume, crossed over, eq'd, delayed, and driven with something tiny like a miniamp), and still have an extra channel (center channel maybe? whatever I later decided I wanted.)
So anyway - the canbus is going to be a major hurdle. I've already got a bunch of AVR USB kits just lying around anyway, so once the mcp2515 & 2551 chips I just ordered get here I should be able to get a monitor running in no time. Then it's just a matter of logging the messaging and interpreting it all (or at least all that relates to the head unit)... No problem right???
wish me luck....