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TomV

Revel 14-speaker system subwoofer upgrade

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First let me say that I really like the Revel 14-speaker system in my 2019 MKZ. I consider myself an audiophile having had multiple systems in home and vehicles over the years. 

 

The HD Radio and CD drive deliver nice sound quality. In fact, my old CD collection was just collecting dust until I purchased this car. It has revived my interest in car audio and really my only complaint is the lack of low end bass. If the audio controls offered a "sub-level" adjustment, I could probably live with the two 6x9 subs in the rear deck. I had an aftermarket system in my old 2009 Ford Fusion and it's rear 6x9's did a decent job once rid of the factory signal processing and their own level control.

 

Unfortunately, I won't be able to replace the head unit in the Lincoln, but I have been thinking about adding an aftermarket subwoofer to compliment the existing system. I've been researching into the JL Audio ACS110LG-TW1 PowerWedge+™ 10" powered subwoofer. 

 

I believe I can mount it underneath the rear package tray, right in the middle of the 6x9's. I'm probably going to cut out a little sheet metal there in the middle to give the woofer an unobstructed entry up to the rear deck. I've examined that area already and don't believe it will compromise anything structural. Then I'll make some brackets to hang the sub underneath as it's shallow at only ~5" deep.  I should be able to tie the 6x9 high level signal right into the built in sub amp. Just need to run 8GA power cable to the trunk and run the optional remote level adjustment level knob to the driver seat.

 

The only thing about this project that worries me is what sort of roll-off Harmon is using on the factory subs. I doubt those 6x9's can play much lower than 50Hz with any efficiency. So perhaps they have some sort of sub sonic filter to keep 30Hz or maybe 20Hz and under out of the amplification? If so, this added sub may not receive the low frequencies for that feel good bass. I may contact Harmon and inquire about the specifications of the factory system. Hopefully they can provide that type of information.


Since winter is just about here in Ohio, I plan to wait until spring for the installation. I just wanted to mention my plan and see if any others have added a sub.

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I also have the 14-speaker Revel audio. I may not add an aftermarket sub but I'm interested how this works for you.
Have you considered ripping your CD albums into a lossless format?
I did mine in FLAC format into a 32gb USB drive with no audible loss of SQ and definitely beats having to bring multiple CD albums.

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That's a good idea about the FLAC format. Thanks!

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I think the 14 speaker Revel system goes well below 50hz, based on some FLAC rips I have. It's not theater-level power down there, but I believe it's actually pretty accurate.

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Use FLAC File Format's or Tidal HI-FI Streaming service otherwise it will not be accurate. The 14 Speaker Revel 770 watt is also under-powered compared the 20 Speaker Revel Ultima 1200 Watt. You should try adjusting your fade and balance more to the back. You might also want to confirm your not mistaking below 50 HZ Vibration for lack of 50 HZ. Depending on your preference of those frequency the vibration vs a single air pull might sound worlds and difference apart depending on the Fade along with how the DSP interprets the song and location in the cabin turn off on-stage or audience settings and just listening to the stereo base setting to find out. You might also want to up the mid-range as some file signals can intermix and 14 speaker setup has 2 less tweeters (back shelf) and 4 less mid range speakers (rear doors and shelf).  Thus you won't get a full spectrum of frequency your looking for if the song is a mix of difference frequencies which include the 50HZ part your looking for.

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The 50Hz reference I used is simply the general frequency range (50-5,000Hz +-3dB) of a typical 6x9 driver.  I know they can reproduce lower frequencies, but I'm curious if any type of roll-off filter is used by Harmon to keep the Revel 6x9's from distorting or over extending. I'll follow up after I contact Harmon.

 

As for the Revel amplification specs, do you know if the 770 watt and/or 1200 watt ratings are RMS or Peak power?  Any idea how the power is distributed per speaker driver?

 

The Harmon web site indicates the 14 speaker system uses a 12 channel class D amp. Rear door speakers use a passive crossover for a single channel that powers  both the woofer and tweeter. All other speaker drivers have there own channel via active crossovers.

 

The Ultima uses a 20 channel class A/B and D amp. All speaker drivers have their own amplification channel via active crossovers.

 

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Okay, so today I played with the FADER function and discovered some strange behavior. When fading completely to the rear, I have extremely low output! It sounds terrible like the rear deck drivers aren't even hooked up and the rear doors are attenuated. 

 

I was in the neighborhood of the local Lincoln Dealer so I stopped in and I talked to the service tech about it. He came out to my car and listened. He too agreed that was odd. The front fade is so powerful, but the rear fade you loss almost everything.

 

So before I booked an appointment for them to troubleshoot, I asked a sales person if I could listen to another MKZ 14 speaker system on the lot. He agreed, so I tested my same stereo settings (no DSP) and it behaved the same way. So I don't know if Harmon did this to keep the rear passengers from getting blown away or if it's an anomaly in the audio system. 

 

If you have a 14 speaker Revel system, can you please try listening to song with decent low bass and fade all the way to the rear. Let me know how it reacted.

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On a side note, that same Lincoln tech said he worked on a Lincoln that had a JL Audio sub under the rear deck. He said he first saw the power cable on the battery and thought "oh great, what's in the trunk?"  So he looked and was suprised how nicely it was hidden. Unfortunately, he didn't get to listen to it.

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Hi TomV,

 

Sorry for the late reply. Ford currently has my car for Failures with Instrument Panel Button Led, Gurgling Air Vents , and broken passenger seat heaters. I hope to get my car back next week and find out the Specifics of the all back fade with the 20 speaker 1200 watt setup. Currently have a Ford Fusion with 12 Speakers I will find out the back fade with that system. The Balance and Fader on all Ford vehicles is moved forward by about one or two tics from the absolute center of the car as you can find out with your fader settings and it seems like half the back seats are blurred on the screen. I will Look into the the 1200 is RMS or Peak hopefully I can see some wiring when my car comes back.

Edited by Takeshi

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Thanks for checking. I emailed Harmon for specifics last week, but suspect it will take a while for a reply because of the holidays. 
 

 

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I'll try this later, there were people on facebook talking about the same kind of issues.  It almost sounds like the rear door speakers are aligned in the middle of the fade so when you go all the way towards the back you are only getting the 2 subwoofer 6x9s.

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My rear door speakers do remain on with the fader set all the way to the rear, 20 speaker Ultima system.  

 

Here is the 14 vs 20 Revel speaker layout in the MKZ.

 

l2Wz4Zw.png

 

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

SLg3Y0T.png

 

 

 

Edited by fusionff

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My Ford Fusion Hybrid Loaner with the Sony 12 Speaker has the same problem as the 14 speaker revel. All you can hear is the back shelf struggling to produce sound and loosing all the bass. I am just assuming due to the lack of channels and how the software and wiring is setup the Balancer and faders choose which channel is active during the fade and position. 

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The rear fade behavior with the 14-speaker system must be due to the DSP configuration. I don't think Harman ever expected for someone to listen with full rear bias, and I don't intend to either. However in the 25 years of mobile audio systems that I've messed with, I've never heard such huge loss in amplification when fading to the rear. I'm hoping this won't be a problem for me when adding the aftermarket JL Audio rear sub, since it has an optional remote level control.

 

As I wait for an answer from Harman about their amplifier specs and roll-off frequencies,  I'm leaning towards their wattage ratings as being "Peak" figures. I have a 2019 Lincoln MKZ Wiring Service Manual and it contains all the diagrams for the audio systems. There are two power wires from the Body Control Module (assuming 12V) going to the DSP/Ampilifer unit in the trunk. Both are 18 gauge and fused at 20A each. So the system won't pull more than 40A or it would blow a fuse. Even with an efficient class-D amplifier, it would require more current for 700/1200 watts of RMS power with 35-volt [power supply] rails into 4-ohm loads.

 

The Ultima systems been advertised with 1200 watts. It's amplifier is a hybrid design, with traditional Class AB amps for the tweeters and high-efficiency Class D amps for all the other drivers. Divided by 20 channels would be 60W per channel if equally distributed.  I don't think the tweeters require more than 20W and the mid-ranges maybe 30W. It's the door woofers and rear subwoofers using the bulk of the power. Hopefully Harman / Revel support will respond to my email inquiry and we'll have a better understanding of how these two systems were designed.

 

Edited by TomV
spelling fixes

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I've created a new thread for Revel Amplifier specifications. In this thread I'd like to stay focused on adding an aftermarket subwoofer and the affects the DSP might have on it's performance.

 

Revel engineers custom programmed all the sound parameters within the Analog Devices ADSP-21489 Digital Signal Processor.

 

DSP.jpg

 

There appears to be a tiny "service port" located to the left of the blue USB audio input connector.

 

Ports.jpg

 

If you follow the link for the ADSP-21489 DSP chip, scroll down to the "Software & System Requirements" section. You'll find Software Development Tools that perhaps Revel used. (SigmaStudio®, CrossCore® Embedded Studio, Micriµm µC/OS-III, Micriµm µC/OS-II and SRS TruVolume, SHARC)

 

What interests me most, is the "The SRS TruVolume® library for the SHARC processor implements automatic volume-control post-processing that adjusts the amplitude of a stereo audio signal to maintain a constant perceived level of loudness in spite of level changes in the input audio material."

 

This processing is what worries me about adding an aftermarket subwoofer. Because if my music source inputs a very low frequency high amplitude signal, I suspect the output sent to the amplifiers is adjusted. Lincoln surely doesn't want customers to distort and blow the factory woofers, which don't appear to be able to provide much voice coil excursion needed in a true subwoofer.

 

Edited by TomV
added photos

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@TomV How do you plan to bypass the ANC? I want to tap into the 6x9s in the back deck but read and learned that the ANC in the car will create loud humming noises from the sub. If I could find a wiring diagram for the 2018 MKZ Revel system.. perhaps it can be unpinned from the amp, or at least the microphones could be unpinned. I've had no luck in finding a diagram for the amp. Wondering if you had a solution.

 

Thanks,

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I'm not 100% certain how the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) works.

 

What I do know is the wiring manual shows 3 mics plug into the Audio Control Module (ACM) up front. The microphones are located above the head liner.  There are several connectors along way from ACM to mics. The mics themselves can be unplugged, if the head liner is dropped. Then there are two wires come down the passenger side A pillar and two 20-pin connectors are under the passenger side kick panel. Finally the pins on the ACM itself.

 

MIC 1 +   ACM pin 1 

MIC 1 -   ACM pin 14

Connector C922 pins 3 VT & 4 YE

 

MIC 2 +   ACM pin 2

MIC 2 -   ACM pin 15

Connector C900 pins 4 VT & 5 BU

 

MIC 3 +   ACM pin 7

MIC 3 -   ACM pin 20

Connector C900 pins 2 BU & 3 WH

 

This means either the "corrected or not yet corrected noise signal" is sent  along with the "audio signal" via USB cable back to the (Amplifier/DSP) unit in the trunk. 

 

What I don't know is whether the Amplifier/DSP module creates and mixes the corrected noise signal, or if that combination was already done in the ACM?

 

If I had to guess Id' say the ANC is done in the Amplifier/DSP module and only certain woofer channels get the mixed output of audio and cancellation.  The various mics in the cabin likely provide the noise and feedback references as separate channels to the stereo audio.

 

An aftermarket subwoofer will not create any new frequencies that weren't in the original audio. However it would likely amplify the "canceling signal" beyond what the ANC intended. A larger than expected feedback signal would probably confuse the ANC beyond the ability to make corrections.


Unplugging the mics by removing 1 pin each from the connectors, or simply cutting the wires would be one method to disable, but it would likely throw ACM module error codes.

 

Perhaps disabling ANC with Forscan (if even possible) could be a solution.


 

 

Edited by TomV
Added "If I had to guess" details.

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Thank you for your reply @TomV. So I'm a little deterred from taking apart the dash and trying to get behind the head unit to get a good view on the ACM. So I looked into FORScan and found that in one of the updates of the application it states configuration of the ANC is possible. What I believe to be the culprit of the humming sound is the Engine Sound Enhancement. As you rev the engine the subwoofer(s) will go nuts as most engine sound enhancement systems replicate engine sound in the low frequency range. I have an OBDII scanner, I'll have to read more to see if it's compatible or if I have to buy one specific to FORScan. If I can use my own OBDII scanner and just FORScan app on my phone to adjust or disable it than that would be music to my ears, literally.

Screenshot_20200303-110049.jpg

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Thanks for bringing up this topic. I suspect I'll be learning "more than I care to know" about ANC the spring when I start my audio upgrades. Since I have the 2.0T engine, I don't believe I have the Engine Sound Enhancement.

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I have the 2.0T as well. I just went down a rabbit hole into FORScan and I think I have found what will be helpful to many lincoln owners looking to add a aftermarket sound system. I have ordered a new OBD scanner that is compatible with MS CAN and HS CAN through a switch on the side of the device. This will enable ForScan to read and write to the necessary modules within the vehicle. I will go into further explanation with links to everything I've found so far and my plans in the near future when I get home from work later this afternoon. Really interesting stuff.

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Okay, so let's see if I can make this clean and clear. I have just completed this task tonight and have noticed that the rear speakers in the car are now louder/fuller when I shift the fade all the way to the back. I believe @TomV is correct in saying that the 2.0T models don't have Engine Sound Enhancement because I didn't really notice any difference in that aspect.

 

So it IS possible to use FORScan to disable the ANC/Engine Enhancement in the vehicle. What you'll need is an OBD2 scanner with USB to connect to a Windows laptop. I'm sure you can find cheaper ones but this is the one I ordered; https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01F0GVBWY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1. It needs to support HS-CAN and MS-CAN, hence the switch on the side/back of it.

 

Next, you'll need the latest FORScan for Windows application with an extended license. You can get a free 2 month trial which is all you'll really need for this. You'll need to register an account with FORScan.org which may take 24-48 hours because it is manually activated by administrators of the site. Once your account is activated you'll get in email with how to obtain the 2 month trial extended license along with a tutorial on how to download and install the application. Make sure that you install the application on the laptop you plan to use for this entire project as the license is tied to a hardware identification number you have to submit while requesting a license.

https://forscan.org/download.html

 

Once you have FORScan on your laptop and activated with the extended license and you have your OBD2 scanner visit the link below for an in-depth tutorial on how to use FORScan if you don't already know how to.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-8dKaS_Spu4Zw4hV_CrKC4tLoP9G8yejqegF1wxIqxY/edit

 

That link goes through EVERYTHING and is quite in-depth and could be useful for future mods. But this is specific to the ANC mode and how to disable it, so here is a helpful video that I followed. The actual process starts at the 1:42 mark.

 

 

 

Searching the forums I have found a helpful link that is a very user-friendly iCloud "spreadsheet" with in-depth modules/addresses and a description of what each module/address is responsible for and what to change to get the desired mod.

It states that it's for 2011-2020MY Explorers and Aviators but I have read that many of the addresses and values are the same throughout makes/models and I have confirmed matching addresses and values from this to my actual vehicle. This is if you're interested in any other mods for your vehicle.

https://www.icloud.com/numbers/0AtiYU-yJ4Nrfyfuzp-Mi0l8A#FORScan_2011-2020_Explorers

 

Also, as a safety precaution, I would recommend visiting the link below to obtaining a copy of your stock ASBUILT file just in case. Just click the link and put your VIN number in and it will provide the file for you to download which can be loaded to your vehicle using FORScan if you mess something up and need to reset everything back to stock.

https://www.motorcraftservice.com/AsBuilt/

 

And that's it! I have disabled ANC/Engine Sound Enhancement in my 2018 Lincoln MKZ 2.0T Reserve. I think this route is the most professional and clean way of doing this rather than unpinning mics or snipping wires, etc... You're basically changing one digit from a 2 to a 0 and saving it to the vehicle's ACM module. Re-enabling it is has clean and easy as changing that value back to a 2. Now I can happily continue with my aftermarket audio upgrade, starting with the SUBS!!!

 

 

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Thanks for info above!

 

Is the car noticeably louder without ANC when driving around town or on the highway? I'm curious to just how effective it really is.

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I still find it hard to believe that Lincoln adds engine noise to a car that also cancels engine noise and is meant to be quiet (and is).

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You mean cancels road noise, but I agree.

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