Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is how
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Thread: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is how

  1. #1
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    Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is how

    First off, thanks to the RRS forum for providing most of this information. A lot more guys doing audio upgrades on their sports compared to full size owners. I guess the Sport owners are more fun then us


    Im upgrading my Meridian 825w system to replace all 19 speakers. I'm using 18 speakers from the Meridian Signature line and 1 aftermarket subwoofer, the following OEM parts:

    7x LR033292 tweeter
    7x LR033293 mid range
    4x LR047119 low range
    0x LR035187 sub (didn't order)






    You might notice there is only 16 locations, however there is 19 speakers. A tweeter and a mid goes in the center dash and the rear corners of the vehicle.

    Price came to about $1200 for the 18 speakers from parts.com Upon initial inspection, I can see the meridian signature / reference speakers are all made of Kevlar, versus the paper cone speakers that come in the 380 and 825w system. I'm not upgrading the amp since the 825w amp will be sufficient to drive these 18 speakers. The Signaute amp is 1700w, but that's also because it needs to power 29 speakers. Those other 10 speakers go in the headliner, and I'm not going to attempt that.

    I didn't order the meridian sub, as I'm going to disconnect the factory sub and run it into a custom built box that will be mounted in the cargo area-- specifically on the right side ident that was designed for the heads of golf clubs to fit. If you listen to your 825w system, you can hear that essentially all the bass is being handled by the 6.5" speakers in the doors. The sub is under the passenger seat, and it really is not doing much at all. It's not surprising, as a sub needs a good enclosuer to be any good-- and the factory woofer isn't even enclosed.

    We are going to steal the line from the factory sub and run it into an AudioControl Epicenter Plus, which will convert the speaker level inputs into RCA (as well as "restore" some of the bass signal that has been removed by the Meridian digital sound processor to protect the wimpy factory sub) Which will then get run into a JL HD750 mono block amp, which then powers a 12" JL W6v3 subwoofer. This is the expensive part, having the custom made enclosuer, the sub, epicenter and amp is about $3300 total. You could save a lot of money if you didn't have a custom box made, but I want it to look as factory as possible.

    So all in, I'll be at $4500 for this upgrade. I won't have the extra height channels, but I will have a lot deeper bass then what the meridian signature system comes with, and the excellent clarity that the signature line is known for.

    On 10/22/15 I'll be swapping all the meridian speakers and I'll post an update on my impressions of how much the sound improved. Then about a week after that the subwoofer will get added, and I'll post a new update. My guess is just replacing the meridian 825w speakers alone for the signature speakers would be enough for the majority of people - and you can do that for $1200 if you skip the (in my opinon worthless) meridian subwoofer.

    -----

    My biggest advice to people wanting better sound out of the Meridian: Don't use MP3s. High quality speakers need a high quality source, as you'll be able to hear audio compression defects better. MP3, HD Radio, XM are not good sources. I know it's old school now, but buy some CDs, our vehicle will store 10 of them. Huge difference in sound quality on our systems. Or, put lossless audio files like .flac or Apple lossless on your iPhone and plug it in to the vehicle (not via Bluetooth). The problem is, no one really sells lossless music. You need to buy CDs and rip the music yourself. I expect soon enough iTunes will offer high quality music, and sell us all of our music all over again!

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  3. #2
    SOPHOMORE ROVER festertester's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Wow...more power to your creativity. Look forward to how it all turns out. Awesome task!!

    Btw, couldn't agree more on music files format. I always prefer to play Apple lossless files, ripped all of my CDs to loss less format in a separate playlist!
    2017 Range Rover Autobiography — Balmoral Blue/Tan
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  4. #3
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Great write up! Can't wait for the final review. Thanks for pointing out the quality source, so many people get disappointed with audio sound and don't understand its source and degradation.

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  6. #4
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Sounds like a dandy project, but why in the Lord's name would you use factory products? I'm just wondering since you're going through all this trouble. I would think you'd want to make it better than an ATB not equal to.?

  7. #5
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Quote Originally Posted by FLmick View Post
    Sounds like a dandy project, but why in the Lord's name would you use factory products? I'm just wondering since you're going through all this trouble. I would think you'd want to make it better than an ATB not equal to.?
    Good question. My thinking is the Meridian Signature speakers will be the best choice for this vehicle due to the Meridian Sound Processing / EQing the vehicle is using. Yeah I could of went with aftermarket 3-way speakers, but it would of cost a lot more money as I'd of had to add a Bit One processor and another amp, and then spent a great amount of time calibrating it all. I'd of also wanted to get a Bit DMI to grab the fiber optic signal from the head unit. For another $4k or so I could of done all that. But in the end, I don't think it would be worth it. The ATB sound system is more than enough for me, especially if it has a 12" JL in the mix. Plus, the way I'm doing it is A LOT easier, i can swap all these speakers in a few hours.

    Also, at least one forum member has tried what your suggesting, and he had some sync problems with the center speaker while using the Meridian sound mode.

    I also think in the end, this system will sound better than the ATB system thanks to the subwoofer I'm using, at least for music anyways. The 29 speaker system is probably killer for movie playback.

  8. #6
    SOPHOMORE ROVER festertester's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Quote Originally Posted by OneStepAhead View Post

    I also think in the end, this system will sound better than the ATB system thanks to the subwoofer I'm using, at least for music anyways. The 29 speaker system is probably killer for movie playback.
    Hmm, let's see what your project yields, it's tuning that matters. It'd be great to do comparisons of both systems (in 2D mode) after you're done, better yet by a 3rd party (not you or other person owning ATB :P). All speakers DSP balancing is very tricky. It sounds optimal when all speakers are balanced in settings (which comes by default in 1700W/29 Speaker ATB system). It'd be a key aspect for you.

    Regarding 3D sound, that's my default setting in Meridian mode. I have NOT played any videos (and doubt will ever play). At higher volumes and even lower for classic/orchestra, this system is nothing like I've heard before...I have Burmester in my other car...
    2017 Range Rover Autobiography — Balmoral Blue/Tan
    2013 Porsche 911 (991) 4S — GT Silver/Espresso
    2018 Ford Focus RS limited edition — Race Red

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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    It's a shame that XM is so low in sound quality. It's been my complaint since the beginning.

  10. #8
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Nice project! I am surprised by how inexpensive the factory Meridian Signature speakers are.
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  11. #9
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Festertester has a point. The DSP in my vehicle is designed for the 825w system, and now I've went and changed that. These speakers are going to have different sound characteristics and thus need different EQ levels to get optimum sound. Down the road I may install a Bit One DSP, which basically I can sit in the car with a mic and a laptop and take proper readings and tweak everything to sonic bliss, which is what I did with my home theater.

    So, I've completed phase 1 now. All speakers (except meridian sub which is being disconnected and replaced with a 12" JL W6v3 next week) have been replaced with the meridian signature speakers.
    Here is the technical differences between the speakers I had before vs the ones I've installed:

    My stock Meridian 825w speakers (380w system uses same part numbers too)
    Tweeters: aluminum dome, 25mm, 4 Ohm, 50W maximum
    Mids: polypropylene cone, rubber edge, 2 Ohm, 100W maximum
    Bass: paper cone, rubber edge, 200mm, 2 Ohm, 100W maximum

    New Meridian Signature Reference Speakers:
    Tweeters: titanium dome, 25mm, 4 Ohm, 50W maximum
    Mids: Glass Fibre, Dyneema with Poly Resin cone, rubber edge, 4 Ohm, 100W maximum
    Bass: Glass fibre, Dyneema with Poly Resin cone, rubber edge, 200mm, 4 Ohm, 100W maximum

    Comparing them technically and visually, you can see the Signature speakers are a lot higher build quality, premium materials. Also, mids and bass are now 4ohm. Higher ohm will give you better sound quality, but requires more power. The 825w amp has plenty of power to run these from what I've heard so far.

    So how does it sound? Well, it's better, but is it worth the time / money? It only took $1200 and 4 hours to swap all the speakers, and I would say I'm getting maybe a 20% improvement in sound quality. Not a huge difference, but i think it was worthwhile.

    The biggest improvement was we fixed (well, reduced) the annoying rattle sound I was getting from the passenger side door bass speaker. Really I think the speakers need to be hot glued into there to elimate rattle completely. It only happens with deep bass at higher volumes. Every RR I've been in does this, and the front passenger door is always the worst for some reason.

    So, next week I install the JL subwoofer. That I am expecting to be a HUGE change. The Meridian speakers have great clarity and vocal reproduction, but it's missing that low end punch. Not surprising, it's only a 100w low profile sub woofer that is essentially not even enclosed. The JL with 750w running to it will fix that up real nice

  12. #10
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Did you Dynamat? I've been wanting to seal the doors with it -- found that it give great results in mid bass response in the past.


    Also thanks for the write up. Looking forward to the JL results and process
    Last edited by RRToadHall; June 13th, 2016 at 07:30 AM.

  13. #11
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    No I didn't use dynamat, I said if you can fit it in, add it. He said he didn't think there was room for it after looking inside the door panel.

    I'm taking it to a different installer Monday to do the JL, and they have a lot more experiece in higher end auto installs then the guy I used. I may ask them to reevaluate adding Dynamat, as there is a slight vibration in the doors at high volumes.

    I just had a buddy who works for Best Buy Install Dept do the speaker swap, since it's a very simple job and he did it for $200. I printed out the complete disassembly instructions from topix and gave it to him, if anyone needs those PM me.

    The speakers are getting considerably better now, I might say as much as 20-30% better SQ versus the original speakers, where as day 1 I was thinking 20% tops. It's hard to quantify of course. Speakers need to go through a break in period, and can improve as much as 10% on the low end frequency. And that is exactly what I'm hearing, deeper lows as compared to 3 days ago.

    The highs and mids are improved as well, but to be honest i was fairly content with high and mid performance before, what I'm after is cleaner and deeper lows.

  14. #12
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    You know what's funny? If your ordering meridian speakers from the parts dept, the signature speakers are only a couple of dollars more then the standard ones. Now, maybe Land Rovers cost is significantly different and they just don't mark up the signature speakers as much, I don't know. It's my thinking is, for about $75 more LR could of put the signature speakers in the Meridian 825w system. But, then it would be a tougher upsell to get people to spend the $6300 for the Signature package.

    side note, apparently adding a subwoofer the 29 speakers system is difficult, if not impossible without disconnecting the 4 mics in the headliner. Those mics are a real time EQ that monitors cabin noise. An aftermarket sub apparently sets them off. Something to look into if your thinking of adding a sub to the 29 speakers system.

  15. #13
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    If anyone is thinking of upgrading their 380w system, you will for sure need to also upgrade the amp to the 825w version. You could use the 1700w amp too, but it's more difficult as you have to run two new power wires to it. 380 and 825 both use the same power cable, so it would be very simple to swap a 380 for an 825.

  16. #14
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Well, I've decided not to add the JL subwoofer. I went to the appointment to have it installed, and I'm listening to the system on the way there. These Signature Reference speakers have gotten A LOT better then they were on day 1. I would say they are now drastically better then the base Meridian speakers used in the 380/825 systems. There is just a ton more low end, I don't think I need to add a JL 12".

    What I am going to do however is complete the package and replace the sub under the passenger seat with the Meridian Signature Sub, which is a 250mm / 10" sub. So it's 50m bigger, made of same materials, and according to topix has "different acoustics". I might also add a very small amp just to give it more power, since it appears the meridian 825w amp only sends 50w to the sub. It can handle up to 200.

  17. #15
    SOPHOMORE ROVER festertester's Avatar
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    Re: Upgrading Meridian 825w to Meridian Signature - Here is

    Good stuff. Look forward to final setup!
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    2013 Porsche 911 (991) 4S — GT Silver/Espresso
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