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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A week or so ago, I finished both front doors. While the sound deadening on the Ascent is some of the best Subaru's done so far, there's still quietness to be gained.

There's certainly better front mid-bass to be gained by deadening the front doors as well. The front stage sounds much better.
I have a number of audio upgrades including the Rockford Fosgate upgrade and an aftermarket Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.
This combo by far, is the best audio available in the Ascent short of removing the stock headunit and far surpasses even the top 14-speaker system (which sounds awful mainly due to lack of EQ, and how HK "baked in" the factory EQ/DSP sound.)
The mid-grade Limited EQ/DSP actually sounds far better(flatter) than the Touring system or the optional Limited system.

Anyway, I worked on car audio professionally for ~10 years before my IT career, which included the endless quest for prepping the cars for the best acoustics (deadness and quietness). Sent many cars to national competition for sound quality. $60K-$80K systems, not including the cars.

I used, IMO the best possible stuff (which is actually quite a bit less expensive than Dynamat and the like (complete waste of money (I've used almost all of the brands)).

RAAMAudio dot com has the highest quality stuff out there for very reasonable prices. The adhesive is pretty much the best and never comes loose, ever. It needs no heat treatment or pre-warming of any materials or sheet metal. In addition to the butyl mat, is the use of Ensolite, which is a sound absorbtion / anti-reflection mat. The Ascent doors have required much less of the Ensolite mat due to the way they've molded in some mat into the factory moisture/thermal/air membranes.

There was next to no factory deadening mat, other than a small sheet. I liberally covered both the outside door skin and interior skin with mat. The goal is about 80% coverage. In the pictures, you cannot see the sheets I applied to the inside of the inside-side door bracing. Lot's of areas where there were high-pitched twang sounds coming from. I also isolated any rattles and potential rattle areas with the Ensolite mat. I also covered key areas on the inside of the door panels. This is a crucial step.
It is insane to hear and feel the difference when to tap your knuckles on the front and rear doors. Solid, dead "thunk" on the fronts while the rears have the usual hollow, high-pitched "drum" sound. Huge difference. This is really what makes the 6x9 mid-bass drivers perform well. You really want to seal up the air holes even over what the factory membrane does.

I have also done both kickpanels with Ensolite mat and the pass-side under-dash cover, along with a little mat up under the drivers dash area and a lot of butyl mat as far as I could reach on the driver's side floor, firewall and wheel-well areas. Ideally, I'd rip the whole car apart (which I've done many times before) and get the whole firewall and rear quarters. I will move onto the rear doors, rear quarters (major PITA) and rear gate next.

Anyway, here's some pictures.








 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Here's some pics of the XTerra - talk about a complete transformation in sound quality and interior quietness. It is so much more pleasant to drive now.
I ripped the entire interior apart on this one. LOT of work, but very much well worth it. The audio sounds amazing (aftermarket headunit) with amps/sub.
So much quieter inside with the big tires etc.





 

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80%? You were really chasing every bit of performance. New studies/measurements show 25% coverage of sheet metal with butyl sheets eliminates 90-95% of resonance/vibration in the metal. I put my butyl in with my orangutan arms thru the speaker holes while I was changing them out. Also, did a lot of butyl on the backs of the door panels. No rattles at all.

No MLV? I was taught the ensolite's purpose was to decouple the MVL(mass loaded vinyl) from the rest of the vehicle so as little as possible could be transmitted into the MLV. I've done neither ensolite or MLV so far.

Thanks for the link on products. George retired and shutdown Sound Deadener Showdown last year. Sound Deadener Showdown | Your Vehicle Quiet

Did you use the peel and stick ensolite as the tape to reattach the OEM closed cell foam? Now that I've seen those two plastic pieces behind the OEM foam it is going to drive me crazy until I get some butyl on them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I would definitely disagree with the ‘new studies’ on coverage. I was ‘testing as I go’ with resonance and sound and every place on the outside and inside of the door I was testing benefited from the mat. Overkill? Maybe. But I only want to be in doing this once. I know for a fact 25% coverage would've been complete crap in my Xterra. It needed a ton of mat to deaden all of the sheet metal.
As you install the mat, you're literally tapping various parts of the inside and outside of the door, listening for hollow/high -pitched resonance. And behind the woofer, I even doubled-up the mat. Thing is DEAD. All makes a cumulative difference in the end towards good driver performance.

I used the factory goo (windshield sealer) to affix the stock membranes back. There's plenty and it's very easy to work with, with good adhesion. The additional Ensolite helped cover areas that did not have any thermal or sound mat from the factory, in addition to sealing existing holes that were cut for wire harnesses and door handle cables etc.

The results speak for themselves with way harder-hitting and more accurate midbass coming from the doors and the road / outside noise has clearly audibly shifted towards the rear doors and trunk area.

There is NO outside noise coming from the front doors, lol. Very impressed with Subaru's special glass too.

Haven't tackled the rear 3 doors yet..
 

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I did my Ascent too and I'm very happy with the improvement. Trying to figure out how to get some on the roof panel but I'm nervous about removing the EyeSight module and messing up the calibration. In my outback I removed all the dome lights and snuck some strips through those holes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
^^ Yeah I haven't tackled the roof yet. I opted out of the giant moonroof on purpose for many reasons, but what's in it's place is a lot of bare sheet metal.
 

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I would definitely disagree with the ‘new studies’ on coverage. I was ‘testing as I go’ with resonance and sound and every place on the outside and inside of the door I was testing benefited from the mat. Overkill? Maybe. But I only want to be in doing this once. I know for a fact 25% coverage would've been complete crap in my Xterra. It needed a ton of mat to deaden all of the sheet metal.

As you install the mat, you're literally tapping various parts of the inside and outside of the door, listening for hollow/high -pitched resonance. And behind the woofer, I even doubled-up the mat. Thing is DEAD. All makes a cumulative difference in the end towards good driver performance.

I used the factory goo (windshield sealer) to affix the stock membranes back. There's plenty and it's very easy to work with, with good adhesion. The additional Ensolite helped cover areas that did not have any thermal or sound mat from the factory, in addition to sealing existing holes that were cut for wire harnesses and door handle cables etc.

The results speak for themselves with way harder-hitting and more accurate midbass coming from the doors and the road / outside noise has clearly audibly shifted towards the rear doors and trunk area.

There is NO outside noise coming from the front doors, lol. Very impressed with Subaru's special glass too.

Haven't tackled the rear 3 doors yet..
The knock test is questioned in modern sound dampening/abatement. The knock test is what sound dampening companies sold people on to move more product but doesn't happen while driving down the road and measurements show that. I guess you could attach a sidecar and let a drummer pound on it as you're driving. Now for bass competition shows I can see a value to it.

Love acoustic glass. So happy I didn't have to go up to the Touring to get it as I needed a second row bench for the dogs when the back is loaded up for travel.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Again, for deadening the metal for mid-bass response (door woofers) you must remove all resonance. Same rules apply for anything audio dealing with speaker cabinets. The deader the better - that’s physics. That is why you do that, and why you must knock all surfaces for resonance.
It has less to do with interior quietness, although 25% is BS in that regard. I would’ve missed some of the worst parts of the doors at 25%. Ensolite is where thermal/sound barriers come into play and it makes a massive difference. Every time a car / truck / semi would pass us on our last long road trip, you could hear their tires coming from the rear doors as they passed us, NOT the front doors. This is what I mean by the outside sound and road noise (high pitched resonance) shifting towards the rear. Before the door treatment I was hearing noise from the front doors. Not anymore.
Thats where covering everything you can in Ensolite comes in. The back of the door panel, the front (interior side) of the door, over the factory moisture membrane etc.
Again, the results speak for themselves - I’ve done many, many cars and the method works.
And when it comes to front-stage mid-bass performance, half-ass doesn’t cut it for me.
 

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I did this to my 2010 Forester and it helped a lot. However, with the Ascent, I have the HK system and it's so bad I don't think it would help enough to justify all the work. With the Forester, I was able to replace the head unit, all the speakers, add a subwoofer, and two amps. It sounded great. It's so frustrating not being able to improve the Ascent's HK system. I keep hoping someone comes up with a solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah, such a disappointment! Shame on HK and Subaru. I definitely gave my dealer and SoA an ear full.
 
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