The "ultimate" MX5 NA audio system install

Hi all,
I have spent most of the lock-down building the best possible audio system for my beloved MX-5 R-Ltd.
The research done for this project was even more time consuming than the actual install. So I thought I would share what I have learned.

Hopefully this can act as a useful guide for any fellow audiophiles out there…

See link below to my blog for the install. Please feel free to get in touch of you have any questions etc.

  1. My model of MX-5 is: NA R-Ltd
  2. I’m based near: London

thats brilliant @NickyNoodles …how is the bass after all that ? do you get any thump and feel?

The bass is really good, it’s feels like it is surrounding you, it also really feels effortless and clean.
The tone isn’t mega low, as you would expect from the cone sizes, but tbh I don’t really want mega low down bass.
On something like “Welcome to Jamrock” it really sounds pretty special.

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that’s good to hear - and that’s a good reference song for my type of music too!

my thoughts on amplification were to:

  1. amp the front component speakers with an aftermarket amp
  2. amp the rear sub
  3. leave the headrest speakers unamplified

thoughts on point 3 above?

That is a viable option, although I opted to amp all speakers - as it meant I routed them all through the head unit’s pre-amp RCA connectors.
You could switch the amp into 2-channel mode and just drive the door speakers with it -that may give you a better sound.
That said - your limiting factor with the door speakers is still damned resonence, even with all the sound proofing, so in practice you might not be able to gain too much more.
Certainly worth experimenting with though!

I was thinking of a 3/4 channel amp … 2 channels front and the other to the subs … I would then run the headrest speakers from the head unit amp

As for the components it would be great to mount them on a custom baffle pod on each door but as you say in your awesome guide clearance is the biggest issue … where did you buy the soundproofing from ?

That would work sjoshi, you need hardly any power to your head rest speakers, so your set up sounds good.
I got all sound proofing from Ebay - both the silent coat and the silicon.

What I didn’t mention in my write up (I forgot), I also stuck a couple of pieces of rubber draft excluder on the sides of the dash - where they contact with the door.
I’m not sure if it’s the same for all of these or it was just mine - but a LOT of squeaking came from the sides of the dash rubbing against the door (at the height of the wing mirrors).

Happy to help if you have any other questions - good luck! I really enjoyed my project, I think sourcing the parts was just as fun as doing the actual install.
If you’re lucky you may be able to find the subs used on Ebay - I manged to find one of mine ‘nearly new’ which helped me save a few quid.

If you’re looking for a 5" sub cone…

This is the older model - but looks good for the price

Alternatively, I found this on Amazon - the reviews look good - if you want to go for something that is a little better on the budget . These would happily fit in the same place I put mine…

Nice writeup, NickyNoodles. I was particularly interested in the headrest speakers as my current Mk.1 has none. The picture of the plastic shell from your headrests is curious because mine are different. Yours has mounting points for speakers but mine is an empty shell perforated with drilled holes.

I don’t know whether it’s a leather seats vs fabric seats thing or a different audio system option but yours is the first I’ve seen which mounts the speakers on the plastic shell rather than in the seat itself. It certainly looks like a better option than the small rectangular speakers most of those I’ve seen got from the factory.

I don’t suppose anyone knows if that type of plastic shell is drop-in compatible with the fabric covered tombstone seats? If I can find one it would make life easier.