Aftermarket speaker kits = not worth it

(Topic ID: 233195)

Aftermarket speaker kits = not worth it


By mtbpinball

43 days ago



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  • 49 posts
  • 37 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 32 days ago by Fytr
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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#1 43 days ago

I have had four pinball machines in the last 5 years that were upgraded - 2 with Flipper Fidelity setups and 2 with Pinball Pro..... none of those games sounded much better than they did with stock speakers. I think these type upgrades for a hundred and fifty plus are not worth it. The only thing I found to work is a Polk sub added underneath the machine ..... that makes a real difference and a real change in your sound. Just wanted to mention it for anyone considering the upgrade? Also wanted to mention I'm not putting these down they sound fine ... but no real WOW Factor ....and also I did have good sound boards in those games either rebuilt or already in good condition. Pinball Pro seem to have the most Bass but basically unusable in a pinball cabinet flipper fidelity same thing volume control can barely be turned up above-normal or things start to sound not good. This is just my two cents after I just spent another $160 on The Flipper Fidelity set up and ended up with the same sound as what I had

#2 43 days ago

Have these exact setups on all of my games and have to agree. Good to see that Spike2 only needs an external sub these days to sound great.

#3 43 days ago
Quoted from mtbpinball:

I have had four pinball machines in the last 5 years that were upgraded - 2 with Flipper Fidelity setups and 2 with Pinball Pro..... none of those games sounded much better than they did with stock speakers. I think these type upgrades for a hundred and fifty plus are not worth it. The only thing I found to work is a Polk sub added underneath the machine ..... that makes a real difference and a real change in your sound. Just wanted to mention it for anyone considering the upgrade? Also wanted to mention I'm not putting these down they sound fine ... but no real WOW Factor ....and also I did have good sound boards in those games either rebuilt or already in good condition. Pinball Pro seem to have the most Bass but basically unusable in a pinball cabinet flipper fidelity same thing volume control can barely be turned up above-normal or things start to sound not good. This is just my two cents after I just spent another $160 on The Flipper Fidelity set up and ended up with the same sound as what I had

Which games? Older games, pre-DCS don't benefit as much, unless
You also add a custom modern sound mix with a PinSound board

#4 43 days ago
Quoted from DerGoetz:

Have these exact setups on all of my games and have to agree. Good to see that Spike2 only needs an external sub these days to sound great.

I may need to try this - I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

#5 43 days ago

Don't know about that, I could hear some pretty significant differences in MMR, SWPremium, and BM66 in terms of clarity when I installed FF speakers in those pins.....

#6 43 days ago

I believe all my later Sterns showed a dramatic improvement with the backbox speakers replaced. I did not notice much on the replacement cabinet speakers. There I agree with the subwoofer. I have not noticed much improvement on my Williams/Bally games with out a pin sound board unless the speaker was damaged.

#7 43 days ago

I agree, I've had a few machines that were upgraded in the speaker department. Did they sound better? A little.

But simply using polk audio subs did more for less, can be used on multiple pins at once and you get to keep them when you sell a pin.

It's a no brainer IMO.

#8 43 days ago

The difference between stock and Pinball Prosound speaker up grade for my WPC-95 games is huge! My games shake the house when you play them. All 6 of my machines are upgraded with Pinball Prosound. Stock speakers are joke for these games. I don't know what games you have, but it isn't the same across the board of manufactures.

#9 43 days ago
Quoted from whthrs166:

The difference between stock and Pinball Prosound speaker up grade for my WPC-95 games is huge! My games shake the house when you play them. All 6 of my machines are upgraded with Pinball Prosound. Stock speakers are joke for these games. I don't know what games you have, but it isn't the same across the board of manufactures.

Not sure if you have ever heard a real dedicated subwoofer enclosure, but it is most likely 20 times more effective than any sub woofer that uses a pinball machine as a speaker box and your machine doesn't rattle.

#10 43 days ago
Quoted from jcar302:

Not sure if you have ever heard a real dedicated subwoofer enclosure, but it is most likely 20 times more effective than any sub woofer that uses a pinball machine as a speaker box and your machine doesn't rattle.

please explain?

#11 43 days ago

An external subwoofer like Polk produces for around $100 can power 2 machines and put out a lot of sound and sub and not rattle your machine sounds much better. And it can be positioned under the machine anywhere you like for the best sound.... otherwise you're relying on the sub in the pinball cabinet aimed straight down at the floor.Anf trying to turn up a sub in your game will make the whole cabinet vibrate

#12 43 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I may need to try this - I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

Absolutely do so!

I can't imagine not adding an external sub on a Stern music themed pin. For that matter, I've added subs to all my newer pins and although the degree of improvement has varied (depending on the CPU type mainly), I have yet to be disappointed from doing so.

#13 43 days ago

I put a kit in f14 and it's sounded so bad(it literally sounded no different) I called the company to be told them old games don't have quality sound tracks and won't sound as good as newer machines.then why sell and promote them? I won't buy another bit may try the external sub.

#14 43 days ago

If you upgrade your speakers, upgrade with Pinsound board. Not cheap, but WOW! Buy the stereo cable from Pinsound as well. Your sound will be in stereo, not mono. My Indiana Jones sounds like an orchestra is around you and you feel like you are in the movie.

#15 43 days ago

Maybe a better way to think about it is:

The factory sounds were EQed and mixed to sound best on the factory speakers

The sound guys knew there was almost no high or low frequencies available on those $1 speakers, so they EQed everything to "fit" in the strong midrange.

If the pinball cab caused resonate peaks in the sound, that too was "fixed in the mix".

-

Old car stereo replacement speakers were notorious for boosting the high frequencies - you'd install them and then find that you had "too much highs" and everything sounded like sizzling bacon. So many people then had to buy an EQ and tame the top end.

So when you put certain replacement speakers in your pin, at first the sound is different, so you say "WOW! That is different!"

But as time goes on, the boosted high frequencies become fatiguing to listen to.

-

Putting the same "quality replacement speaker" into different cabs, will result in different results. Every cab has it's own peaks in sound reinforcement, so what sounds great in one cab, will sound terrible in another.

#17 43 days ago

I bought my ACDC with FF's installed and they sound noticeably better, esp the larger sub in bottom of cab. But nothing beats an external sub imho.

#18 43 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

I was the same way, try turning the shitty music level all the way down

#19 43 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I may need to try this - I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

I got a Monoprice 8" 100W Slim sub. $100 w/shipping. Really like it since it has a stand to place vertically. I actually just got a cheapie ($24) mixer from Amazon so I can run up to 4 pins on a single sub. My AS Pro seriously rocks. Ditto with Hounini (but a different kind of music). Next up on it is JD. 8" is probably all you'll ever need. I tried a 12" Just too much bass.
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#20 43 days ago
Quoted from Puffdanny:

I put a kit in f14 and it's sounded so bad

F14 is a great example.

The sound is distorted with a 1khz peak, so it sounds like you are hearing it through an old military radio.

That's how it was recorded, so better speakers are not going to make it sound like a philharmonic

#21 43 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I may need to try this - I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

My experience has been great w IMDN stock speakers plus a Polk sub. Same for BM66, sounds excellent. Both spike 2 games. My MMR, on the other hand...not so good but I’m waiting for the upgraded LCD and speakers panel. TZ w better speakers and sub is great.

#22 43 days ago

I agree with OP. Not worth the money unless you have a pinsound board.

#23 43 days ago

I noticed a big difference using Pinball Pro in my TAFG however you can probably put together the kit cheaper yourself.

#24 43 days ago

I have either PinSound+ or Flipper Fidelity systems in most of my games and they sound dramatically better than the stock setups. I tried the external sub with Pinovator board on Metallica and ended up removing it and just using the 3 speaker FF system as the external sub was complete overkill for a pinball machine. The FF sub puts out plenty of bass, just need to tune the audio settings to taste and not go too crazy with the volume so as not to rattle the heck out of the games. The PinSound+ systems take it to another level. The factory Iron Maiden LE sound system is good enough, so I’m leaving that one alone

#25 43 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I may need to try this - I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

I do run an external amp to drive the Kenwoods on my IMDNLE

There is a howto here on the forum for that.

#26 43 days ago

Has anyone tried to use a external sub on a JJ pin? I love my Hobbit sound just wondering if it’s worth the effort. I also just bought a WOZ and I’m wondering how the sound would be affected with a external sub, any thoughts would be appreciated.

#27 43 days ago
Quoted from Wildbill327:

Has anyone tried to use a external sub on a JJ pin? I love my Hobbit sound just wondering if it’s worth the effort. I also just bought a WOZ and I’m wondering how the sound would be affected with a external sub, any thoughts would be appreciated.

Love the Polk on my Hobbit. Really kicks in when Smaug is talking. Sounds like what a dragon should...house shaking.

#28 43 days ago

I've never tried a speaker kit, but I have hooked up an external sub to a few games. It makes a huge difference.

If this is at home, and you're only playing one or two games at a time...you can hook up as many games as you want to an external sub. Buy one sub, and from there it's like a dollar or two in parts (speaker wire and alligator clips) for each additional game you want connect.

Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I have been extremely dissatisfied with the sound on IMDN

Do it. It sounds awesome with an external sub.

Also highly recommended on Deadpool & Tron.

#29 43 days ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

I got a Monoprice 8" 100W Slim. $100/shipping. Really like it since it has a stand to place vertically.

Nice! Did it come with the vertical stand that you're using? The stand isn't listed on the monoprice site or in the manual.

#30 43 days ago

This is how you improve your sound:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/addition-of-boss-amplifiers-to-stern-machines

Amplifiers is where it's at. You can buy speakers all day long. Without amplifiers or equalizers, the difference will be very minimal.

Unfortunately, the Boss AVA1404 is no longer produced, so my guide is a bit archaic now.

#31 43 days ago
Quoted from kyle5574:

Nice! Did it come with the vertical stand that you're using? The stand isn't listed on the monoprice site or in the manual.

Stand: sure did.

This is what it looked like when I initially tried one of my home theater 12" subs. Needless to say...a bit of an overkill.

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#32 43 days ago
Quoted from mtbpinball:

I have had four pinball machines in the last 5 years that were upgraded - 2 with Flipper Fidelity setups and 2 with Pinball Pro..... none of those games sounded much better than they did with stock speakers. I think these type upgrades for a hundred and fifty plus are not worth it. The only thing I found to work is a Polk sub added underneath the machine ..... that makes a real difference and a real change in your sound. Just wanted to mention it for anyone considering the upgrade? Also wanted to mention I'm not putting these down they sound fine ... but no real WOW Factor ....and also I did have good sound boards in those games either rebuilt or already in good condition. Pinball Pro seem to have the most Bass but basically unusable in a pinball cabinet flipper fidelity same thing volume control can barely be turned up above-normal or things start to sound not good. This is just my two cents after I just spent another $160 on The Flipper Fidelity set up and ended up with the same sound as what I had

This has been my exact experience. Polk sub has been outstanding.

#33 43 days ago
Quoted from mtbpinball:

I have had four pinball machines in the last 5 years that were upgraded - 2 with Flipper Fidelity setups and 2 with Pinball Pro..... none of those games sounded much better than they did with stock speakers. I think these type upgrades for a hundred and fifty plus are not worth it. The only thing I found to work is a Polk sub added underneath the machine ..... that makes a real difference and a real change in your sound. Just wanted to mention it for anyone considering the upgrade? Also wanted to mention I'm not putting these down they sound fine ... but no real WOW Factor ....and also I did have good sound boards in those games either rebuilt or already in good condition. Pinball Pro seem to have the most Bass but basically unusable in a pinball cabinet flipper fidelity same thing volume control can barely be turned up above-normal or things start to sound not good. This is just my two cents after I just spent another $160 on The Flipper Fidelity set up and ended up with the same sound as what I had

I actually change pins that come with them back to stock setup . I find oem speakers with a polk powered subwoofer sounds the best. Now if your not going to use a powered subwoofer, then replacing just the cab speaker with a upgraded one does result in some better bass but you lose some mids . Overall the best bang for buck is oem speakers with a powered subwoofer imo.

#34 43 days ago

I changed out my MMR stock speakers for Pinball Pro hoping I would be able to hear the callouts... Nothing changed. No change at all. Polk subwoofers are the only sound add on that make a difference. I just can't understand why Chicago Gaming can't make the audio issue on MMR a priority. Just give us a speech attenuation update.

#35 42 days ago

When subwoofers and enclosures are designed, they get specific ports and airspace.
I don't know all the intricacies of building a speaker box (about the only time someone builds a sub box is for a custom install in a car), but anyone that has had a powerful car stereo knows you don't use something like a lower pinball cabinet as a box, it's more like a sieve and has too many loose pieces.
Subwoofer boxes are typically very heavy because they need to be solid, nothing to shake or vibrate.

Try one out, you will fine the the high's and mid's on the machine itself are enough and the polk sub (which is adjustable) provides the missing bass plus some.

My batman forever was amazing with a polk sub.

For the record, I think nobody's wife like's an external sub.

#36 42 days ago
Quoted from jcar302:

For the record, I think nobody's wife like's an external sub

Thats funny. My wife hates the polk powered 10" sub on our Houdini. When I told her I was buying another for my Indy,it wasn't recieved very well.

#37 42 days ago

Yeah I'd say in my experience zero point upgrading anything older than at least a Stern SAM game with upgraded cab speakers (unless you're going the PinSound board route).

I have had great success as well with 10" external Polk subs, 1 per every 2 games. Even makes most early SS games pop with the added low-end.

Having said that, I recently replaced the woofer in my Met Pro in the bottom of the cabinet with a $35 equiv. of the kind you'd get in one of the pinball speaker upgrade kits and it adds a satisfying "thump" to the cabinet with the volume up. Well worth it for the low cost IMHO.

My IMDN LE sounds fantastic with the external sub as well. Only issue I have is the cabinet woofer clips sometimes at high volumes when playing "For Whom the Bell Tolls", which can be annoying. Might try just disconnecting cab woofer and see how that sounds.

#38 42 days ago
Quoted from Ericpinballfan:

Thats funny. My wife hates the polk powered 10" sub on our Houdini. When I told her I was buying another for my Indy,it wasn't recieved very well.

She won't be too upset, unfortunately there is very little low end in the IJ sound package. I had a Polk on mine and the fighter plane sound was one of the only ones that noticeably used it.

#39 42 days ago

Pinsound board, external subwoofer for every pin, upgraded speakers are a distant 3rd on a Stern, but needed for my TZ and IJ.

#40 42 days ago
Quoted from jcar302:

woofer that uses a pinball machine as a speaker box and your machine doesn't rattle.

I have, too much for me. I have a wife that I cannot get too riled up when I play my games. My games do not rattle. I fixed that. The part in the game that rattles is the rear plastic mount for the glass. I just line it with Velcro so it will grab onto the glass a bit more... no more rattles.

#41 42 days ago

I added a Pinsound board to my T2 and had planned on upgrading stock speakers.

The sound quality was so improved by Pinsound alone I never had to upgrade my factory speakers at all.

#42 42 days ago
Quoted from Toasterdog:

I added a Pinsound board to my T2 and had planned on upgrading stock speakers.

The sound quality was so improved by Pinsound alone I never had to upgrade my factory speakers at all.

Cool - I've been thinking about that for T2 as well. Which audio Rom did you go with?

1 week later
#43 33 days ago

I replaced the cabinet speaker in two games, williams Space Station and Congo with this pair

amazon.com link »

They installed easily, cost $30/pair and made a big improvement with fuller sound and more bass. I replaced the speakers in the Congo head with some car speakers.

amazon.com link »

I found some useful info on this thread:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/cabinet-speaker-size-and-wiring-williams-system-11

and here:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/upgrading-speakers-with-car-speakers

Now I want to build a simple sub woofer for my Houdini but don't have a plan. Parts Express.com has all of the parts I'm just not sure what all I need. Does anyone have tips?

#44 33 days ago

No need to buy a brand new powered sub for $80+ when they are $20 all day long used at flea markets, yard sales, Craigslist and Facebook for sale groups.

#45 32 days ago

So I have a decent sub on my MET and it does sound good, but I agree that you can pretty much purchase any cheap old subwoofer and it's going to sound pretty good on a pinball machine. My recent STTNG came with a Sony SA-WMSP1. It sounds fantastic on the machine. I have it set on about 1/3 volume, which my wife still complains that it's too loud. I wouldn't want it any louder then that, as I prefer to have nothing over those people that have their subwoofers cranked up way to loud.

#46 32 days ago
Quoted from Toasterdog:

I added a Pinsound board to my T2 and had planned on upgrading stock speakers.
The sound quality was so improved by Pinsound alone I never had to upgrade my factory speakers at all.

This is very smart. Adding the Stereo harness also helps give you some additional control. Pinsound lets you dial in exact treble/bass settings which is immeasurably helpful. I would recommend replacing the stock cabinet speaker with a larger 8 or 10" woofer. You can get the adapters from Flipper Fidelity (for a well-worth-it $10), and you will get MASSIVE bass. Adding a sub is also another way to go. but replacing the cab speaker is basically the same amount of work - you still have to open the backbox and route the wiring, connect things up, etc.

#47 32 days ago

I am an audiophile. I have multiple stereo systems and home theater systems in my home that if sold could easily fund multiple NIB pin purchases. My main stereo includes a hot-rodded Garrard 301 turntable, italian 35wpc tube amp, and super-efficient British speakers.... it sounds heavenly. When listening to music I like to dedicate myself to it, I want to be able to tell where the musicians are standing and appreciate each instrument. I cannot really appreciate music with screaming kids/background TV noise/etc so getting picky about the quality of music my pinball machine makes while pop bumpers are firing/flippers are smashing/shaker motor is vibrating seems pointless. I find myself turning the volume down on my IMDN Prem just so the entire house is not deafened. I only have one pin (for now) but I cannot imagine being concerned about the quality of sound when I have multiple machines on at once...

#48 32 days ago
Quoted from LargemouthAss:

I only have one pin (for now) but I cannot imagine being concerned about the quality of sound when I have multiple machines on at once...

You are correct. If you have multiple games going at once, better speakers are somewhat moot. It's when you are playing just one game at a time where it can make a big difference. Some games, especially modern ones, have incredible soundtracks that you can't fully appreciate with the stock speakers. I can still remember how amazed I was the first time I hooked up an external sub to my Tron. The start of light cycle multiball will shake you to your core!

#49 32 days ago
Quoted from LargemouthAss:

I am an audiophile. I have multiple stereo systems and home theater systems in my home that if sold could easily fund multiple NIB pin purchases. My main stereo includes a hot-rodded Garrard 301 turntable, italian 35wpc tube amp, and super-efficient British speakers.... it sounds heavenly. When listening to music I like to dedicate myself to it, I want to be able to tell where the musicians are standing and appreciate each instrument. I cannot really appreciate music with screaming kids/background TV noise/etc so getting picky about the quality of music my pinball machine makes while pop bumpers are firing/flippers are smashing/shaker motor is vibrating seems pointless. I find myself turning the volume down on my IMDN Prem just so the entire house is not deafened. I only have one pin (for now) but I cannot imagine being concerned about the quality of sound when I have multiple machines on at once...

In my home setup I have a sound-proofed room in the basement where I keep my games and they are all setup on the loud side with external subs. I have my IMDN LE loud and the sound as dialed in as I can make it. I find it is a very visceral experience that greatly enhances my enjoyment when I can feel the low end on the cabinet, etc. It is night and day vs. playing it with low volume.

I am usually the only one playing so multiple games at once isn't a factor though I do turn them down a bit when I know people will be over to play as the din becomes too much.

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