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Rainbow speakers...

northNH

Member
Gerry, these are not the top-shelf Rainbows that have been extensively discussed here before, a pair of which I also have.
That's why I had titled this thread "Rainboids..."

These are an entirely different critter, not sure what they have to do with the ones we know and love...
Note the cost (~$95/pair); less than 1/3 of the iL-x4.7 MB's...
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
I'm not sure if they are different, but the DL-X4.7 may be the same as the IL-X4.7... the set I bought years ago was marked DL on the box & drivers, but the paperwork and a different label on the same box showed IL. Pics here:
http://www.w124performance.com/images/W124_stereo/Rainbows/IL-X4.7/


Dunno if the current offerings are a cost-reduced version, or if Rainbow is blowing out inventory (fire sale) as demand dwindles.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rainbow-DL-X4-7-Mercedes-W124-E-Class-Front-Dash-Speaker-Upgrade-1-PAIR/233017799035

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=Rainbow+W124&_sacat=0&rt=nc&LH_PrefLoc=2


Don't expect a drastic improvement in sound quality with an otherwise-stock system, but at current prices, these look like a decent deal.

:seesaw:
 

Trae

Active member
Is it recommended to replace the head unit along with these speakers?

Could never get the Becker unit to accept the code.
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Is it recommended to replace the head unit along with these speakers?

Could never get the Becker unit to accept the code.
Trae, what year / model are you working on? The 1991-1993 Becker 1432 head units won't swap with aftermarket, without a full re-wire of everything (generally with poor results).

:wormhole:
 

Trae

Active member
1992 Renntech, so I guess I need to figure out why it won't accept the code. . . may have the WRONG code.

Will go to the site and chase down the code before I do anything.
 
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gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
1992 Renntech, so I guess I need to figure out why it won't accept the code. . . may have the WRONG code.

Will go to the site and chase down the code before I do anything.
Trae, most likely the head unit was swapped at some point, so the original code won't work. Pull the head unit out and get the serial number, then you can use that online site to get the code for it.

:roadrunner:
 

maw1124

E500E Enthusiast
I'm not sure if they are different, but the DL-X4.7 may be the same as the IL-X4.7... the set I bought years ago was marked DL on the box & drivers, but the paperwork and a different label on the same box showed IL. Pics here:
http://www.w124performance.com/images/W124_stereo/Rainbows/IL-X4.7/


Dunno if the current offerings are a cost-reduced version, or if Rainbow is blowing out inventory (fire sale) as demand dwindles.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rainbow-DL-X4-7-Mercedes-W124-E-Class-Front-Dash-Speaker-Upgrade-1-PAIR/233017799035

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=Rainbow+W124&_sacat=0&rt=nc&LH_PrefLoc=2


Don't expect a drastic improvement in sound quality with an otherwise-stock system, but at current prices, these look like a decent deal.
Thanks, GSXR, I was wondering the same thing. I never got around to replacing my rear deck speakers. I did a full rewire though, with excellent results IMO. It just wasn’t cheap, and I pulled the trigger on that before “research” talked me out of it. I’m glad though, as I suspect I never would have been happy with the ‘92 system. Just like I’m not to be convinced those ‘92 rears don’t need replacing. The question is “with what”? And I’ve been thinking about those on eBay.

maw
 
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gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Thanks, GSXR, I was wondering the same thing. I never got around to replacing my rear deck speakers. I did a full rewire though, with excellent results IMO. It just wasn’t cheap, and I pulled the trigger on that before “research” talked me out of it. I’m glad though, as I suspect I never would have been happy with the ‘92 system. Just like I’m not to be convinced those ‘92 rears don’t need replacing. The question is “with what”? And I’ve been thinking about those on eBay.
IMO the best options are to either (1) keep everything near-stock - with Rainbows in the dash as the possible exception; or (2) go the full Monty with re-wire and all / almost-all aftermarket components, specifically including aftermarket doorboards. Note that everyone's ears are different and what one person may think sounds fabulous as an upgrade, another person may be completely disappointed with. Depends how much of an audiophile you are, what karat gold your ears are, and if you've ever heard a truly excellent car audio system as a reference point.

That said, I generally advise against rear-speaker upgrades for a couple of reasons: First, for any serious system, the rear speakers just fill out the soundstage. The level (volume) should be such that you don't really notice them unless you turn them off. High end systems often have the frequency response roll off above a certain point, at something like ~6dB/octave . To perform rear-fill duty, you just don't need anything fancy. The stock dual-tweeter rear deck speakers on all USA-spec 034/036 are perfectly cromulent. Second, upgrading the rears must be done properly so there isn't a hole / air gap between the front & rear of the speaker cone... this isn't always easy to achieve when using aftermarket drivers to replace odd-size OE speakers. It usually makes more sense to spend the time and $$$ up front, on the main soundstage, in the dash & front doors. You'll notice changes up there much more than changes in the rear deck, assuming you have the front/rear levels set properly.

PS: I'm not sure the Rainbow drivers are plug+play replacements for the 034/036 "Sound System" rear speakers, which are ~140mm diameter. Older 124's without the "sound system" definitely benefit from Rainbows, as the early 124 uses smaller / crappy rear deck speakers. What I'm discussing above is specific to the 034/036, and any other 124 sedan with optional Sound System.

:gsxrock:
 

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gerryvz

Site Honcho
Staff member
I have Rainbows that I purchased directly from their factory, in Germany, installed both in the dashboard and the rear deck of my E500. They are plug and play. I also put them in the dashboard of what was once called the "Stag-wagen" - a white 1995 S124.

I would say that with a stock BE1492 head unit (as used in the facelift US cars), they are a modest upgrade. Perhaps 20-25% improvement in sound over the stock speakers, but not dramatic. 80% of the improvement is from the front speakers, not the rears. Not as good as quality aftermarket speakers used with a quality aftermarket head unit, amp, etc. I do feel they are overall better quality than the factory speakers, in terms of materials and such.

I know not whether they are an upgrade to or plug-compatible with the earlier two-piece BE1432 head-unit/tuner pack setups.

Cheers,
Gerry
 

alibo70

E500E Newbie
I have Rainbows that I purchased directly from their factory, in Germany, installed both in the dashboard and the rear deck of my E500. They are plug and play. I also put them in the dashboard of what was once called the "Stag-wagen" - a white 1995 S124.

I would say that with a stock BE1492 head unit (as used in the facelift US cars), they are a modest upgrade. Perhaps 20-25% improvement in sound over the stock speakers, but not dramatic. 80% of the improvement is from the front speakers, not the rears. Not as good as quality aftermarket speakers used with a quality aftermarket head unit, amp, etc. I do feel they are overall better quality than the factory speakers, in terms of materials and such.

I know not whether they are an upgrade to or plug-compatible with the earlier two-piece BE1432 head-unit/tuner pack setups.

Cheers,
Gerry
Did the Rainbow front upgrade with the factory crossovers soldered in per others recommendation. Also had a fresh 1492 w BT from Bekker installed. Very nice upgrade, front sound improved greatly. If only more bass could be had from the doors, I'd be very happy. Some may have more research on the topic but soldering the factory crossovers in, may yield more benefit.
 

Duh_Vinci

Active member
Speaking of Rainbow, there is still no authorized dealer in the US for them, isn't there?

You know what disappoints me a great deal with today's retail situation, one can not listen to the speakers and make decision basted on audible impression. The only place I know (that still remotely comes close to that) is Crutchfield, yet still, it is a "virtual" sound room.

I've built many complex sound systems over the years (emphasizing on mostlystock appearance and no reduction of trunk space) my SL320 is no exception, but I'm getting a little to old for all these... For SL500, I think that all I want is a simple system, main 2-3 way separates for the front stage, little bit of a rear fill and a small sub. Crutchfiled sells Focal drivers, may take a trip just to hear them

Regards,
D
 
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maw1124

E500E Enthusiast
Yeah... this car was a struggle for me, because there’s simply nowhere to put anything that sounds good (except for the door boards, high may yet get the nod), and the resale market punishes you severely for any hackery to the cabin, not that I would be in for such (same exception applies). Fortunately over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at reading spec sheets and following who’s making “the good stuff” and what materials they’re using. That can get you close enough for car audio without a listen. Still, like Duh_Vinci, I’m getting too old for it all.

I got this one and the E46M done before I lost patience. Now, I’m thinking about the S55, but I’m having trouble getting my brain around it. I may just throw a Dension and an Audison Bit One at it and call it a day, or at least proceed slowly from there. The speakers may be plug and play for Infiniti Reference or Kappa.

maw
 
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Duh_Vinci

Active member
Simplicity is calling! However, unlike the new generation of cars, including S55, these w124, r129, w140 cars are still simple enough to go through and do a "full upgrade", and certainly can be done discretely. Each time time I started one these "simple" projects, almost felt guilty, thinking to myself "I can do so much more while I'm have it all apart" and that usually turned into extended project...

Now, it is amazing what is stuffed into aftermarket head units now days. DTA settings is a such valuable tool in my book for fine tuning the system, and often offered even on the basic units. Back in the 90's all those pieces had to be purchased as a separate units to get high voltage, ESP, DTA, Bass modules etc. Now days, as long as one does not mind having the the aftermarket head unit and 5-6ch amp: good foundation to start the search for a suitable speakers.

Audison, now, that is one of the few manufacturers that remains quality/premium manufacturers I have great respect for. Shame as much as we loved using Nakamichi units back in the days, didn't survive the test of time, now it is a complete junk!

Memories of the past still linger!

Regards,
D
 

maw1124

E500E Enthusiast
Exactly. Simplicity in head units stopped with the internet, circa 2000. After that, if you want to keep the head unit stock (anything else is a full blown science project), I think you have to start with the sound processor, then move to amps, then decide if you need speakers (like these Rainbows, some new old stock, period correct upgrades). You still have to hope the factory head unit never gives out, and/or buy a spare just in case. I tried that with the M3, but my factory nav screen had pixelated and the technology had just passed it by, so I went with a factory look alike head unit that was plug and play. It’s probably as good as it could get within reason, which is still ... “not perfect” let’s just say.

For the 500E, swapping out all the antique bits for a modern head unit was the best money spent on the car, rewire and all. The sound processing really woke everything up, even with the stock speakers. New fronts and a sub... voila. After that, a rebuilt transmission with FGS VB, then wheels and tires. That’s really all these cars need if they were running well to begin with.

maw
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Any of you old-school types interested in a Nak CD-700, I'm flexible on the price for this one - all details are in the listing:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/302979739496

I have these in several cars and love 'em. I had planned to get this one repaired but can't find anywhere that still works on the CD700.

:(
 

Ntrepid

Active member
Hey Dave -

Is the CD in the unit a good one or one we'd get tired of hearing since it won't eject? ;-)

Maybe Vanilla Ice's Greatest Hit ('s' purposely left off)


Robert
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
LOL! I don't know... it won't play. That is a good point, if it were Foo Fighters Greatest Hits stuck in there and played fine, I'd probably install that head unit my daily driver!

:gsxrock:
 

Duh_Vinci

Active member
...For the 500E, swapping out all the antique bits for a modern head unit was the best money spent on the car, rewire and all. The sound processing really woke everything up, even with the stock speakers. New fronts and a sub... voila...
Not that different from you, on R129, thought about just replacing the Bose units, very inexpensive if you get it directly from Bose. But then again, I remember how flat sounding they were. Once the door panels were off, and I saw the typical warped paper drivers, I just couldn't do it again, so it snow balled... Now 3" midrange and 7" drivers in the doors and tweeters are in the dash, where the old factory phone speakers were. Rear fill also 3" in the factory locations, left the factory base module in the stock location, but replaced that driver with 4ohm unit and 10" shallow sub in trunk (no extra space sacrificed, trunk small enough as it is)

Any of you old-school...Nak CD-700...I have these in several cars and love 'em. ...
I love the simple look of these, just pure! But, once I've tasted the ability of fine tuning the staging and imaging details via DSP, I just could't look back... I could fine tune all of the parameters to the driver's seat only? Whaaaaat???

I found this very old pic of my W201, boy was I happy with all these gadgets (2000-2001???)
 

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gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
I love the analog volume knob on the CD-700. I hate, hate, hate rotary encoder knobs (almost as much as +/- buttons, or toggles like the Becker 1432). The analog is so creamy smooth. You can still use the DSP downstream, and the Nak has selectable digital output...

:tigger:
 

mwaldron

Member
Is there even anything currently available that is comparable to the Nak, I've looked and the only thing I have found with similar DAC is the top of the line Pioneer head unit?

Mark
 

gsxr

.036 Hoonigan™, E500E Boffin
Staff member
Is there even anything currently available that is comparable to the Nak, I've looked and the only thing I have found with similar DAC is the top of the line Pioneer head unit?
Good question, Mark. I'm really not sure. Annother neat feature of the Nak is it has a selectable digital input for both CDC and auxiliary, in case you want to use the sweet DAC in the head unit to convert whatever other digital source you have.

:choochoo:
 

Duh_Vinci

Active member
So Crutchfield, the store in Charlottesville VA. Interesting listening experience that Virtual Sound Room! Very cool concept. Seat back, relax, tell them what speakers you want to listen to: front, rear, sub + amp and magically, based on the speaker profile they have and the track you choose you are immersed into the music. Accurate??? I have my doubts, but it is neat little room.

Focal integration separates for the front and coaxials of the same series for the rear requested from Santa for this R129 project car. Really committed to making it simple this time, will add 5-Ch amp, 10" sub and good to go.
:gsxrock:

Regards,
D

P.S. I really do miss the actual sound rooms, NOT virtual
 
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