Worth it for sure! Every other car I have owned I have installed a custom audio system. Back in the day you didn’t have to worry much about integration, but today you have to balance the functionality of the whole system with the introduction of aftermarket components...and some times it’s just not worth it. The Alpine system, for a stock system is pretty darn good! Price point is not all that bad for what you get considering that everything works well together. I have driven topless and sound holds its own. Of course I would love an EQ to smooth things out a bit, but overall the Alpine system with the 8.4 screen has been great so far.
I'm probably in the minority here, but I feel the stock system is good. Now maybe it's because I didn't fuss with settings in Alpine versions, but the JK alpine setup seemed to have more oomph to me than Alpine in the JLs. I've had the top off in my Sport S and had no issues with clear volume at high speeds. I feel that just adding a hideaway sub is all that is needed to get more punch out of the stock setup. For me, the $1200 price tag for Alpine upgrade was not worth it. Best advice I can give is to go and listen to both systems using music you like and don't be afraid to play with settings. I found using the loudness setting in base system (disabled in Alpine upgrade) gave me what I wanted with Bass at 8, Mid at 2, and Treble at 4.
Alpine is totally worth it, unless you are a totally serious audiophile...
For the layman that likes to listen to music while driving, it’s a pretty sweet setup. No hassle, pre installed, does the job.
Doesn't really answer your question, but you can do something in between, even on a budget. The stock system, while better than a lot of stock systems I've heard, is pretty lacking. I replaced the four 2.5" speakers with 3.5" infinity speakers. at $50 a pair and about 20 minutes to swap them out, not bad. I left the four 4" speakers intact. With this change, the highs are MUCH clearer, but there is no low end. I added an Alpine class D mono (500w rms) amp ($100) and it hides completely under the driver seat. Next, a 10" sub in a 12x12x12 box fits pretty neatly in the 14" wide nook behind the rear seat. (sub $110 / box $30). With factory speaker adapters, wiring kits, etc totaling around $50. Grand total, right around $400. Does it sound as good as the Alpine? No. Does it have the 8.4 screen? No. But an afternoon and $400 can get you pretty good sound!