emgeesea

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I know there are number a different threads that include discussion of the Alpine PSS-23WRA sound system upgrade for the JL, but as those threads are embedded among other issues/discussions, I thought it would be helpful to have a dedicated thread for those contemplating this upgrade. So here it is...

I purchased and installed this system 2 weeks ago, and overall am very happy with it. I wanted to share a few thoughts re: buying the system, and then on to some installation lessons learned and general tips:

First, on buying: the system is a bit pricey at $1299. You may find a vendor selling it at $1199, but most are at the suggested retail of $1299. The $1299 price can be mitigated, however. The bonus of the PSS system is that you get all of the plug 'n play harnesses, and a custom mounting bracket for the amps, making installation very doable for the layperson. But Pacparts sells all of the harnesses and the mounting brackets that come in the kit for a total of $260. The rest of the PSS kit comprises a KTP-445U amplifier ($170), a PWE-S8 sub woofer ($300) and a pair of SPR-10TW dash tweeters ($120). All together this totals $850 - a far cry from the $1299 sticker price Alpine has put on the combined package. (I understand that bundling should impose some premium, but $450??)

So, the lesson is: you can buy everything the PSS-23WRA kit contains and save $450.

Second, on installation: the system install is fairly straight forward. Some reviewers have claimed they installed in under an hour. I seriously doubt that, as it took me 3, and that is the time that Alpine and Quadratec state should be expected. And you want to do it right, so take your time. The main areas that took me some time:
  1. Running the power cable from the battery underneath the chassis to the entry hole under the passenger seat. Be sure to follow the OEM wiring harness and then tuck your cable along the chassis beam. It helps to take a wire hanger, long zip tie, or anything that can serve as a guide and insert that through the hole under the passenger seat, from inside the vehicle, so that it sticks out below the vehicle. You can then tape the power cable to that and pull it back through the hole to bring the cable to you. Drill a small hole through the rubber floor plug so that you can push the power cable through the rubber plug and have a water tight seal when you reinstall the rubber plug in the floor board.
  2. Reinstalling the passenger seat once the amp assembly is in place. I had to push a bit on the brackets that come with the PSS assembly in order to bend them to line up with the seat mounting holes. And then, a bit more bending to get the seat glide release bracket (metal bracket underneath the seat that lifts when you release the manual seat adjustment rod for forward/backward seat adjustment) to clear the sub woofer housing and fully release. Check this release bracket after installation by looking under the seat as you glide the seat forward and fully backward. On mine, the metal bracket kept bumping up against the sub woofer housing, scraping the housing and not allowing the bracket to fully release. I loosened the seat mounting bolts, pushed hard on the subwoofer toward the center console, and then retightened the seat mounting bolts. This did the trick and allowed the release bracket to clear the sub woofer.
Also, Alpine has mounted the KTP amp with the gain settings for front and rear speakers facing in, toward the center console, instead of out. This is unfortunate because once you install you cannot adjust the gain. And even though Alpine has provided suggested gain settings, I found these to be unreliable because Alpine has different suggestions for these settings between the paper installation manual that came with my PSS system and their online installation manual for the same PSS system. That's right - the same manual has different gain settings for both the KTP amp and the PWE sub woofer. I called Alpine and asked about this; they stated they revised the recommended settings, and their website is most current. The lesson: check Alpine's website before you settle on gain settings, if you are going to go with their suggestions versus establishing your own settings. (And shame on Alpine for not notifying their retailers so the retailers could note this on the product page.) I am considering taking my seat out again and seeing whether I can reverse the mounting of the KTP amp so that the gain settings will be accessible from the door side of the passenger seat. Unfortunately, I don't think the same can be done for the sub woofer because of its size and the shape of the floor well, but it suffers from the same deficiency: the configuration switches and knobs are all on the end that faces the center console, and are inaccessible once installed. So, you may want to see whether you can reverse the mounting of the KTP amp before you complete the installation, just in case you want to fiddle with front and rear speaker gains later.

Overall, I recommend this kit, as it has greatly improved the sound in my JL. I have the 7" factory head unit, and OEM 4" knee panel speakers. Both of these do not require improvement, in my opinion. I did opt to replace the sound bar (roll bar) component speakers with 6.5" coaxials using the SSV Works adaptor plate, and that worked well to improve the fill sound that the rear speakers provide. But most of the sound comes from the front of the vehicle and the sub, so not absolutely necessary to do this, again, in my opinion. The PSS-23WRA is a big improvement on its own, and worth the spend. And if you can do it for the $850 that the components cost, you've got a great sound system upgrade for a helluva price.
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Williamj

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Great write up, I am surprised no one has commented yet. I will be doing a pacparts order to save some money. I know this isn’t a custom system but want plug and play.
 
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emgeesea

emgeesea

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Great write up, I am surprised no one has commented yet. I will be doing a pacparts order to save some money. I know this isn’t a custom system but want plug and play.
Thanks, and good luck with the install. If you were not aware, Quadratec has an excellent installation video on Youtube (and their website) for this system that walks you through every step. Worth following as you do the installation, since Alpine's instructions are pretty poor.

Let us know here how it goes! I'd be interested in hearing your opinion of the installed system.
 
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emgeesea

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I know there are number a different threads that include discussion of the Alpine PSS-23WRA sound system upgrade for the JL, but as those threads are embedded among other issues/discussions, I thought it would be helpful to have a dedicated thread for those contemplating this upgrade. So here it is...

I purchased and installed this system 2 weeks ago, and overall am very happy with it. I wanted to share a few thoughts re: buying the system, and then on to some installation lessons learned and general tips:

First, on buying: the system is a bit pricey at $1299. You may find a vendor selling it at $1199, but most are at the suggested retail of $1299. Alpine is currently offering a $200 rebate, so that helps, but for some reason they rejected my rebate application stating that Quadratec, from where I purchased, is NOT an authorized Alpine retailer, and the rebate offer is only good when purchased through an authorized retailer. Of course, I brought this to Quadratec's attention, and while they adamantly state they absolutely ARE an authorized Alpine retailer - and I believe them - they have taken no steps to contact Alpine and sort this out on my (and others) behalf. So, be careful where you buy if you expect to take advantage of the rebate! But I digress...

The $1299 price (or $1099 if you get in on the rebate), can be mitigated, however. The bonus of the PSS system is that you get all of the plug 'n play harnesses, and a custom mounting bracket for the amps, making installation very doable for the layperson. But Pacparts sells all of the harnesses and the mounting brackets that come in the kit for a total of $260. The rest of the PSS kit comprises a KTP-445U amplifier ($170), a PWE-S8 sub woofer ($300) and a pair of SPR-10TW dash tweeters ($120). All together this totals $850 - a far cry from the $1299 sticker price Alpine has put on the combined package. (I understand that bundling should impose some premium, but $450??)

So, the lesson is: you can buy everything the PSS-23WRA kit contains and save $450 (or currently $250, considering the rebate).

Second, on installation: the system install is fairly straight forward. Some reviewers have claimed they installed in under an hour. I seriously doubt that, as it took me 3, and that is the time that Alpine and Quadratec state should be expected. And you want to do it right, so take your time. The main areas that took me some time:
  1. Running the power cable from the battery underneath the chassis to the entry hole under the passenger seat. Be sure to follow the OEM wiring harness and then tuck your cable along the chassis beam. It helps to take a wire hanger, long zip tie, or anything that can serve as a guide and insert that through the hole under the passenger seat, from inside the vehicle, so that it sticks out below the vehicle. You can then tape the power cable to that and pull it back through the hole to bring the cable to you. Drill a small hole through the rubber floor plug so that you can push the power cable through the rubber plug and have a water tight seal when you reinstall the rubber plug in the floor board.
  2. Reinstalling the passenger seat once the amp assembly is in place. I had to push a bit on the brackets that come with the PSS assembly in order to bend them to line up with the seat mounting holes. And then, a bit more bending to get the seat glide release bracket (metal bracket underneath the seat that lifts when you release the manual seat adjustment rod for forward/backward seat adjustment) to clear the sub woofer housing and fully release. Check this release bracket after installation by looking under the seat as you glide the seat forward and fully backward. On mine, the metal bracket kept bumping up against the sub woofer housing, scraping the housing and not allowing the bracket to fully release. I loosened the seat mounting bolts, pushed hard on the subwoofer toward the center console, and then retightened the seat mounting bolts. This did the trick and allowed the release bracket to clear the sub woofer.
Also, Alpine has mounted the KTP amp with the gain settings for front and rear speakers facing in, toward the center console, instead of out. This is unfortunate because once you install you cannot adjust the gain. And even though Alpine has provided suggested gain settings, I found these to be unreliable because Alpine has different suggestions for these settings between the paper installation manual that came with my PSS system and their online installation manual for the same PSS system. That's right - the same manual has different gain settings for both the KTP amp and the PWE sub woofer. I called Alpine and asked about this; they stated they revised the recommended settings, and their website is most current. The lesson: check Alpine's website before you settle on gain settings, if you are going to go with their suggestions versus establishing your own settings. (And shame on Alpine for not notifying their retailers so the retailers could note this on the product page.) I am considering taking my seat out again and seeing whether I can reverse the mounting of the KTP amp so that the gain settings will be accessible from the door side of the passenger seat. Unfortunately, I don't think the same can be done for the sub woofer because of its size and the shape of the floor well, but it suffers from the same deficiency: the configuration switches and knobs are all on the end that faces the center console, and are inaccessible once installed. So, you may want to see whether you can reverse the mounting of the KTP amp before you complete the installation, just in case you want to fiddle with front and rear speaker gains later.

Overall, I recommend this kit, as it has greatly improved the sound in my JL. I have the 7" factory head unit, and OEM 4" knee panel speakers. Both of these do not require improvement, in my opinion. I did opt to replace the sound bar (roll bar) component speakers with 6.5" coaxials using the SSV Works adaptor plate, and that worked well to improve the fill sound that the rear speakers provide. But most of the sound comes from the front of the vehicle and the sub, so not absolutely necessary to do this, again, in my opinion. The PSS-23WRA is a big improvement on its own, and worth the spend. And if you can do it for the $850 that the components cost, you've got a great sound system upgrade for a helluva price.
As an update to this post: I did remove the passenger seat to see about changing the mounting position of the KTP amp so that the gain controls would be facing out instead of in, and thereby be accessible. No go - the harnesses are too short. Additionally, the KTP amp is designed with fins on one side that help with cooling. If you were to reverse the mount, these fins would be facing against the sub woofer instead of open air, possibly impeding cooling, So, the KTP stays put.

On a positive note: I noticed that while you also cannot reverse the mounting position of the sub woofer, you actually can access the sub woofer controls even though they also face the center console. There is enough room between the console and the controls to both see and adjust them, if desired.

So, be sure to set the KTP gains where you want them before you finish the seat re-installation.You don't want to be taking that seat in and out, as every time you're likely to scratch something. I did. :(

Lastly, another tip: be sure to mount the sub woofer remote control knob where you can easily get to it, like next to the 4WD shifter, on the side of the console. (Though Quadratec recommends mounting it under the passenger seat - no, no!) I find I use that control fairly frequently, as songs are recorded with widely varying levels of bass, and having that control knob accessible makes it easy to adjust the bass on the fly.
 
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TJJL19

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emgeesea, did you use all of your RCA cables, if you didn't, do you have a RCA cable that has the same end ,that is used, to plug into the main wire harness for the subwoofer?
 

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Nice write-up and great info! A couple of weeks ago, I went through PacParts to order the harnesses and sourced the KTP-445U through Crutchfield (since I had already upgraded the top dash speakers and already had a powered subwoofer installed under the passenger seat). Thanks for sending me the PacParts link! For those who are in the same situation, you can get the harnesses and amplifier for under $300, and it's all plug and play.

I also agree regarding the improvement in sound. It's surprising how much impact that little Alpine KTP amp has on the overall performance of the factory system (especially if you upgrade the speakers). Fortunately, I was able to mount the KTP up above my glovebox, because I did find myself fiddling with the gains for a few days (plus, the KTP allows for hi-pass settings that I've adjusted a few times as well).

The $450 difference between purchasing the components separately vs. the complete PSS system, is really hard to understand... glad Alpine made the components available through PacParts!
 
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emgeesea

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Nice write-up and great info! A couple of weeks ago, I went through PacParts to order the harnesses and sourced the KTP-445U through Crutchfield (since I had already upgraded the top dash speakers and already had a powered subwoofer installed under the passenger seat). Thanks for sending me the PacParts link! For those who are in the same situation, you can get the harnesses and amplifier for under $300, and it's all plug and play.

I also agree regarding the improvement in sound. It's surprising how much impact that little Alpine KTP amp has on the overall performance of the factory system (especially if you upgrade the speakers). Fortunately, I was able to mount the KTP up above my glovebox, because I did find myself fiddling with the gains for a few days (plus, the KTP allows for hi-pass settings that I've adjusted a few times as well).

The $450 difference between purchasing the components separately vs. the complete PSS system, is really hard to understand... glad Alpine made the components available through PacParts!
Glad the write-up was useful. I'm curious where you ended up with your settings on the KTP amp? Can you post a pic?

I did not change Alpine's recommended settings for the filters, and only slightly increased the front and rear gains to 9 o'clock. I used the settings below for all, which come from the Alpine installation manual for the PSS-23WRA system...

IMG_3237.jpeg
 
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emgeesea

emgeesea

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emgeesea, did you use all of your RCA cables, if you didn't, do you have a RCA cable that has the same end ,that is used, to plug into the main wire harness for the subwoofer?
I have 2 RCA cables that were not used...

IMG_3272.jpeg


IMG_3274.jpeg
 

TJJL19

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I have 2 RCA cables that were not used...

IMG_3272.jpeg


IMG_3274.jpeg
When you connected the subwoofer under the seat, with the RCA cable, is the connector the same as the RCA, labeled SUB, in your picture?
I'm interested in the one labeled sub,let me know what arrangement you want to make.
 
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emgeesea

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When you connected the subwoofer under the seat, with the RCA cable, is the connector the same as the RCA, labeled SUB, in your picture?
I'm interested in the one labeled sub,let me know what arrangement you want to make.
I don't recall which connections were made, so I can't say which cables were used for what. I would suggest you buy the RCA cables kit from Pacparts, as it has all of the RCA cables that are needed for installing the Alpine sub and amp:

https://www.pacparts.com/part_model...RA&row_start=1&src_model_id=&action=list_part
 
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emgeesea said:
Glad the write-up was useful. I'm curious where you ended up with your settings on the KTP amp? Can you post a pic?

I did not change Alpine's recommended settings for the filters, and only slightly increased the front and rear gains to 9 o'clock. I used the settings below for all, which come from the Alpine installation manual for the PSS-23WRA system...

IMG_3237.jpeg
For the hi-pass, I set the front channels- where the speakers are 4"- to 120Hz. This means the amp reduces the signal sent to the speaker for frequencies below 120Hz. For the rear channels- where the speakers are 6.5"- I set the hi-pass to 80Hz. On the sub, I set the low-pass to 120Hz (so frequencies below 120Hz are filtered from the smaller speakers, and frequencies above 120Hz are filtered from the subwoofer). After a couple days of fiddling, this seemed to be the best setting. I don't understand why Alpine would recommend turning the hi-pass filter off for the smaller speakers- that doesn't make sense.
d8111dc33b747e5db022cbed535696582eff9536.jpg


As far as the gain settings, I ended up with 9 o'clock for the front channel and about 10 o'clock for the rear channel. I should probably turn these down just a smidge, since I start to get distortion around 34 (I think the radio goes to 38 for volume), but I set the gains up to be optimal at my usual listening level (which is now 20). At 20, I am now thumping away when the top and doors are on and with the gains in this position 25-26 is quite enough when the doors and top are off.
5dbe57e14aa930c20cae13562bd833da5f375006.jpg
 

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If you don't need the RCA marked sub,I'll buy it from you.The RCA cables are on back order
What is your mailing address? I'll send it to you for the cost of postage. I don't know what that will be for a padded envelope sent regular mail (I'll know when I get to the post office, but likely under $5, plus the envelope), but if you want to pay $8.30 I can send it priority mail flat rate...

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 6.12.30 PM.png
 
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emgeesea

emgeesea

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For the hi-pass, I set the front channels- where the speakers are 4"- to 120Hz. This means the amp reduces the signal sent to the speaker for frequencies below 120Hz. For the rear channels- where the speakers are 6.5"- I set the hi-pass to 80Hz. On the sub, I set the low-pass to 120Hz (so frequencies below 120Hz are filtered from the smaller speakers, and frequencies above 120Hz are filtered from the subwoofer). After a couple days of fiddling, this seemed to be the best setting. I don't understand why Alpine would recommend turning the hi-pass filter off for the smaller speakers- that doesn't make sense.
d8111dc33b747e5db022cbed535696582eff9536.jpg


As far as the gain settings, I ended up with 9 o'clock for the front channel and about 10 o'clock for the rear channel. I should probably turn these down just a smidge, since I start to get distortion around 34 (I think the radio goes to 38 for volume), but I set the gains up to be optimal at my usual listening level (which is now 20). At 20, I am now thumping away when the top and doors are on and with the gains in this position 25-26 is quite enough when the doors and top are off.
5dbe57e14aa930c20cae13562bd833da5f375006.jpg
Thanks very much for this. I did not understand what the filter settings did; now that I do, I'll make the same changes. Fortunately, the dip switches are accessible with the KTP mounted under the seat, so an easy change.

The gain settings drive me nuts. When I did remove the passenger seat to get access to these controls on the KTP, I fiddled with them a bit, but it seemed like anything above 9 o'clock resulted in too much noise. Maybe my ears are bad - I'm old. Yet at the same time, 25 is barely kicking it to me, let alone 20, which seems too quiet, and I find myself wanting more volume - but clean volume. I tried setting the rear speakers a bit higher, at 10-11 o'clock, since I installed higher end Alpine R-Series 6.5s back there, but then too much sound was coming from behind me, and that did not feel natural. So, I backed those down to be equal with the fronts. Bottom line: I'm having a hell of a time getting the sound to where I'm really happy with it.

Funny thing too: right after first installing the PSS system I loved it. It seemed miles better than the factory system. Now all of sudden it seems somewhat less spectacular. I honesty don't know what happened.
 
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