Upgrading Non-Alpine Audio

bru22

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Looking to make the system in my new JL sound better. I opted for the non-Alpine system and I am now kind of kicking myself for it, as it isn't that great. Would like to add a 6 channel amp and put some higher end speakers in the factory locations. Would also like to add an aftermarket (small) powered sub as well. Anyone have any insight into this? I have scoured the web and can't really find anything that goes over adding a amplifier to the stock system.
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chuck_tempe

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Hello fellow Jeeper. I used to install car audio for over 12 years and still love a great sound system. I just recently bought a Rubicon WITHOUT the Alpine system. I did demo a Rubicon with the Alpine system and did not like it. On some songs, it sounded very good but not great. The bass was pretty good but there was a huge part of the midbass lacking in the system. The dash speakers did not seem to go low enough to where the subwoofer should seamlessly blend in. On a few songs, I heard the dash speakers distorting very badly and crackling. I was shocked to hear that. Although I would have loved to have HD radio and the nicer touchscreen, I felt that it did not warrant the $1445 cost.

I was thinking of the Kicker KEY180.4 ampllifier and a powered bass box or tube would be a cheaper alternative. The Kicker amp has built in time delay and equalization that is automatically calibrated by playing tones through the system. Again, I have not heard this personally, so I don't know what the results would be like. I am going to examine to see what Jeep has installed for speakers. The factory stereo is pretty decent and may just need better speakers and bass.

My stereo build will be a slow process but I will start by adding a powered Fusion 10" bass tube to help get me by. My Cherokee I traded in had this bass tube in it. I had changed out the speakers in the front dash and doors to JL Audio and the rears to KIcker. I also used a high to low converter to send the signal to a head unit which had a parametric equalizer and time delay. Th main Uconnect unit in the dash was the base 5". I will miss those doors having 6x9 speakers. The Cherokee really did not need a bass tube or box but it sounded way better with one.
 
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bru22

bru22

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Hello fellow Jeeper. I used to install car audio for over 12 years and still love a great sound system. I just recently bought a Rubicon WITHOUT the Alpine system. I did demo a Rubicon with the Alpine system and did not like it. On some songs, it sounded very good but not great. The bass was pretty good but there was a huge part of the midbass lacking in the system. The dash speakers did not seem to go low enough to where the subwoofer should seamlessly blend in. On a few songs, I heard the dash speakers distorting very badly and crackling. I was shocked to hear that. Although I would have loved to have HD radio and the nicer touchscreen, I felt that it did not warrant the $1445 cost.

I was thinking of the Kicker KEY180.4 ampllifier and a powered bass box or tube would be a cheaper alternative. The Kicker amp has built in time delay and equalization that is automatically calibrated by playing tones through the system. Again, I have not heard this personally, so I don't know what the results would be like. I am going to examine to see what Jeep has installed for speakers. The factory stereo is pretty decent and may just need better speakers and bass.

My stereo build will be a slow process but I will start by adding a powered Fusion 10" bass tube to help get me by. My Cherokee I traded in had this bass tube in it. I had changed out the speakers in the front dash and doors to JL Audio and the rears to KIcker. I also used a high to low converter to send the signal to a head unit which had a parametric equalizer and time delay. Th main Uconnect unit in the dash was the base 5". I will miss those doors having 6x9 speakers. The Cherokee really did not need a bass tube or box but it sounded way better with one.
My biggest issue is not having to tear the entire thing apart to add the amp... Trying to do this cost effectively, but more importantly, efficiently. I'd gladly shell out 1k to have a better system. I just upgraded the dash 3.5" and the soundbar 3.5" and that helped quite a bit. Kickpanel 4" still struggles and the 4" "subs" that are in the sound bar cant handle anything.
 

chuck_tempe

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Yesterday, I installed my powered 10" Fusion sub that was from my Cherokee and also swapped out the top dash speakers to some JL Audio 3.5" 2 ways. Talk about a huge improvement. I was surprised that the dash speakers did not distort except at very high volumes. At the moment, those are still powered off of the stock amp. I will need to get a second pair of the JL's for the rear. I do have some old Polk Audio speakers that may fit into the soundbar replacing those 3.5's.

Still thinking about the equipment and speakers I have that I can use instead of going to buy some more equipment. I have spent too much money on stereo equipment in my life.

4" speakers are never going to put out much bass at high volumes. The factory ones are tuned to the enclosures, so changing them out will certainly give you different results. It has to do with the design of the speaker, the "Q" factor. Just like the larger subs, some are made for small enclosures, large enclosures, ports, etc.
 
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bru22

bru22

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Where did you pull the input from? Any details you could provide on the powered sub would be awesome.

Replacing The 3.5” in the dash and sound bar made a world of difference. I snagged the infinity ones on amazon for like 40 bucks a set. I put the resistor on the dash ones, but couldn’t fit them on the sound bar ones. Not sure it’s totally necessary as Jeep had tuned those junky speakers pretty well. If I can get a powered sub, I may just get rid of the 4” subs in the sound bar. They distort way to easily.
 

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I really hope there are some aftermarket 4'' speakers we can swap out in the sound bar like the 3.5 ease.
 
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bru22

bru22

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People have and they haven’t been pleased at all. No bass has been biggest complaint... Jeep did a good job of getting as much out of those 4” speakers as possible, but that means everything is tuned to those speakers. Perhaps if someone can find a mid-range that doesn’t have a tweeter on it that may work?? I think frog makes one but it’s like 500 bucks.
 

emart45

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My biggest issue is not having to tear the entire thing apart to add the amp... Trying to do this cost effectively, but more importantly, efficiently. I'd gladly shell out 1k to have a better system. I just upgraded the dash 3.5" and the soundbar 3.5" and that helped quite a bit. Kickpanel 4" still struggles and the 4" "subs" that are in the sound bar cant handle anything.
I added the JL Audio Powerwedge+ (has amp built in). Couldn't be happier with the setup. It has a quick disconnect so you can remove it if you need the extra cargo space. IT fits really nicely in the trunk either rear facing or passenger facing. Sound quality is better than the Alpine upgrade (did a side by side comparison with a JL owner from work). I had it installed at a shop for ~$200. Also replaced dash/bar speakers with the kickers. Very happy with the sound for less than $500 (bought the powerwedge on CL).
 
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bru22

bru22

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I added the JL Audio Powerwedge+ (has amp built in). Couldn't be happier with the setup. It has a quick disconnect so you can remove it if you need the extra cargo space. IT fits really nicely in the trunk either rear facing or passenger facing. Sound quality is better than the Alpine upgrade (did a side by side comparison with a JL owner from work). I had it installed at a shop for ~$200. Also replaced dash/bar speakers with the kickers. Very happy with the sound for less than $500 (bought the powerwedge on CL).
I didn't realize JL made a powered sub. Can you send me a link? I am not seeing anything. I like the idea of adding a JL sub.
 
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bru22

bru22

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emart45

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Yeah that looks great. I am going to snag one and toss it in this weekend if it gets here in time.
I would suggest adding a remote line control. It makes adjusting the bass so much easier than relying on the stock equalizer.
 

chuck_tempe

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Where did you pull the input from? Any details you could provide on the powered sub would be awesome.

Replacing The 3.5” in the dash and sound bar made a world of difference. I snagged the infinity ones on amazon for like 40 bucks a set. I put the resistor on the dash ones, but couldn’t fit them on the sound bar ones. Not sure it’s totally necessary as Jeep had tuned those junky speakers pretty well. If I can get a powered sub, I may just get rid of the 4” subs in the sound bar. They distort way to easily.

Sorry for a very late reply. Work has been ridiculous. I pulled the signal for the powered bass tube from the rear speaker locations. The powered Fusion sub I have does have a remote for the volume.

Since then, I have installed an old Alpine deck in the glove box and used the front dash speakers as inputs. This old Alpine deck has time delay, crossovers, parametric EQ, sub output and 4x25 watt amp built in. I tinker with the settings all the time to get the sound the way I want it. The Alpine is only powering the front dash top and knee speakers. I have not changed the 4" speakers at all.

I have changed the rears to the same JL Audio speakers as the front. The rears are still being powered off of the stock amp.

The JL speakers are more efficient than the stock speakers, so now the midbass doesn't quite match up with the JL's. Adjusting the level of the front does help but with a clearer sounding system, you notice some songs sound better than others.

On top of the continuing madness of finding a great balance of sound, my right rear decided to stop working on me. :surprised:

As an former audio guy, I will probably continue to change settings, maybe even speakers until the day I no longer drive this. :cwl:
 

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Are there drop in speaker replacements available? or are they all needing some modifications? and hopefully not all $500 either.
 
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bru22

bru22

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Are there drop in speaker replacements available? or are they all needing some modifications? and hopefully not all $500 either.
You can swap the dash speakers and the roll bar speakers quite easily.... Just read through this thread and you will find a few solutions that produce better than stock results for far under $500. What you aren't going to get is a plug and play solution that rivals the upgraded Alpine system for under 500 bucks - or quickly.

This new model Jeep doesn't have a ton of "plug and play" anything at this point - even the exhaust and CAI options can be difficult. This is common with a new model vehicle - with this there will be easier and cheap solutions, but for those that cannot wait, you will need to commit some money, and lots of time.

I read somewhere around these parts that JL is working on a plug and play solution - seemed hopeful, but dude could be full of poo. We shall see.
 
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