This project is not an easy one - After losing much hair, drinking many beers, and completing somewhere around 60% of the install, I took it to a local car audio shop and had them finish.
For those of you that have more patience than me, and are more electronically savvy, here is the (or one of the) proper way to upgrade your factory infinity sound system.
Choose your speakers. For my application, I used the following:
Polk Audio DXI6500 component speakers - dash
Polk Audio db651s speakers - roll bar
JL Audio 8" sub - fits factory sub enclosure, single coil. ***You can pick a sub(s) that better suit your application, larger, more powerful, whatever, but you will need a custom box. In my case, this sub is PERFECT - it doesn't take away from storage space, and it as a 100% upgrade from factory. I'm not into the embarrasing, rattle your vehicle bumping crap you regularly hear out of 17 year old Barettas
I used the Jensen Power 5500 amplifier to power said speakers - this is a 5-channel, 500 watt amp
I used the MTX re-Q sound processor, more on this, why you need it, and other viable options later.
I will provide an overview of the install, a basic verbal diagram, as it worked for me. I will not step-by-step walk you through the install - the reason for this being...If you need a step-by-step walkthrough, chances are that you have no experience wiring sound systems, or only minimal experience wiring simple sound systems...if this is you (like me), have a professional do it for you, or proceed at your own risk - it is entirely too easy (with the infinity system) to create problems much more expensive than the cost of install. To avoid extra cost, bring everything that you need to your installer:
- Components for the dash
- speakers for the roll bar
- 2 or 5 channel sound processor (2-channel will suffice, but you will lose the ability to fade...that is, adjust volume to only the front or rear), more on this later
- 5-channel amplifier
- subwoofer of your choice - refer to my explanation above...if you're not into the thumping stuff, the sub I used is extraordinary - hits deep lows, very clean
- Amplifier wiring kit (will include (1) 17' RCA patch cable)
- 1 extra 17' RCA patch cable (more will be necessary if you buy a 5-channel processor)
- (2) 1 female to 2 male RCA cables
- Plenty of speaker wire
The way you set this up is as follows
Locate the factory amplifier, behind this panel (beneath steering wheel, at the driver's knees):
Pop the panel off and you will normally see an unpainted metal plate with four bolts. Remove the four bolts (they hold the factory amp to the top side of that metal plate) and you can wiggle the amp out from the back side (firewall side). My crossovers and sound processor are mounted to this plate:
Your factory amp will have two wiring harnesses - the one you are interested in is the smaller of the two, this will feed the sound processor, which will convert to a preamp signal via the patch cables you have -
Tie into the sound processor, run your patch cables to your aftermarket amp, and feed your speakers, components, and sub from the amp. Notice the factory sub is a dual coil - I used a single coil aftermarket, so which coil do I feed into the sound processor, 1 or 2? The answer is that it really doesn't matter. I used factory coil +/- #1 from the factory amp.
Using the 2-channel processor, my fronts and rears are being fed the rear signal. The combination of the processor and amplifier can be adjusted to properly set your speakers, with the dash being a little louder than the rears (having a pro do the install benefits someone like me, here...I would just start turning knobs and have no idea what the hell I was doing). you will lose the ability to fade.
For the extra cost of the 5-channel, I don't really care about the fade function. Sound quality was not sacrificed, at least not to my ear, as it is 1K times better than the infinity system. The sub receives its own signal (one patch cable is for the subs, one is for the rears, which is split to the front and rears from the aftermarket amp).
This subwoofer does fit in the factory enclosure, which is why I opted to go this route. I did have reservations with regards to the quality of sound prior to purchasing (this was a very inexpensive sub when compared to its competition), but from what I understood, JL audio is a good product so I gave it a shot. I am very happy with the results - performance far exceeds cost. I was not able to retain the factory plastic sub cover
Anyone have suggestions here for protecting the woofer?
You might do more research on the amp than I did - no problems with performance, and I like that it has a 17' remote subwoofer level controller. I haven't run it to the front yet, but it is nice to be able to adjust the sub level on the fly. My problem is the size...this was the only feasible place to mount, killing storage:
Factory amp out feeds into the sound processor via rears (in my instance), converts to preamp and runs to aftermarket amp, which feeds speakers.
There are many choices for sound processors, and if money is not an option, I'm sure you can find something to use otherwise - but the MTX re-Q is a fantastic choice if you want to save a few dollars. I am very very happy with the results of my install.