YJ Sound System Upgrades - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-20-2019, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
cushtech
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YJ Sound System Upgrades

Back in 2008 I did a write up on replacing the factory speakers with some Polk 4x6's.

https://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f12/...ite-up-554831/

A couple of years later the foam surrounds rotted out and I decided to make some changes to improve the sound quality in the jeep. I've experimented a lot since then but haven't got around to documenting things until now. I'll be adding things until I catch up to where I am now. Just wanted to get things down in case they can help other folks out.

Stage 1. Replacing the 4x6's
Time to ditch foam surrounds. Rather than put another set of 4x6's in, I decided to install a set of Morel Dotech 4 woofers (long discontinued) I had sitting on a shelf. Nice speakers with large magnets and rubber surrounds. I fabricated a mounting plate for them out of two layers of plywood. The speaker mounts to the rear layer and the front layer acts as a spacer covering the screws and mounting clips so everything mounts flush to the dash. I coated the wood with West Systems epoxy to seal the mounting plate.

I had to notch the spacer plate on one side so it would fit properly where the dash mounts to the body. Some spray adhesive made attaching the grill cloth easy.

These made a huge difference in sound quality. The Morels are a big improvement over the Polks (and the factory speakers) and are still going strong.






Coming up - new tweeters.

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post #2 of 13 Old 09-25-2019, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Stage 2 - New Tweeters
It's obvious that the YJ was not designed with sound in mind. The factory dash speaker locations suck. The speakers are too low and are set back so they are blocked by the dash. This cuts off the high end and muffles the sound. Speaker pods on the floor or in the back suffer from the same problems. Overhead sound bars are better but since you aren't facing them you still lose sound quality.

Ideally speakers would be mounted in front of you at ear level. This gives you the best sound quality, dispersion and imaging. To achieve this my solution was to add tweeters on top of the dash. The Morel Dotech 4 tweeters were ok but I was looking for better sounding units that were easier to install. After some research I ended up with Morel MDT-41 top mount tweeters. It's a 28mm silk soft dome tweeter with a wide frequency range. They are made for home speaker systems but have held up well in the jeep for over 10 years. I'm a big fan of Dynaudio tweeters like the D28af and the Morels come close. The MDT-41 tweeters' wide frequency range and power handling capabilities allowed me to cross them over at 3500 Hz with a single capacitor.

Mounting them was easy. I just screwed the bases to the dash and slid the tweeters onto them. I had to add spacers made out of half inch plywood to raise the tweeters up to clear the front of the dash. (One day I'll get around to painting them or making something nicer.) On the driver's side I had to screw into the metal VIN plate. I added an L bracket to add some support.

The result was a huge sound upgrade. After some tweaking I had clearer, detailed sound with great imaging. The soundstage has nice width and depth. The system plays nice and loud. I can drive 65 mph with the top down and still hear all the music clearly. They might look a little funky but totally worth it.




Since I installed these, tweeter pods have become more common in car audio. Using pods / separates has huge benefits. If you're planning on upgrading your stereo I highly recommend them.

The MDT-41s have been discontinued but Renaissance Audio has similar tweeters. They've discontinued them too but Mikhael Shabani of Renaissance said he may have a few on the shelves.


Head unit : Alpine CDA-9856
Amp : Alpine MRPF300
Rear Speakers : Boston Acoustics 6x9's in Thor / VDP Sound Wedges
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-26-2019, 01:26 PM
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As a musical guy who plays a variety of instruments and appreciates music like I do, I can appreciate sound system upgrades so I can appreciate what you're doing here.

That said, was there no other more creative way to incorporate tweeters? I dont think i am a fan of the location chosen. Sure, it is the most direct route to the driver and passenger in the front, but it seems like an eye sore and can probably hamper some interior setups.

I have not searched, but I am certain you could find some sort of pods that could gave been incorporated into the windshield frame (side) and actually gone ahead and mounted multiple tweeters there. Or, as it seems you're a skilled guy who plans very well, you probably could have constructed something along those lines for a cleaner install. Or probably hollowed out some sections in the front of the dash pad itself and cut appropriately sized holes feeding the wiring from behind the pad and mounting multiple tweeters that way (I have always thought about using that space for something cool and modernized, but it would be a waste of time and $$ for me because the YJ dash is not part of my end goals with the jeep)

But, do keep updating ...as I find YJ stereo system upgrades, especially creative ones, fascinating reads.

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
~YJOTM JULY '19~
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-26-2019, 01:30 PM
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The doors could probably also be a good spot... just another thought. Lots of hollow sections for low profile tweeters

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
~YJOTM JULY '19~
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-26-2019, 05:17 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, they're ugly. I definitely went with function before form. The tweeters were the best quality I found at the time that were easy to mount. Not the cleanest install and not the prettiest. However, I liked the sound so much that I quickly got used to the strange things sitting on top of the dash.

Putting things in the doors was ruled out as I am constantly pulling them off and putting them back on in the warmer months.

I made some initial sketches for some pods that would make things look nicer but decided to shelve that idea to work on some designs close to what you are describing. They'll be fuller range speakers that will mount near the windshield frame. Imagine a sound bar on each side. Hopefully more on that later.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-26-2019, 06:17 PM
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That sounds interesting.

Lookin forward to the progress

Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
~YJOTM JULY '19~
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-28-2019, 02:03 PM
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I have Polk Audio speakers all the way around, the waterproof ones, and they sound great. I have the 4x6 plates up front that have a separate tweeter in them that is mounted above the 4" speaker on the plate and not over the speaker like on a 4x6. Then in the back I have the Tuffy Security boxes that have a mounting spot for 6x9's and I have the same Polk Audio series for them as well. In the back I have a Kicker 10" in a molded enclosure that all came from Quadratec and the amp is mounted in the Tuffy box so it's safe. The sub fires down so it can be out in the elements and it doesn't really get wet because it is under the box. I love my stereo and you can hear it just fine at 65 with the top off on the highway.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-28-2019, 06:57 PM
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I have JBL GTO 4x6's in dash and 6x9's in a quality soundbar. The have aimable tweeters.
And a Kenwood sub under the drivers seat.
Driving the system is a media-only Kenwood receiver. It's about half-sized without a useless CD player and much lighter.

None of these components take up any valuable room in the Jeep and are quite theft-resistant.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-29-2019, 06:18 AM
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Well a YJ is never going to have perfect stereo imaging.However, using the four by sixes or something decent in the stock dash locationWell at least tip the hat to proper stereo imaging.

But those alone really double don’t provide a decent sound field. I’m a strong believer in a proper sound field.

So many YJ’s are put together with one of the two most common ridiculous pods that blast you with volume but don’t do anything for imaging or quality. Their primary purpose is to separate you from your money and sound bad while they take up a lot of space. The Doppler canceling and resultant imaging issues just make directional noise, not music imho. A 12-string, actually musical country vocal harmony, or even Bach organ played from a sound pod will give you noise fatigue quite quickly. (The 6x9 pods made for the fender/rollbar space can probably work in a 6-speaker arrangement if you clip the tweeters and still use a sound bar and small sub).

I have an older pair of pioneer four by sixes in the dash spots that have a halfway decent large magnet, some 5 inch or 5 1/4‘s in a sound bar with big magnets, and a kenwood powered 8” sub under the back seat. It’s not the best (chrisnvegas’ setup is probs better but it’s still a jeep so...) but it sounds decent without being a loud obnoxious blast that misses the stereo field the recording engineers design(ed) into the music. While not stereophonically correct (it can’t be) it is a reasonable nod to quality. I drive it with a $20 Dual mechless receiver from walmartha which is 95% as good as the $200+ pioneer that died under a windshield leak. I drive the sound bar with the rear speaker channels, but use the fader to have them turned down about 15%- you hear them but don’t identify the sound as directly overhead: the sound field is forward. The soundbar with the larger surface area speakers fill the lower mids and upper “bass” which is important in the poor audio configuration of a jeep. (The kenwood powered sub is barely adequate at ~4-1/2”x8” but it does have an adjustable cutoff to attenuate the boomy nasally sound in the 200-300Hz range. I bought it as an 8” sub but it doesn’t have quite right of a sound without the full surface area. I didn’t read the specs carefully enough; it’s ok, just not that great)

FYI I folded and taped a layer of Saran Wrap over the top before sliding it into place. Which works out well since the brand-new Omix “cowl seal” sucks pretty bad and leaks significantly in a heavy rain. It’s been a year and it sheds water instead of smoking out.

[size=3]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
Cranking IS turning over
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-29-2019, 07:20 AM
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If better actual bass is important to you, a free-air non-enclosed 8” shallow-basket woofer and potentiometer(s) with an inexpensive single channel amp can probably offer a decent-sounding balanced system output (i.e. not attack you with “hit” like a bazooka or comp subwoofer).
Something like this (about 4” deep) might be what I fool around with down the road https://www.parts-express.com/pedocs...spec-sheet.pdf
If your rear seat is raised a couple inches (mine is) it will fit fine and could be firmly mounted with z-brackets made from 1/4” thick 2” steel strap. Free-air mounted woofers can have issues I know but with low enough power -and using a crossover and cut-out- should keep it from misbehaving.

[size=3]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
Cranking IS turning over
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-29-2019, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishadventure View Post
. I drive it with a $20 Dual mechless receiver from walmartha
...did you just assume Walmart's gender?
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Stop whining about the 'ride' - If your YJ ain't wrangling your soul free, then might I suggest you buy a stationwagon... at least you can fit all your bull**** in the back.
~YJOTM MAY '16~
~YJOTM JULY '19~
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-29-2019, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinjeeper View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishadventure View Post
. I drive it with a $20 Dual mechless receiver from walmartha
...did you just assume Walmart's gender?
eh. not really. just my sense of language humor.
Martha Stewart + Walmart = walmartha, right?

[size=3]Shackles & D-rings are different things.
Cranking IS turning over
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post #13 of 13 Old 09-29-2019, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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Stage 3 - A Subwoofer Experiment
The last sound project was to try out some things to add some more bass. The rear 6x9's were acting as my subwoofers and were ok. I wanted something with some lower bass response and enclosures that wouldn't buzz at high volumes. Time for another experiment.

I considered a few options including converting the rear seat, Tuffy boxes in the back and putting one behind the seat. I looked at the space in the front of the Jeep and thought I'd see if I could put a sub in the space under the middle of the dash. There's not much room there but the Tymphany/Peerless GBS-250F38CP01-04 10" Woofer is a low profile driver that only needs a .3 cubic foot enclosure to go down to 72Hz. The driver is a little different than others as it is a protruding dome rather than a flat or cone driver. It has 6mm of excursion so I can play around with boosting the low end with the head unit's eq.

The enclosure is built from 1/2 MDF. It's just about .3 cubic feet. I had some Herculiner hanging around so I slapped on a coat to add some weatherproofing and to reduce cabinet vibrations. I painted it black so it wouldn't stand out as much as the light gray. I removed the ashtray and cutoff the bolt. The fit is pretty tight and the back of the sub is up against the heating vents. There was enough room to mount an old ADS PS5 power amp I had sitting around. In bridged mode it has enough wattage to power the sub. None of the shifters hits the sub but I am thinking about getting a metal grill for it.






I was pleased with way things came out. The low end response is fast and solid. I get a lot of punch that the rear 6x9's can't provide. I need to run some frequency response curves to get things correctly balanced but that's a project for another day.

The end result of all the additions is a huge improvement in my YJ's sound. Sweet high end, solid low end and nice stereo imaging. Needs some more tweaking but it's close to a quality pair of home speakers. I also now have one of the stranger looking YJ interiors out there. Funky stuff on the dash and a bulbous sub under it. I'm not bothered by the looks and the sound more than makes up for them. We'll see if the sub driver holds up being so exposed to the sun and to things hitting it.

For now this will work for me but in the future I'd like to build some full range speakers that will allow me to eliminate having to put speakers in the factory locations. I also bought a MiniDSP unit that looks interesting.
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