Jeep JKU Aftermarket Stereo/Speaker/Sound Discussion - JeepForum.com
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-20-2021, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
MCMike37
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Jeep JKU Aftermarket Stereo/Speaker/Sound Discussion

So I didn't really find a good thread to post in either this forum or the Audio forums that would really work so I'll start a new one. Grab a Coke and a smile as this will be a little lengthy as I need to split it up into three posts. Pictures to come.

Below is the list of equipment installed in my Jeep and I'll give thoughts down below. I would consider myself an audiophile in most regards, but not a fanatic that wants to spend insane amounts of money to make a vehicle sound perfect, but I do want it to sound good.


Stuff that I bought and didn't work or have replaced

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post #2 of 6 Old 07-20-2021, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Installation and Parts Discussion
I initially went with the easy Kicker upgrades which when paired to the stock radio offered an improvement in loudness, but not really in quality as the stock headunit is only so good. When I did these I did stuff bunch of poly-fill into each enclosure as well, how much that helped I am not sure but since I had them open I figured I would do it.

Flash forward to last week or so when the radio starting randomly cutting out every few seconds. I had purchased most of the items in the list above years ago with the intent of replacing it all back then and just never got around to it. This situation forced my hand and I decided to do it in earnest this time.

It all starts with a good head unit and I made the choice based off a lot of research and the ability to adjust a lot of sound parameters. The 80PRS gets great reviews and I actually ended up buying two, one for my car and one for the Jeep. It's discontinued now and not sure if there was ever a "real" successor to it. My previous headunit in my car was a Kenwood eXcelon that like the 80PRS was billed as an excellent quality unit with audio adjustments. They still had some great options but the 80PRS got the better reviews when I purchased it. I also still rock an iPod classic and this headunit allows you to plug it in and still control it via the iPod buttons or the HU or steering wheel. Yeah, I know Iím old school.

I bought all the appropriate stuff to mount it as listed above. No issues with any of it, the Axxess ASWC-1 worked right out of the box without any problems and retained all the steering wheel functions. You could skip the speaker harnesses if you want to cut and solder, I liked the plug and play as I didn't want to mess with running new wires through the rubber grommets into the speaker boxes. Also picked up random amp wiring kit, speaker wire, and RCA cables as well.

I deiced to stick with Infinity for speakers as I used their Perfects in my car for the better part of two decades before one of them died. That being said I knew it was a Jeep and with significantly more cabin noise I couldn't see spending that type of money again which is how I ended up with my above selection. There are plenty of great speakers out there, just depends on how much you want to spend. I did my research based mostly on Amazon and Crutchfield and when I narrowed it down searched for reviews on the speakers that I was choosing between. Of note, I originally purchase two sets to replace them all but as of right now my rear speakers are completely disconnected, more on that later.

The sub and I have a lot of history spanning 20 years. It was originally purchased for my car as a "temporary" solution that I ended up like and sticking with. At some point the internal amp died so I ripped it apart and just ran wires to an amp. Then I ended up with a spare Pyle subwoofer which was intended for a different project and was the right size to drop it into the enclosure to replace the sub that was already in there. I personally think it sounds really good, great fill and still able to do some rattling. It won't win any competitions but I also like that I can move it around depending on my needs. It currently sits behind the passenger seat and is a great step for my daughter to get in and out of her car seat. If I need to put the seats down I left the wires long enough I just move it to where I need to.

The Alpine amp sits behind the glovebox, and I am waiting on the RF amp to come in which I will mount beneath the passenger seat. Bought the Marine version to ensure I never have to worry about it in that location if I leave the doors off.

Pulling the dash was painful but it made running all the new wires and getting the front speakers boxes out very easy. I picked up some 80mil sound deadening material and lined the front boxes both inside and out as well as leaving in the polyfill stuffing. I would say that I roughly doubled the weight of the boxes which should help with the sound quality as well. I know I have read some instances of folks actually drilling ports in the boxes but though was going to be too much work for what I feel it was worth.

The speakers arenít direct replacements so I needed speaker rings. I purchased the Scosche ones but was unhappy with the fit of them. That is when I purchased the other ones, but the issue with them is they were obviously 3D printed out of material that is not very rigid. Even with using 1/16Ē foam, screwing them down deformed them and I could easily bend them to create air gaps on the sides. But, when I screwed on the speakers to the those rings they acted as braces and now there is no air gap in either box. If I could co back again, I would have just made some myself out of MDF.

I also initially thought to try to make the stock subwoofer enclosure work hence the shallow mount Pioneer sub, which does in fact fit perfecting in that box. Again, if I could go back again I would have skipped that purchase and just stuck with the singe sub. That being said, I currently have it hooked up in stereo with the Pyle sub and my HU auto-adjusted for itís performance and location. It puts out sound certainly, but nothing compared to the Bazooka tube. When the RF amp gets here Iíll cut it out completely and probably will look to buy the non-subwoofer plastic pieces to completely get rid of it. The other thought I have is to wire the sound bar and that stock sub box to a secondary amp to only run when the doors are off, time will tell if I was to delve into that project.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-20-2021, 10:35 AM Thread Starter
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Overall Impressions
The change as you might expect is stunning. I let the HU run through it’s auto-calibration mode that figures out speaker placement and timing corrections as well as does its initial schwag at an auto-EQ setting. The HU is running in 3-way mode, so only providing outputs to the front tweeters, mids, and the subwoofer(s). With the windows up it sounds phenomenal, no harshness at any volume and the staging is amazing. With the windows down and the volume needing to be pushed a little more I had to adjust the mid-levels (Left tends to be too quiet) and also use one of the custom EQs to drop down some of the highs (I think it’s the 5kHz, 8kHz bands by a few dB).

Of note this HU allows you to make changes to the left/right of each channel, even for the EQ, so since my “good” sub is on the left channel I can change the EQ only for that channel and tune the other for the stock sub enclosure (Haven’t done that yet). I can’t even tell that the rear speakers aren't hooked up as I had the fader set to the front by about 4 or 5 clicks for the stock unit.

I honestly would not have guessed it would sound this good with the lousy positioning of the front mids, but the HU overcomes that and everything sounds amazing, from classical, to rap, to rock and everything in-between.
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-20-2021, 04:23 PM
GreenWidow
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I have the sport JK, so i am not sure if my stereo setup is different than stock, but i find this system to produce very good sound. The sub has a perfect level of thump and I can hear all the highs and lows....To each their own, but this is the first vehicle i have owned where i did not want to change the sound system.
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-22-2021, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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I will agree that as time goes on the stock systems in vehicles are better, but even when I just added the subwoofer on it's own it changed the entire sound of the system dramatically. Adjusting the stage for the sound helps a lot too. I would be interested if they programmed in time adjustments for the vehicle, I would imagine not since there is no way to tell it what position in the car to adjust the sound to, at least for the low-end system.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-29-2021, 09:14 AM Thread Starter
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Just an update, I need to rewire my bazooka tube with bigger wire so until then I actually have the Pioneer sub in the stock enclosure wired to the RF amp. To my surprise it sounds fairly decent, although I needed to adjust the EQ pretty significantly to reduce the rattling going on that seems to happen pretty badly in the 80-125Hz range. I have some leftover sound material so I think I'll pull it all apart and cover it inside and out and see if that helps with some of the sound. That being said, if you don't want to add an enclosure, replacing the sub and adding an amp to drive it would be a good "cheap" upgrade.

For background, I initially put in that sub to the enclosure, then cut the wires coming from the stock amp and hooked up a cheap amp I had at the time. That did not sound very good as there was no way to really adjust the sound that the stock headhunt was putting out.

So, BLOB (That's bottom line on the bottom) - Upgraded sub in stock enclose with external and stock HU, not so good. Upgraded sub with amp and aftermarket HU, surprisingly good, although not as good as even just my Bazooka setup.
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