My Audio Upgrade
I'm making this thread to help anyone considering an audio upgrade and to give my opinion of the equipment I used. This is my first write up so it may be somewhat lengthy but with all the variables involved, I feel the detail is necessary.
I started with the base stereo, the previous owner also added a "Hollywood Sounds" 12" subwoofer and a Lightning Audio 4 ch. amp giving the subwoofer 150 watts. Needless to say, I was in need of an upgrade.
It has taken me about 9 months to finally be done (Will be completed on Friday when my new sub comes in). My overall goal was not to be the loudest on the block, but to have sound quality that I can enjoy inside the car and that can also be loud but retain the sound quality when I want it to (especially when someone at a red light doesn't plan to turn it down out of courtesy when I do!)
All equipment was professionally installed except sound deadener.
Radio: Kenwood KDC-X797
Front Stage: JL Audio C2 6x9 coaxials and C2 3.5" in the dash
Rear: JL Audio C2 6.5" coaxials
Amplifiers: Alpine MRP-F300 4x50 watts, Alpine MRV-M500 1x500 @ 2 ohms, 300 watts @ 4 ohms
Subwoofer: Currently a JL 10W3v3 in JL sealed enclosure BUT just ordered a JL HO110- W6v3 ported enclosure with a 10W6v3 (Both 2 ohm wired)
Doors and hatch are also sound deadened with Stinger Roadkill
My first additions were the radio and front door speakers, I love the Variable color display and have it set to a green that matches the interior lights perfectly. I especially love it with the Limited electroluminescent gagues. The Bluetooth integration is also very nice, with my iPhone 5, it syncs before I'm ready to leave the driveway and allows me to complete phone calls with the external mic and play music easily and wirelessly. It also supports Siri, although I haven't used it much, I do place calls and play specific songs/playlists/artists with it.
The 4 channel amplifier provided the front speakers the power they needed. They are high passed at 100hz and seem like they have endless volume. My subwoofer, although at its max continuous power since the amp was rated at over 550 watts from the birth sheet, distorts before the speakers ever could (26-30 volume)
The sound deadening was a nice addition, although it was over the course of a couple days. I did have to go to work and school with the door panels off a couple times haha. It was my first time taking a panel off, and I broke a ton of clips in the rear hatch. My main goal was to reduce vibrations in and outside the car, and while it did help, the rear wiper motor still makes some noise but the deadener gave the doors a nice weight, providing a solid thud when closing. I'm certain they gave an audible difference to the speakers, but my main goal was reducing the vibrations. That alone was well worth the time and cost. I got 30 Sq Ft of the material for $100 shipped on Amazon plus I have enough leftover to do one more SUV with more to spare.
The JL 10W3 is a great sub, just may not have been for me. It sounds great at moderate volumes but it just doesn't have the output I'm looking for. With the windows up it is nice and loud in the car. Just two notches up on the volume with the windows down, distortion is audible. I'm really thinking the increased power handling, overall capability and High Output ported enclosure will really give me what I'm looking for. My audio shop described the HO W6 enclosure as "Unreal". He believes I will retain the SQ that I like about the 10W3 but add the volume and output I'm looking for. All in MY experience, I very well may not have given the W3 a fair chance, using it with an amplifier not perfectly suited for my setup.
I just got the dash speakers and rear doors installed today and I am very happy I went with them. The dash speakers really add the fullness and capture the detailed "front stage" sense effectively. The 3.5s add the perfect amount of smooth vocals and highs and really surprised me with the difference they made. I would reccomend them to ALL WJ owners with aftermarket speakers. Right now the rear speakers are just running off HU power. My main reason for upgrading was becaue I was tired of opening my rear doors or having passengers and hearing the garbage coming from those speakers when listening at even moderate volume. I know for rear fill, you don't want them to overpower your front stage but I think I want them hooked up to the amp with the gains set low. Would not mind some opinions on this.
I didn't have anything major to say about the amps but I do like their small footprint and they do not overheated even during the hottest days (90+ degrees). They also seem to have a great build quality.
This is my first car and first experience with an aftermarket sound system. I LOVE how it has turned out and am happy with the end result. If my budget was unlimited, I may have went with JL amps, but as a student and part-time employee my wallet wasn't bottomless! I also know there may be better equipment out there for the money but I feel I was able to get very competitive pricing while retaining the JL warranty and being backed 100% by my installer. Although I did put in A LOT to get where I am today, I love my car and plan on keeping it until it dies. I will update once the W6 gets in and again after breaking in the sub.
Thanks for reading and definitely leave any comments, questions or opinions. I am especially wanting opinions on amplifying the rear speakers.
Light Pewter Metallic - Tint: 18% front - 55% windshield - Lighting: 5k LED interior and license plate - 6k's in Gen 3 CCFL Projectors - Eagle Eye LED Tails - Audio: Kenwood Bluetooth HU - JL C2 speakers 6x9" - 3.5" - 6.5" - JL 10w6v3 in JL HO ported box - Alpine MRP-F300 4 ch - Alpine MRV-M500 mono - Misc: Limited Electroluminescent cluster - "DUB J" License plate - debadged - K&N filter - 18" JK wheels