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Old 01-05-2014, 04:21 PM   #1
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Kicker Soundbar Speaker Upgrades - Worth the Money?

Hi everyone, and happy 2014 to you!

I have been seeing a handful of members post about upgrading the soundbar speakers with one of the kicker upgrade setups and had a few questions:

First, about my setup:
  • 2014 JKUR
  • 130S/RES with connectivity package
  • From what I understand, the Rubicon Unlimited comes with the "premium sound" upgrade standard
  • I intend to ONLY upgrade the soundbar speakers, and keep the rest of the audio system stock (so please don't digress)
  • I have the full hard top installed and will keep it that way for 98% of the year.
Questions:
1. Is the price difference between the following two speaker upgrades justified by a difference in sound quality?
2. Is either one of the two upgrades above better suited for the 130S/RES outputs?

That's all I can think of for now. Thanks for the help!

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Old 01-05-2014, 05:24 PM   #2
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I would go get some Alpine or other good speaker for much less $$$. The factory system sounds just about as bad as it possibly could. I did an Alpine 5 CH amp and replace all the speakers including the sub. It now sounds really good..

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Old 01-05-2014, 05:26 PM   #3
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I have the polk db651 and db 6501 speakers and love them
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:22 PM   #4
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I put Polk DB-651s in front and in sound bar of my 13 JKUR. Very inexpensive upgrade, very good sound!
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:50 PM   #5
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Why would you do such a half ass sound upgrade?
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:52 PM   #6
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I have the Alpine SPR-50 very happy with them. They are backed up by a pair of 10" kicker subs and a 440w amp but they handle plenty of power with nice clear sound. I did replace the dash speakers too, put high pass crossovers on them to balance out highs,but those arent powered yet.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:12 PM   #7
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I have the kickers in my jk i was told they would sound better with a amp but off the factory unit they have crisp highs but if you turn up the bass over +1 they distort bad so they have less bass then the paper factorys i should have listened to everyone and got the polks
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gomezaddams View Post
I have the Alpine SPR-50 very happy with them. They are backed up by a pair of 10" kicker subs and a 440w amp but they handle plenty of power with nice clear sound. I did replace the dash speakers too, put high pass crossovers on them to balance out highs,but those arent powered yet.
I'll second this. I have the Alpine SPR-60C and it is a much better setup than the Kicker upgrades offered by Mopar.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:04 AM   #9
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I have the polk db651 and db 6501 speakers and love them
These look like really nice speakers! You are running them off the stock head unit? 130s/RES?
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:05 AM   #10
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Why would you do such a half ass sound upgrade?
Still making payments on my brand new Rubicon...let me know if you found a money tree.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:08 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by LiL D View Post
I have the kickers in my jk i was told they would sound better with a amp but off the factory unit they have crisp highs but if you turn up the bass over +1 they distort bad so they have less bass then the paper factorys i should have listened to everyone and got the polks
Which kickers? I reference two models in the original post.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:09 AM   #12
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I put Polk DB-651s in front and in sound bar of my 13 JKUR. Very inexpensive upgrade, very good sound!
What head unit are you running? No other upgrades? Thanks!!
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Old 01-06-2014, 11:27 AM   #13
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My $0.02...

The rear speakers are more important for low end fill so the tweets are completely unnecessary and muddy the soundstage. The dash tweets can produce all the highs you will ever need.

So I suggest to split the cost difference of those Kickers and get an inexpensive component set, toss the tweater and crossover and just use the mid only. If you purchase from Crutchfield, they will give you the mounting rings and wiring adapters free. They have Rockford Primes for $99, free rings, free terminals, free shipping.
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:48 PM   #14
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what about the rear factory sub?
any quick ways to up the output on that little guy?
I honestly thought it would make more noise then it does.
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Old 01-06-2014, 01:39 PM   #15
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The two stock numbers you list will work with the stock headunit fine. If you go to a different speaker -

Just remember that your stock headunit pushes 2 ohm stock speakers, when you move to 4 ohm speakers, the sound quality drops - even on great speakers. I put my speakers in first and it was worse than stock, it had a tinny sound, clarity was off, just bad. When I put the headunit in a few weeks later it was night and day - the sound was fixed even before I tuned the headunit.

If you search 'kicker' you'll find a bunch of writeups - JeepHerz has some nice ones.

Kicker Stage 3 Audio Install


You need to used 'advanced search' and search all the jk forums to really get the right results because they divided the forums awhile back and there are tech articles mixed into the general section still.

http://www.wranglerforum.com/search....rchid=16431033
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by mikebot View Post
What head unit are you running? No other upgrades? Thanks!!
Factory 130 with premium sound. Nope, that's all. But mine has factory 350+ watt amp! and subwoofer. My speakers were a bit muddy on some really really tough to reproduce songs, that sound great on my Bose at home. Going to Polk DB651s speakers really took all the mud out. I did just the sound bar first....noticed very little improvement. But when I did fronts - wow, the whole system got way better. Bought from Crutchfield. They included speaker direct fit...nice plug & play.
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:17 PM   #17
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The kickers make a big difference for the little they cost. And you can get them cheaper on Amazon or at Walmart.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:04 PM   #18
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I have the 77Kick10's front and rear. Marginal improvement... The highs are better, but the bass got worse.

Also....you have a JKUR...which means you have the upgraded audio system (upgraded speakers, amp, and sub). So if someone is coming from the base system, the upgrade will sound different.

There are a couple of problems with the system in general.
One is that the ENTIRE system is a 2 ohm system.....so it is very hard to find replacement speakers. Most (non sub) car speakers run at 4 ohms, so when you use 2 ohm speakers, you actually lose volume. Those 77Kick10's are 4 ohm speakers...and that is why I lost bass. The stock (upgraded) Alpine's actually hit harder than the Kickers...but the stock speakers lack tweeters...which is why the systems sounds muddy and full of mid-bass.

The 2nd issue is that the processing is done in the amp on the upgraded systems....so it takes some work to add an aftermarket amp. If you unhook you sub, you will notice that your rear speakers have about half the volume, and a lot less bass than the front speakers. There is nothing you can do about that because that is part of the processing in the amp. That is why so many people end up tearing the entire factory system out.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
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What head unit are you running? No other upgrades? Thanks!!
Mike-
I have the Kicker speakers in my soundbar- but I have the base head unit. If they sound better than your upgraded HU/Alpines you'll have an answer. I am also in the Inland Empire so you can take a listen one day. You can also listen to my sub. prototype- it fits into the rear tool enclosure. Meeting with the factory that will make it this week. Tests very well against the Alpine/stock sub. Who needs better speakers when you can have bass?
Got Bass? Want Bass?
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Old 01-09-2014, 09:58 PM   #20
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I have the 77Kick10's front and rear. Marginal improvement... The highs are better, but the bass got worse.

Also....you have a JKUR...which means you have the upgraded audio system (upgraded speakers, amp, and sub). So if someone is coming from the base system, the upgrade will sound different.

There are a couple of problems with the system in general.
One is that the ENTIRE system is a 2 ohm system.....so it is very hard to find replacement speakers. Most (non sub) car speakers run at 4 ohms, so when you use 2 ohm speakers, you actually lose volume. Those 77Kick10's are 4 ohm speakers...and that is why I lost bass. The stock (upgraded) Alpine's actually hit harder than the Kickers...but the stock speakers lack tweeters...which is why the systems sounds muddy and full of mid-bass.

The 2nd issue is that the processing is done in the amp on the upgraded systems....so it takes some work to add an aftermarket amp. If you unhook you sub, you will notice that your rear speakers have about half the volume, and a lot less bass than the front speakers. There is nothing you can do about that because that is part of the processing in the amp. That is why so many people end up tearing the entire factory system out.
Thanks panthermark! This is the type of response I was looking for. CASE CLOSED.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:39 PM   #21
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I have the 77Kick10's front and rear. Marginal improvement... The highs are better, but the bass got worse. Also....you have a JKUR...which means you have the upgraded audio system (upgraded speakers, amp, and sub). So if someone is coming from the base system, the upgrade will sound different. There are a couple of problems with the system in general. One is that the ENTIRE system is a 2 ohm system.....so it is very hard to find replacement speakers. Most (non sub) car speakers run at 4 ohms, so when you use 2 ohm speakers, you actually lose volume. Those 77Kick10's are 4 ohm speakers...and that is why I lost bass. The stock (upgraded) Alpine's actually hit harder than the Kickers...but the stock speakers lack tweeters...which is why the systems sounds muddy and full of mid-bass. The 2nd issue is that the processing is done in the amp on the upgraded systems....so it takes some work to add an aftermarket amp. If you unhook you sub, you will notice that your rear speakers have about half the volume, and a lot less bass than the front speakers. There is nothing you can do about that because that is part of the processing in the amp. That is why so many people end up tearing the entire factory system out.
^ THIS! No question. Leave it or replace the whole thing. To spend money trying to upgrade the stock system is a waste. Even if you did and got some improvement it's very little at best.
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Old 01-11-2014, 08:16 AM   #22
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Which kickers? I reference two models in the original post.
I have the css654 components up front and the cs654 in soundbar from crutchfeild i was told they are the same as the mopar kicker ones just dont have the mopar plug on the back but they sent me adapters for free. sorry if i sounded like i was talking bad about these speakers for the price they are way better then the factorys. I just wish i would have waited and spent more on a higher quality speaker and amp.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:45 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by panthermark View Post
I have the 77Kick10's front and rear. Marginal improvement... The highs are better, but the bass got worse.

Also....you have a JKUR...which means you have the upgraded audio system (upgraded speakers, amp, and sub). So if someone is coming from the base system, the upgrade will sound different.

There are a couple of problems with the system in general.
One is that the ENTIRE system is a 2 ohm system.....so it is very hard to find replacement speakers. Most (non sub) car speakers run at 4 ohms, so when you use 2 ohm speakers, you actually lose volume. Those 77Kick10's are 4 ohm speakers...and that is why I lost bass. The stock (upgraded) Alpine's actually hit harder than the Kickers...but the stock speakers lack tweeters...which is why the systems sounds muddy and full of mid-bass.

The 2nd issue is that the processing is done in the amp on the upgraded systems....so it takes some work to add an aftermarket amp. If you unhook you sub, you will notice that your rear speakers have about half the volume, and a lot less bass than the front speakers. There is nothing you can do about that because that is part of the processing in the amp. That is why so many people end up tearing the entire factory system out.
OH WOW!!! I put back the Alpine Subwoofer and ta da it sounds so much better, the volume on the overhead speakers are back and now it sounds like I have 2 10" in the back even tho I only have 1 PROBLEM SOLVED!!!
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:52 PM   #24
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I have the Kicker 77kick10 speakers in my dash and the sound bar and I think it is a big improvement over stock. My stock speakers would distort badly when I turned up the volume when I had the roof off. I love the plug and play of the speakers too. I paid $69 per pair on Ebay. Replace one pair now then save for a few months and replace the other pair, that is what I did.
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:02 AM   #25
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All the stock set ups have a problem with sound recreation. Upgrading your speakers will give a bit of improvement but the 2ohm system is the problem. I upgraded to the kickers(jk-kwr) with mtx dash tweeters. I didnt get too much change till I put in the alpine head unit and 5 channel amp as well as a bazooka EL sub/amp system(self contained easy way out on the sub). The stock reciever/amp is the real problem. I am a bit of an audiophile so I may be picky-er than others but from other stuff I have read, the stock head unit causes the most loss in quality.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:13 PM   #26
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I have the Kicker 77kick10 speakers in my dash and the sound bar and I think it is a big improvement over stock. My stock speakers would distort badly when I turned up the volume when I had the roof off. I love the plug and play of the speakers too. I paid $69 per pair on Ebay. Replace one pair now then save for a few months and replace the other pair, that is what I did.
Do u have the alpine sound system? cuz if you don't then the kicker will give you an improvement over base system.
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Old 03-26-2014, 01:35 PM   #27
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I have a 13 jku with the standard system. I replaced the sound bar speakers with coaxial Polk audio speaker, and the same coaxial speakers up front ( tweeter are wired separate and did not mess with them) added a Kenwood 700x5 amp under the passenger seat, used Rockford coax to speaker connectors.

To install it I removed the sound bar and front speaker box cut the wire inside and ran to amp the back from amp ( simple and easy to replace back to stock) added a JL 12 in sub( connected to the front channel).

Above all my expections. Clear sound. Loud, clear, on the stock head unit.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:10 AM   #28
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So I want to do just a simple speaker upgrade as I am not interested in adding amps and a new head unit.

With all of the discussion it seems like it would be best to find good quality 2-ohm speakers. Is this not a possibility?

Like these...P662s | Powerful 6 1/2 inch Shallow-mount 2-way Car Speakers | JBL US
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:35 AM   #29
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I have a '10 JKU with the non-infinity factory (res) head unit, I bought the vehicle with the kicker speakers already upgraded. The head unit definitely has it's shortcomings, the soundbar speakers are heavily attenuated by the factory system-nothing can be done about this, no RCA outs, etc. but if you want to get more sound out of the system this is what i installed myself for around $120 (ebay).....

Kicker 10" comp sub enclosure (TC104)
Dual XPE2700 2 chan. amp 150w RMS
PAC SNI-35 line output converter

The trick with the factory res radio is to "dial" the EQ in so that the volume can be turned up to around "36" with no audible distortion(don't make the mistake of maxing the bass and treble and cutting mids)-once the kicker speaker replacements sound decent, then turn on the LPF on the amp and adjust the crossover frequency and gain of the sub to taste to complement the other speakers....I am sure with a new HU it will sound A LOT better, but on a budget this works for me!
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:38 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schirmyver View Post
So I want to do just a simple speaker upgrade as I am not interested in adding amps and a new head unit.

With all of the discussion it seems like it would be best to find good quality 2-ohm speakers. Is this not a possibility?

Like these...P662s | Powerful 6 1/2 inch Shallow-mount 2-way Car Speakers | JBL US
I could give you a walk through on what I did. A little tedious but simple.

bought the amp used from Craigslist for 35$ kenwood 700x5, speakers at best buy for 60$ per set Polk audio, speaker wire, 3 rca to speaker wire converter for 7.99 each (Rockford brand, abc warehouse was the only place that carried them around me), and a 4ga amp kit for 60$. Took a few hours and a few beers but very easy. And I got to keep my bluetooth, steering wheel controls,and my uconnect fuctions. All and all I was just under 300$. And like I said clear and clean, with all speaker running 4ohm, even the sub.

With the 5 channel amp you have a built in sub woofer channel if you wanted to go that route.

The reason I went this route is I put the Polk speaker in my sound bar and they sounded worst with crackle and distortion then the factory speakers ( factory deck can not properly power them). If you decide to go the route I did shot me a pm if you have any trouble.

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