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Old 01-07-2014, 01:01 PM   #1
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Audio upgrade for 2014 JKU - where to start?

I'm very new to the whole audio thing and looking for help on where to start. Here my parameters:

- 2014 JKU with stock unit (would like to keep stock unit at this point)
- Primary concern is to upgrade overall sound quality - and particularly a stronger bass that doesn't rattle the moment you turn it up a bit...
- Budget: roughly $1,000 - for parts and installation (don't know how to do it myself...)

Do I just start with better speakers? Do I need a separate subwoofer? An amp? Can I do with the stock head unit or do I need an aftermarket stereo? A bit at a loss here. Ideally, I'm looking for something modular, so I could upgrade as I go along (and budget permits )

Any help would be much appreciated!

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Old 01-07-2014, 02:26 PM   #2
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Whew can blow a lot on sound quickly. Unless you're looking to make a boom boom car, just upgrade the factory speakers so they are clearer and don't distort at higher volumes. A new head unit would be great as it can give added functionality and clearer did as well. You can get all of those for less than a grand. probably even a better sub, if you must. Look at crutchfield.com and they can get you set up including the best customer service and installation accessories in the biz. On the modular topic I'd start with speakers, they can add clarity you never heard otherwise and then move on to the new head unit for louder/better sound too. You'll want an amp when you get a new sub for more bass, I like that too, just don't get suckered in to buying done expensive ass sub and way overpowered amp to drive it.

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Old 01-07-2014, 04:30 PM   #3
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Different people have done different things. It depends on what you want out of your stereo system. I would get a 5-channel amp for sure. You haven't said what your stock setup entails, so its hard to recommend speakers and other components.

Yes, you will need better speakers, amp and a separate subwoofer. But, it also depends on what subwoofer you have, if any.

Crutchfield is good for base generic systems. But, if you want a custom system, with more power, I wouldn't go with Crutchfield.

You will want specific upgrades, specifically designed for your vehicle and what you are trying to accomplish.
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:06 PM   #4
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Whew can blow a lot on sound quickly. Unless you're looking to make a boom boom car, just upgrade the factory speakers so they are clearer and don't distort at higher volumes.
Define boom boom car ...in all seriousness, I very much enjoy a strong bass. But one that is very crisp and doesn't just make the whole Jeep rattle. You think I'll get that out of just upgraded speakers?
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:12 PM   #5
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Different people have done different things. It depends on what you want out of your stereo system. I would get a 5-channel amp for sure. You haven't said what your stock setup entails, so its hard to recommend speakers and other components.
I have the most basic stock setup. Head unit with Uconnect and CD player, and the stock loudspeakers. There is no separate subwoofer.

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Yes, you will need better speakers, amp and a separate subwoofer. But, it also depends on what subwoofer you have, if any.
You think I can get speakers, amp, and separate subwoofer for $1000 installed?

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You will want specific upgrades, specifically designed for your vehicle and what you are trying to accomplish.
Maybe a dumb question, but is this something a BestBuy can install for me, or do I need to find a dedicated car audio place?
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Old 01-07-2014, 05:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by inbruCHes View Post
I have the most basic stock setup. Head unit with Uconnect and CD player, and the stock loudspeakers. There is no separate subwoofer. You think I can get speakers, amp, and separate subwoofer for $1000 installed? Maybe a dumb question, but is this something a BestBuy can install for me, or do I need to find a dedicated car audio place?
Best buy might be good for an ordinary everyday common install. But I would go with someone who works on jeeps. With the electronics so much a part of new jeep operation why take a chance on a $100 install! If I want a crappy job I'll do it myself.
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Old 01-07-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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Best buy might be good for an ordinary everyday common install. But I would go with someone who works on jeeps. With the electronics so much a part of new jeep operation why take a chance on a $100 install! If I want a crappy job I'll do it myself.
x2. I agree.
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:03 PM   #8
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It's the other stuff that's required that runs the price up. Antenna adaptor, harness, plate for the HU so it fits the dash correctly, another adaptor if you have steering controls....
I priced out an install of a blue tooth head unit that cost $350 and the installed price was quickly up to $850 plus taxes.
I've had a few systems installed over the years. The speakers are the cheapest part of it.

I don't know if the stock unit has any pre outs for the amp so a new head unit may be needed before adding the amp. I know, not entirely helpful as I don't know the specifics...just wanted to share the possible costs that you may encounter.
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:10 PM   #9
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I have the most basic stock setup. Head unit with Uconnect and CD player, and the stock loudspeakers. There is no separate subwoofer.
Yes, based on what you've said, and keeping it simple and functional, I would leave the HU alone. This way you don't have to mess with the UConnect. You still haven't said, what speakers you have. Do you have four speakers? Do you know the type, location and size. These things are important in determining speakers.


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You think I can get speakers, amp, and separate subwoofer for $1000 installed?
I think with the install from a good audio shop, you are probably looking at around $1100.00 to 1400.00. This is a new 2014 JKU. Do you really want a cheap stereo upgrade?
With that being said, I would say no to Best Buy. You can't get what you want from Best Buy, to do the job right. So, why would you trust a generic shop to do a custom install. I think the install alone will probably cost you about 120.00 to 150.00. I paid 120, for my speakers, amp and subwoofer installation about six months ago.

350 for the sub box
07 13 Jeep Wrangler 4 Door Custom Sub Woofer Box Loaded 2 Helix Audio B10 Subs | eBay
350-450 for the amp= If you go with cash, you can probably get a better deal. Or, you can shop around for a better deal.
Here is a somewhat local Southern California audio seller who would probably do it for $400 or maybe even $350 cash. I got mine from them new for $350 cash.
Alpine PDX-V9 1600W 5 Channel Class D PDX Series Car Audio Amplifier
200-350 for the speakers.
Undetermined size, number of speakers and type. Cost is assuming 4 speakers.
150 for the install.

This is about what it will cost to do it right. Doing it cheap? I couldn't tell you. I always do it right, or I don't do it at all. If you can't afford to do it right, right now, then save your money, until you can afford to do it right.
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Old 01-07-2014, 07:23 PM   #10
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It's the other stuff that's required that runs the price up. Antenna adaptor, harness, plate for the HU so it fits the dash correctly, another adaptor if you have steering controls....
I priced out an install of a blue tooth head unit that cost $350 and the installed price was quickly up to $850 plus taxes.
I've had a few systems installed over the years. The speakers are the cheapest part of it.

I don't know if the stock unit has any pre outs for the amp so a new head unit may be needed before adding the amp. I know, not entirely helpful as I don't know the specifics...just wanted to share the possible costs that you may encounter.
I agree with most of what you have said. The Antenna Adapter, Harness, and plate are not neccessary since the HU isn't being changed. The installer will provide all that is needed for the amp, sub and the speakers. This is basically just wiring.

I somewhat agree with the HU. But, most HU's with CD players have RCA outs for the amp. A good installer will take care of that, regardless.

I agree about the speakers. They are the cheapest part, unless you go with something like JL Audio. I personally don't think you need to pay JL prices, for good quality. CDT speakers are great speakers for high capacity stereo systems at an economy price.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:59 AM   #11
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Define boom boom car ...in all seriousness, I very much enjoy a strong bass. But one that is very crisp and doesn't just make the whole Jeep rattle. You think I'll get that out of just upgraded speakers?
I think you'll get that with a good 8-10 inch sub. Not a 15" Armageddon, im just saying don't get bitten by the bass bug if you actually enjoy your music. I like a good bass as well.
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Old 01-08-2014, 04:44 PM   #12
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I very much enjoy a strong bass. You think I'll get that out of just upgraded speakers?
No. You need a subwoofer and an amp for "good" strong bass. Strong bass sounds really thin by itself, without the lower bass frequencies that regular speakers just can't reach. IMHO.
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Old 01-08-2014, 05:02 PM   #13
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No. You need a subwoofer and an amp for "good" strong bass. Strong bass sounds really thin by itself, without the lower bass frequencies that regular speakers just can't reach. IMHO.
Agreed. I've always run a good pair of 10" subs. I like the size as they typically provide a better reflex...quicker punch while still giving a nice rumble.
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:26 PM   #14
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Agreed. I've always run a good pair of 10" subs. I like the size as they typically provide a better reflex...quicker punch while still giving a nice rumble.
I agree with 10". I used to run a pair of 12" and I think they were a little too rumbly.
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Old 01-08-2014, 07:22 PM   #15
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Thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts on this. Most helpful!

I've now found a local specialty shop who can help me with the install (moved away from the BestBuy idea). Based on your recommendations, I will likely start with a 10" subwoofer and an amp, and possibly upgrade the six stock speakers (if I can carve out some additional $$... )

Can't wait to get going and get some oomph in my JKU
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Old 01-09-2014, 05:16 PM   #16
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No. You need a subwoofer and an amp for "good" strong bass. Strong bass sounds really thin by itself, without the lower bass frequencies that regular speakers just can't reach. IMHO.
Chas, do you have that Helix box from eBay? If so, how do you like it and would you recommend it? Close to pulling the trigger on that one. Thanks and sorry for the thread hi-jack, carry on...
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by inbruCHes View Post
Thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts on this. Most helpful!

I've now found a local specialty shop who can help me with the install (moved away from the BestBuy idea). Based on your recommendations, I will likely start with a 10" subwoofer and an amp, and possibly upgrade the six stock speakers (if I can carve out some additional $$... )

Can't wait to get going and get some oomph in my JKU
Good luck with it. I'd love to hear how it goes as it's something I want to do as well. I'm curious as to what ends up being required using the stock head unit.
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:34 AM   #18
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Chas, do you have that Helix box from eBay? If so, how do you like it and would you recommend it? Close to pulling the trigger on that one. Thanks and sorry for the thread hi-jack, carry on...
I have a TJ, and not a JK. The Helix box is a custom design for a JK. But, I do have 2-10" subwoofers, like the Helix box, but I have the TJ(1997-2006) MTX Thunderform molded subwoofer box, which is custom designed for a TJ. There is another recent thread on the JK Helix subwoofer box, and it has been given a great review.
If you look at reviews and recommendations, for full musical genre applications, almost everyone says that 2-10" subwoofers are best.

The Helix box does look well designed, and it is low profile to save space. So yes, based on reviews, design, and the components, I would recommend it for a JK.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:58 AM   #19
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Thank you sir.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:54 AM   #20
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Installing a custom system can get very pricey and I would definitely recommend taking it to a dedicated place that does nothing but car audio and fork out the cash for quality work. I upgraded my factory system last year with all kicker products, two Memphis audio amps (one for the components and one for the 10" sub), upgraded the factory head unit to the kenwood dnx570hd w/ built in navigation and touchscreen. With all that and the dash kit, antenna adapters, wiring, custom built box for the sub it ran me close to 2500.00. You get what you pay for with car audio and if you are gonna do it do it right. I like my music and trust me, when the top is off and you are driving and you are listening to some good quality sound, it's well worth every penny. It used to be so frustrating driving with the top off and barely being able to hear music playing because of the wind and road noise....I no longer have that issue. And just my .02.....I have 1 10" sub in my jeep and I get a good deep bass that actually shakes the jeep and you can feel it in your chest when it hits.....if you aren't looking to rattle the spare off the back I think 2 10"s would be way to much just based on my experience with my system.
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:16 PM   #21
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Installing a custom system can get very pricey and I would definitely recommend taking it to a dedicated place that does nothing but car audio and fork out the cash for quality work. I upgraded my factory system last year with all kicker products, two Memphis audio amps (one for the components and one for the 10" sub), upgraded the factory head unit to the kenwood dnx570hd w/ built in navigation and touchscreen. With all that and the dash kit, antenna adapters, wiring, custom built box for the sub it ran me close to 2500.00. You get what you pay for with car audio and if you are gonna do it do it right. I like my music and trust me, when the top is off and you are driving and you are listening to some good quality sound, it's well worth every penny. It used to be so frustrating driving with the top off and barely being able to hear music playing because of the wind and road noise....I no longer have that issue. And just my .02.....I have 1 10" sub in my jeep and I get a good deep bass that actually shakes the jeep and you can feel it in your chest when it hits.....if you aren't looking to rattle the spare off the back I think 2 10"s would be way to much just based on my experience with my system.
It depends on the power of your amp. If you have one 10" subwoofer @400watts RMS, driven by a 400watt RMS Amp, it is the same as 2-10" Subwoofers @200watts each. You might get a little better fill from two subs though.

I have 2-10" subs @200 watts RMS each, and my spare is intact. lol.

It really depends on how loud you like your music, not the number of subs.
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:59 PM   #22
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Have any of you guys replaced the subwoofer in a JKU with the Alpine System? I recently purchased a KICKER 8" 2ohm sub from Amazon and am really not sure how to install it.

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