I picked up my first Jeep (a beautiful chili pepper red 1999 Wrangler sport) this past Monday. While I am catching up on the maintenance work, I figured I may as well take another day to install a new sound system. I been lurking on here and other Wrangler forums, and I've hit more of a road block than I've been helped. Here's my problem:
I want a sound system that is loud, clear, and will not blow out if I blast music on a daily basis, around the clock. I'm not looking to blast away the ricer next to me at a stop light. I also want to be able to hear it in a soft top on the highway, and with no top at all... But I'd rather not have to adapt my 4x6 dash space to fit a larger 5.25" speaker. I am simply looking to replace the head unit, dash speakers, and soundbar speakers and call it a day - no amp, no subs, no brackets.
Ultimately, what I am asking is, will my TJ produce a healthy, strong sound without size upgrades?
Right now I am looking to purchase:
-Pioneer DEH 3400-UB head unit
and I already have:
-5.25" Alpine SPS speakers in perfect condition, which I'd like to put to use.
-And I'd rather just have to find some high quality 4x6's.
Location: South MS today, all over the world previously.
Softop at highway speeds and only the HU to power the speakers...you will eventually ruin the speakers, is where I'd place my bet. Probably a lot of people have done this and that is why your aren't getting the answer you want. I know I spent my money on other upgrades first, sound was always secondary. Thus I've gone through my share of speakers.
So now to try and help.
Alpine makes a little plug and play amp. Haven't used it or seen one in person, but it pushes 45w RMSx4 at I think 4 ohms. Don't quote me but I think that was right. Just a thought, not advising it. I din't go that route.
If you already have 5.25 speakers why not the dash? Or are you saving them for the speaker bar? Granted the dash is not the best spot, but it helps fill in the front. Heck I made my brackets out of the metal from a beat up filing cabnet (you know, the cheap 2-drawer ones). Took a thin piece of cardboard, scissors, and a pencil to make a template and then just hacked away. It's not like it has to be pretty, you'll never be looking at it.
I don't have an overhead bar, but my sister does in her Jeep. Basically the speaker next to my noggin was the main one I was hearing. Not really stereo IMO. Given that the speaker is less than a foot from your noggin, I don't know maybe you will hear it fine just powering with a HU. Can't hurt to try. But I'd lay money you'll shred the speakers, sooner rather than later. That little Alpine brick might be all you need to get loud enough for your liking with out ruining your speakers.
I'd recommend the 5.25" speaker conversion for the fronts. The best part of the adapter plates is that they tilt the speakers UP toward you, the stock front speakers point down toward your knees. I found the adapter plates on eBay for $20 shipped. Same deal on Amazon too.
I initially just upgraded my head unit to an Alpine with no amp. Stock speakers sounded just ok. I just added 4 Kicker 5.25" speakers (with the adapter plates on the dash speakers) and the Alpine amp mentioned above- the KTP-445. It adds 45 watts per channel, plugs in in 5 minutes and fits behind the head unit. Huge improvement, but only works with Alpine head units. Think it was $119. Speakers scream now and very clear with top off at interstate speeds.
Location: South MS today, all over the world previously.
Duma, thats cool. I read that the new version KTP-445U (u=universal I guess) is supposed to work with any HU using.
My speakers are in the mail now, I gave up on trying to stuff 6.5 in there. But I'm still holding out trying to figure a way to change the pointing direction of those speakers. I keep thinking BFH, but maybe just some surgical cutting and reshaping might buy me the direction I'm after. But I probably wont go to all that trouble with the metal bracings, because it will require doing a fiberglass facing on both sides to get rid of those palstic walls. Not sure if my skills are good enough to pull that off and make it look nice. I am doing the tweeters down low on the door strap pegs though.
Glad to here the 45 RMS is enough, that means I'll be good to go with the PDX-5 and the top down.
Just my $.02. When I got my 97 a year ago the factory speakers in the bar were beyond blown, the surround had completely rotted out. They were quickly replaced with a set of Kenwood 5.25s, as well as replacing pioneer head unit with a newer Alpine. That held me over till a little more play money came along so the fronts could be replaced too, also blown but were doing a bit better. I looked for factory size replacements but the selection was lacking particularity locally, quadratec was the only place I could find anything at that time. So a decision was made, I found the adapter brackets on eBay for $8 including shipping and moved the 5.25s to the dash. I looked at 6.5s for the factory bar but found a set of kicker 6" that had clearer sound equal power than the 6.5s I could find. The 6s fit in the factory bar easily without modification. I have plenty of volume top on, off, or bikini at highway speeds. That being said I do plan on going back and putting poly fill behind the speakers to help push more sound out, and also add my subs with an amp at a later date. I have grown accustomed to the added base in my last to trucks and since I have the subs and amp why not.
All in all a good HU and good speakers (I would recommend the 5.25 dash upgrade) should give you plenty enough sound.
Also in a somewhat related note, if you haven't already stoped the flapping noise the top makes it helps and is easy to do. The hoop that passes over the drivers head just in front of the sound bar has a loop of fabric at each side with the middle exposed. Cover that exposed section in 1/2" pipe insulation and the flapping goes away and greatly quiets the noise level.
sargeantbecks, the 5.25" dash upgrade is possibly the easiest speaker upgrade I have ever done.
Each grill has two screws, each speaker has 4 screws, the new speaker fits in the plate, the plate fits in the dash.
Sarge, short answer is no, it's not necessary. The guys have brought up really good points about increasing power, better sound etc.
It's personal preference. I like to be able to hear tunes while cruising. I don't need to vibrate all of the cars around me at a stop light, or sing along with the top down on the interstate.
All I did was replace the speakers in my 97 with some decent 5.25s in the soundbar, tore up an old pillow and added polyfill behind them. Mostly because i didn't want to hack up the dash bracket (I think your Jeep has that bracket as well), I bought some $30 Boston Acoustics 4 x 6s for the dash, and they sounded better than most of the other 5.25 speakers I tested.
Some guys will tell you that the round 5.25 speaker produces better bass than the oval 4x6. Not in my case. The 4x6s were actually better.
A LOT of guys claim that Kicker is the only brand to have. I disagree.
Go to Best Buy or someplace similar and listen to all of them, then pick out what you like best. Most of the name brand stuff is very similar.
I've spent a total of $75, and still have the factory head unit. I didn't want the hassle of worrying about somebody tearing up my top just to get my stereo stuff out, or having to pack a removable faceplate around with me.
The tunes sound good, i can hear the stereo with the top up at 75 mph loud and clear.
"Fire it on up and let's cruise a while, leave your troubles far behind"
Thanks for all the responses, guys! As of now I purchased 4x6 speakers for a pretty fair price and I'll see how those sound within the next month over the course of driving. I suppose by then I'll be able to see if I need more power and need an amp or the speaker upgrade. I appreciate the feedback; it was very helpful and offered some sentiments to keep in mind.