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Old 08-06-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
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Simple audio upgrade for JK?

I'm thinking of something simple like changing the speakers in the bar for Polks or something. I really don't care to get into the dash if I can help it.

So, what's simple and yields some results? I like riding with her naked and could use a little more punch.

Thanks!

David

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Old 08-06-2013, 03:27 PM   #2
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Topless, only replacing speaker bar speakers wont cut it. The dash speakers are a PITA to get to, but I did all 6 and did a new head unit. Much better. I am very impressed with the autovox speakers. I also threw in an 8" boss flat sub/amp under the pass seat. I think my setup sounds great.

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Old 08-07-2013, 06:49 AM   #3
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Changing speakers won't do much. The head units in Jeeps are very poor sounding because of the EQ and limited wattage. This is especially true in the sound bar that is EQd to have limited frequency response and attenuates the sound when you take off the hard top. Yes, it actually cuts power to the sound bar when you remove the top. The stock speakers are also 2 ohm, so by putting in 4 ohm aftermarket speakers, you are cutting the amount of power from the head unit in half. Since the stock head unit/amp is underpowered to begin with it wont get louder, it will get quieter and still sound poor. You will yield better sound by starting with and aftermarket head unit and working out to your speakers. HU - amp - speakers - sub
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:33 AM   #4
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Well...I guess my jeep must be different from everyone else's. There are a ton of people in this forum who keep saying it's useless to do anything with the stock head unit...perhaps because they need to justify their enormous expenditure of cash or because they think it's cool to bash the stock system. I simply switched out the dash and soundbar speakers, along with putting a new sub in the stock enclosure with its own amp and the difference is HUGE. The sound is cleaner and the bass practically blows a hole in the side of the jeep if I crank it up. The stock amp is doing a fine job of driving the dash and soundbar speakers at high volumes without distortion. I didn't spend a lot of time and money on it. And yes, I know good sound. I've subscribed to The Absolute Sound and Stereophile magazines for decades and have built a 5-figure, high-end system in my cabin. Obviously, the Jeep system doesn't rival the system in the cabin, but it's definitely a huge improvement over stock for a relatively small expenditure. You're not going to get concert-hall sound and acoustics in a Jeep...no matter how much you spend. I had planned on just upgrading the speakers and then adding an amp if necessary. But the stock amp does the job. The only thing I wish I had was more EQ control over the various frequencies, which I would gain by adding a new head unit or amp.

And by the way, it's really not that hard to get at the dash speakers...especially if you use good instructions like those from Crutchfield.
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Old 08-07-2013, 02:20 PM   #5
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Well...I guess my jeep must be different from everyone else's. There are a ton of people in this forum who keep saying it's useless to do anything with the stock head unit...perhaps because they need to justify their enormous expenditure of cash or because they think it's cool to bash the stock system. I simply switched out the dash and soundbar speakers, along with putting a new sub in the stock enclosure with its own amp and the difference is HUGE. The sound is cleaner and the bass practically blows a hole in the side of the jeep if I crank it up. The stock amp is doing a fine job of driving the dash and soundbar speakers at high volumes without distortion. I didn't spend a lot of time and money on it. And yes, I know good sound. I've subscribed to The Absolute Sound and Stereophile magazines for decades and have built a 5-figure, high-end system in my cabin. Obviously, the Jeep system doesn't rival the system in the cabin, but it's definitely a huge improvement over stock for a relatively small expenditure. You're not going to get concert-hall sound and acoustics in a Jeep...no matter how much you spend. I had planned on just upgrading the speakers and then adding an amp if necessary. But the stock amp does the job. The only thing I wish I had was more EQ control over the various frequencies, which I would gain by adding a new head unit or amp.

And by the way, it's really not that hard to get at the dash speakers...especially if you use good instructions like those from Crutchfield.
No I'm sure your Jeep is exactly the same as everyone else's. Only difference is sound quality is a matter of opinion,
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:01 AM   #6
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Matter of preference not opinion! Some people like a lot of bass. Some people like more highs. Changing speakers will make a difference. The better the speaker the better the sound a good head unit will help but is not at all a must.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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This is especially true in the sound bar that is EQd to have limited frequency response and attenuates the sound when you take off the hard top. Yes, it actually cuts power to the sound bar when you remove the top.
What?? I can't see how that is a valid statement.

There is nothing connected from the top to the sound bar that in any way "cuts power to the sound bar". The only thing really "connected" is your ear and how you hear the music - the acoustics change - that's it.

They also sound different between no top, soft top, hard top only and hard top with Freedom panels removed, hard top with "insulation panels", etc. etc...it's the acoustics changing, not "cutting power".

Not to thread-jack, but Moabite - interested in your set up. Got any links?
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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What?? I can't see how that is a valid statement.

There is nothing connected from the top to the sound bar that in any way "cuts power to the sound bar". The only thing really "connected" is your ear and how you hear the music - the acoustics change - that's it.

They also sound different between no top, soft top, hard top only and hard top with Freedom panels removed, hard top with "insulation panels", etc. etc...it's the acoustics changing, not "cutting power".

Not to thread-jack, but Moabite - interested in your set up. Got any links?
Wrong, there is a wiring harness you disconnect when you take off the hard top. When disconnected, it signals the amp (I assume through CanBus) and Attenuates the soundbar speakers. There have been threads on how to make a jumper for the back wiring harness to fool it into thinking the top is on.
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:46 PM   #9
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Wrong, there is a wiring harness you disconnect when you take off the hard top. When disconnected, it signals the amp (I assume through CanBus) and Attenuates the soundbar speakers. There have been threads on how to make a jumper for the back wiring harness to fool it into thinking the top is on.
I stand corrected. I just researched this more and wasn't even thinking CANbus crap! Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. Guess I never noticed since I don't remove the entire hard top.
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Old 09-29-2013, 12:54 PM   #10
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Replaced the soundbar speakers with Kickers today. I can tell a bit of difference. I listened to each side after replacing just one. The new ones are clearer. Not huge. Just a step in the right direction.

How much trouble will it be to put a sub with integrated amp in? I understand I need something to connect the head to the sub/amp? Planning to put the sub under the passenger seat.
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Old 09-30-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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Just upgrading with Polks in soundbar probably won't be a good solution. You will need to at least do all the speakers. The fronts really are not as hard as some people make it out to be. I did mine, and I've never done any kind of car stereo installation before.

I started with your idea because it was easy. What I got was a strange effect. The Polks had so much more clarity and definition than the fronts, so it had the effect of pulling the sound stage behind me. I felt like I was at a concert staring at the back wall. I had to use the fader to turn them down until the stage pulled back in front of me.

My 2nd step was to upgrade the fronts with similiar Polk components. This sounded fairly nice in comparison. The high sensitivity allow them to get a decent volume from the stock head unit. I think you would be more happy doing something like this.

Other's will tell you that you need to rip/remove everything. It definately sounds better this way, but I feel that the stock head unit with new speakers is a nice upgrade with noticeable improvements. I have gone forward with more in my project. I've upgraded my head unit, and that made another noticeable difference.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:21 AM   #12
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Very helpful input. Thanks.

I actually have the Polks for the front as well. I ordered all four at once. I just replaced the ones in the soundbar first because its a ten minute operation. I was just thinking that while I'm in the dash, I should hook up whatever is needed for a powered sub.

One of the vendors told me I'll need a SOEM-T to connect to the stock unit. I was hoping to get some confirmation from a forumite.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:50 AM   #13
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Very helpful input. Thanks.

I actually have the Polks for the front as well. I ordered all four at once. I just replaced the ones in the soundbar first because its a ten minute operation. I was just thinking that while I'm in the dash, I should hook up whatever is needed for a powered sub.

One of the vendors told me I'll need a SOEM-T to connect to the stock unit. I was hoping to get some confirmation from a forumite.
I'm no expert on the subject but I feel I have a grasp of the fundamentals involved here. Someone more advanced can probably present some additional input.

That being said... if all you want to do is upgrade your speakers and add a sub, while retaining the factory head unit... that PAC adapter should work. I wouldn't advise tapping into the rear channels though. The head unit alters the rear channel signal to reduce some of the negative effects of the sound bar. Tap it into your front channels where they get a full signal and it should work well.

I think you will be fairly happy with that setup. I felt like the Polks w/130RES sounded pretty good. It just couldn't get loud enough to overcome rolling the windows down, which I do alot.

Jason
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:32 AM   #14
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Thanks for the input.

I think I'm going to add a simple powered sub, install the Kickers in the front, and call it good. I really don't care to replace the HU.

I'm looking at the BOSS800 or BOSS1200. Inexpensive. Gets the job done.

Honestly, with all the electronics and gadgets on the JK, I miss my TJ something awful. Wish I had brought it to Europe rather than buy a JK and ship it (wife's idea). When I get back to the States, I'm probably going back to a TJ for the rest of my life. Too much stuff to go wrong on these things and too hard to figure out what went wrong when it does. Makes me nervous.

Thanks again.

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