From the day I bought my 2014 RubiconX I have been disappointed in the sound system, the Alpine Premium system with the 430N head unit. Not only did I not like the sound but both my wife and grand daughter also had issues with it. Green light for an upgrade. The upgrade consists of the following components and the order in which they will be installed:
Kenwood DNX891HD - Link
Morel Maximo 6.5 coaxial speakers in the sound bar
JL 900/5 amp
JL 13TW5v2-4 13.5 sub woofer
Morel Tempo Ultra components for the front
Driving down the highway last week by chance I put my hand on the sound bar and could not believe the amount of vibration coming from the it. It seemed to me that just upgrading the speakers would not eliminate all the problems so I embarked on upgrading the problems with the bar itself as well as installing the new speakers.
Taking out the sound bar is easy, 6 bolts and one connector and it is out. 3 screws for each speaker and a connector and they are out. Pop the dome light cover off and one screw and connector and the dome light is removed. The sound bar is ready to upgrade.
One comment before I get into it. Driving around for the last week without the sound bar has been an eye opener. The sound is much improved, the muddiness was gone. This prompted me to check out the speaker in the sound bar. Below is a picture of the stock speaker and the one I am replacing it with.
As you can see the stock speaker is a full range speaker and will not produce the same fidelity that a coax will. If you want better sound but don't want to upgrade anything disconnect the sound bar. You'll be happy you did.
Okay lets get to it. Now that you have it all apart you can see just how flimsy the is. The first thing to do is strengthening the mounting area of the speaker up. To do this I cut 3 dowels to size for each speaker mount, using epoxy and counter sunk screws to attach. In addition I made mounting ring for the speaker out of 1/4 MDF and attached it with epoxy. This eliminated the need to but mounting adapters. See the following attachment:
Now that this is complete it is time to cover the entire sound bar in Accumat or the product of your choice. Beside cover the outside I also added some to the underside of the speaker mount and also inside the sound bar under the speaker. You can see that in the previous attachment. It is important to tape every seem before you are complete. Mechanically we are try to make this one mass. This is the finished product:
We are now ready to cover the sound bar now. You have many choices at the point. You could bondo or cover in glass and paint or cover it in a material, cloth or vinyl. I used black Lycra as it stretches just about forever. It did not turn out perfect but looks good enough and if I want perfect I will take it to an upholstery shop. The finished product:
Impressions: Well the sound bar is not muddy anymore, in fact it is great. About the only issue is that the sound bar speakers are so much better than the front speakers that even at low levels the rear speakers will over ride the fronts. This won't be a problem once I install the amp and get my fade control back. In fact it really is not a problem expect the sound is coming from the wrong place. As far as vibration, it is gone, the sound bar is rock solid.
Total cost not counting speakers, less than $100 and most of the cost is in the Accumat, takes about 12 sq feet. Sorry about the picture quality but I hope this was informative.