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Discussion Starter #1
So I have been putting my audio system together piece by piece. The stock TJ sound system leaves plenty to be desired, especially if you don’t have the factory subwoofer, like mine. Replacing the cheap OEM radio with an aftermarket stereo kicks it up a bit, but the small 4x6” speakers in the dash are overpowered by the rear soundbar; if you fade it all to the front, you lose all your mid and low bass. There are certainly a few major design problems that need to be overcome to achieve a truly good sound!

I replaced my stereo with my Alpine from my old car – an Alpine CDA-117. This stereo is one of Alpine’s higher end radios; 3 sets of 4 volt pre-outs for amps, plenty of EQ adjustments, highpass and lowpass filters, and my favorite: time alignment! This fine tunes your sound stage by taking into account the distance each speaker is from the listener. It makes minute changes in the timing of each speaker and helps create an accurate soundstage right in front of the listener. When adjusted properly, this can make all the difference in the world with getting an accurate sound in the difficult environment of our TJ’s. The radio also has a rear USB input for iPods and flash drives, and I also got the KCA-400BT Bluetooth adapter for hands free phoning and audio streaming.

My TJ had some cheap Pioneer 4x6” speakers mounted in the dash, a slight improvement over stock, but still not near where I wanted it. After some researching and measuring, I decided on Pioneer’s D-Series 5.25” component speakers. I wanted a component set with a separate tweeter to help with the soundstage. I mounted the 5.25” woofer under the dash in the stock location, but used the tweeter pods that the speaker set came with to mount the tweeters on the top of the dash. High frequency sound is extremely directional, meaning it needs to be aimed almost directly at the listener in order for the sound stage to remain accurate. Lower frequencies are not as directional, so it is harder for the listener to perceive where the sound is coming from; that allows subwoofers to be mounted in a trunk without affecting the sound quality. I made some MDF rings for the woofers and used the 6x8” adapters that the speaker set came with to mount the woofers in the stock locations. I did have to cut a corner off each adapter plate to clear one of the metal sub dash brackets, but a Dremel tool made quick work of that. The MDF rings were added to strengthen the mounts and reduce any flexing or vibration; probably not absolutely necessary, but I would certainly recommend it if you choose to mount your speakers in the same way. I found some pretty good locations for crossovers, too; see the pictures.

The soundbar presented another problem for me. Having speakers directly behind the front listeners’ head made the rear speakers seem louder, and really screwed up the sound stage. Instead of hearing the sound coming from in front of you, most of it was heard from behind, like you have your back turned to a concert. Like I said before, the higher the frequency, the more directional it becomes. This made me decide to experiment a bit with my Focal 6.5” component speakers. I decided to only use the woofers for the rear channel. I kept the crossovers wired inline, so the woofers only play the mid and low frequencies, and all the high frequencies only come from the front channel. This actually turned out better than I thought it would. My next step is to add a 5 channel amp, but even running the speakers off the Alpine’s amp, the system sounds much more in line with where I want it to be! The low frequencies are still lacking as far as volume goes, but the sound stage is much more accurate than before, and I know amping it up and getting my sub installed will get it right where I want it.

Future plans are for a Kicker IX1000.5 five channel digital amp, I will mount it under the driver’s dash to keep it high and dry and to keep all my precious cargo space. I also have an Elemental Designs SQ 10” sub on pre-order. I took inspiration from an idea I got (on this forum?) to make the sub enclosure in the rear seat cushion. The SQ10 is designed to work in extremely small enclosures (as small as small as 0.25 cubic feet), so my box will be a bit smaller than the plans I have seen on the forums.

Alpine stereo and Bluetooth mic mounted.


Front left crossover location


Front left woofer mounted


Front left woofer and tweeter.


Front right crossover location


Front right woofer mounted


Front right woofer and tweeter


MDF ring for front woofers


Front woofers behind the factory grilles


Rear woofers mounted in the soundbar





Let me know what you all think! I can’t wait until it’s all put together, and I will be keeping this thread updated as I go, so check back later!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well, I finally got around to my amp. I purchased an Alpine MRX-V70 5-channel Class D amp. It's very small for the amount of power it puts out - 60 watts RMS x4 + 250 watts RMS x1 @ 4ohms, or 90 x4 + 350 x1 @ 2ohms. I still plan to put a sub in the rear seat, but to my dismay, Elemental Designs seems to have gone out of business! I still have to decide what sub I will use, but until then, the Alpine amp really kicked up the sound on my other speakers.

The amp went under the driver's dash. I have an '02 Wrangler with a 5-speed manual, even with the clutch pedal, there was plenty of room to fit this amp and it's mounting plate under the dash. The steering wheel still has full tilt and my feet have plenty of room- I don't even notice it's there. If you're looking for a good way to amp up your speaker system but were worried about the amp taking up more space or getting wet - this IS the solution for you. If you have a sheet of MDF, a couple bolts and nuts and some ingenuity, you can certainly do this yourself. If you are worried about the MDF sheet getting wet or holding moisture, you could just soak it in a couple coats of fiberglass resin.

On to the pics!

My driver's underdash:


Here you can see where I grounded the amp, as well as where the speaker and power wires were routed. The ground is terminated on the red bolt with the silver nut in the center of the picture.


Here you can see where the wires needed to stay close to the amp to avoid the brake pedal. Zip ties with screw mounts worked great here. I just screwed the zip ties to the amp rack.


Another of the brake pedal and wire routing.




The amp is not visible at all unless you literally put your head on the floor and look up, so I am not too worried about thieves. The difference in sound is enormous - volume levels have easily doubled while remaining clear at all times, no distorting or crackling even when its too loud for me to handle. I have taken my half door windows off several times and it's always had enough to keep up with wind and highway noise at 65 MPH. I have no doubts that come summer when I take the hard top off too, my system will have no problem surrounding me with my music. :punk:

If you're on the fence on getting an amp, I highly recommend it!
 

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Wow looks awesome. What are you using for a sub? Sound system was the first thing I did to my JK.
 

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Nice. Only thing is I've heard for components in the dash that mounting the tweeter at the base of the windshield is an awful place. I've heard that mounted down low, as far from the driver as possible, affords the best balance. Nalin Mfg makes some plates to mount the tweeter in the correct place. I'm currently running a coax setup in the dash but plan to go component one day.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow looks awesome. What are you using for a sub? Sound system was the first thing I did to my JK.
I plan to make a sub enclosure to fit a single 10" in the seat cushion of the rear seat; I saw plans on another forum. I was pretty set on the Elemental Designs new SQ slimline subs, but they have gone out of business and my order was never charged or completed - I will likely go with either a Kenwood Excellon slim 10" or a Kicker CompVT 10"

The low end bass is lacking at the moment, but everything else is pretty close to where I want it. I'm sure once I get around to making the box and dropping a sub in that I will be completely happy with the setup.


Nice. Only thing is I've heard for components in the dash that mounting the tweeter at the base of the windshield is an awful place. I've heard that mounted down low, as far from the driver as possible, affords the best balance. Nalin Mfg makes some plates to mount the tweeter in the correct place. I'm currently running a coax setup in the dash but plan to go component one day.
Funny you should say that. I was searching around for tweeter mounts and found the Nalin MFG ones... I decided against them for the same reason you want them. A little education in the Autosound department, and you will see why.

High frequency sound, as I said in my first post, is extremely directional, meaning the listener can often easily identify where the high frequency sounds are originating from. The lower you go in the human's audible frequency spectrum, the harder it is to determine where the sound is coming from. For this reason, Autosound experts and professionals recommend pointing the tweeter directly at the listener for the best soundstage.

Soundstage is important to audiophiles because it dictates the "feel" of the music; in order to be regarded as a properly adjusted soundstage, the listener should get the perception that their dashboard is the stage for a live music concert. You should be able to pick out the singer dead center, the bassist off to the left, and the lead guitarist moving around on the right side. The sound should come alive right in front of you - and in a car, that's the dashboard. The lower frequencies that you hear are not very directional, so subwoofers don't need to be pointed at the listener - slow moving bass waves are difficult to determine a point of origin simply by listening.

Another thing to keep in mind when placing tweeters is their distance from the woofer that plays the still somewhat directional sound just below the tweeter's range. If the two are too far apart, you will get what's called separation. You may hear the singer's voice in front of you, but the bassists riff is audible on the far right, even below the rest of the soundstage. Keep tweeters as close as possible to the woofer for the best sound quality.

After you take those two considerations in mind, which do you think will yield a better soundstage and overall sound quality with a flat response? Having the tweeter mounted low by your knee is not going to help the soundstage, I can tell you that right now. :whistling:

The only thing I liked about the Nalin tweeter pods was that they kept the tweeter close to the woofer, but in my setup, there is hardly three inches more of distance... the difference in the soundstage made up for the distance from the woofer.
 

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I'm afraid that I have to disagree with your interpretation of a more acoustically correct soundstage on top of the dash. We also had a huge discussion on "the other forum" regarding this very topic during the R&D phase of the tweeter mounts. Shoot me your address and I’d be happy to let you try for yourself.


Dash mounted tweeters are one of the worst spots in a TJ. I still don't understand why it's so popular and even more, why the new wranglers do it...

Anyhow, tweeters are far too directional and too sensitive to phase variation to be that close to the listener. You want them mounted as far away from your head, and as on-axis as you can get. Unfortunately in a TJ this doesn't work so well and you honestly get better sound from a good set of speakers in the dash or kick panel. The few times I have done component style tweeters, the most successful places I've found are just under the dash or in the kick panel.

The technical what & why has to do with the axis (where it is pointed) with distance differences between listening positions and each speaker. High frequencies are very susceptible to both effects where lower frequencies are a little more forgiving. But to keep it simple, that's why this position is a good choice.
His credentials(upper right):
Chris' Homepage


 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nalin:

I hope I didn't sound like I was bashing your products, I think you guys are doing a great service with all the design and fabrication on your products. I am sure you guys put a lot of research into your speaker upgrade systems, and have played with different positions to find the right one. I would be happy to try your tweeter mounts, but only with the understanding that I don't typically take anyone else's word for things that I know a thing or two about.

I am familiar with SirGCal and his experience. I will say that while he certainly does know his stuff when it comes to autosound, I definitely don't always agree with everything he says or does. When it comes down to it, sound is extremely subjective, and only so much can be explained through math and formulas. While I am not saying I don't believe you, I am remaining skeptical that having a tweeter further from the listener will provide an accurate soundstage as well as keep the volume levels loud enough to overcome a Jeep's road noise.
 

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Although I agree with lower tweeter placement on most vehicles, sirgcal is far from an expert on anything
I don't claim that he's an expert, but I do consider him to be a very knowledgeable and respected forum contributor. His audio opinions go a lot farther than most in my book. His credentials are a mere reference for readers who may not be familiar with him - it would be a very bold move on my end to toss a random poster's quote into a thread with with this much technical backing!
 

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Yet another thing Jeeps make you comprimise on. Best if you could dash mount em and drive from the back seat. Just sayin', lmao.

Still way better than not driving a Jeep ;)
 

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Getting proper power to the speakers makes a big difference. I like where you're going with the sound system. Don't count out the center console for a sub if you like to keep your storage. Dissadvantage about the sub in the back seat is you lose your bass if you need to take your back seat out. IMO, components are a waste of $$ in a TJ.
 

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I don't claim that he's an expert, but I do consider him to be a very knowledgeable and respected forum contributor. His audio opinions go a lot farther than most in my book. His credentials are a mere reference for readers who may not be familiar with him - it would be a very bold move on my end to toss a random poster's quote into a thread with with this much technical backing!
But in that statement lies the issue....no credentials, nothing, nada. He isn't an audio professional, not a manufacturers rep, not a builder, not even a simple installer. He claims to have owned a audio shop at one time but no one in the world outside of JF has ever heard of him. He is nothing but a bigmouth mod with an attitude, plain and simple. I'm sorry for the rant but there are thousands of people I would quote before I ever got to him.
 

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But in that statement lies the issue....no credentials, nothing, nada. He isn't an audio professional, not a manufacturers rep, not a builder, not even a simple installer. He claims to have owned a audio shop at one time but no one in the world outside of JF has ever heard of him. He is nothing but a bigmouth mod with an attitude, plain and simple. I'm sorry for the rant but there are thousands of people I would quote before I ever got to him.
Being the moderator for a Jeep electronics forum, running a Jeep audio how-to site, and previously owning an audio shop rate high enough in my book to merit a little credibility. I'm sorry that you feel that way towards him.

You're not going to find a lot of threads with information regarding tweeter placement in Jeeps. I try to remain actively involved in discussions that pertain to products that I sell. If there's a way to make something better - that's what I'm going to do.

I'll butt heads and defend my ideas/thoughts/opinions, but ultimately I'm here to learn from those who do consider themselves to be "experts". Right now I am convinced that mounting tweeters under the dash is the way to go.

Prove me wrong :popcorn:
 

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IMO the best thing you could do is make them user adjustable. The perfect location for a tweeter is going to differ with each end user because of their size and how the sit in the vehicle. Ultimate midrange placement would be in the kickpanels with the driver facing oposing sides (ie, the passenger one will be aimed at the drivers right ear and the drivers side would be aimed at the passengers left ear) What everyone tries to achieve in the audio world is a center stage and imaging. Its near impossible in a jeep to have imaging (unless a guy wanted to hack his dash up and install a set of waveguides firing up) There are several of us on here that do this for a living and have competed for a very long time. I'm sure that they along with myself would be happy to help you out with product ideas and questions :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Just want to put my $.02 in here. SirGCal does know what he is talking about most of the time. Being a mobile audio professional myself, I can tell you that most of the things I have read from him are true and make sense. His plans for a box in the rear seat are what I plan to model mine after, and looking through some of his work, he does seem pretty legit. That being said, I have seen some things that simply didn't make sense posted by him.

His description of why you shouldn't put subs into the soundbar is because it's too turbulent up there with the top off, which will damage the subs. This just doesn't make sense to me. I understand that wind will be whipping around up there, but Jeep put speakers there in the first place. If you have a 6.5" full range dual cone speaker up there, it will be effected by the wind the same as a 6.5" low range woofer. One could even argue that the stronger motor on the woofer would resist atmospheric pressure more, meaning a sub would be a better choice up there than the factory speakers. Add in a properly designed crossover network, and you have a great spot to mount some good midrange woofers to compliment the sub that's going in the back seat. I don't know of any speaker out there that won't distort in the soundbar when the Jeep's traveling down the highway at 60mph; I also don't know many people with hearing good enough to hear said distortion.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, thanks to Andrew Nalin, I installed the Nalin MFG component plates earlier this week. I was very impressed with the plates overall - nice clean cuts and they fit perfectly. The supplied hardware for the 5.25" woofer was very nice, and there were no gaps around the woofer at all. The tweeter mounts lined up perfectly with the stock door strap post's bolts, and my Pioneer tweeters fit perfectly in place with no gaps.
If you plan to replace your front speakers at all, you need to buy plates anyway, even to install a crappy 4x6" aftermarket speaker; car audio shops usually charge 20-25 bucks for them. There is no reason not to just buy the Nalin plates and get them shipped to you - it will probably end up being cheaper and will allow you to install a better sounding 5.25" speaker in the dash with no modifications. I almost feel stupid for not buying them in the first place and making my "custom" plates.

I listened to the system for about 4 days of driving to work and back - I have an hour drive each way, so I got plenty of listening in, trust me! I listen to every kind of music, from Pink Floyd to Skrillex to Avenged Sevenfold... I would say that overall, the sound was certainly improved with the tweeters mounted low where the Nalin mounts put them. The sound is more smooth, with less of an ear piercing effect. The soundstage is still great for a Jeep, so I have to admit I was proven wrong about tweeter placement.

I did notice a couple things that deserved my attention. First, with the tweeters being mounted so low, they obviously weren't as loud as they were on the dash. I first removed the 3db attenuation on the component set's crossovers. This made it a bit better, but the midrange still wanted to overpower the high frequencies. I set my Alpine stereo's fader to the front a bit, and that really made the difference.
Second, since the tweeters were not as piercing anymore, I could turn the volume up a few more notches before my ears really hated me. This made me notice some rattling from front midrange speakers at certain frequencies. I took the covers off and applied pressure on the plates in different places and was able to make the rattling stop, so I knew it wasn't the speakers themselves, rather just the metal plates rattling on the metal bars. I grabbed some dynamat scraps I had left over from my previous car's 6x9" install. Dynamat is an excellent sound deadener, it virtually eliminates panel distortion and rattling when applied properly. I covered the front of the woofer plates and mounting bars with the dynamat, reinstalled, and voila, no more rattle!

I ordered some 5.25" foam baffles, but they didn't arrive in time for the weekend. Just for fun, I figured I would give polyfill a try. It honestly made a surprising difference for the front midrange; I have mine on a 100htz highpass filter, but the mids are much more pronounced after I installed the polyfill. I also stuffed the soundbar; the 6.5" woofers I have in there definitely have noticeably more punch.

On to some pics!

Nalin woofer plates - taking the rattle out with some Dynamat. A scrap 6x9 cutout works perfectly here.




I also Dynamatted the bars that the speaker plates screw into to keep them from rattling on the dash mounts. I filled the cavity with polyfill to slow down the low frequencies and improve midbass.


The only picture I got of the woofer and tweeter mounted before my camera died on me!
 

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Glad it worked for you! I actually won a set of Nalin dash and tweeter mounts after my post here so now I'm going to pick up some Polk speakers for the dash and move my Kickers to the pods to get rid of my last stock speakers. Having you satisfied with the setup makes me even more anxious to get mine installed.
 

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will you send me a pm of all the stuff you bought and the price. i am looking to do the same thing to my jeep
 
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