Sound system upgrades

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OnTheReel

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Thank you. Did more tuning today and have it sounding REALLY good. Especially for stock door speakers. They don’t play anything below 80hz and that’s their key to survival so far!

This is the RTA after just letting the system auto-EQ to a target curve on each individual speaker. Shoved the USB mic in between the drivers headrest and let it go.
DFE3E09F-49AA-44ED-A1BC-9A537179F621.jpeg

I was surprised how well it did (although it did take a couple attempts on the dash speakers). Lots of reflections up there and it was pulling way too much out of the drivers left speaker. Made the imaging terrible. Still a fairly brainless process.

Debating on doing the doors this weekend to wrap everything up. But I have a lingering long Covid cough that was almost better until I started busting my butt on this project. Maybe should just give it a break.
 

quietpeen

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Damn technology has advanced. Last time i did a full system it was using an active crossover and there was no computer interface for tuning…you turned a little knob till it cut off where you wanted. I did it by ear, but I know shops did it by meters and such.
 
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Yeah, I would say it’s actually a lot easier to get a good result as a DIYer now. At least once you get over the learning curve of the software. Thankfully I was able to practice on the simulator mode, and even configure my planned system before I ever installed anything.

For someone that doesn’t want as much adjustability, the Kicker Key is another great option that’s come out over the last few years. That one is even easier to setup.
 
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Already switched things up a little. Felt like I was missing something in the back seat with the headliner speakers gone. There’s SOOO much bass back there and not much for the highs. The JL VX600/6 gives me 8 channels of DSP, so I bought a cheap, tiny MTX 2 channel amp (25w/ch). I have it set up with Focal tweeters playing 3500 and up. I can control the time delay and EQ from the JL Tun interface. They can also be turned off completely in a preset if I choose.
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That system just keeps looking more beastly. Props to you. I am jealous
Thanks. Should be able to finish up this weekend. At least the front doors. I sold my old Focal mids that were set to go in the front, and have a new ES 165KX2 setup to go in there. Had the feelers out for a deal and it finally paid off. Because no way I was gonna spend $1300 on them at Crutchfield. Not that my budget is even intact anymore anyway.

Opening the box was quite the event. Gotta hand it to them on presentation with the velvet lined box. Lol.
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LETS GOOO! Finally done with this stupid expensive project. Everything came out great and sounds incredible. Will listen to it a few days and maybe make some minor tuning changes as needed.

Here are the giant Focal KX2 tweeters in the dash with closed cell foam to (ostensibly) direct all the energy through the grills.
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The sound treatment on all four doors basically went like this. The inner plate thing is a mother to remove so I just worked through the speaker hole and have the cuts and bruises to prove it. Got very good coverage all things considered. Also did the backs of the door panels in certain areas but tried to be reasonable. The truck was already very quiet and didn’t need much. Doors close with a nice thud now, and absolutely no rattles.
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Here is the front door speaker installed. Didn’t have a whole lot of clearance to spare in front but it worked out.
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The yellow cone subtly peeking through the grille looks pretty dang cool to me.
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Rear is pretty much the same except these older Focal coaxials use silly external crossovers that I had to find a spot for on the inner door.
AF5D65C7-59B5-4CD3-AD76-5EE7414F8497.jpeg

Was also surprised at how resilient all the trim and panels are. Not a single broken clip or other issue, and all very simple to work with. Definitely nothing to be afraid of and have no concerns of introducing new rattles or anything. Truck is very well built.
 
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Alright…I’ll update…

I’ve run the car stereo gamut and back to stock…ish. The reasons:

Needed ANC (active noise canceling) working again, bad drone at 1500 RPM. Which happens to be highway RPM as well as a range that’s occupied a lot at lower speed.

There was also the annoyance of chimes through aftermarket equipment. The parking sensor chimes could no longer correspond with the front or back since the signal was only L&R through the optical connection. And the rear cross traffic alert had a horrendous beeping sound instead of the factory tone. Very unpleasant.

Lastly, I wanted to pull some money out of this project and into some stuff for the house and baby.

Now, unfortunately I ordered this truck with the Alpine system entirely because I planned on replacing everything. Had I known I’d be back here, I would have went with the slightly less poor Harmon Kardon (and made the same changes). But what’s done is done and I had to fix it. “OEM plus” style.

The Harmon Kardon speakers plug and play in the Alpine system, so I figured it was worth a try. These speakers can be had very inexpensively on eBay and are the same across all FCA cars and trucks with the HK system. I installed the HK 3.5s in the dash and roof locations and was actually very pleased. They are both louder, AND much clearer. I measured 5db louder, in fact. Now, I would say they border on being too bright on certain songs since the system isn’t EQ’d for them. And the stock Alpine door speakers will lag behind them without help. But overall if you like brighter sound, I think it’s worth it, even if you don’t change anything else.

Rear doors were left with stock Alpine 6x9s for proper ANC function. I also re-installed the stock sub since it is used in ANC.

Front doors get more interesting. The stock Alpine system is composed of a single 6x9 that’s on a low pass filter. My compromise was to concede the ANC on the front doors, get an amplified full range signal up there, and squeeze some more volume and mid-bass where there previously was very little in the Alpine setup. The VX600/6i came out and in its place, the slightly cheaper VX400/4i went in. In order to gain the upper front door speaker location, I replaced all the door panels (and dash and roof grills) with Harmon Kardon parts. I saved with used parts where I could but it no doubt ate up some of the budget because I wouldn’t accept any parts that weren’t cosmetically perfect. It wound up being expensive, but fun. And at least they look nicer too, with laser cut stainless grills. The metal grills actually sound better as well. Plastic really kills sound.
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For the door speakers I went with the Harmon Kardon 6x9s and 3.5s, with crossovers supplied by my car audio stockpile. Not only are these speakers very cheap to buy, but they also blend with the rest of the speakers much better than if I just bought some component set from the store. Lastly, the space for the 3.5 HK will not hold any other midrange speaker. It’s literally molded for the HK and its tiny neo magnet.
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Powered by the VX400/4 bridged, each front door can get 200w RMS. I applied time delay and EQ (mainly to pull treble down) and much to my relief, the front stage stayed up on the dash. And even better, these factory 6x9s actually sound really good. Excellent, tight mid bass. And the whole system is super loud. Not as clear or quality as the Focals, but just as loud.

It’s funny because the real HK system I heard sounded like shit to me in the 2019 Ram I test drove. Goes to show that amplifier and tuning has more to do with the sound than the speakers.

Anyway. I am now very happy with this “factory” system. While the process sounds insane, letting the stock amp run ANC in the back, and blending a bit more aftermarket power into the mix up front was ticket. If I had the HK from the start I still would have done the same thing with a new amp, because this setup is very impressive for what it is. Better than the sum of it’s parts.

Stealthbox and VX1000 amp are staying in place and sounding great.
 

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did you change your door panels? Sorry this is what I’m asking vs responding to the work you did, but that tripped me up lol.

Never mind, if i actually read your post vs getting caught up on the pictures of the panels I would have seen that 🤪
 
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did you change your door panels? Sorry this is what I’m asking vs responding to the work you did, but that tripped me up lol.

Never mind, if i actually read your vs getting caught up on the pictures of the panels I would have seen that 🤪
Yeah, that was a necessary part of the switchover. I wanted a tweeter on the front door for full range, so I had to swap to the Harmon Kardon panels. Fronts were 5-something a pop new, rears I bought used. Also swapped the three dash grills and roof grills so everything would match. Not a cheap job. Pretty much ate the money from selling the Focals but the stuff looks great, sounds great and now I have a system with ANC and factory chimes again!
 

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quietpeen

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Great work, and you should be able to sell the panels you took off for a decent amount of money. Especially since they have the carbon fiber.
 
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They are up in the attic for now. Part of me always likes to hold onto shit like that “just in case”. Like maybe these will be collectible and I should go back to stock for originality in 30 years. 🙄

Realistically I’ll probably trade the thing at some point, forget about them up there, and my kids will throw them in a dumpster when I’m dead. 😂
 

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1) connect power
2) finish deadening the back, just one section in the center left
3) wire cleanup
4) reassemble
5) basic tune
6) enjoy

All I have left. Feel like this was a hell of a lot easier when I was younger.

Today I did mostly little odds and ends between rain clouds. The bass knob is now installed below the power pedal switch. Figured this panel would be good. Easily replaced if I ever remove the system and easy to reach.
View attachment 2863

Finished soldering the speaker wires to the amp harness.
View attachment 2864

The hub arrived and I got that mounted. In the garage I found some neat little spacers with an M4 male thread on one end and M4 female on the other. Tapped the amp board and threaded them in. Only had 3 but that’s more than adequate.
View attachment 2865

Then mounted the hub on them. This allows the speaker wires to flow under the hub very cleanly. It also gives the optical cables more room to bend at a wider radius.
View attachment 2866

Got most of the wiring secured to the sub amp board. Just have to run them over and clean em up.View attachment 2867
Hey man love the entire post. I'm about to go through the same process on my '22. Did you do the big 3/4 upgrade? I made this bass controller, just thought I'd show it off lol
 

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quietpeen

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Hey man love the entire post. I'm about to go through the same process on my '22. Did you do the big 3/4 upgrade? I made this bass controller, just thought I'd show it off lol
welcome to the site. Please start a thread documenting your install.
 
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Hey man love the entire post. I'm about to go through the same process on my '22. Did you do the big 3/4 upgrade? I made this bass controller, just thought I'd show it off lol
Bass knob looks good there and nicely done. I would have put mine there for sure but I have the trailer brake controller. Thought about deleting it but figured I probably should just leave it alone.

I didn’t do the big 3. Build was/is on the edge of needing it, but the JL amps are really efficient and I don’t come anywhere near pushing the Stealthbox to what it can do. Probably not a bad idea though.
 

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