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Audio Upgrade - your $.02! Components/amps/subs

5542 Views 16 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MJRBrooks
-- What's up forum crew --
I have been watching plenty of threads about audio upgrades, most of them a few years old. Outdated threads tend to go hand in hand with outdated technological info.

I am looking to beef up my system on a dime (big surprise). I already switched out the HU with a Sony (I know I know...) CDX unit with the flash drive capability, that I had from my last truck.

Current upgrade list to buy:
-Components up front
-Matching coaxials in the back (not necessity though)
-Something along the Q-logic/JL Stealthbox/ box to put on the side in the back. I DJ and use the back space in its entirety (seats folded down and all) - can't afford much room.
-Ideal sub for a sealed box
-Class AB 4 channel (or 5... whichever) amp

I have been checking the forums fairly in depth and a decent amount tend to back the Polk Audio DB6501 components. Amazon puts the DB6501 at the top of their list, and from what I've seen here, they look like the majority's fav as well. Of course BestBuy only carries the PA-DXi line, which looks to be the "new version" of the DB6501. Unfortunately, they were playing some BS like Taylor Swift :suicide:, so I didn't have the chance to truly hear what they can do, and surprise surprise the staff didn't feel like helping me out. The other top pick listed the most - Alpine Type R components. Alpine has at least two different lines of Type R components: SPR-17S and the SPR-60C. Some mention Infinity Kappas, Boston, Memphis, JL, anything but Sony, I saw a Hertz mentioned once. Just looking for some updated input, what you have, what you've heard (in person), Dos vs Don'ts...
P.S. - I plan on mounting the tweeters in the A pillars, and drop the highs a bit so they're not overbearing.

Pretty much looking for your experience with any of it. The three well known being Qlogic ($300), the JL stealthbox ($230ish), and's site ($80). Even if you DIYed it with fiberboard and speaker carpet, I'd like to hear your thoughts (I'll never do that s*** again; well worth it; sounds great/like crap). As far as the sub goes, I know you can't expect too much out of a .8 cubic foot box. Some subs handle better in sealed vs ported boxes. Plus, I can't technically "go out and give it a listen" since they're not readily available. So feedback here is my goto.

I'm aiming for the class AB 4 channel so I can bump the components up to their RMS, and bridge the the other 2 channels to run the sub. I have (somewhat) narrowed it down to the Kenwood Kac-8405 because of the consistent good reviews matched with the decent sticker price ($130 shipped - amazon). Amazon also has this Power Acoustik GT4-1200, which seems solid on paper. Solid specs (RMS - 100W X 4 @ 4ohm ; 125W X 4 @ 2ohm ; 250W X 2 @ 4ohm) with the right price ($120 shipped). However, not a single review anywhere on this thing. I know some have had luck with Power Acoustik, but I have also heard the exact opposite. The Kenwood doesn't push as hard, but for a difference of $10 more, is the -25w RMS worth the piece of mind? What's your take / recommendations for something else?

In the industry of "you get what you pay for" - I'm trying to make the right choices, just not the arm/leg choices. Thanks for lookin out! :m2:
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I'm not sure if this will be much help to you or not since i'm not really going to mention. What you get is going to totally depend on what you like and what you can afford. Everyones tastes are different. I like Rockford Fosgate, others like MTX, or Orion, or.. well you get the point.

For the sub in the back, if your looking for maxium storage space, your best bet may be to build your own box. That way you can build it to the size requirements of what your sub needs.

Not sure if it did or not but hope that helped some
im very big into audio. My previous car was decked out in audio equipment and now my new car has a crazy sound system aswell.

right now i have 3 kickers subs. 2-10" and one 12". 3 sets of speakers and 1 set of dash mounted tweeters. two 1000 watt amps for the subs. one 650 watt amp for the interiors. all amps and subs inside a coustome enclousr. Im a musican so i cant stand having poo sound quality.

What i found to be the absolut best speakers for the price are pioneer. Their speakers dont break the bank for how they sound.

Subwoofers- kickers are loud. Thats what theyre meant to be. theyre meant to be in huge ported boxes to be loud. Its not about sound quality. If i was going to go with a sound quality sub i would go with a 10" sub inside a sealed box. Personally i believe the smaller the sub the better the sound quality, for obvious reason the bigger the sub gets the more distortion there will be. So i would probably go with a JL audio/JBL personally.

As far as amps, i LOVE kicker amps. But you need to shop around for a good price. some places will sell an amp for 550$ and other places will have the same amp for 200$. So shop around. Ive owned nothng but kicker amps and they have never let me down. And they are all underated as far as output goes, you really get the most bang for you buck. So i would get the kicker ZX350.4. 4 channel amp for the interiors, and like a 500 watt for the subwoofer.

My first car had a kicker 12" L7 with 1000 watt RMS amp hooked up to it. And my speakers only had a 350 watt amp. The speakers out played the sub so bad. They were pioneer speakers on the kicker 350.4. it sounded beast.

PS: a sound system will only sound as good as the person whos tuning it. You need to spend a lot of time tuning the thing to make it sound really well.
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order placed

Thanks for the feedback fellas.

This is what I landed at (for now):
Components - Polk Audio DB6501 (100w RMS) - amazon $115

Coaxials - Polk Audio DB651 (60w RMS) - amazon $59

Amp - Power Acoustik OVN4-1600 (150w RMS x 4ch x 4ohm) - sonicelectronix $119

Amp kit - Rockford Fosgate RFK4D 4AWG 4 channel kit w/ 2 distribution blocks and a spool of 16AWG speaker wire - ebay $83

I'm giving the amp a chance since its reviews so far have been solid across the board. Worst case scenario, everything besides the amp is beast, I just swap the amp. I'll do some before/during/after pics once it all comes in here in about a week or two.
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Everything arrived

Here are my weekend plans


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Nice selection, how's the install coming.
slow but steady!

Nice selection, how's the install coming.
Hey Boss! Some impromptu plans took over the made plans for this weekend, but I definitely broke ground on the install. So far this is where I'm at:

My apt complex doesn't allow "car work" on the grounds, so I literally took the TB outside the parking lot and brought my little AC/DC converter for the soldering. With about two hours of sunlight, I was able to take care of the rear door speaker replacement.

Following MoJoe's How-to (Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum), I took the rear doors apart and worked on changing up the speaker wire situation. Trying to figure out how to make the 16AWG fit through the grommet and plastic housing for the clips, without destroying the manufactured hole in the pillar :undecided, I came up with this:

I hollowed out the small hole on the bottom of the plastic clip inside the grommet, running from the door to the pillar, just big enough to fit the wire through. Threaded it from the pillar through the grommet, and down into the speaker housing (with enough room to spare for soldering). Put the grommet back on the clip, covered everything back up, and made it look professional.

....And that's as far as the sunlight would allow this past Friday evening.:hissy: They say to test the speaker(s) before you put the door panel(s) back on, but I have yet to run the amp wires through the firewall. For now, they will just sit tight. Yesterday morning I finished the other rear door and started mounting the tweeters in the A pillars. I'm waiting on the Stinger Pro 4AWG firewall grommet (PG12) to come in (ETA this Monday:coffee) so I can get the amp cables lined up. Ran all the upgraded speaker wire. Pretty much taking care of as much small stuff until I can get to getting the amp lined up.


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oh and I saw this on another thread...

This caught my eye on another thread. Since I am trying to conserve as much room in the back as possible, this idea really struck my fancy.

Scroll down until you catch the amps mounted on the side pics.

maaaaybe taking the install that route :undecided
Great start. Sucks not having somewhere to work. Since i've moved into my house I don't know what I did without a garage. Great job hiding the wires also.
Great start. Sucks not having somewhere to work. Since i've moved into my house I don't know what I did without a garage. Great job hiding the wires also.
Thanks! Yeah the next place we move to better have a garage. A garage will be right next to "does this place have running water?" on the checklist.

Big update --> I was coming back from a meeting this morning and my transmission quit on me on the interstate :hopeless. . . Now in the shop.:hissy: So much for getting this install done quickly.:rolleyes::sadcry:
progress continues

Apologies on the sideways shots.

Showing the amp box opened. The two holes were anchored into to stabilize the box.

The A pillars are there to show the mounted tweeters.

The component boxes fit perfectly onto the side panels of the dash. I used 2sided 3M tape - holds like a charm, no drilling, completely hidden.

Finished drilling through the firewall and utilized the Stinger Pro 4AWG grommet (PG12). Ran the (+) cable, remote cable, both sets of RCAs, and the other two sets of speaker wire.

What's left:
- Driver side comp driver
- Ground cable ran and secured
- Connect all to amp and test levels
- Put all tools back where I found them so the gf won't get fussy ;)


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More pics of what you did in the cargo area please! I'm trying to figure out what I'm gonna do back there...
more pics

More pics of what you did in the cargo area please! I'm trying to figure out what I'm gonna do back there...
No prob, bud. Posting a few more pics. I JUST finished the project and this system is NASTY!!!! Thoroughly impressed with the output.

The cables won't sit like that. They were just pushed up in there for photo.

The amp box cover literally rides up next to the wheel well. Unless you truly need the small space around the wheel well, you're not losing any functional room. I used 1/2" MDF board, for the box and the cover, so you'll lose 1/2" floor room. The cover runs up to an inch from the back seat and runs right to the base of the back seat flap (where the cargo mat runs into the lip of the at the back seat flap).

I'll be testing the box's durability this Saturday, as I'll be loading 2 different DJ setups, pushing the cargo room to it's max. I'll try and take a pic of it fully loaded up.


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i like the totally enclosed look.
Thanks! Same here. I was skeptical at first about covering the amp, but with the ported opening at the top to let heat out, this thing kicks all day. :thumbsup:
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