Upgrading the sound system on your Jeep Wrangler TJ


skrelnik

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Would this work for the factory sound system in our TJs? I’m not very knowledgeable on amps


I like the remote feature the Kenwood comes with.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UTXQL74/?tag=wranglerorg-20

Before picking an amplifier what do you currently have in your Jeep, are you all stock? Is there a subwoofer in the center console?

Both those amps are solid, but if you have a center console sub you may want to look at a 5 channel amp. Also, if you want to keep the stock head unit, then you need to ensure the new amp is compatible, and has bluetooth.
 
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Gasman

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Before picking an amplifier what do you currently have in your Jeep, are you all stock? Is there a subwoofer in the center console?

Both those amps are solid, but if you have a center console sub you may want to look at a 5 channel amp. Also, if you want to keep the stock head unit, then you need to ensure the new amp is compatible, and has bluetooth.
Skrelnik - This new info about bluetooth amps has me rethinking my approach as well. I was scrolling some of your posts and it looks like you're the one to ask for anything audio so I'm gonna pick your brain a bit here!

The reason I changed out my OEM head uint was to gain bluetooth and iphone or USB connectivity and gain some power to my speakers. This is solely for music since it's next to impossible to have a phone conversation in an open TJ.

Current setup:

head unit - Kenwood KMM-X503 - it's a digital receiver only since, lets face it, who uses tape or CD anymore?
Front speakers - 75w Kicker CSC5 (in dash pods)
Rear speakers - 100w Kicker CSC65 (in the overhead sound bar)
Subwoofer - none since my 1998 didn't come with one but I really would like to install one somehow.

I saved my old OEM head unit so if there is a way I can go back to it and gain the ability to stream music or play music from an iPhone then that's all I need. I would also like to add a sub but I am struggling with a good location. My Jeep is garage kept so in the summer when I drive it I keep the top off so cargo area or tailgate are not an option for the sub. Same goes for under the rear seat since I don't keep it in the jeep. Center console would be ideal but my jeep wasn't designed for one. I've been looking for an OEM sub console for over a year and have yet to find one to match my spice interior. I've looked at the Tuffy security console for sub but they're only in black or charcoal.

Any ideas as to how to best approach this?
 

Gasman

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With pictures

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TWiG01

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Before picking an amplifier what do you currently have in your Jeep, are you all stock? Is there a subwoofer in the center console?

Both those amps are solid, but if you have a center console sub you may want to look at a 5 channel amp. Also, if you want to keep the stock head unit, then you need to ensure the new amp is compatible, and has bluetooth.
So I’m all stock with the exception of some Polk speakers in my overhead sound bar. I have the factory stereo with a factory subwoofer in the center console so I guess I’ll need a 5 channel amp to power that and 4 speakers? I’d like to figure out a setup without a bunch of wires running underneath the carpet. That’s why those small amps were appealing. I’m not an audiophile by any means, but would appreciate some better sound without drilling holes and running wires all over the Jeep. Thanks for your help so far
 

skrelnik

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Skrelnik - This new info about bluetooth amps has me rethinking my approach as well. I was scrolling some of your posts and it looks like you're the one to ask for anything audio so I'm gonna pick your brain a bit here!

The reason I changed out my OEM head uint was to gain bluetooth and iphone or USB connectivity and gain some power to my speakers. This is solely for music since it's next to impossible to have a phone conversation in an open TJ.

Current setup:

head unit - Kenwood KMM-X503 - it's a digital receiver only since, lets face it, who uses tape or CD anymore?
Front speakers - 75w Kicker CSC5 (in dash pods)
Rear speakers - 100w Kicker CSC65 (in the overhead sound bar)
Subwoofer - none since my 1998 didn't come with one but I really would like to install one somehow.

I saved my old OEM head unit so if there is a way I can go back to it and gain the ability to stream music or play music from an iPhone then that's all I need. I would also like to add a sub but I am struggling with a good location. My Jeep is garage kept so in the summer when I drive it I keep the top off so cargo area or tailgate are not an option for the sub. Same goes for under the rear seat since I don't keep it in the jeep. Center console would be ideal but my jeep wasn't designed for one. I've been looking for an OEM sub console for over a year and have yet to find one to match my spice interior. I've looked at the Tuffy security console for sub but they're only in black or charcoal.

Any ideas as to how to best approach this?

Thanks for that! The approach is the most important so you build what you want for the best price. A subwoofer would be a great addition to your system, and like you, I prefer stealth in the center console, and not in the rear space. Finding that center console is huge. Davey's Jeeps has a insert available, but not the center console. I have seen some on craiglist as well, so you should keep looking around.

Your system is solid as-is, check out this Kenwood amplifier with built-in bluetooth. You could then swap head units, and only need to solve for the subwoofer and mono-amp for that subwoofer. Another option is to keep your head unit and go for a five channel amp. More food for thought.

 

skrelnik

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So I’m all stock with the exception of some Polk speakers in my overhead sound bar. I have the factory stereo with a factory subwoofer in the center console so I guess I’ll need a 5 channel amp to power that and 4 speakers? I’d like to figure out a setup without a bunch of wires running underneath the carpet. That’s why those small amps were appealing. I’m not an audiophile by any means, but would appreciate some better sound without drilling holes and running wires all over the Jeep. Thanks for your help so far


With an amplifier, it will need power and ground, so some wiring is needed. It is nearly impossible to find 5 channel amp, with built-in bluetooth, that is small enough to fit under the steering column, and also a reasonable price. It can be done, but pricey.

There is Match PP 62DSP that is ideal, but you will end up spending $1k on the amp and related parts. You are lucky being in New Jersey as I mentioned that audio shop, Unexpected Creations, who is an authorized dealer for Match, and can ensure the install goes well.

This is the amplifier I am thinking about, and I sold a similar one on this forum. Image of how it looks is below;

  • Simple Plug & Play connection to original sound systems using vehicle-specific adapter cables
  • MATCH Extension Card (MEC) slot for additional input modules like Bluetooth® Audio Streaming, High Resolution Audio Streaming via USB
1610569912342.png
 
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TWiG01

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Thanks again, it looks like that amp is discontinued and probably more than I want to spend. I’m going to have to do some more research. I read you can run a four channel amp for the speakers and a Soundstream Power box for the sub. I’m assuming that’s a stand alone amp for just the sub
 

skrelnik

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Thanks again, it looks like that amp is discontinued and probably more than I want to spend. I’m going to have to do some more research. I read you can run a four channel amp for the speakers and a Soundstream Power box for the sub. I’m assuming that’s a stand alone amp for just the sub

These amps are around, just that they are not readily available on eBay as the Company only sells through authorized dealers.

Like I said, Don at Unexpected Creations in Edison should have some.

You can also get a 5 channel without Bluetooth, like the Cerwin Vega B55 Bomber.

 
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Mfpaul73

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Planning my upgrade. Going to stick with factory locations to save space. Have you run into factory dash pods? My fronts seem to be a factory version of a 5.25 and a 1.0 tweeter in a plastic pod of sorts. Wondering if I should just replace the 5.25 part, add some poly fill, and keep the rest of the stock pod. Don't see too many references on the forum to changing up the front speakers when these factory dash pods are present. Must have been an upgrade to the open 4x6 most seem to be upgrading.
 

skrelnik

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Planning my upgrade. Going to stick with factory locations to save space. Have you run into factory dash pods? My fronts seem to be a factory version of a 5.25 and a 1.0 tweeter in a plastic pod of sorts. Wondering if I should just replace the 5.25 part, add some poly fill, and keep the rest of the stock pod. Don't see too many references on the forum to changing up the front speakers when these factory dash pods are present. Must have been an upgrade to the open 4x6 most seem to be upgrading.

Interesting, can you post a picture of these aftermarket front dash pods?

Most members use the Select Increment pods. Here is a link to them, a and a picture of my 5.25" in them.


IMG_20200617_152105.jpg
 
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Just an add on here...sound deadening all around you speaker locations and the sub console will do wonders and I mean make a tremendous difference. If you have overhead speaker pods get in there too...it’s a tight fit but well worth doing. Oh and poly fill will do nothing for mids and highs. Just leave the ploy fill for where you’ve had to skimp on the enclosure size for space.
 
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Ocho

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I swapped out my factory receiver (AM/FM/CD/Tape) with this Kenwood
https://www.crutchfield.com/p_113KMX704/Kenwood-Excelon-KMM-X704.htm.

While it works well and has good sound and has just about every function one could ask for, it's just annoying to operate. It's almost as if it has too many functions. The buttons are tiny and the display is difficult to read when the top is off (which for me is all the time since my jeep is not my daily driver). It also just looks out of place. I would go back to the factory receiver in a heartbeat if only it supported bluetooth or had an iphone interface or USB connectivity. I did just find this RetroSound unit one and I have to say, it looks pretty cool. Old school design with modern functions - bluetooth, dual USB connectivity, satellite radio connectivity, able to connect to an amp and other aux ports. It's 1.5 DIN so it fits correct and it doesn't look fancy enough for a shitbird to waste his time trying to steal.

If anyone has installed this one, I'd like to get some feedback before I purchase.

I have an older version of that with a USB port and Aux cable in the front and it is great for what it is. Have my Kicker HS8 and BLAM amplifier hooked to it via RCA cables, and have the iPhone cable wired to the back for a clean install.

Bonus that I'm never worried that anyone will try to steal it!
 
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Gasman

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I have an older version of that with a USB port and Aux cable in the front and it is great for what it is. Have my Kicker HS8 and BLAM amplifier hooked to it via RCA cables, and have the iPhone cable wired to the back for a clean install.

Bonus that I'm never worried that anyone will try to steal
Where did you mount the kicker hs8? Did it by any chance fit under one of the front seats?
 

Ocho

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Where did you mount the kicker hs8? Did it by any chance fit under one of the front seats?
It's under the back seat with a quick disconnect so I can remove it at will. I never tried it under the front seat since I already use the space for other stuff.
 
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Gasman

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Thanks for that! The approach is the most important so you build what you want for the best price. A subwoofer would be a great addition to your system, and like you, I prefer stealth in the center console, and not in the rear space. Finding that center console is huge. Davey's Jeeps has a insert available, but not the center console. I have seen some on craiglist as well, so you should keep looking around.

Your system is solid as-is, check out this Kenwood amplifier with built-in bluetooth. You could then swap head units, and only need to solve for the subwoofer and mono-amp for that subwoofer. Another option is to keep your head unit and go for a five channel amp. More food for thought.

So here's my plan...tell me your thoughts.

An under (front) seat powered subs looked like an viable option but I was able to source a factory console sub insert. The consoles that I have found locally or on Ebay are for the most part a mess. I considered a Tuffy but they don't come in my interior color. At the price they're asking, I can't see buying one and still need to refinish it. My existing, while without the speaker grill opening, is in excellent shape so I was thinking of removing or modifying the white plastic insert to the point were I can fit the sub insert. Following some of the other threads on the forum, I will replace the sub with one of these (Kicker CompRT 43CWRT671 or 43CWRT672) and just keep my existing head unit.


Now here's the tricky part. In order to create an opening for sound to release from the console, rather than cutting a 7" or so hole in the driver side of my console, would it it be feasible to cut a grid in the console itself to replicate a later model console's driver side "opening" (if that makes sense)? I was following this thread but it appears a metal grill on the outside may pose a problem with seat or seatbelt rub.


So if this approach would work, I'll do the necessary dremel work and create the new grill opening. Would it be enough to power my 4 speakers from the head unit's power and use a mono amp for the sub or should I go with a 5 channel amp and power the whole works? If you have amp recommendations for either that would be awesome too. Also, I'm not sure which sub to go with - 1 ohm or 2 ohm. (and frankly, I'm having a hard time understanding the difference, LOL).

From what I read here, an under seat powered sub is a good option, but the 6.75" in console sub with amp is better. My goal is to just have a better sound with the top off...no need to rattle the windows from a block away.
 

skrelnik

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So here's my plan...tell me your thoughts.

An under (front) seat powered subs looked like an viable option but I was able to source a factory console sub insert. The consoles that I have found locally or on Ebay are for the most part a mess. I considered a Tuffy but they don't come in my interior color. At the price they're asking, I can't see buying one and still need to refinish it. My existing, while without the speaker grill opening, is in excellent shape so I was thinking of removing or modifying the white plastic insert to the point were I can fit the sub insert. Following some of the other threads on the forum, I will replace the sub with one of these (Kicker CompRT 43CWRT671 or 43CWRT672) and just keep my existing head unit.


Now here's the tricky part. In order to create an opening for sound to release from the console, rather than cutting a 7" or so hole in the driver side of my console, would it it be feasible to cut a grid in the console itself to replicate a later model console's driver side "opening" (if that makes sense)? I was following this thread but it appears a metal grill on the outside may pose a problem with seat or seatbelt rub.


So if this approach would work, I'll do the necessary dremel work and create the new grill opening. Would it be enough to power my 4 speakers from the head unit's power and use a mono amp for the sub or should I go with a 5 channel amp and power the whole works? If you have amp recommendations for either that would be awesome too. Also, I'm not sure which sub to go with - 1 ohm or 2 ohm. (and frankly, I'm having a hard time understanding the difference, LOL).

From what I read here, an under seat powered sub is a good option, but the 6.75" in console sub with amp is better. My goal is to just have a better sound with the top off...no need to rattle the windows from a block away.

An front underseat sub is an okay route, the issues I see are that if you ever get water in the vehicle, and also fitment. Think of how frequently you put the seat back and if that wiring and box could impact anything.

I would personally consider getting a larger a self powered sub and placing it under the rear seat, with a quick disconnect. You could fit a better sounding sub there (probably a 10" with ease, possibly a 12") and with a quick disconnect could remove easily if you need to remove the rear seat. Under the rear seat is a zipper so you can kind of stuff the sub inside there.

If you go this route, I would recommend a five channel amplifier. You can fine one for a similar price as a 4 channel, and marginally more expensive than a mono amplifier. Relative value for a five channel is there.

Look at the Cerwin Vega B55 bomber as an option. It's $270 and will fit inside your dash, under the steering column. A mono or 4 channel amp is about half the price, so an extra $135 gets you 4 amped channels...


Now, if you want to go the center console route, that Kicker CompRT is a perfect fit, and the model is dependent on the amplifier's ohm rating (model number ending 671 vs 672). This is an easy install, and I do think you can cut a speaker grill opening in your current center console. Check out the image of the actual center console with grill. Notice there is a square cutout, and three screw holes that connect to the insert. You could do something like this, assuming you have the right tools and can do it.

1611153980494.png
 
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I’d just add to the sub and creating a grill...don’t worry too much. Bass firstly is non directional and you feel bass as much as hear it so you don’t have to worry about creating a grill as you would with speakers other than base , just an opening not too intricate will do the job. Remember most subs end up in a sealed trunk lol.
Good luck.
 
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112dB

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I also listen to CDs and have a Kenwood. It's solid and has great Bluetooth streaming. Unfortunately Kenwood HUs are hard to find as production slowed down during the pandemic. Crutchfield has a nice looking Alpine that would fit your needs.


There is a great car audio guy in Edison, if you live near there. He may have some Kenwoods in stock if you cannot find what you are looking for.

I have used Alpine decks for over 25 years now. I've got a UTE-73BT in my jeep now but it doesn't have a *clock* which turns out to be a key feature for me. I ordered the CDE-175BT yesterday and am looking forward to having CD capability again. And the 5V pre-outs don't hurt either. :)
 
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voodooridr

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My UTE-73BT has a clock, push the little button by the AUX jack a couple times, it'll pop up
Alpine.jpg
 
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