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Full audio upgrade (minus head unit), what did you pay?

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Old 09-08-2015, 06:06 PM   #1
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Default Full audio upgrade (minus head unit), what did you pay?

Yesterday, I had a Clifford Security System installed on my truck after a couple of turds were seen trying to get into it about 30 minutes after we got home from the Texas A&M Game on Saturday night. Said turds were noticed and then chased by my neighbors German Wife in her car. This was all told to me on Sunday morning when I was leaving.

So off to Car Toys I went where I settled on a Clifford 5806x and returned on Monday for the install. As expected, they were running behind due to a couple of installers that called in for labor day. Go figure..

I went back to the store around 9pm last night to wait for the truck. Me being my social self, had already become friendly with my sales guy. While waiting in the showroom after hours, we began talking about replacing parts of my audio system.

After telling him what I would want out of a system (JL Sub, increased overall system volume and clarity), we landed in one of their sound rooms.

I'll say this.. I've always been a fan of JL Subs as well as Focal Speakers. I've never owned either of them, but I have a friend who has and I always enjoyed listening to them.

After narrowing down the sub to a JL 10TW3, I found myself in love with the Focal 165AS components. For 399, I don't think I have heard a better speaker. And compared to some other Focals that costs twice as much, I couldn't find myself budging from the 165AS'. Aaron Lewis' vocals sounded superb, as did the guitar strings. Closing my eyes, I could easily imagine the guy being 5 feet in front of me. Swapping over to another form of country, Aaron Watson's "That's Why God Loves Cowboys" blew my mind over again. Rick Ross and Slim Thug sounded as I expected them to. Extremely clear and the 10TW3 didn't disappoint. Planned amp is either a JL 700/5 or Kicker KX800.5

I listened to some JL Components and Alpines which sounded good and would be a definite upgrade, but I kept catching myself wanting to listen to the Focals again.

With my little story put to the side, I'm just curious to know what have some of you guys installed into your trucks and what did you end up spending out of the door?

With the JL, Focals in the front and Focal 5x7's in the rear doors, I'm looking at around 2000 - 2300 out of the door.

I've never truly upgraded an audio system in one of my vehicles. In High School, I had two 12" cheapos from Best Buy and then upgraded my speakers in a Dodge Ram single cab, but that's about as far as I have ever gone with it. In my living room, I have a Martin Logan Setup with a Marantz Receiver. I like good, clear, clean sound and usually listen to my music at a higher volume when in the truck.
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Old 09-08-2015, 06:41 PM   #2
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You have to remember this, the sound room is a deadened and acoustically prepped room that is an ideal listening environment. It's made to make any and all of the component sets in the room sound good.

The cabin of your pickup is FAR different.

In my honest opinion, if you are set with going with car toys as an installer(seen a lot of good stuff from them, just not the shop i would pick in the Houston area), get a price from them to deaden and prep your front doors, get an active capable sound processor, and ditch the rear doors completely aka use factory speakers or cheaper head unit powered coaxials.

Why ditch the rears, you may ask?

The overall soundstage in a vehicle is dictated from the front. The rear fill is just that, fill. It should not play any major factor in the way a vehicle's stereo reproduces audio. Here's some info upon that, http://www.crutchfield.com/S-gbxu9WW...oundstage.html

Also, not using the rear speakers opens up some of the budget to prep the door properly for those expensive Focal components. It's like stuffing a kenne bell 4v into a car on stock tires. It'll work, just not to the fullest of potential. The environment of the door needs to be properly sealed for the components to REALLY come to life.
Here's a few links regarding deadening
http://www.caraudio.com/forums/speak...ening-you.html

The second video is REALLY helpful. Mark is a VERY knowledgeable fellow.

Pretty brief post, the substage should work fine. There's a REALLY knowledgeable and talented installer/fabricator by the name of Gerardo Chaparro, he owns LoneStar Auto Works. He is my recommendation for and custom work in the Houston area. He built a CRAZY walled Tahoe... the "[email protected] HOE." Expect to come out to the tune of $2500, if I had to guess. I do all my work myself, and I could easily match that setup's quality with products for less than $1200.
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:26 PM   #3
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You have to remember this, the sound room is a deadened and acoustically prepped room that is an ideal listening environment. It's made to make any and all of the component sets in the room sound good.

The cabin of your pickup is FAR different.

In my honest opinion, if you are set with going with car toys as an installer(seen a lot of good stuff from them, just not the shop i would pick in the Houston area), get a price from them to deaden and prep your front doors, get an active capable sound processor, and ditch the rear doors completely aka use factory speakers or cheaper head unit powered coaxials.

Why ditch the rears, you may ask?

The overall soundstage in a vehicle is dictated from the front. The rear fill is just that, fill. It should not play any major factor in the way a vehicle's stereo reproduces audio. Here's some info upon that, http://www.crutchfield.com/S-gbxu9WW...oundstage.html

Also, not using the rear speakers opens up some of the budget to prep the door properly for those expensive Focal components. It's like stuffing a kenne bell 4v into a car on stock tires. It'll work, just not to the fullest of potential. The environment of the door needs to be properly sealed for the components to REALLY come to life.
Here's a few links regarding deadening
http://www.caraudio.com/forums/speak...ening-you.html
How To Sound Deaden Doors - YouTube
INCREASE MID BASS! How to Sound Deaden Like a Pro - CarAudioFabrication - YouTube

The second video is REALLY helpful. Mark is a VERY knowledgeable fellow.

Pretty brief post, the substage should work fine. There's a REALLY knowledgeable and talented installer/fabricator by the name of Gerardo Chaparro, he owns LoneStar Auto Works. He is my recommendation for and custom work in the Houston area. He built a CRAZY walled Tahoe... the "[email protected] HOE." Expect to come out to the tune of $2500, if I had to guess. I do all my work myself, and I could easily match that setup's quality with products for less than $1200.
What would you go with if it was you? Like I said, I have never gone too deep into mobile audio. I'll be sure check out Lonestar.

I'm all open to suggestions.
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Old 09-08-2015, 11:04 PM   #4
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Focal is a great company and they make wonderful component sets. I had an older 6.5" set of polykevlars and they were stellar. I would have a 3 way set of the polykevs on the to-buy list if I didn't get a good deal on a Morel 3 way set. They can be harsh in some installs, but the xovers on my Polykevlars had a -3db switch that allowed you to down-tune the tweet. I used that option when I was running mine. The tweets are incredibly clear, but they can be a little harsh.

I'd go with the JL amp over the Kicker amp. I don't think you'd hear a difference between the two if power is equal, but JL has a better reputation for overall quality vs mass appeal. I know old school kicker gear was top notch, but I get the feeling that they aren't where they used to be. I've owned gear from both and been happy with it, and I plan to run an older Kicker 30 band EQ if I don't get a DSP that covers the job. It's from several years back and it worked very well in a past install. So, my opinion is based mostly on company appearance in the market, and the fact that most people serious about SQ don't have Kicker in their cars. They have Arc, JL, Alpine and a few other lesser known brands. I certainly won't say Kicker isn't good, but I'd be more comfortable with JL, barring some hard evidence to the contrary.

Sound deadening is critical. At a minimum, put some dyynamat (or a better/cheaper alternative) on the doors when you install the components. More is better, but at least do that. You'll notice a stark difference if you listen to your comps with and without door deadening. It's not glamorous, but it's necessary.

KnuKonceptz wiring is a steal. The name is dumb, but I've been using their wires and RCAs for years and been very happy with the results. The wire is cheap and good quality. I did some research recently to see if saving the cash on the aluminum wire was worth it. The study I read said Al wire has about 60% of the conductivity of Cu wire. When Cu 4awg wire is about $1.30/ft, it's just not that more expensive to get the best conductor for the job...barring a 20' silver 4awg cable. Figure the price out on that! haha.

I will kill the rear fill on my truck too, when I install everything. I've never used it on a serious install, and have only seen drawbacks when I experimented with it in the past. If real SQ and a solid sound stage are your goals, you don't need it. I will probably leave stock speakers back there and possibly leave the option to fade back for the kids, but normal listening will be 100% front stage.

As for integration into the stock stereo, I'm still working on that for my stereo. I'll be looking at something like a Bit10, or similar device.

So, total for my stereo?

Front stage: Morel Virtus 603 comps - $730 online
Front stage amp: Arc Audio - $520 online
--------paid $700 for both, lightly used
Sub: Probably my JL 10w7, if I can work it in - $550 retail
Sub amp: JL 500/1 - ~$500 retail, IIRC. I think I gave $400 for it an a 300/2, used, several years back
Wires: KnuKonceptz - ~$100-150'ish
RCAs: I got a great deal on some good RCAs, but I'd buy a higher end pair from KnuKonceptz if I didn't have mine - $50'ish?
Digital Sound Processor: Undecided - $350-700'ish, probably
Sound Deadening - a few hundred by the time it's done.

So I'm at about $3k in equipment, if I bought it all new. The only think I've paid retail for so far is the sub, years ago, and the wires. I bought the amps and comps used and saved a ton. I'll probably have to pay full price for the DSP too, but that's fine considering what I would have spent and my goals.
The install will be done by me, so I save a good bit there. I'll probably get into fiberglass work, so that would get expensive in a hurry. I'll probably be out a couple hundred dollars in install supplies in the end.


You sound like you're taking the right approach to your build. You're getting Focal's entry level comps, but if you listened to the higher end stuff and don't hear the dollar difference, you're getting the right set for you. Keep that mindset and you'll get the right stuff for your ears and not overspend
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Old 09-09-2015, 01:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by cody6766 View Post
Focal is a great company and they make wonderful component sets. I had an older 6.5" set of polykevlars and they were stellar. I would have a 3 way set of the polykevs on the to-buy list if I didn't get a good deal on a Morel 3 way set. They can be harsh in some installs, but the xovers on my Polykevlars had a -3db switch that allowed you to down-tune the tweet. I used that option when I was running mine. The tweets are incredibly clear, but they can be a little harsh.

I'd go with the JL amp over the Kicker amp. I don't think you'd hear a difference between the two if power is equal, but JL has a better reputation for overall quality vs mass appeal. I know old school kicker gear was top notch, but I get the feeling that they aren't where they used to be. I've owned gear from both and been happy with it, and I plan to run an older Kicker 30 band EQ if I don't get a DSP that covers the job. It's from several years back and it worked very well in a past install. So, my opinion is based mostly on company appearance in the market, and the fact that most people serious about SQ don't have Kicker in their cars. They have Arc, JL, Alpine and a few other lesser known brands. I certainly won't say Kicker isn't good, but I'd be more comfortable with JL, barring some hard evidence to the contrary.

Sound deadening is critical. At a minimum, put some dyynamat (or a better/cheaper alternative) on the doors when you install the components. More is better, but at least do that. You'll notice a stark difference if you listen to your comps with and without door deadening. It's not glamorous, but it's necessary.

KnuKonceptz wiring is a steal. The name is dumb, but I've been using their wires and RCAs for years and been very happy with the results. The wire is cheap and good quality. I did some research recently to see if saving the cash on the aluminum wire was worth it. The study I read said Al wire has about 60% of the conductivity of Cu wire. When Cu 4awg wire is about $1.30/ft, it's just not that more expensive to get the best conductor for the job...barring a 20' silver 4awg cable. Figure the price out on that! haha.

I will kill the rear fill on my truck too, when I install everything. I've never used it on a serious install, and have only seen drawbacks when I experimented with it in the past. If real SQ and a solid sound stage are your goals, you don't need it. I will probably leave stock speakers back there and possibly leave the option to fade back for the kids, but normal listening will be 100% front stage.

As for integration into the stock stereo, I'm still working on that for my stereo. I'll be looking at something like a Bit10, or similar device.

So, total for my stereo?

Front stage: Morel Virtus 603 comps - $730 online
Front stage amp: Arc Audio - $520 online
--------paid $700 for both, lightly used
Sub: Probably my JL 10w7, if I can work it in - $550 retail
Sub amp: JL 500/1 - ~$500 retail, IIRC. I think I gave $400 for it an a 300/2, used, several years back
Wires: KnuKonceptz - ~$100-150'ish
RCAs: I got a great deal on some good RCAs, but I'd buy a higher end pair from KnuKonceptz if I didn't have mine - $50'ish?
Digital Sound Processor: Undecided - $350-700'ish, probably
Sound Deadening - a few hundred by the time it's done.

So I'm at about $3k in equipment, if I bought it all new. The only think I've paid retail for so far is the sub, years ago, and the wires. I bought the amps and comps used and saved a ton. I'll probably have to pay full price for the DSP too, but that's fine considering what I would have spent and my goals.
The install will be done by me, so I save a good bit there. I'll probably get into fiberglass work, so that would get expensive in a hurry. I'll probably be out a couple hundred dollars in install supplies in the end.


You sound like you're taking the right approach to your build. You're getting Focal's entry level comps, but if you listened to the higher end stuff and don't hear the dollar difference, you're getting the right set for you. Keep that mindset and you'll get the right stuff for your ears and not overspend
This guy knows his stuff, and I problem know of him/he may know of me...being from OKC.


Another good company to check on wiring products is SkyHigh Car Audio.

They offer OFC and CCA cabling, lugs, battery terminals, RCA's, and carry many car audio brands including deals on XS Power Batteries.

If I was to do it, based solely on a sound quality orientated setup for daily listening, I would use the following products:

*SkyHigh Car Audio - 100ft 1/0 CCA $153, 50ft #4 $75, 2x ANL Fuse Holders $16, 150a ANL fuse $4, 4 channel twisted RCA $21, 2 channel twisted RCA $11, 20x 1/0 copper lugs with heatshrink $40, 10 #4 copper lugs with heatshrink $14, 2x 6 spot flat battery terminals $50, 80mil Sound Deadner door kit 16.5sq ft $60

*XS Power - D6500 $320 and XP750 $100

^Precision Power PPI P65c3 - 3 way component set $230

^Rockford Fosgate Punch P400X2 - for the front doors $250

That puts you at close to $1350 shipped. With no substage, processor, or labor. I'm not going to comment on the substage, idk your musical listening habbits, so I can't really judge. The Sundown E and SD series are very cost reasonable and power friendly subs for sealed enclosures though.

You may ask, why two batteries and all the wire? Reserve capacity, big 3 upgrades, and interior cabin battery. A healthy electrical system is key to a good performing stereo. With that primary battery, and the secondary along with the big 3 upgrades done in 1/0, you could easily support up to a ~2500w stereo system, or as much auxiliary lighting as you would want, a winch, whatever.

Here's a quick link to some of the work to come out of LoneStar Autoworks, https://www.facebook.com/lonestarautoworks?fref=photo&sk=photosThey do VERY high quality work down there, highly recommend him, or Daniel Powell and JECAR up in Dallas.


*All these products could be purchased from SkyHigh's website, http://skyhighcaraudio.net
^These products were priced from Sonic Electronix, http://sonicelectronix.com
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Old 09-09-2015, 02:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cody6766 View Post
Focal is a great company and they make wonderful component sets. I had an older 6.5" set of polykevlars and they were stellar. I would have a 3 way set of the polykevs on the to-buy list if I didn't get a good deal on a Morel 3 way set. They can be harsh in some installs, but the xovers on my Polykevlars had a -3db switch that allowed you to down-tune the tweet. I used that option when I was running mine. The tweets are incredibly clear, but they can be a little harsh.

I'd go with the JL amp over the Kicker amp. I don't think you'd hear a difference between the two if power is equal, but JL has a better reputation for overall quality vs mass appeal. I know old school kicker gear was top notch, but I get the feeling that they aren't where they used to be. I've owned gear from both and been happy with it, and I plan to run an older Kicker 30 band EQ if I don't get a DSP that covers the job. It's from several years back and it worked very well in a past install. So, my opinion is based mostly on company appearance in the market, and the fact that most people serious about SQ don't have Kicker in their cars. They have Arc, JL, Alpine and a few other lesser known brands. I certainly won't say Kicker isn't good, but I'd be more comfortable with JL, barring some hard evidence to the contrary.

Sound deadening is critical. At a minimum, put some dyynamat (or a better/cheaper alternative) on the doors when you install the components. More is better, but at least do that. You'll notice a stark difference if you listen to your comps with and without door deadening. It's not glamorous, but it's necessary.

KnuKonceptz wiring is a steal. The name is dumb, but I've been using their wires and RCAs for years and been very happy with the results. The wire is cheap and good quality. I did some research recently to see if saving the cash on the aluminum wire was worth it. The study I read said Al wire has about 60% of the conductivity of Cu wire. When Cu 4awg wire is about $1.30/ft, it's just not that more expensive to get the best conductor for the job...barring a 20' silver 4awg cable. Figure the price out on that! haha.

I will kill the rear fill on my truck too, when I install everything. I've never used it on a serious install, and have only seen drawbacks when I experimented with it in the past. If real SQ and a solid sound stage are your goals, you don't need it. I will probably leave stock speakers back there and possibly leave the option to fade back for the kids, but normal listening will be 100% front stage.

As for integration into the stock stereo, I'm still working on that for my stereo. I'll be looking at something like a Bit10, or similar device.

So, total for my stereo?

Front stage: Morel Virtus 603 comps - $730 online
Front stage amp: Arc Audio - $520 online
--------paid $700 for both, lightly used
Sub: Probably my JL 10w7, if I can work it in - $550 retail
Sub amp: JL 500/1 - ~$500 retail, IIRC. I think I gave $400 for it an a 300/2, used, several years back
Wires: KnuKonceptz - ~$100-150'ish
RCAs: I got a great deal on some good RCAs, but I'd buy a higher end pair from KnuKonceptz if I didn't have mine - $50'ish?
Digital Sound Processor: Undecided - $350-700'ish, probably
Sound Deadening - a few hundred by the time it's done.

So I'm at about $3k in equipment, if I bought it all new. The only think I've paid retail for so far is the sub, years ago, and the wires. I bought the amps and comps used and saved a ton. I'll probably have to pay full price for the DSP too, but that's fine considering what I would have spent and my goals.
The install will be done by me, so I save a good bit there. I'll probably get into fiberglass work, so that would get expensive in a hurry. I'll probably be out a couple hundred dollars in install supplies in the end.


You sound like you're taking the right approach to your build. You're getting Focal's entry level comps, but if you listened to the higher end stuff and don't hear the dollar difference, you're getting the right set for you. Keep that mindset and you'll get the right stuff for your ears and not overspend
Thanks everyone for the advice. Much appreciated. I'm not going to let myself rush into buying anything, I've done it before with other purchases and regretted it on. I just want to ensure that I'm going to be happy with the end result.

The higher dollar Focals sounded even better and I could tell a difference. They definitely sounded more natural but with that being said, I can't justify dropping 700 or 800. They sounded great, but not nearly enough for me to justify the extra money. From what I could hear, the 165AS' are where it's at from a price and performance standpoint.

Another option I'm considering is 2 8w3's. The 8w3 is a awesome little fella.. I'd be absolutely happy with either one, but if I go the 8 inch route then I think going with this.. http://www.jlaudio.com/cp208lg-w3v3-...-systems-93295

On a side note, you guys are saying leave the factory rears in or just take them out?

And I agree, Dynamat or some other form of sound deadening is a must.
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Old 09-09-2015, 10:02 AM   #7
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Default Full audio upgrade (minus head unit), what did you pay?

I have focal 6 1/2 k2p up front, focal in rear, I had the JL 10tw3, now have the JL 13.5 tw5, JL xd700/5, JL xd 600/1 and an audison bit ten processor. I would stick to the equipment you are looking at. Sound deaden your doors and back wall and you will love your system. It does take time to fine tune the processor with the laptop. Good luck.
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Old 09-09-2015, 08:57 PM   #8
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I'd just leave the factory rears in, leave them powered off the head unit. My Volvo did 146's on music, and had no rear speakers what so ever. Sounded a lot better with out them. Knocked the whole balance of the sound off to have a powerful rear fill.

I'm currently putting a set of Sundown Audio SA-6.5 components in my 06 SuperCrew. My doors are deadened pretty well, and I will be feeding them roughly 150w per side, with passive crossovers for now. I will let you know how I like them, since they are a pretty decently price item for your budget.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:44 PM   #9
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I also agree with leaving them in. There's no need to remove them and you might want some sound back there at some point. I plan to leave mine in and run the fade full front. As long as they're not making noise, I can't see a reason to remove them.
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Old 09-16-2015, 01:21 AM   #10
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If it were me I would buy the best front component set I could afford and do a single 10 or 12" sub in a custom console. I would skip the JL subs and look at something like a Dayton HO or Incriminator Flatlyne, also Fi audio Q series or AA Havocs. I still like JL W6 and W7s but I feel like there are subs that will perform as good or better for a lot less money.

Check out Nitchbox Designs. They have some nice looking consoles.
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