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IdahoAxis

F150 Audio Upgrade Advice

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IdahoAxis

 

I have a new F150, 3.5EB, SuperCrew Lariat (501A, non-premium audio package) and would like to upgrade the sound system. Addition of a sub is a must and then options get a little murky from there. Ideally, I would upgrade door speakers and power them, but want to keep the budget in the $2k range (I most likely won't be doing the install myself). I'm interested in advice/experiences on all aspects:

  • Sub advice and how did you install your sub? I'd like to retain as much storage space as possible.
  • Amp choice(s)
  • Co-axials or bite the bullet for separate speakers?
  • Advice on line out controllers
  • Did you have to fight with the Engine Noise Enhancement BS that Ford pipes through the sound system for Ecoboost motors?

<<Apologies for not being boat related, but I'm quite sure I'll get better advice here as opposed to F150 forums. And, off-season is approaching so we need some non-boat distractions>>

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shawndoggy

in my 14 I built a plug and play harness out of the deck (with a "regular" and "reverse" wiring harness pigtail).  Out of the deck, speaker wires go to an audiocontrol lc7i.  From there, RCAs and amp turnon lead to JL XD400/4 for cabin and 600/1 for sub.  speaker wires out of the XD400/4 go back to the "truck side" of the plug and play harness.

For the sub I went cheap.  kicker comp r 10 (shallow) in a prefab box.  Won't win any bass awards, but plenty for personal listening.  The box is the same width as the "big" side of the rear seat.  So you lose that room under the seat for storage.

I used 6x8s in the doors.  Infinity reference in the back and infinity kappas in the front.  I also added kappa tweeters in place of the factory a-pillar tweets.

I have a JL RLC for the sub that's mounted in the dash (behind the steering wheel)

Amps and lc7i are mounted to the rear wall of the cab, behind the seat back. 

Looks factory except for the sub (and if you saw a little of the sawzall work behind the rear seatback :blush:).  Sounds significantly better.  Truck will rock the F out when I wanna.

You could definitely do comps in the doors, but it'd be more work.  Whether that would be worth it ..... depends. 

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shawndoggy

For amps, the JL XDs fit real well behind the rear seat (of a 14, anyhow).  you do start to run out of depth pretty quickly, so the XDs' low profile is great.  If I hadn't already had the XDs on hand from a prior install, I think I could've gotten away with a single XD 700/5 (300w for sub).  Or definitely an XD 1000/5 (which is basically the same as what I'm running now, just in a single chassis).

Re LOC -- audiocontrol isn't cheap but they are very good.

An off the wall suggestion -- clarion eqs755.  Same as the eqs746, but now with speaker level inputs.  That'd give you an eq and sub control.  I dunno how good the LOC is on that ... probably inferior to audiocontrol, but how inferior?

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Bozboat
3 hours ago, shawndoggy said:

in my 14 I built a plug and play harness out of the deck (with a "regular" and "reverse" wiring harness pigtail).  Out of the deck, speaker wires go to an audiocontrol lc7i.  From there, RCAs and amp turnon lead to JL XD400/4 for cabin and 600/1 for sub.  speaker wires out of the XD400/4 go back to the "truck side" of the plug and play harness.

For the sub I went cheap.  kicker comp r 10 (shallow) in a prefab box.  Won't win any bass awards, but plenty for personal listening.  The box is the same width as the "big" side of the rear seat.  So you lose that room under the seat for storage.

I used 6x8s in the doors.  Infinity reference in the back and infinity kappas in the front.  I also added kappa tweeters in place of the factory a-pillar tweets.

I have a JL RLC for the sub that's mounted in the dash (behind the steering wheel)

Amps and lc7i are mounted to the rear wall of the cab, behind the seat back. 

Looks factory except for the sub (and if you saw a little of the sawzall work behind the rear seatback :blush:).  Sounds significantly better.  Truck will rock the F out when I wanna.

You could definitely do comps in the doors, but it'd be more work.  Whether that would be worth it ..... depends. 

 

160C2CE6-E7D6-4877-A0EB-654BF758E9CE.gif

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IdahoAxis
3 hours ago, shawndoggy said:

For amps, the JL XDs fit real well behind the rear seat (of a 14, anyhow).  you do start to run out of depth pretty quickly, so the XDs' low profile is great.  If I hadn't already had the XDs on hand from a prior install, I think I could've gotten away with a single XD 700/5 (300w for sub).  Or definitely an XD 1000/5 (which is basically the same as what I'm running now, just in a single chassis).

Re LOC -- audiocontrol isn't cheap but they are very good.

An off the wall suggestion -- clarion eqs755.  Same as the eqs746, but now with speaker level inputs.  That'd give you an eq and sub control.  I dunno how good the LOC is on that ... probably inferior to audiocontrol, but how inferior?

Thanks for all this... Good info and exactly what I was looking for. I'm thinking a similar build to yours is what I'm looking for- good bang-for-the-buck. I did notice AudioControl makes a LOC/Amp combo; not sure how good they are, but would give a lot of control in one box, but probably a bit more expensive than a LC7 and separate Amp.

I found this "problem solver" harness in an F150 Forum post https://amzn.to/2DK4J6j Seems to get positive feedback and would save a lot of time cutting & splicing, plus make reversion back-to-factory easier if I ever needed to do that.

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IdahoAxis
17 hours ago, shawndoggy said:

I used 6x8s in the doors.  Infinity reference in the back and infinity kappas in the front.  I also added kappa tweeters in place of the factory a-pillar tweets.

SD- Did you power the tweeters from the amp or just connect them directly to the head-unit?

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shawndoggy
Just now, IdahoAxis said:

SD- Did you power the tweeters from the amp or just connect them directly to the head-unit?

I powered them off of the HU.  my thought was really just to raise the sound stage more than anything... I didn't try them powered from the amp (they did come with their own highpass crossover), but my fear was that they would be way way way too bright, and I didn't have an extra set of channels that I could independently attenuate.

Frankly I'm not sure whether I can even hear them very much at all.  They are very soft in comparison to the amped speakers (I can hear them for a split second on key up before the lc7i wakes up and sends the turn on signal to the amps). All in all, I'd put doing the tweets in the category of a "meh" upgrade, at least the way I've got them powered.  Maybe if I had a 6 channel amp and could power them independently or something like a jbl ms8 to time align them they'd have a more powerful impact.  I'm kinda guessing that if someone snuck in and reinstalled the factory tweets in the A pilars that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

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shawndoggy

A little update.  I was getting some door panel vibration that was driving me nutso.  So I took the front panels off this weekend to do a little bit of sound deadening on them.  This also prompted me to do a little re-tuning***.  Notwithstanding that the Lc7i says that I have some headroom on the output gains, I turned both front and rear down a bit.  Basically I was overdriven to the point that I could only turn the HU volume up to about 12 before everything started to get way too loud... which in turn meant that I lost a lot of granularity when trying to listen at conversational levels (huge jump between 3 and 5).

Anyhow, the net result is that now the a pillar tweets get driven a little harder by the HU relative to the amp-driven door speakers, and it really does bring the sound stage up.  Wish I would've done this a long time ago.  Combined with the little bit of door deadening, it sounds really really good.  Been going back and listening to some of my tuning fave music on my commute and I'm really happy with the overall sound.

 

***I've read this from several pros but it bears repeating that it really makes sense to only tune for a short amount of time and then quit for a couple of hours.  The problem is that I get used to having the volume cranked while tuning and then that doesn't seem loud any more so I end up tweaking and tweaking to the point that the system is tuned for maximum output (which frankly isn't a setting I use in the vehicle more than once or twice a year) rather than low/med/med-loud.  

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