6 speaker layout: how best to build and wire?

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6 speaker layout: how best to build and wire?

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I would like to improve the current setup in my 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  It has six speakers with Boston Acoustics (BA)  head unit and amp.  Speakers are 2 dash (tweeters maybe), 2 front door (woofers) and 2 rear door (3-way I think).  The amp is driven by "CAN-Bus" ( low speed digital signal) so a new head unit will not interact with the amp (wil lose fader).  

First I would like new speakers (the right-front dash is blown and very distorted).  I'm not sure if it's a tweeter or a 2-way; I have read different sources that it is both. So I'm gonna try a 2-way cuz that's all I can find that fits in the factory grill area.   If the system sounds good with the new front dashes, then I will stop with speakers

Second I would like to add bluetooth phone and audio streaming.  

Option A: buy the Uconnect device that is Chrysler factory for approx $315.  It will work with the BA factory radio and amp.  Not sure if it allows streaming audio but it also has wired audio port for phone.

Option B: buy a new head unit with bluetooth and a lot of other nice things like HD radio for $450.  The existing amp will work with it but I lose fader.  

Option C; buy a new head unit and a new amp (another $500-750)  to power six channels. (no need for a subwoofer for me).  This brings up questions:  How would you set up six speakers in a component system?  This would cost even more for new speakers.

I would appreciate any suggestions on staging a system to allow spending some now and some later.

Verified Answer
  • Best sounding car audio system will always be 2.1, tuned correctly. Left and right up front and sub in rear. All that fancy car audio is mostly for marketing and/or for the kids watching video in the back seat. All you want is a good front soundstage and a good lowend.

    Don't think of it as 6 speaker spots. 4 full range speaker outputs from headunit. If you have back seat riders frequently, you will want rear speakers. If you plan to make a nice amped system and do not usually have back seat riders, it will sound best with left and right fronts and a subwoofer behind the rear seat. Some people use midrange drivers in rear doors or panels for what is termed 'rear fill'.

    GLH Geeked

  • Nope, I can only find information indicating that the Kicker system has a subwoofer. The BA system is a 6 speaker system.

    The dash is NOT ideal for any speaker, as there are often issues with reflection. Granted, not all have a problem with such.

    The more speakers in a setup, the more processing is needed to get a good tune. Often, setups with multiple speakers like that are designed so the system sounds the same to everyone in the vehicle, there's not just one ideal listening spot. When someone opts to install just a set of components and a sub, they will usually tune the car so the driver's seat is the position that has the best sound. Center speakers are needed to get the same imaging/staging for both sides of the car

    So, is a sixteen speaker system "better" than a set of components and a sub (even though you said no need for a sub)? Depends if you want it to sound good for just you or sound the same for all occupants. Ir'd be easy to get a good tune for one seat with merely a set of components and a sub, with a capable DSP. For instance, the Pioneer DRH-80PRS, as it's 3-way capable with time alignment and 16-band independent L/R EQ. Not to mention other notable features.

    Andy Wehmeijer (formally of JBL, but now has his own business Audiofrog) has something like 20 drivers in his car wired up to a custom 24 channel DSP he made. I've not heard it, but those who have all claim it's audio bliss and both front seats sound great, definitely a class winning SQ setup if he ever opted to compete.

  • Weigle21,

    I did say no need for a subwoofer but I'm coming around to your way of thinking. I almost forgot how good John Entwistle's bass sounds when playing The Who. I haven't had a good audio system in years so I had forgotten about crossovers and such.

    This car is mainly occupied by me alone driving at least 3 hours per day in terrible South Florida traffic. So I agree that I need to tune it for the driver. I will check out that

    Pioneer model you showed.

    Thanks for all the good advice. I may ask for more as I gather up ideas and money.

All Replies
  • In my opinion, your best option is to install a new Pioneer headunit with all the features you want/need and bypass the stock amp. The headunit likely puts out more RMS power than the stock amp. Your dash tweeters and door midrange woofers are wired together as a component pair of speakers. You can replace them with the same. If you want to try using the headunit-only power, pick speakers with a high sensitivity rating and/or low impedance. If you want an amped set of speakers, you can also do that. A new headunit will make it relatively simple. Are you sure there isn't a stock subwoofer ?

    GLH Geeked

  • You do not have to change the dash speakers. You can use coaxial speakers in the doors and simply disconnect the dash speakers. It is also quite common to delete rear speakers and use only a subwoofer in the rear, or use only the front speakers. I am quite sure the BA system uses a subwoofer. There may not be anything wrong with the right dash speaker. The problem could be with the stock amp.

    GLH Geeked

  • With high sensitivity and low impedance, here is a good example of speakers which would work well in the front doors and dash - www.crutchfield.com/.../Infinity-Reference-REF-6520cx.html

    With the high power handling, they would also handle an amp, if you wanted more authoritive sound.

    GLH Geeked

  • These will work well without an amp - www.crutchfield.com/.../JBL-Club-6520.html

    They will also work in the rear doors, if you wanted.

    GLH Geeked

  • Thanks GLH,

    Those look great. I don't think I have a subwoofer but I think the amp has an output for one. I found this info on WK Jeeps a great resource for all Jeep info.

    www.wkjeeps.com/wk_audio_pinouts.htm

    I'm leaning to use all six speaker spots but I guess I don't need to if I make a component system using dash and front door only.

    Why do those fancy cars like Range Rover have sixteen speakers?  Is that system any better than one pair of components?

  • Best sounding car audio system will always be 2.1, tuned correctly. Left and right up front and sub in rear. All that fancy car audio is mostly for marketing and/or for the kids watching video in the back seat. All you want is a good front soundstage and a good lowend.

    Don't think of it as 6 speaker spots. 4 full range speaker outputs from headunit. If you have back seat riders frequently, you will want rear speakers. If you plan to make a nice amped system and do not usually have back seat riders, it will sound best with left and right fronts and a subwoofer behind the rear seat. Some people use midrange drivers in rear doors or panels for what is termed 'rear fill'.

    GLH Geeked

  • Nope, I can only find information indicating that the Kicker system has a subwoofer. The BA system is a 6 speaker system.

    The dash is NOT ideal for any speaker, as there are often issues with reflection. Granted, not all have a problem with such.

    The more speakers in a setup, the more processing is needed to get a good tune. Often, setups with multiple speakers like that are designed so the system sounds the same to everyone in the vehicle, there's not just one ideal listening spot. When someone opts to install just a set of components and a sub, they will usually tune the car so the driver's seat is the position that has the best sound. Center speakers are needed to get the same imaging/staging for both sides of the car

    So, is a sixteen speaker system "better" than a set of components and a sub (even though you said no need for a sub)? Depends if you want it to sound good for just you or sound the same for all occupants. Ir'd be easy to get a good tune for one seat with merely a set of components and a sub, with a capable DSP. For instance, the Pioneer DRH-80PRS, as it's 3-way capable with time alignment and 16-band independent L/R EQ. Not to mention other notable features.

    Andy Wehmeijer (formally of JBL, but now has his own business Audiofrog) has something like 20 drivers in his car wired up to a custom 24 channel DSP he made. I've not heard it, but those who have all claim it's audio bliss and both front seats sound great, definitely a class winning SQ setup if he ever opted to compete.

  • Great info. I now believe that 2.1 is the way to go. So

    I need to decide on a high power head unit or also add an amp. I'm leaning to get both and have music eith authority. Love that word. Thanks for good advice.

  • Weigle21,

    I did say no need for a subwoofer but I'm coming around to your way of thinking. I almost forgot how good John Entwistle's bass sounds when playing The Who. I haven't had a good audio system in years so I had forgotten about crossovers and such.

    This car is mainly occupied by me alone driving at least 3 hours per day in terrible South Florida traffic. So I agree that I need to tune it for the driver. I will check out that

    Pioneer model you showed.

    Thanks for all the good advice. I may ask for more as I gather up ideas and money.

  • Wow that Pioneer has it all. I wish I understood it all. So if I'm gonna go , go big. I will look for something with all those specs plus HD Radio and Apple Play.   Thanks again

  • Yeah, the 80PRS, while an older unit, has quite the DSP, for a HU. There's only one other HU on the market with separate L/R EQ, which is the much more expensive DEX-P99RS (also an older unit). The independent EQ is a real game changer, though sadly, they are graphic EQ's and not Parametric. See, even when one uses the same speakers in a vehicle, each location will yield a different response curve. So, in order to get the response curve from each speaker to be as close as possible, independent EQ's are a must. Now this is more a must have for SQ enthusiasts, but all can appreciate it.

    Me, I'm not into the whole touch screen craze,but it seems most cars these days have such. As far as I know, there are no DD HUs on the market with processing abilities that can even come close to that of the 80PRS. And sadly, aftermarket HU's are quickly becoming a thing of the past, with the new thing being stand alone DSP's. So what does that mean? Manufacturers don't seem to be implementing as powerful of DSP abilites into their HU's today and are instead focusing on much more powerful stand alone DSP's to integrate with factory HU's  (which are becoming much more integrated into vehicles these days).

    So, what I'd suggest, if you want features like HD Radio and Apple Play or even a back up camera, is to buy a DD with all the features you want as far as those features go and then buy a separate DSP to integrate into the mix. Not a whole lot of HU's are Apple CarPlay compatible and then looking to have HD radio as well, your options are greatly reduced with your allotted budget.  

    Looking at the offerings from Crutchfield, it seems only one HU fits your bill. Sadly (IMO) it's a Kenwood, and a refurbished unit at that. If you opt for it, hopefully the bugs were fixed by Kenwood, as I've seen more claims of issues from Kenwood units than most others. My logic tells me that it means one of two things. A, Kenwood sells vastly more units than others and so the typical 3-5% faulty units from manufacutuers makes it seem like Kenwood units have a higher fail rate. Or B, Kenwood units have a higher fail rate, possibly due to poor QC or shoddy workmanship/lesser quality components used in their construction. Granted, that last part is purely speculation, I have no hard evidence of such, just been an unfortunate owner of a faulty Kenwood back in 98'/99' an been put off by them ever since.

    Anyways, once you get a HU with as many features as you are wanting, you can eventually get an expternal DSP to integrate into the mix. On a budget, Mini DSP has some decent offerings, though there are many DSPs from many manufacturers.

    However, lets just start with a HU and and speakers. You can then add an amp and sub in the near future, then a DSP when funds allow for it, if desired and even an amplifier for the components.

  • If I may, I recommend the forums over on DIYMA.com, there are numerous knowledgeable and active members.

  • Is that where you will be when this closes ?

    GLH Geeked

  • Yeah, been a member there for a few years now. How about yourself?

  • IDK. Not a lot of time anymore but signed up last night.

    GLH Geeked