Jeep Wrangler Stereo Upgrade

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Sony Double Din Installed in 2013 Jeep Wrangler

Sony Double Din Installed in 2013 Jeep Wrangler

Thinking about a Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade, but not quite sure where to start?

Estimated read time :12 minutes 41 seconds.  Want to read later?

If you own a 2007 up JK 2 door or 4 door Unlimited, you know what I’m talking about.  At lower volume levels the Jeep Wrangler stereo is tolerable.  However, as soon as you try to crank it up – like when the is top off – forget it.  You can’t turn it up loud enough to hear over the wind noise.

You may also notice this other annoying peculiarity in your Jeep Wrangler stereo.  As you turn the volume up, the only frequencies that seem to get any louder are upper mid range and treble frequencies.  The bass level stays kind of flat.  This self attenuation feature is to prevent you from blowing stock speakers and to save Jeep the cost of having to replace them under warranty.

There are a number of things working against you with the factory Jeep Wrangler stereo.  Luckily, it’s relatively easy to overhaul this system and do a Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade.

Where to start with your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade?

We see a lot of Jeep Wrangler’s in our shop and for the most part, we’re replacing and upgrading everything – head unit, speakers, amp, subwoofer.  I realize, that’s not always in everyone’s budget and for a lot of people out there, you may have to do your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade in different phases.  I recommend you start with what is going to give you the biggest impact and biggest improvement overall – the subwoofer.

Even if you installed the best 6.5″ speakers money could buy, they would still be incapable of reproducing the natural frequency range so effectively produced by an aftermarket subwoofer.

When adding a subwoofer to a upgrade a Jeep Wrangler stereo, most of my customers are looking to keep the installation discreet for a couple reasons.

  1. There’s not exactly a ton of extra cargo space in these things to begin with.
  2. They’re such easy targets for theft (I will address this as well later on in the post – there is an easy way to add an alarm to these vehicles.  I recommend you protect your investment and you can do so without any additional remote control.  The alarm I recommend works off the factory key).

For a Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade, I highly recommend installing JL Audio’s Stealthbox subwoofer.

 

Stealth Subwoofer Enclosure by JL Audio for 2 door model Jeep Wrangler 07 up

Stealth Subwoofer Enclosure by JL Audio for 2 door model Jeep Wrangler 07 up

They offer it for both the two door model and 4 door unlimited.  Check it out.

JL Audio offers a Stealth Subwoofer Enclosure for 2007 and up Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Stealth Subwoofer Enclosure by JL Audio for 4 door model Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 07 up

Note – if you have the factory subwoofer enclosure in the Unlimited model (2011 and up), you will also want to purchase these two additional Mopar parts to replace the trim that goes around the seat belt bolt. A plain (without subwooofer) passenger side rear cargo trim panel (part #1PU12DX9AG) and a cover for the upper seat belt / roll bar (part #1PU18DX9AD) from Jeep/Mopar parts.  If you have the rear 12 volt outlet as well, you will lose that feature.

If you start your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade by adding one of these options, you will also need to add a separate amplifier as well.  Additionally, if you’re going to be running this off the stock head unit, I also highly recommend using Audio Controls LC2i line output converter.  This product helps to correct any factory attenuation that occurs in the signal being fed to your new amplifier and subwoofer.  In this scenario, with the factory Jeep head unit maintained, we’re still receiving audio signal from the factory stereo.  The same factory stereo that limits the increase in bass frequencies as you turn the volume up.  Because of that attenuation feature, it’s beneficial to have a line output converter that is designed to integrate with such a head unit.  The Audio Control LC2i will provide a more seamless and smooth increase in subwoofer volume as you turn your stock volume knob up.  If you’re doing an aftermarket head unit at the same time, don’t worry about this aspect.  Replacing the stereo also addresses this annoying attenuation feature.

Either way you go with your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade, you will want to have a separate subwoofer control knob.

Bass Knob Jeep Wrangler

Bass knob for Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade

I think this is a must in any installation, factory head unit or aftermarket.  Especially if you listen to a variety of music.  Every recording is different; some songs have more bass, some have less.  A bass knob gives you an easy way to tweak the bass level on the fly from song to song for ultimate listening enjoyment.  In the Jeep Wrangler, there is room right in front of the center console behind the shifter for such a knob.

Let’s talk amplifiers for your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade

Okay, so hopefully I’ve convinced you to invest in one of the subwoofers discussed above in order to upgrade your Jeep Wrangler stereo.  And by now you realize you will also need an amplifier to power it up.  If you see yourself also eventually upgrading and amplifying the speakers (highly recommended) then you’ll want to buy yourself a nice, high powered, yet small, 5 channel amplifier.  Remember, space is limited in these vehicles.

My favorite amp for a Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade is the Alpine PDXV9.

Alpine PDXV9, perfect 5 channel amp for Wrangler Stereo Upgrades

Alpine PDXV9, perfect 5 channel amp for a Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade.

This baby puts out 100 watts X 4 RMS to the interior speakers and a whopping 500 watts RMS to the subwoofer.  For comparison, most stock head units put out around 10 -15 watts RMS per channel, aftermarket head units are around 18 watts RMS per channel.  So in terms of power and output, this is a huge upgrade.

If you’re building your system in stages, you can always wire up the amp for the subwoofer channel only until you invest in some higher quality interior speakers.  The bass knob for this amp is the RUX-KNOB, pictured above in my own Jeep Wrangler center console area.

There is room to mount the amp under the passenger or driver seat in either the 2 door or 4 door model.

If you’re feeling a little sticker shock on the price of the amp, I do have an alternative suggestion.  Consider purchasing an Alpine head unit like the CDE-153BT and using the Alpine KTP-445A power pack amplifier.  It’s very tiny, compact amplifier that is easy to install and it will boost power to your interior speakers to 45 watts x 4.  It’s designed specifically for Alpine head units.  It’s pretty easy on the wallet too.  You could then purchase a mono or single channel amplifier such as JL Audio’s XD 600/1V2 for the Unlimited enclosure or the XD 300/1V2 for the 2 door enclosure.  Both of these JL Audio amps will work with the HD-RLC bass knob.

Let’s talk about your source for your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade

One thing I always stress with customers in my own shop is this.  The source of your music is like the heart of your stereo system.  You could buy and install the best car audio speakers and amplifiers money can buy, but if it’s all being pushed through a crummy, basic stock head unit, it’s like taking two steps forward and one step back.  You’re still limited to the sound quality and capability of your source.  Technically speaking, you could install something like JL Audio’s Cleansweep processor and keep the stock head unit.  However, it’s really not the same as an aftermarket head unit.  That’s just cleaning up and leveling out what’s already there.  The Cleansweep is not really capable of improving detail and resolution.  That still comes down to your head unit’s digital to analog convertor.

Desirable features like detail, richness and vibrancy come across in the quality of your head unit’s digital to analog convertor.  Because of this, I highly recommend replacing the stock head unit.  If you have the budget, I recommend you go for a nice double din touch screen head unit.

Double Din Jeep Wrangler

Double Din Sony in my Jeep Wrangler

Having the large touch screen just makes it so much easier to access and search all your music sources.  Connect an iPod and search by artist, playlist, song title, etc.  Stream Pandora from your phone and search by channel and category.

Whether you decide to go for a single din or double din head unit, you need to be aware of some key features that will be beneficial to your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade.  When shopping for head units, look for features like these:

  • 3 high voltage RCA preouts 4-5 volts (the higher the sensitivity here, the more kick and efficiency you will get out of your amplifier)
  • Bluetooth (seriously, everyone should have this feature by now.  It’ so convenient and in some states legally required for making and receiving calls.  Android users – this feature will also allow you to stream your music pre-amp level which is better sound quality than through a head phone jack connection)
  • USB (best sound quality for iPod or iPhone.  In general, try to avoid connecting any device via headphone jack.  When you connect via the head phone jack, this uses the amplifier in the device, as well as the amplifier in your stereo – so it’s like amplifying an amplifier – not the cleanest way to listen to your tunes)
  • Steering Wheel Control Capability (most Jeep Wranglers stereos have this and it’s a really nice feature to retain – consider PAC Audios RP4-CH11 to make your installation easier)

Jeep Wrangler owners should consider the new Alpine X009-WRA which is the biggest, baddest and coolest double din head unit I think you’ll ever see for a Jeep Wrangler. However, it isn’t cheap so if the cost of this head unit is beyond your budget, you can check out this post for help selecting the best double din head unit.  Or if you’re interested in a navigation double din stereo, check out this post.

Update 5/10/15 – Be sure to check out my post on the Pioneer AVH-X4100NEX.  This model is new for 2015 and is both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and has a detachable face – ideal for Wranglers!

Speakers for Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade

Okay, so we’ve addressed the subwoofer, the amplifier and we’ve addressed your source for your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade.  Now let’s talk about speakers.  The stock Jeep Wrangler stereo system was redesigned in 2007.  This redesign eliminated the previous standard issue front 4″x6″ speaker housing.  We can now accommodate a standard 6.5″ component system.

I can haz tweeters?

I can has tweeters?

Thanks to the assistance of one of Alpine’s engineers, who worked with Jeep on this redesign, Wrangler owners now have standard sized speakers front and rear.

Jeep Front Speakers

Jeep Front Speakers – Don’t believe Crutchfield, you can fit a 6.5″ there no problem.

The rear sound bar accommodates 6.5″ coaxial speakers.

Jeep Rear Coaxial Speakers

Jeep Rear 6.5″ Coaxial Speakers

Previous model Jeeps were very limited in speaker size and thus potential output – it’s not exactly easy to find a good quality, high power handling 4″ x 6″ speaker.  Luckily for 2007 and up Jeep Wrangler owners, it’s pretty easy to find good quality, high power handling 6.5″ speakers.

Pick the best of the best

When it comes to purchasing car stereo equipment for your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade, I always recommend to cherry pick among brands.  Alpine tends to excel in those PDX series amps – they’re the best sounding, high powered, compact amplifiers I’ve heard in the past 14 years.  JL Audio tends to excel in their XD series amplifiers and their American made subwoofers and Stealthbox enclosures.

Every company excels in a couple areas.  It varies from brand to brand and price point to price point and that also changes from year to year.  However, when it comes to speakers, I recommend choosing a company that specializes in speakers.

Morel is one such company, they excel in speakers.  That is all they do.  From $100 speakers to $10,000 speakers and everything in between.  So for speakers in your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade, I recommend Morel.

Morel has a few different series speakers in their line up and I will describe the pros and con’s of each.

Morel Maximo Series – Entry level

Morel Maximo Series ranging from 80 - 90 watts RMS

Morel Maximo Series ranging from 80 – 90 watts RMS

The Morel Maximo series are considered entry level, but they’re an excellent value and perform well against other entry level brand speakers.  The tweeter is very detailed, yet still smooth and the mid range is a clear improvement over stock.  These speakers are pretty efficient and will perform with limited power output.  However they can also handle a decent amount of power and thus perform even better with proper amplification.  In the front, you could do the Maximo6 and in the rear, the Maximo6C.  The mid range is not as clean as what you will find in the next level up from the Tempo series.  However, you will still find these speakers give you a night and day difference in performance and quality over stock.

Morel Tempo Series – Mid level

Morel Tempo Series speakers, handle between 110 - 120 watts RMS

Morel Tempo Series speakers, handle between 110 – 120 watts RMS

These are some of my favorite speakers that we sell in our shop.  The tweeter is very smooth and mellow, and the mid range is very warm, clean and punchy.  However, these babies really need an amplifier to perform and achieve their full potential.  Capable of 110 – 120 watts RMS, that Alpine PDXV9 will do them well.  In the front, you could use the Tempo6 components and in the rears, the Tempo6c coaxes.  If you prefer more detail in your tweeter, consider the Hybrid series.

Morel Hybrid Series – High end

 

Morel Hybrid series speakers are very smooth, detailed, accurate and warm.  Handling between 100 - 140 watts RMS.

Morel Hybrid series speakers are very smooth, detailed, accurate and warm. Handling between 100 – 140 watts RMS.

The Morel Hybrid series speakers are really quite awesome.  The tweeter is very open and airy, yet incredibly smooth and delicate to the ears.  The mid range is clean, accurate, warm and natural.  This is what we have in our own Jeep Wrangler, but honestly there’s no way I can appreciate the full quality of these when the top is off.  Here in Connecticut, we typically have the top off for only 3-4 months out of the year, so we definitely have plenty of time during the rest of the year to appreciate their performance and quality.  In the front, you could use the Hybrid 602’s and in the rear, the Hybrid Integra 602’s.

Ultimate performance and quality does come at a premium price.  For practicality purposes, many of my customers choose the Tempo series or Maximo series and are quite happy with their choice.  Keep in mind, speakers are just one piece of the puzzle in your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade.

Installation gear for your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade

Whenever you install an aftermarket amplifier in a vehicle, you will need quality power and ground cable, a fuse, fuse holder, speaker wire and RCA cables.  Always choose 100 percent oxygen free copper.  We use Stinger wire and Stinger RCA cables in our own shop.  If you’re installing the amp under the front passenger seat, you can get away with 6 foot RCA’s.

Metra and Best Kits both make a double din dash kit for this car, however we prefer the fit and finish of the Best Kits BKCDK642 kit.

Depending on whether or not your car has steering wheel controls, you will probably want to buy a PAC Audio interface harness.  The C2R-CHY4 is fine if you do not have steering wheel controls (provides retained accessory power, turns on any stock amp if equipped and if being retained) or go for the combo piece RP4-CH11 if you do have steering wheel controls.

Sound deadening material – Dynamat definitely helps to cut down on rattles and reverberations in all vehicles.  I highly recommend it to any customer who is upgrading their stereo.  In the Wrangler, I would recommend a Trunk kit and a Wedge pack.  Definitely do the back cargo area and sound bar area.  It really does improve sound quality, cut down on rattles and road noise.  Overall, it helps to give you a cleaner bass and mid range response.

Protecting your investment – get an OEM style alarm for your Jeep Wrangler

These vehicles are easy targets for theft so you want to think about protecting what you’ve invested in your Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade.  Consider the add on alarm available from DEI aka Directed Electronics (parent company of Viper).

3903T Jeep Add on Alarm System

3903T Jeep Add on Alarm System

The 3903T is an aftermarket alarm designed to work with your factory Jeep key.  It adds basic alarm features such as a shock sensor, starter kill relay and it also comes with a standard outboard 6 tone siren.  Besides the 3903T, Jeep owners should really add the 508D proximity sensor.

When properly installed, the 508D creates a radar bubble around the vehicle.  The sensor can be installed under the center console.  You really want it towards the center of the vehicle for best performance.  If that field is disturbed – say by someone reaching into the open vehicle – the alarm goes off.  It’s a great theft deterrent.

It’s very important to have this type of product professionally installed.  You need to adjust the proximity field to the point where it is effective and not over sensitive.  It’s easy to over do it.  If the radar bubble is too large, the alarm will go off anytime anyone walks by your car in a parking lot.

Here is another cool product to consider from Tuffy.  Keep in mind, it does require modification to the JL Audio Stealthbox Unlimited enclosure.  That enclosure sits higher than the Tuffy security deck is designed for (speaking from experience here).

Protect your stuff in your Jeep Wrangler when the top is off

Protect your stuff in your Jeep Wrangler when the top is off

Tuffy offers this product for several model Jeeps, please refer to their website to order the correct one for your vehicle.

In my own 2 door Wrangler, we’ve removed the backseat and have fabricated a custom down firing subwoofer enclosure mounted where the backseat was.  Next Spring, we will be installing the Tuffy Security Deck.  Note, if you have the 2 door like we do with backseat removed, you will want to order the 4 door model security deck to cover the full cargo area.

Jeep Wrangler Stereo Upgrade Conclusion

As you can see, it’s not that difficult or complicated to upgrade the stereo in a Jeep Wrangler.  We do it all the time at our shop in Brookfield, CT.

If you have to build your system in phases, I would recommend starting with the subwoofer.  Add in the frequency range that you’re missing.  Next step would be an aftermarket head unit.  This gives you more output and control over the stock speakers.  Most aftermarket head units have crossovers built in.  This feature will allow you to filter out the bass that would normally go to the stock speakers.  This will allow them to play only mid range and treble frequencies while the subwoofer plays all the bass.  After that, I recommend upgrading your speakers and lastly, make sure you amplify those speakers.

The end result?  Investing in these quality car audio products, and having them properly installed and tuned, will do wonders for your Jeep Wrangler driving experience.  When you upgrade the stereo in your Jeep Wrangler, you’ll be able to crank it up and actually hear and enjoy the stereo system.

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95 comments for “Jeep Wrangler Stereo Upgrade

  1. Jose Liang
    December 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Hi Annie, I am following you advice and have the same speaker set up except, I am planning on Morel component 402’s in the front stock locations (I have a roll cage that goes through the front dash and have to go with a smaller speaker), Morel 602 component’s in the sound bar, I will put a hole for the tweeters about 6″ away from the woofers and I have a set of 6.5″ cans in the back on the roll cage in the back which I will be putting LDS 426’s they are 2 way coaxial’s..

    Amp’s will be the 5 channel Alpine PDX-V9’s and the HU will be the Pioneer AVH4000 NEX..

    As for sub’s I am going to go with the JL Stealthbox 13.5″, however they are 3 Ohm’s and the Amp is 4Ohm’s..

    Any suggestions in terms of how to wire the system would be very useful and I would be grateful for you help and expertise, (especially how to wire/set up the Sub’s that are 3 Ohms into a 4 Ohms Amp… P.S. I haven’t done this before but will be giving it a go!

    • December 30, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Jose,
      Don’t worry about the 3 ohms on the sub. The Alpine PDXV9 has a regulated power supply so it will put out 100 x 4 plus 500 x 1 @ at either 2 ohms 3 ohms or 4 ohms.

      As far as how you wire it – I tried looking up what you plan on putting in the cans, the LDS 426? All I could find were things about the book of Mormon (apparently the abbreviation LDS for Latter Day Saints is quite popular on google!). So then I tried ADS 426 still couldn’t find anything. Whatever they are, I’m hoping they’re efficient as coaxial speakers usually are more efficient than component.

      If it was my Jeep and that was my set up, I would use the PDXV9 to amp the Morel Components front and rear and I would run the rear coax cans off the Pioneer’s internal amplifier off the rear channels. I would use 16 or 18 gauge for speaker wire and just run it straight from the cans to the back of the Pioneer deck. The only catch with this is you’ll probably then want to use the crossover on the head unit vs the crossover on the amp (don’t want to use both). So on the Alpine HPF, I would leave that on full range for the speakers and JUST use the crossover on the head unit and set around 80 hertz. Or alternatively, use the crossover on the amp and just make sure you leave those rear cans on full range. You just don’t want both (head unit HPF and amp HPF) crossovers on.

      We usually mount the Amp underneath the seat. If you REALLY go off roading and there’s a chance of water pooling under the seat, elevate it so it’s off the floor, but still under the seat. These electronics are not waterproof by the way, but it just helps for longevity or if you get caught in a rainstorm – it happens.

      The crossovers with the Morels are pretty straight forward, they’ll be labeled a tweeter connection, woofer connection and then there’s an amp connection – easy enough. In our Jeep we mounted the crossovers (yes, the giant Morel Hybrid Crossvers) in the actual speaker cavity housings. I don’t know if that will work in the front in your car with the roll bar, but that’s how we did it for front and rear in our Wrangler.

      These cars are actually really easy to work on. We love doing Jeep systems because they’re so straight forward and we can make them sound awesome. It is still time consuming though so definitely give yourself PLENTY of time to do the work. In our shop we typically bill these systems out (head unit with Bluetooth and steering wheel controls, front components, rear coaxes, 5 channel amp, stealth box and some dynamat) at around 14 hours – and we do this kind of work every day. So definitely give yourself plenty of time to complete the task. Good luck!

      • Jose Liang
        February 20, 2015 at 2:39 am

        Thank you soooooo much for this excellent suggestion, I have the system set up now and love it, only thing is I changed it to a twin sub and that sounds great! thank you again, you’re awesome…

      • February 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

        Sweet! Thank you for the feedback and I’m so glad you’re enjoying it – nice job :)

  2. Tim Bacon
    January 17, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Annie,

    I was just curious how you’d modify your recommendations in this article for an older Jeep. I have a 1999 Wrangler. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Tim

    • January 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Hi Tim,
      The older models are a bit tougher based on speaker size. I would go with a high quality 4″ coaxial speaker like the Tempo series from Morel in the front and modify to fit in the factory 4×6 location. I would also recommend using speaker baffles behind those speakers because it’s just open behind that speaker mount and that’s not really ideal, speakers need some kind of enclosure. Depending on what type of sound bar you have, I would go with the matching rear coaxial speaker either 5.25″ or 6.5″ depending on what you have. Usually it’s 5.25″ in the older models, but I have seen aftermarket sound bars that accommodate 6.5″.

      For a subwoofer, I would go with something like JL Audio’s 10″ TW3 truck wedge enclosure.

      For head units, I would stick to a good single din. Thinking in terms of sound quality, I really like the Sony MEXGS610BT – I just started carrying it recently. It’s great sound quality like the XAV-712HD and you get a ton of features for your money (and a 3 year warranty too!).

      Amplifier suggestions here would still be the same.

  3. FRODO
    February 8, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Hi Annie, Is there a subwoofer and amp you would recommend to install in the molded box of a 2014 jeep jk rubicon? Keeping the same area. Not adding something like a stealthbox. Thank you
    Frodo

    • February 9, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Hi Frodo,
      That’s a great question. It can be kind of a pain in the ass to retrofit a new subwoofer in any stock location for a couple reasons. First, you need to figure out what the existing cubic volume is of the factory enclosure and see how far off or close it is to the subwoofer you want to put in there. The other thing you’ll notice once you remove the stock sub is it’s a pretty lightweight speaker and the enclosure itself is basically plastic so you’ll most likely have to reinforce the entire enclosure depending on what sub you put in there. Anything beefier than factory will probably weigh a lot more and most likely will not be supported by the flimsy plastic housing. Plastic is also not ideal from an acoustic stand point so at the very least you’d want to Dynamat the interior of the enclosure.

      After a quick search on the internet, it appears that other Jeep owners have had success putting the JL Audio 8″ W3 in it’s place with a spacer. Whatever you do, you would need another amp to power the new subwoofer as the stock amp is not powerful enough.

      So I guess my answer to your question is I think for most people it’s going to be more money/trouble than it’s worth. If you’re a do it yourselfer and you have the time, it might make sense. But at our shop, you’d probably end up spending more money in custom installation labor to correct enclosure volume and reinforce that enclosure to really work properly and make it sound good with a new sub.

  4. Jim
    March 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Great write-up Annie. Your direction here was really helpful. I had an amp, sun, speakers added to my 2015 JKU with a line driver to retain the factory head unit and very quickly found out that it’s so true – the head unit is the heart of the whole thing. Switching out the head unit now with a nice display screen. Another note on security…you can add additional coverage on your insurance for an upgraded stereo. Unless you do this in the case of theft your car insurance will only cover a factory system.

    • March 19, 2015 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Jim – so glad you enjoyed the write up. Interesting note on the insurance thing. Do you think that’s specific to Wrangler’s and a particular insurer? I’ve talked to a lot of customers about this over the years and in my experience insurance coverage for aftermarket electronics varies greatly from insurance company to insurance company and policy to policy. I have a Rav4 in my shop right now getting a pretty sweet setup and she called Metlife asking about her coverage for her aftermarket car audio investment and initially the carrier told her she would only be covered for up to $500. She called her insurance agent who verified with her particular policy the entire system is covered with a $200 deductible. I always encourage customers to inquire with their agent and carrier because I’ve seen companies cover theft/total losses for aftermarket equipment with standard policies, others that required additional riders and some that just plain old refuse to cover it.

  5. Doug
    March 20, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I’ve got a JL stealth box and was looking at the Tuffy Security deck in my 2012 JKU. You mention that the Stealth box sits higher but it also sounds like you got it to work with some modification?

    • March 22, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Doug, we did – wasn’t easy. Basically we had to grind down the bottom of the stealth box a bit to lower it’s height and we also had to raise the Tuffy deck slightly to make it all work together. It was a bit of a pain in the butt, but if you’re willing to put the time into it, you can make it work.

  6. Tim
    March 31, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Annie,

    Thanks for the nice article. I have a 2015 JK wrangler without the alpine system and want to build out a great system. I want one of the new carplay multimedia receivers, but worried that they won’t last in a jeep with the top down. Is there a go to head unit? I found this new Clarion marine head unit, but can’t tell if it will fit. http://www.clarion.com/us/en/products-personal/marine/CMS5/index.html. looks like best of both worlds. Any thoughts welcome.

    • April 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      Hi Tim – When I first read your question I was thinking anti-theft purposes and immediately wanted to jump and yell and scream that you want the AVH-4100NEX because it’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and it’s awesome AND it’s detachable face. I just got them in like 2 weeks ago and have already sold like 6 of them (which is a lot for a small shop like mine).

      But then I saw the Marine head unit link so I guess it’s more for weather exposure concerns than anti-theft concerns. I have no experience with that deck or much Clarion product. Tough to say. I don’t know when we’ll see that kind of integration available for Marine applications specifically. One thing I can mention is I’ve had a couple bike customers get something like this called a splash cover for their double din CarPlay head units. Probably wouldn’t look pretty and would require some customization and cutting to fit properly in the Jeep dash, but would allow you the functionality you desire while protecting it from the elements.

      One more tip – I hate the flat tweeter placement on the 2015 models, don’t know WHY Jeep changed it. We usually still do a surface mount style tweeter in a pod kind of like the previous models have. If you go with Morel speakers they come with the pods/housings I’m talking about. Makes a big difference in sound stage and sound quality.

  7. chris
    April 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    I have a 15 jeep wrangler unlimited 4 door, i am wanting to upgrade speakers and head unit not wanting to spend a fortune, but do want a good quality system

    • April 10, 2015 at 9:12 pm

      Hmm, I guess my answer all depends on your definition of a fortune. I’ll do like I do with my own customers. What’s your budget? We can work backwards. I’ll let you know what kind of upgrade you can get for the money you’re willing to spend.

  8. Jake
    April 20, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Hey Annie,

    I’ve got one big concern with amplifier installation in these Jeeps. Most people I’ve seen mount it under the passenger or driver seat, so it must not be an issue, but shouldn’t I be concern about the risk of exposure to water if I’m off-roading and drive through a big puddle or something? I’m sure the amplifier is protected and concealed under the seat to a certain degree, but I feel as if it would still be somewhat at risk to water exposure. Is this a legitimate concern? Thanks!

    • April 21, 2015 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Jake, you can raise it up if concerned about water pooling. We haven’t taken ours off road yet, but that is a concern I have for customers that do serious off roading and in that case we elevate it off the floor. Still not a good idea to have water near these electronics so in that case you may want to consider getting some Marine grade JL Audio amps instead, but I would still raise it up off the floor. In JL, sound quality/value wise I think you’re better off with two separate amps in the XD series (the XD 5 channel is a bit long and not as much output on the subwoofer side – Marine version starts with M). I like the M600/1 and M400/4.

  9. Tim
    May 6, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Curious on the Alpine amp, can u do 100×4 4 ohm and 500×1 2ohm?

    • May 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Hey Tim,
      Absolutely. This versatile little power house has a regulated power supply so it will put out 100 x 4 and 500 x 1 regardless of whether it’s a 2 or 4 ohm load (on all channels).

  10. Jeff
    May 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I really enjoyed reading the previous articles…I have 2014 Jeep Jk unlimited….I went with the Alpine PDX-V9 Amp…Sony XAV-602BT head unit…JL Sub….I plan to place amp under passenger seat….I need to know what size/length amp wires, size/length speaker wires? Size length RCA wires…..I need to purchase 4- 6-1/2″ speakers also…and thinking about getting the Morel’s since I read you in depth article…

    Thanks for the great info about the JK
    Jeff B

    • May 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Hey Jeff,
      Glad to be a part of your Jeep audio upgrade! I do really like the Morel speakers, we’ve got the Hybrid series in our Jeep, they’re pretty sweet. We’ve got our amp under the front passenger seat and we used 6 ft RCA cables. Unless you’re going to a local shop to buy wire by the foot, I would recommend buying a 4 gauge amp kit without RCA cables from Stinger. We use and sell this amp kit in our shop. It actually is usually cheaper than buying by the foot and piecing together the fuse, fuse holder, ring terminals etc. If you catch all the speaker wiring from behind the head unit, you could get a 50 ft roll of speaker wire. And don’t forget some Dynamat too :)

      • Jeff
        June 1, 2015 at 11:08 am

        Annie,
        Thanks again for the great info….I did add the Dynamat Extreme to inside of front jenky plastic speaker boxes and jenky plastic sound bar….is it neccesary to add some Dynamat to the hidden exterior parts of sound boxes? I did do the whole trunk area with the Dynamat in hopes it may help also with Sub…I know this may sound stupid but…do i have to purchase a switch to turn the Alpine PDX-V9 amp off/on or does stereo do that throungh RCA cables? Does the Rux Knob come with the cable to hook to amp for control?

        Thanks
        Jeff B

      • June 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

        Hey Jeff,
        The amp will be turned on through a remote turn on lead wire which comes with most amp kits. It runs off the head unit, connect to the blue with white stripe usually. And the bass knob does come with the cable to plug into the amp. No need to add Dynamat to the hidden side of speaker box, unless it’s plastic. I’m assuming you’re talking about the subwoofer enclosure there. Dynamat is good on pretty much anything that resonates or vibrates like plastics and metals.

  11. Jeff
    June 1, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I have the Sony XAV-602B head unit, Alpine PDX-V9, Morel Tempo 6 componet, Morel Tempo 6 coax……on the front of the Amp there are adjustments…some make sense and some are just russian to me….do you know what i need to set them all on…I am afraid of messing something up. its going to be awesome when its all done though…Thanks for the info…I have told lots of people about this site..

    Jeff

    • June 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm

      Hey Jeff,
      Thanks for spreading the word! I appreciate it. Okay so you need some help tuning and setting up the amp. So 1st off you want your “CH 3/4 Input” to 3/4 if it’s not already there. That just tells the amp that we’re using it as a standard 5 channel and to treat the front two channels separate from the rear two channels and separate from the sub. For “Subwoofer Input” same idea, set to SUB W.

      Now the amp has separate crossover and gain adjustments for Front, Rear and Sub. Channels 1 & 2 you want “X1″ on the HP Filter. On Channels 3 & 4 you want the filter set to HP.

      To explain the other options – some people prefer to do a front only sound stage in their vehicle and they run their tweeters as their “Front Channels” and their front mid bass drivers as their “Rear Channels”. If that were the case, you would set the front HP Filter over to “x10″. That means that whatever crossover you have set on that front channel dial – like 80 Hz – is really 800 Hz because it’s multiplied by 10. Then you set BP on channels 3 & 4. You would also change the input channel
      selector switch to “1/2″. But don’t worry about that, more of an explanation for better understanding of the Russian parts.

      To tune – Generally you want to start with the volume on the head unit at 75% – 85 % of peak volume. This is typically where RCA preouts start to distort. So even though you’re using a separate amp, the RCA preouts will start to distort the signal from the head unit once the head unit reaches a certain volume usually 75% – 85% of total volume.

      Crossovers – you usually want a little blending on those, but see how it sounds to you. I would set the front and rear channels at about 70 Hz and the subwoofer at about 80 Hz. Then slowly bring the gains up *just* to the point of distortion then back it back down. Start with the interior speakers, then bring up the sub gain until it sounds nice and blended with the interior speakers. If you got the bass knob I usually leave that in the middle when you do this so you have a little play up or down depending on the quality of the recording.

      Hope that helps!

  12. Jeff
    June 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I purchased the Morel Tempo 6 component…received in mail…the tweeter has the Authenticity label on it…the woofer or crossover do not…is this something I need to send back…seems to me that all products should have authenticity label?

    Thanks
    Jeff

    • June 3, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Hey Jeff – I’m not sure, I just checked my own stock and they don’t have authenticity labels on anything. There is the Morel Logo on the back of the tweeter, the top of the crossover and the back of the woofer magnet. They come in a pretty plain black and red cardboard box packaging that says Morel and on the side it says Tempo 2 Way 6.

      • Jeff
        June 4, 2015 at 2:07 pm

        I can’t tell you enough how much this great information helped me decide on what I really needed for my sad pitiful stock 2014 Jeep JK Unlimited Rubicon Stereo….I went with exactly what you recommended….now it just ROCKS….the Morel Tempo’s are more than impressive…the Alpine Amp is perfect size right under the passenger seat…I probably went a little overboard with the Extreme Dynamat but I can tell it’s worth the time and money…the tuning info is great…Thanks again…

        Jeff

  13. Jeff
    June 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    The Morel crossovers have a setting for 3db or 0db…don’t really understand that…what is recommended? Right now the jumper is on 0db

    Thanks
    Jeff

    • June 4, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Hey Jeff – I’m so happy to hear you’re loving the system. Job well done! Good question – personally I would leave that at zero, especially in the Jeep with the tweeters so close. What that does is boost the tweeter level 3 db. So if you prefer more tweeter output that will raise up the tweeter output, but it might be a bit harsh. Unless we have a customer who is really hard of hearing top end detail or someone who likes it pretty bright we pretty much leave those at 0. You can try it and see how it sounds, everyone’s ears are different. Mine tend to be pretty sensitive to top end so personally I would leave it at 0, but to each his own :)

      • Jeff
        June 5, 2015 at 10:29 am

        I have seen all sorts of answers for the parking break wire bypass…I know that for liability purposes it’s a gray area…I just not sure which one is the correct answer…afraid to tear something in my head unit up…I guess my question is? Is there a correct way?

      • June 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm

        Hey Jeff, they’re all different. When installing head units on my display board, here is what I have to do – for Sony and Kenwood I just ground the wire, when I install a Pioneer or Alpine head unit on the display board I have to use a TR7.

      • Jeff
        June 17, 2015 at 12:16 pm

        Hey Annie,
        I recently sent the Sony head unit back that I purchased…I got the 4100NEX like you said! and love it! It has more ways to personalize than the Sony…more iPhone friendly…only thing I question is the crossover settings & High Pass filter settings…I have speakers and sub fed from Alpine amp..
        .the volume control seems sensitive…3 touches on volume and its quiet to blaring…

        Thanks
        Jeff

  14. June 5, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Annie…really cool article. It was actually exactly what I was looking for.
    I just recently bought a 2007 2 Door Wrangler Sahara. Yes my first Jeep.
    Here’s what Ive purchased to put in the Jeep.
    Kenwood Excelon DDX5902
    Mb Quart QS216 Component Speakers (Front)
    Alpine PDR-V75 5 Channel Amp

    I have 3 questions.

    1. Rear Speakers are coax. Should I go with a Coax speaker, or would it be worth it to cut the rear sound bar and go component? I ask this because, there isn’t a Coax in the MB Quart Q Line. I would have to go to a lesser quality speaker if I went coax.

    2. I’m not opposed to the Stealthbox…but I did want to ask if you’ve come across any alternatives? I would think there is a great 10″ Sub out there that doesn’t need much space. Hopefully it could fit where the infinity sub is now.

    3. Approximately how much Dynamat would be needed. And where are the key locations to place.

    Thanks for the info!

    • June 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      Hey Pete – congrats on joining the Jeep club! To answer your questions:

      1. I run into the same kind of issue with the Morel Virtus series – they don’t make a coax. In my showroom I am able to demonstrate to people how mixing the higher quality components with the next step down coax (Tempo series) actually creates a very nice blended sound. I have no idea what it would be like with the MB Quart though, I haven’t heard their stuff in years. If you’re in a position where you’re shopping locally and can listen before buying, I recommend doing just that. If not, I would contact MB Quart and straight up get their recommendation. They’ll have a better idea than you are I whether or not the next series down would compliment or throw off the Q series. If they think it will throw the quality off, then yeah, I would do component in the rear as well and cut the tweeters in the sound bar or surface mount if they come with a surface mounting cup.

      2. I think the stock infinity subwoofer is an 8″. I had a reader contact me and refer me to a write up somewhere where someone did have luck installing a JL Audio 8″ W3 in it’s place with some modification, reinforcement and lots of dynamat. I just don’t think an 8″ is enough ESPECIALLY when the top is off.

      If you don’t want to drop a huge chunk of change on the stealth box, I sell a bunch of these JL Audio CS210TG-TW3 enclosures for all sorts of vehicles. This is the best sounding small sub enclosure in the 400 watt range that I’ve heard. It’s not 100 percent stealth, but it really doesn’t take up a lot of space and it sounds great. If you want to fit a 10″ in that consider the JL Audio TW1. Like the 8w3, it only requires .35 cubic ft volume air space to perform. I just don’t like the stock plastic enclosure. Fiberglass or wood (we use trupan) sounds much better.

      3. Dynamat – for optimum results I would recommend taking all the seats out, remove the carpet on the floor and I would get a bulk pack for optimum coverage, it comes with 36 square feet. Do the floor and side walls. On top of that you can put on Dynapad for the floor and for the hard top we put on Dynaliner 1/2″ and cut into shape, you probably need two rolls of that for the two door hard top. We have the freedom top and used two rolls.

  15. Howard
    June 6, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    What is the name of your shop in Brookfield? I want to upgrade my sons stereo on his 2013 Jeep Wrangler and read your article. I live about a half hour away in Bedford

    • June 7, 2015 at 6:55 pm

      Hey Howard, it’s Sounds Incredible Mobile. We’re open Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 6 PM. Definitely check out the map/directions page. We’re just off exit 7 off I-84, but we’re on a side street in an industrial condo complex. We’re a little tricky to find the first time, but just look for the big green Honda Element that says Sounds Incredible all over it. I look forward to working with you!

  16. Chris
    June 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Hey Annie,
    I really appreciate this article! Lots of great info! I’m wondering what the differences between the Alpine PDX-V9 and the Alpine MRV-V500 are (other than the $300 price difference). Thanks!

    • July 20, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Hey Chris,
      The MRV-V500 is not the best option for the Wrangler because it’s a lot less power than the PDXV9 – only 40×4 plus 250×1 vs 100×4 plus 500×1. If you’re looking to keep costs down, I’d rather see you do the Alpine Power Pack (either KTP-445A or KTP-445U depending on which head unit you have) and a higher powered mono amp so you can at least have 45×4 on the interiors and 500×1 for the sub.

  17. Frank
    July 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    I have the 2015 jeep unlimited with the alpine upgrade and the enclosed subwoofer . I still want more bang I love the factory unit is it possible to add an amp to that ? upgrade the speakers ? or just add more power with an amp? (it rocks now but want much more)

    • July 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Hey Frank,
      I would recommend adding a separate amp and sub for more kick and see how you like it before going and swapping speakers and adding an amp to the speakers. We recently made our own stealthbox for a 2014, but it could easily work for the 2015 too. We built a box for a JL Audio 12TW1 and formed it to the passenger side wall. Personally I’d swap everything, but that’s what I do for a living! I usually like to let customers hear an aftermarket subwoofer in my showroom, I play some music with and without the sub so they can get an idea of how much kick an aftermarket sub will add. It can really add a lot more depth and presence to a stock system. For more output and clarity, I would recommend swapping the head unit and speakers and amplifying those as well, but sometimes that’s hard to stomach a full aftermarket sound system when you paid extra for the premium sound system.Recent custom stealth box for Jeep Wrangler

      • Cody
        October 22, 2015 at 2:18 pm

        Do you have a write up or more pictures of this “stealth box” you made for the JK Unlimited. I have a 2 door and I’m looking for something very similar for a 10″ shallow subwoofer. Or perhaps do you sell something like this for a 2 door?

        Thank you

      • February 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

        Hi Cody, I know this is months later but to answer your question we make boxes on an as need basis, unique and custom to each vehicle so we don’t have like a template or anything. Haven’t made one like this for a 2-door. If you keep the back seat in that car what we would recommend is building a low profile down firing enclosure that acts almost like a shelf behind the back seat, raising the floor slightly. I prefer to do this and leave the storage tray alone. If you did that in combination with a tuffy deck you could have a discreet subwoofer and still retain the storage tray and keep everything secure.

  18. Arun
    August 3, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    I have a 2007 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. I had the Infinity Factory Amp & Speakers (including the sub woofer) with the RER navigation system. For some reason, the RER stopped working & I bought a Jensen radio unit with the built-in navigation at PC Richards, Milford, CT. They do a free installation since i bought the Jensen from them. They used the expensive harness (CHT0-013) as the other one did not work with the Amp. Even with the CHT0, the installer seemed to have had a tough time & i suspect he might have directly wired the speakers bypassing the Amp. The sound quality is now so bad. Is there a place close by to Milford that you would recommend that can check this out?
    Appreciate any other suggestions.

    • August 5, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Arun,
      My shop is in Brookfield, CT so I’m about 45 minutes from you. It could be a couple issues. It’s possible the stock amp was also bad and maybe that’s why he ended up having to bypass it. Does the stock sub in the center console still play? If the stock sub still plays then the interface is most likely working and all the speakers are probably still going off the amplifier.

      Phase could be incorrect on some of the speakers which would give you a very hollow tinny sound.

      The head unit could be an issue too. Jensen is not what I would consider a high quality head unit. It’s not bad, but it’s not something I would carry and sell. I sold one to a couple that really wanted it, they saw it on Crutchfield for $350 had navigation, bluetooth, etc. So I special ordered it for them. It did everything it said it would, but it was very slow in overall processing and definitely not the greatest sound quality.

      I’m still going to lean on the side of installation error because I see this all the time with these big box stores. This is why I hate places like that that offer free install. You unfortunately pretty much always get you pay for along with a whole lot more hassle and headache than it’s worth. I would be happy to take a listen for you if you’d like to make the drive up to my shop. I’m open Monday 10 AM – 4 PM, Tuesday – Friday 10 AM – 6 PM and Saturdays 10 AM – 4 PM.

      In your area I would check out Audioworks and see if they can take a listen and give you an estimate/idea of what might be going on.

  19. Landon
    August 8, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Annie,
    I bought the Morel Maximo 6.5 components for my 2008 Jeep Wrangler 2 door. Your tweeter install looks almost factory. How was this achieved? The morel tweeter and their housings won’t mount inside of the factory tweeter pods.

    Thanks!

    • October 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm

      Hey Landon – That was achieved with a steady hand and an air dremel tool. The grilles and tweeters are basically pressure fit, but you could use hot glue if needed.

  20. Mark
    September 14, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Annie, Thanks for the great info, but I am interested to know why a 2 Lineout Converter instead of a 4 Line? Also should I get a Lineout Converter with an Amp wire? I am keeping my 730N head unit(No Amp) and have a V.5 Lock-Pick already installed. When I tap into the speaker wires do I do it before or after the Lock-Pick? Also with running this big of an Amp is it necessary or better to rewire to the speakers with heavier wire or use the stock wire? Thanks again, Mark

  21. Mark
    September 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Annie, Great system info, but I am interested to know why a 2 Lineout converter instead of a 4 Lineout? Also should I use a Lineout Converter with an Amp wire? I have a 730N Head Unit with a V.5 Lock-Pick already installed. Where should I tap into my speaker wires, before or after the Lock-Pick? Also is the stock speaker wire able to handle that much Amp or should I rewire the vehicle with a larger gauge? Thanks, Mark.

    • October 9, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Hey Mark – I would only want to add a sub to the stock system which is why I would use the LC2i, I really don’t like trying to keep the stock head unit and upgrading/amplifying speakers. Read the comment I made to Jimmy Soto regarding the JL Audio Cleansweep vs aftermarket head unit. By the way the customer I mention in the comment had the same stock head unit as you. And I just sold one of those on eBay for $760 – not a bad way to help pay for any head unit upgrade.

  22. Jimmy Soto
    September 16, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Hello
    Great article! I have one question. If I planned on using the JL Audio’s Cleansweep , would I still need the Audio Controls LC2i line output converter?

    Also, what is your opinion of the following Stealthbox alternatives to the one you mentioned:

    SB-J-WRUD/10TW1/BK (DRIVER): Stealthbox® for 2007-Up Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with Black Trunk (Driver Side)
    SB-J-WRUP/10TW1/BK (PASS): Stealthbox® for 2007-Up Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with Black Trunk (Passenger Side)?

    http://www.jlaudio.com/car-audio-stealthbox-jeepSB-J-UNLTD4D/13TW5v2/BK: Stealthbox® for 2007-2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with Black Trunk-wrangler-unlimited-07-up

    I like them better that the Stealthbox you mentioned since they don’t take up cargo space.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    • October 9, 2015 at 8:49 pm

      Hi Jimmy
      Yeah I do like the newer stealth boxes, but the only thing I don’t like is they have different mounting depending on hard top/soft top and if you’re the kind of person that has both, it can be a pain. That’s why we built our own using the TW1. I do like the sound much better and did install that new stealth box in a Wrangler recently that has a hard top only and won’t be switching back and forth.

      As far as the Cleansweep goes – JL is discontinuing it and will have a new, better processor by the beginning of the year. Either way however, I would HIGHLY encourage you to change the head unit. I recently had this experience with two Jeep customers, both got the same exact high end equipment:

      Morel Virtus Components
      Morel Tempo Coaxes
      Alpine PDXV9
      12TW1 – custom box tuned/designed for the Wrangler

      Only difference is one got the JL Audio Cleansweep and the other got the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX. I tried to talk the first customer out of the Cleansweep explaining you’ll be so limited in potential because we’re still piping everything through that crummy stock head unit. I followed up with him to see how he liked it because I was actually pretty disappointed in how it sounded (because I knew how good that equipment COULD sound) and after I followed up he admitted he thought it would have sounded a lot better than it did. So I begged him to let me change the head unit. He was really apprehensive so I arranged for my other Jeep customer with the same system, but aftermarket head unit to come down to the shop and meet him. The cleansweep customer sat and listened for like 10 minutes and got out, gave me his keys and told me to rip out the stock head unit.

      I’m trying to convince you to do the same :)

  23. Matt
    October 3, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    I noticed your update on the head unit. So which one would you choose if you got a new wrangler, the alpine or the pioneer?

    • October 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Hey Matt – I love the look of the Alpine, but I use my iPhone for everything and I leave my top off 5 months out of the year so if I’m being PRACTICAL I’d do the AVH-4100NEX. If I had the money to splurge and owned a couple Jeep Wranglers I would definitely have the Alpine in one of them. You know like the nice shiny Jeep you rarely take out of the garage except for cleaning/waxing or for long road trips/special occasions, that kind of thing. I hope that makes sense!

  24. terry
    October 26, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    I’m having the alpine ilx-007(thanks for the review of this on youtube) headunit installed into my 2015 jeep wrangler unlimited(base stereo). I am also getting the Rockford Fosgate PS-8 Single 8″ Powered Sub installed under the drivers side seat. Prior to this new headunit and sub install this Thursday, I currently had upgraded the base speakers in the dash and soundbar to the plug and play Kicker speakers offered online(soundbar: Kicker Factory Replacement Overhead Sound Bar Speaker Kit and in the Dash: JEEP WRANGLER JK KICKER SPEAKER UPGRADE). I also added the following tweeters: 41CST204 3/4″ CS-Series 4-Ohm Car Tweeters. These speaker “upgrades” were just based on the horrible base speakers and well waiting on the decision for a new headunit. My question, is that once I have this sub and headunit installed, what should be my next move when it comes to upgrading the speakers to the next level. I’d really like to have a small amp that I could maybe hide as it is a jeep and the more I can hide when the top is down, the better for me. I heard about smaller amps that you can actually fit behind the alpine ilx-007 based on its not as long any more(with no CD). I like the idea of that….I’d like to get your advice on what I could maybe do in regards to amp and speakers for maybe $500 or less(even if I have to start in the front and do the soundbar later). Anyway, thanks for the time and thanks again for all this info and the youtube videos!!!! Terry

    This will be my current set up as of this Thursday(H.U and sub installed that day).
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004SUO5QS?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00 – Dash (Plug and Play)

    http://www.quadratec.com/products/14133_202_07.htm – Soundbar (plug and play)

    http://www.amazon.com/Kicker-41CST204-Tweeters-Hardware-mounting/dp/B00L9R4GJE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445522926&sr=8-1&keywords=Kicker+41CST204 – Tweeters…dash and soundbar(installed)

    http://www.amazon.com/Alpine-ILX-007/dp/B00Q397RJY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445523472&sr=8-1&keywords=ilx-007 – Headunit

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y3WKUX8?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 – Powered Sub

    • February 5, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Terry, I know this reply is like months later but to answer your question, I do like the Alpine power pack which is only like $120, the KTP-445a (this is the one specific for Alpine head units like the iLX-007). Consider the Maximo series for speakers as mentioned in the write up. They’re very efficient, very clean and balanced and they’re an excellent value.

  25. Danny
    November 20, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Hi Annie,
    For the 2015 Wrangler when you remove the factory Nav system, what did you do to have the correct orientation show in the cluster for directions (N, S, E, W)? I believe that the cluster gets its orientation from the Nav system..

    thanks

    • February 5, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      I’d have to check mine to see if it still works, I don’t usually leave it on that display, but if it does go through the navigation then I got nothing to retain it. Sorry!

  26. James M.
    December 31, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Your input is exactly what I have been looking for. I purchased a brand new 2015 Rubicon with the 430N (without the Alpine sub upgrade). On the 2015 model, the 115v AC plug is in the same place where you put your level controller for the subwoofer and another 12 volt outlet on the dash. Any other place where you would place the controller? Also, is the wiring any different in the 2015 models? Specifically, since there is an Alpine subwoofer upgrade from the factory, is there a wiring harness in the back just not being used for non subwoofer models? Could it be used to for power for a backup camera?

    • January 30, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      Hi James,
      Glad I could help – the harness behind the stock stereo should be the same. Lately we’ve been using the iDatalink Maestro RR and Chrysler harness vs the Pac Audio piece. It’s easier to program and re-assign steering wheel controls functions (if you have the iDatalink programmer), but that’s only good if you go with a radio that is compatible.

      If the car is not equipped with the stock subwoofer it won’t have the same wiring in the rear of the vehicle (basically it changes depending on which stock amp you have, but they all use the same harness behind the stock radio) and even if it did you really couldn’t use it for much anything else.

      As far as bass knob placement goes you just want to put it some place convenient. I’m sure you could just put it above it or to the left or right of it.

  27. Ryan
    February 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Hi,

    I was wondering if you ever used dynamat on the doors of a JK. If so, do you remove the inner panel and put it inside the door or just put it under the outer panel?

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    • February 4, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Hi Ryan,
      Yes we have in our own Jeep, but I couldn’t tell you how my husband took it apart! He did tell me the glass was extremely heavy and I know he only took it apart to fix a ding he got in the door. While it was apart he did the inner and outer door skin. Still hasn’t had time to do the passenger side.

  28. Secops
    February 15, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Annie.

    I have a 2015 Jeep Wrangler 4 door with the Alpine upgrade. I’m not very good at installing stuff or explaining things but I’m going to give it a shot.

    I replaced the stock 430 with the 4100NEX.

    Found that bluetooth output sound only comes from the fronts on the 4100Nex but the Alpine upgrade amp only has L/R inputs AND on the harness those come from the 4100NEX rear outputs. Which means I could make calls and folks could hear me but I couldn’t hear them. I switched the harness fronts outputs to back inputs. This has caused a noticeable difference in sound now.

    Spoke with a friend about upgrading the amp only so that the fronts and backs outputs have fronts and backs input. He said that I would blow the upgraded alpine speakers. I happen to like the alpine system but was looking for your opinion on replacing only the factory upgrade amp without blowing the speakers. Is this possible/sensible/logical?

    Thank you!

    • February 17, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Hi Secops,
      That’s interesting, I haven’t run into that in the Wrangler, but I do recall running into that issue once in an older Jeep Grand Cherokee. We ended up going with a Metra harness instead which still maintained balance and fade even on the premium amplified digital systems. I’m thinking the easier solution here is to change the stereo interface out from the PAC part (assuming that’s what you’ve got) to the Metra CHTO-13 or CHTO-03 both of which will retain balance and fade in digital systems. Those parts do not include the steering wheel control interface, you’ll need to add the ASWC-1 for that. My 1st choice would be the iDatalink Maestro RR and CH1 harness, but that does require an iDatalink weblink programmer and you do have register (no cost) and have access to a PC and internet explorer to flash and program the module. I think for do it yourselfers, the PAC preprogrammed module is easiest, Metra second, iDatalink is easy if you have the programmer and are set up with an account. I hope that helps!

  29. Krysta
    February 23, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    So I just bought a 2016 wrangler unlimited Sahara but it has the standard 8 speaker setup (no sub). I have a custom dial kicker 12″ sub box and amp but I want to upgrade EVERYTHING. I bought the amp (alpine) you recommended, morel tempos, and plan on head unit when budget affords. The new speaker set up in 2016 has tweeters in both front and on rear speaker bar. I bought the motel tempo 6 for the front and the 6c for the back but now I realize I’m short a set of tweeters. Should I just buy another set of tempo 6 like the front or get another seperate set of tweeters? None of these posts address the 8 speaker set up on new wranglers. If you could give me advice as to how to go about properly upgrading all these speakers using the alpine PDX v9, I would appreciate it greatly. I’m terrified to screw something up. And like I said, for now I am sticking with stock head unit but was also advised to get a sound stream epicenter?? Is that a good idea?

    • February 27, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Krysta,
      I don’t think it’s necessary to do a component set in the rear sound bar, the tweeter is mounted RIGHT next to the mid range so you don’t really gain anything with a component set in the rear in my opinion. I like it for the front because if you mount the tweeters strategically (like the older Jeep set up, I don’t like the new location aiming up at the sky) it creates a better sound stage. Moving the tweeter over a couple inches from the mid range in the sound bar really isn’t going to make a big difference in the sound stage, so I think it’s unnecessary to do component in the rear.

      Although I don’t mention Audio Control too often I am a big fan of their products, so if you are planning on running this stuff off the stock head unit for now, it would be beneficial to use the The Epicenter Plus.

      • Krysta
        March 2, 2016 at 8:27 pm

        Thank you so much for your advice! Wish I could have you do the install but I think I found a competent person. If I stick with stock head unit, I will get the epicenter but I think I am going to go ahead and invest in a pioneer 7100nex. Do you know what part I need (I read just a mini USB adapter and extension but I’m not sure female/male or what) to retain use of the center console USB with that head unit? Thanks in advance.

      • March 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm

        Hi Krysta – sure, it’s the AX-USB-MINIB. If you’re planning on swapping the head unit, I would wait a few more weeks. The new Pioneer nav models (AVIC-7200NEX for example) will have more advanced iDatalink Maestro integration for that vehicle so the integration with the car and OEM features will be a lot nicer (check tire pressure, see and reset check engine codes, etc.). That’s assuming you use the iDatalink Maestro to retain steering wheel controls.

  30. John
    February 25, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I have a 2015 JKU with the 430 HU and Alpine spk upgrade. I would like to replace the amp, what would you recommend and is it possible to replace it and use the existing location?

    Thanks!!

    • March 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm

      Hi John,
      I wouldn’t just replace them amp if that’s what you’re asking, I would upgrade speakers, the radio, etc as outlined in the post. If you’re looking to improve the sound of the existing system without swapping everything, I would recommend starting by adding an aftermarket subwoofer (and amp just to power that sub). That would add a lot more depth and presence to the stock audio system. Generally speaking I don’t usually have any options that fit in the factory location. We usually put the amps under the front seats. If you went with something like JL Audio’s HX series amps or the Alpine KTP-445u/a mentioned in the post you could probably hide those in the OEM amp location. Hope that helps!

  31. Doug R.
    March 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Annie! great posts on the jeep wrangler stereo. what would the total system cost come to for the new pioneer double din head unit, alpine 5 channel amp, morel front and sound bar speakers, and JL sub and box be with install? I would love to come into your shop and just have you do it all but I am in upstate NY near Albany. any reputable shop you have heard of or could suggest closer? any help or ideas you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

    • March 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Doug, thanks – wish I was closer so I could help. Well it depends which Morel’s/5 channel you go with, but to give you an idea we just did a 2016 Jk Wrangler last week with the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX, flush mounted USB ports and HDMI ports in the center console, used the iDatalink Maestro steering wheel integration module, Morel Tempo speakers front components, sound bar coaxes (Tempo is the mid level), Alpine 5 channel PDXV9, bass knob and JL Stealth box and that bill was just shy of $4k with tax, parts and labor (and boy did that Jeep sound good – very happy customer). I would start by finding a JL Audio dealer in your area and visit them for pricing and to get a feel of their reputation/capability and experience with these systems. Hope that helps!

      • Doug
        April 2, 2016 at 7:24 am

        Hi Annie! Thanx 4 taking my call the other day in regards to coming down. That didn’t work out but it did work out! I ordered up a 4100nex, pdxv9, rux knob, morel tempos, and the JL unlimited box they said wouldn’t fit but after a chat with a JL tech he said it would with a shim. After disassembling about my complete interior everything is in. It sounds and looks great! Could you let me know what you put the amp settings at on the exact install you did? It would save me a ton of time if you could recall! Thanx!

      • April 6, 2016 at 8:46 pm

        Hi Doug, congrats! In general we set the LPF filter at 80 Hz and HPF filter at 80 Hz. When tuning we start with the head unit volume up about 3/4 of the way and the gains all the way down. Then slowly bring up the gains just to the point of distortion, then back it back down. We usually start with the interior speakers when we do that and blend the sub in lastly. You would want to leave the crossovers off on the head unit. I hope that helps!

  32. jason g
    April 2, 2016 at 12:14 am

    any mid base subs you may recommend that could actually fit in the front of a jk?

    • April 6, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Jason – nah, not really. When a stealth box doesn’t work well we build one like this one. Sorry, wish I had a better answer!

  33. calvin
    April 2, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Hi Annie! Your post is super in-depth, and replies are very well-informed! I was wondering if you could give me some advice on a setup for my jeep. I have a 2012 Jeep Wrangler JK-8, so there is no back seat lol. There are factory speakers in the dash, two tweeters and two in the roof. I have an Alpine (http://alpine-usa.com/product/view/ine-w957hd) touchscreen unit installed. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    • April 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Calvin,
      Cool! I haven’t seen one of those in person yet. Is there any room behind either seat for a small sub? I would try to find a JL Audio dealer near you that carries the CP108LG-W3V3, the CP106LG-W3V3 and the CS110TG-TW3. What I do for my customers is just take the boxes out to the vehicle and see what fits!

      I would still follow everything else in the write up because speaker size should be the same, I’m assuming you still have the stock roll bar and sound bar? Basically the sub is the only thing we’d change and any of those enclosures are rock solid options and what I sell to my single cab pick up truck customers, my work van customers (Sprinter vans, Chevy Express, Ford Transit). These subs are really ideal for any smaller 2 door small cab vehicles. I hope that helps!

      • calvin
        April 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm

        Thanks Annie! Yes, I think there’s room behind the seat in the cab for a sub. Actually, the sound bar had to be removed for the truck conversion so I’m down to the dash speakers and two tweeters on top of the dash. Ok, so to confirm, the following would cover everything I would need:

        -Sub (http://www.jlaudio.com/cs110tg-tw3-car-audio-powerwedge-subwoofer-systems-93302)

        -Line Output Converter (do i still need this since i had the alpine head unit installed?)

        -Amp (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007VSXGOQ/)

        -Head Unit (Alpine INE-W957HD)

        -Speakers (Morel Tempo)

        -Installation(Stinger wire + cables)

        -Dynamat Sound Deadener (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00020CM04) + Wedge Pack (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KWPKATE) (do i need these since i have a truck?)

        -Alarm (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016YBGJ8) and Proximity Sensor (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009VFOME/)

        Did I miss anything?

      • April 11, 2016 at 5:01 pm

        Hey Calvin,
        If you don’t have rear speakers, I would probably do a different amplifier. Unless you think you may want to add some additional speakers for the tailgate area. I’ve had a few customers go for tailgate systems and you could always run the extra rear channels to some 6×9 enclosures that could be used in the truck bed area on special occasions.

        Since you already have an aftermarket head unit, you won’t need the line output converter. You could use the Dynamat in the front speaker cavity area and the back wall where the sub is going to reside.

        If you’re strictly going to be running the front components and subwoofer (no future rear speakers) I might suggest a JL Audio 3 channel for this specific application. OR you could simply bridge the front two channels for more output. I think I like that idea better. Just check out page 14 of the owner’s manual on how to bridge the Alpine PDXV9 amplifier, cool?

        Before you start – you MAY want to pull the head unit out and make sure the Alpine RCA pigtail is attached. I’ve seen a few expeditor shops install the radio and leave the “extra” unused pigtails off the back of the stereo. If it’s missing, you can order one from PAC PARTS – here is link in case you need it.

        But yeah, other than that – looks like you got everything. Maybe a Dynamat roller to apply to the back wall?

  34. calvin
    April 11, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    great!…i’ll give it shot and keep you posted!

  35. Phillip
    May 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Great direction… Looking it all up now. Thanks

  36. Mark
    May 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Annie: I absolutely love this post, very informative! I plan on going with your suggestions. However, i have the 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock which has the Alpine 9 speaker system. I have 2 tweeters in front, 2 6.5″ in the front kick panels, 2 tweeters in the soundbar with 2 6.5″ and a 6×9″ all weather sub in the back cargo area.

    Here’s my question, could i install a set of these for the front speakers and tweeters as well as the rear soundbar as i have a total of 4 tweeters. Morel Hybrid 602 6-1/2″ 2-Way 600W Hybrid Series Component Speakers? Also, i am unaware of how exactly the morel tweeters would actually install as these alpine tweeters seem to be screwed into it’s own frame, do i simply unscrew these and install the morel tweeters into the same frame or do they come with their own frame? Mine sit flush inside the top dash panel and have a plastic cover with clips that goes on the top.

    • June 2, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Hey Mark,
      I don’t think it’s necessary to go with the separate tweeters in the rear, you could go with the point source model for the sound bar and that should leave you a little extra room for the crossovers. For the front, there are two ways you could mount the tweeters. You may need to use a metal backstrap (which can be bent and cut into the length you need) to mount the Morel tweeter under the factory grill. The other option is you could use the surface mount tweeter pods included with the Morel speakers and mount them on top of the dash aimed at you. I actually preferred the older style tweeter location (like you see in our Jeep in the post), but either option works. The Morel’s come with several different mounting pods so you have a little flexibility with how and where you mount them.

  37. Scott
    May 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Hi Annie, your site and this information is great. I just bought a 2016 Wrangler with stock BT stereo and plan to replace everything. Definitely going 4200NEX for the deck and replacing the stock speakers but torn on a 5 channel amp and sub. I like the Alpine PDXV9 and will likely go that way but am curious about the subs. I am wondering if the stealthbox is the best option. I listened to the CP108LG-W3v at a local shop and was impressed but then they pushed the dual 8s. I need to retain some storage in the back(ie groceries / beer) so concerned if I can put stuff on top of the stealthbox, not going off roading so not concerned about water or anything so any guidance on a good solution would be appreciated. If the stealthbox is the answer should I mount the Aline in the slot or under the seat?

    • June 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Scott,
      With the top off, you’ll barely hear the single JL CP108LG-VW3 unless you’re stopped in traffic or travelling under a bridge/overpass. I’m sure that’s why they were pushing the dual 8″. I’d say go for the stealth box, you can put stuff on top no problem (groceries/beer). I think the location in the floor (assuming you’ve got the 2-door and talking about the 10″ that goes in the storage tray) is better for sound travel too vs a behind the seat wedge style box. That stealthbox actually has a spot for the amp, the Alpine PDXV9 should fit in there, but if not, under the passenger seat would be fine too. Have fun with the new Jeep!

  38. Mark
    May 26, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Annie: Love this post. I have a question….On a 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Hard Rock with the 9 speaker option, What exactly is the difference between these two systems? Is one more form fitting than the other as far as the installation and fit is concerned?

    http://alpine-usa.com/product/view/spr-60c/

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AOAJUCK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00AOAJUCK&linkCode=as2&tag=learntobehuma-20&linkId=YE5NZJLGP5YDPMLV

    • June 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Mark,
      Hi Mark,
      You mean what’s the difference between the Alpine Type R components and the Morel Hybrid Components? Fit wise the only “drawback” on the Morel’s in the larger crossover, but there is room for those under the dash and even in the soundbar. Huge sound quality difference. The Alpine Type R’s are not a bad speaker, but I definitely think that Morel makes a much better speaker whether it’s their entry level Maximo series, the mid level Tempo or Virtus or the higher end Hybrid’s and Elate series. In general, Morel has a cleaner, tighter mid range – more accurate is a good way to put it. And their tweeter is superior. Smoother and more detailed and delicate. From an efficiency stand point, the Type R’s are more efficient meaning they play louder with less amplification. From the Tempo series and up (in the Morel line up), they really need more than basic aftermarket head unit power for amplification, but then again in a Jeep you’re really going to want that extra amplification either way so I don’t think efficiency is a factor in this application. I hope I understood and answered your question correctly.

  39. Kurt
    July 18, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Annie,
    I have a 2014 JKU with the uconnect 430n. I was wanting to upgrade all speakers and add another amp to get more volume out of my stock head unit. Is this possible?? Thanks for the help!

    • September 22, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Kurt – To really do it right, you’ll want to also install a nice processor to correct the sound coming out of that 430n radio and to sum all the different frequencies at the stock amp before you go into your new amplifier. It’s totally do-able, but you end up spending about $700 in processing equipment and you’ll want to have it professionally installed by a JL Audio dealer so you get the absolute full tuning potential of the product (not everyone knows how to set up a 31 band eq).

      We prefer the JL Audio Twk-88 and Fix-86 – best processor on the market at the moment. It has an amazing audio converter, tons of control and a very small discreet knob that acts both as a volume control and bass knob. We’ve installed a few in vehicles where you really couldn’t change the stock stereo and we’ve been blown away by the sound quality.

      If you just use a basic line output converter the sound quality will be pretty tinny and harsh, not recommended.

  40. Ray
    August 17, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Annie, i recently installed an AVIC 8100nex into my 2013 JK. Everything has gone great on the install and the sound quality was an incredible upgrade even leaving the factory amp in. One question, what to do with all the cable inputs. I have a HDMI, a USB extension and Lightning cable for my iphone 6+ but cant find anything along the lines of a professional looking port that i can mount to the dash or center console to hide the cable. leaving them in the glove box doesn’t do it for me and hoping you have seen somebody somewhere try mount these inside of the dash tray on top or anywhere else where i can run a very short cable to my iphone. thx for any guidance you have.

    • September 21, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Ray – we flush mount it. I like the HDMI-USB cable from Accele Electronics because it’s nice and long and can be flush mounted either in the center console or right in front of the center console (where I have my bass knob mounted in the post pictures). And then if you have the factory USB port you can use this adapter from Metra to re-use the OEM input for one of the USB ports.

  41. Jean
    December 14, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Hey Annie

    I ‘ve just gone through the process of upgrading the sound in my JK, and I’m still not happy with it. A relative noob to this, I’m not sure if it’s in the settings (crossovers, EQ’s, amp toggles) or in the hardware (Speaker Spec, Sound Deadening, polyfil).

    The system as it currently stands has a Pioneer bt2800 2-din receiver, a lightning audio 1000w monoblock running to an 8 inch Polk 6.5″ db 840 sub in the factory box, a set of Polk Audio MM coaxials in the sound bar and a set of Infinity reference 6.5″ splits upfront. The internal speakers all run off an IcePower Pro Series 4 channel amp.

    My first question is on the settings, specifically the crossovers. I effectively have 3 crossovers on all of my internal speakers (ex. Sub) – the head unit has a really cool graphical interface where you can set of the point and the dropoff, the amp has a low [ass crossover and both the infinity splits and Polk Audio coaxials have passive Crossovers. If I had a choice, I’d like to use the head unit to set it, as it saves me scrambling in the back and is graphical and quantifiable (the dials on the amp have no markings). Any suggestions for a starting point for this setup? But then with this setup, the Passives are still in play so does that mean I’m using 2 crossovers? Should I rather just have the amps on ‘full pass’ and turn the crossover off on the head unit to let the passives do their thing for the speakers that they were obviously designed for?

    The second big ‘bucket’ of questions is around the hardware. The speakers are sounding quite tinny, and not at all warm or full. Appreciate that the soundbar and upfront areas may not be the best spaces for upgraded speakers, but should I look to improve these spaces with dynamat and polyfil? Or do you have any other suggestions?

    Apologies for the (many) questions. Kind of shotgun here, but I’m a bit out-to-sea, and would appreciate any advice that you have.

    Ta,
    Jean

    • January 13, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Jean,
      I agree it’s easier to use the crossover on the head unit, but if you do that, just be sure you can turn the crossover filter off on your amplifier. You don’t want to use both crossovers.

      Generally speaking we set the interior speakers to play 80 hertz and up and the subwoofer to do 80 hertz and below.

      Don’t worry about the crossover that comes with your speakers, that’s merely receiving a signal from the amp and dividing that signal between the mid range and tweeter so it’s a different type of crossover filter.

      As far as the tininess, I think that has everything to do with speaker choice. The speaker location is actually ideal in these vehicles, but if you pick a tweeter that is not so smooth, you can end up with a very in-your-face, harsh sound. I always recommend speakers with a silk dome or synthetic silk tweeter from Morel or even JL Audio. Much smoother tone to them. Also, if you have the phase incorrect (positive and negative) on any of your speakers you will get a very hollow sound lacking in mid bass. I hope that gets you back in the right direction!

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