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My Budget Friendly Stereo Upgrade

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by Capt. Obvious, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Jun 12, 2017 at 12:58 PM
    #1
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I'm sick and tired of the factory stereo in my 2012 double cab, and it's time for an upgrade. I like a good sounding stereo, but I'm by no means an audiophile. I haven't done a stereo overhaul in quite some time, so I'm looking for some feedback on my component choices from some of you who are more up to date with the part of the industry.

    I plan to tackle this project in two phases. Phase one will be sealing/sound deadening the doors (and back wall of the cab), and upgrading the door speakers. Phase two will be a new head unit and an amp for the door speakers.

    My goals are:
    1. Keep it simple.
    2. Minimize cost, but without skimping
    2. Better, clearer, louder sound than the factory speakers. Cleaner bass, crisper highs, without distortion at higher volumes. I have no desire to install a subwoofer, so I want to maximize the sound from the door speakers. I don't need need a lot bass, just a little more than the factory speakers currently put out and I'll be happy.

    With that said, here's what I'm looking to go with:

    Amp:
    A small class D, something like a Clarion XC1410 (4x50w) that can be hidden under the dash
    https://www.amazon.com/Clarion-XC14...qid=1497295850&sr=8-2&keywords=Clarion+XC2410

    Front Doors:
    Pioneer TS-D6902R 6x9
    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Speakers/D-Series/TS-D6902R
    or,
    Pioneer TS-A6996R
    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Speakers/A-Series/TS-A6996R

    I figure it makes sense to spend the extra cash for the "better" front speakers since those will be the majority of my sound stage. But am I just spending extra money for the D-series, when the A-series is actually a better match for my goals? Will I really notice the difference between the 2-way D-series vs. the 5-way A-series? It seems to me that one high-quality tweeter is better than 4 "okay" ones? For the moment, I plan to just leave the factory tweeter in the door. Would I be better off unplugging it for now, or should I just leave it plugged in?

    Rear Doors:
    Pioneer TS-A1686R
    http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Speakers/A-Series/TS-A1686R

    The A-series seems to be a popular choice among those doing budget-friendly upgrades, so this seems like the way to go for the back doors.

    Thoughts on my plans?

    All-important pictures:
    20170529_103206_zpsvmencdbo_d43dc972dd1afe9737bb79a5e76c988880638f7c.jpg

    20170220_132802_zpszkrcybzh_6b7142e099e3e498adf225fd2910e1ceca993692.jpg
     
  2. Jun 14, 2017 at 9:47 AM
    #2
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    Don't everybody answer at once, I can only read so fast...


    After chatting with a friend who is more into stereos than I am, he suggested getting the less expensive speakers and spending the extra money on a better amp. So, I went with the A-series all around (TS-A6986R 6x9s for the front and TS-A1686R 6.5s for the rear). I also ordered sound deadener. As for the amp, I don't think the Clarion one I linked in the original post is the way to go, so I'm going to go for a Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4 in the near future (but not right now).

    I guess this is now my stereo build thread?
     
  3. Jun 14, 2017 at 10:21 AM
    #3
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    So here's what I've got on the way:

    Front doors:
    Pioneer TS-A6986R 6x9s (http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Speakers/A-Series/TS-A6986R) - $71 (Amazon)
    6x9 speaker adapters (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00801K2XQ) - $20 (there are cheaper ones available, but these looked a little more robust for only a few dollars more)

    Rear doors:
    Pioneer TS-A1686R (http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/Speakers/A-Series/TS-A1686R) - $50 (Amazon)
    (I went with the 1686R instead of the 1676R because they are only a few dollars more and have a larger cone area that is essentially equal to a 6.75" speaker)
    6.5" speaker adapters (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007ZQGZWO) - $7

    Other supplies:
    25sqft of Noico 50mil sound deadener (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012AVX5HQ) - $37
    Sound deadener roller (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GMOI98S) - $7
    Speaker harness adapters (http://www.ebay.com/itm/331706690937) - $10

    So, for just a hair over $200, I should be able to greatly improve the sound from the factory stereo. As I mentioned before, I intend to add an amp in the near future, but not at this step.
     
  4. Jun 19, 2017 at 6:34 AM
    #4
    Air

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    Thanks for posting! I'm thinking about making the same upgrades, so please update the thread with your thoughts after install!
     
  5. Jun 19, 2017 at 6:43 AM
    #5
    honda50r

    honda50r Not a Mallcrawler

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  6. Jun 19, 2017 at 8:51 AM
    #6
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I got one of the rear doors done this weekend, then I ran out of time and had to do family stuff. I'll take some pics when I do the other three doors.

    First impression with just the one speaker hooked up: it sounds WAY better than the factory speaker.
     
    TRDZILA and Tacogirl08 like this.
  7. Jun 19, 2017 at 10:11 AM
    #7
    timothom

    timothom Well-Known Member

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    Good call on doing the sound deadning. Did you use the roller when you installed? I didn't really use one, I just a piece of plastic I had laying around and my hands. Seems to be working ok :)
     
  8. Jun 19, 2017 at 10:40 AM
    #8
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I did use the roller. The Noico stuff seemed to stick really well, but the roller was only a few bucks and it's nice piece of mind that I'm not going to have stuff peeling off the inside of the doors this summer.
     
  9. Jun 19, 2017 at 10:47 AM
    #9
    def67

    def67 Silly Milly

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  10. Jun 20, 2017 at 9:49 AM
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    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I had some time this weekend and after work last night to get the speakers installed. Installing everything was really easy. If you take your time, it takes about an hour per door.

    The door cards pop off in no time flat (there's plenty of other threads that detail that procedure if you haven't done it before).

    Once the panels were off, I removed the factory plastic from the door panel. Next, I wiped down the door panel, and the inside of the door with acetone to ensure it was nice and clean to ensure the Noico sound deadener would stick.

    The Noico deadener comes in sheets that are about 14x20 inches. For the inside of the doors, I used one sheet on each door. I cut each sheet in half and put one half above the crash bar, and the other half below the crash bar (Note: on the front doors, there is a metal panel held in with a few screws you need to remove to gain access to the inside of the door). Then I used the roller to make sure it was stuck on good. You don't need full coverage with this stuff, technically all you really need is around 25% coverage.

    Once the inside of the door was done, I used two more sheets to cover the door panel (so, a total of three sheets per door). The goal here is to seal up any holes in the door (except the holes the door clips go in!). This does two things: 1, it replaces the plastic weather protection that was on the door, and 2) it blocks noise that otherwise would have been transmitted through those holes and reduces vibrations.

    I just covered everything, including the wiring harnesses. The sound deadener is pretty sticky, but it's not so sticky that you can't get it off if you need to access something in the door sometime in the future.

    Here's what one of the rear doors looked like when I was done:

    20170619_192944_zpsgh3x1svl_5d76ce54af9460a828a9d92637b939d6bdcac256.jpg

    And a front door:

    20170623_190913_zpssqbfjccm_a7a8dfd2ec736f2013f2d396200f527158594182.jpg

    After covering the door, I used whatever was left of the two sheets on the back of the door card. Basically, I just applied some to where the different parts of the card are plastic welded together to prevent rattling in the future. I also added a little bit to the door switch to keep it from rattling as well.

    Then, you put the speaker rings and speakers in, and put everything back together. On the back of the speaker rings, I used some of the butyl left over from the plastic to seal them to the door. It's kind of messy and you probably don't really need to do this, but I did it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017
  11. Jun 20, 2017 at 10:06 AM
    #11
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    Initial impressions:

    Damn it, I should have done this years ago! Everything sounds SO much better, even still using the factory head unit with no amp. There is more bass, the highs are crisper/clearer, and there's much less distortion at higher volume levels. It's definitely a huge improvement.

    With that said, I want to be sure I'm not overselling the upgrade: It's a vast improvement over the original stuff, but it's no substitute for a high-end system. If you want something that sounds much better than the factory speakers without having to spend a lot of money, then this is a great path for you. Also, it leaves lots of room for future upgrades (amplifier, head unit, subs).

    It's pretty amazing how cheap Toyota went with the factory speakers. Look at that cute little quarter-sized magnet and paper cone.

    20170619_203130_zpsmmdfeg7s_df5f4bca16d74165b62f14e3eba52913d97d05ed.jpg

    20170619_192601_zpsalsnjqa7_c2982b3357ff68b3a2b92d1a40c3aed8af32686c.jpg

    I'm also really pleased with the the Noico sound deadener. I will definitely be buying more to do the back wall of the cab. No smell, inexpensive, easy to apply. It's absolutely just as good as Dynamat, and like 1/3 the cost. The cab is definitely much quieter on the freeway now as well. I can't wait to do the back wall of the cab, which is where most of the road noise comes from.
     
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  12. Jun 20, 2017 at 12:10 PM
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    Air

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    Thanks Captain! Question: Did you bypass the front door tweeters or leave them as is?

    I'm going to be doing the same upgrade, except just front 6X9s as I have an Access cab with no rear speakers. I'll post my results when done in a few weeks.
     
  13. Jun 20, 2017 at 1:36 PM
    #13
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I left the factory tweeters hooked up for now. I may take the doors panels back off though and unplug them to see how it sounds. They aren't very loud, so I'm not sure if it will make much of a difference.
     
  14. Jun 20, 2017 at 6:26 PM
    #14
    2012TacomaGuy

    2012TacomaGuy Well-Known Member

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    I'm very interested in the Pioneer set-up you've got going. A couple months back I bought Rockford Fosgate speakers for the four doors. I used dynamat for sound-deadening material along the doors, back cab wall (behind rear seats) and in some various rattling places. Also build a custom sub box to fit completely behind the rear seats along with the amp. Will be happy to provide photos if you're interested for future reference.

    As for the sound quality, definitely far superior than the OEM speakers. Have to remind myself to be courteous of others at night time :thumbsup:
     
  15. Jun 21, 2017 at 10:13 AM
    #15
    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    Okay, so now that I've had some time in the truck to listen to the stereo more, I think I need to rewire the front speakers. They just don't sound nearly as good as the rear speakers. They sound very muddled.

    After looking at the wiring diagram for the front speakers, it appears there is a crossover built into the factory tweeters, which would explain why the new speakers don't sound very good (they are much louder than the factory speakers and easily overpower the factory tweets so I can really hear the lack of definition).

    So, I'm going to pull the door panels off this weekend and rectify that situation and I'll report back on whether it helped or not, along with how I did it.
     
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  16. Jun 21, 2017 at 12:26 PM
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    timothom

    timothom Well-Known Member

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    I cut the factory tweets out of mine. They mess everything up. I also pulled my own speaker wire, because that's the right way to do an amp with your speakers. But I used speaker wire that was too big, and sometimes it get pinched when I open my driver's side door. Don't make my mistake and use 12-awg...that's just way to fucking big. Use something smaller.
     
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  17. Jun 26, 2017 at 9:48 AM
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    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    I unhooked the front tweeters this weekend, much better. With them hooked up still the stereo was "over-tweeted" and just didn't sound right. However, with them unhooked, you lose some of that "full" sound you get by having a speaker up higher. I'll probably replace the factory tweeter with new ones sometime in the future, but for now I'm pretty happy with the improvement.

    One thing I noticed when I was playing with the treble/bass/fade settings to dial in the new speakers was that something still didn't sound quite right. I realized what the issue is on my way to work this morning: the staging in these trucks is backwards. You have 6x9s up front, and 6.5s in the rear, where it would be much more ideal to have it the other way around. With that said, if you want to go this route for your own stereo, but plan to add in a subwoofer in the future, I'd go with 6.5s all around, and spend the extra cash for a component set up front, so you have a replacement for the front tweeters.
     
  18. Jul 6, 2017 at 3:46 PM
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    Capt. Obvious

    Capt. Obvious [OP] Fearless Keyboard Warrior

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    Oh, well that's fun. Photobucket has decided they want $400 a year to let me post pictures on forums. They can go fuck themselves.

    If you want to see an image, right click on it and open the image in a new tab.
     
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  19. Aug 5, 2017 at 2:19 PM
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    Skyway

    Skyway Well-Known Member

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    @Capt. Obvious

    Thank you Capt! I want to step up the speakers in my Regular Cab.
    I guess 6x9's in the doors right? shall I do those tweeters too?
    I am curious about doing some 6x9's on the back wall as well, a custom enclosure.
    With the new Pioneer 6x9's do you think i'll be wanting those rear speakers?
     
  20. Aug 5, 2017 at 2:34 PM
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    Skyway

    Skyway Well-Known Member

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    oh' should I do those 4 ways or the 2 ways? why do the 2 ways cost more?
    Higher quality materials?
     
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