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Philrab’s Audio: Kicker 180.4 + Kicker 500.1 + Marv box

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by Philrab, Jun 17, 2021.

  1. Jun 17, 2021 at 8:30 AM
    #1
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    It should be fairly commonly accepted that the factory stereo in Tacoma’s leaves much to be desired. I haven’t heard a JBL system, but I can’t imagine it being dramatically better than what my 2015 SR5 came equipped with. Having had a long stream of progressively escalating car audio installs in every car I’ve owned since I was 17, this simply wouldn’t do.

    For this Tacoma, I decided to go another direction, try to keep things simple and compact, not lose too much storage space. I’m slowly losing that battle, but maybe some of my experience will will guide others.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2021
    soundman98 likes this.
  2. Jun 17, 2021 at 8:47 AM
    #2
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    Firstly, let’s say I didn’t invent any of this stuff. The newest 2nd Gen truck’s are six years old and well known at this point. I will be posting links to threads by others I found helpful.

    Equipment:
    Infinity 9630cx 6x9 components
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_108R9630CM/Infinity-Reference-REF-9630cx.html

    Infinity 6532ix 6 1/2” coaxials
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_108R6532IM/Infinity-Reference-REF-6532IX.html?tp=78072

    There are several threads for installing door speakers in 2nd gen dual cab trucks. I will say that going the route I did, with an Infinity component set in the front doors and ditching the factory “2nd midrange”, you will need to bridge together the wires on the tweeter plug. This is because the way the wiring for the front doors flows, the tweeters and midrange speakers are wired either in series or parallel (I don’t recall which, will verify next time I have my door open.) literally, if you remove the tweeter, the midrange gets no signal.

    E16FDB1A-A4E4-4738-B46A-F895E3FDD5D9.jpg
    What I did was remove the factory tweeter from its mount, salvage the factory plug (seen above) connect the wires to act as a jumper, then epoxied the new tweeter to the old mount. What I don’t remember is, did I wire red to black, or like colors. I’ll remind myself and follow up eventually.(post #6)


    A9C576A9-26C4-4FED-A3E7-B0D3C321C2BC.jpg
    Another thing I can’t stress enough is ADD SOUND DEADENING. There are many products, several work well, but the factory doors have a cartoonish absence of sound deadening (actually the whole truck does). Spend a few bucks, and at least cover the sheet metal around the speakers. I put as big a sheet as I could up against the outer door skin (through the speaker holes) and several smaller pieces on the inside of the inner door panel anywhere I heard rattles. It helps a ton.

    End result: Mixed. Mids much clearer, highs a HUGE step up. Mid bass is completely gone. If the factory junk did one thing well, it was make half decent bass out of 5w of power. The Infinity speakers sound better, but the factory head lets them down a lot.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
    soundman98 likes this.
  3. Jun 17, 2021 at 9:04 AM
    #3
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    Equipment:
    Kicker Key 180.4
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_206KEY1804/Kicker-KEY180-4.html

    Huge props and thanks to both @tpp4 and @destin_meeks for their guides and knowledge sprinkled through this forum. This guide in particular helped a lot with my 2015. Earlier trucks I believe the wiring is different.
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/tpp4s-no-nonsense-guide-to-kicker-key-t-harness-16-19.642415/

    Per above, I bought the needed Metra harnesses and busted out the soldering iron.

    0008B494-B91C-4944-8058-7477050B3584.jpg
    2B058380-FD54-483D-8CA1-DEB4383B3422.jpg
    Pay particular attention to the “illumination pin” that needs to be dealt with. It is not handled by the Metra harnesses, and if you want your radio illumination to work it takes a little extra effort. Using the above guide, I was able to build my whole harness on the bench, and make this install literal plug and play. You are welcome to use crimp caps or butt connectors, but for any sort of audio wiring I usually go straight to solder and heat shrink UNLESS it’s something like an amp turn on that’s less critical. Also recommend you loom the harness with Tessa tape or regular old electrical tape in a pinch. In particular, think about plug routing, and loom things together that belong together. The two radio plugs can share loom, because they’re side by side. Don’t loom together two plugs that go in opposite directions for example.

    BE40BEE8-62C6-45C9-8BF5-30CA6D43E120.jpg
    Now, per the above guide and advice from others, I did keep this harness short and tuck the Kicker Key into the dash behind the stock radio.

    1. For your tuning, and any time you need to change a setting, you are now obligated to pull the radio and dig this amp back out.
    2. It is a ridiculously tight squeeze in a 2nd gen, supposed to be better in the 3rd gen trucks.
    3. Some people aren’t thrilled with sharing radio power for the head unit and this amp. In my experience, there is plenty of headroom and it works fine.

    End result: Holy Moses! I’ve been in car audio for twenty years, and I’ve seen a lot of advances over the years, but a $200 amp that automatically adjusts its own EQ and time alignment that’s the size of a brick really surprised me. It works, it’s a big step up in power, and the imagining is genuinely pretty good.

    The Bad: my amp is noisy. Other users reported a hissing noise (varies from barely noticeable to annoying) and I have the same. Setting the amp for maximum undistorted output, I hear the hiss when the music pauses or fades out. It annoys me greatly, and reducing the gain remedied it. If you want LOUD, you may need to look at other equipment or compromise and leave some total output on the table. To each their own.

    At this price point, I’m not unhappy, but that one criticism is something I always point out to anyone that asks about the 180.4. I can’t comment on the 200.4.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
    soundman98 likes this.
  4. Jun 17, 2021 at 9:27 AM
    #4
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    Equipment:
    Kicker Key 500.1
    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20647KEY50/Kicker-47KEY500-1.html
    Sundown SD4 8”
    https://sundownaudio.com/lv/sa/subwoofers/sd4-series/
    Mr. Marv driver side box

    The Kicker 180.4 and Infinity speakers were a big jump in the right direction, but I need bass in my life. My last car, I designed and built a big ported enclosure for a Sundown SA12, tuned to 32hz. Downsizing to an 8” in a sealed enclosure is a personal choice, one I have to live with because I USE the space in my truck and can’t lose everything under and behind the back seats.

    E034EA57-CBB1-42B6-ACA7-1EABD5238412.jpg
    First thing I did was pull the 180.4 right back out of the dash. I was never happy with how tightly it fit and I wasn’t going to continue pulling the radio to do tuning. Out it came, mounted it to an ABS amp board next to the 500.1 with a fused distribution block and ground block.

    E4B83165-CAE1-46EA-A6F5-65F3C0970317.jpg
    3F937172-8AF4-4183-AEAA-4722E4ADE3ED.jpg
    All those soldered connections, all that Tessa tape, all got ripped apart.

    Head unit side: Every wire between the factory harness and head unit was left alone to continue to run the head unit EXCEPT the power antenna, which I use for remote amp turn on, and the speaker leads going to and from the amp. I also disconnected the Key’s power and ground wires from the harness. Then I loomed everything else back up.

    180.4 output: I loomed together four runs of 14 gauge OFC speaker wire in some Techflex (braided nylon loom, works like a Chinese finger trap) and wrapped the ends in Tessa tape. The flex loom let’s the harness bend more easily, tape keeps it from unraveling. Solder the heat shrink is your friend to add several feet between the amp output plug on the Key and the “harness side” of the head unit harness I built for the first install. We’re literally going to route the output of the amp back into the speaker wires behind the radio heading to the factory speakers.

    Also, I left the remote wire loose for now, and added ferrules to the ends of the power and ground wires for the 180.4 to connect to their respective distribution blocks.

    180.4 input: I used 9 conductor speed wire on this end. For the ~5 watts a channel the factory head dishes out, the 18 gauge wire should be fine. These all attached the “radio side” of the harness to the amp input plug, extended several feet. I also caught the remote turn on (power antenna) wire from the harness.

    On the 180.4 amp input side, a couple of small notes. I wired the input from the 500.1 amp inline with the input from the 180.4 so they share signal. It worked fine for me, might take a little extra gain but I’ll know when the sub is in. Also, you will need to extend the remote turn on wire from this end of the harness long enough to reach the remote wire on the other end of the Key 180.4. I also split this wire to the 500.1’s remote terminal, and confirmed there is sufficient power to turn both on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
    soundman98 likes this.
  5. Jun 17, 2021 at 9:44 AM
    #5
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    5F78E00D-BD7D-49D8-9C0C-3D026C1A4087.jpg
    First things first. If having lots of audio installs over the years has taught me anything, it is super convenient to have a quick way to shut down that whole system. I used a marine circuit breaker up by the battery, fused distribution block down by the amps. If I have to let someone service the truck, I hit one button and disarm the whole thing. Power wire was routed through the fire wall grommet nearest the brake booster.

    61D7D305-BDF2-4DC0-A774-3221BC9F49A9.jpg
    The most tedious part of this whole job was removing the entire center console, the driver front seat, the radio, undoing the bolts on the lower edge of the dash, and snaking the amp legs of the harness from the radio down through the dash. I opted to follow the factory harness path which involves going into a small hole behind the AC controls.

    ***Warning: if you’re an unlucky bastard like me, and your TPMS light goes off after you do this, you probably knocked loose the harness from the TPMS receiver behind the AC controls. Shove your hand up under the dash from below, find the harness, and plug it back in. It will not be any fun, but it’s less annoying to check and fix BEFORE you put everything back together.

    02B98F4C-4E36-40B1-95C7-52BC8583B04D.jpg


    Once I routed my harness, I dropped my amp board in place. The rear legs and large holes are secured by the seat bolts insuring things stay put. Plugs were routed through small holes I cut in the carpet. Not pictured, I found a threaded hole under the center console and a spare bolt in my bits that fit, ground the paint off and ran my master ground from the distribution block to that. It’s a cleaner solution than seat bolts in my opinion.

    End result: Nothing. Haven’t got my sub enclosure yet, hoping to see it in a couple weeks. It is much more convenient to get to the 180.4’s settings under the seat like this. Haven’t tuned the 500.1 yet.

    More to come, questions are welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2021
    soundman98 and GRNT4R like this.
  6. Jun 17, 2021 at 2:01 PM
    #6
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    3EAC7C5A-28DD-491D-8657-1BBE58708C40.jpg
    For those wishing to follow what I did, salvaging the plug from the tweeters, take the ends and butt connect or solder red to red, and black to black, and you effectively bypassed the tweeters. This keeps you from cutting into your factory wiring harness, which is my preference.

    8A77EE6D-EF35-401A-93E0-F1116FCC7C92.jpg
    Also worth pointing out, these amps fit under the driver seat with room to spare BUT I have raised the back edge of my seat. It would be a lot closer otherwise, but it’s a common enough mod around the forums.

    3DA51197-8D1D-4249-A7DC-030B94AF320D.jpg
    With the seat in its usual position everything is covered up, just like I wanted it. This has been the driving idea behind this little audio buildup; stealth. Auto theft and break ins aren’t common around me, but I like the truck to blend in.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
    soundman98 and GRNT4R like this.
  7. Jun 18, 2021 at 6:58 PM
    #7
    soundman98

    soundman98 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Indiana
    Vehicle:
    '18 Taco Sport, '14 BRZ
    nice work!

    under the seats is such an under-utilized area, glad to see others taking advantage of the space!
     
    Philrab [OP] likes this.
  8. Jun 18, 2021 at 8:47 PM
    #8
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    It was the best spot for me. I use all the storage under the back seats for emergency roadside gear, behind the seats is wet weather gear, water, and Mainstay rations. My family takes this truck camping and I take a 700 mile “boys trip” once a year, so I load up with gear in case we run into trouble.

    That’s also why I didn’t drop in some other equipment I have lying around. I thought about putting in a JL processor and my old JL 4 channel, but that’s more space taken up. These two amps are small, and obfuscated the need for a separate processor. It’s a compromise, but one I’m happily making.
     
    soundman98 likes this.
  9. Jun 19, 2021 at 9:30 PM
    #9
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.

    The Mr Marv box has arrived. I always prefer to use threaded inserts and Allen head cap screws for subwoofer installs. I was originally looking for #10 hardware but couldn’t find it locally, so I used the 1/4” hardware I had and drilled the basket to fit it. Inserts are all gorilla glued in, and two coats of stain laid down.

    Two coats of spar urethane, some sanding and two more coats to go. Let cure overnight, maybe going in the truck tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
    GRNT4R likes this.
  10. Jul 3, 2021 at 5:22 PM
    #10
    ShadowX011

    ShadowX011 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    First Name:
    Cory
    Vehicle:
    2005 Tacoma SR5 4x4 Access Cab
    I recently upgraded my stock ‘05 GEN 2 Tacoma non jbl system and used the same speakers as you…I just noticed at crutchfield the 9630cx is now discontinued for some reason.

    I am very impressed with the bass I am getting even with no subwoofers added yet.

    I might suggest maybe getting a decent cheap price head unit like the Alpine ilx-W650 which has an awesome deal for an Alpine KTA-450 Amp that puts 50 watts per channel that would match up with that head unit perfectly that really brings all 4 of those Infinity speakers to life. This amp makes no noise and what a powerful little amp…it attaches to the Alpine ilx-W650 and sits inside the dash…or you could put it wherever. For the price of $300.00 the Alpine ilx-W650 is one awesome headunit if you do not mind wired CarPlay and not the best audio face as you cannot add any custom wallpaper and it is very plain looking…but perfect for my needs and it sounds very clean paired with the mentioned amp.
    I paid under $500.00 for both the Head Unit and Amp from Crutchfield (they always run out of that particular head unit which kinda sucks).

    …and yes like you I had to solder and bridge the tweeter wires like you did otherwise I had no working door speakers…it was a pain to figure out but easy enough now.

    This was my first audio upgrade and Crutchfield went a little too conservative for me. I should have stressed that I love both very powerful output levels with SQ.
    These definitely get loud but I really have to push them to the max to get them where I like them. I listen to some powerful metal with heavy bass elements…not bass like in rap but still very low bass and these speakers get very low I am very impressed…after eq’ing over and over again they sound great…but not quite the SQ sound I really want.

    I decided to enjoy them anyway and during Christmas upgrade to all Audiofrogs…I have 2 Audiofrog GB12D4 Subwoofers with a box being made by Mr. Marv and an ArcAudio Amp to push them coming in soon…maybe overkill for those infinity’s but hey I love having headroom and I can always crank the bass knob down to match until I further upgrade.

    I really wish Crutchfield would have known I had the money for much better audio equipment but they insisted I would be equally happy with this far cheaper upgrade.

    I’m done dealing with Crutchfield unless they have sales on future products I will need.

    I really hope you are going to keep enjoying your setup it’s an awesome upgrade still…but I noticed you mentioning some problems with the amp you are using and did not mention having a decent head unit (although you could probably just slap that KTA-450 right to the one you are using and be happy). We all have different ears though. The feeling driving with an upgraded decent sounding audio setup is a beautiful experience. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
    Philrab [OP] likes this.
  11. Jul 4, 2021 at 11:46 AM
    #11
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
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    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    I’m making a conscious choice to keep the factory head unit. I was originally considering a much more involved install (I’ve done more than this in the past) but opted to go simpler for the sake of budget and storage space in the truck. When we take the truck camping we get pretty loaded down, and I can’t afford to lose all of the storage behind the seats to subs and under the seats to amps and a processor.

    Crutchfield isn’t bad, but they deal mostly with consumers of a certain price point and knowledge level. If your budget and tastes exceed that, you’re better off piecing together your own system or taking it to a higher end shop.

    I couldn’t tell you why the speakers are discontinued, I’ve always like Infinity Reference series speakers even though the tweeters tend to be a little bright.

    The Kicker Key’s built in DSP did a good job of leveling everything out. If I’d gone another way, I would’ve dropped a big boy processor in and pulled my old JL 4 channel amp out of the closet, but then it’s more equipment to find space for, more money, more invasive install. For what it is, I’m not unhappy with what’s in the truck so far.
     
  12. Jul 4, 2021 at 12:09 PM
    #12
    ShadowX011

    ShadowX011 Well-Known Member

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    The main reason I mentioned the Alpine ilx-W650 with the Alpine KTA-450 amp is because they are priced very decent and both very small units. The amp attaches to the back of the head unit as it is only a single din and goes behind the dash and both sound lovely with those Infinity Reference speakers. Perfect for saving space as well.

    https://www.crutchfield.com/p_700650450/Alpine-iLX-W650-and-4-channel-Amp-Package.html




    …but if you are happy with everything then that is awesome. :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  13. Jul 12, 2021 at 8:16 PM
    #13
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
  14. Jul 14, 2021 at 3:44 PM
    #14
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2019
    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    Finally done.
    Mr Marv box, stained, four coats of spar urethane, loaded with a Sundown SD4 8” wired to 1 ohm.
    Kicker bass knob in the center console. Thought I’d need it to dial the bass down for my daughter, but I doubt I’ll mess with it much.
    This is everything under the driver seat, wired up. With the seat in place, it’s all tucked away.

    For now, this is probably done. If anyone has questions I’m all ears. The 500.1 needs a bit of tuning, the SD4 some time to break in, but my initial thought is I’ll like this.

    It isn’t as loud or boomy as my last system (Sundown SA 12 in a ported box, tuned to 32 hz) but this is smooth and rich. It’s the kind of bass that really comes into its own playing orchestra or live music.
     
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  15. Jul 24, 2021 at 9:16 PM
    #15
    soundman98

    soundman98 Well-Known Member

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    '18 Taco Sport, '14 BRZ
    don't see too many stained/urethaned sub boxes in vehicle audio!
     
    Philrab [OP] likes this.
  16. Jul 25, 2021 at 8:21 AM
    #16
    Philrab

    Philrab [OP] Curator of useless knowledge

    Joined:
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    Member:
    #289392
    Messages:
    814
    Gender:
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    First Name:
    Phil
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Vehicle:
    2015 Pyrite Mica Quad Cab Prerunner
    Bunch of Basic Taco mods.
    It looks pretty. Don’t know how well it would hold up to something rubbing on it a bunch, but behind the seat it’s pretty safe.
     

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