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Speaker and audio upgrades for 2023 DC

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016-2023)' started by Catfishmens8, Nov 15, 2022.

  1. Nov 15, 2022 at 9:51 AM
    #1
    Catfishmens8

    Catfishmens8 [OP] New Member

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    Looking to upgrade the sound in my 23 double cab. Everything is stock and it doesn’t have the jbl option. Just looking for some input for making my music sound better and also looking to at some point add a subwoofer to the back. What recommendations would y’all suggest?
     
  2. Nov 15, 2022 at 10:14 AM
    #2
    Rock Lobster

    Rock Lobster Thread Derailer

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    Everyone is going to plant their flag behind the brand they installed. :cookiemonster:

    My suggestion is to go on crutchfield, find a nice mid-tier set that can be powered by a compact amp, and run with it. Don't forget sound dampening - you'll already have the doors and floors exposed, might as well install some mat while you are in there.
     
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  3. Nov 15, 2022 at 10:31 AM
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    099

    099 Well-Known Member

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    If you change the head unit, you may loose some of the functions. I done the Subaru tweeter swap, put KS Kickers all around and wired the front speakers to the rear as the rear have almost no power to them. This keeps the head unit in play. OK for now.
     
    Catfishmens8[OP] likes this.
  4. Nov 15, 2022 at 10:42 AM
    #4
    lacab100

    lacab100 Well-Known Member

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    X2 on the dampening, it goes really far and will make any speaker setup sound better.
    If you plan on keeping the factory HU, the kicker setup is okayish. Now that i replaced the factory HU i wish i would have picked other(better) 6x9s
    IMO, The kicker subaru tweeters are really harsh and peaky. YMMV
     
    stftaco and Catfishmens8[OP] like this.
  5. Nov 15, 2022 at 1:55 PM
    #5
    Jesse H

    Jesse H Well-Known Member

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  6. Nov 15, 2022 at 2:11 PM
    #6
    Smk8609

    Smk8609 Well-Known Member

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    Yup just went through this literally last week and ended up biting the bullet and replacing the head unit - that being said, I also didnt have carplay (2016), so that definitely drove that decision. Replacing the door speakers helps, but to everyone else's point, they tend to come out pretty shiny due to the signal quality and power put out by the stock non jbl head unit.

    Did find that the rockford P300-8P fit nicely behind the seat and sounds pretty solid for the price - was pleasantly surprised.
     
  7. Nov 15, 2022 at 6:42 PM
    #7
    tneynop

    tneynop Well-Known Member

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    Upgrading the audio system is going to mean something different to each individual. Many factors come into play. What you like to listen to. How critical your hearing is. Volume level requirement. Available budget. How much time you spend listening.

    I am what you folks would consider on here to be an older guy and having worked in steel mills for 28 years, my hearing is, let's just say questionable. I installed kickers in all 6 speaker positions and to my ears it sounds really good. Someone considerably younger might require many more modifications to be satisfied.

    I would suggest making a few upgrades and see if you are satisfied. If you aren't, keep going until you are! Good luck!
     
  8. Nov 16, 2022 at 9:51 AM
    #8
    Rock Lobster

    Rock Lobster Thread Derailer

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    I'll tell y'all what I did.

    Kicker CS all four doors, Kicker (subaru) tweeters, 200.4 key amp, 10" underseat powered sub.

    I'm right in the middle of the reviews. Some people are perfectly happy with an all kicker setup, other people will say that kicker speakers are trash (This combo tends to produce too much treble at an almost skull-piercing hum). I personally see where both people are coming from. Are the kickers great? No. The amp and the tweeters are great, but if I didn't buy the doors as part of a package from another member, I'd have gone with something different. Are they good 'nuff? Yes. With a little bit of tuning they still sound miles better than stock. And for a rattly, noisy, leaky pickup truck, they are about the most I want to invest into a car audio system. I rolled a little bit of soundmat to mitigate some of the truck's terrible acoustics, but I also didn't obsessively layer and dampen every inch of the cab. And from experience, a person that installs high-end audio will be forever chasing and isolating noises that distract from its performance. I didn't want to go there. So the good-'nuff system is good-'nuff for me.

    It gets loud when I'm riding home Friday afternoon, it's clear-ish on a quiet Monday morning. They aren't "hear whispering in the back of the studio" clear, but they certainly are "hear fingers repositioning between guitar chords" clear. Which again, is miles better than stock. And with the key's equalizer plus a little bit of HU fiddling to dial down the treble a notch, it sounds pretty good. I'm happy with it.


    :cookiemonster:
     
  9. Dec 9, 2022 at 1:52 PM
    #9
    kfallsfunk

    kfallsfunk Member

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  10. Dec 9, 2022 at 2:48 PM
    #10
    Rock Lobster

    Rock Lobster Thread Derailer

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    I gotcha covered, pardner.

    Sub: Cerwin Vega 10". Actually mounted under the driver's. I poured through as many reviews as possible, and for a not-so-hot brand it got surprisingly good reviews. And the experts were right. No underseat will be great, you just can't cheat physics, but this one really is surprisingly good. It can punch out a wide range of tones and has decent response and volume. It can put out a solid low tone or it can rapid fire a drum solo, and it can even almost thump. It tries hard. I'm surprised. For someone who wants a full balanced soundstage and not a booty blaster, it's a great choice.

    Amp: key 200.4, mounted directly behind the climate controls, deep within the dash. Another cheap component that the reviewers love, and I agree. It's a fantastic little piece of kit. The dsp calibration using the included mic and "pink noise" file, fantastic feature. It really is the star of the system.

    Picture showing amp and sub: forgive the dog hair, I was vacuuming as I installed.

    PXL_20220805_203328721.jpg


    Cool thing about that location, it's real easy to hide the sub control knob in the center console- keep it all discreet. And that's another praise for the key amp- once I got it all dialed in, I really don't have to touch this knob at all. The music is consistently balanced.

    PXL_20221209_221328092.jpg


    Wiring harness: ho-made . I used this guide (2016-2019 my only):
    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/tpp4s-no-nonsense-guide-to-kicker-key-t-harness-16-19.642415/

    For 2020 on, it's much much easier, you can buy the harness on Amazon for 13 bucks and then cut and connect to the kicker. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09DTY8PMD

    https://www.tacomaworld.com/threads/kicker-key-in-a-2020-with-8-entune.641008/#post-22145143

    I will say that self-soldiering connectors are the way to go. Highly recommend.



    PXL_20220805_012740954.jpg


    Speakers: the CSC series, 6x9 fronts, 6.5 rears. Subaru tweets that I had installed a few years ago.

    These... They are alright. Not bad, not fantastic. Truth be told I'm actually happy with their performance despite acknowledging that they are far from perfect. Mine came in a box of parts that another TW member was trying to unload, and if they hadn't found their way into my garage like that, I honestly would have chosen another set of speakers. Other experts are right - the CS aren't bad speakers, but there are better speakers out there for the same price. Having said that, I'm satisfied enough to live with it, I have no plans on upgrading further. Especially after break in, they aren't nearly as ear piercingly harsh as they were when new. Again, not my first choice, but I'm happy.

    Here's the big bad secret:

    PXL_20220805_150940942.jpg

    ^^^ you are already in the door anyways, so take a few minutes to install sound mat inside and out. That in my opinion makes a bigger impact on sound than the speakers. Huge difference. Yuuuge.


    And one final note: running a separate fuse box for all aftermarket bullshit keeps the wiring clean and easy to troubleshoot. It's a definite recommend if you ever have an inkling to run more than one accessory.

    PXL_20221202_230936238.jpg
     
    Tocamo, rbowe21, Snyds67 and 2 others like this.
  11. Dec 9, 2022 at 5:52 PM
    #11
    Rusty66

    Rusty66 Well-Known Member

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    I have the same Cerwin Vega 10". Great little sub and it has sustained some serious abuse over four years. I blew up two Infinity bass link 10 passive sub's in a little over a years time before I got the CV. I don't think they make them anymore.
     
  12. Dec 11, 2022 at 7:53 AM
    #12
    kfallsfunk

    kfallsfunk Member

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    well looks like the key 200.4 is made of unattainum currently - and the cv woofer is nla!

    and the csc series not really dinging your bell , so guess in concept your build is just the level I am looking for.

    anyone else got drop in speaker suggestions, perhaps higher end than the subie/kicker set ups?
     
  13. Dec 11, 2022 at 8:04 AM
    #13
    maxmk8

    maxmk8 Well-Known Member

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    I don’t understand the kicker hate. They are High quality speakers that are better than most
    OEM offerings short of Bentleys.

    For $100 you can’t go wrong. Love mine. Stock system also provides enough juice to vibrate the entire door panels and even exterior mirrors.

    I don’t see the point of an inline amp.
    However I would probably not touch the rear speakers … they are nearly useless. stock stereo barely sends power back there and they are mounted all the way in the floor.
     
  14. Dec 11, 2022 at 8:21 AM
    #14
    soundman98

    soundman98 Well-Known Member

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    drop-in has consequences. i'm running peerless/aiyima speakers currently, peerless/dayton in the other car. cdt audio has a good following as well as morel and focal, they've got really nice speakers too.

    but none drop in.
     
  15. Dec 11, 2022 at 8:30 AM
    #15
    soundman98

    soundman98 Well-Known Member

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    not even close IMO. they're a low-end/middling option at best. my previous peerless/dayton setup was about the same cost(woofers were $50/ea, tweeters were $20/ea), but had twice the output with none of the characteristic tweeter shrill harshness that's embodied as the kicker signature sound. my current peerless/aiyima setup is those same $50/ea woofers, with some $35/pr ebay tweeters.. yeah, a setup that has amazing highs and lows for $130, not including additional crossover gear, that'd be about $60..

    you go on to specify for $100, which you're right, not much on the market for $100 that's plug-n-play. but there's tons of variance in the $200-500 segment that can easily do better given a little effort.

    agreed on the rear speakers. take them out for weight savings.
     
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  16. Dec 11, 2022 at 8:36 AM
    #16
    kfallsfunk

    kfallsfunk Member

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    probably? as in you did and would not again, or ?



    well, no kicker hate here!- haven't tried them - I think i will start with just what you did, so far I have not riden in the back or had any passengers so, front kicker/subie it is -

    anyone reading that went to the next step and have a set of kicker/subie fronts they want to part with ..reach out , might be in!

    once i decide the extend of mods and wiring inside this rig, then I will go amp, sub, if I even need to, I have to admit I have been enjoying the stock system on my 7 min commute for all 430 miles of my rigs first month!
     
  17. Dec 11, 2022 at 8:52 AM
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    maxmk8

    maxmk8 Well-Known Member

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    No doubt there are better speakers than kicker. 0 disagreement from me. But we also have to keep the “stage” in mind. A loud truck with cheap plastics all over and little/no sound deadening. I added Dynamat behind the speakers just in case. They just fire into an empty metal shell otherwise. kickers just seem like super easy and relatively affordable options available right with everything you need

    I actually went with ds9s for my tweeters but maybe I’m in the minority here, but they were so loud/shrill I ended up having to upgrade the rest of the system.

    I also added a 10” kicker hideaway behind the passenger seat.

    next level up imo is the stealthbox. But that requires and extra amp and $1200. Which is insane Imo.
     
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    soundman98[QUOTED] likes this.
  18. Dec 11, 2022 at 8:55 AM
    #18
    maxmk8

    maxmk8 Well-Known Member

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    Also I didn’t replace the rears. Mainly because I tried to play with the soundstage moved the fader all the way back… and turned it all the way up. There was no point to where they were firing into (passenger footwell) with the updated front tweeters and 6x9 they became inaudible. Not to mentioned i added a sub (see above)
     
  19. Dec 11, 2022 at 10:21 AM
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    MerlinTT

    MerlinTT Member

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    I am kind of Leary of tampering with my 2023 tacoma
    So if you replace the head unit what features do you lose in taking out the stock unit?
    Plastic Truck well from the 1995 Toyota truck we had, my 2023 seems to be 90% plastic inside! well maybe not 90%
    So pumping power into a nice Stereo system to me is great, but the rattles to to come in time!!!!
    For me, I love my new tacoma but have great disappointment in toyota as what they did in the tacoma sound system
    or lack there of. Basically the rear door speakers are dead speakers !! so why put them in?? you can not install maps or navigation
    in the head unit so why put a map button on the unit? The only app toyota will allow me to install on the head unit is Alexa so why an app button?
     
  20. Dec 11, 2022 at 1:03 PM
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    soundman98

    soundman98 Well-Known Member

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    all vehicles are like lego's. add a piece, remove a piece, they all clip/bolt/snap together!

    as far as features lost, it's mostly the integration stuff. you lose the gauge screen integration(radio station, turn-by-turn directions), and some of the settings menu stuff-- like controlling which doors unlock with the key fob, or how long the headlights stay on after turning off the truck. you just set those features to your desired setting before pulling the head unit and the truck keeps those settings.

    otherwise, that's really about it. most aftermarket units support steering wheel controls and back up camera, which is the only other features the oem unit has that need to migrated over.
     
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