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Discussion Starter #1
I'm buying my fist FJ Cruiser and have been studying up on replacing the stereo system. I'm looking for something reasonable, not out of control, just a nice bump up from stock. I'd love the forum's advice on my choices so far:

Head Unit:
Pioneer AVIC 5201NEX head unit
Alpine KTP-445u power pack

Speakers:
JBL GTO939 6x9 door speakers - I've read these have high sensitivity at 93db which should help considering I'm using the power pack and not an amp?

Sub:
Pioneer TS-SWX2502 10 inch Shallow-Mount Pre-Loaded Enclosure (do you recommend something else?
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier (if I use the above sub)
Opinions about powered sub's? I don't need crazy bass just a little something so music doesn't sound flat.
Opinion on space saver shallow subs?

Dash speakers/tweeters:
I'm stuck here. Do people generally run 3.5" dash speakers and small tweeters as well? Only 3.5" speakers?
I'd like a good quality 3.5" as I hate poor sounding tweeters.
How do people incorporate the 3.5" dash speakers when running a power pack?
Do 3.5" speakers connect to the head unit speaker output wires?
Maybe the rear outputs of the power pack?

I was thinking of skipping the rear speakers. It's only me in the truck 95% of the time, and will probably never be rear seat passengers. Is this a mistake?

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 

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I have 6x9s in the doors and 0.75" soft dome tweeters in the dash and I don't miss having rear speakers. With the right speakers you might not even need a subwoofer, I don't feel the need with my system (JL Audio C2 speakers). You can add it later if needed, but I'd rather have the room in the cargo area.
 

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Here's the system I just installed and there is no need for a sub. The system sound awesome and is plenty loud for my head banging old a$$. I took a lot of advice from @ZoSoIV, this dude knows his $h!t.
 

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@gearwrench
Thanks for the info. I want to upgrade my head unit, but want to keep satellite radio and Bluetooth & backup camera functions. Is this head unit plug and play with the factory steering controls and backup camera? And does it come with a Sirius / XM receiver?


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I used these harnesses to make the head unit plug and play and to retain the steering wheel controls. I don't have a backup cam but I believe it works with this head unit. They also have the ability to have satellite radio installed. There are other options too I think that give more ability to upgrade the stereo in your rig. Give Crutchfield a call they are fantastic to deal with and will get you set in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gearwrench I'm going to go with the setup you have, as recommended by ZoSoIV. I have come across many of his posts here while researching this topic and he has been beyond helpful and is extremely knowledgeable. I can always add a sub later if I feel the need but your setup is a fantastic starting point.

You didn't feel the need to install 3 1/2" speakers in the factory dash speaker locations? Is that where you installed the 1" tweeters?

Thanks everyone for the advice!
 

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Yes 1" tweeters in dash. Once you hear the 6 x 9 Kickers in the doors I think you'll forget about a sub. The tech from Crutchfield told me their output is on a sub level.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
BTW Gearwrench how did you connect your speakers to the Alpine power pack? Particularly, how did you hook up the tweeters?

Where did you mount the power pack?

Thanks again!
 

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I ran new wires for the speakers. Now the amp I mounted to the back of the head unit but as we speak I'm changing that. I wasn't happy with the neatness of everything being behind the radio so I'm mounting it under the seat or possibly under the console if there's room for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I ran new wires for the speakers. Now the amp I mounted to the back of the head unit but as we speak I'm changing that. I wasn't happy with the neatness of everything being behind the radio so I'm mounting it under the seat or possibly under the console if there's room for it.
Are the tweeters and the woofers in the doors all run off the power pack or, are the tweeters run off the speaker output wires from the head unit?

Thanks for your help so far!
 

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@gearwrench Thanks again for the info & links. I was able to take your setup as a starting point and put together a replacement package for my 2014. I went with the same tweeters, door speakers, and amp. And called Crutchfield for help selecting a head unit and adding a couple features (Sirius tuner, front camera). The goods will be here this week!
 

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I have the 9 speaker system in my 2008 and I'm getting ready to replace it, somewhat. Getting a head unit and the power pack for sure, but here's my question(s). With the power pack are you running the tweeters off one channel and the two way off the other? If I want to retain the rear speakers for fill, what do you suggest for the D pillars? And how would I power them, guessing off the head until since they would be fill. And, can I retain the stock sub.
Thx
 

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Discussion Starter #14
With the power pack are you running the tweeters off one channel and the two way off the other?
Thx
Same question here. I'm not sure exactly how people are running the tweeters in the dash and the speakers in the door off their power pack.
 

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The Alpine power pak is a 4 channel amp, I have the tweeters on the front channel and the doors are the rear. @lms the question you asked is above my pay grade so I can't help. I'm telling you guys the folks at Crutchfield are super helpful and have the answers you're looking for and they're more than happy to help put a system together for you.
 

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@vtvette you mentioned you were going to be buying a new FJ, so I’m guessing you haven’t settled on one just yet? The reason I ask is because if the one you settle on has one of the base audio systems, then just about anything is an improvement. If you end up buying one that has the JBL system in it however, you’re going to want to more carefully choose your stereo components. As the JBL system is relatively good for a stock system. For now though I’m guessing you’re in the early ideas stage. Other than what you’re seeing here, pop into your local car audio store and listen to and demo different products with music you enjoy. Also pick the brains of online vendors like Crutchfield on particular products you’re looking at. As well as fellow forum members.
@rparker017 in addition to the above mentioned, looks like you got your questions on the radio answered already by crutchfield. As for the separate tweeter hook up. This is actually why I personally don’t recommend adding tweeters to full range speakers. Not only can it throw off the staging, but it can also complicate an otherwise easy installation. I don’t mean or want to downgrade anyone’s setup, so please don’t take it that way. It’s simply that there are easier, more cost effective ways to accomplish good sound quality. As for hooking up tweeters to full range speakers, if we did it they would typically be wired in parallel with the front speakers. As long as the amplifier could effectively handle the impedance. There are variables on this, but that’s the typical install. The factory head unit couldn’t be wired this way, but an amp could be. Surprisingly to me even the Alpine power pack will support it, as I wasn’t aware it would hold a 2ohm load. As for hooking the tweeters to the head unit and the other speakers to the amp. You wouldn’t want to do that, as the head unit power will distort long before the amplified speakers. Best to keep everything amplified. As for tweeters on the front channel and front full range door speakers on the rear channel. The issue here is when a song wants to fade front to rear for effect. Music that was recorded as full range to the front and full range to the back is now limited to mid/high range to the front dash and full range to the back, now goes to the front doors. This is why I always recommend components or only coaxial speakers preferably with amiable tweeters to the front doors. As it simplifies wiring, installation and typically cost when compared to tweeters with full range speakers. As for rear speakers I agree, I also like to have my rear speakers for fill and effect. But it’s not a deal breaker in the FJ for most.

I’ve included a few inexpensive/efficient components to compare to the coaxial option. Remember, if you were buying both coaxial speakers and tweeters to go with them you would have to add the cost of the tweeters as well to get an honest comparison. (For some reason the stats of the Kicker components wouldn’t load, but if you click into them they’re there.)

Component Speakers Comparison

This next set has two component sets designed for Toyota vehicles.

Kenwood Excelon KFC-XP6903C vs Focal IS 690TOY

To be clear, I’m not saying choose these speakers. While they’re all great brands and have good reviews, I’ve not personally heard all of them, so I can’t tell you one’s better than the other. I always advise people to pop into your local car audio shop and have a listen if possible. Truth told you may find you want something higher end, or even more budget friendly.
@lms If you’re asking can you add the alpine power pack to your existing factory amp and factory speakers. The short answer is really no unfortunately. You would instead need to either integrate your new head unit into the factory amp and factory speakers with an adapter or bypass it all and replace the speakers & amp with new as well, including the sub. The main issue you’ll run into trying to mix and match the factory amp or speakers with aftermarket is either impedance or crossover. As I believe the factory speakers are crossed over in the factory amp, and the impedance of the speakers seems to be all over. As some people said their speakers were 4ohm others 2ohm or 8ohm. So it’s basically just integrate or bypass. I may have been mistaken on what you were asking though.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hi Green Alien, thanks for your advice and information!

I bought a 2007 Voodoo Blue 6 speed with the base stereo. I have not taken delivery yet but the deal is done and signed. I have stereo's in my other vehicles, a 1990 300ZX twinturbo with a Pioneer head unit, Arc Audio amp, Hybrid Audio speakers and a JL sub. I also have a 1995 GMC Yukon GT with a Pioneer head unit, AudioControl amp and Morel speakers. I'm refinishing the inerior of the Yukon so, the sub is TBD at this point.

I live in Las Vegas but, work in Vermont. The FJ I just purchased is my Vermont vehicle. I don't want to spend a fortune on the stereo but, I do want decent sound and a quality head unit. I'll likely go with a Pioneer AVIC5201NEX for the FJ. Gearwrench's setup sounds about perfect. I may go with a mono amp and small sub but, will try his setup as-is as a first stage.

Thanks everyone for your help!
 

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My advice is to skip the 6x9's and get a 6.5in component set. Put the 6.5in speakers in the doors and the tweeters in the dash. If you get the component set from Crutchfield, they will include the 6x9-6.5in adapters for free. I am a bass head so I recommend running the sub and that Rockford amp. That Prime 500 is a great amp for the money.
 

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One last question, and yes I have read tons on this subject. It's just such a weird setup that they put in the fj with those goofy exciter speakers, running in parallel, etc. I will be getting a new HU, it will be an alpine so I can easily add the power pack. I'm not looking for a great system here, just want it to sound better. My initial setup was going to be components, but then I kept reading so many posts that it gets confusing. So I'm back to components, it's what I have in my other cars, but my question is if the power pack will have enough juice to run them? I'm not going to spend the money on the ones listed above, will find some that have a higher sensitivity rating as well. I'm going to disconnect the exciters, add some 3.5's I have laying around for the D pillars with BB. Looks like the alpine HU's that Crutch sells can incorporate the sub. I listen to rock, so I'm not going to upgrade the sub.
Thanks.
 

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@vtvette no worries, and congrats on the voodoo blue it’s a great color. And if you don’t mind the money, I’d personally stick with JL audio for the yet tbd sub in your Yukon. As I’m sure you know they make great subwoofers

@Irving Zisman I completely agree my personal preference as well would be a conventional round 6 1/2 or similar size over a 6x9 component set. I simply included the 6x9 component options because they have similar mid bass to the other 6x9’s mentioned. And definitely a little mono amp like that with an aftermarket sub will keep cost down while providing a better sound.

@lms sounds like you’re on a good track, and yes those exciters are odd for sure. As for components on the power pack. Yes, they will work and sound better than running off the new head unit just like any other speaker. Would they sound better off an actual external amp, yes you’d get a fuller sound for sure. The power pack is a nice upgrade for those looking for a little better performance than what an aftermarket radio provides. But don’t want or have the space to install an external amp. In addition to not wanting the extra cost. Think of the power pack like a factory amp, it puts out better power over stock. If you wanted, I’m sure a local audio shop would be able to demo the difference between all three options for you if they have it set up on their board. Head unit power vs power pack vs external amp on the same speakers. But in general their just three steps of improvement. And it sounds like the power pack will do what you’re wanting it too. Keep cost down but be better than stock or what comes off an aftermarket radio. You could always consider a 5ch amp as well if you wanted. But as mentioned cost will naturally go up. Beyond that, one thing I’m puzzled by. Is how crutchfield is going to integrate the factory sub in with the power pack & alpine radio. You’ll have to let me know their trick on that one, because I’m not sure how’d you’d easily or cost effectively do that. To my knowledge it’s either integrate into the entire factory amp & speakers or bypass it all. I wasn’t aware the sub could be easily split out.
 
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