5.25" subwoofers in lower dash - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 24 Old 09-09-2015, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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5.25" subwoofers in lower dash

I finally finished my little experiment of installing some Tang Band 5.25" subwoofers in the lower dash enclosures. This applies to 2015 and up Wranglers only as they can accept 3.5" co-ax speakers in the upper dash locations to cover the remainder of the audio spectrum up front.

One thing I've always enjoyed with both car and home audio is to see just how much I can 'get away with'. It's easy to get good bass in any vehicle by simply tossing a pair of quality 10" subs into a decent enclosure and feeding them a lot of power. I find it more fun to try and get good sound out of unconventional designs and to do it as inexpensively as possible. I used to compete in and win autosound comps way back in the late 80's early 90's in the lowest amp class possible (I think it might have been under 90 watts but it could have been under 100...it's been a LONG time).

My requirements for this project were pretty simple. Everything had to look bone stock and I wasn't going to mount anything on the floorboards...it's a jeep and subject to water/mud/etc. Once I realized I could mount 3.5" co-axials in the upper dash and we have sealed speaker pods in the lower dash, I knew I was going to try to find some subs to fit. Enter the Tang Band W5-1138SMF 5.25" sub. I probably could have fit the 6.5" TB W6-1139SI because it's neodymium magnet would have allowed it to fit, but $40/speaker is a lot easier to swallow than $90/speaker :-).

I used the stock 6.5" speakers as a template to make MDF mounting rings. I knew from test fitting the TB's a couple of weeks ago that I would have to offset the speaker to get them to fit. I used #8x1/4" tee-nuts to mount the TB's to the rings and the stock screws to mount the rings to the enclosures. There is foam weatherstripping btw each for a good seal. I also cut the molex connectors off the stock speakers so I could reuse them to make things more plug and play. The enclosures were peel-n-sealed (poor man's dynamat) and stuffed with dacron.

Since I am sticking with the stock 130 HU I new I would have to use a LOC. Yes, I could have used a high quality DSP unit; but, the goal was to do this as inexpensively as possible. I chose the Scosche LOC90 because it has both a remote turn on to feed to the amp along with a remote bass control. The remote bass control is paramount as the bass in Wranglers is dramatically different when open air as opposed to when buttoned up. The last thing you want to have to do is monkey with your Amp's gain every time you take on/off the top. Anyway, the LOC 90 is only $20 at Walmart and is working as it should; turning my amp on/off whenever it senses a signal to its inputs. It is simply velcro'ed to the top of the amp (not the best idea for the amp's heat dissipation but I'm willing to risk it).

Now the amp. I knew that I wanted it as hidden as possible and NOT on the floorboards. Investigation of possible spots led me to the kick panel area on the driver's side. There is a very small space btw/behind an aluminum bracket that I figured I would be able to mount a tiny amp. I figured I would start with something dirt cheap as this was kind of a proof of concept experiment. So I found the SSL SMCM 200 amp. It's a piece of crap I'm sure but for $30 it meets the requirements: small enough to fit, could handle 2 ohms, and had a low pass xover. It claims to put out 100 watts rms into 2ohms and the TB's are rated at 40watts rms each so it should suffice. When it bites the dust I'll replace with the NVX MVPA1.

So, how does everything sound; pretty freaking great. When installing, I did the passenger side first and listened a bit with just a single sub. It was at that point that I knew this was going to work. With just a single TB sub playing it was obvious a true sub was now in the mix. Mind you this is with my Jeep wide open but in a garage. After installing the driver side I was pretty blown away my just how much bass I could get out of the TB's. I'm still playing around with the xover setting but it generally takes me a week or two to settle on what sounds best.

TB sub vs stock 6.5":
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TB sub mounted in passenger side enclosure:
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4 wire carrying signal to LOC and then back to speaker:
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Amp/LOC mounted in driver's side kick panel area...I need to clean up that wire mess :-) :
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Remote bass control mounted under steering wheel:
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Last edited by Webwarmiller; 09-10-2015 at 05:01 PM.
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post #2 of 24 Old 09-09-2015, 10:51 AM
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looks interesting .... need to go home and look at pictures on my 60"
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post #3 of 24 Old 09-09-2015, 10:30 PM
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I like this idea. Ild love to do a custom box in the back but my fab skills are lacking and this looks far easier.


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post #4 of 24 Old 09-10-2015, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misiek View Post
looks interesting .... need to go home and look at pictures on my 60"
Sorry about the huge pics. Most forums auto resize pics and I didn't realize this one doesn't.
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post #5 of 24 Old 09-10-2015, 11:03 AM
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Sorry about the huge pics. Most forums auto resize pics and I didn't realize this one doesn't.
Fix them please.

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post #6 of 24 Old 09-10-2015, 01:10 PM
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Yeah, I lost interest in the picture after scrolling 3 feet.

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post #7 of 24 Old 09-10-2015, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Fix them please.
fixed
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post #8 of 24 Old 09-10-2015, 07:13 PM
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Now they're too small, can't see the finer details...
















Waiting to hear opinion on sound, like the idea.

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post #9 of 24 Old 09-11-2015, 12:16 PM
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can you post pics more zoomed out like the finished product and how it looks where it sits thanks
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post #10 of 24 Old 09-11-2015, 12:40 PM Thread Starter
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can you post pics more zoomed out like the finished product and how it looks where it sits thanks
How it looks where it sits is pretty much 100% stock as the subs are mounted in the factory dash pods. The Amp is tucked way up into the kick panel area so you only see it if your head is down near the pedals. The JL Audio TR305-CXi's in the upper dash are also under the factory grills. Same with the Alpine SPS-610c components in the soundbar. The only thing you can see is the little bass control knob under the steering wheel but that's only if you are looking for it. If you were to get in my Jeep you would think I just had the most basic of factory audio systems...until I turned it on.

I should note that the trim rings for the subs are painted black. I installed the passenger side first with it just raw MDF and you could definitely see it. I then realized I had to paint them....including the screws to mount the woofers. I chose to show the picture with them raw and screws unpainted as it makes it easier to see what is what.
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post #11 of 24 Old 11-17-2015, 02:42 PM
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Nice setup. What did it take to get to all the speakers in the dash?

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post #12 of 24 Old 11-17-2015, 08:22 PM
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Nice work, thanks for sharing!
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post #13 of 24 Old 11-18-2015, 08:42 AM
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Have a picture of the upper dash speaker area?

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post #14 of 24 Old 11-18-2015, 10:40 AM
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Looks good! We're hoping to get a 2016 in soon and I may look into doing this in it. Ours will have the Alpine system with the factory sub in the back, but if I can do something like this up front it might let me reclaim that storage cubby in the floor from the factory sub.

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post #15 of 24 Old 11-18-2015, 12:20 PM
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I stumbled upon this thread just in time -- the wife has been asking what speakers I wanted for the Jeep for Christmas...

Any pics of the upper dash? I'm curious as to how you mounted the 3-1/2" coaxials.

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post #16 of 24 Old 11-18-2015, 09:26 PM
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i'm assuming the 3.5 speakers only fit in the dash of 2011 and newer JKs?

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post #17 of 24 Old 02-25-2016, 07:21 AM
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Thanks a ton Webwarmiller for coming up with this and writing it up! I just installed a similar setup in my 2015 JKU with the "base" audio system. I used the same speakers and LOC but a different amp (wanted stereo). This may be important to use a stereo amp for the base system.

For those who might be interested in doing this with a base system:

The base audio system has 2.5" 8-ohm full-range drivers in the top of the dash, but they fit in a space made for a 3.5". They have an integrated 2.2uF capacitor that makes basically a high-pass filter at about 8kHz (!). If you want it to work like the Alpine system and keep the amp in low-pass mode like 120Hz, you will need to replace the capacitor with something more like a 68uF cap, but the stock 2.5" speakers don't sound very good like that. They don't seem to make much sound below about 1kHz. However, if you leave the amp full-range and just let the TB subs fly, then a 16uF cap crosses over at about 1.2KkHz and this actually sounds pretty good with some tweaking of the treble/middle/bass in the head unit. I wound up with like bass -4, middle +2, treble -3.

If you want to use the low-pass in the amp with a non-Alpine system then you probably need to plan on also replacing the top of dash speakers. Assuming you use a 4-ohm speaker and a 120Hz low-pass in the amp then you will want about a 150uF or 220uF cap in series with the new speaker to get it to play right. You can put 3.5" full-range speakers of some kind. I personally am no fan of the overly-hyped top end sound along with uncontrolled boomy bottom end so common in "aftermarket" car stereos so I personally would not go this way since it may be difficult to find just the right 3.5" speaker. But for everyone else who likes that aftermarket stereo sound, 2-way 3.5" speakers are abundant and this should work fine.

For me, I'm sticking with the stock 2.5" speakers and a 16uF cap for now. I'll see how it sounds over time.

I also dispensed with the remote amp level control that came with the LOC. I might add it back, who knows, but it doesn't make as much sense without the low-pass on the amp.

BTW, 3.5" speakers will only fit the dash of 2015 and later JKs AFAIK. I presume the 2016s are the same.

Last edited by mr72; 02-25-2016 at 09:52 AM.
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post #18 of 24 Old 02-25-2016, 08:05 AM
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I have 3 of the tang band 6.5s in the garage and was just thinking about this. Looks like my next project is a go.

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post #19 of 24 Old 02-25-2016, 09:18 AM
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That's an awfully small enclosure. The 5.25s seem to work pretty well in it, dunno if the 6.5s would be as good of a match. Magnets probably won't clear. Worth a try, though!
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post #20 of 24 Old 02-27-2016, 09:48 AM
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FWIW after a lot of experimenting and swapping parts, it turns out a 47uF non-polarized capacitor is the right value for the 2.5" stock dash speakers and then run the amp in low-pass mode (sub only). Still feels like there's a gap in frequency response this way when listening to the front speakers alone but blending in just a little of the sound bar speakers fills it in nicely. I have the bass at 0 or -1, mid at about -1 and treble at about -4. I think I could get more mid/low-mid out of the dash speakers if I were to whip up some kind of sub-enclosure for them... they seem to just not have any bottom end below about 400 Hz possible when running in open baffle.

I made a bracket to mount the amp under the passenger seat using a piece of 1"x1"x1/8" aluminum L-channel and mounted it to the holes that are already there under the seat frame. Other than a couple of extra wire looms peeking out, you can't tell the system is not stock without sticking your head under the passenger seat, or of course, turning it on.

The system is no on par in most ways and better in some ways compared with the system in my wife's Lexus IS250 (which is, frankly, an amazing car stereo), and it blows the doors off of my daughter's Fiat 500 Sport with the Bose system.

Not too bad for about $150 worth of parts.
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post #21 of 24 Old 02-27-2016, 11:55 AM
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Awesome write up. If you are looking for a quality amp that is tiny (palm sized) look at the Mosconi Pico 2. It's not cheap, but like you I didn't want any amps on the floor. It's mounted behind my OEM head unit and pumps power to the OEM sub (Pioneer upgrade). While I won't win any audio competitions it was a very clean way to even out the sound in the jeep.

http://mosconi-system.it/product/gladen-pico-2/
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-03-2016, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bigjimbo View Post
Awesome write up. If you are looking for a quality amp that is tiny (palm sized) look at the Mosconi Pico 2. It's not cheap, but like you I didn't want any amps on the floor. It's mounted behind my OEM head unit and pumps power to the OEM sub (Pioneer upgrade). While I won't win any audio competitions it was a very clean way to even out the sound in the jeep.

http://mosconi-system.it/product/gladen-pico-2/
This sounds a bit like an ad.

Anyway... I got mine dialed in with the $30 amp and $80 worth of speakers and $2 worth of new capacitors and this thing is freakin' brilliant sounding. And again, this is with the base (non-Alpine) dash-top speakers.

Good stuff. Try it. You will like it.
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post #23 of 24 Old 03-03-2016, 05:06 PM
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Nope. Not an ad. I also did the sound mods you speak of and the sub, while cleaner, just wasn't there. That amp helped round it out the sound quite a bit.

Also, I'm in NoVA, not Italy.
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post #24 of 24 Old 03-14-2016, 09:11 AM
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Nope. Not an ad. I also did the sound mods you speak of and the sub, while cleaner, just wasn't there. That amp helped round it out the sound quite a bit.

Also, I'm in NoVA, not Italy.
You mean, you installed just the subs, and no amp, and it didn't sound the greatest. Then you added the amp, right?

Or are you saying that somehow this specific amp you recommend is better than the one I used? I am sure the amp you used is smaller and works fine, but actually one feature of the amp that is pretty important to make this sound right is the LPF. If you want to do basically exactly what I did, then you will either have to use the same amp, and then the capacitor values I used on the upper dash speakers will work well, or you will likely have to tune the upper dash crossover frequency to work with whatever LPF in the amp you have. Either way the stock capacitors on the upper dash speakers (on the base, not the Alpine) will not work. And if you try to use them, and run the amp full range to the subs, then there's noticeable lower-midrange distortion in the subs at meaningful volume levels and there's also a very noticeable midrange frequency gap.
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