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Audio upgrade questions

Av8ing1

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#1
I have a 2019 Dodge Charger Hellcat with the optional Harman Kardon sound system. I have not been happy with the sound but am not looking to spend a ton of cash fixing it. My main issues are the system does not get loud enough and the bass sounds like crap (well really it all does). For now I'm thinking of addressing the bass problem. I don't need massive amounts, just a clean tight solid hit. As I understand it this system has a free air 8" subish thing in the center of the parcel shelf (that rattles a bit when pushed).

I've read Diboblo's excellent post here https://www.hellcatforum.org/threads/how-to-upgrade-the-dual-oem-hk-woofers.4596/ and like this idea but would have to find and purchase the Challenger sub box. Also speakers, amp and such.

I've seen some fit the 10" JL ACS110LG-TW1 https://www.crutchfield.com/S-nnogJSyqg3Q/p_13693334/JL-Audio-ACS110LG-TW1.html in the spare tire area of the trunk with minor modification for fit required. This JL unit is self powered and accepts high level inputs. I would seem to be a simple solution.

My question is, can I use the speaker wires to the factory 8" in the parcel shelf (likely will unplug the factory 8" and not drive it) to drive the JL unit via high level inputs to the powered sub? If so, this is only one channel, how should this be wired to the self powered sub? Can I use just the left channel inputs, or right channel inputs? Should they be split to drive both left and right high level inputs on the sub? Will this idea work with the Harman Kardon system?

Advice, suggestions or ideas? Is this just a stupid plan?
 

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Just goes to show....we all have different expectations ..and needs from these cars...don't think I've turned the radios on more than 5/6 times...but there also not dd cars...
 

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Just goes to show....we all have different expectations ..and needs from these cars...don't think I've turned the radios on more than 5/6 times...but there also not dd cars...
I’m on both sides of this. Love the car and the sounds it makes without the radio but at the same time some nice clean sound with a song that ya love just really adds to it. It’s a win-win.
 
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Thread Starter #4
The sounds of the power plant definitely makes up for a lot of the poor audio performance. However, good performance from both systems would be nice, particularly after paying the almost $2k for the audio upgrade. While I usually don't listen to music on local drives, this car is my daily and I live in SoCal. This means there are a lot of 1-2 hour drives in heavy traffic with no room for having any fun. After a day of work, looking at a long drive home in traffic, that is when some tunes would be nice. As it is, the audio sounds too poor to enjoy so I usually listen to talk radio on XM. It sure would be nice to rock out now and then with out feeling let down by such a disappointing audio system. I keep wondering if something is not working right with the system but can't find anything. No blown speakers, they all work. Played with settings a lot and only have figured out that it can sound even worse. Oh well, I am very happy with the car overall and this isn't causing any regrets regarding its purchase. Id just like to improve things a bit without major expense and tearing the car apart.

In that effort, I'm trying to find information on how this system works. Mainly, does the center shelf woofer speaker wires carry an appropriate signal from the Harman Kardon amp to feed an amp (or powered sub in this case) via high level inputs? Can I get away without using a line converter? My guess is that the humble nature of the factory amp probably isn't feeding all that much power out to the the little woofer and its probably only sending lower frequencies that would be appropriate for feeding a sub woofer. Where as the two other (left and right) speakers on the rear shelf may not be getting full signal or the lower frequencies?
 

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#5
To address a few concerns, here:

No LOC necessary, if tapping off the DRIVER side rear 6x9. The entire passenger side audio signal is reverse biased. Been that way, since 2005. If you tap into the passenger side, you WILL end up with flat bass imaging.

OEM Alpine speakers, including the sub, are 2 ohm. Do not deviate from this.

Yes, you can, and should use the dedicated bass channel wires, if your cat is so equipped (not all Alpine systems came with a rear shelf sub).

A single source signal, for bass, is just fine. Aftermarket wise, you'll be running it into a monoblock amp. Bass is not imaged in stereo, so no need for L&R input, to the amp.

There is an HK dual sub box for sale, on Mordor (the "other" site).

I have provided a download link, in the Tech/Maintenance section, for HC Charger. It includes thorough audio package wiring diagrams.

I'm happy to walk anyone through the bass upgrade process. I am VERY familiar with modifying the audio packages, in this platform.

If you want to go full pro swap, with amps and new speakers, there are very good threads, here and on Mordor.

For reference, my HK dual sub upgrade totaled right around $500, in parts, and I dont plan on changing it. Very happy with the results.

Let me know how I can help.

Bob
 

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#6
I got the up grade from the factory, HK, and if there was any more bass from the trunk area, would blow the back wind shield out. I am satisfied,,, for the moment.
 
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Thread Starter #7
To address a few concerns, here:

No LOC necessary, if tapping off the DRIVER side rear 6x9. The entire passenger side audio signal is reverse biased. Been that way, since 2005. If you tap into the passenger side, you WILL end up with flat bass imaging.

OEM Alpine speakers, including the sub, are 2 ohm. Do not deviate from this.

Yes, you can, and should use the dedicated bass channel wires, if your cat is so equipped (not all Alpine systems came with a rear shelf sub).

A single source signal, for bass, is just fine. Aftermarket wise, you'll be running it into a monoblock amp. Bass is not imaged in stereo, so no need for L&R input, to the amp.

There is an HK dual sub box for sale, on Mordor (the "other" site).

I have provided a download link, in the Tech/Maintenance section, for HC Charger. It includes thorough audio package wiring diagrams.

I'm happy to walk anyone through the bass upgrade process. I am VERY familiar with modifying the audio packages, in this platform.

If you want to go full pro swap, with amps and new speakers, there are very good threads, here and on Mordor.

For reference, my HK dual sub upgrade totaled right around $500, in parts, and I dont plan on changing it. Very happy with the results.

Let me know how I can help.

Bob
Thanks for your input, much appreciated!

I'm getting close to just getting the JL ACS110LG-TW1 and trying it out. My main concern at this point is where to tap the source. Is the HK the same as the Alpine (full signal correctly biased drivers side rear)? Does the HK factory amp use crossovers and send different frequency signals to different speakers? If so would it be better to grab signal from the center mounted woofer or the drivers side rear speaker?

Yet another question, does the HK roll off bass bad enough that an LC2i would be worth adding...

I can't find much detailed info on how the HK system works, kinda frustrating. I guess I can just try and see what happens starting with just the self powered sub then adding LC2i if needed. Then getting pissed off and going full bore, the right way. Just don't want to get crazy yet or spend much.

I'll look for the other site for the Challenger box.

Again thanks for the input.
 
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#8
Thanks for your input, much appreciated!

I'm getting close to just getting the JL ACS110LG-TW1 and trying it out. My main concern at this point is where to tap the source. Is the HK the same as the Alpine (full signal correctly biased drivers side rear)? Does the HK factory amp use crossovers and send different frequency signals to different speakers? If so would it be better to grab signal from the center mounted woofer or the drivers side rear speaker?

Yet another question, does the HK roll off bass bad enough that an LC2i would be worth adding...

I can't find much detailed info on how the HK system works, kinda frustrating. I guess I can just try and see what happens starting with just the self powered sub then adding LC2i if needed. Then getting pissed off and going full bore, the right way. Just don't want to get crazy yet or spend much.

I'll look for the other site for the Challenger box.

Again thanks for the input.
Good thread, I'm in a similar situation. Originally was going with this: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_109BASPROB/JBL-BassPro-Hub.html
However, found a nice deal on the HK spare tire sub box and decided to change course. Probably going with this amp https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646CX41T/Kicker-46CXA400-1T.html?tp=35834 or this amp https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646CX81T/Kicker-46CXA800-1T.html (the latter provides more room for growth).

Just not sure about needing the LC2i...I thought it was a definite until I read Diboblo's post. Same as you, I'd like to keep the costs at a minimum.
 

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#9
Always surprises me when someone says the HK system isn't that good. I have the Beats in my Daytona and think it sounds great and the HK should be a step above. I wonder if the sub box in the Charger's placement being different with the 2 systems has something to do with it?
 

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#10
Yeah... like I said... ALL passenger side imaging is reverse biased, whether it was Kicker, Beats, Boston Acoustics, Alpine, or HK. That's just the way Chrysler does it.

That having been said, if you have the base Alpine system, without subwoofer, you should tap off of the driver side rear 6x9, for an audio signal.
If you have a Premium 2 system, with a subwoofer, you should disconnect the subwoofer and tap off of that line, to your new sub amp high side input. If you don't have the OEM rear subwoofer, tap off of the rear driver side 6x9, and treat it as a high side tap, going into your aftermarket amp.

There is a negligible amount of roll-off, above volume level 22. I know there are devices out there, to compensate. In this type of application, I do not think they are necessary. We are not building competition audio, here. The proper way to compensate for this is to play a music selection at volume level 22 and tweak the amp gain and crossover frequencies, at the new amp, until your bass is acceptable throughout the range. It takes some doing, but you can get a very nice playback.

All audio imaging is handled by the cabin amp. That being said, it is compensated for, by also going to the correct speaker. For example, for forward lows, mid-bass (not mid-range) speakers are used, in the front doors. Mid-range speakers are used in the rear doors (if so equipped) and rear parcel shelf. Highs are handled by the tweeters (if so equipped) and by the 3.5" dash speakers. All Alpine speakers, in the car, are 2 ohm. Do not deviate from this, if upgrading the speakers and keeping the OEM cabin amp
.
Great questions, guys.

Let me know how I can help.

Bob
 

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#11
Good thread, I'm in a similar situation. Originally was going with this: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_109BASPROB/JBL-BassPro-Hub.html
However, found a nice deal on the HK spare tire sub box and decided to change course. Probably going with this amp https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646CX41T/Kicker-46CXA400-1T.html?tp=35834 or this amp https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646CX81T/Kicker-46CXA800-1T.html (the latter provides more room for growth).

Just not sure about needing the LC2i...I thought it was a definite until I read Diboblo's post. Same as you, I'd like to keep the costs at a minimum.
I like the Kicker 400.1 amp. Keep in mind that if you are using it with the OEM subwoofers, in the HK box, you will need to rewire the box for an ohm load to pull a 100 watt output from the amp. I posted a how-to, with the re-wire instructions, for the speakers, etc. I think it's in the WIKI.

I upgraded the speakers to a pair of SKAR Audio 10" shallow mount true subwoofers. They are rated at 800 watts peak/500 watts RMS. When upgrading the speakers, you will need to choose a shallow mount subwoofer, as there is a negligible amount of space, inside the box.

Hope this helps,
Bob
 

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I got the up grade from the factory, HK, and if there was any more bass from the trunk area, would blow the back wind shield out. I am satisfied,,, for the moment.
I've heard that, a lot. Unfortunately, HC Chargers, even with the HK system, did not get the dual under trunk subwoofer box :( We got a sucky free air woofer that gets about 75 watts, from the amp.

We are adding and upgrading this box, in the Chargers and trying to find a good balance of power and performance. Fortunately, it drops right into the well, in the trunk. All we need to do is add an amp, to power the OEM speakers, or upgrade the speakers and select an appropriate amp to power the lot.

Bob
 
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I like the Kicker 400.1 amp. Keep in mind that if you are using it with the OEM subwoofers, in the HK box, you will need to rewire the box for an ohm load to pull a 100 watt output from the amp. I posted a how-to, with the re-wire instructions, for the speakers, etc. I think it's in the WIKI.

I upgraded the speakers to a pair of SKAR Audio 10" shallow mount true subwoofers. They are rated at 800 watts peak/500 watts RMS. When upgrading the speakers, you will need to choose a shallow mount subwoofer, as there is a negligible amount of space, inside the box.

Hope this helps,
Bob
Thank you for the details, much appreciated! I'll upgrade the subs once the rather wimpy stockers are blown...I'll enjoy them while they last.
 
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Thread Starter #14
Good thread, I'm in a similar situation. Originally was going with this: https://www.crutchfield.com/p_109BASPROB/JBL-BassPro-Hub.html
However, found a nice deal on the HK spare tire sub box and decided to change course. Probably going with this amp https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646CX41T/Kicker-46CXA400-1T.html?tp=35834 or this amp https://www.crutchfield.com/p_20646CX81T/Kicker-46CXA800-1T.html (the latter provides more room for growth).

Just not sure about needing the LC2i...I thought it was a definite until I read Diboblo's post. Same as you, I'd like to keep the costs at a minimum.
I think a line out converter shouldn't be needed if whatever amp you use has high level inputs. The amp should then be doing the same thing as a line out converter. However, if the system rolls off bass too much at high volume levels (OEM method often used to protect crap speakers) something like an LC2i could be used to compensate for this. The device can boost the bass when the head unit is pulling it out.
5:20 mark.
 
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Thread Starter #15
Always surprises me when someone says the HK system isn't that good. I have the Beats in my Daytona and think it sounds great and the HK should be a step above. I wonder if the sub box in the Charger's placement being different with the 2 systems has something to do with it?
Yeah, I'll admit that my hearing is not perfect (years of working around loud aircraft) and its possible that something is not working to speck in my car. Also it seems that the HK system in the Challenger is more likely to please its owners that those that have Chargers probably due to having actual sub woofers. Certainly there is also room for subjectivity. To me, my HK Charger sounds much worse than my prior rides. Its down right unpleasant. My brain hears dirty not right sounds and responds with the desire to stop the racket. This is disappointing as I love music. I'm hoping that working to improve the bass will get me to the point of being okay with the system. I'd be good with okay, doesn't need to be amazing just not horrible, as it is now.
 

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Yeah, I'll admit that my hearing is not perfect (years of working around loud aircraft) and its possible that something is not working to speck in my car. Also it seems that the HK system in the Challenger is more likely to please its owners that those that have Chargers probably due to having actual sub woofers. Certainly there is also room for subjectivity. To me, my HK Charger sounds much worse than my prior rides. Its down right unpleasant. My brain hears dirty not right sounds and responds with the desire to stop the racket. This is disappointing as I love music. I'm hoping that working to improve the bass will get me to the point of being okay with the system. I'd be good with okay, doesn't need to be amazing just not horrible, as it is now.
There is a TSB to re-flash the cabin amp, on the HK system.

I'll see if I can find it. I just ran across it, in my library, last night.

Bob
 
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Thread Starter #17
There is a TSB to re-flash the cabin amp, on the HK system.

I'll see if I can find it. I just ran across it, in my library, last night.

Bob
I've read about this (other forum) I think it was 2016? I'm assuming the newer cars would be complaint with the updated software. Never know though I guess. Would be nice if a software issue was the problem and a re-flash could dramatically improve things.
 

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Have you tried listening on different inputs? I always thought the Hk was just ok, then one night I threw on some old school rap with a lot of bass playing through pandora on my phone. I was really surprised, it sounded damn good. I’ve had plenty of aftermarket sound systems and I was really impressed with the Hk thump being from the factory
 

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The beats audio I had in my charger were a joke imo
 
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I think what one person thinks is good, another doesn't. My old '13 mustang had 4 speakers no amp, really? I ended up replacing the 4 speakers, added 2 amps and sub box. I used one of those LC2i to tap into the rear speaker wires sounded pretty awesome! I even had one of the amps turned way down. The Alpine amps I had were fairly cheap but worked great! One was a 4 channel and the other a one. They were class D amps mrv series I believe. I would be looking at those if I have to upgrade a system again
 

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