We recently had the opportunity of upgrading the radio and factory speakers in a brand new 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The owner loves Jeeps and has brought one to us in the past. He quickly came to us after purchasing this new one because of the very poor quality sound from the audio design in the new Jeeps. I will include pictures and description of all that we did and most likely will update as the install or other customers come in with different elements.
The customer’s number one complaint was the sound quality. He specifically stated it sounded terribly, far worse than his 2013. He also stated he had been studying the Jeep forums with many similar complaints and informed me it had been reported the space in the sound bar was said to be shallow and there were tweeters as well in the sound bar which was a new feature. I quickly realized I had no idea what to charge for labor because I didn’t know what we were getting into since this would be our first speaker replacement in that year vehicle. So far, we had only added subwoofers to the factory audio system.
I advised the customer I would not charge anything extra for the labor as long as he was not in a hurry and we would have the full day in case that’s what it took. This ended up being a pretty normal install for one that required building templates. We’ll show you below.
The customer saw we sold Apple Car Play radios and decided he wanted the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX upgrade as well and wanted to add in a back up camera.
The Speaker Replacement – Since the customer heard the sound bar speakers were shallow we let him hear the Audison APK165 6.5” components. He actually preferred them over our JL Audio speakers which have always been most popular. I knew the Audisons, which are Italian and therefore are made to fit shallow European speaker spaces, would fit. They are our go to for BMW and Mercedes with odd space issues. Fortunately, they are really great sounding speakers too.
We rolled around the idea of adding subwoofer, amps, etc., but neither of us were convinced he would need either of those since he was satisfied with the audio from his 2013 Jeep. Our store does a lot of audio upgrades in Jeep Unlimiteds and 9 times out of 10 include a full audio upgrade with subwoofer and amplifier and sometimes a new radio but he was hesitant. I advised him to change the radio and speakers, he might love it but if not he can always come back for a subwoofer. Just so you know, he contacted us a day or two later and loves the speakers but after riding around topless decided a subwoofer was called for.
In the removal of the factory speakers we found what is typical. We think Jeep had good intentions but as is often with factory designs there was simply poor design. First, the front “tweeters” which are 3.5” are in the dash, facing straight up. They are not capable of bouncing off the windshield which is perfectly straight and vertical. There is no way the imaging can be redirected toward the driver. The sound bar also has the same 6.5” mid drivers and 3.5” “tweeters”. You’ll see in our picture, the magnet on the 3.5” speaker is almost as big as the mid drivers. That should tell you something about how week the mid drivers are. There is no pretty, or fancy or design strength in these speakers. They are typical and they are in an atypical designed vehicle. Personally, why would you ever put tweeters above your head? Do you have tweeters right above your head at home? I didn’t think so. It’s just not the greatest of ideas, usually. They just aren’t necessary. We really don’t like them in rear doors either so when a BMW with rear door tweeters comes in, we save the customer money and advise them to not replace them.
This customer wanted to keep the tweeters as long as it didn’t take away from the front imaging. Honestly, in this vehicle it didn’t because the front tweeters are facing straight up. It they were the old tombstone style tweeter it would have probably caused audio canceling of the tweeters or it would have sounded far too bright, but not in the oddly designed audio system in the new Jeep. We decided to leave them because we didn’t know if he would come back and want to amplify them and we figured it would be best then to replace them with new tweeters.
We have included pictures of the factory speakers still in their factory location and the new speakers with the template built for the front tweeters and in the sound bar. Although our 1” tweeters are far smaller I can assure you they sound far bigger.
Radio Upgrade – The customer loved the idea of adding Apple Car Play to his Jeep. He chose the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX pictured here. With his phone plugged in Apple Car Play appears on the screen and you get the full Apple experience with typical apps that benefit the driver such as PHONE, MESSAGES, MUSIC, SPOTIFY, PANDORA, MAPS, PODCASTS and others. The list of apps you can use will grow with time. We really LOVE this radio. The Apple Car Play feature regardless of radio brand makes for an awesome audio and practical experience and therefore makes updating the radio worthwhile.
We also installed a back up camera that is specific to the Jeep’s factory spare tire on the back. We have used this same camera mount for after market rims and not had a problem fitting to anything so far. This is a far better choice than drilling a hole through the bumper which completely ruins a drill bit or two and makes the camera more vulnerable to damage. In this tire location the camera is more protected and also at a better angle since it’s the tire that makes the rear view difficult to see in the first place.
All in all, the customer agreed that a subwoofer is really needed to make this upgrade complete. However, replacing just the speakers might be enough for you.