Beautiful truck with a sub par stock stereo
This week in the shop we performed a complete stereo upgrade in a client’s 2021 Ford F-150. This client’s truck came equipped with the factory “premium” stereo which features a gorgeous 12″ infotainment screen and Bang & Olufsen stereo system.
Nearly everything about this truck is absolutely stunning. Ford did a phenomenal job with the overall design and functionality. The detailed cabin touches manage to exude luxury and practicality at the same time which is not an easy feat to pull off.
One of my favorite features about the truck is the bed. From the super bright light by the reverse camera, to the built-in phone holder, convenient inlaid ruler and discreet bottle opener – the back of this truck is like a swiss army knife on steroids. Yet, despite all of it’s luxuries, the B&O stereo still leaves much to be desired.
How to upgrade the stereo in your 2021 F-150 without looking like you upgraded the stereo
When our client reached out to us about upgrading the sound, I immediately thought of using a pre-amp adapter – either from PAC Audio, NAV-TV, Maestro or Mobridge. Pre-amp adapters are a growing category of parts that enable us to install complete aftermarket audio systems that are integrated with factory infotainment systems. We can install aftermarket amps, speakers and subs, without sacrificing sound quality through a line output converter.
Most newer vehicles are equipped with the kind of radio that you realy can’t just replace even if you wanted to. But look at that screen, why would you want to change that? The radio is essentially part of the computer network in the vehicle.
Digital Pre-amp adapter
This is how it works – there is a digital signal coming from the factory radio. You plug in your smart phone. It reads the data and sends all that data as one’s and zero’s to the stock amp. At that stock amp is where the sound is actually converted from digital to analog. It’s then fed to the stock speakers.
And that stock amp is unlike any typical aftermarket amplifier. It has numerous channels on it to power each individual speaker. Each channel has a very specific frequency range designated for its corresponding speaker. If you wanted to tack on an amp after it, you’d first have to sum all of the frequencies and then use a DSP to clean up the signal. Even still, you’d be double processing at that point which is far from ideal.
What’s the weak link?
That stock amp is the weak link in the chain. So how do you bypass it? A pre-amp adapter can interrupt that signal from the factory radio while it’s still digital, before it’s been processed by the stock amp. By interrupting it before it’s been processed, it takes that digital signal and converts it into a clean RCA pre-amp output that can then be fed to aftermarket amps and speakers. The end result is an aftermarket stereo that integrates with the OEM operating system and by all appearances retains the stock esthetics. All warning chimes, vehicle information and audio controls are retained seamlessly. In this application the stock amp is removed completely and the pre-amp adapter and aftermarket amps take its place.
Initially, I wanted to use the Mobridge Pro A2B because it offers some additional fine tune control. Unfortunately we experienced a few compatibility issues with that module in this car. For this particular install we used the Nav-TV NTV-KIT889 which worked flawlessly.
With a clean pre-amp level signal to work with, we installed higher quality aftermarket Focal Flax series speakers, two JL Audio amplifiers and two JL Audio 10″ subwoofers. In order to maximize the clients usable space, we installed the amps behind the existing under seat storage tray area. Behind the rear seats, we installed an MTI double 10″ subwoofer enclosure.
It’s definitely a tight fit for the two JL Audio 10″ TW3 subwoofers. It did require some modification to the existing carpet behind the rear seat. In fact, it’s such a tight fit, we couldn’t even use speaker grilles with this enclosure. Yet, as you can see, it’s fully functional. With the rear seats in their upright position, you’d never know there were two amps and two 10″ subs in there – that is until you cranked up the stereo of course.
Hear your music like you’ve never heard it before
The end result is the client is now experiencing their music in an entirely new way – as if hearing it for the first time. Details and nuances previously unnoticed are now present in songs they’ve listened to countless times before. Great sound doesn’t have to be complicated. The key is to use the right parts for the application, execute the installation properly followed by a professional tuning. If you’re interested in upgrading the stereo in your truck, call/text, email or visit our showroom today.
Attempting yourself? Here are the components used in this build.
For the do-it-yourselfers out there, here’s a handy list of components used in this build:
- Nav TV – NTV-KIT889 – ZEN A2B
- Focal Flax EVO PS 165 FE 6.5″ components
- Focal Flax EVO PC 165 FE 6.5″ coaxial
- Metra front speaker adapters – 82-5607
- Metra rear speaker adapters – 82-5606
- Dynamat Xtreme – 24 sq ft
- Dynaliner – 24 sq ft
- JL Audio XD600/1 v2
- JL Audio XD400/4 v2
- HD-RLC Remote Bass Knob
- Two JL Audio 10TW3-D8’s
- MTI Behind the seat – Front Fire – Dual 10″ Subs (MTS1-FFG12/13-BS-D10)
- Stinger 4 gauge amplifier wiring kit
- Stinger fused distribution block
- Stinger X2 series 3 ft RCA’s – XI223
- Stinger X2 series Y adapter – XI22YF
As technology on the OEM side progresses, our industry is staying on top of it with state of the art components designed to integrate with a vehicles advanced electronic system. The end result is clear, vibrant, detailed and punchy aftermarket sound all while retaining the OEM appearance and functionality. Have you upgraded the stereo in your Ford F-150? What components did you use?
What was the issue you had with the mobridge unit?
The unit we had was serial number 1 so it was fresh off of production and I believe it was software related. I think they corrected it shortly after we did this. From what I remember, the audio was fine until you tried to make a telephone call. The call quality was messed up on the other end of the line and then when you hung up I think it was quirky getting audio back to the main speakers. I think we were having to reset the unit after a call was made. I happened to have the NAV TV one in stock and we tried that one and had no issue so that is the one we use/recommend. Also NAV TV has US based tech support whereas Mobridge is Australia. They have a key contact here in the US, but for anything complicated like this, you usually have to wait a day for response due to the time zone difference.
I was looking for the exact steps to upgrade Ford F150 Sony Sound System.
Any help is appreciated!
I love the upgrade!. Very sleek and looks like it is a much better system than the b&o unleashed. Does it affected the lights or any thing like that ? Or does it rattle the truck ? Also how much did this upgrade cost to
Do ? Very interested in it. Parts and instal price ? Thank you!
Hi Jake, thank you and yes, it is a much better system than the B&O unleashed. It does not effect any original features at all. Sound dampening was used in the doors and back wall area along with fast rings so no rattles here. Price is going to vary for parts and installation depending on where you are located, what local shops charge and when you plan to have the work done. Pricing is constantly subject to change lately due to the volatility in the world right now. We’re seeing prices fluctuate frequently due to increases in raw materials cost, increases in shipping costs, etc. so I’m hesitant to post anything here because there has been at least 4 price changes on many of these parts since we did this job last summer. If you’re local to our shop in Brookfield, CT, reach out, I’d be happy to discuss!
Thanks so much for your response. After reading your original article I’m talking with a local store about upgrading my unleashed system. It’s a very underwhelming system for having 18 speakers and the price you pay for it. These are the components my local shop is suggesting: Focal ES165KX3s for the front, EC165Ks for the rear, the NTVKIT889, JL AUDIO VX800/8i amp, one CS110LGTW3 sub, XD600/1v2 mono block amp, DRC-205 digital remote, Stinger 4 gauge wiring and Focal acoustic installation for all of the doors. Does this sound like the makings of a decent system? Any suggestions you would have?
It absolutely does! My only suggestion, if they have it in stock is to switch to a JL amp kit as it extends the warranty on the amp by 1 year. It might not be available, but if it is, I’d spend the extra cash. JL makes a nice dual 4 ga amp kit with distribution block and they also have a dual 2 ga kit. Either one would work with the power you’re running. Stinger is just as good as far as the quality of power wire, but it’s an option to consider. Those are awesome speakers and overall great quality equipment! Should be a phenomenal system once properly installed and tuned up.
HI…I just purchased a 2022 ford f150 xlt with sports package and have 2 amplifiers under back seat storage areas speakers are not BO can you tell me what kind of system this is? thank you in advance…
Hi Henny – I’m honestly not sure because I haven’t seen it yet. There are a few variations on this truck and when I look up the schematics on ProDemand, there are 4 different options that pop up. The ones that have a module in the rear (on the diagram) have the A2B DSP module. One of them is an 8 speaker option with A2B, but it’s not labeled B&O. All the trucks I have seen that have the 8 speaker system are B&O. I seem to recall a conversation with one of my vendors about a variation that they’re still working on that is amplified, but not branded B&O. Perhaps that is the one you have and that is the diagram I am seeing?
I can tell you in Metra’s application guide, for 2018+ up non-amplified or non-digital amplified models they do list two different DSP accessories the Metra AXDSPX-FD2 or AXDSPL-FD2. The install guide does show in some models there is an amp that needs to be removed to install this type of DSP. The qualifier in their app guide for these two DSP models says “Non B&O”. They also have one specifically for the A2B system and the qualifier for that one says “Must have B&O”. I would contact Metra because I’m not positive based on this information if either one would work. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help with this trim!
Hi: I have a 17 f-150, changed speakers, added pac ampro (works like the nav tv with clean input to my Alpine 5 channel amp and have a 10″ sub under the seat. Sounds great and very happy. I am looking at a new f-150. Either b&o 8 speaker or B&o unleased. I know the 8 speaker will not be good enough for me, not sure about the unleashed. Pac does not make anything so have to go nav tv….not sure if I should buy the Unleashed and see if it is ok or save the $700 difference and go with the 8 speaker bo and just know I have to upgrade. Is the upgrade about the same amount of work using the nav tv with wither set up? Any thoughts or advice what I should do? Thanks! Jim
Hi Jim! I have a feeling you will not be happy with the B&O unleashed. Once you’ve had a good solid aftermarket system, it becomes pretty hard to tolerate anything less. The client that upgraded this particular truck didn’t have an elaborate aftermarket system in his last vehicle. It was just a basic upgrade that included sound dampening, better speakers and a small under seat amplified subwoofer. He got this truck and wanted to upgrade it. When I explained the concept of the pre-amp adapter and why it was necessary to basically upgrade everything except the head unit, it was kind of like go big or go home. He’s very happy he chose to go all out.
On the other hand I have talked to clients with the B&O unleashed who have never had an aftermarket sound system and they were quite happy with the stock premium set up. It’s hard to know unless you’ve heard better and it sounds like you’ve already heard better and you’ve already gone all out with your 2017 F-150 system. Based on that, I’d skip the unleashed and get the 8 speaker knowing you’re probably going to want to upgrade it either way. However – this is a whacky car market right now. With the chip shortage, it might be that one trim is more readily available than the other. At the moment, I don’t know which one is easier to find so it might just come down to what’s available in the car market. What you don’t want to do is get the base model without the B&O because then you’ll have to get a separate DSP and go after the stock head unit amp and it will never sound as good as the pre-amp route.
Lastly – just saw this today. PAC has announced a new pre-amp adapter that covers the 2021 F-150, Bronco and Mach E. The AP4-FD31. If available, I would probably use that instead of NAV TV (sorry NAV TV) it’s a few bucks cheaper and higher voltage, plus it comes with the nice remote bass knob.
Thanks for all the hard work on this subject. 2021 F150 with B&O unleashed is very underwhelming. If I got to a local installer (NC is to far to come see you) the list you gave, should be all we need to proceed? Any updates since inception of this project? I appreciate you input and help,
Hi James, my pleasure. I’m glad you found it helpful! I did forget the Metra speaker adapters, I added that to the list. The main thing to be aware of is if you need to order the box from MTI, at the moment I think they have an 8-12 week backlog. In our area we are lucky to have a stocked MTI distributor, but I don’t know if they have distributors like that all over so it make take some time to receive a special order box from MTI. Other enclosure options that we’ve used in these trucks and sound great would be the JL Audio Stealthbox and for a more cost effective, less custom appearance, consider a Ground Shaker enclosure.
Stock 6 speaker system here. Just had a shop install a 5 channel amp going to a pair of subs and new door speakers and it’s sub par to say the least. Not sure which work around they did but they essentially told me that my speakers will start to distort passed 20, loud audio clicks when using the screen, and the 2 subs sound like they are turned way down. They told me that they couldn’t get the signal to clean up any better until someone comes out with an adapter. I’m thinking about just tearing the entire system out at this point. I’m still not seeing any harnesses for sale yet. What would you suggest?
Hi Clay, I’m so sorry for the horrible upgrade experience! It sounds like they didn’t talk to you about the benefits of a digital sound processor and they just used a basic line output converter to grab signal from the stock stereo. This is like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back because even though you’ve put better quality speakers and an amp in, you are still limited to the sound quality and output of the factory radio and this is when you run into funky issues that cannot be adjusted or equalized out.
In a vehicle like this I would use something like a Metra AX-DSP or JL Audio Fix-86 (for the basic 6 speaker non amplified) and what both of these products do is take the speaker level output from the factory stereo and provide the installers with a flat, clean, pre-amp level RCA signal to work with (for front, rear and sub). Just like what you’d have with an aftermarket head unit. It steps down the speaker level signal to a true clean RCA level signal so you can have it cranked all the way up and the sound will be clean with no distortion at all. Hopefully this shop is familiar with DSP’s and can offer you a solution and if not, try and find a local shop that is familiar with them, understands their role and how to install and tune them. Tuning is half the battle with a DSP, for something like the Metra AX-DSP we use pink noise and an RTA. The Fix-86 is easier in that the unit itself will auto-correct and auto de-equalize the stock stereo so depending on how much experience a shop has with DSP’s, they may prefer one over another. Good luck!
Hello, I previously had a 2019 F150 using the Rockford Fosgate DSR1 with the T-Harness to power my amps and it truly sounded amazing. I now have a 2021 F150 with out the B&O sound system. Can I still use the DSR1 for signal on my aftermarket amps? The Rockford Website doesn’t have the 2021 Listed as a vehicle that is compatible with the harness. I will be running 2 amps one for my highs and one for my subs. I will be replacing and the speakers and have sound deadening installed as well. Can I run the DSR1 using high level imputs? Will it make a difference in the sound quality using the high level vs the T-Harness? Thanks in advance.
Hi Gerardo, great question. The DSR1 does offer a universal mode meaning you can use it in really any audio system. It’s ideal with a T-harness in a vehicle where you can use it like a pre-amp adapter, but that’s not going to be an option for the non amplified 2021 F-150 at this time, you’d have to go speaker level. I don’t know how you had it installed in your last vehicle (with or without stock amp?). I’ve only ever used it in amplified vehicles where we’re basically interrupting the audio signal from the factory radio while it’s still digital and going into the DSR1. In that type of install you’re grabbing signal before the stock amp, before it’s been processed. That’s the cleanest way to use this product. When used in a universal mode, speaker level, you have to go after the stock amp and you can essentially use the DSR1 to try and clean up and correct the output from the factory radio. That is definitely what I would recommend doing because you want a way to clean up the signal and fine tune everything. I hope that makes sense.
The sound quality difference isn’t so much because of T-harness vs high level as it has to do with the audio signal being amplified analog vs digital pre-amp. I hope that helps!
Did you have to do spacers on the speakers for the magnets to fit?
Hi Scott – did not use spacers because of any depth issues, but we do use Metra speaker mounting adapters to line up with the factory Ford speaking mounting points. Assuming you put 6.5″ in front like we did it would be 82-5607 for the fronts or 82-5606 if going with 6×9 in front and 82-5605 for the rears.
Amazon says they don’t fit my Ford F-150 lariat
big surprise, Amazon messes up all the time. Here’s the manufacturer’s application guide. Those are the correct part numbers, trim level doesn’t effect the main door speaker sizes, it’s all the same (spreadsheet click on the speaker info tab):
I have a 2021 Ford F-150 XLT with the B&O 8 speaker system. The system sounds ok….but the included Subwoofer does absolutely nothing. I am thinking about keeping everything the way it is but adding an additional 12″ sub and Amp to the vehicle. I like the sound other than good deep bass is missing! I am looking for suggestions for an enclosure that can go under the rear seat. One huge question would be do I just use a line out adapter or is there a better way for the additional Amp? Also any recs on an Amp? Looking to add (1) Rockford Fosgate P3 Punch P3D4-12 4ohm dual voice coil sub. Sub is Rated for 600 watts RMS. I’m thinking 1 really nice 12″ will help! Not looking to shake the neighbors…Hahaha! And would I also be able to install a remote bass know? Any guidance would be a huge help! Looking to keep on the lower side of the budget.
Hi John – you bring up a great point. For a lot of clients this audio system is really just missing some solid, deepy, punchy bass. For a more budget friendly enclosure I like the sub boxes by Ground Shaker. I used one in the last B&O upgrade that we did, you can see it on my Instagram here. We went with a single 10″ TW3 and that truck sounded great. We did do a full system upgrade, but just adding that sub alone or a 12″ would make a night and day difference. I don’t know the airspace requirement and mounting depth for the P3 off the top of my head, but if they’re anything like the old ones I remember, that might be too deep and need more airspace than is really there. Check out the Ground Shaker enclosures here. They list mounting depth and cubic airspace so you can factor all that in with your sub selection. The one we used was for the JL Audio 10″ TW3 which is noted up to 20 Crew Cab, but as you can see, it’s the same fit for 2021.
For just adding a sub, I would probably just use a line output converter with signal sensing and adjustable input gain like a PAC Audio LP7-2 or JL Audio LOC22 or Audio Control LC2i. At this time I’m not aware of any pre-amp adapters just for adding a sub. PAC has some for some other vehicles, but I haven’t seen anything like that for this year/model yet. I highly recommend adding a bass knob. If you go with a JL amp, the bass knob fits nicely to the left of the steering wheel by the light switch.
I HAVE A 21 LARIAT WITH THE B&O UNLEASHED. I JUST INSTALLED A LOC 22 CONVERTER, I TAPPED INTO THE SUBWOOFER SPEAKER LINE AFTER THE FACTORY AMP. I GOT IT TO TURN ON AND WORK BUT VERY LITTLE VOLUME GOING TO THE SUBS! I GOT 2 10″ KICKERS IN SEALED BOX UNDER REAR SEATS. I MAXED OUT BOTH AMP AND INVERTER LEVELS AND I FEEL LIKE ITS RUNNING AT 25% POWER. SHOULD I BE WIRING THE INPUT BEFORE THE AMP?
Unfortunately if you have the B&O system and you’re using a basic LOC, you cannot grab signal before the amp because it’s digital until it gets to the amp so you have to go after the amp (unless you’re changing everything and using the NAV TV pre-amp NTV-KIT889). Sounds like something is not right though. Make sure you got signal from the stock subwoofer and not from one of the door speakers or tweeters. Good luck!
SO A 2021 FORD F150 W/O THE B AN O SYSTEM I CAN PUT A 6X 9 DOOR SPEAKERS IN?
The OEM speaker sizes are 6×9 in the front doors, 6.5″ in the rears. Just keep in mind with the non B&O system, if you power the speakers off the stock head unit, you’re limited in the sound quality and output. If you want to get the best quality, at this point in time I’d recommend a digital sound processor aka DSP and amplifier for the non B&O models.
Im in the same boat, which DSP and amp will be good for a good sound just to have a quality sound with nice speakers?
Hi Erwin, please see my response to Clay – some solid options are the Metra AX-DSP or JL Audio Fix-86. We also like Helix DSP.3, Audison Bit One HD and JL Audio Twk-88 (in conjunction with Fix-86). I hope that helps!
I have a 2021 STX with a entry level radio it’s nice but I really like the 12” screen radio is there one out there like that or similar you can recommend
Hi Thomas – I haven’t seen anything aftermarket like that yet. There are a lot of cheap, ship directly from overseas radios floating around on Amazon, but I would steer clear of anything like that. The only US based reputable supplier I have found for these types of products is Linkswell. Full disclosure: I haven’t sold/installed one of their radios in any vehicle yet, mainly because they don’t support SiriusXM and seems a lot of clients interested in the larger stereo also want SiriusXM. However, they are US based and they do answer their phone and that’s important to me when it comes to buying and installing aftermarket electronics. They don’t appear to have anything yet for the 2021, but perhaps they will in the future. Now if you want the real OEM, look into Infotainment which specializes in sourcing OEM parts and coding them to work with your vehicle. Pricey, but factory fit, finish and function.
Where can I get this work done. I am trying to replace all speakers on my 2021 F150 Platinum. I have 4 10″ subs under the rear seat and now I want that clean sound as you explained in you 2021 F-150 Stereo upgrade story on August 24th. Needing help on this matter.
Our shop is in Brookfield, CT – Sounds incredible Mobile. If we’re way outside of your area, consider reaching out to Nav TV the maker of the pre-amp adapter that you’ll need. They should be able to direct you to a dealer in your area.
Would upgrading the stock amplifier with my B&O unleashed system help me out? I’m happy with the sound quality but just not happy with the volume output.
Hi Ryan, great question, but not so easily accomplished based on the products available today. Maybe we’ll see a nice plug and play solution in the future? The stock amplifier basically has individual channels for all of those speakers as well as unique crossover settings for each speaker. Aftermarket amps are designed to work with speakers that have an external crossover network. Meaning the left door speaker and tweeter would operate as one channel and there would be an external crossover network between the two speakers to divide up the audio for that channel to the appropriate speaker. So in your truck, there aren’t external crossovers, just a lot of individual channels with the crossover filtering built into the individual channel on the factory amp.
So, to do that, and we’ve done similar upgrades in other vehicles with these types of digital amps, you’d have to do one of two things. Technically you could create external crossover networks to the existing speakers, like a 3-way in front, 2-way in rear and some additional networks for remaining smaller speakers. External crossover components are available from suppliers like parts-express.com. Once you figure out the crossover network and determine how many channels you’ll have, you could use a large multi-channel amp or a couple of amps along with the NAV TV pre-amp adapter.
We did that for a client with a Mercedes that sounded good, but just wasn’t loud enough. It had the stock Harman Kardon fiber optic amp, but not quite as many channels as the B&O unleashed. I think we had a 3-way in front, 2-way in rear, a center channel and the stock subs in the rear deck. In that car we kept it simple and did a 3-way crossover for the front door speakers, I think we wired the center channel in series with the front tweeters, I can’t recall, a 2-way crossover for the rear components and then crossed over the rear subs using the crossover on the amp. In that example, all we needed was a 5-channel amp, but you have more speakers than that.
The other approach is theoretically, you could get something like a 12 channel DSP and a couple amps to cover all the channels, possibly wiring a few channels in parallel or series and use the DSP to set the crossovers. But either way, it’s not a quick easy/upgrade. You’d need to anaylize the output from each speaker so you could figure out what the factory crossover point is for each speaker and make sure you re-create that with the new amp/DSP. If you don’t get those settings exactly right, you can add harshness and degrade sound quality. For example, we recently installed a Helix V Eight DSP MK2 amp in our 2019 Wrangler and used the 8 channels for the 8 individual speakers. We previously had external crossovers and a 4 channel amp, so we removed the crossovers and used the DSP to set crossovers for each of the tweeters and the mids. First go round (late night, after working on other cars all day) sounded extremely harsh. Upon further examination, John realized he didn’t emulate the EXACT crossover settings that our Morel speakers had in the external crossover network. He had to plug in those parameters into the DSP EXACTLY as if we were physically using the external Morel crossover. So it’s tricky, but with the right parts and tools to test the output, it can be done.
for those on a limited budget, would doing a simple speaker swap with the doors, tweets, and center speaker create any meaningful difference? I understand the B&O system does all the signal processing, so garbage in/garbage out. However, I feel like speaker quality in ether ohms, sensitivity, freq. response(?), or materials should make some kind of improvement? I don’t see the possibility of installing any new amps in this system, but I’d like to get better sounding “garbage” some way. Thoughts? And thanks!
Hi Rodney, you have a great handle on the situation, you’re exactly right about garbage in/garbage out. I tell clients when upgrading speakers alone in a vehicle it’s always like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back. You’ll always be limited to the sound quality and output, crossover points and processing of the stock amplifier. It’s truly limiting. But you can still upgrade and get a marginal improvement if you select speakers that are extremely efficient, that don’t need a ton of power to perform and at the same time I recommend adding sound dampening to the doors. This will create a better cabinet for the speakers, allow you to hear more of the music as less will be lost to road noise. Maybe consider the Focal IS series which are their vehicle specific options. Full disclosure, I don’t recall what the impedance of the stock speakers were. I’m assuming they’re 4 ohms, you’ll want to verify that before buying any new speakers. If the stock speakers are 4 ohm look for something that is 3 or 4 ohm and sensitivity ratings around 90 or higher. And Dynamat – Xtreme plus Dynaliner. I hope that helps!
Is it possible to add a Kicker hideaway powered sub to the factory B&O sub or replace the B&O sub completely with the Kicker Hideaway in an easy manner behind the rear seat? Using the existing wiring (Except maybe the power and ground, which I can run from the battery) I like the B&O sound, except I’d like to be able to feel the bass a little, which I don’t with the factory sub.
Unfortunately if you want to add the Kicker Hideaway, you can’t really re-use the wiring that’s there. You’ll want to run a fused power line from the battery and ground it to the chassis. You would need to grab audio signal from the stock sub to add it. Truthfully though, I don’t know if the Kicker hideaway is really going to give you that much more kick that the stock sub. We use those types of subs when I have clients looking to add little bump, but nothing too crazy to a basic stock non amplified system. The Kicker will probably be little louder/cleaner than the stock sub, but I don’t think it would be a substantial difference. I could be wrong though. Are you considering the 8-inch or 10-inch? I would go for the 10-inch if you go that route. For most clients we’re doing something a lot beefier with some serious kick. If you want a more budget friendly option than a JL Audio Stealthbox or the MTI enclosures, check out Ground Shaker enclosures. I’m doing one in another F-150 in a couple weeks with a JL 10″ TW3. That will really fill out what’s missing and add that kind of kick you can feel.
Thank you for posting this F150 install! I’m curious how many of the existing speakers you changed out? I have the Unleashed version of the B & O speakers, and I have added a JL Audio Stealth Box with dual 12″ subs powered by the XD600 amp you mentioned above. It helped the low end, but I feel that I am still not getting the sound I should. I’m in Nebraska, so coming to your shop is probably out of the question.
Appreciate your input.
Steve in Omaha
Hi Steve – actually I’m pretty sure that’s what this one had, something like 18 speakers? This truck had speakers in the headrest. We eliminated all that. They’re physically still there in case we ever need to revert to stock, but not being used. All warning chimes, GPS, Bluetooth etc are routed through the new speakers. I’m always a fan of the KISS rule and using high quality equipment, in the right locations, properly installed and tuned. One of the best sounding car audio systems we’ve ever built was in a 2009 Subaru Legacy Outback with just one set of components in the front and one sub in the rear (Focal Utopia series and Mosconi amps, Kenwood head unit and Audison Bit One HD DSP). This client had just 6 aftermarket speakers: the Focal Flax components in front 6.5″ and a matching set of coaxial in the rear. This client was totally extremely happy with the final result. Yeah, Nebraska is a bit far, although I have had clients come from as far as Michigan which is wild.
Hi Annie…..just curious, you said you eliminated many of the 18 speakers in the unleashed system. Most of my sound seems to come from the center speaker on the dash. Does that one completely go away in your setup?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Alan – yes it does go away. The center channel is not like a true center channel like you’d have in your home theatre while watching a movie in 5.1 surround. It’s basically an extra tweeter. With quality components mounted in the right locations the imaging is great without any additional tweeters added. Most clients want everything to look stock so we typically mount tweeters in the OEM spots and eliminate the center channel, but another cool options are pods. In a lot of installs, I try and encourage clients to go with these optional pods from Germany, Valicar. Getting the tweeters on the dash or A pillars coming at you slightly off axis pointing towards center can make a night and day difference in sound stage in any vehicle. It’s one of the reasons my 2014 Wrangler sounds so good, the OEM tweeter spots are ideal. Here’s a video link to see what I mean about tweeter position.