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About mjdannenberg

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  1. Kicker Soundgate Upgrade

    This might be a bit of a necro, but I have a non-Bose crew cab. I initially replaced all 6 speakers with the highest sensitivity 4 ohm units I could find in search of a little more volume and hopefully better SQ than the factory units. I installed Polks in the doors and went with the Memphis option for the dash. That really didn't make any difference, which I sort of assumed going in, but figured I'd give it a shot since the price was reasonable. After that path didn't really pan out, I decided to do the full Kicker setup. There's a lot of information in this thread and have been some varied opinions so here's my take. Install: Install was infinitely easier than anything custom would have been. My standard wire fish was too large for the grommet and power wires, so I cut a ~4' long piece of Romex I had laying around and pulled one of the wires out of it to use as a fish. Took me a couple of attempts, but worked perfectly. The instructions are fairly incoherent and incomplete, but the install itself is relatively straightforward. I did not route the subwoofer wiring as instructed since it would likely have been too short. I would have appreciated more clarity in the instructions regarding routing and packaging of the main harness through the dash and to the 4-channel amp and sub connections. There's a fair bit of room to get it to the kick panel from the dash. Once you're there, there's not a lot of room to work with and the e-brake mechanism is in the area, so cable management is important. In addition the two-pin connector that the instructions never mention had an extra ~2' or so of length on the subwoofer side of the wiring harness for no apparent reason. Maybe this turns into a different connection when the sub is installed by itself, but this seemed like sloppy execution. Lows: The setup is adequate, and I don't mean that in a bad way. I don't try to rattle mirrors off the windshield anymore, so it's more than enough for me personally. It's surprisingly boomy for a sealed setup, but acceptable in terms of sound quality. Regardless of my critiques, adding a dedicated driver for lows is a massive step up from the factory non-Bose setup. Highs: I'm severely disappointed. I've had a limited amount of time to play with this, but peak volume might be a touch louder than the factory setup? I'm not sure where all 200W of advertised power are going, but it's either being converted into heat or the amp is severely overrated. I spent a lot of time putting together custom setups when I was younger, and 50Wx4 was always more than adequate. This...isn't. If I did a blind comparison without the sub, I firmly believe that I wouldn't notice a difference in volume. The first time I fired it up, sound quality was noticeably worse and produced "hollow" sounding playback. Previous reviews say to run the EQ flat, but I'm currently not even close. I continue to push the mid and treble the more I listen in order to try and create what I consider good sound without losing perceived volume. Having EQ with more than 3 bands would be helpful, but positive EQ applied broadly to mids can do a lot. This could have everything to do with the response curves of my chosen speakers, but they sounded reasonable with the factory setup and a flat EQ. Whatever is being applied inside the Kicker DSP appears to be doing more harm than good when it comes to my listening preferences. Summary: For someone looking for the easiest install possible and something to complement the factory system, the sub is a good bet. My underseat storage box was easy to cut to fit and my son's car seat is on the subwoofer/passenger side anyway, so I never really had easy access to that side of the box. If I had to do it over again, I would look a lot harder into the custom options for highs that can be made to work well with our OEM systems. I was traveling last week and wound up with a late model Tahoe w/Bose for a rental. I was impressed with the sound system for being a factory unit and was excited to get the Kicker system installed in my truck since people were saying it made factory Bose units sound like "junk". I very much disagree with that assessment and would take the Tahoe Bose setup over my Kicker VSS any day of the week. I will continue to play with it and see what I can do, but at least in terms of the highs, it appears all of the money is going toward an easy install and not blowing your eardrums out with dash chimes rather than actually improving SQ or SPL.
  2. Did this swap over the weekend. Purchased all of the parts including the console from PGamboa. The console arrived very well packaged and was exactly what I asked for. The wiring harness followed quickly behind. Everything fit up and plugged in perfectly and was exactly as advertised. The harness is as good or better than OEM quality. I was legitimately impressed when I pulled it out of the box. The swap took me about 2 hours start to finish, but there were a couple of interruptions and my tools were a little scattered since that wasn't the first thing I tackled that day. The only "gotcha" moment I had was mentioned earlier in the thread, and that is the trim panel that wraps around the driver's side dash support next to the accelerator pedal needs to be pulled off in order for the console trim panel to fit properly. I would highly recommend Phil and his products. Everything shipped quickly and was of excellent quality. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the jump seat in my garage.

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