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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my audio journey with the Accord Hybrid --

I have a 2020 EX-L Hybrid with the 10-speaker "premium" audio system that is rather disappointing. Determined to upgrade this at minimal cost, yet maintain stock appearance/function (especially ANC) as much as possible. Here is the list of components that I used for this project:

Focal ISS165 components (Crutchfield)
Metra Honda speaker harness (included with Crutchfield order)
American Int'l speaker brackets (included with Crutchfield order)
HSU VTF2 10" subwoofer driver (Parts Express 299-4044)
2 3/4" Dia (5.25" L) flared port (Parts Express 269-2108)
Speaker Terminal Cup (Parts Express 260-288)
Metra Honda speaker harness (1x for the sub)
Charcoal Grey speaker box carpet
Super 77 spray adhesive
Scrap MDF -- 1/2" and 3/4" (for the baffle)

Here are the basic steps -- some custom dremel and box building work needs to be done, so having wood working tools is very helpful.
1. Install the Focal ISS165 components to replace the front speakers. This common install for the Accord is covered elsewhere in these forums -- I did use the tweeter crossover (using the CAR wire for the +) and added some Noico sound dampening to the door behind the midbass (optional). With the tweeter I wanted to use the Focal housing with the phase shield, so I enlarged the Honda sail panels with a dremel to just squeeze in the full tweeter. The result is a nice match with the OEM Honda center channel. These Focals are fast and detailed.

2. Bypass the Honda Display Audio HU's internal EQ and DSP. Follow these instructions:
Press and hold : POWER/VOLUME KNOB + HOME + SOURCE

Select: Detailed Information and Setting screen

Press and Hold: HOME + Audio Check

Select: Audio Setting

Set: PS to OFF

3. Build a custom subwoofer box. Best way to obtain real sub-bass in this car is to forgo messing with the stock 8" sub (also difficult to pull rear shelf) and create a subwoofer box that will fit the rear part of the trunk up to the rear seat backs. This will need to be an efficient design (chose a ported box with a quality 10" driver), as light as possible (don't want to add too much weight -- this IS a Hybrid!), and tuned low enough to supplement the Accord's natural cabin gain resonance (around 45Hz). Selected the incredibly priced ($40) HSU VTF2 10" subwoofer driver -- past experience with HSU drivers have been excellent: detailed, "fast" bass that should match well with the "fast" Focal fronts. Ideal ported box volume for this sub with a port tune of 34Hz is 1.94 cu ft (Q=7). The rear of the trunk can take a trapezoid-shaped box with these dimensions:
Top Depth 6"
Bottom Depth 10"
Width 31"
Height 19"
The front 31" x 19" baffle is vertical and composed of 3/4" MDF -- the rest is 1/2" MDF to save weight and maximize the box's internal volume. This will be driven by the OEM amp, removing the existing sub connection to use (via Metra harness) with the custom sub. The nice thing about having this removable sub box is that if I need to use the rear seat passthrough, I can remove the sub temporarily and reconnect the OEM 8" sub. The Parts Express 2 3/4" port is just the right length for the 34Hz tune. After carpeting the outside, I even installed a couple of "PA" style speaker grab handles on the sides so removal from the trunk is easy. The finished sub box fits the trunk cavity well and impacts usable trunk volume minimally. Best of all, the HSU sub + box is a great match to extend the sub-bass in the Accord -- efficient enough to be driven easily by the OEM amp.

4. EQ settings in the Head Unit. Found these settings to work well: +1 Treble, -2 Mid, +1 Bass, +2 Sub. Turn off the DTS Neural Surround. Fader in Center. The OEM rear speakers actually sound neutral and mellow with these EQ settings -- very listenable, so rear passengers are not penalized.

How did this project turn out? Transformed the low-fidelity OEM Premium system to a dynamic, detailed system with sub-bass that will bring a smile. Not neutral (need to eliminate the center channel for that), but the overall effect is a clarity (even in the bass -- the HSU is a great driver) across the freq spectrum that makes music alive. Can easily enjoy music over the Accord tire noise.

ANC is still enabled and accounts for some of the one-note midbass response gaps, but the rich lower/sub bass more than satisfies -- you get the best of both worlds: active ANC and satisfying sub-bass.

This inexpensive upgrade has reaped sonic benefits certainly worth the $$ and custom work. More listenable than the $2500 custom audio system I installed in my old Camry. The OEM 10-channel amp in the Accord is actually not bad and drives the better speakers very well (remember to disable the internal EQ/DSP). With the Hybrid, it is best not to mess around too much with power draw and large weight (either in equipment, sound dampening, or heavy sub boxes) increases.

Hope this helps someone struggling with the Accord "Premium" audio system.

Addendum -- replacing the center channel speaker

Soon I began to realize that the OEM center channel speaker was a weak link. Even with the Focal ISS165 components being sensitive, the center channel and its peaky (nasal) midrange response dominated. Accessing the center channel speaker was a bit more involved -- needed to be careful not to scratch up the new car! Instructions can be googled (Crutchfield has a good tutorial) and the head unit assy must be pulled. Selected the Vifa/Peerless TC9FD replacement due to past experiences (neutral, clear response) lower sensitivity and healthy output. The 8ohm impedance is not an issue with the factory amp.

The TC9FD was not a drop in fit. Had to trim the side tabs and use a rubber gasket around the front edge to seal properly. Used the OEM screws, angled just slightly, but it did fit. Metra speaker adapter and reassembled.

First impression was a fuller, richer response from the center channel. Then I noticed a more seamless soundstage in the front with the Focal ISS165 -- the lower sensitivity and 8ohm impedance works well. Midrange from the CC is less peaky with some forwardness remaining (the firing up behind the head unit probably contributes to the elevated mids), however I notice more clarity, especially with vocals. Much lower distortion when cranking up the volume.

Well worth the sub $20 investment and one hour time spent.
 

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Awesome! Wish I had the know-how to do all of this. Have any pics of your sub enclosure? What would you guess your equipment/parts investment was? Depending on how close you are, what's your labor charge? 馃槃 Thanks for the write up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Here are some pics of the sub box. Did not have an exact color match for the box carpet, but close enough. Note the shape -- fills the cavity behind the rear seats nicely. The side handles make it easy to remove when I need to -- I simply reconnect the OEM sub.

All together I spent under $300 for all the parts / materials. Spent about 2.5 days -- good way to make quarantine time useful -- the bulk of the time on the sub box. I don't do this for a living; I share this to give the average person a low budget way to help their 18-20 EX-L/Touring Accord sound much better.
 

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Thank you for te
Here is my audio journey with the Accord Hybrid --

I have a 2020 EX-L Hybrid with the 10-speaker "premium" audio system that is rather disappointing. Determined to upgrade this at minimal cost, yet maintain stock appearance/function (especially ANC) as much as possible. Here is the list of components that I used for this project:

Focal ISS165 components (Crutchfield)
Metra Honda speaker harness (included with Crutchfield order)
American Int'l speaker brackets (included with Crutchfield order)
HSU VTF2 10" subwoofer driver (Parts Express 299-4044)
2 3/4" Dia (5.25" L) flared port (Parts Express 269-2108)
Speaker Terminal Cup (Parts Express 260-288)
Metra Honda speaker harness (1x for the sub)
Charcoal Grey speaker box carpet
Super 77 spray adhesive
Scrap MDF -- 1/2" and 3/4" (for the baffle)

Here are the basic steps -- some custom dremel and box building work needs to be done, so having wood working tools is very helpful.
1. Install the Focal ISS165 components to replace the front speakers. This common install for the Accord is covered elsewhere in these forums -- I did use the tweeter crossover (using the CAR wire for the +) and added some Noico sound dampening to the door behind the midbass (optional). With the tweeter I wanted to use the Focal housing with the phase shield, so I enlarged the Honda sail panels with a dremel to just squeeze in the full tweeter. The result is a nice match with the OEM Honda center channel. These Focals are fast and detailed.

2. Bypass the Honda Display Audio HU's internal EQ and DSP. Follow these instructions:
Press and hold : POWER/VOLUME KNOB + HOME + SOURCE

Select: Detailed Information and Setting screen

Press and Hold: HOME + Audio Check

Select: Audio Setting

Set: PS to OFF

3. Build a custom subwoofer box. Best way to obtain real sub-bass in this car is to forgo messing with the stock 8" sub (also difficult to pull rear shelf) and create a subwoofer box that will fit the rear part of the trunk up to the rear seat backs. This will need to be an efficient design (chose a ported box with a quality 10" driver), as light as possible (don't want to add too much weight -- this IS a Hybrid!), and tuned low enough to supplement the Accord's natural cabin gain resonance (around 45Hz). Selected the incredibly priced ($40) HSU VTF2 10" subwoofer driver -- past experience with HSU drivers have been excellent: detailed, "fast" bass that should match well with the "fast" Focal fronts. Ideal ported box volume for this sub with a port tune of 34Hz is 1.94 cu ft (Q=7). The rear of the trunk can take a trapezoid-shaped box with these dimensions:
Top Depth 6"
Bottom Depth 10"
Width 31"
Height 19"
The front 31" x 19" baffle is vertical and composed of 3/4" MDF -- the rest is 1/2" MDF to save weight and maximize the box's internal volume. This will be driven by the OEM amp, removing the existing sub connection to use (via Metra harness) with the custom sub. The nice thing about having this removable sub box is that if I need to use the rear seat passthrough, I can remove the sub temporarily and reconnect the OEM 8" sub. The Parts Express 2 3/4" port is just the right length for the 34Hz tune. After carpeting the outside, I even installed a couple of "PA" style speaker grab handles on the sides so removal from the trunk is easy. The finished sub box fits the trunk cavity well and impacts usable trunk volume minimally. Best of all, the HSU sub + box is a great match to extend the sub-bass in the Accord -- efficient enough to be driven easily by the OEM amp.

4. EQ settings in the Head Unit. Found these settings to work well: +1 Treble, -2 Mid, +1 Bass, +2 Sub. Turn off the DTS Neural Surround. Fader in Center. The OEM rear speakers actually sound neutral and mellow with these EQ settings -- very listenable, so rear passengers are not penalized.

How did this project turn out? Transformed the low-fidelity OEM Premium system to a dynamic, detailed system with sub-bass that will bring a smile. Not neutral (need to eliminate the center channel for that), but the overall effect is a clarity (even in the bass -- the HSU is a great driver) across the freq spectrum that makes music alive. Can easily enjoy music over the Accord tire noise.

ANC is still enabled and accounts for some of the one-note midbass response gaps, but the rich lower/sub bass more than satisfies -- you get the best of both worlds: active ANC and satisfying sub-bass.

This inexpensive upgrade has reaped sonic benefits certainly worth the $$ and custom work. More listenable than the $2500 custom audio system I installed in my old Camry. The OEM 10-channel amp in the Accord is actually not bad and drives the better speakers very well (remember to disable the internal EQ/DSP). With the Hybrid, it is best not to mess around too much with power draw and large weight (either in equipment, sound dampening, or heavy sub boxes) increases.

Hope this helps someone struggling with the Accord "Premium" audio system.

Addendum -- replacing the center channel speaker

Soon I began to realize that the OEM center channel speaker was a weak link. Even with the Focal ISS165 components being sensitive, the center channel and its peaky (nasal) midrange response dominated. Accessing the center channel speaker was a bit more involved -- needed to be careful not to scratch up the new car! Instructions can be googled (Crutchfield has a good tutorial) and the head unit assy must be pulled. Selected the Vifa/Peerless TC9FD replacement due to past experiences (neutral, clear response) lower sensitivity and healthy output. The 8ohm impedance is not an issue with the factory amp.

The TC9FD was not a drop in fit. Had to trim the side tabs and use a rubber gasket around the front edge to seal properly. Used the OEM screws, angled just slightly, but it did fit. Metra speaker adapter and reassembled.

First impression was a fuller, richer response from the center channel. Then I noticed a more seamless soundstage in the front with the Focal ISS165 -- the lower sensitivity and 8ohm impedance works well. Midrange from the CC is less peaky with some forwardness remaining (the firing up behind the head unit probably contributes to the elevated mids), however I notice more clarity, especially with vocals. Much lower distortion when cranking up the volume.

Well worth the sub $20 investment and one hour time spent.
thank you for advice on EQ settings and disabling the factory head unit eq. As soon as I did that i noticed a change in my front components. Now to get that cc speaker upgraded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Some more minor details:
-- HSU sub in the rear facing box works best in the Accord trunk in normal polarity. Integration with front Focal midbass is seamless
-- Use both tweeter and woofer crossovers in the ISS 165 (some have suggested that this is not necessary with the 10 channel amp, but is important for the ISS 165 components)
-- Be sure to seal Focal woofers mounted in the front doors. Best to use a thin rubber seal/gasket on the supplied plastic speaker mounts.
 

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Some more minor details:
-- HSU sub in the rear facing box works best in the Accord trunk in reverse polarity. Integration with front Focal midbass is seamless
-- Use both tweeter and woofer crossovers in the ISS 165 (some have suggested that this is not necessary with the 10 channel amp, but is important for the ISS 165 components)
-- Be sure to seal Focal woofers mounted in the front doors. Best to use a thin rubber seal/gasket on the supplied plastic speaker mounts.
I am about to replace my front mid, tweeters and center channel as well. Using the new component speakers supplied crossover was something I was confused about being I have the 10 speaker system. I know the signal is crossed over at the amp so I wasn't sure what to do. I also read past posts saying "not" to use supplied crossovers because the sound was subpar...now I'm really confused lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am about to replace my front mid, tweeters and center channel as well. Using the new component speakers supplied crossover was something I was confused about being I have the 10 speaker system. I know the signal is crossed over at the amp so I wasn't sure what to do. I also read past posts saying "not" to use supplied crossovers because the sound was subpar...now I'm really confused lol.
Hi Millz -- posting my response from the other forum:
With the Focal ISS 165 components in the stock locations (and with the 450W Premium Audio, of course), I found both using the tweeter and woofer crossovers necessary, otherwise there is a harshness to the sound in the mid/lower treble range. May sound strong and clear at first, but certainly not accurate and fatiguing over time. With both speaker crossovers in and at flat EQ, response is remarkably flat -- certainly more inline with what Focal intended. YMMV as audio tastes differ. (Do remember to disable the DSP EQ via the hidden menu settings that force a preset EQ to compensate for the poor OEM speakers)

I will say that the Vifa TC9FD center channel replacement turns out to be the best improvement since so much content is directed through the CC. Blends surprisingly well with the ISS165 and the suggested EQ settings.
 

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Hi Millz -- posting my response from the other forum:
With the Focal ISS 165 components in the stock locations (and with the 450W Premium Audio, of course), I found both using the tweeter and woofer crossovers necessary, otherwise there is a harshness to the sound in the mid/lower treble range. May sound strong and clear at first, but certainly not accurate and fatiguing over time. With both speaker crossovers in and at flat EQ, response is remarkably flat -- certainly more inline with what Focal intended. YMMV as audio tastes differ. (Do remember to disable the DSP EQ via the hidden menu settings that force a preset EQ to compensate for the poor OEM speakers)

I will say that the Vifa TC9FD center channel replacement turns out to be the best improvement since so much content is directed through the CC. Blends surprisingly well with the ISS165 and the suggested EQ settings.
  • I will definitely be using the crossovers. I am also looking into the Peerless center channel as well for an upgrade. I already went in and turned the factory processor off. Ty for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update -- a better center channel speaker

So much audio comes from the center channel speaker that I wanted to see if there was a better sounding option. Found a driver that blends in even better with the Focal ISS 165s and fits better as well -- the SB Acoustics SB10PGC21-4 http://www.sbaudience.com/index.php/products/various-drivers/sb10pgc21-4/

Once you access the CC speaker by removing the head unit, this SB10 fits on the plastic ring without modification -- I used some fender washers with the OEM screws to hold the speaker in.
6178

6177


In direct comparison with the previous TC9FD (a solid driver with a great reputation), the SB10 has a more neutral lower midrange and the efficiency blends better with the ISS 165 giving a more seamless soundstage -- the TC9FD was a bit louder which emphasized the center channel. The flat off-axis response works well in this application; audio detail is high. Though the cone is smaller than the TC9FD, the bass is slightly more richer. Distortion, like the previous TC9FD, is low. Price is under $20, which is amazing for this level of quality. I like the SB10 better than the TG9FD (another alternative that I tried) -- also a highly regarded driver. EQ remains at -2 steps for mid.

Even if you do not use the ISS 165 for the front doors, do consider replacing the OEM center channel speaker with the premium audio system. Takes a bit of disassembly to get there, but the results are well worth it. With the ISS 165, SB10 for the CC, OEM rear speakers, and the custom 10 in sub + sub box (the HSU driver is no longer available -- this Dayton DCS255-4 is a suitable replacement) this Accord premium audio system becomes comparable to other "branded" premium OEM systems -- all under $300, compatible with the Hybrid's limited power availability and without sacrificing ANC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
No, adding an amp is challenging in the 10th gen Accord (
), especially with the sensitive power draw limit with the Hybrid. The factory ("450 watts") amp is sufficient if you choose to replace the speakers with quality, efficient drivers. The SQ of the factory amp is actually not bad -- the OEM speakers with their placement is just poor.

I do have other cars with customized SQ systems capable of higher volume and fidelity, but we are talking several thousands of equipment $$. With this Accord Hybrid, I wanted a good system for the daily driver for a modest outlay. This vehicle (I have the EX-L Hybrid) is already expensive enough!
 

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Thank you for responding, I appreciate it. I've seen a lot of the Five Star Stereo videos on this, and it definitely is a bit difficult to upgrade. However I'm brave enough to do this even with little experience. I'm not so experienced in audio, I've added a sub/amp/stereo and replaced speakers before in other cars.

If you were to add a amp, would you necessarily add a DSP? I see some people go without them. I just want to add a 5 channel amp to power upgraded front and rear 6.5s and a separate sub.
 

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Thank you for responding, I appreciate it. I've seen a lot of the Five Star Stereo videos on this, and it definitely is a bit difficult to upgrade. However I'm brave enough to do this even with little experience. I'm not so experienced in audio, I've added a sub/amp/stereo and replaced speakers before in other cars.

If you were to add a amp, would you necessarily add a DSP? I see some people go without them. I just want to add a 5 channel amp to power upgraded front and rear 6.5s and a separate sub.
If you want the clearest sound yes you need a dsp. My system is still missing something even with the PSU300 and all four speakers changed. There is still something missing and i get some static/distortion sounds still sometimes. Mine actually came in the mail yesterday so adding my Kicker Keyloc dsp this week to finish up my system. As stated, I too have had better systems overall, but with the hybrid it still sounds way way better than it did stock. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update (last?) -- best center channel driver

Ok, I thought I found the best inexpensive center channel speaker in the SB Acoustics SB10PGC21-4, but after reading many reviews on 3.5" drivers, the Dynavox LY302F intrigued me, especially after studying the measurements on this site: Timothy Feleppa's Pages: Speaker Measurements - Midrange/Fullrange Speakers 4" and smaller

Now that Parts Express finally has this driver in stock for only $21

Home

Of course I had to try it. The SB10 is an excellent driver and fit for the 10th gen Accord center channel. The larger LY302F does not drop in as easily as the SB10 -- fits more like the TC9FD and will require a rubber/felt gasket to properly seal the front from the bracket lip. But the mounting holes do line up so I used the OEM screws. This Dynavox is deeper as well at 2.2", and justs fits in the CC cavity. I did line the plastic vent panel behind the speaker magnet with felt to avoid contact and subsequent buzzing.

Sound quality of the LY302F is amazing. "Large" sound due to the deeper bass extension than either the SB10 and TC9FD. Voices sound big and full on the front soundstage and this LY302F is just a bit more efficient, so that helps with the effect. Very natural sounding with a clear mid-upper treble that does not compress or become harsh at higher volumes. The ability to handle some power and produce nice volume (the magnet is heavy and large) sets this apart from the previous drivers -- was listening at higher volumes and enjoying the music. I found myself accessing my old well-recorded favorites just to experience high fidelity once again -- THAT is the best testimony.

Flat response and low distortion are a given -- this LY302F, as an Accord CC replacement, makes music sound real. Do recommend pairing with the Focal ISS165 in the doors. This may be my final try with the CC channel replacement!
 

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You didn't use a separate amp to power the speakers or the subwoofer?
if you have the budget i'd buy this...and upgrade your front and rear speakers and disable your rear deck sub.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Another note: With the Dynavox LY302F (and SB10), I find that having the OEM HU EQ at 0 Treble, -2 Mid, 0 Bass, and +1 Sub produces a smooth, flat, natural response. Fading to the front by 2 notches (OEM rear speakers) tightens up the front soundstage for driver and makes a pleasant "surround" effect for rear passengers.

I thought that having a sub box blocking the rear passthrough would be an annoyance, but I have only taken the sub box out once in just over a year of ownership.
 

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Really liking my Kicker KeyLOC/DSP installed Monday. It uses the same auto DSP technology as the KEY200.4. The dsp setup instructions are vague, and i needed to watch the video on their website to get it setup properly(after wasting three days tuning it). Finally got it all setup Friday evening. Will update my thread today or tomorrow one i get a little more time listening to it. But initial thought are its impressive. Really makes things clear and centers the soundstage(even with just having the four speakers). The only thing i may still do it change out the fronts for a component set with a separate tweeter. I noticed one or two songs yesterday having some issues, but I think that may have been the quality of the recording on those two songs (they are older and have had the files on my phones for years).
 

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Yeah I got Morel components in the front and coaxials in the back and with the kicker key amp and the hideaway subwoofer combination, sound stage is awesome. Yesterday I was listening to Tears for Fears's Advice for the Young at Heart and Ohhhh my...clean flat Vocals... Harmony and instruments just keep getting pumped out of those speakers. Fleetwood Mac's Gypsy and Dreams sound awesome too.
 
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