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Sport Audio Upgrade

1168 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  BlackPeral

As most of us are aware, the stock sound system is quite lacking in many areas. I came from a car that I had a sub in so I've grown accustomed to the deep bass, but also this stock system is lacking clarity when pushed in anyway.

This weekend I'm planning on installing a full system upgrade and just wanted to pick the minds of you bright people on what issues I might run into or advice you might have.

I'm going to be adding the sub I had previously which is a JBL BassPro GT12 Powered/Ported sub. This ended up not being enough, and I acquired dual kicker comp R 12's that packed the punch needed.

I'm also adding a JBL dsp4086 amp/dsp combo. The plan is to have the front mids and tweeters separate, which my understanding is that it will require me to run new speaker wire to the doors, then having the rears on channel 5 and 6, and then using channels 7 and 8 to feed the sub. The sub has a high level converter that I figured id have to use, this would allow me to use the DSP functionality of the amp to control the signal to the sub and get past that awful high pass filter that honda puts on the rears.
A few things happened here, One I did not know where to put the amp, as my initial plan to put it in the rear was rather difficult. The hard part was trying to get wires to and from the amp, those side channels by the doors are only so big, and running 4 sets of speaker wires, and a multi conductor cable to and from the rear was a rather large ask. Putting the amp in the front was a no go because I was unsure where to mount it, or how to power it.

As far as speakers: I was quite the fan of the Hertz Uno series components, so I have a pair of 6.5" and a pair of 6.75", figured id put the 6.75 in the front and the 6.5 in the rear. This also changed. I returned the 6.75 hertz and put the 6.5's in the rear. for the front's I got Focal ASE-165, which is part of their auditor series, supposedly the 2nd evo of the line.

Powering it all I'm planning on running a 4 gauge wire (with an 80 amp fuse (amp recommend fuse is 40A and sub is 25A)) back to a fused distribution block in the rear. Ground being distributed from a local point as well, if anyone has specific recommendations of where to ground that would be appreciated. So the 4 gauge wire did get run, slamazon sent me the wrong wiring kit, so I didnt get the dual amp kit. I did manage to find a factory ground right behind the driver side rear seat (under the carpeting)

I did also manage to find the Axxess AXDSPH-HN2 harness so I can pull a feed from the head unit. Im planning on running a 9 conductor wire from the radio to the amp in the rear, and then running new speaker wire from the amp back to the front.

What I'm not so solid on yet is where to mount the amp, I was thinking of acquiring a sheet of ABS plastic and then trying to mount that to the back of the rear seats with all the cables all neatly managed on it. But i'm not sure if I can just drill into the back of the seats without an issue?

My other thought is if I should be concerned about power with all this. The Amp is rated at 1000w and the Sub is rated at 450W, but realistically the system will never be at full power. I don't make a habit of listening to sine waves.

Just looking for feedback, all is appreciated.
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Sounds like a solid plan and you got your bases covered. I grounded right behind the rear seats here ⬇ under the carpet.

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I actually dont have a picture of the ground point. But that section curves up and was able to drill a hole and use a bolt.

You could mount the amps behind the rear seat. Just don't screw throught the section of the rear arm rest. It's much thinner then the rest and you could go all the way through to the other side. It's also some type of metal so don't use wood screws.

Your not running much power but the factory Honda batteries really suck. Find you a good AGM battery and you'll avoid any electrical issues. I used an XS-POWER D4800.

Good luck.
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So a little update to this:

Was rather unsuccessful with this install at first. I've learned very quickly why professionals make their coin on installs. My first major issue was that slamazon sent me the wrong power kit, While I needed a dual amp kit they sent me a single kit. Even with that, it still took me a while just to install the subwoofer.

For the subwoofer, running the power wire wasn't that difficult, with a combination of zip ties and screwdrivers, once you're through the grommet in the fire wall, the rest of the car is easy to snap off and on. My subwoofer amp has speaker level inputs, so since I wasn't able to install the amp I opted to use these for the time being. I initially tapped the rear speakers, but as you can find evidence of all over this forum, there is an awful bass curve on the rear speakers, so I ended up tapping the front speakers.

To tap the front speakers, I really wouldn't fuss with trying to get a speaker wire into the door panels. I tried rather unsuccessfully for about an hour. Which is why my plans for an amp has changed. I found it was much easier to tap them before the door. I assume it would be easier to tap wire coming off the radio if you use a harness but I wasn't pulling my dash apart this weekend. There is a plug right before where the rubber gasket it is in the door that comes right off to make it easier to tap them. its the pink and grey wires on the drivers side, and the black and red on the passengers side.

After tapping the front speakers there is definitely a difference then the tapping the rears, but I'm finding it's still leaving me wanting more, it sounds like the stock head unit is still rolling off the bass and reducing it to some capacity. I've got a Kicker KeyLOC on the way that I'm hoping will help restore some of that bass. I was debating on whether the KeyLOC or an LC2i would be more effective for my woes, and I went with the KeyLOC because it has time delay adjustment as well, which I'm hoping will also help. It might end up being that my JBL BassPro12 just isn't powerful enough, It's only 150W RMS, and in my previous little hatchback it used to be more then enough, in the boat that is the accord, It might be that I need something with a little more power. But I'll cross that bridge another day, for now my focus is on trying to get a clean signal and then fixing up the rest of the audio.

This brings me to the rest of the car. I was initially going to put the JBL DSP amp in the back, and try running speaker wire to and from that amp in the rear, I'm learning that running that much cable would be a major PITA. Instead, I have a Kicker Key200.4 on the way that I'm pretty sure will fit below the radio, since I don't have the stock amp system, I assume there is enough space to tuck it away in that area. That assumption could come back to haunt me later. I'm hoping with the auto EQ function of the kicker, and simply pushing a little more power to the speakers will improve quality. Also making the install a little easier by reusing the factory wiring.

I'll try to update again when I have some results from this.
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Installed the Kicker KeyLOC over the weekend and wow has it made an improvement.

For the install, ran a wire from a fuse tap in spot 45 for the power and just ran another cable to the same ground I'm using for the sub amp. For the eq portion, Kicker's video about it does a better job at explaining what to do then the written instructions.

After it was all done its night and day. Without the KeyLOC, if you just use the high level inputs into an amp that takes them, or some cheap LOC, it still leaves you wanting more because of Honda's dumb eq they use to try and protect their tin can speakers. With the KeyLOC it absolutely defeats that and brings back the low level bass that was missing. WIth how well this worked I'm excited to see what the Kicker Key200.4 is going to do when I finally get that installed. The KeyLOC was the one part of this process so far that worked as it should right away. Still planning to upgrade the sub, because 150W isn't exactly providing the rumble that I'm expecting, but that's coming very soon.
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At long last, my initial install is complete. I am learning how you can quickly spend a lot of money to achieve the sound you want. This whole project had alot of changes from the initial scope, I updated the initial post with some of the reasons the first scope didnt work out.

Just to list the kit to get it out of the way:

Fronts: Focal ASE-165 Auditor Component Speakers
Rears: Hertz K165 Component Speakers
Amp: Kicker Key 200.4

Sub: Dual Kicker Comp R 12's in a Loaded enclosure
LOC: Kicker KeyLOC
Amp: Kicker CXA 1200.1

How does it all sound? Really good. Could it be better? Yes, but I think the more I tweak with it I'll find something I like. I think at some point I might need to put some real money in to speakers. The kicker key is awesome at how it takes alot of the guess work out of the EQ, The Focal Auditor's have a really sharp tweeter, that left un EQ'd can be a bit annoying, but the Key fixes that. There is a bit of a high noise floor, but that might be my wiring also, Honestly I was just happy it all worked on the first go.

Now some information I wanted to notate in one place because It took me a lot of research to find the answers I was looking for. I'll start with some basics.

If you have the tools, and don't mind drilling holes in your car, It will likely be easier to drill a hole. I did not do this and was able to cut a whole in the grommet and wire both power wires through. (4 gauge wire to the amp in the rear, 10 gauge wire to the Key amp) the Sub Amp has a 100 Amp in line fuse and the key amp has a 20 amp in line fuse. So far no issues with power draw.
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In the rear, there is a factory ground behind the driver's side rear seat, under the carpet. I just secured my ground to the same point. Did the same for the ground for the KeyLOC (will get to that in a sec)

For the amp in the front, There is another factory ground right under the center console.

For the sub, I initially had a 150W JBL GT-Basspro12, which just wasn't enough. Had to really push it get anything of worth. I ended up finding a good deal for the Kicker 12's and amp. 1000W total from the subs, and I barely am getting those close their potential.
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For signal to the sub: Some things to know about the stock 8 speaker system. The rear speakers do not get a full range signal, and it has a high pass filter that kills most of the bass. So it's best NOT to tap the rears for signal. I tapped the front's from the connector that goes into the door. (pictured it best I could, Blue wires in the photo are my speaker wires) Was damn near impossible for me to get anything through to the door, so figured it's just easy enough to tap it there. On the drivers side you need the Pink and Grey, and on the passengers side its Red and Black.
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Even after tapping the front speakers, It still has a slight high pass, as the stock honda speakers are half a step above toilet paper. I used a Kicker KeyLOC that restores the missing bass and helps defeat the bass roll off also. Fixes some time delay issues too. It can also be used as a basic RTA device, so its good to have on hand.

Edit: oh and to power the keyloc, ran a line from a fuse tap in spot 45, grouned it at the same point I grounded the amp.

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I still need to clean up my wiring a bit, the KeyLoc is just attached with velcro, I'm realizing now that I should probably move it lower so not signal wires are crossing power, same with the power and ground to the amp. All I'll say is it could definitely be worse. for what its worth, theres also a bass knob from the sub amp to the front. Definitely helpful to be able to turn it down if needed.
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For Rattles: I did put some sound deadening down on both sides of the rear deck, as well as the plastic it self. But what really helped was shoving some foam strips anywhere I could under the plastic in between the metal. There are some holes in the back around the trunk light that you can feel a space between the plastic and the metal, I just used some weather foam strip's and shoved it up in there. Now I very rarely have any rattles.

Door speakers and rear speakers are pretty self explanatory, the rear is a pain to remove as you have to take apart the whole back to get to it, but it was definitely worth it. Also worth noting that the signal going to the mids and the tweeters is the same, so if you have an aftermarket cross over, seems like your good to just use the mids and leave the factory tweeter signal unused. (thanks ItsOnlyaHonda) Sound deadening in the doors is a must as well, I didn't do much but it's already making a difference.

Getting to the radio was... interesting. Initially I was hesitant to try and take apart the whole dash, but honestly it wasn't that bad. This whole car seemingly is held together by clips so it all snapped off and snapped on pretty effortlessly. The actual connectors under the radio are a bit tight. I had to do some rearranging to get the harness to fit properly, Pretty much every aftermarket cable needs to be as far back as possible. I found a space deep and under the radio to put the key amp. I wanted it to be out of the way but also accessible if needed and here it seems to be, I can pull off the side panel a bit and fish the key amp out if needed.

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what's pictured is it when I have it pulled out, If i lift up the trim it fits in a space back up in there.

If you're able to get a Kicker Key amp, When your doing the EQ, things to note, make sure the engine is off and you use a USB key for the test tones, streaming it definitely does not yield proper results. The thing I regret now, is that since I tapped the sub signal after the amp, I probably shouldn't use the crossover function built into the amp, as it will likely then cross it over in the sub signal as well. Just means the whole eq has a bass heavy skew, but that also might just be a kicker thing.

I'm happy with but still tweaking, If I'm ever flush with cash and looking for ways to burn some I might think about adding a better dsp/amp, possibly better components, but for now, its leaps and bounds better then stock, thats for sure.

I'm very thankful for this community for all the necessary information to get this done. The research is a must. I'm happy to answer any questions (at any time in the future also)

Treated the ride to a car wash after I got it all installed :D

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Just for my own documentive reasons.

I've swapped the Focal ASE-165's with Morel Maximo Ultra 602 MKII's. The Focal tweeters were really sharp. Which with the kicker key, wasn't absolutely awful as the key was able to make it sound mangeable, but it still caused some hearing fatigue over longer rides. Plus there was some weird clicking noise in the tweeter at certain frequencies, but that could have had more to do with the installation then anything about the speaker itself.

The Morel's sound great. Still fussing with it but the tweeters still sound sharp and accurate without the associated ear pain that came with the Focals. Unfortunately though the morel tweeters are much larger so they did not fit as easily in the tweeter sails. I had to cut them up alot to get them to fit, I'm not super happy with that so I've ordered some other options off of ebay and aliexpress that seem like they'll do a better job. I'll know how that goes in a month or so when they get off the boat haha.
Quick question, how did you go about wiring the cabin speakers?
Quick question, how did you go about wiring the cabin speakers?
I reused the factory wiring, If you get the metra adapter you can just use that feed for a crossover, as the feed going to the tweeter and the mains is the same in the 8 speaker system. It isn't impossible to run new wires, you can fish wires through the gasket in the door, I managed to do it once but it was quite the pain so I decided just to use the factory wiring.
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