Hey guys, whats the easiest way to install 2 JL 12w3v3's and a 500/1 amp with the factory interface? Also, if I install an aftermarket head unit, what does that do to the screen on the top of the dash? Do I lose the AUX port and USB abilities?
from what I have heard when you put a aftermarket head unit in the display just says FORD on it. I have not seen this just heard. Do stereo controls on your steering wheel?
The easiest way would be to buy a LOC (Line out Converter) that is what I have always used when hooking up a sub. I my self prefer to tape in behind the head unit but on some vehicles you can tap into the rear speakers.
Is the sound going to be muffled or distorted at all? Also, is there anything I can get (besides a little bass control knob from JL) that will allows me to totally turn the subs off? Basically something that will give me control of the subs only.
I believe in building systems from the ground up, not just installing subs and a basic sub amp...so consider my suggestion here only if you plan on taking it to a new level...
The factory head unit is crippled in a few different ways. It outputs a clipped signal about 1/2 into the volume knob. The frequency response is not flat, even with everything set neutral. It also changes its response with the volume!
That said, I'm still working on a solution where I can replace the head unit without having to resort to an aftermarket dash kit. For Escapes, you may be OK with a dash kit since you have a silver dash. My Tribute is piano-gloss black, and nobody makes anything like it. The solution I'm working on (and emailing Torrie about) is getting the '09 navigation-equipped model's dash panel, which appears to have a double-din opening. If it works, that means any single or double-din head unit will fit right in, just like a normal vehicle. If you can do that, then you can replace the silly factory head unit with something a lot more capable. If you can't (or don't want to) do that, then consider installing a processor to smooth everything out and give you control over the system. I use a 3sixty.2 processor currently to accomplish just that.
With a processor (also referred to as an OE integration device), you can take your speaker-level outputs from your head unit and convert them to something usable by aftermarket equipment. Most processors will also allow you to control EQ, time alignment, crossovers, and more. Personally, if you are going to run something of this level, I think you should consider running your front speakers active...which a processor will let you do. What that means is that you can run separate tweeters and woofers in the front, powered off a 4channel amp altogether, and each speaker will be adjustable for the best possible sound quality. You can continue to leave your rear speakers hooked up to the stock head unit, since they are virtually useless for the front passengers anyway. Your sub output created by the processor will send the right signal to your sub amp, so you can properly blend your front stage to your sub stage.
More to follow, if this is something you wish to consider.
Wow, you really are amazing. You write some pretty intricate and detailed stuff on here with no motive, thats really awesome! Basically what I'm trying to do is keep the little factory screen at the top of the dash active. I guess that means speaker level inputs or a sound processor. My main and probably most important goal is to keep it under $400. I have the subs, box, and amp right now, obviously a big chunk of it. What would you recommend at this point?
The budget of $400 means you're sorta screwed trying to get a processor involved. The 3sixty.2 is considered one of the more economical options for this job, and runs around $250-350 used or eBay.
So, you'll have to make a choice here. Either save up and double your budget, or simplify and make-do without a processor.
A good investment at this point is proper deadening materials. I've harped on this a bit on this forum in different threads, but the general point I want to make is you don't have to drop a ton of money for "Dynamat" stuff, but you do need to consider that deadening is critical to enjoy vastly improved sound. Budget maybe 100-150 for an "essentials-only" deadening job. I'll teach you exactly how to do this (and my other threads may give you what you want here.)
The next thing is to decide if you want to run active or passive for your front stage. Passive front stage means you run a set of "components" that you're probably familiar with, budget $250 or less. There are some damn good components for right at $150-225 or so. Now, the other option is to run active. What that means is each speaker is individually powered and controlled. Doing this means you have FAR more control (and more of a chance to screw up) with your system choices and setup. It also means you can buy individual drivers which can potentially reduce the cost of your speakers if you choose carefully. To run active, you must have a 4 channel main amp powering all the speakers (two tweeters, two woofers), where as passive systems only need one channel per woofer/tweeter pairing. To run active, a processor, or an active crossover device is necessary to send the right signals to the right speakers.
Now for what exact speakers to buy once you've decided active or passive,... I have a habit of not recommending a brand or model until I understand the type of music you listen to and more importantly the type of acoustic preferences you have. We can cover this later as generally it doesn't affect the price too much.
Lastly (for now), think about what amp you want to run for your front speakers. Remember an active stage needs 4 channels of power, and a passive would need only 2. BTW, screw those rear speakers, you build a powerful front stage and there will be NO need for amplifying or replacing your rear speakers. They mess with your stage image anyway!
Let me know what you think and if you are interested in heading in this general direction.