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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have been mulling around trying to decide on some new speakers. I have been reading all of the threads on various speaker systems and whatnot on how to make these vehicles better. In my old (actually younger) days, I did the full blown component system thing. I had a brand new GTI that I drove off the dealer lot and directly to the audio place my buddy owned. They had it for 3 days and put in one hell of a system. These days as I have many more responsibilities such as house and bills, I can't really do that. Or should I say do that and get away with it....

I wanted to keep the factory HU and keep the Sync and not have to rip apart the entire system. I actually don't mind the stock system and speakers but lets face it ANYTHING will sound better than paper speakers. I wanted to just add a bit more clarity to the sound as opposed to adding power. I don't listen to rocking loud music with thumping bass. Just good sounding music while driving. I figured since I am keeping the stock HU there is no sense in getting components. I just wanted a good set of replacement speakers that I can install easily and not mess with a lot of stuff.

I was looking at JL Audio equipment and talked to a few guys at the stereo place. Ideally I want a bit more clarity and use the same sized speakers. I looked at the following:

Fronts: C2-570x



Rears: TR570-CXi



I figured the better units up front that had a better tweeter sound would be best. I will also add soundproofing to the door panels to help. I priced it out and figured the 4 speakers would be in my price range I am looking for. My one question is after talking to the stereo guys that with the HU that has no mid range adjustment, a speaker that has a better nid range like the JL line would help in the overall sound. I was looking at the line from JL versus the JBL line that has a bit better high end sound. Just trying to figure out which path will sound better with the HU. Since I can adjust the bass and treble only on the HU, is that a good way to go? I will go back and hear the sound of each with a few CD I have to finalize the plan.
 

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You probably already know my stance on the subject from my posts but:

The factory door locations don't work out so hot for the tweeter. Installing the tweeter higher up by the A-pillar or at least by the door sill area would be much better. The sound stage lifts to the height a little above the dash when done right. Obviously to do that, one must consider the advantages of component or separate drivers vs. coaxial.

The next item to think about is, time alignment. If the tweeter and woofer are separated, their time to arrive to your ears is different. This means you have to consider either now or in the future the possibilities of running active with processing power, which will give you the control needed to do this.

Basically, how deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go? Those speakers will want an amplifier, btw.

If you are keeping the stock deck, I do not advise changing the speakers unless they are as efficient as the ones replacing. The stock head unit outputs about 10W before clipping, and has a distortion profile that is a little sad to start with. I also know that the stock HU EQ's the sound a bit (called a sound contour), which makes some aftermarket speakers shrill or harsh when they shouldn't be.

Its a slippery slope, I can promise you. But regardless of what volume you listen to your music, good sound quality CAN be had in this car. My system is what I would consider a bit much for some people, but I am one of those guys who has to have excellent sound quality (read: I don't care about quantity) and the only way to do that in this vehicle was to start from scratch. The results however have been amazing.

For deadening, I recommend http://www.sounddeadenershowdown.com, his name is Don. A conservative amount of deadener can be used if you pick the right places to install it. Per Don, you want to cover ~25% of the flat metal areas. Then install your closed-cell foam and/or MLV materials. The other problem you'll run into are the big *** holes in the door. I like using butyl rope to create a gasket, and use the flexible kind of cutting board material and cut a piece to stick to that hole. Then cover that with deadener and create a seal. Then, use some closed-cell foam to create a gasket between the speaker and the door skin, so no sound waves bounce around in the door panel itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fourthmeal - I hear you on the ins and outs of going component and amp additions etc. But isn't there something that can be done easily in just replacing the paper coaxials with better ones? I mean an upgraded speaker just has to sound better given that the speaker going in is the same ohm, wattage etc.

If the HU puts out 10W it would make sense to get a speaker that operates in that range. The range of one of the speakers was 15-100 (per channel) so I may get ones that operate in the 10W range. The one reson I looked at the JL Audio is that they seem to be an easy replacement for Ford vehicles factoring in ohm, wattage etc. I really just want to replace the stockers with something better that will sound clearer. Plus I want something as easy as taking off the door skin, swapping in a new connector, screwing in new speakers and putting back the panels. I don't want to get into running amps and additional wires. If I were changing the HU then I agree that is the way to go.

Again just looking to do something to have a better quality sound without a ton of $$ and replacing the HU. Or if there is none or very minimal gain by just new speakers then I will not replace anything. The TR570-CXi are a direct drop in replacement basically recommended for the Escape. I can't imagine that they would put all of that verbiage in and not have it sound better...
 

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My responses in BOLD

sinister mob said:
Fourthmeal - I hear you on the ins and outs of going component and amp additions etc. But isn't there something that can be done easily in just replacing the paper coaxials with better ones? I mean an upgraded speaker just has to sound better given that the speaker going in is the same ohm, wattage etc. Yes, you can do better, but efficiency is lost in most aftermarket speakers. That means for a given watt (and you don't have many to start with), you'll get a given amount of SPL out of the speaker. Once you start running less efficient speakers, you need to consider amplifying them with a proper amp to get the same volume you had before without extra distortion caused by clipping. This is why the factory speakers are VERY efficient. Mine in my Tribute were neodymium ultra-light units, with integrated soft-dome tweeters in the front.

If the HU puts out 10W it would make sense to get a speaker that operates in that range.That's the maximum before severe clipping, mind you. Distortion starts in early on the stock deck. I measured that I was able to get to no more than around 1/2 the dial (on the front screen) before clipping was indicated on my processor. Its one of the main reasons I went forward with a head unit swap later. The range of one of the speakers was 15-100 (per channel) so I may get ones that operate in the 10W range. Keep in mind, this number doesn't mean much on the low end, but matters more when you start powering speakers up at the higher end of things, 100W, 80W etc. Its a thermal power handling limit, not a recommendation. Its what the speaker can take before cooking its coil. The one reson I looked at the JL Audio is that they seem to be an easy replacement for Ford vehicles factoring in ohm, wattage etc. I really just want to replace the stockers with something better that will sound clearer. Plus I want something as easy as taking off the door skin, swapping in a new connector, screwing in new speakers and putting back the panels. I don't want to get into running amps and additional wires. If I were changing the HU then I agree that is the way to go.

Again just looking to do something to have a better quality sound without a ton of $$ and replacing the HU. Or if there is none or very minimal gain by just new speakers then I will not replace anything. The TR570-CXi are a direct drop in replacement basically recommended for the Escape. I can't imagine that they would put all of that verbiage in and not have it sound better...
Just try to find speakers that are highly efficient, or amplify them. If you amp them, you can run less efficient gear just fine.

Brands are..well...there's a lot of them. I buy most of my gear from millionbuy, newegg (where I buy ALL my computer parts when I build and repair them), sonicelectronix, woofersetc, and eBay of course. On eBay, Audiosavings is my favorite guy.

Here's a steal of a speaker, and efficient at 91dB/W
http://www.millionbuy.com/oza5x7x3.html

91 dB
http://www.millionbuy.com/plkdb571.html

92dB, and a great basic speaker
http://www.millionbuy.com/plkmm571.html

95dB!! Now we're getting somewhere
http://www.millionbuy.com/cevvega68.html

93.5dB
http://www.millionbuy.com/jlatr570cx.html

Anyway, I want you to keep in mind that we wouldn't be having a discussion about sensitivity ratings if you were amplifying. The reason it is so important to look after the dB sensitivity when you only have 10W to work with is that wattage is consumed on a non-linear scale. To get 3dB louder, we have to double the power. To get 10dB louder (twice as lound), we must go 10X the power.

If you pick up the 93dB speakers, you will be able to get to 103dB (good) on peak without clipping severely. When you have 60-100W per channel available, you can see why this doesn't matter nearly as much.

The other thing is,...really spending a lot on speakers and not amplifying them is wasting money. You can do just as good with speakers like the CV's there and do your deadening and everything for the difference between.

I would either run STOCK rears and see if you like it, or run identical timbre-matched speakers front and rear. Ideally, the rears should not get your attention, so doing just fronts would be suggested. Also, the stock radio greatly contours the rear speakers and kills the sound quality. You won't get what you paid out of them until you replace the deck.

The JL Audio's you showed are reasonably efficient at 90.5dB, btw. Nice but expensive. Consider that you won't really be able to enjoy their higher performance without an amp. So its a waste until you amplify.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is exactly why I love this site. Knowledgeable people who explain not jut what, but why. Thanks for the info. Sounds like a small, quality amp to add to the system is the way to go for just upgrading the 4 speakers. That and some effecient sound deadening (according to the referenced site) is the way to go.

The other reason I was looking at the JL Audio ones is that I can get a hold of them for fairly cheap, specifically the TR series. That and they would be fairly easy to install. I was hoping to just swap in speakers and be done with it but it sounds like I would be gaining minimal advantages without additional amperage.

Time to do some further reading and see what you guys are doing for amp additions. Any quick references? Also does it make sense to get a 4-channel amp and add that power to all 4 door speakers or just do the fronts? Did some quick reading and a few threads point to just the fronts. Again keep in mind cost and retaining the factory HU. Time to read....

Thanks again fourthmeal.
 

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Good advice here. FYI, any 5x7 or 6x8 will be easy to install (drop in). Find a nice 4-ch amp, and run the front off of 2 channels. Run the rear speakers off deck power. Save the additional 2 channels to bridge to a sub later on (you will want one -- trust me).

A few examples which will not break the wallet:

(large!)
http://www.audiosavings.com/products/CA ... 3a8bd.aspx

http://www.caraudiodeals.com/mb-quart-d ... -2248.html

http://cgi.ebay.com/US-Acoustics-USB-40 ... 2a01a71245

(I have this one, and it works perfectly. I recently bought a 2nd amp from Audio Clinic. - originally recommended by Fourthmeal on here somewhere):

http://cgi.ebay.com/US-Acoustics-USB-40 ... 29ff193041
 

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If you are happy with the stock HU with Sync, then you can just get a pair of JBL GTO or Infinity Refference or Kappa 6x8's to improve the sound over stock. They have dual 2-ohm voice coils, and are designed to be driven by a stock or aftermarket head unit with lower distortion than a standard 4-ohm driver.

Sometimes, a better head unit than stock will make the stock speakers sound cleaner and more detailed without using an external amplifier. I'll use my parents vehicle as an example. They have a 2006 F-150 Supercrew with only 2 pairs of 6x8 coaxials that were being driven by a Ford Corprate radio. For their anniversary and christmas, I replaced their stock HU with a JVC Arsenal KD-A805 head unit (the one with Bluetooth and the TI/Burr-Brown 24 Bit DAC's and mosfet power supply), and it made an OBVIOUS difference. The stock speakers are able to play louder, with more bass, with NO distortion, and there is also a lot more detail and clarity. It doesn't even seem like the same stereo at all anymore.

Anyways, I think that you'd do just fine with some replacement 6x8's, especially the JBL or Infinity's...

L8tz
 

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Say "no" to the Kappas. Been there -- will never go back. They are efficient and loud off deck power, but the sound is horrible. My ears are still bleeding. They produce the harshest highs one will ever hear. They did have a nice button for adding more highs (+3db). What?! Maybe a -7db would have helped?
 

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Davis137 said:
If you are happy with the stock HU with Sync, then you can just get a pair of JBL GTO or Infinity Refference or Kappa 6x8's to improve the sound over stock. They have dual 2-ohm voice coils, and are designed to be driven by a stock or aftermarket head unit with lower distortion than a standard 4-ohm driver.

Sometimes, a better head unit than stock will make the stock speakers sound cleaner and more detailed without using an external amplifier. I'll use my parents vehicle as an example. They have a 2006 F-150 Supercrew with only 2 pairs of 6x8 coaxials that were being driven by a Ford Corprate radio. For their anniversary and christmas, I replaced their stock HU with a JVC Arsenal KD-A805 head unit (the one with Bluetooth and the TI/Burr-Brown 24 Bit DAC's and mosfet power supply), and it made an OBVIOUS difference. The stock speakers are able to play louder, with more bass, with NO distortion, and there is also a lot more detail and clarity. It doesn't even seem like the same stereo at all anymore.

Anyways, I think that you'd do just fine with some replacement 6x8's, especially the JBL or Infinity's...

L8tz
Except the distortion profile will be higher with a 2ohm speaker, by design. It will clip later, but you are drawing more than the tiny op-amps inside the head unit can handle cleanly.

The better head unit is 100% correct, and it is because of the Burr-Brown DAC's, and upgraded power supply (although real amps do this better.) The stock head unit has an EQ contour built in, which greatly distorts the frequency response from flat.

OP, I would consider an amp but you'll need to figure out the right place to pull a 12v+ remote signal. Our model year of vehicle simply doesn't have one stock. I think the best thing is to find an amp that has turn-on circuits via speaker level. I also think you should only improve and amplify the fronts (again, for staging reasons and for EQ contours in the stock HU), but have those other two channels available for a sub when you are ready. Installing a better sub where the factory one is might work, for instance.
 

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BTW, there is a reason the kappas don't work well in a car. The tweeter is far too aggressive for the environment. In a home system, with the right setup, it can be crystal-clear and nearly perfect for those wanting a very articulate upper range. In a car, with glass, plastic, and who knows what else reflecting, refracting, etc., and with the decidedly off-axis weakness the tweeter has, it makes zero sense to use them here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I assume both the Kappas and the Reference models are a no-no in this vehicle then due to the tweeter design? Honestly highs are what I feel is really missing in the stockers. I have the treble at max right now and don't think there is enough. Maybe a speaker that has really high highs could give me something I am missing? Been reading up on them and similar to the JL models, these seem to fit well as stock replacements. I also looked at the JBL GTO need to do some additional research.

If I were just to add in speakers only (4thmeal don't go crazy!) - What would be the best drop ins? Please remember I am keeping the HU and really don't want to add additional stuff. I know it is not what is recommended from you guys regarding speakers, but honestly I simply just want a bit better clarity. I tested the stock speakers today and I really won't listen to more than 50% of the available volume. I put it up to about 50% and drove and realized that is about the most I would listen to. I don't listen to LOUD music, just good music that I want to come in a bit clearer.

Again I appreciate the input from you guys that know this stuff.
 

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I switched my stock 6x8's in my 05 Mustang to Infinity Refference, and they sounded dynamite. They aren't overly harsh sounding. I also had replaced the stock speakers in my parents Topaz they had before...JBL GTO 6.5" in the front doors, and JBL Power Series 6x8's in the rear deck...again, with fantastic results with both the OEM deck, and then even better with a Blaupunkt HU.

The Stock HU in my parents truck was/is rated at like 10-12 watts RMS, and it ran out of steam at 1/2 volume. The new deck runs 20 watts RMS and is capable of 50 peak. At 1/2 volume on the Arsenal deck, the stereo is louder than it used to be with the original deck, and without distortion.
 

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I'd move forward with a PAIR of efficient JL Audios (the 93dB ones), or the Cerwin Vega coaxials I showed you which are 95dB.

I'd do just a front pair since you don't want the rears to throw high frequency cues anyway. Then seal and deaden the hell out of your doors, and gasket off the speaker from the door skin to make sure all sounds make it to the cabin instead of bouncing around in the door. Use the 1/8" CCF as your new vapor-barrier and glue that stuff on the door frame with the spray adhesive sold.

With the fronts done perfectly, listen and decide if you need to proceed to phase 2, which is amplifying. Or, adding a sub to get your bottom end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I installed new speakers all around this weekend. Went with Kappas up front and References in back. Did some sound proofing on all 4 doors. Admittedly it took a LONG time but I went slow and did everything correctly. I carefully removed all of the door panels and peeled back the factory plastic moisture barrier. Swapped in all the speakers which fit perfectly. For the kappas I basically used a stick on foam and placed on the little mini crossover boxes and then zip tied them to the door frame. The foam went in between to eliminate rattles. All 4 speakers fit in exactly with no issues.

The time spent really went into carefully pulling out the speaker wires as they give you zero extra wire. I hade to pull the wires away from the rest of the wiring to get extra length. Then electrical taped everything back up nice and tight. After the 1st one the rest went faster as I knew what to expect.

The sound is actually a major difference from the stocks. I really wanted to add some highs and the Kappas surely deliver. I left the additional +3 db button on up front and left them off in the rears for obvious reasons. After some time in the vehicle I noticed that the front left was not working then would work intermitently. When I power up the radio I hear a static noise from the bad speaker and it doesn't work. When it doesn' make that scratch noise, it works. I then realized after taking it off and inspecting that I swapped the + and - wires during the initial install and most likely blew the speaker. I swapped them to the correct position but it was most likely too late. All the others were wired correctly and sound amazing. I will swap out the bad speaker this week for a new one. It was my fault but they will replace it so I really don't care.

When the speaker does work, I must say that the sound is really amazing considering a stock HU, stock wiring and amplification. I am sure that as time goes on I will add an amp and a sub to match everything up better. I really like the sound of the speakers now and i hear a lot of highs that I could not previously. For now I am more than happy with the sound. I will do some additional research and look into a good 4-channel sub and drive the fronts and a sub.

Anyone know if the 2010 XLT model comes with a factory hook-up in the rear panel where the premium sub goes? In my VW it was wired with a plug in the event you upgrade to a premium stereo. I was hoping they did so I could have a line-in power source back there already. By the sounds of it in reading around it does not. Looks like some additional research is in order...
 

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sinister mob said:
I installed new speakers all around this weekend. Went with Kappas up front and References in back. Did some sound proofing on all 4 doors. Admittedly it took a LONG time but I went slow and did everything correctly. I carefully removed all of the door panels and peeled back the factory plastic. Swapped in all the speakers which fit perfectly. For the kappas I basically used a stick on foam and placed on the little mini crossover boxes and then zip tied them to the door frame. The foam went in between to eliminate rattles. ALl 4 speakers fit in exactly with no issues.

The time spent really went into carefully pulling out the speaker wires as they give you zero extra wire. I hade to pull the wires away from the rest of the wiring to get extra length. Then electrical taped everything back up nice and tight. After the 1st one the rest went faster as I knew what to expect.

The sound is actually a major difference from the stocks. I really wanted to add some highs and the Kappas surely deliver. I left the additional +3 db button on up front and left them off in the rears for obvious reasons. After some time in the vehicle I noticed that the front left was not working then would work intermitently. When I power up the radio I hear a static noise from the bad speaker and it doesn't work. I then realized after taking it off and inspecting that I swapped the + and - wires during the initial install and most likely blew the speaker. All the others were wired correctly and sound amazing. I will swap out the bad speaker this week for a new one. It was my fault but they will replace it so I really don't care.

When the speaker does work, I must say that the sound is really amazing considering a stock HU, stock wiring and amplification. I am sure that as time goes on I will add an amp and a sub to match everything up better. For now I am more than happy with the sound.
You'd be one of the first I've heard happy with Kappas but more power to you.

Reference in the back and Kappas in the front mean you have different timbre front and rear, not advised at all.

Anyway, swapping + for - does nothing for a speaker other than make it out of phase with the rest of the speakers. Bass can suffer if you do that (assuming the other speakers are in phase.) That's it. There is no chance of blowing the speaker from anything your car can do with the power or equipment you have now. Consider that you may have a grounded speaker wire (you mentioned stretching the factory wire, you could easily cut the insulation and create a short against the door metal.) If that's the case, you need to insulate either with electrical tape or heatshrink. Always run longer wire if needed, simply by solder splicing or at least butt-crimping the correct wire.

Without big power, you are not going to be able to blow a speaker. Even clipping a square wave through the head unit won't kill the speaker unless you are pushing close to 1/2 the maximum RMS rating on it. You are running the stock HU, capable of making about 12W. You haven't blown the speaker. You are MUCH more likely to blow the head unit with a shorted wire. In fact, the factory HU probably has a few blown parts inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I only had to unravel the black tape that comes from the factory. I didn't even use a knife on the fronts, just unraveled the tape and retaped what was removed. I didn't stretch it as much as I removed the tape and allowed the speaker wire to go a couple of inches lower to reach the speaker. Could be a bad speaker from the factory. It worked when the speaker wires were backwards then stopped working. Then when I swapped them it worked again then stopped. Now it does not work at all. I will replace it this week and see what happens. I could have missed something. I will check the wiring to make sure I didn't leave a wire exposed.
 

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You won't be dissapointed with those speakers, especially after some break-in time. The tweeters will sound less bright or harsh, but still be clean.

If you are concerned with clean sound, but want more bass, then I'd go with a small sub when you plan to add one. 10" or less (I like 8" or even 6.5" subs better than big subs when setup in the right vehicle, with the right enclosure and amp).

Hope you get your new speaker and that it works out for you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I got in this morning and the speaker worked. Wierd. At least the HU is still operational. I will get a new speaker set tonight and check out all of the wiring.

I was totally upset last night and my wife asked me what was up. I told her that one speaker wasn't working and that maybe I fried the HU. I expected a lashing but she basically said "Your going to keep the truck for like 5 years right? If the radio is dead then replace it with something better. Get what you want or what you need to make yourself happy."

:thumb:
 

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sinister mob said:
I got in this morning and the speaker worked. Wierd. At least the HU is still operational. I will get a new speaker set tonight and check out all of the wiring.

I was totally upset last night and my wife asked me what was up. I told her that one speaker wasn't working and that maybe I fried the HU. I expected a lashing but she basically said "Your going to keep the truck for like 5 years right? If the radio is dead then replace it with something better. Get what you want or what you need to make yourself happy."

:thumb:
Win!
 

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sinister mob said:
Get what you want or what you need to make yourself happy."

:thumb:
She sounds like a keeper. :peace:
 
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