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No Brainer 4" drop-in speaker upgrade phenomenon

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by wiztecy, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    So was looking at many upgrading speakers of the Roadster over the years. Focals looked like my speaker of choice, found a local audio shop (Lotts Audio of Santa Cruz) who did a priceless installation of a Roadster with an 8 way install of the Focals. They went with 5 1/4" for the rears and put tweeters in the rear upper speaker housings. Looked good. I had a Roadster that came with the full non sub / audio tweeter Blaupunkt system. Stopped off at Lotts Audio today and met the person who did the 8-way install on the earlier Roadster. Told him I was looking for more bass and would go 5 1/4 in the rear, looking for speaker rings really. He said don't do that, stick with the 4" and go for these JL Audio 2 way speakers. They were $109 per set. He compared them to the Focals and the sounded great in comparison. He said the Focals were designed with a Subwoofer in mind, these were not. I asked about installing door tweeters, and he said they were not needed nor designed to be in place with these speakers.

    I took pics, the JL's are taller, as you can see. The rears I didn't think I could mount them. They bottom out not like the Blaupunkts. However everything bolted down nicely when I screwed the rears down. Clean like factory.

    As for the sound, they sound awesome. I actually had to put the fader favorable to the front by one notch for an ideal sound perspective / bass. And yes they thump!

    I'm not into cutting, adding, hacking, or modifying things that don't need that. So for myself, looking at this, consulting your well known audio expert is prime whom you trust. For those in the Bay Area check out Lotts.

    The JL speakers I purchased were the JL TR400-CXi series.
     

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  2. bart513

    bart513 Member

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    You love that bass that bass that bass NO TREBLE, lol
     
  3. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    Thanks for the tip! I just ordered a set. I have never been happy with the speakers but was too lazy to find a good drop-in replacement on my own. If it's that easy, at that price, why not...
     
  4. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Do you still run the same head unit?

    I'm thinking of switching to the Pioneer Android Auto unit.
     
  5. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #5 wiztecy, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
    Yes its that easy. I saw on Amazon.com these same speakers for $66! The audio shop discounted mine to $90. I wouldn't have heard nor tried them without their expertise.

    Note in my pics the JL's are taller, so the only thing you'll run into is with the rear installation. It'll appear that the speaker will not go down and fit, since its laying on the top part of the rear firewall. However when you tighten up the screws everything cleans right up. Test to ensure you don't have vibrations/rattles and you're good to go.

    I swapped out my stock single din Blaupunkt for a single din Nakamichi head unit, the CD-400.

    Nakamichi CD400 Head Unit swap for the Blaupunkt - Speakers came alive and sound

    It drives more amps per channel than the Blaupunkt. It cleaned up the sound and the stock speakers were way more responsive. Love it and it really fits the car. I'm not a large screen / double din type of guy. I like keeping things simple, especially with the 1.5 version of the Roadster. Just seems more fitting for the car.
     
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  6. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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  7. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I got 2 pairs of the $66 JL TR400-CXi from Amazon and installed them yesterday. I got to try them out on a long drive today. Note that I had the base 2.0 stereo; I still have the base 2.0 JVC headunit, and I don't have a subwoofer. The stock speakers I pulled out of my car didn't look nearly as nice as the ones wiztecy has pictured above - smaller magnet, no tweeter, soldered connections.

    Wow, that is indeed a notable step up - very impressive for the price! Thanks for the tip, wiztecy. I usually didn't use the stereo before, because at low volumes I often couldn't make out the music (even with LOUDNESS set to 3 on the head unit), and turning it up high enough on the freeway was often near the point where the sound started to distort. Now I have head unit LOUDNESS set to 1 and can easily hear the music at low volumes. It does still distort at high volumes, but not as soon as before. I installed the new speakers on one side first and used Balance to compare the sides; it's like the stock speakers had no bass at all!

    They are still 4" speakers, so don't expect too much (especially if you stick with a cheap head unit like I did). They can only move so much air, so it's not a really visceral thump-the-back-of-your-head bass experience. The mids seem a little muddled and I think there's some highs missing, though my ear isn't that great. It won't turn your stereo in to a high-end audiophile system, but even if it could, the Roadster would not be the place to put it. I think it's reasonably appropriate for the car, though I admit a separate subwoofer would still be nice.

    The hardest part, by far, was getting the right screwdriver to get out the annoying screws close to the windshield. I ended up using a stubby screwdriver, and a flexible screwdriver, AND a 90-degree screwdriver. But you really do just have to:
    • pry off the mesh speaker covers
    • take out four screws per speaker
    • pull out the speakers (the front ones were a little stuck, heat-glued to the dash)
    • clip the wires (the old ones were soldered on in my car; looks like they weren't in wiztecy's)
    • strip 1/2" of insulation off the wires (it seems to be 16 awg)
    • crimp the included push-on terminals on the wires; the bigger ones go on the wires with the stripes
    • slip the push-on terminals on the speakers
    • stuff the speakers back in to the holes
    • tighten the four screws
    • cram the covers back on (the JLs come with covers like wiztecy used, but I put the stock ones back on)
    I'm a software guy, and even I could do it.
     
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  8. AltPowr

    AltPowr Member

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    Anyone try these speakers with the upgraded Alpine unit in a 2.5 Roadster? If I recall, it has a 7 speaker system - so two dash, two door tweeters, two rear shelf, and the subwoofer. So maybe replacing the rear shelf may be good, but replacing the dash ones might screw up the wiring to the door tweeters and crossovers? Or are the speakers in the upgraded "infotainment" system better than the base system already?
     
  9. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    I've received 4 of these JL Audios yesterday and will be doing the switch this weekend.
     
  10. Alexandersims

    Alexandersims Member

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    keen to see how you get on David. Really want to do something to the audio quality when I have time...
     
  11. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Glad you like them Chad!

    How many watts per channel is your head unit? Remember that your speakers can only perform as well as your amp / head unit. My Nakamichi head unit (CD-400) is 47 watt per channel and has fabulous sound quality / performance. I just bought another Nakamichi (NA350IBTR) to play around with, this one is 50 watts per channel. What's nice is that Nakamichi uses an ISO / standard connection on the head unit itself for the wiring harness, so I can remove and slide the other head unit in without any modifications. The Nakamichi NA350 (single din) is going for a steal on eBay hence why I bought another one, $109 shipped!

    NEW NAKAMICHI AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA Receiver with Bluetooth NA350IBTR NA-350IBTR
     
  12. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    OK so I switched the rear ones today. A really fiddly job even with my 38mm stubby screwdrivers. I wanted to get a flexible shaft for my hex bit set but the hardware store was out.

    I had to use the original Tesla screws as the long ones with the JL Audio speakers were too stiff to attempt to put in. Interestingly, the Tesla screws on the drivers side were shorter than the passenger side.


    Anyway, even with the rear ones switched there is a night-and-day difference. I can use the fader to move from the front to the rear and it's really noticeable. Cutting the sub totally still gives a decent amount of bass (not to the level that you can feel it through the seat but reasonable nonetheless). But it's the top end that is much clearer. I can give it a lot of volume without the vocals becoming muddy.

    Worth the £55.
     
  13. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Awesome! I didn't even attempt to use the JL supplied screws, so thanks for posting that. The stock screws looked of high quality and had a flat washer head built into them hence why I reused them. All were of the same length.

    Only thing I need to work on mine are some minimal dash vibrations. There's one speaker up front and one in the rear that needs addressing to make it a finished job, all since these speakers push out more bass than the stocks.

    Very pleased with the recommendation given by Lotts.
     
  14. walla2

    walla2 Member

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    I also installed these in the rear of my 2.0. Very happy with the improvement.

    Thanks for the recommendation.
     
  15. supersnoop

    supersnoop Tesla Roadster #334

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    Curious if anyone has tried any other speakers. The Apline SPS-410's are a highly recommended drop-in replacement for my other car. They're a little less expensive and widely regarded as a great value for the performance.
     
  16. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Just to confirm, you have the stock 2.5 Alpine head unit and the sub woofer next to the battery behind the door? Are you also going to replace the front speakers?
     
  17. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Yep - it's a slightly different model of Alpine double DIN in Europe, but essentially our equivalent (without Sirius capability). I have the sub woofer and the door tweeters.

    I will replace the front 4" speakers as well, but as I am going to take the dash apart to replace the Alpine units with a new Pioneer integrated one, I am saving that job to do at the same time.
     
  18. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    Ok so the dash was out and the front JL Audios got installed. All round now I get crystal clear sound. Couldn't be happier with the amount these cost.

    I want to redo the rear right as I couldn't get it screwed down properly at the time but I now invested in a right angle screwdriver. But that's a quibble with my install skills and not the kit. Highly recommended and thanks again for the recommendation.
     
  19. heychubs

    heychubs Member

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    There is a guy on the Lotus forums that fabricated speaker rings for the dashboard speakers that allow you to go up to 5.25" speakers without any modification to the dash. I took a chance, ordered them, and installed them on my Roadster. They fit.

    Like Wiztecy, I didn't want to modify anything in the car that I can't restore to full stock quickly. I didn't even want to replace the head unit so these were a great option. I just swapped out the 4" to 5.25" speakers in the front, and matching 4" speakers in the back. Night and day difference in terms of sound quality with minimal work.
     
  20. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Do you have a link to where to buy the speaker rings? Is your Roadster a 2.5? Does it matter?
     

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