A client from Moseley recently contacted the team at Extreme Audio to inquire about upgrading the stereo in his 2020 Jeep Wrangler. As is common with owners of the new JL-chassis Jeeps, he wasn’t impressed with the clarity or output capabilities of the factory-installed sound system. We’ve already seen a few of these new Wranglers in the shop, so we knew exactly what it would take to make the listening experience impressive. We showed the client a few speaker options in our showroom and explained the benefit of adding a subwoofer to the system. He liked our plan and gave us the go-ahead to start the upgrade.
Wrangler Speaker Upgrade
The first step in fixing the unimpressive Jeep stereo was to upgrade the speakers. The stock sound system uses a pair of 4-inch midrange drivers in the dash, a set of small middlers (industry slang for a midrange and tweeter) and a second set of 4-inch mids in the overhead soundbar. In terms of making bass, it doesn’t.
We started by taking the lower section of the dash apart to remove the factory speaker enclosures and replace them with a set of Metra units. The Metra solution has room for a 6.5-inch speaker that will provide dramatically improved efficiency and midbass performance. We used a set of Alpine R-S65C.2 component speakers. The tweeters from the set are mounted to a set of custom-made ABS plastic adapter plates so that they fit perfectly into the stock location on top of the dash.
For the speakers in the soundbar, we used SSV Works JJT-SAO65 adapters to replace the 4-inch speakers with a set of Alpine R-S65.2 6.5-inch coaxial speakers. The adapters require some permanent modifications to the soundbar, but it’s worth the effort.
Jeep Subwoofer System
As mentioned, in order to produce realistic bass from this Jeep Wrangler stereo upgrade, we suggested that a subwoofer was a good investment. After listening to several solutions in our showroom, the client settled on a Jeep-specific solution from JL Audio in the form of its SB-J-JL4DPAS/10TW1-4 Stealthbox. This enclosure is designed specifically for 2018 and newer Jeep Wrangler Unlimited vehicles and features a single 10-inch 10TW1-4 4-ohm subwoofer. JL includes the cool trim panel on the front of the enclosure.
The fiberglass enclosure bolts to the rear fender using a heavy-gauge steel bracket to ensure that it won’t move. Should the client decide he wants more bass, JL offers a matching enclosure that fits on the driver’s side of the vehicle.
ARC Audio System Amplifier
The upgraded stereo is powered by an ARC Audio X2 1100.5 five-channel amplifier. The amp is mounted under the driver’s seat using spacers to keep it off the floor in case the carpet gets wet. The amp is rated to produce a beefy 150 watts per channel into the front speakers and 275 watts to the subwoofer. Should the client decide to add a second sub, the subwoofer channel on the amp can produce as much as 500 watts of power.
We used a PAC AmpPRO AP4-CH41 R.2 interface to extract an audio signal from the factory radio and feed the new amplifier. Our technicians completed the installation by fine-tuning the crossovers on the amplifier to work with the new speakers and setting the sensitivity controls so that the system will play loudly without distorting. Proper level setting is paramount to preventing unwanted hiss and noise from interfering with the performance of the audio system.
Jeep Wrangler JL Stereo Upgrade
After about a day and a half of work, we had the stereo upgrade finished and the vehicle reassembled. After finishing our quality control process and auditioning evaluation, we called the client to let him know his Jeep was ready to go. He was thrilled with the way the new stereo sounds and loved that everything had been integrated seamlessly with the factory source unit.
If you’re interested in upgrading the stereo in your Jeep, drop by Extreme Audio in Midlothian or Mechanicsville and speak with one of our product specialists. We’d be happy to help you choose an upgrade that meets your performance goals and works with your budget. For more information, give our store nearest you a call, or send our team an e-mail using the contact form on our website.