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Old 09-06-2012, 11:01 PM   #1
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Wild Sound System

In looking over the various posts, I don't see a lot of posts on sounds systems. After doing a good bit of research, I wanted to share a pretty hot setup.

I picked up an Aug. 2012, Diesel Tech Magazine that had an article entitled, "Rock Your Truck." It was an interesting article on stereo upgrades in today's world of IPhones, Androids, IPads, and Apps galore. The article pointed out a great reference for most any sound system is http://www.crutchfield.com. I use it to compare units and check out the various options and capabilities.

The article referenced four of their favorite picks for stereos that are a cut above the rest. The 4 units they reference are as follows:

1. Parrot Asteroid.
2. Kenwood Excelon KDC-X696
3. JVC KW-AV60
4. Pioneer AVH-P6300BT DVD Receiver

These are all awesome units, however, there is a unit that I found in my research that I like even better and fits my E350. It is a Kenwood Excelon DNX6990HD. This has a 6 inch screen. A built in Garmin GPS. It features a hookup to your IPhone, which connects your apps, Pandora radio, 4 channels, HD stereo, plays video's when in park, etc. With an additional accessory, it turns into a back up camera when you put it in reverse. It also comes with a 2 year warranty, which is not common for these receivers.

A good YouTube that spends some time going over the features and use is as follows:


Hope this helps anyone looking to upgrade their sounds system.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:46 PM   #2
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Re: Wild Sound System

Thanks for sharing.

Looking to upgrade some of the speakers.

Do you know the sizes for all the speakers?
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Old 09-07-2012, 12:35 AM   #3
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Re: Wild Sound System

If you want to put the speakers in the stock locations they are 6x8 inch units.
Find ones that fit Ford's or Mazda's as they have slightly different mounting clips.

I used some Pioneer speakers in the rear doors (the openings are not very deep so not all 6x8 speakers will fit) and added a second pair in the center. The front side door has a a place to mount one and I built a box to hold one in the same basic location on the drivers side. I bought a set of four Ford 6x8 speaker grills (6x8 speakers never come with grills and are very hard to find even online) on eBay. They were actually made for a Econoline van and came as a kit. (I have the number and the seller info if you need it)
The Pioneers are 4 ohm and the center and rear speakers are wired in parallel from the factory on vans with six speakers. My van had the wires for the center speakers available all the way to the b pillars on both sides so I just had to run a short lead from the pillar to the door. So two sets wired that way = 2ohm load.

In the front I used JBL 6x8 separates that were also 2ohm so this works out well.
In the front it is best to use some kind of separates as the speakers are mounted so low that they are at you knees while driving. By moving the tweeters up to the Door Triangle or the A pillar the sound is much better. There is quite a bit of room in the front doors so you could use 6 or even 8 inch separates.

You might be able to use 6x9s but they are quite a bit to big.
Since the doors are metal you would have to cut the opening out for the larger speakers.

If you are only going to do one thing to your van to help the sound system you should change out the factory speakers. I did a Pioneer Navi Head unit first with a sub woofer and it did sound much better but when I finally changed the speakers it really made it great.


...Jamie
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:26 AM   #4
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Re: Wild Sound System

I haven't researched the speakers yet, but it looks like Jamie just saved me a bunch of time on that. Thank you Jamie...that's some great info!
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:19 AM   #5
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Re: Wild Sound System

I also posted a short write-up on updating speakers and headunit in my 98 Ford SMB. See viewtopic.php?f=14&t=9377

I put in a Kenwood very similar to yours except w/o GPS (I can't recall the model number offhand). So far I've been pretty happy with it. I have a backup camera wired into it and am using the video out to run DVD video signal to a flat-screen 15" monitor in the back. I ordered from Crutchfield and, using their install kit, it was easy to install and looks OEM.

My only complaint so far regards using a backup camera with it. Because the head unit takes a few seconds to boot up at start, it's not always up in time to display the backup feed. This seems to be a pretty common issue with most new-type head units, though, and is not just a Kenwood issue.

Upgrading the stock Ford speakers makes a HUGE difference. Plus, the foam surrounds on my OEM ones were mostly shot, anyway. I didn't wire in the missing driver's side center speaker, but may do so after being motivated by your post. I have a big SMB cabinet on that side, so would have to figure out where to put the speaker.
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Old 09-07-2012, 07:48 AM   #6
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Re: Wild Sound System

Previous thread on adding double din Kenwood units.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/vie...hp?f=13&t=3412
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: Wild Sound System

Dang, I looked for threads on this and missed it!

One thing I don't know (which there are many others), can you wire these things to play videos without having to put the van in park? I could care less about watching them while driving, but I know it would be nice for Alyson (plus, she wouldn't bitch about my driving if she's preoccupied!)

Nevermind.....Tapatio answered it in the other thread. Awesome writeup with pics! Thanks a bunch.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:30 AM   #8
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Re: Re: Wild Sound System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopperguy
Dang, I looked for threads on this and missed it!

One thing I don't know (which there are many others), can you wire these things to play videos without having to put the van in park? I could care less about watching them while driving, but I know it would be nice for Alyson (plus, she wouldn't bitch about my driving if she's preoccupied!)

Nevermind.....Tapatio answered it in the other thread. Awesome writeup with pics! Thanks a bunch.
What your looking for is a video bypass. There are a couple ways to do it. You can purchase one that fakes out the head unit into thinking your in park w the e brake on, such as the PAC TR7, but you'll have to check on compatibility with your head unit. Or try and find a stereo shop that's willing to wire in a manual bypass switch which is what I have. I touch the brake pedal and flip the switch and video, gps, etc works. The guys that installed my alpine did it for me. Do a Google search for video bypass with the head unit u are using and see what you find.

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Old 09-07-2012, 09:06 AM   #9
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Re: Wild Sound System

I had a bit of a problem with my recent sound upgrade in my 1992 E350. It seems my van had a common ground setup for the stock speakers. I installed 4 new Kicker 5X8's and they sounded like crap. I had to have a sterio shop rewire each speaker from the speaker to the sterio so each speaker would have its own ground. When I was having that work done I had them install indoor/outdoor KB6000 full range speaker boxes. I have the boxes hooked up by the back doors on 25' cables so I can move them outside for campfire sound. I also had them install a small power amp to power the extra portable speakers.

http://www.kicker.com/kb6000
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:48 AM   #10
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Re: Wild Sound System

If you're an iphone/ipad user: Rumors are (as rumors will) claiming that Apple is changing the iphone/ipad connector. If I was buying a new stereo right now I'd wait a bit to see how that shakes out.

I'm annoyed at Kenwood. I bought a DVD/camera touch screen etc unit from them with software to connect our iDevices about 1.5yr ago but since Kenwood hasn't updated their firmware the compatible feature set is slowly going downhill. With the new cable format I'm half worried the only way to keep up would be to replace the stereo with a new unit.

Frankly I'm annoyed at the whole industry for not having standardized (and evangelized) a high quality aux input.
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