Looking for Factory Radio Improvement?

Factory Radio ImprovementStart shopping

Upgrade your car's sound

...without replacing the factory stereo

Kia%20Soul%20dashThe dash of the Kia Soul we used in our Helix Plug-and-Play installation

Factory stereo systems leave a lot to be desired. They’re often programmed with equalization (EQ) curves that compensate for the system’s lack of power by reducing the level of the bass, for instance. And because the speakers are all located at different distances from you, the sound arrives at your ears at different times, making your music sound a little muddy. Often, the best solution is to replace the factory stereo, but the dash designs of some vehicles can make that option difficult, or less than desirable.

Custom sound system upgrades to the rescue

Luckily, this problem has some solutions that let you keep your factory stereo and get spectacular sound, customized for your specific vehicle. The two upgrade systems we discuss in this article improve the factory sound of different vehicles in different ways — you can call us if you need a hand deciding which will work best for yours.

Keep your dash intact

In addition to improving the sound to match your vehicle’s size and shape, these upgrade systems are "stealthy," in that they’re designed to fit in your vehicle with no visible modifications to its interior, except for the addition of a subwoofer.

Option 1: Soundgate™ Powerstage™ by Kicker

Kicker%20Soundstage%20systemPowerstage system for the 2012 Ford Mustang

Custom fit and programmed to make your vehicle sound great

A Soundgate Powerstage system upgrade by Kicker will transform your vehicle's stock radio and speakers into a high-fidelity sound system capable of giving you full, accurate, and richly textured music. And it does it without changing the look of your car's interior or dash.

It plugs into your factory wiring with no cutting

The heart of the system is the Powerstage processor/amp module that plugs in between your car's stock receiver and speakers with the help of a vehicle-specific wiring harness. Kicker's technicians measured the acoustics of the specific vehicle's interior, then developed a program to get the strongest and cleanest audio performance possible from the stock speakers. The Powerstage module breathes new life into your vehicle's factory system, automatically correcting for the limitations of the factory speakers, then adding plenty of power so the speakers can sound their best.

Of course, there's a subwoofer with it

Soundgate%20subwooferPowerstage subwoofer for the 2012 Mustang
Powerstage%20subwoofer%20installed%20in%20the%20MustangPowerstage subwoofer installed in the Mustang

A powered subwoofer, built to fit exactly in your vehicle, supplies the bass you need for fully balanced music. Soundgate upgrades come with all the wiring pre-cut and terminated to make installation easier. Step-by-step, illustrated instructions make this sonic upgrade a fun and rewarding project.

They’re currently available for many Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, and Jeep vehicles. Use our vehicle selector to see if there's a Soundgate system available for yours.

Option 2: JL Audio StealthMod™

Add power and components to improve your sound

JL Audio Stealthbox

Stealthbox subs for the Camaro

A JL Audio StealthMod upgrade system works by replacing a few key components from the factory system, then adding an amplifier and a custom-fit Stealthbox® subwoofer to create a more powerful and better-sounding setup. Each StealthMod upgrade uses a different, custom-designed strategy to add power and improve the sound in the vehicle in which it works. Each package includes all the wires and hardware needed for a custom-fit, stealthy installation, along with photo-illustrated, detailed, step-by-step instructions.

Here are some examples of the vehicle-specific, customized approach JL Audio uses for these upgrade systems:

The StealthMod upgrade for a 2010-up Kia Soul adds a Stealthbox subwoofer with one 12" sub, a 3-channel amplifier, and a pair of full-range speakers.

The StealthMod upgrade for a 2007-up BMW X5 adds a Stealthbox subwoofer with one 10" sub, a 5-channel amp, a signal summing interface module, a pair of tweeters, and a new crossover.

StealthMod%20subwooferStealthbox subwoofer for the BMW X5
StealthMod%20installedSubwoofer installed in the BMW X5

These are just two ways to add improved sound to your car without changing the factory stereo. For more ideas, check out the Factory Radio Improvement section of our website, or give us a call and talk to our knowledgeable advisors. They'll help you figure out the options available for your car.

Gift Card The Great Gear Giveaway

Sign up for our email newsletter and then enter to win a $350 Rewards Card.