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Jo's Awesome Kicker Car Audio Upgrade

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

Crutchfield writer Jo knew her factory audio system wasn't cutting it...she needed a car audio intervention. So she decided to replace her factory speakers with Kicker, and power them with a Kicker amp. Check out Jo's new gear, and ride along with her as she talks about the huge difference Kicker made in her sound.

After watching, you can read more about the details of Jo's audio system in our Car Showroom.

Read video transcript

So I've got my brand new Kicker KS 5-1/4" speaker. This is my old factory speaker over here. So you can see there's a much better surround, much better cone material. Another really awesome benefit of putting aftermarket speakers in is that they tend to have a much bigger voice coil and magnet. As you can see, it's like five or six times the size of this factory speaker. And the benefit of having a bigger voice coil is you get more control over the bass, so you have better bass response. There's more control in general-means more accurate sound. This is my old factory tweeter. It's pretty tiny. I actually could never really hear it before anyway — I thought it didn't exist. This is my new tweeter. It's a Kicker and it's a lot bigger. The dome's a lot bigger, better material, so I can't wait to hear what it sounds like. It should be a lot clearer. Better highs.

This is my new crossover from Kicker. And the cool thing about this is it's a lot bigger than the factory one, so that's a big benefit. It has more coils. That means you have sort of a steeper drop off for your crossover — lets everything blend better too. It's got this tweeter attenuation switch. So that means I can sort of control with a quick flip of the switch the volume of the tweeters, and so that will help me sort of balance out the woofers and get the right blend of tones that I want.

So the install is challenging, but pretty fun. The scariest part was taking the door panels off for the first time, hearing that initial pop and thinking, "Did I break my car?" But everything was okay. It was pretty straightforward. We put in components in the front doors, and two way speakers in the back. And just powering them off the receiver, they sounded pretty good. They added more details to my music. It was a lot more fun to listen because I heard more. But then after that the amp in there, that's when things really kicked up a notch. The music sounded almost fuller, like we gave the speakers the juice they needed, and it just took it to another level. It was amazing.

So one interesting thing I found was that I'm really loving the titanium tweeters. A lot of people say that silk is the best, and titanium or metal tweeters are too harsh, they're too bright. And you know, everyone has their opinion and I thought I'd be more of a silk tweeter lover myself, but the titanium ones are great because when the bass gets kind of heavy and there's a lot of other stuff going on in the music as far as lows, you can really hear the highs. You can hear all those details. They're not standing out to me. They're not harsh but they're there, and I really appreciate that because I was hearing brand new things in my music that I'd never heard before. And I'd like, "Oh listen to that" or "check that out". I'd be turning up the radio just to hear something again. It was very cool.

I have not decided where I want to mount the amp just yet, and I haven't really cleaned up the installation as far as tucking the wires away because I'm not sure where I'm gonna position it. But a good tip I got from our tech department was to use strips of sticky Velcro on the back of your amp. That way, you can position it wherever you like in your trunk and just see if that's a good spot and once you know you like it, you can mount it permanently.

So that's the story of my audio intervention from Kicker. And I had a lot of support from tech here at Crutchfield, and it's the same support that you'd get if you bought Kicker from us. So give us a call. We'll help you get started on your install.