A 2014 Chevy Silverado gets a Kicker audio upgrade
The Kicker VSS™ Powerstage™ enhances the sound of the factory audio gear
I began my Crutchfield career in 1997 as a Sales Advisor, helping customers find the gear that best fit their needs. Ever since Dad purchased a stereo system from Crutchfield in the '80s, I've been interested in electronics. My passion for movies and music also fueled my desire to get the most out of the gear I hook up.
In 2013, I moved to the Creative department as a copywriter for the mobile electronics division, possibly because of the suggestions I constantly sent them. This great move also let me learn more about the gear we sell. And as part of our Demo Days crew, I get to share this knowledge with Advisors so they can better help you.
More from Dave Delamere
Kicker's VSS™ Powerstage™ system enables you to keep the stock look and feel you're accustomed to, but upgrades the clarity and impact of your factory's audio system. With the Powerstage, you keep your factory radio and speakers, but add Kicker-caliber components to energize the system: a digital signal processor, an amplifier, and a subwoofer. Combined, they clean up the output from the factory radio, deliver a more powerful signal to your factory speakers, and add the bass that’s missing from the factory sound.
The best part of the system is that it’s all in a custom installation package that was designed specifically for the 2014 Chevy and GMC Crew Cab. Having vehicle-specific wiring connectors that just plug into the Chevy’s wiring and custom-fit mounting brackets simplified the installation and shortened the time required to get the job done.
The Silverado's dash layout looks great, so some owners may not want to change the look but still want better sound.
Installing the Kicker VSS Powerstage system
Step 1. The installation of the Powerstage system really followed the trail of the factory wiring, so we began at the radio. Once we removed the thin factory radio faceplate, we gained access to the wiring connections we needed.
A Wire Worm helped guide the wires behind the dash.
Kicker's creation of the "plug and play" wiring connectors meant that there was no cutting or splicing of the factory wires. Once connected, we used a Pro.Fit Wire Worm to fish the wire behind the dash panel on its way to the amp location.
Step 2. We installed the DSP/amp module under the dash on the driver's side. It included attached brackets designed to work with existing bolts under the Chevy's dash.
Our installer mounting the DSP/amp module under the driver's side dash.
The DSP/amp was mounted close to the grommet in the Silverado's firewall, which proved convenient for routing the power cables to the vehicle's battery in the engine compartment.
Step 3. We routed the power cable through the grommet, secured it to existing bundled cable with cable ties, and secured it to the battery terminal.
Running the SubStage wiring along the door frame
Then we moved back to the DSP/amp location, where we continued to run Kicker's wiring to the SubStage subwoofer location. After removing the trim in the door frame, we tucked the wiring inside the channel on its way to the back of the Silverado.
Step 4. Once the wiring reached the subwoofer location, it was time to mount the subwoofer. Kicker included custom brackets on the sub enclosure, so it bolted directly to the rear seat braces. The low-profile enclosure fit perfectly underneath the seat, so you won't lose leg room.
The Kicker SubStage subwoofer fit under the seat and pumped out strong bass.
Conclusion — Kicker opens the gate to great sound
While cables had to be routed througout the cab interior and in the engine compartment, Kicker's Powerstage simply plugged into the Silverado's factory plugs. And once it was in, we checked out a few tracks we had listened to on the factory system before the installation. We noticed much better stereo separation, a wider soundstage, and a tight, strong bass response from the sub — all without replacing the factory radio and speakers.
Check out our OutfitMyCar™ tool to see if there are any factory upgrade systems available for your vehicle, and feel free to contact our advisors if you have any questions about improving your system.