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Video: Upgrading Your Factory Stereo, Part 1

Replacing your factory speakers

I've written about car audio for Crutchfield since 2003, after four years as Crutchfield Sales Advisor, and 10 years as a music teacher. I'm an avid music listener, with a real love of classical and film music. I love having a great system in my car, and I'll still match the system in my 98 Ford Ranger (may it rest in piece) up against anything else I've heard for great SQ. I attended West Virginia University, where I received a Master's Degree in Music Performance and a Bachelor's Degree in History. Let's Go Mountaineers!

More from Ken Nail

I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.

For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.

More from Robert Ferency-Viars

Replacing your vehicle's factory speakers is usually one of the easiest ways to dramatically improve your car stereo's sound quality. In this short video, Crutchfield experts discuss how and why to change your factory speakers. They'll walk you through the process using a Crutchfield MasterSheet™ to make the job a snap.

The other two videos in the series look at other ways in which you can improve your factory sound system without changing the factory stereo. In part two, we take a look at a way to really boost the power and sound quality of your audio system. Then in part three, we show you how to enhance your factory stereo by adding other features and sources of music.

Video Transcript

Robert: Hi, I'm Robert. Sometimes you can't, or don't want, to remove the factory stereo. But that doesn't mean you have to settle for mediocre sound, or settle for the few options built into that stereo.

In this video, we're going to talk about options you have for upgrading the sound quality in the stereo without changing it. The first step to getting better sound from your factory stereo is to replace the cheap factory speakers. My buddy Ken will tell us a little bit about that.

Ken: This car has a very basic audio upgrade, and one of the most effective. The factory speakers have been replaced with aftermarket speakers.

Robert: That's right. In fact, this is my wife's car, and she really wasn't interested in getting a new stereo but she wasn't happy with how the original speakers sounded. They were muddy, and the sound only got worse when the volume increased. So I replaced the speakers to give her music the clarity it was lacking.

Ken: Many vehicles require that you remove the door panel in order to replace the speakers — that sounds kind of daunting but it's usually not that bad, especially if you have a Crutchfield MasterSheet for your vehicle — it's all laid out for you. With few simple tools you're ready to go. Now for this door panel, we've taken off a few of the trim pieces and we've gone ahead and taken out a few screws and you'll see the door panel lifts right off.

Once you've taken your old speaker out of the door, simply plug in the Crutchfield-supplied wiring harness to the new speaker, plug it into the factory connector, and the mount it onto the door with the screws that are supplied. And you're done. Once you've tested the speaker to make sure it's working OK, then it's time to put the panel back on. Just reverse the steps you did with the MasterSheet.

Robert: You get much better sound from aftermarket speakers, especially in terms of the level of detail and blends from lows to highs.

Ken: Yeah, and most aftermarket speakers work fine with the low-powered factory stereo. Some do require more power than a factory deck can provide. You'll want to decide how much of an upgrade you want before replacing the speakers so you know which speakers you're going to buy.

Robert: Exactly.

Ken: Now if you want to take your system to the next level, beyond what aftermarket speakers and maybe a new receiver can offer you, you're going to need to add an amplifier and a subwoofer.

Robert: And for the next part of our discussion, it just happens that I have another vehicle for us to take a look at — one that has a more serious audio upgrade. Let's go check it out.

Ken: All right.

  • Ed from Kendall Park, NJ

    Posted on 10/16/2016

    Great piece. I did not know about the Parrot System. I will be call you guys tomorrow.

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