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Lead image

Eric S's 2015 Honda Accord Sport

Gradual upgrades make this everyday commuter car sound awesome

We really like this installation, not just because it's cool, but because we were in touch with Eric the whole time he was working on it. We always tell people that building a system in stages can be highly rewarding, and Eric's Accord proves our point nicely. Honestly, we had fun just following along!

Eric is an engineer by trade, so planning, innovation, and attention to detail are basically second nature. There's a lot of all three in this system, which combines a new Alpine receiver with the old factory head unit in one of the niftiest installations we're seen in a while.

alpine radio

The Alpine iLX-650's slim profile made it a great choice for the Accord's dash. Eric is impressed with the performance and functionality, too.

Items installed:

  • Polk db1001 tweeters in front door sail panels
  • Fat Mat damping mat
  • OEM Honda Accord EXL mirror sail panels with tweeter mounts
  • Donor OEM Accord radio (to harvest connectors)
  • Kicker Hideaway HS8 8" subwoofer (perfect fit under passenger seat)
  • Stock lower front door speakers
  • Alpine KTP-445U amplifier (in dash under head unit, where ANC module once resided)
  • Alpine iLX-W650 CarPlay head unit
  • Scosche HA1717B radio dash installation trim kit
  • Polk DB652 Speakers (rear deck)
  • PAC SWI-RC steering wheel remote adapter
  • Scosche HAA2B antenna adapter
  • Microbypass device
polk audio tweeters

The Polk Audio tweeters look like they're factory pieces.

The installation

"My approach was 'modular' in that upgrades had to be compatible with future mods, since I couldn't afford to buy this whole system at once. The goal was making my 105-mile daily interstate commute more enjoyable, so cost mattered and sound quality was more important than volume.

Polk tweeters

I installed the Polk db1001 tweeters right after buying the car new, using OEM EXL model sail panels, with molded tweeter mounts that were perfect for the DB1001s. About 2 years later, I added the amazing Kicker Hideaway HS8 powered sub. With just these two upgrades, a friend with an identical car but with over $3000 invested in modifications told me it beat his car easily (per dollar spent)!

kicker subwoofer

Eric needs trunk space, so he chose this compact Kicker powered sub and installed it under the passenger's seat.

Alpine amplifier and car stereo

The next upgrade, in the Summer of 2019, was the Alpine KTP-445U 45W x 4 amplifier, (which can be bridged to 90x2). This fit neatly inside the dash under the factory head unit.

The "pièce de resistance" was the addition of the Alpine iLX-650 CarPlay receiver in December 2019. This slim-profile beauty not only sounded amazing, but allowed burying the factory head unit chassis in the dash behind it without infringing on storage bin space below. The W650/445U was only connected to the factory speakers. All other harnesses remained connected to the buried factory head unit, allowing full function of the factory iMID display, including the back-up camera, MPG display, etc.

Polk speakers and factory system controls

The final steps were installing Polk DB652s in the rear deck and fabricating an "umbilical" cord to the buried factory receiver using connectors I harvested from a donor model found on eBay. With this umbilical, I can still make occasional adjustments to factory display settings like clock, auto headlight sensitivity/timing, etc. I keep the donor faceplate in a soft case and connect it only as needed."

Okay, let’s pause for a moment to ponder what Eric just shared. He created his own custom installation harness to allow all the car functions to continue working via the OEM display. Normally everything gets routed through the new stereo and inevitably some factory functions are lost. Impressive.

Later, he created a remote cable option using parts he took from a second OEM radio (purchased on eBay) so that he can make adjustments to the factory settings when needed. This is hardcore stuff that required lots of research and know-how. Not for the faint of heart.

dash connections

The sub controls fit neatly into this cubby in the center of the dash.


Why did you decide to upgrade your A/V system?

The stock system had zero high frequency response.

What's the first thing you show people about your installation?

The stock appearance. With the invisible sub and the EXL tweeter panels it looks like the car was built this way.

Why did you choose these products?

Quality and features per dollar spent, fit/space consumption, and future upgrade-ability.

What was the most difficult part of the installation?

Wiring and installing the W650, the SWI-RC, the KTP-445U, the HS8, and MicroBypass device. It was a lot to fit in the dash.

When asked what plans he had for future upgrades, Eric said that he wants to upgrade the front door speakers, add another KTP-445U amplifier so he could bridge both to achieve a 90W x 4 system, and upgrade the underseat subwoofer from an 8” model to the more powerful 10” Kicker HS10.

Sounds like a plan, Eric!

Vehicles in the Custom Car Showroom are submitted by customers and fans, and edited by Crutchfield writing staff. You can find more of these articles on the Showroom main page.

  • Eric S. from Toano, VA

    Posted on 8/6/2021

    This Eric S. As for the PAC SWI-RC there are two secrets to success for me: 1) I didn't disconnect the factory HU wiring when hooking up the PAC SWI-RC, I merely spliced INTO the key wires, and 2) I figured out what those key wires were not from PAC's wiring instructions (which were completely wrong and confusing), but from a couple of diagrams and photo shared across 2 or three threads by user "TMVB" on DriveAccord dot com, in the 9th gen Audio & Electronics sub-thread. I would love to share them here because they enabled me to get that SWI-RC hooked up correctly, but I don't know if Crutchfield would allow it. TMVB and I were friends and sadly he passed away in 2017, so he wasn't able to answer any questions as I worked through my system, but I know he would have cheered me on (and probably was anyway). The excellent Alpine iLX-W650 didn't exist when he was alive or I believe he would have done basically what I did, in lieu of moving his factory head unit to his trunk (because the Kenwood radio he used was a full-on double-DIN chassis and he didn't have room to bury the factory head unit behind it without cutting up much of the inside of the dash). Anyway do some searching on the above at drive accord dot com as indicated and you should be able to uncover TMVB's wiring diagram, and photo showing the harnesses on the rear of the radio and which ones were A, B, C, D, and so on. Crutchfield can tell you which are the speaker wires and power/ground.

    Commenter image

    Crutchfield Writing Team from Crutchfield

    on 8/9/2021

    Thanks, Eric!
  • Jason from Cape Cod

    Posted on 7/3/2021

    Hi there, Is the pac swc the way to go? I'm trying the aswc1 and running into issues with my handsfree Bluetooth buttons despite being wired correctly. I have a 2015 accord. Also, how did you wire in to retain the imid screen button? I have it connected correctly I think (pins 12/13 on the main factory head unit A connector) but nada. Thanks!

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 7/6/2021

    Jason, Just in case you don't hear back from Eric, we can help you figure it out. With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human, anyway. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • LouisXIII from Eugene

    Posted on 4/1/2021

    That installation inspired me to surprise my mom with her Honda, I wish there were little more detailed pictures of behind the dash installation part

  • Gil from SAN ANTONIO

    Posted on 12/21/2020

    Message for John from Novato, I have a 2013 accord coupe ex-l and would LOVE to upgrade my sound quality. I'm glad John Harrison from Jacksonville, shared his experience with attempting to replace factory speakers and not getting the quality he expected from aftermarket speakers. I have ran into this issue as well and would love to hear about your set up with the new amps and speakers. I currently have the factory 360 watt am/fm/cd premium audio system with 7 factory speakers including subwoofer. I would like keep my factory head unit, add any amps recommended as well as speakers but would not want a box in trunk or under any seats. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I just need a better systems than my wife's factory system in her 2016 Jeep Cherokee, Limited..IT SOUNDS GREAT but I have no clue what kind of speakers or system it Thanks Crutchfield and everyone posting, my first time on here.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 12/21/2020

    Gil, Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Eric S. from Toano

    Posted on 12/18/2020

    This is Eric S. again - thanks to all for the kind words! In answer to John from Jax: I have owned multiple Hondas and in just about all cases I found the stock speakers hard to improve upon (except treble response) overall unless you have LOTS of power AND some really high-end speakers (like the $300+ Pioneer D-series components I put in a past Honda). In this 2015 Accord I tried the nice Polk DB6502 component 6.5" speakers and even with the 45-wpc Alpine KTP-445U and iLX-W650, the stock door speaker coupled with the added-on Polk dB-1001 silk dome tweeter sounded better than the Polk setup I had installed on the other side. It was a difference my wife also could hear. So I sent the Polks back (thank you Crutchfield!) and am standing pat for now. Keep in mind that the added-on Polk dB-1001s are a key part of this. Also, a friend noted that there is a new short-depth-chassis Pioneer unit available (DMH-W4660NEX, with wireless CarPlay!) that, at 3-3/8" depth, *should* also allow a buried factory HU setup like this.

  • John Harrison from Jacksonville

    Posted on 11/21/2020

    Nice setup, beautiful car thanks for taking the time to outline your system. I have a 2013 sedan, at first all I did was upgrade with a 2 12 inch Kickers and a Kicker Mono/bridged amp which was fine as the stock speakers 2 front and 2 rear are fairly load enough but just not quite as loud as Id like. Soooo I twice bought top end speakers 1st set was Alpine and 2nd set was Fosgate. The incredible thing is that before I finished the install I always test the speakers and both times the little yellow Honda speakers were much louder and sounded better than the aftermarket high end speakers I bought. So I twice hooked it back up the way it was. I never used an amp for those 4 as I assumed that a better speaker brand would sound at least as loud and better than the stock ones but was not the case. I tell you this back story to get to my question which is... How can I get an noticeable increase in sound volume and quality for the 4 interior Honda Stock Speakers? I assume adding an Amp is where I went wrong but as I mentioned if my Honda speaker sounded better than both of the after market speakers with the same unit why wouldn't I just put an amp on the stock Honda speakers? Just curious your thoughts and/or any suggestions?

  • John from Novato

    Posted on 11/19/2020

    Retaining the OEM unit in the rear of the car for the purpose of still utilizing the top display is above and beyond what most pro installers would be willing or wanted to do. I have a 2013 Accord coupe and can testify that the OEM amp and speakers are trash. On the bright side, the OEM head-unit is not a weak link in the system. After having the low level signal output from the OEM head ran through a spectrum analyzer, the frequency response is flat. With that being said, I built the system around the OEM head-unit earning several 1st and 2nd place trophies at IASCA and MECA shows ( SQ not SPL) on the west coast and ultimately getting first place in my class in the IASCA West Coast finals. My point is that its possible to have an upgraded or even a high end system utilizing the factory head-unit as well.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 11/20/2020

    John, sounds like a nifty system. If you have time, visit our Custom Car Showroom and tell us all about your car.
  • Eric S. from Toano

    Posted on 11/8/2020

    This is Eric, & I wanted to respond to some Qs. To Benjamin, the Schoshe dash kit I used was just the physical plastic trim kit to mount the ILX-650 in the dash. I actually did not buy a "harness" at all, because I wanted to leave the factory head unit fully energized and functional (and buried in the dash). I merely cut the wires going from factory HU to the speakers (+\-, F&R, L&R) and wired the Alpine ILX-650's outputs (amp outputs actually) to those speaker leads in the dash. Everything else (power, ground, etc) I spliced into the the factory harness without cutting thru those wires. Of course the amp and sub got their own thick gauge 12V+ wire (w/fuse) to the battery. If I had to do it all again, I would skip creating an umbilical & controller from the salvage yard radio; it's cool but in hindsight it wasn't worth the trouble overall. Just put your settings on your factory HU where you want them & be SURE to turn off the factory clock/time display before you bury the factory HU so no worries about daylight savings. The ILX-650's clock is fine. Also don't cut your factory steering wheel remote connections, just splice into them with the SWi-RC adapter. STILL loving the ILX-650; the Alpine and Crutchfield are first-rate!

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 11/9/2020

    Thanks again, Eric!
  • Derrick Griggs from Tallahassee

    Posted on 10/22/2020

    Very impressive work with the wiring harness!! When I upgraded my head unit and speakers losing most of the functionality of the top screen is the worst, I feel like Im driving in the blind. The first the first thing I noticed when I began reading this article was that the top screen was active. Im glad I kept my old head unit now that I have a better understanding of what to do. Kudos to you sir.

  • Benjamin Cedillos from San Diego

    Posted on 10/10/2020

    Was there any cutting to the scosche harness kit? I am looking to get it for my Alpine ilx650 as well. Any additional info would be greatly appreciated.

    Commenter image

    Jon Paul from Crutchfield

    on 10/12/2020

    Benjamin, Eric's probably not going to respond directly to this, but we can help you. With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human, anyway. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.

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