My stereo build! JL Stealthbox, Focal K2s, etc..

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OnTheReel

OnTheReel

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Their compatibility listings are all jacked up. According to them the 6.5” Focals I used don’t fit either.
 

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Makes me want to return my 6" component sets for 6.5" as they are the same price in JL, but they say they don't fit. Of course going down the rabbit hole with focal utopia or 3 way components since I have the factory 3 ways now. Where did you put the crossovers for your front focals? I suppose I could velcro them on top of the amp under the driver's seat and put the rears in the doors like you did. I was wondering if the tweeters should go in the dash or the upper doors. In the 3 way factory setup the dash has the mids and the woofers and tweeters are in the doors. I put the knob for the PAC in my dash to use as the bass knob, but I am uncertain if it retains that function when using the optical cable and not the analog dedicated sub out. Jl charging as much as they do for all of their accessories was a bit off putting. Why do you have the RCA inputs hooked up on one of your amps if you are using the optical cable?
 
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Makes me want to return my 6" component sets for 6.5" as they are the same price in JL, but they say they don't fit. Of course going down the rabbit hole with focal utopia or 3 way components since I have the factory 3 ways now. Where did you put the crossovers for your front focals? I suppose I could velcro them on top of the amp under the driver's seat and put the rears in the doors like you did. I was wondering if the tweeters should go in the dash or the upper doors. In the 3 way factory setup the dash has the mids and the woofers and tweeters are in the doors. I put the knob for the PAC in my dash to use as the bass knob, but I am uncertain if it retains that function when using the optical cable and not the analog dedicated sub out. Jl charging as much as they do for all of their accessories was a bit off putting. Why do you have the RCA inputs hooked up on one of your amps if you are using the optical cable?
No crossovers for the front. Active setup. Each speaker gets its own channel on the amp, and the crossover points and level controls are set there in the software.

IMO, if you have the means there’s really no reason NOT to do an active 3 way up front since everything is basically setup for it from the factory. Even an entry level 3 way set like the Flax would probably sound better and be way more tunable than just using a 2 way set. Besides, you already have separate wires / channels going to each speaker from the factory so it’s super easy. More than likely the tweeters would need to go in the door though. There is really no depth at all for anything else in that upper door location. The inner door frame is literally molded for the HK magnet which is a tiny neo unit. Both the dash and that door location are the same 2 way 3.5” speakers from the factory. Along with the center channel and roof speakers.

RCA cable is to feed the small MTX amp running the rear roof tweeters. Last minute addition to the setup. The RCA output on the VXi is another channel of DSP so it can be tuned / time delayed just like the speakers connected to the amp. Saves a little coin vs buying the 8 channel (although I still think that would be better).

Ultimately it comes down to how far you want to go. If you do an active 3 way up front you’d eat up 6 channels right there. Bring the rears in and that’s another 4 channels. Would get pretty expensive in a hurry. You’d also have to run 0 gauge to power everything, which seems like a real bitch vs the 4 gauge I used. Not much room.

As far as the PAC bass knob, I don’t even know if it does anything honestly. I turned it all the way up and left it plugged in, tucked away, and tied off. The JL knob is pricey but very versatile. It allows access to changing pre-set tunes, sub level, and main speaker level. I have a few different tunes set for different sources (and music styles) and the knob switches between them with a push of a button. You can even color code the pre-sets with the light on the knob so you know what’s what.
 

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Well I overnighted some JL C3-650s today to see if they will fit instead of my JL C3-600s. They have great reviews but I did see someone say they upgraded from the JL C3-650 to the entry level focal 3 ways and it was an improvement. Looking at the scratch & dent section I could get midline focal flax 3 ways front and 2 way rear for the same price as I am paying for the JLs. The million dollar question is will they fit? Of course crutchfield says none of the above will fit. I hate to return 4 JL component sets to get the focals to find out they don't work out. The higher end focals seem to be biamped and I'm not interested in that. I am only using the 5 channel JL VX am and don't intend to expand from that.
 
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Shouldn’t be a problem. The KX2s fit fine and the C3-650 appears to be a 1/2” shallower than those. Someone else here has the Flax 6.5 in their truck and they fit too FWIW.

The Focal Utopias are the only ones that “need” to be bi-amped. The KX and below can be jumpered at the crossover input if you only want one channel going in. Some of the Focals I’ve had in the past included the jumpers pre-installed, otherwise one can just make some out of speaker wire.
 

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Well I had a problem with my screen being dead with the CH42 harness. Thought it might be a dud so waited for another and screen still dead, taking out the drive modes with it. Been working with PAC and their pretty sure it won’t work on a trx because of all the trx specific stuff. Mine being Hartman instead of alpine shouldn’t matter at the dash as the only differences start at the amp. So it seems some other wiring must have changed between 21 and 22. They said it was a problem with the canbus voltage in some wires that wouldn’t allow the factory functions to all work right and have no solution other than suggesting I tap my source from the amp under the seat. Not pleased with the situation.
 

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No crossovers for the front. Active setup. Each speaker gets its own channel on the amp, and the crossover points and level controls are set there in the software.

IMO, if you have the means there’s really no reason NOT to do an active 3 way up front since everything is basically setup for it from the factory. Even an entry level 3 way set like the Flax would probably sound better and be way more tunable than just using a 2 way set. Besides, you already have separate wires / channels going to each speaker from the factory so it’s super easy. More than likely the tweeters would need to go in the door though. There is really no depth at all for anything else in that upper door location. The inner door frame is literally molded for the HK magnet which is a tiny neo unit. Both the dash and that door location are the same 2 way 3.5” speakers from the factory. Along with the center channel and roof speakers.

RCA cable is to feed the small MTX amp running the rear roof tweeters. Last minute addition to the setup. The RCA output on the VXi is another channel of DSP so it can be tuned / time delayed just like the speakers connected to the amp. Saves a little coin vs buying the 8 channel (although I still think that would be better).

Ultimately it comes down to how far you want to go. If you do an active 3 way up front you’d eat up 6 channels right there. Bring the rears in and that’s another 4 channels. Would get pretty expensive in a hurry. You’d also have to run 0 gauge to power everything, which seems like a real bitch vs the 4 gauge I used. Not much room.

As far as the PAC bass knob, I don’t even know if it does anything honestly. I turned it all the way up and left it plugged in, tucked away, and tied off. The JL knob is pricey but very versatile. It allows access to changing pre-set tunes, sub level, and main speaker level. I have a few different tunes set for different sources (and music styles) and the knob switches between them with a push of a button. You can even color code the pre-sets with the light on the knob so you know what’s what.
As an active 3 way user I agree, this is the way to go if you can. I have the 3 way, plus a center channel to add even more depth. Can't tell you enough how good it sounds. I also have the 2 rear doors, plus we tapped into the two high speakers above the rear seats head, very low volume, but enough to round out the sound.

I don't believe we ran 0 gauge wires for the amps, but these are much more efficient than my amps of old so that is probably the reason.

I can't help you much with the wiring questions as I did not do the installation. But if I need to ask him questions for you guys I'm more than happy to assist.

Good luck!
 
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Well I had a problem with my screen being dead with the CH42 harness. Thought it might be a dud so waited for another and screen still dead, taking out the drive modes with it. Been working with PAC and their pretty sure it won’t work on a trx because of all the trx specific stuff. Mine being Hartman instead of alpine shouldn’t matter at the dash as the only differences start at the amp. So it seems some other wiring must have changed between 21 and 22. They said it was a problem with the canbus voltage in some wires that wouldn’t allow the factory functions to all work right and have no solution other than suggesting I tap my source from the amp under the seat. Not pleased with the situation.
That stinks, I know some other guys here hardwired that PAC module in before the CH42 harness even existed. Might still be an option although not ideal. Either way, let me know what you come up with.
 

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As an active 3 way user I agree, this is the way to go if you can. I have the 3 way, plus a center channel to add even more depth. Can't tell you enough how good it sounds. I also have the 2 rear doors, plus we tapped into the two high speakers above the rear seats head, very low volume, but enough to round out the sound.

I don't believe we ran 0 gauge wires for the amps, but these are much more efficient than my amps of old so that is probably the reason.

I can't help you much with the wiring questions as I did not do the installation. But if I need to ask him questions for you guys I'm more than happy to assist.

Good luck!
If you have a 22, and the HK system, I would be curious if your installer tapped the signal at the amp under the seat or in the dash? Are you using optical cable?
 
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I don't believe we ran 0 gauge wires for the amps, but these are much more efficient than my amps of old so that is probably the reason.
I was thinking about that. Running 2 4 gauges would also be an option. Just looking at what I had to do on my install, a 0 seems impossible or at least really, really miserable.

With 1600w across the two main amps I was right at the edge of what a 4 gauge would run, but it works. Partially because the Knuconcepts 4 gauge is rated a little higher than a normal 4.
 

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That stinks, I know some other guys here hardwired that PAC module in before the CH42 harness even existed. Might still be an option although not ideal. Either way, let me know what you come up with.
Will the JL VX amp still do all of the DSP tricks with speaker level inputs?
 
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Will the JL VX amp still do all of the DSP tricks with speaker level inputs?
Yes, you could still do tuning but you’ll be working around the factory EQ and whatever bass roll off they use. There are ways to correct it but nothing I have experience with. The other potential issue is I believe the Ram will shut down the channel of the amp if it doesn’t sense a speaker load. Kicker makes a little module that fools the system by giving it a load while you’re using the signal for a high level input to the new amp.

When I said hardwiring though, I meant retaining the PAC module and still using it to obtain a clean optical signal. I recall a few guys doing that and PAC was providing instructions on how. Hopefully someone with a 22 can provide more data. Because using speaker level inputs seems like a very compromised solution.
 

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If you have a 22, and the HK system, I would be curious if your installer tapped the signal at the amp under the seat or in the dash? Are you using optical cable?
Yes, I have a 22 and the HK system. I know he did something behind the dash and something with the amp under the seat, sorry for the lack of details. I may have covered some of this in my build thread but honestly, I'm not 100% sure. However, I can ask if you need me to.

But I do know from that PAC install we are running optics to the amps, that's a definite.
 

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Yes spending $2000 on an amp for the purpose of using the optical input only to be unable to do so makes me rethink the whole thing. My amp doesn't even have speaker level inputs, so I would have to get a 4 channel line out convertor. I know JL has those RCA plugs that you can put on speaker wires that some people use for the sub amp inputs, which would at least bypass the need for a line out convertor. I need to tap the signal before the amp though since the amp outputs are actively crossed over. I haven't yet looked to see what PAC device would be most appropriate but I can already envision the rat nest under the seat where I had planned to put my 3 way crossovers on top of the amp. I will definitely need the JL bass knob now, or to get an entirely different amp and save $1000+. Only reason to keep it is if the DSP is worth it.
 

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I was thinking about that. Running 2 4 gauges would also be an option. Just looking at what I had to do on my install, a 0 seems impossible or at least really, really miserable.

With 1600w across the two main amps I was right at the edge of what a 4 gauge would run, but it works. Partially because the Knuconcepts 4 gauge is rated a little higher than a normal 4.
For what it's worth I'm around 2400 between my 12-channel and single-channel sub amp.

12 x 75w RMS = 900 on the main
1 x 1500w RMS = 1500 for the sub
 

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Yes spending $2000 on an amp for the purpose of using the optical input only to be unable to do so makes me rethink the whole thing. My amp doesn't even have speaker level inputs, so I would have to get a 4 channel line out convertor. I know JL has those RCA plugs that you can put on speaker wires that some people use for the sub amp inputs, which would at least bypass the need for a line out convertor. I need to tap the signal before the amp though since the amp outputs are actively crossed over. I haven't yet looked to see what PAC device would be most appropriate but I can already envision the rat nest under the seat where I had planned to put my 3 way crossovers on top of the amp. I will definitely need the JL bass knob now, or to get an entirely different amp and save $1000+. Only reason to keep it is if the DSP is worth it.
DSP is life! You will never get the sound to match the quality of having it vs. a system without one.
 
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Yes spending $2000 on an amp for the purpose of using the optical input only to be unable to do so makes me rethink the whole thing. My amp doesn't even have speaker level inputs, so I would have to get a 4 channel line out convertor. I know JL has those RCA plugs that you can put on speaker wires that some people use for the sub amp inputs, which would at least bypass the need for a line out convertor. I need to tap the signal before the amp though since the amp outputs are actively crossed over. I haven't yet looked to see what PAC device would be most appropriate but I can already envision the rat nest under the seat where I had planned to put my 3 way crossovers on top of the amp. I will definitely need the JL bass knob now, or to get an entirely different amp and save $1000+. Only reason to keep it is if the DSP is worth it.
Rear doors are the lone factory full range speaker signal in the truck, so you could theoretically tap those post-amplifier and get the proper signal to feed everything. Still would have to fight some processing in that signal though.

Ultimately I do think the DSP is worth it. The EQ adjustability is a must, and time delay is another huge feature to me. When I was first setting everything up, I would toggle it on and off and couldn’t believe the difference in imaging and overall sound quality just from the delay.
 

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So it seems I could use 3 of the 4 channel kicker resistor modules to show resistance on all 12 channels. I could use the two rear speaker outputs with JL speaker to RCA convertors and negate the need for a line out convertor. Certainly the cheapest option and the JL VX amp so far as I'm aware should be able to work just fine with only two channel inputs.



Still entertaining the idea of hardwiring the CH41 at the amp but if it worked would only yield two digital inputs to the amp. My concern is that it the CH41 tapped into the canbus at the radio causes a failure, tapping in under the seat may cause the same problem.
 
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Shouldn’t be any reason to put dummy loads on all of the channels, just whatever ones you use for a signal. It will shut off individual channels when it doesn’t detect a speaker, but not the whole amp. My factory center channel was still functional on factory power with literally every other speaker disconnected from the factory amp.

If you do speaker level, I should mention I would test for full range first just in case they are doing something weird. Rear doors are full on the base and Alpine and I read the same for the HK on 5thgenrams but never know. At worst, you can use something like the LC7i to sum multiple signals if you can’t get full range out of any one channel, but it would be more complex.

I still think it should be possible to use the CH41 somehow given what others with 2022 TRXs have posted. I’m holding out hope you’ll find a way because that clean optical signal is so great to work with. I can’t stand any amount of hiss or noise.
 

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@OnTheReel I have a very similar setup in my 22 JL stealth box with the VXI 1000 amp running that i wint with the Focal Utopia series for speakers and 2 VXi 600 amps running those. My question is do you have any issues with interference caused by the VXi amps and the TPMS module that is located behind the back seat? if I unplug my amp power at the battery the TPMS works fine then when amps are reconnected to the battery the TPMS module looses the signals after about 5 miles.
 
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