Installed JL Audio compact sub + tiny amp + active LOC (pics!)

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Thread: Installed JL Audio compact sub + tiny amp + active LOC (pics!)

  1. #1
    crv|oc Rank: Sophomore kontai69's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    "Cowtown" California
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    Installed JL Audio compact sub + tiny amp + active LOC (pics!)

    I previously reported installing Polk Audio db6501 6.5" component speakers in the front doors of my 2011 SE and powering them with just the factory headunit (click here). It sounded good at first but I later felt that the sound lacked bass impact and overall dynamics (sounded little compressed); not too surprising since the headunit likely puts out a measly 10-15 watts/channel. Therefore, I decided to add an external amp as well as a subwoofer. Since I wanted to retain the factory headunit, I bought a line output converter (LOC) as well in order to feed signal to the amp.

    Below are pics and links (underlined) to descriptions of the components I installed as well as some helpful install notes.

    Amp wiring:
    I followed these two guides...
    CR-V specific...
    Sub and Amp Install (power wires, etc) (3rd Gen)
    I used a Stinger 4 gauge amp wiring kit. I had to buy 1/4" ring terminals because the ones included in the kit were too big to fit underneath the positive terminal nut. Also had to replace the 150A fuse with a 40A fuse as recommended in the amp manual. I used a Dremel tool to cut a notch in the red battery cover to give clearance for the power wire so the cover can fully snap down. I covered the power wire with 1/2" flexible loom which was fully wrapped with 3M Super 88 electrical tape. The result is a near factory look...

    I ran the power wire down the passenger side of the car and all the other wires down the driver's side. All the wires are concealed behind trim panels or underneath the carpet. The trim panels were relatively easy to snap off (see this PDF). Taping the wire to a straightened out clotheshanger makes it easier to run the wires through tight spaces. I used "Gorilla" tape to secure wires to the floorboard when necessary.
    I decided to place the amp underneath the driver's seat instead of the passenger side; there is more room and the carpet here peels back to make running the wires much easier. You need to pop off the two rear seat bolt covers to do so. Conveniently, in this area is a prexisting bolt that I used to attach the ground wires for the amp and line out converter to the chassis. The bolt is one of three that holds down the silver metal panel that covers the parking brake cable. I removed the panel and sanded off the paint around the bolt hole (to bare metal) to maximize contact with the ground wire terminals and smeared the area with dielectric grease to prevent rusting.
    Wiring completed...

    Line output converter:
    I read that passive (non-powered) line out converters (LOC) roll off the bass (see here). Ironically, passive LOC's are commonly used to get signal when adding a sub to factory systems with no line level outputs. Therefore, I decided to get an Audiocontrol LC2i, an active (powered) 2-channel LOC which is supposed to have much better bass output than passive LOC's. It also is a "line driver" that sends a high voltage (up to 9.5V) preamp signal up to the amp. The Audiocontrol LOC also conveniently has a "remote wire output" to turn on the external amp. I got power to the LOC by tapping into fuse #34 (radio ACC) on the interior fuse panel using an "add-a-circuit" fuseholder and grounded it at the same point as the amp (see above). The LOC is fed with the speaker level outputs from the front speakers only. I tapped into the front speaker wires from inside the doors using a Metra speaker harness adapter (72-7800) and extended the wires from the adapter, out the door, and to the LOC. I mounted the LOC inside the center console on top of the airbag control module using adhesive-backed Velcro. It was a tight fit; I had to use right angle RCA adapters to get some clearance with the left-side console panel and I still can't snap the panel back on fully...

    I went with a JL Audio XD400/4 amp for it's compact size (and brand reputation). It puts out 75 watts/channel into 4 channels. I am feeding the amp with only two channels from the LOC; the amp splits the signal into 4 channels. I bridged two of the channels to crank out 200 watts for the sub; the other two channels power the front component speakers. The rear speakers (Polk Audio db651 6.5" coaxial speakers) are still powered with the headunit amp.
    For easier access and factory look, I mounted the JL Audio remote volume control knob (HD-RLC) for the sub channel inside the steering column cover...

    The amp is firmly secured to the carpet with adhesive-backed Velcro (using the rough hook side). I like how the amp's adjustment controls are hidden under a brushed aluminum cover and the wire connections are all on one side; this makes for a very clean looking install (NO visible wires!). Oh, I'm also amazed at how tiny it is!!!

    I went with a JL Audio 8" slot ported sub (CP108LG-W3v3). The sub is quite small and does not take up much room in the cargo area...

    I used dual banana plugs so I can quickly disconnect the speaker wires (gray to match interior) if I need to remove the sub box (17lbs) out of the car. The sub box is secured to the floor with adhesive-backed Velcro.
    Sound impressions:
    In short...WOW! The JL Audio amp really opened up the sound from my Polk no longer sounds slightly compressed. There is improved instrument separation. The sound is also more detailed (e.g. I can better hear the reverberation of guitars and vocal texture). With the bass boost (AccuBASS) of the Audiocontrol LOC turned way up, the bass output from just the front speakers alone is unbelievable...again this is with the sub channel turned all the way down! With the sub channel on, the bass can be felt and the rearview mirror vibrates if you turn it up enough...pretty good for just an 8" sub. However, I'm more about sound quality, so I have the AccuBASS just barely turned up to get a balanced sound. I have the low pass filter on the amp set at 80hz and the high pass at 100hz. On the headunit, I have the BASS at (0), TREBLE at (+1), BALANCE at (R1), and FADER at (F9, all the way to the front).
    Anyways, my system now sounds extremely good (to me) with the new amp and sub. It was well worth the time, effort and cost. Now I hear first hand why people always advise amping any aftermarket speakers to get the best sound.
    Last edited by kontai69; 05-20-2011 at 01:31 PM.

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  3. #2
    crv|oc Rank: Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    VERY VERY clean =) I gotta clean up my engine compartment now haha!

  4. #3
    crv|oc Rank: Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    amazing job. I just purchased a 2012 crv and love the car, but hate the stereo system. looking at upgrading, but was curious how you feed the power wire for amp from battery to vehicle. did u have to drill?

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  6. #4
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Jul 2012
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    I Have a 2012 LX and am in the process of slowly installing an amp. I just sent my power wire through last night and it was easier than I thought. In the middle of the engine compartment there is a main wiring harness that feeds in above the gas pedal. At first I tried poking a hole in the boot to feed the power line through, but couldn't get it big enough. In the process I ended up pulling the boot out slightly and fed it through the side of the boot. Then sealed the hole up with silicone.

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