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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Thank you all for the many helpful information on the audio upgrade threads. I have found a lot of helpful information but still have some information that that could not find. Some of information I have gathered so far are (please correct me it's inaccurate):

RTL-E & Black Edition: 540W 8-speaker system
  • 2x front door speakers: 6.5 inch, 4ohm
  • 2x front pillar tweeters 4ohm
  • 1x (or 2x?) center dash speaker: 3.5in, 4 ohm
  • 2x rear door speakers: 6.5 inch, 4ohm
  • behind seat woofer: 8inch, 2ohm

I am thinking of the following upgrade
  • Front door, pillar, and center dash speakers with Focal PS 165 F3E 3-way components speakers and try to fit the 3-inch focal midrange into the 3.5inch stock location (with an inline cross over for the tweeter and directly to the midrange and woofer without going through the Focal cross-over). Will this set up work?
  • Rear door speakers with Focal PC165F 2-way car speakers
  • Rear woofer with Focal P20 FSE 8-inch subwoofer (4ohm) or Kicker CompRT 43CWRT81 (dual 1-ohm voice coils wired to be 2ohm, since the factory subwoofer is 2ohm. Any thoughts on these two options or any other subwoofer that I consider?

I have have always used Focal speakers with decent aftermarket amps and head units and they sound very good to my "not-quite-audiophile" ears. I am wondering how they would sound with the stock head unit and amps. My interest is sound quality without replacing head units or adding sound processors/after market amps, and I have no desire to rattle the neighborhood with a lot of bass.

Thanks in advance.


UPDATE 1/10/2021:
Thank you all for your suggestions and recommendations. My plan this past weekend was to put the following:
  • 2-way Focal PS 165FX in the front
  • PS 165FX woofer in the rear (no tweeter)
  • Focal P20 8-inch shallow sub (4 ohm) with a JL Audio XP300/1v2

However, I noticed significant improvement after installing the Dynamat Extreme in the front door (I applied a lot including outer panel and outer surface of inner panel). I only connected the left front Focal woofer/tweeter and isolated the front speakers by turning off the center speaker & subs and fade all the way to the front. Then I shift the balance to left (Focal woofer/tweeter) and right (OEM speakers). Surprisingly, the sound improvement with the Focal PS 165FX over the stock speakers were marginal to my ears (may the Focal speakers were not broken in yet or may I should have connected to the cross-over instead of directly to the factory speaker output). The volume output of the Focal woofer/tweeter was also slightly lower than the OEM speaker (which is 20W 4ohm). Anyway, from my limited experience, the most significant sound improvement to my ears was actually from sound deadening the car doors.

So I am cancelling my audio upgrade at this time. I may apply sound deadening to the rear doors next. I am happy with the OEM sound system with sound deadening so far. If I ever want to upgrade the audio system, the next step would be a small amp and subwoofer. I probably won't upgrade the speakers unless I am adding the DSP/amp as well, which is highly unlikely.

Thank you all again for the suggestions and recommendation
 

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Thank you all for the many helpful information on the audio upgrade threads. I have found a lot of helpful information but still have some information that that could not find. Some of information I have gathered so far are (please correct me it's inaccurate):

RTL-E & Black Edition: 540W 8-speaker system
  • 2x front door speakers: 6.5 inch, 4ohm
  • 2x front pillar tweeters 4ohm
  • 2x center dash speaker: 3.5in, 4 ohm
  • 2x rear door speakers: 6.5 inch, 4ohm
  • behind seat woofer: 8inch, 2ohm

I am thinking of the following upgrade
  • Front door, pillar, and center dash speakers with Focal PS 165 F3E 3-way components speakers and try to fit the 3-inch focal midrange into the 3.5inch stock location (with an inline cross over for the tweeter and directly to the midrange and woofer without going through the Focal cross-over). Will this set up work?
  • Rear door speakers with Focal PC165F 2-way car speakers
  • Rear woofer with Focal P20 FSE 8-inch subwoofer (4ohm) or Kicker CompRT 43CWRT81 (dual 1-ohm voice coils wired to be 2ohm, since the factory subwoofer is 2ohm. Any thoughts on these two options or any other subwoofer that I consider?

I have have always used Focal speakers with decent aftermarket amps and head units and they sound very good to my "not-quite-audiophile" ears. I am wondering how they would sound with the stock head unit and amps. My interest is sound quality without replacing head units or adding sound processors/after market amps, and I have no desire to rattle the neighborhood with a lot of bass.

Thanks in advance.
You mentioned, "....sound quality without replacing head units or adding sound processors/after market amps....."

I suppose it's all personal preference, but if it were me, I wouldn't spend any money to upgrade speakers without employing a solution to "undo what the audio engineers did" with regard to the poor signal processing of the OEM system......

There is more than just one audio upgrade thread that pokes at not taking this approach. JMO....YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You mentioned, "....sound quality without replacing head units or adding sound processors/after market amps....."

I suppose it's all personal preference, but if it were me, I wouldn't spend any money to upgrade speakers without employing a solution to "undo what the audio engineers did" with regard to the poor signal processing of the OEM system......

There is more than just one audio upgrade thread that pokes at not taking this approach. JMO....YMMV
Thanks for your opinion. I would like to improve sound quality over the stock speakers--not looking into building an audiophile system. Personally, I think "audio engineers" do what they can within a budget to provide a cost-effective audio system, and they certainly won't put $1500-2000 dollars worth of speakers into a $40k vehicle. So, replacing the stock speakers with higher quality speakers will generally improve the sound--assuming you don't do something really weird like connecting the subwoofer to tweeter channel, etc... Whether the sound improvement is worth the cost of the upgrade may be subjective and a matter of personal preference.

I am hoping for some technical discussion regarding (1) whether or not connecting the Focal woofer/mid/tweeter directly (without using the Focal cross-over) would be a problem, (2) fitment of the 3-inch midrange into 3.5inch stock location issues, (3) whether or not the sound frequencies supplied to these channels somewhat match with frequency response of these Focal speakers, (4) pros and cons of choosing Focal subwoofer with 4-ohm vs a different sub that matches the 2-ohm impedance of the stock sub, and (5) whether or not the stock speakers/tweeter and sub impedance information are accurate (4ohm and 2 ohm, respectively).

Thanks
 

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With regards to your specific numbered questions:
1) Connecting them directly would not be a problem. If you go ahead with this change, place a cap in-line with the tweeters.​
2) I haven't done this, but imagine it would not be difficult to adapt.​
3) The speakers you mention will play all the expected frequencies at these locations.​
4) A con of the Focal 4 ohm is you will have spent $350 and you will hear little/no bass improvement. If you replace it with a 2 ohm, you should hear slightly better bass, but the stock amp will still not deliver much power and 8" will not deliver much under 50Hz.​
5) That's what mine measured.​

As Captive8 said, spending $1700 on these speakers will not provide $1700 of sound improvement, although like you mention - cost is subjective. Personally, I would take Captive8's approach and look into DSPs/Amps to improve sound quality (in addition to changing speakers).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
With regards to your specific numbered questions:
1) Connecting them directly would not be a problem. If you go ahead with this change, place a cap in-line with the tweeters.​
2) I haven't done this, but imagine it would not be difficult to adapt.​
3) The speakers you mention will play all the expected frequencies at these locations.​
4) A con of the Focal 4 ohm is you will have spent $350 and you will hear little/no bass improvement. If you replace it with a 2 ohm, you should hear slightly better bass, but the stock amp will still not deliver much power and 8" will not deliver much under 50Hz.​
5) That's what mine measured.​

As Captive8 said, spending $1700 on these speakers will not provide $1700 of sound improvement, although like you mention - cost is subjective. Personally, I would take Captive8's approach and look into DSPs/Amps to improve sound quality (in addition to changing speakers).
Thanks for the information. It's very helpful. I agree that the sound quality imprvement with the speaker-only upgrade will not be as good as add additional DSP/amp. I drive a lot of old cars, and I normally do the complete install of aftermarket head unit, amp, speakers, and sub. But for me, it's too complex to add amp/DSP to the head units of newer vehicles. It's very unlike that I will consider anything beyond speaker/subs replacement--except for may be adding a mono amp that accepts speaker-level input for sub later the road

Thanks again for you helpful input
 

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You've got the right idea. Upgrading speakers will always give you the biggest bang for the buck in any audio system; car or home.

For the subwoofer, I don't recall reading about anyone upgrading the factory sub without adding an aftermarket amp. I put the low profile Kicker into my factory sub location and added an amp. The change was noticeable but not earth shattering. I'm not sure how significant of an impact you'll get just swapping out the sub. If you are open to adding at least one amp, this is where I would add it. The factory amp has sufficient power for the other speakers and the mono amp for the subwoofer can easily fit behind the seat next to the sub creating a fully invisible install.

I can't advise if your proposed mid-range for the center factory location will fit but I would advise not to go that route, save your money, grab some two-way components, and just set the volume on the center speaker to 0 for music. Too many issues with center speakers impacting the sound stage especially with systems that lack the ability to fine tune timing per speaker.

I'd also advise ditching the rear speakers all together but if you insist on rear speakers, look at putting mids back there, not full range.
 

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I did (had a shop do) an upgrade on my '17 Ridgeline. For reference, I did the upgrade on my '14 Ridgeline myself. There is enough info to do a G2 yourself, but I wasn't up for it.
100% agree with Captive8 and humbly disagree with Daniel. With Ridgeline's stock system there is a LOT of sound manipulation and you will see very minimal improvements with only adding new speakers (any upgrading including amps will result in subpar results).
Invest in a Fix-86 or something else that will allow you to flatten the HU signal, then build your speaker and amps with what you can afford or prefer.

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
 

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I did (had a shop do) an upgrade on my '17 Ridgeline. For reference, I did the upgrade on my '14 Ridgeline myself. There is enough info to do a G2 yourself, but I wasn't up for it.
100% agree with Captive8 and humbly disagree with Daniel. With Ridgeline's stock system there is a LOT of sound manipulation and you will see very minimal improvements with only adding new speakers (any upgrading including amps will result in subpar results).
Invest in a Fix-86 or something else that will allow you to flatten the HU signal, then build your speaker and amps with what you can afford or prefer.

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
I can't agree with this. I don't doubt that a properly configured DSP would increase sound quality a little but the general rule of thumb in audio places speakers above all else when it comes to quality of sound upgrades. Numerous users here have reported significant quality improvement by upgrading their speakers without any additional processors.

This forum is fantastic for Ridgeline specific questions (best place to fish a wire through the firewall, where can I find the fuse for X, etc.). Beyond that, this forum contains a lot of suspect advice when it comes to general audio theory and I would encourage readers to research such topics elsewhere.
 

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You've got the right idea. Upgrading speakers will always give you the biggest bang for the buck in any audio system; car or home.
The general rule of thumb in audio places speakers above all else when it comes to quality of sound upgrades. Numerous users here have reported significant quality improvement by upgrading their speakers without any additional processors.
I would encourage readers to research such topics elsewhere.
The OP proposed to spend $1700 on replacement speakers, leaving rest of the system stock. No one on any car audio forum is going to say this is a good way to spend $1700. Any serious person on those forums will advise a DSP/Amp upgrade if spending this amount of money. Even you suggested at least adding an amp to drive the sub.

Your other advice is valid - I would disable the center driver and only fit a mid range (not coax) in the rear. However, even to drive the rears in this configuration, you really need a DSP to at least add delay.

Of course, if money is no object and you're not chasing best bang for the buck and not looking for an optimized center stage, then the speakers the OP proposed are very good quality. And of course only changing speakers is far simpler than doing other additions. But if you were going that route (speakers only) the benefits of $1700 drivers over $300 ones is going to be negligible - you're not even going to have control over the crossover frequencies.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all. I appreciate the information and suggestions. I can appreciate and enjoy tight bass and clear tremble and mids. Otherwise, I am not sure if my ears can really tell the difference in sound stages or other adjustments. If there is not a loss of non-music functionality and steering wheel control and other stuffs, I would probably change out the head units, add the DSP/amp, and speakers/sub--like I usually do on older vehicles. I feel that there is just too much involved in adding (and adjusting) the DSP/amp to the stock head unit. In addition to this difficulty, there is also concern that the sound may not even be that good (compared to replacing the complete head unit, DSP/amp, speakers/sub). Plus, I am also concerned about adding noise to the system, about the ability to fine tune the sound properly, and about the ability to adjust the sound settings on-the-fly while listening to different type of musics, etc... I also had a bad experience with adding DSP/amp to a Lexus GX460 premium sound system, which resulted in noise and the sound wasn't that good (I probably did tune in right at the time) and I just took out everything except for the speakers.

Of course, if money is no object and you're not chasing best bang for the buck and not looking for an optimized center stage, then the speakers the OP proposed are very good quality. And of course only changing speakers is far simpler than doing other additions. But if you were going that route (speakers only) the benefits of $1700 drivers over $300 ones is going to be negligible - you're not even going to have control over the crossover frequencies.
I totally agree that it's not the best bang for the bucks just to only replace the fairly high-end speakers and that the benefits of the expensive speakers over the more affordable ones may be marginal. However, I love the clear highs and mids on Focal speakers too much (with decent head units and amps). I know the sound quality of these speakers will not be as good as they can be with the stock head unit/amp, but if I ever want to upgrade the DSP/amp +/- head unit (very unlikely), I already have nice speakers in place :)

You've got the right idea. Upgrading speakers will always give you the biggest bang for the buck in any audio system; car or home.

For the subwoofer, I don't recall reading about anyone upgrading the factory sub without adding an aftermarket amp. I put the low profile Kicker into my factory sub location and added an amp. The change was noticeable but not earth shattering. I'm not sure how significant of an impact you'll get just swapping out the sub. If you are open to adding at least one amp, this is where I would add it. The factory amp has sufficient power for the other speakers and the mono amp for the subwoofer can easily fit behind the seat next to the sub creating a fully invisible install.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. This is my line of thoughts as well. I also agree with SeattleR that be benefits of fairly high-end speakers over more affordable ones may be marginal. But I am a sucker for Focal speakers, and I enjoy the thoughts that if I ever upgrade the DSP/amp +/- head unit, I would already have nice speakers in place :)


I'd also advise ditching the rear speakers all together but if you insist on rear speakers, look at putting mids back there, not full range.
Like I said previously, I don't really know much about sound stages or if I can really appreciate the different sound stages. It just mainly clear tremble & mid and tight bass for me. I like to replace the rear speakers so that the rear passengers may enjoy the full range of sound as well.

Does having the full-range speaker (or component with woofer & tweeter) in the back significantly reduce or interfere with the sound quality in the front? If I were to use the mid-only, is there a difference between using a (1) dedicated midrange, a (2) woofer of a component set connected to the crossover, and a (3) woofer of a component set connected directly to the speaker wire

Invest in a Fix-86 or something else that will allow you to flatten the HU signal, then build your speaker and amps with what you can afford or prefer.
Thanks for you input. I prefer to go the other way around though. Speakers, sub +/- mono amp, then--if I am up to it Fix-86 or DSP/amp or some other complicated stuffs


... the general rule of thumb in audio places speakers above all else when it comes to quality of sound upgrades. Numerous users here have reported significant quality improvement by upgrading their speakers without any additional processors.

This forum is fantastic for Ridgeline specific questions (best place to fish a wire through the firewall, where can I find the fuse for X, etc.).
I agree. Thanks. I found a lot of information on this forum so far such as speaker size, impedance, location of the subs, etc... and posting of speaker-only upgrade experiences to full DSP/amp and speakers/sub upgrade experiences. Someone also posted the schematic diagram of the head units and amp. Someone posted that the BF Goodridge 265/60R18 actually fit--with pictures :)...

Lots of useful information, and I am looking forward to learning more about the Ridgeline--after I actually get one, LOL. Just kidding... I just picked one up a few hours ago :cool: (wasn't sure if I can get a decent deal before the year end and wasn't if I want to go with the Ridgeline due to concern for potential transmission problem). I decided to get it anyway after doing so much research on what I can add to it (audio system, softtoper, bed/cap racks, etc... LOL). I am looking forward to learning more information on this forum.
 

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I love the spirit you have towards your brand of choice but I would highly highly recommend not to mess with the center channel speaker. Audiophile or not it’s more trouble than anything.
Before you buy anything you should invest in sound deadening your doors and sealing all the holes with the material or have a shop create covers to place over the big holes.
this alone will significantly improve your factory speakers. You can also add sound deadening to the factory subwoofer box.
if you still don’t like how it sounds then you can purchase any set of components you want. I recommend a 2way component set unless you want to fabricate new pillars to include the midrange or cut a hole in the door panel for it.
I STRONGLY advise not to mess with center speaker. Leave it as is or simply buy one dedicated speaker to swap it out if it’s something you must do.
Also STRONGLY recommend not replacing stock subwoofer unless your installing an amp. You may significantly make the system worse.
without sound treatment in your doors no aftermarket DSP in the world will improve your sound. A simple speaker swap will just brighten up the highs giving the illusion of “better sound” . Save your money. Get some low powered home theater speakers and it will sound better than that set of Focals rated at probably over 50rms.
sont be afraid of any dsp. If you go with JLaudio I can certainly walk you through the software and guide you every step of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I love the spirit you have towards your brand of choice but I would highly highly recommend not to mess with the center channel speaker. Audiophile or not it’s more trouble than anything.
Before you buy anything you should invest in sound deadening your doors and sealing all the holes with the material or have a shop create covers to place over the big holes.
this alone will significantly improve your factory speakers. You can also add sound deadening to the factory subwoofer box.
if you still don’t like how it sounds then you can purchase any set of components you want. I recommend a 2way component set unless you want to fabricate new pillars to include the midrange or cut a hole in the door panel for it.
I STRONGLY advise not to mess with center speaker. Leave it as is or simply buy one dedicated speaker to swap it out if it’s something you must do.
Also STRONGLY recommend not replacing stock subwoofer unless your installing an amp. You may significantly make the system worse.
without sound treatment in your doors no aftermarket DSP in the world will improve your sound. A simple speaker swap will just brighten up the highs giving the illusion of “better sound” . Save your money. Get some low powered home theater speakers and it will sound better than that set of Focals rated at probably over 50rms.
sont be afraid of any dsp. If you go with JLaudio I can certainly walk you through the software and guide you every step of the way.
Thanks your recommendations. They turn out to be true on many points.
  • Sound deadening definitely improve the stock speakers--more than the Focal speaker replacement and to the point that I am happy with the stock speakers
  • The brightening up the highs with speaker-only upgrade is also true--although I kinda like that
  • I also added sound deadening to the subwoofer box. And you are right, upgrading to the stock sub without adding an amp is not worth it. If I am upgrading anything, it would be a new sub and amp first after sound deadening
  • Regarding center speaker, I will not touch it
  • If I were to upgrade the front +/- rear speakers, it would be a 2-way component in the front and a midrange in rear along with the DSP/amp (but that's too complex and expensive for me for the time being)

Just for future reference in case that I have the upgrade itch again, what are your thoughts on:
  • Rear speakers: would you consider the midrange directly to speaker wire, midrange through the crossover, full component set, coaxial, or none (considering not just for the drivers but also potential rear passengers)
  • DSP/amp: what do you guys use and what other choices did you considered? There's a Helix V Twelve with 12-channel input/output that looks awesome on paper, and it may be able to do signal summation without additional things like fix-82 o twk-88

Thanks again in advance for your input
 

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Thanks your recommendations. They turn out to be true on many points.
  • Sound deadening definitely improve the stock speakers--more than the Focal speaker replacement and to the point that I am happy with the stock speakers
  • The brightening up the highs with speaker-only upgrade is also true--although I kinda like that
  • I also added sound deadening to the subwoofer box. And you are right, upgrading to the stock sub without adding an amp is not worth it. If I am upgrading anything, it would be a new sub and amp first after sound deadening
  • Regarding center speaker, I will not touch it
  • If I were to upgrade the front +/- rear speakers, it would be a 2-way component in the front and a midrange in rear along with the DSP/amp (but that's too complex and expensive for me for the time being)

Just for future reference in case that I have the upgrade itch again, what are your thoughts on:
  • Rear speakers: would you consider the midrange directly to speaker wire, midrange through the crossover, full component set, coaxial, or none (considering not just for the drivers but also potential rear passengers)
  • DSP/amp: what do you guys use and what other choices did you considered? There's a Helix V Twelve with 12-channel input/output that looks awesome on paper, and it may be able to do signal summation without additional things like fix-82 o twk-88

Thanks again in advance for your input
Well for the rear speakers it all depends. I don’t use mine. But if you want to keep them I would just use coaxials and not spend a lot on them. Typically you would get same brand to keep the same tonality (if that’s a word lol) but an average person won’t tell the difference most of the time.
Helix makes amazing dsp’ sim not familiar with the one you just mentioned but if it does do summing I would snatch that up. Usually when you do the math you typically end up spending about the same amount of money on separate units summing and dsp. I’m using the jl audio fix and vxi amplifier and no regrets there. Compact and clean sound. Pricey perhaps but not much more or less than separate components.
I think Rockford fosgate has some new stuff you should look into as well
 

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Well for the rear speakers it all depends. I don’t use mine. But if you want to keep them I would just use coaxials and not spend a lot on them. Typically you would get same brand to keep the same tonality (if that’s a word lol) but an average person won’t tell the difference most of the time.
Helix makes amazing dsp’ sim not familiar with the one you just mentioned but if it does do summing I would snatch that up. Usually when you do the math you typically end up spending about the same amount of money on separate units summing and dsp. I’m using the jl audio fix and vxi amplifier and no regrets there. Compact and clean sound. Pricey perhaps but not much more or less than separate components.
I think Rockford fosgate has some new stuff you should look into as well
Thanks again!
 

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Thanks again!
No problem any time. Rockford actually has a really decent dsp called the dsr1 for like 250? 🤔 really simple to use plus throw in any summing device and I think you should be good for well under $500. Just some food for thought. Good luck!
 

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No problem any time. Rockford actually has a really decent dsp called the dsr1 for like 250? 🤔 really simple to use plus throw in any summing device and I think you should be good for well under $500. Just some food for thought. Good luck!
That's good know. I'll look into it if the upgrade itch ever comes again 🤪. Thanks again
 
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