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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Upgraded from my 2008 to the 2022 Black Edition which has the Premium Sound System.

Honestly kind of disappointed with the sound of the 8 speaker premium system. It sounds very close the stock system in my 2008 which is very disappointing seeing that I bought the highest trim package and upgraded 14 model years later.

The column mounted tweeters sound very subdued and I'm wondering it just upgrading those tweeters to a more robust speaker might be the missing link.

Anyone upgraded those stock tweeters yet care to weigh in?
 

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Upgraded from my 2008 to the 2022 Black Edition which has the Premium Sound System.

Honestly kind of disappointed with the sound of the 8 speaker premium system. It sounds very close the stock system in my 2008 which is very disappointing seeing that I bought the highest trim package and upgraded 14 model years later.

The column mounted tweeters sound very subdued and I'm wondering it just upgrading those tweeters to a more robust speaker might be the missing link.

Anyone upgraded those stock tweeters yet care to weigh in?
Isn't it sad that you just spent $50k for a truck with a shit sound system? What happened to the auto industry? I mean sure, back in the day, stock stereos were shit because everyone went right down to the audio store and bought a shiny high quality unit - you know, when the radio/cd player was a stand alone unit... Nowdays the sound system is integrated into the info-tainment system. So we are stuck with whatever they cheaped out on. Sigh, I wish they'd spend more time on the audio than they do on all that useless nanny-tech...
 

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2021 Ridgeline Sport
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How many parameters does a BE have? I just have a Sport, with bass and treble, I miss my old stereo swaps, pull out a DIN unit, and get a far better one for half the money that actually makes sound! Honda could put all the options in the driver's center gauge cluster--problem's solved, I really do not need a big screen with nothing on it.
 

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How many parameters does a BE have? I just have a Sport, with bass and treble, I miss my old stereo swaps, pull out a DIN unit, and get a far better one for half the money that actually makes sound! Honda could put all the options in the driver's center gauge cluster--problem's solved, I really do not need a big screen with nothing on it.
sounds like you bought the wrong vehicle.
 

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I have an RTLE which has the same "premium" sound as the BE. I believe the main difference between them is the addition of the center channel (which does aid in the front soundstage) and a more powerful amplifier to drive the speakers. I have replaced all of the speakers (tweeters included) and believe the speakers between the trims are the same; just previously mentioned center channel and beefier amp (which really helps the sub come through). The thing is that most brands have sh!t for factory speakers; The Ridgeline is really less sh!t than a premium system. The cars that have real premium sound systems tend to be pricey. However, with modern cars and all the electronics; aftermarket amplifiers can be a pain; the power wire in my last Subaru caused the TPMS to have issues and interred with Onstar. The Ridgeline also has an external amplifier and as I understand it there is some goofy connection between the head unit and the amp. Changing the speakers is a low risk; high reward. Beyond that I think doing much more can result in more issues than it is worth.

If you get the speakers through Crutchfield; you. can get instructions and/or I am sure there is guidance online and/or if you have done it on previous vehicles; the Ridgeline is not much tougher. I used Morel Maximos Ultra in all the speakers less the sub (Rockford Fosgate make a shallow 8" that can direct drop into the factory enclosure).

Door Speakers - Easy... A couple screws and a lot of clips to access the speaker.
Tweeters - Pretty Easy... The amplifier acts as a DSP so you do not need to have a crossover on the tweeter. I ended up having to Dremel the old tweeters apart to get the cover and then secured the new tweeters in place. Generally a pretty easy change; I was hoping to the Morel covers; but they are slightly too big.
Subwoofer - Pretty Easy... The only issue is getting the rear seat off. Instructions are pretty simple (about 10 or so bolts) but the entire rear seat is a single piece that has to be lifted at once (requires 2 people).
Center Channel - Hard... It is an oddball size; I was able to fit a 4" Morel but just barely and it required some hacking away of the dash subframe (plastic) to fit.

In my last car, I used a JL audio amp with DSP which was really nice; but as others have noted; modern cars have such an integrated system not; doing much more than speakers can result in a lot of extra issues unless you really know what is going on. The "premium" amp in the Ridgeline is good enough to not try and replace and after some better speakers I am pleased; having some flexibility on the crossovers for each channel would be nice; but that is not happening.

My opinion on the speaker changes and impact it has on the sound:
Center Channel - Noticeable - The center channel from Honda has to be the worst speaker of the lot. Once replaced you really hear the vocals on the front soundstage. In my opinion this is the speaker to start with.
Front Tweeters - Noticeable - Keeping in mind Morel is known for their tweeters; they help cut all the bass from the doors and sub.
Front Door - Noticeable...ish - More mid bass is noticed and almost too much due to the sub.
Rear Door - Nominal - If you are in the back seat; maybe you pick up more. I have shifted the fade back some and it does help balance the sound some. But like in many cars; these speakers do not bring much to the table.
Subwoofer - Nominal - After replacing it; the change is not anything ground breaking. The bass is a tick deeper and more controlled but in all honesty if I was blindfolded and placed in several Honda's I probably would not pick out which one has the Rockford Fosgate sub over the factory. If you place them on a table; It is easy to see. Keep in mind I kept the factory enclosure and did not move the sub from behind the seat to under the seat with a custom enclosure.
 

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Quality in Ridgeline audio (all trim levels) is very poor. However, it's one of those things that is subjective; some people think it's great, whereas others that have listened to and appreciate quality systems realize it's really pretty poor. There are several threads on here concerning replacing amp/speakers on RTL-E/BE with aftermarket kit to get improvement.

It's very easy to replace all speakers, so that is a simple upgrade. I doubt changing tweeters/speakers alone will dramatically improve quality, but it could be a good start and open up the possibility for further upgrades later. I have a 2019 RTL, so I was able to replace the whole system (head unit, speakers, sub, adding DSP/amps) and it made a huge difference. The cabin of the Ridgeline is a pretty good listening environment (as far as cars/trucks go) so it's a real shame Honda didn't offer a true premium sound system.
 

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The Ridgeline's audio (regardless of trim) I do not feel is "very poor". If you test-drive another vehicle (truck / "truck" / SUV / car / moped / etc) the sound from Honda is par for the course. The Branded premium systems sound better; cost a lot more; and every DIYer thinks they can build a better system. For better or worse; changing the head unit is for all intensive purposes not an option. Playing with an external amp is also risky in modern cars. Speakers have always been the easiest, cheapest, and most bang for your buck sound upgrade. In previous vehicles the speaker upgrade always made a huge difference. amps added clarity but the return was not as much as the speaker (and cost a lot more). Adding a DSP was even more money for an even more marginal return.

The Sport/RTL has an external amp and sub which is more than a lot of other vehicles. The RTLE/BE has more power and an extra channel. Would I have preferred to install my JL VX amp? Yes! But the RTLE does an admirable job IMO. Would I like to adjust the crossovers? Yes! There is a dip around 500hz that can't be adjusted for in the factory DSP. Changing the Front speakers and center channel makes an improvement. rear speakers and sub less so; but for a couple extra bucks have the whole lot upgraded.

If the urge to replace the amp exists; I really liked my JL VX700/5. I really did not like the work to bypass the Onstar and ongoing EMF issues with the TPMS. If the Honda amplifier was located in the back with the Sub, maybe I would have been more inclined to try and change it; but being under the dash really makes any upgrade a huge uplift.
 

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2022 RTL-E Crystal Black Pearl
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I agree that the factory speakers have much to be desired. For about $250, I am replacing the front door speakers, "A" pillar tweeters and the dash center channel with high quality speakers that, without a doubt, will have a huge impact on the quality of the sound. As was mentioned above, replacing the speakers is easy, cheap, and is the easiest way to upgrade the sound in any factory OEM setup.
 
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I was with the team that was happy with the stock premium sound system. Until I bought a set of Klipsch 2.1 speakers paired to Apple Music Lossless and a MacMini.

Now I understand why premium has different meanings. The RL top trims don't have a premium system, it sounds very dull. Adjusting settings don't do much.
 

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I was with the team that was happy with the stock premium sound system. Until I bought a set of Klipsch 2.1 speakers paired to Apple Music Lossless and a MacMini.

Now I understand why premium has different meanings. The RL top trims don't have a premium system, it sounds very dull. Adjusting settings don't do much.
You would at least expect to have the ability to adjust LOW - MID and HIGH! I was shocked to see my RTL-E only have BASS and TREBLE:( Simply changing out the speakers will make a huge difference indeed.
 
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You would at least expect to have the ability to adjust LOW - MID and HIGH! I was shocked to see my RTL-E only have BASS and TREBLE:( Simply changing out the speakers will make a huge difference indeed.
Having a little more adjustment would be nice. But I have an analyzer app on my iPad w/ an external mic. nothing that is certified or calibrated but does a decent spot check. Bass response isn't horrible; the highs drop off a little fast for my taste after 16k. I think the DSP has a crossover around 400ish or so because there is a noticeable dip around there. All of this is set in the Honda DSP I suspect. but previous vehicles have been MUCH worse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the info/advice, especially Ferrari1898. I replaced all the speakers in my '08 RTL but I really don't want to go through with that again. I'm going to shop for the tweeters first as they are super dull and not extended in the high frequencies at all.

I know Ferrari1898 went with Morels but are there any other plug and play brands that I should also consider, I.E. JBL's etc?
 

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Thanks for all the info/advice, especially Ferrari1898. I replaced all the speakers in my '08 RTL but I really don't want to go through with that again. I'm going to shop for the tweeters first as they are super dull and not extended in the high frequencies at all.

I know Ferrari1898 went with Morels but are there any other plug and play brands that I should also consider, I.E. JBL's etc?
I went with Hertz in the "A" pillars and dash and Infinity Reference in the doors. Kickers are another good and less expensive option. Look at www.crutchfield.com for all of your options.
 
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every DIYer thinks they can build a better system.
True, that's because most can.

The Ridgeline's audio (regardless of trim) I do not feel is "very poor". If you test-drive another vehicle (truck / "truck" / SUV / car / moped / etc) the sound from Honda is par for the course.
Agree that many cars have "on par" audio quality with the Ridgeline. And as I mentioned, many people haven't heard a good sound system, so they think this stuff is good quality which is why manufacturers do it. My wife would (seriously) consider an Echo Dot great sound quality.

Bass response isn't horrible; the highs drop off a little fast for my taste after 16k.
Highs dropping off after 16K isn't a big deal and is not the issue with the Ridgeline audio (35-16K is where the issue is with the Ridgeline)

I think the DSP has a crossover around 400ish or so because there is a noticeable dip around there.
The crossover is going to be nowhere near 400Hz. If you are getting a dip there, it's more likely the car acoustics/speaker locations and/or non-optimal tuning in the DSP.
 

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sounds like you bought the wrong vehicle.
Not quite, I no longer like taking a car apart, run fiber optic cables, and heavy gauge power cables, not anymore. I did go all out once, DSP, separate amps for all channels, 3 twelve-disc changers, Bazooka subs, all hidden, you couldn't see anything, but I'm older now, and don't want the hassle. But this is 2021, bass and treble only on a 40K+ vehicle? Please again tell what you paid extra for? My 2017 Nissan, our 2019 Hyundai, both have stereos that would blow any Ridgeline away, regardless of trim, and the Hyundai was cheaper than my Sport
 

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Not quite, I no longer like taking a car apart, run fiber optic cables, and heavy gauge power cables, not anymore. I did go all out once, DSP, separate amps for all channels, 3 twelve-disc changers, Bazooka subs, all hidden, you couldn't see anything, but I'm older now, and don't want the hassle. But this is 2021, bass and treble only on a 40K+ vehicle? Please again tell what you paid extra for? My 2017 Nissan, our 2019 Hyundai, both have stereos that would blow any Ridgeline away, regardless of trim, and the Hyundai was cheaper than my Sport
The good news about an RL is that they are super easy to take apart and work on. To install speakers in the "A" pillars will take you like <10 minutes per pillar. The dash speaker a whopping 5 minutes and the door speakers about 15 minutes per door tops. Japanese cars are the easiest to take apart. German cars are the biggest PITA. My AUDI took forever to do anything based on how these cars are over engineered and put together. I totally agree that the RL surprised me with the lack of sound control I have come accustomed to in other vehicles I have had. No mid-range adjust...really??? It is a real shame that Honda is still using the same head unit they were 3 years ago when other Honda models received nice upgrades. I did just buy a 2022 and deserved better from Honda, but I also knew what I got going in and that, with a little cash, anything can be enhanced to make it far more enjoyable.

I am looking forward to receiving my Crutchfield box tomorrow and getting my new speakers installed before Christmas!
 
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Securityguy, let us know how it sounds after the install!
OK...my Crutchfield delivery came today...WOOHOO! I first installed the center channel with the Hertz 3.5. The difference, just in replacing the center channel, was AMAZING! I was super impressed and, worst case, everyone should just do that at a minimum. I then took off each "A" pillar and installed the Hertz tweeters. They fit beautifully and just need to be hot glued into place using the Honda OEM tweeter mount. Much brighter and crisper highs and I am very pleased with the outcome. Now...the front doors...a crazy thing happened that Crutchfield tech support and myself figured out after playing around for about an hour and a half. This is what happened:

1. Removed both door panels...super easy
2. Disconnected each OEM speaker
3. Installed the Crutchfield supplied mounting ring on the door
4. Used the Crutchfield supplied wiring harness adapter to attach the Infinity Reference speakers and fired her up
5. I lost all audio in my front doors:eek: Rear doors were fine...center channel and tweeters fine...front door speakers DEAD!
6. Checked the impedance on the Infinity speakers they appeared fine (not blown is what I am alluding to)
7. Removed the Infinity's and reinstalled the OEM in the front doors and wallah...the doors came back to life:unsure:
8. Put the Infinity's on my bench and tested the impedance with Crutchfield tech support on the line
9. Each speaker tested at 2.2 ohms at the terminals and 2.5 ohms at the harness

So...what was the conclusion? Apparently, the Honda digital amplifier in the RTL-E and BE must see 4 ohms or anything greater than 3.5 assuming tolerances. Since the Infinity's were at 2.5 at the harness, the digital amp saw less than 4+/- ohms...assumed there was a short and protected itself by shutting down the door channels...who would have known???

I have the OEM's installed and for now awaiting a set of true 4 ohm speakers. Crutchfield told me that Infinity speakers are generally around 3 ohms at the harness and, for most all vehicles, it isn't an issue. In the RL it is a BIG issue.

The Hertz 6.5" speakers that I really wanted were $120/pair. The Infinity's were on sale for $82. I went the cheaper route since my hearing isn't what it used to be 20+ years ago, so I never felt I was really compromising anything. Crutchfield went above and beyond...confirmed the Hertz are a true 4 ohm speaker and they are shipping them 2-day at no additional charge and sent me a prepaid UPS return label for the Infinity's.

Crutchfield is an awesome company to deal with and their customer service is second to none. I now look forward to getting the Hertz for the doors and getting this all buttoned up.

As an aside...two things:

1. Taking off the door panels is a very easy job so no one should be afraid to tackle this is you want better sound
2. I have an extra Hertz 3.5" center channel speaker if anyone is interested in it. I paid $89 for the pair and will ship the extra one anywhere in the US for $40 shipping included. If interested, please PM me. I assure you, you will not be disappointed in the dramatic difference just one speaker can make!

Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas everyone!
 
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