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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's my take on upgrading my RTL-T sound. I have not changed the head unit or factory amp. The focal speakers are a huge improvement by themselves. I attached a pic which shows the difference in the magnets... that says it all right there. I went with a Rockville 10" sub and amp combo with 2 farad capacitor. It has just the right amount of thump to fill in the lows. As a bonus, a threw in a power inverter. The this not intended to be a competition setup, but is all I need and a significant upgrade from stock for under $500.

As a note with this amp, I tried several tests with the high and low level inputs. FWIW they sound the same to me. However, if you use the high input directly from sub input, the amp goes into protective mode every time you turn it on and you have to unplug and reply the speaker wires - every time. With the LOC and RCA cables you don't have this problem so you need to have these with this setup.

Focal Integration ISC 165 6 ½ rear speakers $79.99 (Crutchfield)

Focal Integration ISS 165 6 ½ front speaker and tweeter $139.99 (Crutchfield)

Rockville USS10 10” amp/subwoofer $120.95 (Amazon)

Rockville RXC2D 2 Farad Capacitor $34.42 (Amazon)

PAC SNI-35 LOC $7.86 (changed to PAC LP7-2R)

PAC LP7-2R LOC $22.49 (Amazon)


Sky High 1.5’ RCA cable $6.99 (Amazon)

Schumacher 410w power inverter $46.98 (Lowes)

Total = $487.81 (with LP7-2R)



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2019 RTL-T Forest Mist Metallic
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Very cool!
I also have an RTL-T. I have replaced the front door speakers with the same ones you got, the ISS 165's. I didn't use the tweets in that package because I had already upgraded the tweets with focal TWU 1.5's, also from Crutchfield. I might swap them out and see if I can hear a difference, since Crutchfield will still allow me to return the TWU 1.5s if I use the ISS 165 tweets.
I got Focal RCX 165s for the rear doors, but haven't installed them yet. I also got Noico Sound deadening mat, and the longer door checks for the rear doors which I will install at the same time I do the rear speakers.
I've got lots of questions!
  • That's an interesting sub. Did you remove the factory sub and box and stick that one in the same space?
  • What does the capacitor do? I've read a bunch of amp install threads here but haven't seen anything like that mentioned. What does it do? (edit: Just read up on it and I guess it supplies juice for high demand moments for the electrical system. I just wonder why so many bigger systems I have read about do not include a capacitor).
  • How did you get power to the sub and to the power inverter?
  • Would you say the difference in subwoofer thump is a moderate, or very big improvement over stock?
  • What's your next upgrade (ha!). I'm thinking I might get an amp to power all the speakers. I think the Focals sound better than stock, but I bet more power would really make a difference (maybe).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks man! I think the focals are great for factory replacement. I would doubt you would hear a difference in tweeters with the factory head unit and amp. Save your money.

* That's an interesting sub. Did you remove the factory sub and box and stick that one in the same space?

Yes, the factory box is junk imo. It is all plastic (cheap) but nobody makes boxes out of plastic. I also went up from 8" to 10" sub speaker. This unit fits no problem and has room to spare. I had to make a mounting board to ensure it stayed in place.

* What does the capacitor do? I've read a bunch of amp install threads here but haven't seen anything like that mentioned. What does it do?

A capacitor charges up from the battery and then acts to opposes changes in voltage. Every time your sub hits, it drops your system voltage. Without a cap, it actually effects your sub and the rest of your car. The sub holds the voltage and helps your battery for short periods of time, then recharges. It is actually very good for your overall system. I have a voltmeter installed and the system voltage stays higher longer now.

If you think of it like water, ever time you turn on the facet (draw amps) the water pressure goes down (voltage drops). The cap is like having a pressurized tank the helps maintain pressure all the time.

This is essentially imo if you are adding high power subs. The rule of thumb is 1 farad cap for every 100 Watts RMS. The next steps are to get better batteries are alternator.

I don't know why some others haven't done this. It is a cheap way to make sure your sub (and truck for that matter) work properly. Install it close as possible to the sub is best. If you plan on doing this yourself, there are some precautions you need to understand when charging the cap the first time, discharging and handling. I can help you if needed.

* How did you get power to the sub and to the power inverter?


Watch this video and it tells you a lot about how to change the sub and power wire. I ran the wiring down the driver side sill plates and through firewall in grommet - same as video.

* Would you say the difference in subwoofer thump is a moderate, or very big improvement over stock?

This is relative and varies by opinion. I think it is a big improvement for ME. Some would it could be better but you will also pay much more. Let's put it this way, I don't think you can do a better improvement in low end bass per dollar spent than this.

* What's your next upgrade (ha!). I'm thinking I might get an amp to power all the speakers. I think the Focals sound better than stock, but I bet more power would really make a difference.

LOL. Sounds like you got the itch. Me, I'm good. Not trying to rock the neighborhood, just good sound that I like. I am not a base fanatic but like some low end. I got all I need now.

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Discussion Starter #4
Here is a video on capacitors


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Discussion Starter #5
I added a brace on top just to keep it snug and place.

Adjusted the low pass filter and high pass filters to ny liking. This sub doesn't do great on the high end, but the focals pick that up nicely. Still testing it but overall very happy.

Just to emphasize, if you want heavy loud bass, this is not it. You can't realistically do that behind your back seat imo. You need a deeper sub, more power, and bigger box. Others on the forum have already done this and put the sub under the seat, not behind it. This setup is for those wanting an overall better and balanced sound - for a reasonable price.


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Discussion Starter #6
After a few days of listening and tweaking, I got the LPF set to 80hz and Subsonic at 30hz - all good there. Between the LOC and amp gain, I haven't been able to get it where I like it yet distortion wise. I think the issue is the PAC SNI35 LoC I chose and the 35w power rating. I think the factory sub signal may be overdriving it. I've decided to try the PAC LP7-2 which is a newer transistor based model with 55w rating. It also has some cool features like remote turn on and remote gain. I wish I would have got this one in the first place. My grounds are all good.

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm officially calling this project done. I installed the PAC LP7-2R (2 channel with remote) LOC and it was a significant change in performance. I used the auto turn on feature as well, which is nice.

I wish I would have watched this video earlier.


Between the gain adjust on the LP7-2R and the amp, i got it set perfect.

Here is another good info video for the PAC LOCs:


The remote level adjust on the LP7-2R works much better than the amp's. So I install it in a blank switch slot on the left side of steering wheel. It gives a nice fine control of sub level.

The best part... I should not have to remove back seat again for a long time.


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Can never go wrong with information from Dean and Fernando. Great YouTube channel for learning about car audio.


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Discussion Starter #11
Can never go wrong with information from Dean and Fernando. Great YouTube channel for learning about car audio.


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I agree. I discovered them from this project but have subscribed to them

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