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Any way to improve the subwoofer on Audiophile?


Explorer Addict
March 1, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Birmingham, MI
Year, Model & Trim Level
'10 Sport Trac
Please bear with me, I have searched and read, searched again till confusion set in. . :confused: . .but what’s the best way to improve the bass on an Audiophile in a 3rd Gen? To paraphrase I’m not looking for Rap bass, but rather Jazz bass, it sounds now like News bass (none). Some songs are fine but others I have to sit in back to hear it and when I do I hear some midlevel sounds coming out of the sub (vocals). Its as if the bass unit is not putting out the right volume. I also have the DVD/Steering wheel controls so I don’t want to get a new HU/Amp combo, its more for Jazz or classic rock.

The story is when I had gotten the truck it came with the base radio, which sounded like poo under water, so I picked up ($15 each) some Polk EX357 5"x7" 2-way Speakers, which sounded a lot better with the base radio but still very weak on the bass. So I pieced together an Audiophile system 290w and mounted the Factory SubWoofer unit, and wired it all up. The Polks lacked any bass as if there was a hole in the sound around 100hz, so I replaced the Fronts with Boston Accoustics SX85 and went back to the OEM rear door speakers (25w at 4-ohm). I might say its better but still weak on the bass.

The Audiophile Subwoofer is a 8” 2ohmX2ohm and 45wX45w in a .5cuft enclosure, its only feed is a +/- single source, so it must be bridged amp?

Now the questions thanks for reading so far, . . .
Does anyone know the cutoffs on the Audiophile’s?

Power wire to small? When I hooked up the Sub Batt power I pulled it off the Radio power which looks like 12-14ga wire so that this wire is running 290w, is it too small? Would running the sub its own power wire help 10-12ga?

Bigger amp? In looking the amp maybe the way to go, but its got to be small, the OEM is like 3x7x1. With a different or bigger amp I would also be able to customize the bass level and cutoffs, which might help. I have found Boss Amps that might do it? Any suggestions?

New Sub Speaker? OEM is a 8” 2ohmX2ohm and 45wX45w in a .5cuft enclosure its kinda hard to find an exact match. JL Audio makes an 8”4-ohm W1v2. I fear that if I get just the Sub speaker I’ll still need a bigger amp? Any suggestions on this?

Both? Sub Speaker and Bigger Amp would be about 200 clams . . . .i’m thinking that’s the way to go, unless someone knows a way. . . .

Thanks for any ideas, or any threads i missed, and reading this. :scratch:

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First off, it's important to remember how bad factory systems are. They come with radios and amps that have insane levels of distortion (10% THD, compared to most aftermarket gear with 1%-0.1% THD or less), wimpy wiring, and generally poor quality materials when it comes to drivers. The 290W rating of the "audiophile" system is wishful thinking. That's probably the maximum power under the most ideal electrical and environmental conditions.

My suggestion would be for some 6x8's on the door speakers, some 2-way or 3-way Pioneer, Kenwood, etc. The 2-ways in particular are nice since they have a 30W RMS power handling and give a lot of punch with a factory head unit / amp compared to the Polks or Boston's 5x7. The Polks and Bostons are better quality, and quite efficient, but my experience is that pushing high end 5x7's that can handle 50 watts with factory head units gives lackluster performance for the price compared to using 6x8's with power handling closer to what the head unit is putting out.

Different speakers sound different, too. A Pioneer will sound different than a Polk or a Boston. Some are "bright" with great highs, others have a good midrange, some give good low end bass for their size. You pretty much have to find what works good for the kind of music you listen to most.

If speaker replacement isn't an option and/or you already like the Boston's and don't feel the need to try anything else, you might consider replacing the rear speakers with them as well (@ $149 though, geez).

The cutoff on the factory sub is probably something like 100-120Hz, your observation of a hole in the bass around 100Hz must mean the sub was't filling it in so 100Hz is likely.

Power wires are always too small in factory sytems, to radios, amps, speakers, you name it. Replacing the power and ground wires is a good idea, but it can be quite a task to replace ALL the wire from the amp to the fuse and the fuse to the relay/switch panel and then you have to replace the wire from the battery to the panel to see any benefit, too. You're generally ok without bothering with all the wiring replacement if you're using a factory receiver and amp.

A bigger amp and new wiring is a good idea if you throw in an aftermarket sub. You can get really small amps that put out 100W easy. I wouldn't suggest anything from BOSS if you're using quality stuff from Boston/Polk/JL, though. JBL makes a good small amp, and Pioneer makes a nice 150W amp which is perfect for a sub and only $100.

The JL W1v2 is a good sub, but they make a direct factory replacement sub for 8" enclosures, the 8W0, which handles 75W, perfect for wimpy factory amps. You can also throw in a Premier 8", they are really shallow and will just drop in. They handle 120W and will still do well, but aren't as efficient as some other brands. If you go with an aftermarket sub amp, you can step up to 8" 150-200W subs, Rockford, Polk, and JBL/Infinity and JL are all good choices.

Something else to consider on the high end is going all aftermarket with speakers and amps, but keeping the stock HU. You can get amps and harnesses from Blaupunkt that plug into your factory wiring, or use amps with speaker-level inputs. Having more power, even with a poor signal source, goes a long way towards getting more punch in a system.

For budget considerations, I'd say you're best off keeping the stock amp for now, and picking out a subwoofer replacement. You may get the punch you want that way. If the speakers still aren't doing it for you, and you don't think you'll be dropping the cash to upgrade to an amp to power them, you might consider some 6x8's, either for their power handling that's closer to what they're getting, or just for a different sound you might like better.

Wow, just what I was looking for
Looks like I have some research and searching to do . . .
Awesome suggestions and many thanks.

Easiest and best way to improve the overall sound of the speakers are to dampen and reinforce the speaker baffles.

Quality sound damping mat will make your speakers sound like they cost three times as much as they do.

so, which one sounds better(more output).... 8w0 or the premier 8" powered by factory?

It's personal preference really, the JL 8W0 handles 75W and the Premier 8" handles 120W, and they both have pretty low (85 dB) efficiency, so the JL probably has an edge on output, given the same factory amp as a power source, and both subs in their ideal size enclosures.

It's worth mentioning that JL has discontinued the 8W0 and it doesn't look like there are any plans for a new stock-replacement sub in an 8" size, so the Premier will soon be one of the few drop-in replacements.

I found the built in diagnostic (hold down buttons 3 and 6). . . . .and the result were discouraging to say the least. If i define the level 1 (being the quietest) and level 5 (being loud)
The new Fronts Boston Accoutics - 5
Stock Rears - 3
Sub - 2
The Polks - 4
so based on the suggestions i pulled the trigger on Pioneer Premier GM-D7400M and Pioneer Premier TS-SW841D both for $210.

I'll probably go back to the Polks as they where fine and sounded very good, i had hope the BASX85 would fill in some bass but its not the door speakers but the sub thats the problem. The pioneer amp had bass boost which might help and seemed to match up the the sub woofer very well. The JL listed a limit of 150w max while the pioneer went to 500w which would be safer with an after market amp. If i still had the stock speakers all the way around and stock sub amp the JL Audio 8W0 would be the way to go.

When i installed the s85 i added dynomax which helped. When i pull the sub i'll see what i can do to it's enclosure, any suggestions?

Now i got an extra pair of Boston Acoustics SX85s . . . anyone ?

The Pioneer GM-D7400M amp puts out 200W @ 4 ohms.

The Premier TS-SW841D subwoofer handles 120W @ 4 ohms.

You're gonna blow that sub in short order putting 200W into it.

RMS (continuous) power is what matters. The JL's max power of 150W (which is twice the RMS of 75W) is probably right, but the "500W" max on the Premier is another one of those "wishful thinking" things. Amps don't magicially put out 120W and then jump up to 500W.

My suggestion would have been something along the lines of the Pioneer TS-SW251 (10" shallow mount sub that handles 200W @ 4 ohms) to match such an amp, or a 100W amp to go with the 8" sub.

So a 100watt would have been Pioneer GM-3300T 2-Channel Amplifier (bridged)? It lists 60 watts x 2 channels which would mean 120watts bridged.

I looked at that too, but the 7400 was only $20 more. . .and it had bass boost, seemed smaller in size, and ideal for the job. . .should i return it or can't i just turn the gain down on the input?

If i where to guess,the 8" : Power Handling: RMS: 120 watts means more like 240watts peak and not the Peak of 500 watts as stated.

the 7400 lists # RMS Power Rating 4 ohms: 250 watts x 1 chan.

what your are telling me, sorry for the newb questions, is i'm over by 120watts RMS on the sub. I'm have been thinking that the gain control could adjust this? Or am i really off?

i'd better read this:

The GM-3300T is 150W @ 4 ohms bridged. Bridged power is usually more than 2x single channel power, closer to 2.5x-3x.

Where are you getting the 4400 for only $20 more? It's a $200 amp. It's PERFECT for a sub amp, but you just need a sub that can handle the 200W RMS power. If you want an 8" that will handle 200W, I'd suggest the JBL GTO series.

Peak power is usually double the RMS power, but unfortunately Pioneer has gone the way of some of the cheaper manufacturers in some of their ratings and used a "max" power rating, which isn't "peak" power handling, more like the greatest power it will stand if subjected to once in a great while. It's similar to the way cheap amps are rated, which is the wattage it will put out for one millisecond if lightning strikes it.

Pioneer's site lists the 7400 as 200W x 1 channel (Mono only) @ 4 ohms, 0.03% THD, which is fantastic for a subwoofer amp.

The gain control is a way to adjust the "loudness" of the amp based on the voltage of the input signal, it does NOT affect the wattage output. You'll still blow a 120W speaker if you put 200W into it, regardless of the gain setting.

Either return the amp and get one that is under 120W @ 4 ohms, or get another subwoofer that will handle the 200W @ 4 ohms.

Or just use the sub with the factory amp and use the Pioneer amp for something else.

i don't know if i'm luck or unlucky. Amazon is where i found them. After reading i was like nuts. Well the Amp was shipped, then an email came in saying the woofer was like a 3 week delivery schedule, wtf, soon after another email saying it was canceled due to back order and i was refunded my $$. So i hit the internet and find a 10" for $30 cheaper a Pioneer TSSW251. Watts Nominal Power Handling 200 Watts should be fine, now to get it to fit. . .for the price i thought id give it a try, but i doubt it will. Was there a link that someone was able to? I know i'll have to cut . .

Should be a great setup and give you what you're looking for!

It should fit fine, since you'll only have to trim the factory 8" hole to get the 10" in there but you won't have to worry about depth.

Just be sure to check the location of the 10" with the factory enclosure mounted in the vehicle, it may fit better slightly offset from the factory 8" hole rather than just enlarging it all around.

If you run into problems, post some pics of what you're dealing with and you'll get lots of ideas.

got a 10" sub woofer in

After staring for an hour or two at them . . .i plunged in.

Stock OEM measured 3 5/8 from the dimple where the bolt attaches, or 3 1/8" minus the dimple to the underside of the lip.


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What i did was dremel out the mounting plate.


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speaker is tight and snug when mounted, screws need to be improved as i only used small 1/4" sheet metal screws.


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I think i HAVE to redo the seal around the speaker and maybe dynomat the insides? Amp don't fit thats for sure. Have to go to plan B on that one.


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Plan B.
bad news in a way, as i posted in another tread, I also found the radio doesn't put out any bass signals unless the Factory Sub amp is hooked up. I tried to wire direct from the radio to the RCA inputs, but no sound came out of it. . .i tested the amp with my ipod hook up and it worked, kinda of funny sounding just listening to 240hz and below. So i spent the next few hours re-wiring the signal cable, power, still nothing. I would check with the volt meter always got 4.5volts. I was about ready to rip it all out and fleabay it but I hooked the old amp and speaker up and vola, puny sound again. So now i'm using the speaker level inputs and have big bass, but still some problems. I get rattle when it gets loud, the sub enclosure I’m sure is leaking; the turn on is only 6v and will not turn on my amp but it turns it self on and off with the speaker levels but with a tunk. . .today I have to redo the power and ground, that 10ga, $20 spool is only 10 ft now. . .nuts.


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the final, and the look .. .


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if you want any kind of decent sq with that you need to seal up that sub

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just to complete the upgrade and put this to bed. . . Sorry, no pics.

After mounting the Sub i still had some rattle. . .
Sub Enclosure:
I Dynomatted the whole outside of the enclosure making sure all the holes where filled in. Next i re-mounted the sub with 12" long threaded rods using Nylon Lock nuts on both ends, i cut the rod to exact length, i also made some 'struts' 10mm long of hollow Alum, tubing about ½” OD, to thread the rods through and to support the underside of speaker and the enclosure. In other words starting with the - top nut, Sub speaker, enclosure, hollow strut, back side of the enclosure, washer, lock nut. I put it all together and dremeled the extra rod sticking out the back. This really made the whole thing tight and solid. Sub i sealed with a 1/2" rubber seal and any extra gaps with simple latex caulk.

Body Rattles,
I mounted it and checked it again, while the sub had no rattles the body still had a rattle.
It seemed to be coming from the seatbelt retractor because if I put my finger on it the rattle stopped. I had some scrap isotonic foam laying around so on a whim i placed it between the enclosure and body. Since the enclosure was lifted away from the body i only had like 3-4 turns of the nut before it got tight, but it wasn't touching the body anymore. What a POSITIVE difference it made the rattle was Gone! Also before i put the panel back on i stuffed more foam along the top and bottom to prevent the panel from hitting anything or vibrating.

Afterwards, I was talking to a buddy and mentioned my problem, he said there was a free hanging weight in the seat belt retractor which allows it to lock up the seat belt in a accident, it’s a free hanging weight which was where the sound was coming from.

Now the Audiophile with Upgraded door speakers, 10” sub woofer and 200w Sub Amp,
It sounds great!.