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Explorer Audio upgrade(s)


13Sport

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All powered by amplifier built into the dash head unit.
The amp is not built into the dash head unit. The premium 9 and sony 12 speaker systems use an amp mounted in the passenger rear quarter panel.
 


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hmsracing

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The amp is not built into the dash head unit. The premium 9 and sony 12 speaker systems use an amp mounted in the passenger rear quarter panel.
This is true for the Limited edition but the 2013 xlt with premium 9 speaker system there is no amplifiers...I have confirmed this on my own vehicle as well as with Ford reps and with dealerships....there is no amplifier in rear quarter panel on xlt 9 premium systems....

So been confirmed...no more amplifiers for anyone except limited Model explorers....
 




danxmanly

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upgrades to 9 spkr system

hmsracing,

When you yanked the headunit out to work on upgrades, was there any kind of low level rca sub output on the back of it?

I know you can run line level converters or use spkr level inputs if the additional amp supports it.. but it'd be easier just to run rca cords if they're already there.

What did you finally end up doing to your system? Did you ever pull the trigger on that JBL processor? That looks interesting, but for the $$ I wish it packed a little more wattage.

I know more than anything the 9 spkr system will lack bass, which is why I will add a woofer first. JL makes a nice amp with a subwoofer adjustment knob to fine tune the sound. I figured I'd crank down the bass on the headunit to limit low freq. distortion on the factory spkrs, and dial it in on the dedicated sub amp. ( I had similar setup in an old Pathfinder my son now has. ) I'll see how that sounds first, then see if I need to dive into another amp and front spkrs. I really can't see spending money on the other speakers in the vehicle due to their placement. They should suffice for rear fill ambiance.
 




ieee_raider

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This is true for the Limited edition but the 2013 xlt with premium 9 speaker system there is no amplifiers...I have confirmed this on my own vehicle as well as with Ford reps and with dealerships....there is no amplifier in rear quarter panel on xlt 9 premium systems....

So been confirmed...no more amplifiers for anyone except limited Model explorers....
Limited and Sport.
 




13Sport

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This is true for the Limited edition but the 2013 xlt with premium 9 speaker system there is no amplifiers...I have confirmed this on my own vehicle as well as with Ford reps and with dealerships....there is no amplifier in rear quarter panel on xlt 9 premium systems....

So been confirmed...no more amplifiers for anyone except limited Model explorers....
Weird... I wonder why they would change this from the 2011/2012 XLT.
 




hmsracing

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hmsracing,

When you yanked the headunit out to work on upgrades, was there any kind of low level rca sub output on the back of it?

I know you can run line level converters or use spkr level inputs if the additional amp supports it.. but it'd be easier just to run rca cords if they're already there.

What did you finally end up doing to your system? Did you ever pull the trigger on that JBL processor? That looks interesting, but for the $$ I wish it packed a little more wattage.

I know more than anything the 9 spkr system will lack bass, which is why I will add a woofer first. JL makes a nice amp with a subwoofer adjustment knob to fine tune the sound. I figured I'd crank down the bass on the headunit to limit low freq. distortion on the factory spkrs, and dial it in on the dedicated sub amp. ( I had similar setup in an old Pathfinder my son now has. ) I'll see how that sounds first, then see if I need to dive into another amp and front spkrs. I really can't see spending money on the other speakers in the vehicle due to their placement. They should suffice for rear fill ambiance.
I have not done the system yet...still pondering my options as I have another project that is taking all my time up...my 12yo son and k are fully restoring a 1968 dodge dart before his 16th birthday...so far we have completely dismantled the entire car to just its shell and are going to start body and frame work.....
I may attempt the system during winter if I can....
 




hmsracing

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hmsracing

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Weird... I wonder why they would change this from the 2011/2012 XLT.
Yea...I felt the same way....the dealer told me they increased wattage from head unit to power the 9 speakers.....keeping cost down....the power is split the following.....

Left front.......tweater/woofer
Right front.....tweater/woofer
Left rear.........rear door mid and 3rd row
Right rear.......rear door mid and 3rd row
Center has its own combined channel 8ohm
3rd row are 16ohm speakers ran off rear channel
 




hmsracing

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hmsracing,

When you yanked the headunit out to work on upgrades, was there any kind of low level rca sub output on the back of it?

I know you can run line level converters or use spkr level inputs if the additional amp supports it.. but it'd be easier just to run rca cords if they're already there.

What did you finally end up doing to your system? Did you ever pull the trigger on that JBL processor? That looks interesting, but for the $$ I wish it packed a little more wattage.

I know more than anything the 9 spkr system will lack bass, which is why I will add a woofer first. JL makes a nice amp with a subwoofer adjustment knob to fine tune the sound. I figured I'd crank down the bass on the headunit to limit low freq. distortion on the factory spkrs, and dial it in on the dedicated sub amp. ( I had similar setup in an old Pathfinder my son now has. ) I'll see how that sounds first, then see if I need to dive into another amp and front spkrs. I really can't see spending money on the other speakers in the vehicle due to their placement. They should suffice for rear fill ambiance.
And there were no RCA outputs from head unit...only the speaker and power leads....
 




danxmanly

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Thanks for everyone's feedback on the 9 spkr system. Like I mentioned it'll be November before I get my vehicle, so I'll have time to research more and report back my findings. Plus I'll probably drive the new vehicle around a few weeks with the stock ford system to see if there are any "factory glitches" in it before I start my stereo upgrades. Don't want the dealer blaming any MFT issues on my upgrades.

In summary, looks like I'll be tapping off the rear spkr level outputs of the head unit, feeding that to a dedicated sub amp ( which I'll mount in rear passenger quarter panel it would appear ), and run that to my little 10" sub box that I'll strap down to the rear cargo floor. ( needs to be removable as I haul some good size demos for my job on occasion. nor do I want my girlfriend's golden retriever and my overactive bordercollie/springer deciding to use it as a chew toy when I haul them around. ;-) )

Thanks again...
 




deewan

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I know more than anything the 9 spkr system will lack bass, which is why I will add a woofer first. JL makes a nice amp with a subwoofer adjustment knob to fine tune the sound. I figured I'd crank down the bass on the headunit to limit low freq. distortion on the factory spkrs, and dial it in on the dedicated sub amp. ( I had similar setup in an old Pathfinder my son now has. ) I'll see how that sounds first, then see if I need to dive into another amp and front spkrs. I really can't see spending money on the other speakers in the vehicle due to their placement. They should suffice for rear fill ambiance.
Someone needs to correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand your plan, I can't see how this would yield good results. The line converter simple takes the high level output and converts it to a low level. The high level signal is post processor in the head unit. So if you crank down the bass on the head unit, you are removing the bass from the signal, only to attempt to add the bass back with the volume knob of the JL??? Why not add a cheap crossover before the speaker leads which would allow the line converter and the JL amp to get the full bass signal?
 




danxmanly

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Couple of things in regards to your post:

Passive crossovers as you mention, take power away from the speakers. One would typically want a 2nd order crossover network, capacitor and inductor and not just a single cap, which would take even more power away from what is a very small output to begin with. If I can just "equalize" out the bass to keep the factory speakers from "bottoming" out, then full power still goes out to the speakers. One thing I don't recall is if there is an equalizer built into the Premium head unit, or just bass / treble controls. Would be nice if I actually knew the center frequency of the equalization settings as well.

The JL sub amp adjustment is not just a "volume / gain" control. It actually controls the boost in the frequency range around 45 - 60 hz. Gains can still be set at the amp to balance the volumes of the speakers so that bass is not overpowering the rest of the door speakers. But in "theory", if I do reduce the bass to the factory speakers to minimize their distortion, I can boost it back up to the sub with it's dedicated control. Now granted, if I have to turn the bass down so low on the head unit to keep from distorting the factory speakers, then no amount of boosting on the JL amp will add to what is not there to begin with.

Ideally, one would go with an active crossover and dedicated amp to the door speakers, which I may end up doing. But thought I'd just try adding the sub amp first and see how everything sounds.

Thanks for your input.... I'll have a better feel for things once I actually get a chance to listen/ dissect the stereo when my vehicle arrives. There's only so much one can do to test a system when the ford sales guy is in the vehicle with you. Plus I'd probably scare the heck out of him with my diverse range of musical selections! ;-)
 




deewan

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I understand crossovers. I build them when I design and build home audio speakers. My statement still remains. Why remove bass from the source signal only to then use a small chip amp (which is what the gain knob basically is) and attempt to add it back? Also, the JL volume/gain knob is there to match it's SPL output to that of the rest of the system, not for manual EQ'ing.

You are right, if you are trying to avoid the door speakers from distorting the best plan is transition the high level signal to low level and then use active crossovers in aftermarket amps to feed your door speakers and use the low level signal to run the JL and it's built in highpass crossover.
 




danxmanly

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My statement still remains. Why remove bass from the source signal only to then use a small chip amp (which is what the gain knob basically is) and attempt to add it back?
Because adding the bass back to the "sub only" still keeps it away from the door speakers.

Not to mention, it's easy enough, and free, to try out and report back my findings. Why add extra components that draw power away from the small built in amplifier if it may not be necessary? Yes, I agree it's not ideal way of "massaging" the low frequencies out of the system.... and in the end I'll probably discover I won't get enough volume out of the factory amp anyway and end up adding another amp / speakers to the doors. I always up-sell myself! ;-) But adding another amp, and a good set of component door speakers can easily add a few hundred bucks to the system. Then there will be a possible issue of balancing out the factory center channel speaker by taking the matched door speakers out of the mix. ( am I giving to much credit to Ford sound engineers that the actually designed the speakers in the front of the vehicle to all work in harmony? ;-) )
 




deewan

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I'm not trying to say it isn't possible, I am only trying to help you avoid future headaches. The amount of power loss by adding bass blockers to your door speakers will be fair less detrimental to the overall sound of the system than EQ'ing the bass out of the system then using a small, inefficient chip amp in hopes of adding it back to a powered sub. Unless the speakers are dramatically different than the ones in the Limited, you would need to be a basshead to overpush the factory door speakers to the point that they sound that bad with the added JL sub.

You are correct, it is possible do to it. It will mess with the overall quality of the sound and make matching output levels a nightmare. But it is possible.
 




danxmanly

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Well, I picked up my 2014 XLT Explorer last week, drove around in it all week and I'm ready to upgrade the sound! I have the MFT system, ( not premier Sony.. if there really is such a thing ), but with any volume cranked up with some bass, the doors are vibrating and sound gets muddied quickly. Going to leave the front door and center channel stock for now as the mids / highs and imaging will suffice.... but adding a 10" JL Audio W3 woofer box and 250W continuous subamp to get the low end. Probably won't have everything in to install till around Nov. 8th.. but I'll report back.

Overall have been enjoying the MFT system... but totally disappointed Ford still doesn't have AppLink available for this premier system!
 




Unsta

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If the doors are rattling from the bass in the speakers, how is adding a sub going to fix that? Without adding a crossover of some type they're still going to get the bass.
 




13Sport

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If the doors are rattling from the bass in the speakers, how is adding a sub going to fix that? Without adding a crossover of some type they're still going to get the bass.
if the sub has an amp, then you could turn down the overall bass EQ and reduce the amount of bass going to the rest of the speakers, allowing the amp to compensate (lowering the amount of rattle in the doors). But this is a dumb way to approach stereo design :)

If the doors rattle the solution is sound deadening (dynomat, etc) .. if the speakers distort then crossovers, or better speakers are needed. A sub will just amplify any rattle in the car.
 




vteckiller2000

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The problem here with the muddiness is mostly from the head unit/amp's internal clipping. It is not going to get better to just change speakers or the amp (unless the amp is the sole source of the clipping). Someone smarter than me should investigate this.
 


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danxmanly

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The problem here with the muddiness is mostly from the head unit/amp's internal clipping. It is not going to get better to just change speakers or the amp (unless the amp is the sole source of the clipping). Someone smarter than me should investigate this.
I'm adding a woofer box, with a bass boost control and a dedicated sub amp to get the volume on the low end up, and can back out some of the bass going to the front speakers either through equalization, or some type of passive crossover.

The front speakers get "muddy" way before the amp begins to clip. More than likely I'm gonna yank them out and go with new component speakers and a dedicated amp on down the road... but the sub upgrade will suffice for now.
 




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