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Old 11-08-2018, 11:38 PM   #1
atbwrx
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Default 2014 WRX Alpine Tweeter & Amp /Kicker Speaker & Sub Install

Decided to upgrade the sound system in my 2014 WRX Hatch.

After looking at various posts on NASIOC and other sites, I decided to stick with OEM for ease of installation. I know there are better components for less, but I like the idea of keeping things looking stock, both inside and outside the car.

I'll post the install as it goes along.

Here's what I got:

Alpine SPR-10TW Tweeters (already stripped out of their casings when pic was taken)
OEM Kicker Speaker Upgrade
OEM Kicker Sub Woofer
Alpine KTP-445U Amp
ae64.com 20 pin breakout harness
Ballistic Sound Dampening

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Last edited by atbwrx; 11-15-2018 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 11-10-2018, 01:12 PM   #2
atbwrx
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Here’s a quick comparison of components.

I went with the Alpine SPR-10TW Tweeters because they got great reviews, and they were about the same dimension as the stockers. Here’s the side by side comparison:



The Alpine has a larger magnet, and just holding in the hand weighs a lot more.

The stock system was actually pretty good. I didn’t buy the car new, but apparently it was ordered with the upgraded speaker system that was available at the time because the speakers are two-way like the Kickers.



The Kickers have a lot larger magnets, and are rated at 100w. The stockers state on the magnet that they are 40W @ 4ohms. It looks like the cone material on the stockers is aluminum.

I installed the new components in one door so I could do a side by side comparison.
The stock tweeter didn’t stand a chance, the Alpine tweets are killers. The Alpine has so much more clarity and depth of sound – it was day and night. The Alpine tweeter was actually dominating the sound a bit (I haven’t installed the Alpine KTP-445U Amp or the Kicker sub yet), so I set them with a 4db cut which brought them back in balance.

The Kicker door speaker had a very tight, percussive mid bass response. The stocker had way more boom. I was surprised by this, but I can see where the Kicker door speaker would slot in well with the sub, where the stocker would be competing with it. (“Door speakers aren’t for bass”)

Side by side, at low to mid volumes, I’d say the stock set up provides decent highs and more low bass response. The Alpine/Kicker combo has a lot more clarity, and a lot more precision in its bass response, but it doesn’t boom like the stocker.

As you crank the volume, the stockers will start to distort, where the Alpine/Kicker combo has a lot more headroom. At high volumes the Alpine/Kicker combo starts to balance better (bass response catches up to those crystal clear highs) and you start getting that immersive sound experience, where with the stockers you are just listening to loud music. Can’t wait to do the sub and amp install and see how it sounds.

Last edited by atbwrx; 11-13-2018 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 11-11-2018, 01:04 AM   #3
atbwrx
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Tweeter Removal and Replacement

Removing the tweeters is pretty straight forward.

Using a pry tool, you can catch the seam between the plastic sail panel and the front door frame and start to separate the tweeter housing from the door.



I used the tool to create enough space to get my fingers inbetween the housing and the door and then pulled the housing off the door.



Disconnect the tweeter wire terminal and remove the tweeter housing from the door.
To remove the tweeter, just unscrew the three Philips head screws on the back of the housing. You can see them in the pic below, the bottom screw has been backed out.



Hereís the Alpine tweeter in its factory casing.



The screen and the backing plate on the casing twist/lock into place. Just twist them both like youíre opening a jar and they will come off.





Hereís the Alpine tweeter sitting on the stock tweeter grill. I used a small bead of clear silicone on the inside of the speaker grill rim to help hold the tweeter in place. It cures in an hour, but I let it sit face down overnight to make sure the silicone fully dried. I didnít want to risk any silicone getting on the tweeter dome.



The next day, I put the stock backing back on. Because the Alpine tweeter is a little bit thicker than the stocker, the bottom screw wouldnít totally bottom out. Donít force it, it doesnít need to be totally cranked down and if you try you will just strip out the plastic. Just turn it until it is snug, and donít mind that the backing plate doesnít sit flat against the tweeter grill.

Last edited by atbwrx; 11-11-2018 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 11-13-2018, 02:06 AM   #4
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Head unit removal

Use a pry tool to separate the HU / center vent trim surround from the dash.



The trim piece pulls straight off.



With the trim piece off, the HU mounting screws are exposed. For the 2014 model, there are four phillips screws, two on each side of the face of the HU.



I did the total happy dance when the HU pulled right out. I’d read about having to remove the glove box, and dash trim in order to access bolts that mount into the side of the head unit. Not the case with the 2014. The four screws from the front are all there is.



With the HU out, I got a good look at the room behind the dash, I went ahead and removed the center vent tubes (two phillips screws, one on each side) to give better access to the center dash cavity.



I’m hoping to mount the Alpine amp in the dash where it will be out of site. Lots of room back there.

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Old 11-13-2018, 03:33 AM   #5
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Alpine / ae64.com harness install

I donít do a lot of car audio work, so this thread is meant to be very basic and step by step to help those that donít do a lot of car audio work.

Iím working with four harnesses here, the OEM Subwoofer harness, the ae64.com 20 pin break out harness, and the two harnesses that come with the Alpine amp (input and output).

For me, step #1 was to mark the ends on ae64.com harness to help me keep track of which end of the harness I was working with. I lined it up with OEM Sub harness which was labeled, and marked which side was the car/harness side and which was the HU side.



The ae64.com website has a complete wiring pin out, using that information I was able to identify which wires are the speaker wires on the ae64.com harness.



So with that information, I went to the ae64.com harness, and separated out the speaker wires (grn, grn/blk-gry,gry/blk-wht, wht/blk- vlt,vlt/blk).



Note that input (RCA) leads on Alpine Amp are much shorter than output leads.



So to provide working length to the input lead connection, I cut the speaker wires on the ae64.com harness closer to the car/harness plug.



Whenever I do a big soldering project, I always forget to preload the heat shrink at some point. So this time I preloaded all 8 output leads first before starting. Just make sure to push the heat shrink far enough down the wire so it doesn't get exposed to heat from the soldering iron.



Be careful using the heat gun this close to the terminal plug. I (thought) I was being careful, but it still got hot to the touch. Donít want that to warp on you.



Cut off the female RCA plugs on the Alpine in preparation of soldering the leads from the HU side of the ae64.com harness to the amp. Another option is to solder Male RCA plugs on the HU side of the ae64.com harness, but I'm planning on leaving the amp with the car so I'm hard wiring it in.



Ready to solder the Alpine input leads (RCA plugs cut off) to the HU side of the ae64.com harness.

Load up your heat shrink first.



Leads soldered up.


Last edited by atbwrx; 11-13-2018 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 11-13-2018, 03:33 AM   #6
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Next, locate the yellow and the black T-branch wires in the ae64.com harness, and the yellow and black leads on the output side of the Alpine amp.



These will be soldered together, don’t forget to load your heat shrink first.



Find the red T-branch lead on the ae64.com harness and the blue/white lead coming out of the INPUT side of the Alpine Amp (same side as the RCA cables), solder together. There's a blue/white lead on the OUTPUT side, you will not be using that one.





The blue and white lead on the OUTPUT side of the Alpine amp is not used. I taped up the exposed end and wrapped with heat shrink to insulate it.





With that, the harnesses are ready for installation.
This pic shows the order of installation: HU, then the OEM sub harness, then the ae64.com harness, and then the Alpine harness into the amp.


Last edited by atbwrx; 11-13-2018 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 11-13-2018, 04:16 AM   #7
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Adjusting / Installing the Alpine Amp

The access plug is a rubber flap on the bottom of the amp.



When removed it exposes 6 dip switches.



Going from left to right, the first two control the front High Pass Filter, and 3 and 4 control the rear HPF. They are turned off from the factory. Switch 5 is the 2 channel / 4 channel selector, and is set for 4 channel from the factory. The 6th switch is for the line level and is factory set for RCA.



Because the output from the HU is at speaker level, I flipped the 6th dip switch into the down position.



The gain controls are on the side of the amp. The directions say that when using speaker level inputs, that typical gain is set between minimum and 9 o'clock.



In reviewing posts on NASIOC, most seem to have their's set at the second mark which is closer to 10 o'clock, so that’s the setting I used.



With the amp all set up, it was time to find it a home in the dash.

Power amp installed nicely in HU cavity below the center vents.



Ghetto on the mounting job using three mondo zip ties to hold it in place, but no one is going to see it tucked away in the dash board. Its held down solid, and fore and aft. I can move it side to side for now, which will allow me to access the ports on the side to plug in the harnesses when I reinstall the HU.

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Old 11-17-2018, 02:31 PM   #8
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Installing Harnesses in the Dash.

First, I ran the OEM sub harness through the HU cavity. I ran it on top of the front crash bar with the factory harness already there, and let the sub end of the harness fall into the driver side foot well. The routing of the sub harness will follow in a later post. I left the input side hanging free in the dash cavity, we’ll get to that later.





I then connected the ae64.com harness (with the Alpine harnesses soldered onto it) to the Alpine amp. Because the Alpine amp is only secured in the center, I could slide it (with a little bit of force) to one side so I’d have room to plug in the amp input harness, and slide it to the other side to plug in the amp output harness, and then re-center when done.



I then connected the car/harness side of the OEM sub harness to the HU side of the ae64.com harness.



Make sure that NONE OF THE WIRES are coming through the heater vent opening before connecting, otherwise you won’t be able to put the HU or heater vents back in.




Next I connected the car/harness side of the ae64.com harness to the 20 pin plug that was originally plugged into the HU. A true sense of accomplishment plugging this connector together, knowing that the mess of wires that was all over the coffee table the day before was now connected to the car.



With the harnesses all plugged in, I took a moment to tidy up the wires. The Alpine amp output harness forms this nice “U” shape, so I taped those wires together .



I then bundled all of those wires together, and the input side I bundled separately, and pushed them all to the back of the dash cavity.


Last edited by atbwrx; 11-17-2018 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:34 PM   #9
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I then re-centered the Alpine amp on the zip ties and used electrical tape on the front and back of the amp to secure to the zip ties so it wouldn't be able to move laterally in its mounted position.



Make sure you have unburied these 6 wires before you reinstall the HU.



Bring the HU up to the dash opening, and install the amp ground harness.



Slide the HU back into the dash, and reattach with 4 screws.



Re-install your heater vent tubes, center console trim surround, and your dash work is done.

Last edited by atbwrx; 11-17-2018 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:23 PM   #10
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Speaker and sound deadening install:

In order to remove the door panels, you first need to remove the tweeter said panel.



Use a pic to expose the screw heads under the door pull and the armrest and remove.





Use pry tool to separate control panel from arm rest, then reach under and lift off from the front.





Turn the control panel over and remove the two terminal plugs.





Two screws are exposed after removal of the control panel, these need to be removed.

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Old 11-19-2018, 10:47 PM   #11
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Use a pry tool to separate the door panel from the door. The lower corner near the door speaker seems to be the favorite starting point.



Work your way around the panel, and pull it off the door. The panel will pull up to about 6" off the door, but will still be attached by the door pull and lock cables. These are snapped into the door panel, and with a good tug will pull free. By manipulating the door pull and interior manual lock switch, you call pull the ball end out of the top of the controls and separate the door panel from the door.



Unclip the door speaker terminal and unscrew the three screws to remove the door speaker.



Hereís the interior door skin with the door panel removed.



Before you can remove the weather barrier, youíll need to remove the harness anchors and unplug the terminal plugs.









For most of the anchors, rather than prying from the top, you can reach from behind and pinch the stud closed and it will pop out the front.



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Old 11-20-2018, 01:07 AM   #12
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With all of the terminals unplugged and anchors removed, you can then pull off the weather barrier. Take a minute and mark all of the holes that something plugged in to, and where the harness came through the large openings in the door. You’ll need to refer to this pic later to know where the holes are once the door is covered with sound deadening.



So I wasn’t planning on going totally nuts with the sound deadening. Too much work, and, I don’t like the idea of putting so much weight into the car. The Ballistic Door Kit comes with six sheets of sound deadening, which is enough to do two interior door skins, but I wanted to do a half a sheet on each outer door skin so I bought two boxes. I may use the left over 5 sheets from the second box for the hatch floor. Instructions say to thoroughly clean the surface, so I put a spray bottle attachment on some rubbing alcohol and sprayed the lower portion of the outer door skin, and wiped with a shop towel.



Roll the sound deadening material into a “U” shape so it can be fed through the speaker hole.



Peel off the paper backing and feed through the speaker hole. Because it is sticky, its easier if you reach through the opening to the right and keep the deadening from touching anything as you pull through with the right hand and push through with the left.



Press the sound deadening into place, then use a heat gun to heat it up and then roll it flat with a roller.





To cut the sound deadening for the inner door skin, layout out three sheets (two horizontal and one vertical) and lay the weather barrier over it as a pattern. Make sure that if your sound deadening is laying “sticky side” down, that your weather barrier has the same orientation ("sticky side" down) so you don’t end up cutting out a mirror image. I laid the speaker down in the general area of where it is located on the door, as a reminder to not cut out that portion of the sound deadening since unlike the weather barrier, the sound deadening will be extending over the speaker hole.



The front vertical piece of deadening material has to be cut to fit, you won’t use the vapor barrier as a pattern because the deadening material has to go beyond the reach of the weather barrier.

I pushed all the wiring harnesses into the door so they would be out of the way when measuring/applying the sound deadening material.



I then held up the vertical piece of deadening material and determined where I wanted the leading edge. You can see in this pic that the butyl tape residue from the weather barrier goes right along the edge of the top door opening, but when I measured where to have the edge of the sound deadening, I pulled it about an inch further to the left giving the deadening that much more contact area with the inner door skin.



Here’s the ultimate shape I made for the front piece of sound deadening.


Last edited by atbwrx; 11-20-2018 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 11-20-2018, 01:52 AM   #13
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I marked along the edge of these two opening where the wiring harness came through.



I cut a flap over where I indicated the harness came through the weather barrier on the left hole, and pulled the harness through.



I then pulled the backing off and stuck the front piece of sound deadening against the front part of the inner door skin.



And then cut a flap over where I indicated on the door that the harness went back through the weather barrier.



I then cut out the speaker opening using the pie cut method, and then folded the deadening material onto the back of the speaker opening.





Cut out the remainder of the sound deadening material using the weather barrier as a pattern.



Hang the top piece of sound deadening and, referring back to that pic where I marked all the holes that are used and where wires came through the door, I cut a slit where I indicated the door cables came through the weather barrier.



Apply the bottom piece of sound deadening, and use the heat gun and roller to smooth it all out.



Mount and plug in the Kicker door speaker.

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Old 11-21-2018, 03:21 AM   #14
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Use the heat gun and the roller and roll out all of the sound deadening.



Refer back to the pic where you marked all of the holes on the inner door skin that had anchors plugged in, and use a dental pic to poke through the sound deadening and open up the holes. You can then rehang all of the wiring back onto the door and re-plug all of the wire terminals.



Before putting the door panel back on the door, use electrical tape to prevent the mounting pegs from rattling in the panel. Fold the tape length-wise and cut a slit. Then insert the tape into the door panel mount, sticky side facing in, with the slit going horizontally across the opening. Then pop in the peg. The tape will cover the top and bottom surface of the mount and hold the peg in place.



Before snapping the door panel back onto the door, make sure to pull the armrest wiring harness through the armrest opening.



Use a dental pic to open the holes for the two mounting screws under the armrest and install.



You can then plug in the armrest window/lock controls, and pop the armrest control panel back into place. Install the mounting screw that holds down the arm rest and the mounting screw under the door pull.

Re-install the tweeter sail panel, and the doors are done.
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