Welcome to my 2019 GMC Sierra Denali audio upgrade build. I will be explaining a lot of information about the gear I used, why I selected specific equipment, and how I installed it. Hopefully, this build will help spark some ideas in other's systems.
I listed the same build on GM-Trucks.com (2019 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali Audio System Build (Includes A miniDSP Setup Guide)
, but that article will have both the audio system build and a step-by-step guide on setting up a miniDSP. Because diymobileaudio has two different areas for this information and has an image limit per post, I'm only posting the truck upgrade. I have too many images in the step-by-step miniDSP guide. Feel free to find my article on that forum page if interested in the reading. Some sections in this build may sway toward a how-to guide because the general idea was to explain some pieces in more detail to help provide ideas for others system builds.
I will list a lot of the hardware pieces that I used during this project. I may not list some of the minor stuff or tools I used, but I'll explain what I used during this build document. I created some items in this build, but I documented what I did to help give any ideas to someone wanting to attempt something similar.
This build read will be pretty lengthy, but I included headings if you would like to skip to specific sections.
Table of Contents (By Section):
- Section 1: Audio Hardware
- Section 2: How I choose My Audio Gear
- Section 3: Gear Installation
- This will be broken into a few different posts because of the 20 image limit.
How I choose My Audio Gear:
- (1) JL Audio XD800/8v2
- Tweeter/Midrange/Woofers/Rear Amplifier Using: 8 x 75 Watts RMS
- (1) JL Audio HD750/1
- Subwoofer Amplifier Using: 1 x 750 Watts RMS
- (1) NAV-TV ZEN AVB-GM
- (1) miniDSP C-DSP 8x12 DL
- (1) miniDSP UMIK-1
- (2) Focal Flax Evo PS 165 F3E
- (2) Focal Flax PC 165 FE
- (2) JL Audio 10TW3-D4
- (1) Stinger 1/0 Amplifier Wiring Kit
- (1) Stinger 4GA Amplifier Wiring Kit
- (1) Stinger 2 Position MIDI Fuse Holder (1) 1/0GA / (2) 4GA
- (1) Stinger 2 Position Power Ground Distribution Block (1) 1/0GA / (2) 4GA
- (2) Stinger 12GA Speaker Wire: Gray
- (2) Stinger RoadKill Fast Rings
- (1) FatMat Sound Control
- (36) Belden 1800F (Red) Per Foot
- (36) Belden 1800F (Black) Per Foot
- (29) Canare F-10 Deluxe Clamp and Body RCA Plugs
- (1) Parts Express Speaker Gasketing Tape 1/8" x 3/8" x 50 ft. Roll
- (1) Mechman High Output 250 Amp Alternator
- (1) Stinger Inline ANL Fuse Holder (For Alternator)
- (1) Airaid Junior Air Intake System
- (1) Hantec 2D72 Handheld Oscilloscope
- (5) Stinger SHW10B 1/0GA Per Foot (For Alternator Connection)
- (5) Stinger SHW10C 1/0GA Per Foot (For Alternator Connection)
- (1) 1/0GA compact ring terminal (For Alternator Connection)
- Need a small ring terminal to use the factory ground bracket with the sensor installed
- (2) 1/0GA ring terminal (For Alternator Connection)
- Needed for power and ground connections
- (1) 300 Amp ANL Fuse (For Alternator Connection)
- (1) Roll of heat tape (For Alternator Connection)
- (1) Roll of 1/2" braided wire sleeve (For Alternator Connection)
- (6) 1" Heat shrink tubing at 3" in length (For Alternator Connection)
- (1) Mini-ANL 80 Amp Fuse
- (1) Mini-ANL 175 Amp Fuse
- (1) Custom built under hood fuse holder
- 1/8" x 2" Hillman Aluminum Solid Flat Model #: 11303 from Menards
- (1) Custom built subwoofer enclosure
- (2) Custom built front door speaker mounts
- (2) Custom built rear door speaker mounts
- (2) Custom built tweeter pods
- (1) Custom built rear seat amplifier wallboard
- Amplifier and Factory Integration:
- JL Audio amplifiers and the NAV-TV were my final choice in this audio system build. I decided on the NAV-TV because it provides the most direct radio to DSP integration. I read several posts about people having issues with the NAV-TV unit in these trucks, but I wanted to give it a try. My NAV-TV has been strong for eight months.
- Component Speakers:
- First, I needed to choose to do 2-way or 3-way speakers for my front sound stage. I could do 2-way without any extreme custom mounts or 3-way with custom mounting requirements. I choose to go with the 3-way even though it would be more work because I wanted the extra mid-range sound plus nice highs. I decided to leave the mid-range in the same spot and modify the tweeters' sail panels. I knew going would make the tweeters look close to a factory.
- Next, I needed to choose what speakers I wanted to install into my truck. I had two things in mind when purchasing speakers. First, what speakers can I fit into my truck and make modifications for fitment, but allow me to reinstall the factory speakers when I sell the truck. Second, I wanted quality and look. My 1st choice was purchasing JL Audio's C7 components, but the mid-range speakers are too large to fit into the dash without cutting away all the factory mounting. My second choice was Focal Audio. I looked at both the Flax Evo and K2 Power series. I landed on the Flax Evo because I knew I would have an exposed tweeter, and I didn't like the idea of the K2 yellow cone with my dark brown interior. The Flax EVO had a very dark brown look that would go with a brown or black interior.
- If you are planning on putting these in your 2019+ Sierra or Silverado, know the mid-range Flax EVO components will fit into the dash but it will require cutting into the original mounting plastic area. If you do it carefully you can preserve the existing round plastic section and mounting holes if you ever planned on putting the stock gear back into your truck.
- I already had a pair of JL Audio 10TW3-D4 from my previous truck, so I re-used these subwoofers and made a custom-tuned ported enclosure tuned at 32 Hz.
- miniDSP was my primary choice from the start for two reasons. First, it has 12 channels of output, and I need nine channels because I wanted everything going through my DSP, so I could make any tweaks without touching the amplifiers. Second, this DSP can be purchased with Dirac or have Dirac added. I have Dirac on my Emotiva pre-amplifier, and it has been great, so I knew I wanted this in my truck build. Many other DSPs only has eight output channels, so it can be a limitation if you do three ways in the front, rear speakers, and a subwoofer. If I didn't choose the miniDSP, I could have connected the rear fill speakers directly to the amplifier, but if I ever wanted to make tweaks to the speaker like the gains, I would have to pull the rear seat. Some other DSPs had cleaner graphical user interfaces (GUI) and tweaks, but using miniDSP with REW/Dirac will give you a crazy amount of advanced tweaking if you choose. One last nice feature of the miniDSP is the preset options on the volume control knob. You get the opportunity to choose from 4 different configuration types that you can switch live with the press of the button. The significant gain in the miniDSP as opposed to other DSPs with no additional presets is you can tune each preset for your own needs. I have preset one tuned for windows up and the sound focused on the driver side. This tune makes the music sound as if it is right in front of my face. Preset two is tuned for windows up and center-focused to give both the passenger and driver a general sound. Preset 3 & 4 are the same as preset 1 & 2, but with the windows down tuning. These two preset make a massive difference in the sound because of glass reflection.
- Mechman alternators were my 1st choice when looking into an alternator. The biggest issue was I couldn't find any information about any manufactures high output alternators working on the 2019+ Sierra/Silverado. After talking to Mechman they informed me they could not go above 250 Amp because the truck's stretch belt restricted using a smaller pulley used on the higher 360+ alternators. Also, they did not know if the smart charging system would cause issues with charging. They were honest and let me know I could return the alternator if it didn't work, so I was on board with giving it a go. It turned out to work, but there is a catch on these trucks. I'll explain more further into the build document.
In this section, I will show images that I took during my build process. I'll add a little explanation throughout to help answer any questions anyone may have about the procedure I took for the installation.
The first piece of this system I started with was my custom subwoofer enclosure. I spent an extended amount of time design this subwoofer box on the computer before building it. My last truck was a 2014 GMC Sierra, and I created a custom sealed box for the truck using the same speakers. It sounded good, but it didn't hit as hard as I would like. That truck had limited room under the rear seat for a ported enclosure using my selected subwoofers, so I choose to go sealed. After doing some measurements under my 2019 GMC Sierra seat, I discovered additional room under the seat compared to my 2014. I began taking measurements to see if I had enough air volume to get a ported enclosure built. After some calculations, I knew I could make this work with a good amount of tweaking. I used Visio to layout the box design to scale to make sure I could fit the box sections in specific locations and used an enclosure design software to design/tune the subwoofer box. Designing a ported enclosure for a truck with a correctly built port is critical because you will be more likely to hear port noise if the velocity is too high.
New Box Build Note: If you plan on making a custom ported box for this truck or any other truck, I recommend not porting out the box's side if the side of the box is flush with the edge of the seat. A side port will only function correctly when the door is open. Your distance between the port's opening and the adjacent solid surface should be, at minimum, the similar size to your port opening. If not, you are restricting the air from escaping the port and putting back pressure on it. That is why you will notice my port is at the front of the subwoofer box.
When I built my 2014 sealed box, I kerfed the curved sections and added additional fiberglass/mat to add strength. I decided I would create custom curved stacks for my 2019. I wanted a specific radius, so I started with cardboard to determine the curve I wanted, and I transitioned that to my MDF and used a flexible template for curves and my router.
After I determined my curve, I created my base (1), 1/2" stack, (2) 3/4" stacks, and (1) fully top sheet. Then I used a cardboard piece to figure out the floor curve and transferred that to the bottom of the base section.
Here is a picture of the curves and bracing. I have not glued the curves and bracing on top of the main base. I test fit all the pieces to see how everything looked.
I created a custom jig to help be cut the angle on the top of the stack.
All curves, bracing, and inside of the port have been installed and glued.
I build the front using the same flexible template to get the curves the way I liked them to go over the middle hump in the floor. I made the left and right side match even though the passenger side does not have any woofers. I did this for the look and added additional room for air to escape from the bottom of the box.
I installed the front panel and tested the box levelness since I have added more pieces of wood that weighted down different sections.
I added additional port angles to decrease sharp edges and added some flexible rubber coating to the port. Also, I added my terminal posts to the rear of the box and installed some scrap wire for terminal connector fitment testing.
Next, I installed the lid on the subwoofer box. I rough cut around the lid close to the box's edge and then made a custom angle jig for my router to go around the box and router off the excess.
I added a JL Audio log to the front with ABS, and I wrapped the box with vinyl and carpet. The final step was to spray the vinyl to match the interior of the truck. I sprayed this with SEM Color Coat, but SEM did not have an exact match. It matched kind of close, but a little lighter than the factory color. I may be changing up the color in the future.
Note: I tried several different SEM vinyl sprays to get a brown that would match my interior. After spending a lot of money on spray, I had zero luck with the brown. My interior was a two-tone brown/gray color. After I couldn't find a dark brown that matched close enough, I decided to find a gray. I finally found a gray color that matched my interior. If you have a similar color interior, I suggest trying Duplicolor Vinyl and Fabric Coating in Charcoal Gray (Part# HVP111).
I made custom aluminum brackets to bolt the box to the truck. I was able to use the factory screw pins used for the original jack hardware.
Here are the final pictures of the subwoofer box installed in the truck.