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Ok, let me start out by saying that this is a terribly lame system by the measure of most of the others here, but it's also designed to meet vastly different criteria.
What it had: Stock 6-speaker system, coax 6.5" in the rear doors, component 6.5" in the front. Woofer and tweeter wired in parallel, cap on the tweet to block bass. No filter on the woofer. Head unit was simple but full featured; CD, AM/FM, MP3, native Ipod control with accessory cable, bluetooth audio streaming, bluetooth phone, sirius satellite. Upgraded system (that I didn't have) included tweets in the rear pillars, a 3.5" center channel, an 8" sub in the driver's side rear panel, plus external amp under the passenger seat. Stock head unit also had significant sound shaping, pulling the bass back noticeably as volume increased.
What my goals were: Betterness. Not SQ, not SPL. Just much better.
What my self-imposed limitations were: No wires cut. As much as possible, all stock locations. Not blowing my 10-year warranty. Looking as stock as possible, down to the wiring that nobody would ever see. Absolute stealth.
Now I don't know whether to go with a timeline basis, or just tell you what I ended up with. Pics will be added tomorrow when I have bandwidth to do it, but don't expect much; mostly they show black clad wires next to other black clad wires.
Ok, the absolutes: I went with polk speakers, because I had them. db651 coax rears, and 6501 fronts. I fit them by gutting the stock speaker, which was part and parcel of the stock mounting rings. I removed the surround, yanked out the cone, then cut the baskets out leaving the outside. The polks fit beautifully in the remaining shell. This had the side benefit of angling the polks exactly like the stockers, which naturally perfectly matched the door panel angles. Tweeters in the front went in stock locations in the sail panels of the doors, with minor trimming and cutting to fit them behind the stock covers. I also removed the stock connectors from the original speakers and soldered them to the polks so that the stock wiring plugged directly into them. The crossovers for the 6501s were mounted to a 1/8" aluminum tab that I pop-riveted below the speakers. I mounted them in the door for a few reasons, stealth being the main one and ease of installation being another one. (side note, sorry. There's gonna be a few of these-I don't like the concept increasing complexity or serviceability for looks. Putting the crossovers somewhere else, then running more wires through the door adds complexity. Not putting a connector in, or pinning them into the stock connectors, affects serviceability of the door. Maybe not a big deal in a car out of warranty, but in a vehicle with a super long warranty like the Kia I don't want to give them any reason to void it. Also, I'm a big fan of kill. Not overkill, not underkill. I want my wires all the right gauge for the application. Sure 12g wires are nice to run to speakers, but they won't sound any better in most applications, and I'll never run into the limitations of the stock wiring) All doors were also covered with patches and layers of eDead 80. I haven't yet, but I'm going to take the door cards off and do the inside of the door skins with eDead also. The inside of the door panels were also liberally covered with eDead teklite foam to stop rattles.
 

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Head unit: In the name of stealth, I searched high and low trying to find a stock looking unit. Found a handful on ebay, chinese units that looked totally stock. Not terribly expensive either, and had good specs. Some others on the sorento forum said they were as good as the name brands. I bought one. :rolleyes: What a fool I was. The interface was abysmal, the integration of the different functions was terrible. Examples: it treated all discs as DVDs. This meant you had to ground the parking brake wire to make it show anything other than 'video disabled for your safety.' When you grounded the parking brake wire, it still acted like a dvd, with onscreen buttons laid out just like they would be for a dvd. No track listings, etc. Next, the navigation. It apparently used a pirated version of Igo. Not terrible, but the nav/audio was either/or. If you were looking at the screen and wanted to go to the next track, you had to totally leave the nav and find your way back to the audio. No audio info was displayed on the nav screen. Finally, the ipod interface was terrible. Naturally they didn't pay the appletax so it wouldn't correctly control the ipod without warning screens, and you couldn't scroll or flick. If you had an 80GB ipod and wanted to find a song by Manowar, you'd be hitting the 'down arrow' screen button a bzilliion times. Immediately turned around and sold it on ebay. Next I found on ebay a stock nav head unit. Advantages are obvious, it's stock and fits and acts stock. Same connectors even. Disadvantages: utterly impractical to install. Connectors are the same, but the pinout is totally different. Repinning the connectors was doable but there were other larger issues. Nav has no audio output other than spdif. The stock amp (which I didn't have, and was unavailable from other than Kia, and they wanted more than my total budget for) does all processing, amplifying, mixing, you name it. The straw that broke the camels back though was that volume was handled by the canbus. I could sniff the network, find out what the signal was and come up with a circuit that would do it for me, but at that point I had to give up the concept of the stock one. It also went on ebay.
Finally I chose an Avic X930Bt. This was chosen for it's reasonable price and great features; naturally I'd prefer the 130bt, but the 930 was less than half that price. Gotta feed the family. I had a few metra wiring kits so I harvested pins and wires from all of them and did some sneaky/clever things. First, I unpinnned or cut all the wires in the pioneer's harnesses that I wasn't going to use. Rear monitor out, audio/video in/out, speaker wires, all removed. Next, i clipped all the wires to about 3" and soldered them directly to the pins of the metra connectors, and used adhesive lined heat shrink to cover all connections. I did the avic parking brake bypass as well. There was an unused socket in the stock harness plug-A, so I decided to use it. Over at the interior fuse panel, I found the reverse signal wire and tapped into it (back in the loom, under the stock covering, exposed about 1/2" of wire and soldered my wire into that, covered the joint with liquid electrical tape, then a bit of regular electrical tape, then put it all back to stock looking with my wire coming out the stock bundle behind the panel. I also had an unused pin in the stock connectors at the fuse panel, which would have fed the stock amp if I had one. I happened to have that style of pin in my pile-O-parts, so I added that pin and changed that stock 30a fuse for a 7.5a and ran that wire over to the radio. All these wires were covered in techflex and run alongside stock wires, electrical taped for neatness (Kia didn't use any zip-ties, so neither did I; most of their harnesses are taped, and any that are exposed are covered in adhesive backed foam or felt) This power wire became my rear camera power. The GPS antenna was placed under the leading edge of the dash, between the defroster duct and the dash cover. I used the supplied self-adhesive metal plate on the duct to magnet it to, then used a bit of foam on top to provide a pressure fit. All extra wire was neatly coiled and sandwiched between two layers of foam and tucked away neatly. Microphone was placed on the mirror stem, with the wire tucked into the headliner with foam tabs keeping it from moving/rattling. It then went between the airbag and the A pillar, down the passenger a-pillar, and across the top of the glove box wrapped in techflex and secured with strips of edead. Key is that other than the additional pin in the stock harness (which is connected to the reverse signal wire) nothing was modified, so if the dealership bitches I can yank the avic out and reinstall the stock unit in about 15 minutes.
 

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I mentioned that I removed the speaker outs from the pioneer head unit. this is because I'm using a separate amp. I wanted small, class D, and not alpine expensive. This lead me to blaupunkt. I picked up a THA-475PNP and a THA-555PNP on ebay, new, for a pretty good price. The 475 as you would guess puts out 4x75w. The 555 puts out 4x55 plus 1x200. Both are pretty small, and I'm not absolutely certain which I'll keep in there. Right now I have the 475 since I don't have a sub yet. Some of the key features of the blau amps are that they are the plug and play style; there are kits available to allow you to simply plug an extension harness between your stock stereo and the car's harness, and the blau will plug into that and you're done. For some reason though it never occurred to blaupunkt that someone would want one in a Kia. :mean: I picked up an extension harness off ebay for $10, which had all the power and speaker connectors in one nice neat harness. I stripped the speaker input wires and power wires out of the harness, leaving just the speaker outs. Another nice thing about the pnp amps is that all the connectors are on the same side, and there are no terminals. Once again with the stealth look, I've never seen a stock system that had connectors coming out of three different sides and connected anything with terminals. I also think that most crimp-on termials with the included blue/red/yellow insulation look more appropriate on industrial machinery than in a car installation. I also don't like the packaging issues of having an amp with power connectors at one end, speakers at the other, and controls somewhere else. That just seems like sloppy packaging to me. I picked up three rca sets with right angle ends on one side. This allowed me to have the RCAs lay almost flat against the amp. Didn't make my own because I didn't find any quality ends that didn't stick out 2 or three inches; again, packaging issues. There's no reason for RCAs to be that long. The amp will sit in the same location as stock, under the passenger seat. The RCAs were bundled with the speaker wires from the blau harness along the stock wiring channels up the center console. I left the third set coiled up under the center console for future sub use. I also left a spare coil in the front/rear RCAs so that if I ever decided to put a different amp with different plug locations I didn't have to totally rewire the vehicle.
 

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I mentioned that I removed the speaker outs from the pioneer head unit. this is because I'm using a separate amp. I wanted small, class D, and not alpine expensive. This lead me to blaupunkt. I picked up a THA-475PNP and a THA-555PNP on ebay, new, for a pretty good price. The 475 as you would guess puts out 4x75w. The 555 puts out 4x55 plus 1x200. Both are pretty small, and I'm not absolutely certain which I'll keep in there. Right now I have the 475 since I don't have a sub yet. Some of the key features of the blau amps are that they are the plug and play style; there are kits available to allow you to simply plug an extension harness between your stock stereo and the car's harness, and the blau will plug into that and you're done. For some reason though it never occurred to blaupunkt that someone would want one in a Kia. :mean: I picked up an extension harness off ebay for $10, which had all the power and speaker connectors in one nice neat harness. I stripped the speaker input wires and power wires out of the harness, leaving just the speaker outs. Another nice thing about the pnp amps is that all the connectors are on the same side, and there are no terminals. Once again with the stealth look, I've never seen a stock system that had connectors coming out of three different sides and connected anything with terminals. I also think that most crimp-on termials with the included blue/red/yellow insulation look more appropriate on industrial machinery than in a car installation. I also don't like the packaging issues of having an amp with power connectors at one end, speakers at the other, and controls somewhere else. That just seems like sloppy packaging to me. I picked up three rca sets with right angle ends on one side. This allowed me to have the RCAs lay almost flat against the amp. Didn't make my own because I didn't find any quality ends that didn't stick out 2 or three inches; again, packaging issues. There's no reason for RCAs to be that long. The amp will sit in the same location as stock, under the passenger seat. The RCAs were bundled with the speaker wires from the blau harness along the stock wiring channels up the center console. I left the third set coiled up under the center console for future sub use. I also left a spare coil in the front/rear RCAs so that if I ever decided to put a different amp with different plug locations I didn't have to totally rewire the vehicle.
Wow that is a lot of typing

pics are worth a lot more than words
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Power: Once again with the non-overkill. Given the limits of a small amp/pair of amps, I went with enetic 8g power wire. Nice quality wire, not the 12g wire in 8ga insulation that's so common now. My run is only about 10 feet, and 8g should be able to carry 100a at that distance, and be easily able to handle 60a continuous if needed. The 475 is fused at 30 so not a problem there. I didn't want to tap directly off the battery, and I didn't want huge chrome and brass terminals all over the place so I tapped at the underhood fuse panel. I removed the main feed wire, which comes from the positive terminal to a 6mm stud that feeds the rest of the fuse panel. I bent up a tab out of 14g sheetmetal that goes between the stock cable and the terminal, and extends straight down far enough to clear the fusebox. This has a 6" length of 8g crimped to it, with everything heat shrunk and split-loomed to match the stock wires. It then goes to a midi-fuse holder bolted down to a stock tapped hole on the fender well under the fuse panel. I painted the clear cover of the fuse holder flat black to hide it, and installed a 60a fuse. The wire then (split loomed and taped) follows the stock harness through the fenderwell and into the driver's kickpanel. No holes drilled, no grommets needed. From there it was techflexed and followed other stock harnesses and wiring channels to the amp location. Ground was another chunk of 8g, techflexed and run from a console mount bolt along with all the other wires. Everything exits a stock hole in the carpet which Kia used to pull through the airbag wires for the passenger seat. While I had the carpet up I went ahead and put 2-4 layers of edead on exposed sheetmetal, ducting, and plastic panels.
The rear camera was an ebay purchase, fits into the stock license plate light location and had an LED light. This was wired like everything else, techflexed and heatshrunk, taped to stock harnesses. I have a pair of connectors on under the top trim in the hatch for service. Wires were temporarily tucked under the interior trim until I get around to pulling the back half of the vehicle apart.
TrojanFan, yes I know. However, I live in the country and have satellite internet, with slower than dialup uploads. You'll just have to wait till I get to work tomorrow for pics.;)

Edit: With the car running, voltage at the battery was 14.41-14.43v. Voltage at the amp, with a bass test song at full crank, was 14.36-14.39v. I'm willing to accept a 3% voltage drop.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Oh, almost forgot; I used the axxess steering wheel interface to retain the stock buttons. This was ziptied (I know) underneath a support tab that holds the stock radio up. This allowed me to keep all of it's wires very short, and tap into the same metra harnesses that everything else does. It had about 12 wires stock, I remove all but the power, ground, and signal that was needed for this application.
I wanted to reuse the stock usb/aux input, but kia has all manner of unnecessary (to me) electronics in that connector, and it's $80 for a new one so I'd rather not mod the current one. Instead I temporarily made a passthrough for the stock pioneer cables directly underneath the OEM one in the center console. I'll probably end up finding/making a cradle that I can drop my iphone in rather than having to connect it to the cable every time. The only reason I can stand the exposed cable is that it's pretty much what was done stock, so it's not too different than what I was doing before. One change is that before I just had an ipod dedicated to the car, which was velcro'd under the center console. The avic, however, has all manner of neat integration features that talk to pandora and other iphone apps that mean I'll be using my iphone more than anything else as a source.

So that's pretty much where I am now. This is months of off and on work, adding parts and deadening as time and money allowed. One goal of the install was that the wiring would be done once, and then I wouldn't have to get into the dash again. I hope I've accomplished that. I'm still debating subs, with the difficulty that I want it to be in the stock location in the driver's side rear quarterpanel. This is a 7-passenger vehicle, and I do haul a lot of crap on a regular basis so I can't give up any useful space by having a box just sitting back there behind the seats. Another difficulty is that the stock sub doesn't sit directly behind the stock grille. I may end up trying to emulate the great Bing and have a two part box that bolts together through the stock grille opening. This will give me plenty of volume to work with. Alternately, I may end up just cutting out the stock trim panel and making a box that goes through it. That then brings me back to what amp to use; teh 555 to feed the sub with 200w, get a separate class D sub amp and put it under the drivers seat? Beg everyone I know for a PDX-5?
Oh, one more thing. Eventually I want to add an MS8. I already have the matching polk 3.5" center channel speaker, just have to buy the grille from kia. I love how well a center channel anchors the soundstage.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Kia sorento: 276Hp AWD V6. Surprisingly good handling for such a big small suv. It's significantly larger (and heavier) than the WJ platform Grand Cherokee. Plus it gets 23mpg and takes regular, where the jeep takes premium and gets about 17. The Kia's 3.5l V6 also puts out ~40HP more than the Jeep's 4.7l HO V8. 0-60 the jeep will stomp it, but 40-whatever the Kia walks away. It helps having a 6-speed auto.
 

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More parts pics.

Oh yeah, the 'big 3'. I don't want to say it's unnecessary, but I have to say that it's vehicle dependent. On an older vehicle that didn't have a whole lot of electronics, I can absolutely see the advantage. Adding a larger battery, a stereo that draws huge amounts of current, or a larger alternator, absolutely. Most modern vehicles with a modest stereo, unnecessary. Also, Kia has a TSB out about people adding extra ground cables; turns out that the stock ground cable/clamp has a sensor in it that measures the battery draw, and bypassing this can freak out the computer.
 

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Edead 80, with a razorblade for size comparison. Edead tek40 or whatever it was, it's about 1/4" sponge rubber foam, adhesive backed.
BTW, you all owe me. Not only did I stay up late, I got into the scotch.
 

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THA475PNP, THA555PNP, and an ancient Velocity 220 that I may end up using for something. Had it since I was a teen so very long ago, it's been up in the barn for years. Still works as well as you'd expect it to though.
 

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Gutting stock speaker, empty speaker mount (check out the condensation on the inside of the door!) and the crossover mounting tab. Note, I didn't take any pics of the completed deadening since it looks pretty much like every other vehicle with a lot of silver deadening all over everything. I will say that I was fairly sparing with it this time, cranking up 'bass, I love you' and feeling the door panel and adding edead till it didn't vibrate. Probably have to revisit that though since I went from maybe 10wpc stock to the 75wpc.
 

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Front mid-woofer and crossover. It's very solidly mounted, but I still think that the xover is about 5 times larger than it needs to be. May take it apart, trace the circuits, and dump everything that's not needed to get down to a much smaller package that fits inside the door. No need for screw terminals, no need for resistors and capacitors that aren't being used, no need for a nice large enclosure if it's not enclosing anything. Seriously, my goal is to do it like Kia should have, not to make a show vehicle with everything zip-tied every 3 inches and color coded techflex. Kia wouldn't have used a separate crossover with screw terminals, they would have used a weatherpack connector to a shrink-wrapped block that had a zip-tied mounting tab.
 

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nice... good job... curious as to why you chose edead? not knocking you but you probably could have gone with an alternate product and not have to put as much layers.

And of course the biggest question. Are you happy with the results of your work? Its all about satisfying your needs as you will be the one listening to it. Keep it up
 

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Ok, it's well past midnight. One more set and off to bed I go. Installing the new tweeters. Stock tweeter was behind foam pad, with connector on approx. 6" pigtail and stock connector. Wires were de-soldered from stock tweeter and re-soldered to polk tweeter, stock 2-pin connector retained.

Edead was chosen for it's price:performance ratio. I'm sure there's better stuff out there, but edead80 goes on sale a few times a year, and each time it does I buy a lot. I also believe there's a law of diminishing returns. I'm almost 40, and my hearing is somewhat shot from spending so much time around jet and turboshaft engines. The difference between eDead blocking 90% of a noise with two layers and unobtanium at twice the price blocking 93% with one layer is not worth the price difference. I always go for the best price:performance, and never for the best price or performance. It's just like the people that swear they can hear the difference between monster cable speaker wires and coat hangers, I'm sure they're out there but I'm not one of them. Unless a random bystander chips in on the cost of the stereo, I don't much care what their opinion of the sound is. I built it for me, including all my old ears' limitations.
 

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New tweeter going in.

As of right now I'm happy with the sound. The avic has an auto-EQ function that seems to work similar to the MCACC function on their home receivers. I ran that and it seemed to make it a bit bright in the midrange, but then again sound is subjective; I've never put an RTA to my stereos and I've always preferred a 'smiley face' EQ, so maybe I've liked the wrong thing all this time.
What I know is that my reference track, Money for Nothing by Dire Straits, original 1985 pressing of the CD, is crystal clear to me at painful volumes. I can definitely feel the lack of a sub, but it's not a distraction, just a data point. Pornstar Dancing by My Darkest Days is definitely lacking in bottom end, but the punch is incredible. For a final answer tonight, yes, I'm happy with the sound so far. I understand that it's not comparable to anything that Bing has done (can you sense the bit of hero worship there?) but for the price I paid for the components, and the time I put into it, I'm very happy. As a price point comparison, it would have cost me about $4K to get the nav system/good stereo compared to the vehicle I bought. So far I've put in way less than $1K and the sound/navigation is much better than I'd be able to get stock. g'night.
 

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