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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, so finally decided that I should just go ahead and compile all of my photos/thoughts/ideas/challenges into a build thread. As I've stated several times here, this forum has been invaluable throughout my (ongoing) build. I figure the best way I can think to give back is to share my experience up to now and moving forward.

So far I've:
  1. Made numerous mistakes
  2. Redone work...multiple times... (d'oh!)
  3. Bought and Re-bought components
  4. Researched what seems like endlessly
  5. Invested in new tools (yay)
  6. Attempted new skills
  7. Learned a ton
  8. Had a blast every step of the way
Those last two bits were the most important I feel. Audio has always been an interest of mine and I'm happy to be working on a project that aligns with my interest, even if it's going to take me forever!

My hope is that this can help someone who is attempting a build, even if it's just some encouragement in that a fellow novice can accomplish some seemingly difficult things with enough patience and commitment. It may not be pretty, but we can still be proud! :)

Fair warning, this is a veritable dump of everything I've documented on my build so far. Apologies in advance for all backstory and details to follow, for those wanting the abridged version here is the summary of the build as it exists today:
HU/Interface: Pac AmpPro GM61
Processor: Helix DSP.2
Amplifier: Arc Audio X2 1200.6
Tweeters: SB Acoustics SB29RDNC-C000-4 Neo Magnet
Midrange/bass: Audiofrog GS690
Subwoofer: Image Dynamics ID8v4 in a Rodney's .4cuft console enclosure
Sound Treatment: Noico 80mil CLD and 170mil foam along with some Resonix CLD Squares and butyl rope.
Wiring: KnuKonceptz Kolossus Fleks Kable 4 Gauge Amp Kit, Bassik 2-way blocks, and cheap Amazon 6-way fused distro for the DSP and future upgrades.

My plans moving forward are to apply further/redo sound treatment and ABS covers to the door panels, look at upgrading the sub/enclosure, and (if you followed my WTB ad) an additional Arc 1200.6 for MO' POWER!!! Just kidding, also to have additional channels for future upgrades, maybe going to a 3-way active up front? Oh, and this also justifies upgrading the 4AWG wiring...something I should have done to begin with...

After all of this, here are my key bits of advice for any other novice jumping into this:
  • Do not underestimate the time it will take you to do this. Be patient, rushing or cutting corners will only lead to disappointment in one way or another.
  • Plan your build carefully with special considerations to your particular install/space to avoid purchasing gear that is simply sub-optimal.
  • Have realistic expectations. Yea, I know now that I had high hopes for a single 8" subwoofer, and yes I was/am still a little disappointed in it's output.
  • This one is mainly for me but - go for 1/0 power wiring from the get go, I don't know what I was thinking.
Also, wanted to take a moment to thank all those that have helped and inspired me thus far - thank you for your feedback and for putting up with my countless (and random) PM's regarding everything from driver selection to installation methods. Special shout outs to Stycker, Lanson, speakerman99, xlynoz, and ToNasty, all of whom provided some much needed advice or feedback specific to this truck build.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
And so it begins...

It's almost a year ago now that I sold my beloved toy and DD, my 2006 TJ Wrangler. As it turns out, life happens, and you make some concessions. The thought of tossing a car seat in/out of the back of my lifted Jeep was un-appealing, as were my wife's looks when I suggested it would be alright. The hunt for a more family friendly vehicle began, and, long story shorter, I found a great deal on a year old Silverado with low miles and some of the options I was looking for. I knew right off the bat that if I was going to trade my toy in for, what she lovingly refers to as, a 'dad wagon' then I was going to have some fun with a few upgrades.

As the title states, this build is for a 2017 Silverado 1500, crew cab, 4WD. It is an LT, non-Bose, with the 8" screen and no navigation (I05 I believe?) but included Android Auto/CarPlay (score!). In it's stock form it is a six speaker system with 6x9's in the front doors, 2.5ish" speakers in the dash, and some 6.5ish" in the rear doors. I also do not have the rear sliding window to deal with. I was happy to find an otherwise base LT model with some nice upgrades like the trailer brake, heated seats, remote start, and HID headlights. I'm not typically a fan of leather, especially knowing that an infant (soon to be toddler) and a 60lb mutt would be riding in the backseat tearing everything up.

My first big upgrade was a tri-fold tonneau, ended up going with the BakFlip G2. This thing rocks, even if it's a bit spendy. I would gladly recommend it to anyone considering some form of bed covering. Next was the drivers side A pillar with grab handle (why didn't this come standard from the factory?) and upgraded wireless charging module for compatibility with newer phones. Also swapped out the overhead console for one with the HomeLink garage door opener, courtesy of my local salvage yard.

Starting out, my goals for a sound system were pretty simple. I wanted to improve the OEM audio (cleaner and of course louder), add a sub for some low end, and above all else - keep everything stealthy while retaining all of the limited cabin cargo area. This also meant no major or noticeable modifications that could not be undone or otherwise returned to stock.

Don't have many pictures of the truck itself but here's a shot of it putting in some work with a load of bathroom vanities/cabinets soon after we brought it home:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Step One - OEM Radio Integration

So, I knew there was no way I'm ripping out a basically brand new OEM touch screen to drop in an aftermarket head unit. There were too many factory features that I wanted to retain, steering wheel controls, etc. I know there are units out there that will let you integrate those into an aftermarket unit, but I wasn't super interested. Oh and the Alpine restyle unit is very cool but price ruled that out for me, not to mention wasn't as stealthy as I would prefer.

I always wondered if they made devices that would talk to the factory radio and provide RCA pre-outs for adding an amp, turns out they do. For me, the unit had to retain all factory features/integrate with OEM HU, provide clean low level signal that was not via LOC, and have the ability to adjust the warning chime volume.

After some research here and elsewhere on the interwebz, I landed on the Pac AmpPro, the video from 5 Star sealed it for me. Pac's tech support was great, they were more than happy to answer all my questions regarding the non-Bose compatibility and how the audio signal was created (e.g. digital data intercepted rather than high-to-low level conversion). I know that there is the quirky L+L/R+R dual-mono whatever that occurs with any tuned source. To me, this was a compromise I was willing to make since I really only listen to FM radio in the mornings (shout out to the Johnny Dare Morning Show - 98.9!) and most music would be streamed through my phone via AA. Also, since I eventually splurged for a Helix DSP.2, the optical out was a no brainer and welcomed bonus feature.

I liked the Nav-TV piece, however when I inquired about their compatibility with a non-Bose system they told me it would require a reprogram (or replacement) tuner module that would cause me to lose AndroidAuto/CarPlay. This was a deal breaker for me.

Here's a shot behind the 8" screen - you can see the tuner on top, telematics in the middle, and the good ole CD player on bottom:


I wasn't about to cut up any factory wiring, so I started looking up ways to tap into the existing wiring. The AmpPro documentation and supplied harness was helpful here, but ended up finding some Metra connectors that I could use to may my own T-harness.

For the female connector: Metra 70-2057 - Amp Bypass Harness
For the male connector: Metra 71-2107 - OEM Radio harness

Here they are slightly connected to identify the proper colors for speaker wiring:


I removed any un-needed wires from both connectors, and along with some 9-conductor speedwire, went to work on making the T-harness that would allow me to feed signal back into the OEM speaker wiring:


Don't forget to apply the heat shrink BEFORE you bust out the iron...


Checking out connector and AmpPro placement:


With a little expandable sleeving, heat shrink, and cloth tape - I ended up with this:


And then some terminations on the other end:


Also decided I was a glutton for punishment and sleeved the RCA cables that came with the amp, what a pain but I felt determined to make things match, haha:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Speaker install - Take One

Well, I did say I bought and re-bought things right? Also that I learned some things? Like maybe to have some patience and plan your build out before opening up your wallet?

I kind of jumped the gun on everything and did what (I feel like?) most newbs do. Hopped on Crutchfield, clicked "What fits my vehicle" and had at it. Before I knew it, I found some outlet Kicker KSC 6.75" coax speakers for the front AND rear doors, bought a console sub enclosure off eBay, and scored a NVX JAD900.5 on sale with some free RCA cables from Sonic Electronix. I did end up with the ID8 based on some research I did on here.

So, I mounted up the Kickers to the included Metra speaker adapters. Threw on some CLD and CCF, along with some Lowe's special weatherstripping, definitely not the prettiest job but I thought it had to help somehow:


DavidRam would be proud, drywall screws abound!


So some beneficial shots of those who have yet to open up your door panels:


Interior door card, some factory quilted sound matting:


Openings and outer skin:


I also did a half assed job of deadening the passenger door. This was prior to seeing some more proper examples of this, I plan to go back in with some Resonix squares and 3/16" ABS panels to cover all the openings. This is another example of 'Take your time to do it right the first time or or spend the time to do it again':


It's really just a few bolts and some clips, and there are plenty of YouTube vids out there showing you step by step. At this point I'm pretty efficient at taking them on and off.

Also, DO NOT, however forget to clip in the door handle cable BEFORE you put the panel back on. I was literally sweating bullets there for about 15 minutes when my door shut and then wouldn't open followed by the sudden and immediate panic after realizing I accidentally snapped the panel back on without attaching the cable... If this happens to you, follow my steps - take a breath, drink a beverage (beer for me), climb into the truck from the backseat, carefully pry the top of the panel away from the window enough to get your arm in it and slowly reach for the cable. I was able to spare myself from embarrassment (and having to explain to my wife) with a little patience and some choice words.

The takeaway from this is, do your homework, take your time, get what you want the FIRST time so you don't waste your money. I typically subscribe to the 'buy once, cry once' mantra, however my excitement got the best of me...that or I spent too much time on this site you guys with your awesome systems are bad influences... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The Amp Rack Saga

I've studied countless build threads on these K2 pickups to get some inspiration on how to mount all the gear hidden away behind the rear seats. The takeaway is - the seats are a pain to deal with since they don't fold down, you may or may not need to leave space for the Bose amp and sliding window motor if equipped, and you'll need to figure out how you want to secure the rack.

Here's my blank canvas after removing the seats, trim, and factory sound deadening:


Also, that middle seat-belt bracket comes out without much fuss if you have a ratcheting boxend, just FYI.

At first, I was just planning to run a NVX JAD900.5 with no processor, so my rack started out small. Went with a sheet of 1/4" ABS notched for the seat belt:


I saw a few folks that epoxied some elevator bolts to the back wall, I thought this to be a great solution that didn't involve putting holes in the exterior cab wall. The holes in the ABS sheet above were for a template I made to position the 4 bolts I was going to put on the side of the rack. I used this template with a reference mark on the cab wall to place my bolts and then taped them in place to cure over the weekend:


And so begins fail number one, all four of them popped off with ease:


I thought I had prepped the surface good enough, ground down the paint/primer to get bare metal, however had forgot to prep the back of the bolts themselves. Lesson learned...

Here's a shot of my temporary rack while I was working up a solution, can't go without some tunes in my DD:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
AmpRack - Take Two

Fast forward a bit for the second attempt. New plan, bigger bolts and mo' stronger epoxy! :)

Also, I cleaned these ones off this time and while I was at it, figured trying to score/notch them couldn't hurt in getting the epoxy to grab the bolt head better, then used the same template/reference mark/tape method as before:


Bigger bolts, means bigger rack...which means new gear? Just kidding, after buying a SECOND JAD900.5 in an effort to add more channels and potentially another sub down the road, I decided they may not be the way to go given the space I had and the orientation of the power/RCA/speaker terminals. I saw a killer deal in the classifieds on this Arc 1200.6 (thanks Metanium!) and thought that having all the connections on the bottom would better allow me to have two identical amps mounted in the future. Also in this time I decided that I was going to dive into the DSP waters, so another distribution block would be needed. Another lesson learned in planning things out better to avoid buying things that

Here I am measuring some cutouts for the seat belt bracket and seat mounts and trying to plan a functional layout for all the new gear:


After deciding on a layout, going to use some T-nuts on the backside and machine screws to mount everything, then a little roundover on all the edges and calling it good:


Went with a couple coats of bedliner, figured it'd give it a bit of protection and keep up on the stealth aspect.

At this point I decided to put some CLD on the back wall:


Then went to work on wiring it all up:


Here's the finished product. I put some rivnuts in that channel above the rack for some insurance in case one of those elevator bolts pops off again:


Also, decided to re-install the factory deadener with some cutouts for the amp and DSP:


For speaker wiring, I'm using a combination of OEM wiring and some 16AWG runs that I laid down the trans tunnel and under the console when installing the sub. I did land some wires in the doors themselves using a method mentioned by a member here (thanks preston!). Basically, I got a length of wire to lay flat and fit in the upper 'tab' area of the OEM boot that covers up the Molex plug. No drilling, no door removal. We'll see how it holds up long term but for now I'm stoked.

Also, XT60 connectors for the win:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Speaker install - Take Two

Well, after some deliberation and then jumping on a DSP.2 from the classifieds (thanks abdulwq!), I set out to find a proper front stage. I always wanted to try out components, figured no time like the present, might as well do it while everything is torn apart.

I started out researching 'budget' sound quality options. Initially landed on the SB Acoustics SB29 and SB17 from Madisound. I was all set until I started seeing reviews on the Audiofrog drivers and how they were mid-bass monsters. One thing I'm really looking for in my system, aside from SQ, is impact. That is what I find most enjoyable, accurate reproduction that I can feel thumping in my chest. I'm not sure if that falls in line with SQ systems, maybe SQ-L? I don't know what you all want to call it, I just know that's what I'm looking for.

Ultimately I started asking members here about the GS690's and ended up finding a pair in the classifieds (seeing a trend here yet?). To pair with these, I did go with the SB29RDNC, I figured I'd start off with a large format 2-way and see how that treats me, hopefully the 'itus' doesn't hit me so fast this time and they stay installed for a while...

Used some of that leftover 1/4" ABS and the stock speaker to make some brackets for the SB29. I used a templating bit for the outside shape and then a 2-1/4" holesaw for the cutout in the middle. They turned out a bit thin, but I think they should work:


Even after I bought the bits and pieces needed to fab my own, I tried to take some advice from ToNasty and simply buy adapters for the GS690's. Amazon is a wonderful thing and brought me some Metra adapters the following day for $15. The problem is, none of the mounting holes in the adapter lined up with the speaker...

Now, I probably could have figured out how to make it work, drill a new hole, use more dry wall screws :)))
but I wasn't having it. I've gone this far, and I've already made some hasty decisions that turned out to be mistakes. In the spirit of DIYMA, I set out to make my own set of stacked baffles. So, I used the Metra adapters as a starting point and began to mark out templates on some scrap wood:


Using a hodge podge of router bits and miscellaneous included bearings to enlarge and shrink areas as needed, I managed to work out a shape for the base plate and subsequent stack that I was (for the most part) happy with. I decided to go with some locally available materials and picked up a 3/4"x12"x96" cellular PVC trim board from Menards, figured I'd give it a shot for $30 bucks.

One challenge I ended up dealing with, the 3/4" thick PVC did not work out as a base plate. Turns out due to the shape I came up with, the thicker material contacts the inner door card. I kept trimming away at my shape trying to make it work, but in the end I didn't want to further sacrifice material on the edges for fear they would not be strong enough to hold a fastener. My solution was to use the remaining 1/4" ABS as the baseplate and make the stacked rings from the PVC.

My template worked out great, not so much for my 'redneck-engineered' overhead dust collection, haha:



I didn't get many pictures of the stacks, but they went together with ease. That PVC machines like butter, only downside is the 'snowfall' that results. Here I was testing out some glue ups with/without primer for the stack and transition to ABS (yes...I used glue I had on hand from some plumbing projects, don't hate me). Oh, and as a wise man once said, you can NEVER have too many clamps:


Made a little boo-boo when putting the chamfer on the base plates, oh well... My advice is don't take the work piece off the bit when making the corner, constant even contact on the second attempt yielded much better results:


Test fit and marking for the 10-32 rivnuts attaching the bottom of the baseplate:


After some consideration, I decided not to glue the ABS to the PVC. My thought was in the event of an upgrade (hopefully not soon), that I could simply reuse the ABS base plate and make a new stack that fits the driver, swappable baffle of sorts? Instead I chose to mechanically fasten the complete baseplate/stack AND the driver using some speaker gasket and through bolting everything. I countersunk the backside of the baseplate for some 2" 8-24 flat head machine screws, slapped on a strip of CLD to the outside of the stack, then cut up some foam Boom Mat baffles and attached to the inside with some screws and a layer of Noico tape to act as a rain guard. I'm not sure how effective this will be, unfortunately due to the mounting depth I could not get a whole lot of space between the basket of the GS690 and the foam baffle as it would otherwise come into contact with the window glass when full down. You can see the bottom corner in the picture above.

I didn't get many pictures of this, I was kind of in a hurry trying to get it wrapped up. Here is the finished speaker adapter and rain guard assembled:



This is one area that I am looking for suggestions on, will this choke out the GS690? Should I go without the rain guard entirely? It's not touching the cone at all, but I would imagine it could impact it's movement somehow, not really sure. It's pretty snug:


Oh, you can see here too that the front of the adapter is rabbited out to accept the GS690. Had to free hand the little mounting 'tabs' with a 1/2" straight bit and trim router. And finally a shot of the beast mounted, pretty happy how they turned out considering this was my first shot, learned a lot for next time though:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So, there's the story up to now. Again sorry for being long winded, I just figured some level of detail has to help someone out somewhere along the way.

I'm open to suggestions and constructive criticism, where can I improve? This is just a starting point, I'm a firm believer (now seeing/reading up on all you nuts) that this will be an ongoing project and that I'll likely never really be 'done'. :)

My path forward is to finish the sound treatment in the doors and then start tuning. Up to now I've only got the Helix configured for setting the crossovers and basic time alignment (determined by distance using Tracerite calculator). I purchased a UMIK-1 from Cross Spectrum, I'm sure here before too long I'll be diving into REW to start the process...after watching a lot of YouTube and reading here I'm sure.

Thanks again to everyone here for providing the road map for this endeavor. It's definitely been a fun and challenging project that I look forward to enjoying, improving, and tweaking from here on out!
 

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Nice work so far, I'm in for the rest of it!
 

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I'm gonna need you to make one of those t harnesses for me. That's 1 thing I always fuck up in. yes I'll pay. Looks great
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm gonna need you to make one of those t harnesses for me. That's 1 thing I always fuck up in. yes I'll pay. Looks great
It really wasn't too bad, this is my first and it went together just fine.

That being said, I thought you went with the LLJ Customs harness, does that not accomplish this for you? I know they make different models, so I suppose it depends on which one you got. Not sure how long it'd take me to get it finished (all that I've gotten done so far is literally months of slow progress), but I'd make you one for sure!
 

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I still need front door speaker out. Since I dont want to repin the door harness. I can grab that at the headunit
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Nice work so far, I'm in for the rest of it!
Thanks David! Your amazing fab jobs have definitely inspired me, I hope to one day (soon'ish) attempt such a project of my own. I snapped up a Director for my Helix and will be looking for a DMP to incorporate it into my console. You may hear from me with questions whenever that takes off. 😉
 

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I've been thinking of just adding a standalone headunit. It's easy. I can still keep the stock side stock for phone calls and what not. And control the audio (aftermarket audio) from the aftermarket headunit
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've been thinking of just adding a standalone headunit. It's easy. I can still keep the stock side stock for phone calls and what not. And control the audio (aftermarket audio) from the aftermarket headunit
What are you using for DSP? Can you use a DAP or phone straight to DSP for audio? Seems like adding an aftermarket unit just for audio would be kind of overkill, but definitely an option.
 

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This whole truck has turned into overkill. And I have my power, ground and remote turn on already wired up. I'm using a mosconi 6to8. Wired to either my phone or fiio x3.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This whole truck has turned into overkill. And I have my power, ground and remote turn on already wired up. I'm using a mosconi 6to8. Wired to either my phone or fiio x3.
I hear that! Definitely fun though, and your pillars look awesome.

I realize all of the OEM integration solutions are a bit of a compromise for those of us with the non-Bose trucks, maybe you could re-evaluate them knowing what you know now and see if you there is one that works for your needs? I know that my priority was retaining OEM functionality and keeping everything simple to use.
 

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Thanks David! Your amazing fab jobs have definitely inspired me, I hope to one day (soon'ish) attempt such a project of my own. I snapped up a Director for my Helix and will be looking for a DMP to incorporate it into my console. You may hear from me with questions whenever that takes off. 😉
Happy to help anytime... Maybe post a pic of the console to get some ideas going.
 

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This whole truck has turned into overkill. And I have my power, ground and remote turn on already wired up. I'm using a mosconi 6to8. Wired to either my phone or fiio x3.
I hear that! Definitely fun though, and your pillars look awesome.

I realize all of the OEM integration solutions are a bit of a compromise for those of us with the non-Bose trucks, maybe you could re-evaluate them knowing what you know now and see if you there is one that works for your needs? I know that my priority was retaining OEM functionality and keeping everything simple to use.
I actually just had an idea that I guess sis dine a lot. Which is what I'm doing. I dont use the radio or xm in my truck. Only phone and dap. Looks like I'm hooking up the dsp on it's own and using my phone and dap as the source unit. Completely bypassing the oem headunit. Which will still let the oem headunit function as it does now
 

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I actually just had an idea that I guess sis dine a lot. Which is what I'm doing. I dont use the radio or xm in my truck. Only phone and dap. Looks like I'm hooking up the dsp on it's own and using my phone and dap as the source unit. Completely bypassing the oem headunit. Which will still let the oem headunit function as it does now
This is my go-to set up with every build right now... I will never again try to mess around with these factory head units to get a clean signal.

Currently, I have the Fiio X5 connected directly to the dsp and the Helix Bluetooth to connect a phone or tablet.

The factory head unit still works through the rear door speakers...
 
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