About to upgrade the audio... but which route should I take?

  1. willcivic

    willcivic Member

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    got the pun in the title?

    Jokes aside, I want to upgrade the audio system in my CIVIC LX SEDAN 2018. I have read ALOT on this forum since a few days and there seems to be very bad comments about the audio quality of the included HU (There is no amp under the kick trim panel of the passenger's side).

    The first option that came to mind was to get a JL Audio Fix86, output it to a tiny after market AMP just like the ALPINE KTP-445U and change the front door speakers, tweeters and rear speakers. You might tell me "Hey that amp only outputs 45w rms", but I actually had that amount of power on my old amp previously on my civic 2003 and it played loud enough for me so I know this should be enough.

    I do not want to get into any big amp because I do not want to put any heavy additional electrical load on the car. I had a sub on my previous car and I would burn alternators year after years.

    But it got me wondering... If the source sound coming from the HU is so crappy, wouldnt it be better off saving that money on the JL audio and get a brand new HU instead? Once again, it seems like you can route the back up camera, steering controls back to a new aftermarket HU. The only thing I would really lose is the climate control but I guess I could live with only the few fan control buttons on the front. I know this would be a bit more troubles, but it seems to be doable.

    By getting a new HU, I would get a very nice sound source (and no more damn usb problems. We all know how buggy the actual HU is).

    Is there anything am I missing or should consider? Did anyone install the JL audio on the stock HU and got some feedback? I am very picky about audio and wonder if getting the JL audio can REALLY fix things. Its pretty hard to turn crap into gold.

    Every input is super appreciated. Once I get my mind set, I will post the results and thoughts on the set up.
     
  2. shoegazer

    shoegazer assistant to the assistant manager

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    "Its pretty hard to turn crap into gold"

    Agreed 100%

    To me... keeping access to all the integrated things that the factory HU controls is kind of a big deal. I'm guessing that's maybe why no mainstream company is producing a aftermarket replacement (that I know of, anyway).

    You may lose the ability to recalibrate tire pressure monitoring, troubleshoot systems, and other calibrations if needed. They (Honda) seem to get upset easily at the presence of aftermarket stuff (upset at me, anyway).

    If you find something; please let us know.

    I just want to find some type of huge boombox that has a remote and can live in my backseat.
     
  3. mvela

    mvela Senior Member

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    I also have an 2018 lx sedan. My A/C controls are separate from my stereo. So I was able to replace my head unit without affecting the A/C. Can you show a picture of your dash. This is mine with the Kenwood Excelon head unit.

    A49DBEEC-37A6-49EC-8B27-1ECEE5CF8A0B.jpeg
     
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  4. varge

    varge Member

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    One viable way is to root the stock HU, install Viper4Android, install a small amp (like the Alpine 445U, or the MRV-F300 if you want some added versatility for the future) and use a pair of nice components with sound deadening material on the front doors and a couple of coaxials in the back. The key here is Viper4Android, which allows you to change the hell out of the stock signal to the amp and can work wonders with a set of sensitive speakers with good frequency response range. You will improve the stock sound hugely and it wont cost you a fortune ...
     
  5. amxandy

    amxandy Senior Member

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    You absolutely will NOT lose your A/C info with an android head unit install. What you will gain is a LOT of functionality and a quicker system. Adding a real android audio system will definitely give you more music and information options.

    See Post 5 on this thread.
    https://www.civicx.com/threads/aftermarket-android-head-unit.33665/
     
  6. OP
    willcivic

    willcivic Member

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    I agree that this might be a deal breaker. I used to make my own maintenance and I have an OBDII scanner on hand. That's why I am looking for inputs from other users.


    What the heck. I have a Sedan LX 2018 too and I have the big climate controls button. :werd: This layout is way better since you got the mode button and you can switch through the modes manually.

    mmxuzs.jpg


    That is another nice option. However I have doubts about the original Soundcard integrated into the stock HU. Even if you put the DSP flat, does it come par with an aftermarket HU? I dont mind putting in the money if the results can be nice!


    I read about Android Aftermarket HU too. Functionality seems nice out of the box with these guys (and yes the climate control works for this). But are chinese brand reliables? It is most likely that Alpines HU are also manufactured in china too so maybe I shouldnt bother about "quality".
     
  7. mvela

    mvela Senior Member

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    Oh I see. You have the infotainment system. Yeah I didn’t get that system because I knew I was going to be replacing my head unit and speakers so I didn’t want to deal with that interface or pay extra for something I would be replacing. I didn’t even know the lx had the infotainment system as an option. But Since you do got that system you could always get small amp installed to bring those factory speakers to life. My girlfriends hatchback has that same system. The shop that did my install said they could install an amp in hers that actually fits in the dash so you won’t even see it. That way you keep functionality and more sound without having to tear into it to much. See my stereo looked like the picture before I changed the head unit

    7A6E6A24-9A8A-4859-B58B-CB56FF6D891A.jpeg
     
  8. shoegazer

    shoegazer assistant to the assistant manager

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    Maybe the difference is a Canada/US thing. Or maybe one is the LX-P? I believe the 'P' basically has remote start and smart entry. But I *love* the simplified layout and non-existence of Honda Sensing. I'm seriously tempted to start looking for an LX and just start saving for wheels and audio components.

    The bad sound is a deal-breaker for me.
     
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  9. OP
    willcivic

    willcivic Member

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    I am indeed located in Montréal Canada. It might be a US/CA thing (or AT / MT thing? I have an Automatic transmission. please go easy on me hehe.)
     
  10. JohnnyL

    JohnnyL Senior Member

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    Just my opinion. I would start with the most important speakers first and replace with a high sensitivity speaker. See what it sounds like, if it's loud enough for you. If not, move to a small amp. If it's not enough of an improvement in quality but you hear an improvement in clarity from replacement of the first set of speakers replace another pair. Not good enough still? New head unit.
     
  11. OP
    willcivic

    willcivic Member

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    That's the smartest move to do.

    Just ordered the speakers adapters and metra wire adapter to plug in my old car speakers (Morels) just for testing. I know they might not be adequatly powered by the stock HU but I will at least be able to see the difference done by changing ONLY the speakers.

    Depending on the results, I will either follow up with a new amp OR will order another speaker set with a lower RMS rating to suit the HU power delivery.

    I will keep you guys updated!
     
  12. OP
    willcivic

    willcivic Member

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    Just thought about it: I dont think I should Honda Hack anything since the car is a lease. I might get some troubles from my beloved dealership.
     
  13. JohnnyL

    JohnnyL Senior Member

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    My 2019 EX coupe is also a lease so it's going to be speakers for the doors and that's it. Bought some Polk DB 6502 but haven't had a chance to put them in yet. My hope is they will clean up the sound and add a little volume.
     
  14. mvela

    mvela Senior Member

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    Maybe. Because mine is a manual transmission
     
  15. mvela

    mvela Senior Member

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    I replaced all my speakers and installed two subs and a 1000 watt amp to push it all. Trust me on one thing, if you install any aftermarket speakers they are going to require an amp to sound right. Aftermarket speakers require more power than stock speakers. You could actually hurt the aftermarket speakers by not giving enough power to them. You’ll be lucky to get 10 watts of continuous power to those speakers with the stock head unit. Most aftermarket speakers require a minimum of 35 or up. Look up the power requirements for the speakers you are installing so you can give them adequate power.
     
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