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Upgrading my 2018 Tundra JBL system

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by Surfanarchist, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Jun 26, 2018 at 6:44 AM
    #1
    Surfanarchist

    Surfanarchist [OP] New Member

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    Hello all,
    As the title says I'm looking to up-grade my 2018 Tundra Crewmax JBL audio system. I spoke with a very helpful person at Crutchfield yesterday about what my options where and it looks like I can replace the JBL amp with a Kenwood Excelon XR600-6DSP and a iDatalink Maestro AR Amplifier Replacement Module and keep the OEM JBL HU. Not cheap but fairly straight forward. The IDatalink Maestro interfaces with the Kenwood to decode the digital stream from the OEM JBL HU. That leaves me open to replacing the sub woofer and door speakers with what ever will fit. I could also then run from the Kenwood to a sub woofer amp.

    Has anyone out there done this? How did they like it? And my biggest question/concern - what if anything did you loose in functionality from the OEM set up? I'm concerned that this system might change how voice activation, nav system announcements, etc., and what ever else might be lost.

    Thanks,

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  2. Jun 26, 2018 at 8:41 AM
    #2
    BuckWallace

    BuckWallace Ball don't lie.

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    Following... I don't know of anyone who has replaced just the JBL amp with a different amp and a Maestro, but it sounds intriguing. If you go through with it and get it working definitely let us know as I know many of us would likely follow suit!
     
  3. Jun 26, 2018 at 8:44 AM
    #3
    Danimal86

    Danimal86 What's a Dickfir?

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    I havent heard of anyone using that particular amp with the maestro, but i did hear about James at Tech12Volts thinks it was possible to ditch the jbl amp/processor and use a similar Audison dsp/amp.
     
    Pudge likes this.
  4. Jun 26, 2018 at 8:52 AM
    #4
    Cfincke

    Cfincke Mall Crawler but capable

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    I ditched the JBL amp by installing the Rockford Fostgate DSR1 and idatalink cable from James at T12V. I already had 2 JL amps I wanted to keep, so the DSR1 was my option. I did have a JL Fix86 prior.
     
    Pudge likes this.
  5. Jun 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM
    #5
    Surfanarchist

    Surfanarchist [OP] New Member

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    The total configuration is the Kenwood Excelon XR600-6DSP ($800), iDatalink Maestro AR Amplifier ($100), and a iDatalink HRN-AR-TO3 cable ($30) if anyone is interested. Total cost is about $930 + power cable to the amp. I'm thinking of going with 1/0 gage wire so I can run both the Kenwood and a JL amp for the subs from a #4 split so that wire kit is $220 (scratch and dent!). So if I launch into this I'm in over $1000 before I know it. If I do this I will definitely keep everyone updated. I'm collecting data before I leap. Crutchfield's says this will work and I understand that they will take it back if I'm not happy but I don't want to start pulling up seats and removing door panels unless I am pretty sure it will work.

    That's great. How do you like it and did you loose anything (chimes, turn by turn nav instructions, Bluetooth, voice commands) making the switch?
     
  6. Jun 26, 2018 at 11:30 AM
    #6
    Cfincke

    Cfincke Mall Crawler but capable

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    Bluetooth works as I stream from my phone all the time for music and nav. In the 2 years I have had the truck, I have never used voice commands or the navigation. I guess I need to test those.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2018 at 3:36 PM
    #7
    Cfincke

    Cfincke Mall Crawler but capable

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    Tested the voice commands and nav turn by turn and they both work
     
  8. Jun 27, 2018 at 3:02 PM
    #8
    13igtymer

    13igtymer New Member

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    I had the jbl system on my 2016. I ended up changing the whole system. I went with a mixture of kenwood and alpine components. Very happy with it. Best feature is the android auto and mirror link.
     
  9. Jul 9, 2018 at 9:52 AM
    #9
    Surfanarchist

    Surfanarchist [OP] New Member

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    Last week I jumped in and started my upgrade. In the rear I did three upgrades; I installed an ESP storage box, matted the rear wall, installed a JL Audio Stealth Box with twin 10"sub woofers and in the center storage box of the ESP I mounted a JL Audio 1000 watt sub amp. I've installed the 1/0 dual amp wiring set (Kicker, best price Wal-Mart on line) and from a block sent two 4 gage wires to the kenwood and the JL respectively. Under the passenger seat I installed a Kenwood Excelon XR600-6DSP iDatalink Maestro AR Amplifier, and a iDatalink HRN-AR-TO3 cable. In the dash I installed two Infinity Kappa 300 3.5" mids. The Kenwood has six channels as well as two RCA line outs so I feed the sub woofer amp through one set of the RCA line outs and channel 1/2 to the front doors, 3/4 to the dash, 5/6 to the rear doors. With the Kenwood built in DSP I can select via my IPhone and Bluetooth the frequencies for each speaker set. So I'm running what Kenwood calls "mid-high" to the dash speakers and "Mid" to the doors, of course "sub woofer" to the subs. I have not yet installed the new door speakers (I have JL component C2 600 for the front and JL C2 525 for the rear) but it sounds awesome even with the stock speakers. I'm going to sound deaden the doors and install the door speakers this week. The Kenwood has a 13 band EQ which I've not attempted to mess with. I'll do some fine tuning once the door components are in. The main thing is getting the proper frequencies to the speakers sets and learning how to use the Kenwood app to get everything configured.

    Issues - while Crutchfields says the dash speaker are a fit, it takes a lot to make them fit. I used a dremmal to remove three of four bolt ears and had to trim some of the rim of one speaker. I also had to trim just a little plastic from the dash mounting points. All invisible once the speaker covers are on and the speakers fit so tightly that just having one 10MM bolt on each is more than adequate. I also made no modification that would prevent me from putting the old speakers back if I so choose.

    The wiring diagram for the HRN-AR-TO3 cable is correct in showing you what wires go to each speaker set but it is incorrect on showing how to wire to the Kenwood. But once you understand how to use the Bluetooth app to configure the Kenwood it makes no difference. You can make any channel pair on the Kenwood anything you want. You select the position (dash, front, rear, sub woofer) anyway you want and you can send the correct set of frequencies to any pair. The last wrinkle is that center dash speaker. Right now I just have it doubled with the right dash speaker but I'm not sure I'll keep that. I might just disconnect the front center speaker as I'm not sure it gives me anything.

    All steering wheel controls work. Voice command works but the volume seems a little lower. You can adjust the hands free phone volume from the HU so I don't see it as a problem.

    I learned a lot doing this. I'll update this post when I get the door speakers installed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  10. Jul 9, 2018 at 10:18 AM
    #10
    Danimal86

    Danimal86 What's a Dickfir?

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    Sounds like a baller setup! Which jl amp did you use?
     
  11. Jul 9, 2018 at 12:19 PM
    #11
    Surfanarchist

    Surfanarchist [OP] New Member

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    JX1000/1. I don't do pounding bass. This thing just has quiet authority.
     
  12. Jul 9, 2018 at 12:41 PM
    #12
    Danimal86

    Danimal86 What's a Dickfir?

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    If i went with a separate mono amp, i was going to go with that one. hard to beat for that price.
    I'm pushing my stealthbox with probably only 400w and it pounds. I couldn't imagine what 800w would do.
     
  13. Aug 20, 2018 at 12:10 AM
    #13
    Dalkire1980

    Dalkire1980 New Member

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    I'm thinking of the Kenwood xr600, stock HU plus all stock speakers.

    I've always been a factory stereo guy. I just want to bring this system alive. Will the Kenwood alone do that?

    Thanks again!
     
  14. Aug 27, 2018 at 10:53 AM
    #14
    Surfanarchist

    Surfanarchist [OP] New Member

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    Dalk...
    Assuming you have the JBL system than you would need the HRN-AR-TO3 cable and iDatalink Maestro AR Amplifier Replacement Module as well. The Idatalink serves to convert the output from your HU to signals that the Kenwood Excelon XR600-6DSP can understand. The HRN-AR-TO3 cable makes it all plug in play. The stock speakers are 2 ohm so that means the Kenwood would not drive them as well as 4 ohms speakers. Not sure if they would sound right for you or not. But if you went that route and kept the stock speakers you would soon know if you need to upgrade them or not. One thing about the Kenwood Excelon XR600-6DSP is that it has a very good equalizer built in so you can do a lot to make marginal speakers sound better. It's taken my two months to get this thing tuned the way I want but it sounds great now. Your stock speakers are designed to run with the EQ already set from the old JBL system. You will need to do a lot of EQ and distance adjusting so it does not sound like everything is coming from the two dash 3" speakers. Good luck.
     
    Dalkire1980 likes this.
  15. Aug 30, 2018 at 12:45 AM
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    Dalkire1980

    Dalkire1980 New Member

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    Surf-

    Thank you sir. I'm having the Kenwood installed this coming Tuesday. Along with Idatalink and a T harness. My local shop has been around for 30 years. I'm trusting their experience on this one.

    Sticking with the stock speakers, hoping they dial them in properly. Might change the sub if it's terrible. I will update. Thanks for advice.
     
    SR5TRDTUNDRA likes this.
  16. Aug 30, 2018 at 5:49 AM
    #16
    Surfanarchist

    Surfanarchist [OP] New Member

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    Just a few points from my experience. There are six channels in the Kenwood plus two sets of RCA outs. You can use either set of the RCA outs to power the sub-woofer as long as the sub-woofer has enough stock amplification (separate from the Kenwood) to drive it. I don't know if it does as I replaced mine with a big ol' sub and dedicated amp.

    Ideally you need two channels (left and right) for the dash, two for the front doors and two for the rear. That takes up the six channels. If you can't/don't drive the sub from the RCA outputs (they are lower gain) the you would have to run it off one of the six channels which forces you to double up the doors and/or dash speakers. Then there is the the center dash speaker. There may be some way to do a left/right combination but it's not as simple as summing one of the L/R channels without adversely effecting the other speakers on whichever of the six channels you're using. Your shop should know this and will probably recommend that you just drop off that center dash speaker. I did that and I don't miss it.

    I considered taking my rig to a shop just to do the EQ. It's that complicated. After playing with it for about a month I got it where I want it. Since the head unit is configured to work with all the stock stuff (amp under seat and stock speakers) it's really far off from what the Kenwood will output. That's ok as you can adjust it and make it great. For me I set it do go easy on high frequencies except the woofer which is flat on. The rule of thump is whenever possible reduce gain in the adjustable frequencies, don't make them higher unless you must and no more than 2-3 dbs of gain change between individual adjustable frequencies (small steps as you go higher or lower along the frequencies sounds better). Now what really made my set up sound good was telling the Kenwood that the dash speakers are zero distance from the driver (me) and telling the Kenwood the front door speakers where about 2.5 - 3 feet away. Back doors about 2 feet away. What this does is reduce the volume of the dash speakers (since the Kenwood now thinks they're right in your ear) and boosting the volume of the doors (which the Kenwood thinks are farther away). Like forward and aft fade but the fade in your HU does not give enough separation between the dash and the front doors. This got rid of the extreme brightness I had due to so many small (tweeter like speakers) in the dash and right there in your sail panels. All this goes out the window though if you need to double up the dash and/or door speakers to give you that channel you need for the sub-woofer because the gain on the RCA's is to low. Your shop guys probably already know all this but the Kenwood/Tundra JBL thing is pretty new and it's most definitely different than a non-JBL set up.

    Last thoughts. The front speakers are 6X9 paper conned and seam kind of cheap. However the rear door speakers are 5", polymer, and looked pretty nice. Except for the impedance match I might have kept them. I'm now driving all 4 ohm speakers, you will be driving 2 ohm (stock) speakers. At 3/4 volume I'm blasting. In your case with 2 ohm you'll have even more headroom. If you replace the door speakers down the road get rid of the tweeters in the sail panels and mount the new tweeters down close to the door speakers. Leave the sails empty or just disconnected. No one in audio thinks tweeters should be right in your face and that far from the woofers. There's plenty of room in the door speaker locations to mount the tweeters. If you replace any speakers I'd recommend you keep them all the same impedance.
    Good luck. I'd be curious how your set sounds when your shop is done.
     
  17. Sep 9, 2018 at 4:47 PM
    #17
    carman

    carman New Member

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    Kicker sub woofer, 1500 watt inverter
    The simplest easiest, most cost effective addition is to add a Kicker CompRT 43CWRT81 subwoofer. $149 from Crutchfield, 1 hr install if you can handle simple mechanics. Uses factory wires, nothing else to add, plug and play ( after you you use 1.5" self tapping screws-kicker/8 hoLes stock 6/holes). The factory amp will rock your mirror when heavy bass songs played.Everything else is totally stock.
    The Kicker sub is all the factory JBL system needed.

    [​IMG]
     
    silverhack likes this.

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