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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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I did a ton of research trying to figure out where to add an amplifier to my bike and which speakers to use in an upgrade. There are a lot of opinions out there and the consensus seems to be that it can't be done without spending a ton of money on equipment and a highly skilled installer. I am not a trained installer by any means, but I do know my way around the tool box and I am what most would consider- VERY HANDY. I do most home improvement jobs myself. I work on my bike and cars myself, but I am not a mechanic, but I'm pretty sure I could make a living at it if I had to. That being said, I took a bunch of videos of the entire process and plan to splice them all together in a single video as soon as I get some extra time on my hands, but I figured in the mean time I could put together a slide of what I did and give you some basic information to get started if you want a HUGE improvement.

How good of an improvement? Can you even hear your radio at 65 mph? I couldn't, and it sounded like **** (translation: S.h_it) at 30 mph. How about now? You can hear me coming from more than a block away. I can hear my music in excess of 100 mph now. Nobody can believe that I am getting the volume output that I'm getting from 4" speakers! I was pretty mind blown the first time I turned it up. With the tunes cranked on my bike parked inside my garage with the door open, I can walk far down my alley which is lined with 8' board on board fences and still hear it clear as a bell! My buddy that just spent big bucks (more than $5K on a Rockford Fosgate system for his CVO Harley Ultra has 6" speakers in his bags, on his fairing, ad even on his lower fairing and can't believe I only have one set of 4" speakers! It really does sound incredible!

And there really isn't a "but" with this setup. From the outside, you absolutely CANNOT TELL that anything was done to the bike. It looks completely stock. Sorry 6" DIY INSTALL guy who mounted speakers behind the grills with no box. (You won't get any bass out of those either) And you too, Mr. POLK AUDIO dude who recovered his speaker grills - spoiler, it looks like **** (translation: S.h_it). I have actually laughed out loud when looking at some of these examples of how these people BUTCHERED their bikes.

There is no trick to this. It all comes down to buying high quality speakers and finding an amp that you can actually hide under the seat that not only fits, but has decent enough specs in terms of clean power and low distortion, with a high level of adjustability for wiring connections, crossovers, and gain control. The fact is the best quality 4" speakers you can buy are rarely rated for over 50W RMS. Peak power is one aspect but if you try to over-power good speakers with a crappy amp you will blow your **** (translation: S.h_it) up.

Here is the equipment I used:
Audison AP4 4" Woofers
Audison AP1P 1" Tweeters
Audison APCX P 2T Crossovers

SOUNDSTREAM SM4.1000D 4-Channel 500W Marine Grade Amplifier
Dynamat and Poly Fill for Sound Deadening
Silicone Gasket Sealer
16 Gauge 4 Conductor Speaker Wire
Numerous other minor Items

I paid $309.99 for the speakers at Woofers.etc and after telling them what I was doing, they said that they would match the price for anyone that contacted them. They currently charge $399.99 for the same set, so you can save $90 just by asking. If you have any problems getting the discounted price, let me know and I'll try to find the guys name. If they still won't honor the price, I'll remove any mention of them in this post! When I ordered mine, they paired the speakers with 8 ohm tweeters. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't have gone with the same setup. Get the set that is linked above includes the AP 1 Tweeters and the APCX TW Crossovers. They are 4 ohm matched, which probably would have allowed me to bi-amp the woofers on the rear channel and the tweeters on the front channel. It would have given me even more control and adjustability.

My first install using all 4 channels had the amp clipping. I finally ended up bridging the amp to two channels and wiring the speakers and tweeters together along with the crossover for the tweeters. Make no mistake, it works fine. The nice thing about wiring it in a 4 channel configuration would be that you can use the separate active crossovers to filter out the lows from ever being sent to the tweeters on the front channel and then use the other active crossover on the rear to filter out the highs from ever being sent to the woofer, plus you can set it to get rid of everything under 80-90 dB so you still get bass, but you remove a lot of distortion that a 4" speaker can't reproduce anyway. You should always use the passive crossover that comes with the set as a belt and suspender approach to protect your tweeters from getting the wrong signal and melting on you! You should never trust a fart and your should never trust an active crossover on a cheap amp! LOL! I paid $119.90 for the Soundstream amp at Amazon. The guys at WoofersEtc said they would match Amazon's pricing so I'd ask for that as well. They currently sell it for $139.99 so it never hurts to ask for a $30 discount.

So I spent roughly $430 for my speakers AND amp, plus tax. Shipping was free. I also figured out a work-around with the "LAME AS ****" ("lame as F.U-C_K") Bluetooth connectability. I bought a CHELINK Wireless Bluetooth Music Receiver Adapter AUX USB Cable on Amazon for $20.89 that works great for streaming from your phone into the audio system. It connects in the lower right box and does not the ability to work as a microphone so it won't jack up your helmet coms for answering calls if you have one. It gives you full functionality of your handlebar volume controls, but it does not give you the ability to switch songs on your Spotify. You'll have to do that on your actual phone. If someone has a better work-around I'd love to know about it. To make access to my phone easier, I found a iMESTOU Motorcycle Wireless Phone Mount 15W Qi Charger with 1" Ball on Amazon for $33.95 that securely holds my iPhone 12 Max and charges it at the same time. I also found this pretty cool ball adapter that screws into the handlebar, along with a mount adapter needed for different size ball mounts that works amazingly well. It actually looks pretty good too.

So if you add in the speaker wire ($32.99), the Bluetooth Adapter ($20.89), Dynamat ($18.99), and maybe another $50 for various supplies like heat shrink, wire connectors, fuse link, solder, and such I was able to do the entire install myself for roughly $550.00 If you want a direct fit (3-Tab) Focal speaker set, they can run you as high as $650,00 or more, which is more than double what I spent on mine. You could also buy a Audison direct fit set for around $450 or even go simpler with a decent set of coaxial speakers and avoid even dealing with installing tweeters. If you only use your system to stream music from your phone, there are Bluetooth only Amps that you would have to control the volume from your phone, but you would lose handlebar volume control and likely any ability to use any of the sound functions with the system, but it would be super simple to hook up. You would just splice into the existing system and use the existing wiring. Then to continue on the simple path, you could buy a decent coaxial set and be in business in a few hours. I wanted to maintain use of all radio functions. The single most important issue when choosing an amp is whether or not it will fit. To place it in the same space that I used, you are pretty much limited to under 1.5" thick. I wouldn't go much larger than 3" wide or 6" long or you are asking for trouble fitting it into the same spot. You could also bag mount an amp or even a subwoofer for that matter if you don't mind losing the storage space. Personal Choice, I get it. If I kept my trunk mounted all the time. I would certainly consider doing it.

The only issue I haven't discussed is how to make a 4-Tab speaker fit into a 3-Tab cabinet. The AP4's are a 4-Tab speaker. If you look closely at my picture, you will see that I was able to manage that quite nicely with a little repurposing trick I figured out. Spoiler: Don't throw your original speakers away! One thing I am sure of is that you can't go wrong with this setup for the price, sound quality and loudness!

Feel free to ask questions. I'm sure there will be some!

Enjoy and keep the shiny side up!

Mark
 

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Well, I'd rather have music coming though my s-plugs as opposed to external speakers. Nevertheless, this is a very nice write up! I am sure others will be interested at this price point and keeping the bike stock looking.

Thanks for sharing
 

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Good DIY post, bar the long winded SHOUTING.

I'm keen to see the video you mentioned - how did you modify the new speakers tabs from 4 to 3?

I'm not keen on more volume, so might look at just the speaker upgrade.
 

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2018 K1600GT Opt 719 Blue Planet Metallic
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Nice work. Good find on the marine grade amp as well. Not sure I want to do this to mine. I added a small amp and upgraded to bimmer speakers per another thread. I can listen and hear at lower speeds riding around town.

And welcome to the forum! Just noticed you're new around here. (I hope the feedback from loud stereo detesters isn't overwhelming. 🤞 )
 
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Thanks for the writeup. I have a 22 GA so this doesn't exactly fit but there's information in there that's useful to me and others. I'd like a little more volume for cruising by the beach or going to bike rally's etc.

I'd be interested in seeing that video whenever it's complete.
 

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So you’re saying that I can spend $800 (assuming I pay an installer) and get the bike the way I can enjoy it, or I can sell the bike, find a Goldwing for $15000, and listen to the sound on that? I like your approach better.
 

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Pictures are too small to see well but I measured the space in front of the radio on my GTLE and it does not appear there is enough room for that amp. Same issue I've seen with every other amp recommended.
 

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Truly Gritty
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Now that's a write up that I can get with! Nice job and explanation on what you did. I'm no where near as handy as you but I would use your directions to take to an installer and have them mimic your install.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Good DIY post, bar the long winded SHOUTING.

I'm keen to see the video you mentioned - how did you modify the new speakers tabs from 4 to 3?

I'm not keen on more volume, so might look at just the speaker upgrade.




Yea, I never really considered the use of capital letters as shouting. I've always thought it was more for emphasis to draw attention to a word, more or less like using bold letters. I'm new to this blogging stuff, so excuse my ignorance. The short story is that I created mounting rings by cutting this piece away from the OEM speaker frame. I determined after playing around with it that the most secure and least likely way to experience vibration was to just remove all of the tabs and use this ring to secure them to the speaker box. It worked great. If you want more info read on, or WATCH THE VIDEOS.....just kidding. Just watch the videos, I didn't mean to shout. (I'm a bit of a smart ass, I can't help myself)

Watch Eye glass accessory Wood Eyewear Tints and shades


You will probably laugh when you see how simple the solution was. I cut off the rim from the OEM speaker and used it as a mounting plate. I played with leaving two of the tabs on the Audison, but ultimately decided to remove all of the tabs (EEK! Go ahead and take your shots Pro Audio Installers) and use some washers with my ******* (red-N.E.C.K) engineered mounting plate to get the best overall bearing on the speaker to hold it in place. Check out the two videos and you will see how well it worked, I can also attest that these have been in my bike for a few months now and have not come loose and sound great. So there you go haters! Not conventional only because nobody else thought of it until I did. Now everyone will be doing it the same way because it works and opens up a world of 4-Tab speaker options. I chose the Audison because of the design of the cone. If water gets in there, it will simply drain right out. And of course they sound great. The thing about getting good sound from a 4" speaker is you have to give it every chance you can to push the sound out only through the speaker and not lose your base by vibrating through the thin plastic cabinet. That is why I covered the interior of the cabinets with Dynamat, plus used poly fill, which I actually borrowed from a build-a-bear that my daughter left behind. Plus I sealed everything in with Permatex Black Silicone Gasket Maker to seal the speaker cabinet from getting any water inside.

Here are two links that discuss how to make the mounting plate using your OEM speakers and a discussion of how and why I chose to remove all of the tabs from the Audison AP4's.

Discussion of best way to mount speakers
Discussion of how to make a 3-Tab mounting plate

Enjoy!

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Excellent summary powerpoint-like slide. Are the speaker wattages reversed, by chance? I like the idea of 500 W of sound power!
I wish they were reversed but you just can't re-write the laws of physics. There just isn't a way to put that much power into a 4" speaker that would fit into the cabinet that I'm aware of. Check out the videos in one of my replies. A little long but they go into a pretty in depth discussion on how I arrived at my conclusions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Pictures are too small to see well but I measured the space in front of the radio on my GTLE and it does not appear there is enough room for that amp. Same issue I've seen with every other amp recommended.
Not sure why it wouldn't fit unless your bike has different equipment under the seat. There were some plastic tabs that are part of the fender that I removed to make room for the amp, but as you can see in the picture, it snugs in there better than anything else I've seen. Send me a picture of your bike. I'd like to see the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So you’re saying that I can spend $800 (assuming I pay an installer) and get the bike the way I can enjoy it, or I can sell the bike, find a Goldwing for $15000, and listen to the sound on that? I like your approach better.
I seriously doubt you could find an installer to do the same lever of cabinet modification and install for anything less than $1000. It took a lot of time prepping the speakers running wires and installing the crossovers in the bottom case and taking so many parts off to get access to run everything. Now if you just had them install the amp and use the existing wires to a set of coaxial speakers and not replace the tweeters, you might get it done for around half that. It was a fun project. The level of detail I have in my videos should allow most people that know the righty-tighty rule to be able to do this themselves. It wasn't hard doing. Just took a lot of time to figure it all out. Now that I have done that, the hardest part is done, plus you'll have video training to guide you along the way. Regardless of how you decide to get them installed, figuring out where to put the amp and how to not spend $650 on quality direct fit speakers is already done. Give it a try. If you can't finish it, you can always bring it to an installer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the writeup. I have a 22 GA so this doesn't exactly fit but there's information in there that's useful to me and others. I'd like a little more volume for cruising by the beach or going to bike rally's etc.

I'd be interested in seeing that video whenever it's complete.
I was going to put them all out at the same time, but that's a lot of work. I'll probably add the videos that address specific things as people ask for them. In my first response today I replied with a photo of the 3-Tab mounting ring that I made and put a video link showing how I made it. I also included a discussion on how I arrived at removing all tabs from the audison speakers. Replacing the speakers on your bike would definitely help. Whether the GA could fit the amp in same place, I have no idea, but if you send some pictures or videos, I'd take a look and maybe make recommendations.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Now that's a write up that I can get with! Nice job and explanation on what you did. I'm no where near as handy as you but I would use your directions to take to an installer and have them mimic your install.
I'll post some videos on how to do the speaker upgrade step by step. It wasn't that hard. If you take your time you could probably do it. The component tweeters add some complexity, but your could always jump into a pair of quality coaxial speakers and use the existing wires, but do the Dynamat and everything else and it really wouldn't be that difficult. And that would be a HUGE improvement.
 

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How good of an improvement? Can you even hear your radio at 65 mph? I couldn't, and it sounded like **** (translation: S.h_it) at 30 mph. How about now? You can hear me coming from more than a block away. I can hear my music in excess of 100 mph now.
This is NOT something to brag about.
 

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Thanks.

Another question, I've heard that the tweeter spot isn't actually fitted with a tweeter - is that correct, and can you show how you mounted the new tweeter.
 
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