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Old 05-06-2021, 12:58 PM   #1
ImmDanny
 
Drives: 2021 1SS, 1969 Convertible
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 81
Upgraded front speakers, added amps, and a subwoofer in 2021 1SS

Over the last few weeks I've been researching audio upgrades for a 2021 Camaro 1SS. For those who don't know, it seems the 1SS in 2021+ does not have the amplifier in the trunk like previous models. It has no amplifier at all, like the 1LE versions. Luckily Gen5DIY sell a breakout harness for non-amplified Camaros. The creation of the harness came from Msquared, who I've been talking to throughout this whole process and has been tremendous help! Here is the link to his thread that basically walks you through the entire process and is extremely helpful: https://www.camaro6.com/forums/showthread.php?t=583735

He guided me with the speaker and amp purchases. I ended up copying his setup basically. Instead of the AudioFrog GS690 I went with the GS60 per his recommendation as I was going with a subwoofer. I got the KEY200.4 amp for the front stage, leaving the rear speakers on the radio module. I also got the KEY500.1 for the subwoofer, as it's small enough to fit next to the 200.4 in the little foam insert and also has built in auto DSP.

Installation was... not for the faint hearted. It was difficult per say, just very time consuming. I was also applying sound treatment where I could during this install, so I took the entire back end of the car apart, interior wise. From the door jams to the rear trunk lid I removed every single piece of interior. The hardest part is just the lack of room. I'm 6'2" so I can't fit back there to begin with, but then to twist my body in the ways needed to pull the clips out was very difficult. If you were just running the wires from the radio module under the dash to the trunk, you can get away with just removing the back seat and then tucking the wires along the interior side panels. Removing the A Pillar trim was also a bit daunting, as it feels like you're going to break the thing. On the passenger side I did sort of break the clip. The way the clips work is there is a metal clip that essentially digs into the plastic of the trim. However when I pulled that trim piece off, the piece of plastic that sticks out for the metal clip to dig into broke. It stays in place fine enough now that it is back together, but something to be careful of. I'm not sure what I could've done different as the driver side came out fine.

Removing the driver side dash speaker was also a pain, as the one screw is right up against the windshield. With a 7mm box wrench you can probably take it out fairly quick, but I only had 8mm as my smallest box wrench. I instead used a 7mm socket on a swivel extension. It barely fit and as I loosened it got more difficult as there was even less room for the socket to fit. Once you remove the dash speakers it isn't too difficult to install the new ones and run wires to them. If doing a similar setup as Matt and I, and using the biamp feature of the 200.4, you have to run new wires to either the dash or door speakers. Dash speakers are easiest as you don't have to go through the grommets in the door.

Door speakers were easy enough to replace, plenty of resources online for removing the door panel.

The next hardest part for me was removing the "Multi-Use Module Bracket", basically the piece of plastic above the passenger footwell. There are 4 7mm screws that hold it in and the front 2 are easy enough, but the back 2 are difficult as they are so far back and you can't see them at all. So you have to feel around with your socket/extension for them. Removing the passenger seat would probably make it a little easier to lay down on your back in the car and get up in there, and would probably help for working in the back seat area as well. One of the screws fell underneath/behind the carpet when I got it loose so I then had to spend some time trying to pry up the carpet to get the screw back. Once you have that off it isn't too difficult to unplug the X1 plug and plug in the harness. Using a little pick tool helps undo the little tab that needs to be pulled to release the plug. I'd advise you wire the input/output speaker wires to the harness outside of the car, because there is no way you'd be able to connect wires up in the dash where the radio module is at. I prewired the speaker wires to the harness first, ran the speaker wires through the car, and the last thing I did was plug in the harness and button everything up.

Subwoofer was "straight forward" enough. I went with a JL Audio Stealthbox as there was someone in a local Camaro club selling theirs for about 50% off, and a goal of mine was to retain as much trunk space as possible. I followed the directions online, the only issue I had was an extra module in the driver side trunk well that wasn't in the instructions JL Audio has. Luckily one 10mm bolt holds it in place, and there is enough slack on the wire harness that it can be remounted in the "spare tire" trunk cavity.

Wiring power is luckily the easiest part of this job, since the battery is located where the amps are installed. Plenty of grounds to choose from there is an extra terminal on the positive side than you can latch onto for power.

The Kicker KEY amps are nice as they have a built in DSP that automatically set themselves up when playing a couple test tracks. This was crucial for me as I have never tuned a car audio before, but obviously want it to sound good. The 200.4 uses a microphone that you put on top of the driver's head rest. Takes about 5 minutes to setup. You can toggle between the equalization on/off afterwards. I can tell a difference between the two, but to me it doesn't make a huge difference. It obviously does something but I'd listen to it either way. One isn't bad and one isn't good basically, to me they are just different. I've left it on because I figure I might as well use it. I might try the setup again just to see if I get different results. The first time I did it was at about 11pm and I was just anxious to get finished. I then set the gain, which is definitely needed. At first I was a little disappointed because I still had to turn the volume almost to max just to get the loudness I was looking for. After setting the gains though, now I barely have to turn it 1/3 of the way for it to be plenty loud. I may readjust the gains at 0db instead of -5db as right now its plenty loud, and I think I'd rather sacrifice some loudness to get more clarity and less clipping.

For the KEY500.1 there is no microphone, but you play test tracks and set the gain and then play a sweep and the amp will calculate the low frequency. Took only about 2 minutes and from what I can tell it seems to have worked properly. Now when I play music I can actually feel some of the bass in me, whereas without it to me there is essentially no bass at all. I think there is still some fine tuning I need to do, but the system has improved greatly with these upgrades.

I do have some weird glitches, like the turn signal chime is only playing through the rear speakers now. Which I don't see why they would, since the "door open" chime plays through the front speakers (pretty loud now I might add). Not a big deal just odd. I also get a quick "pop" or clipping sound when I unlock the vehicle or open the trunk. Something to do with the electronics turning on. I only noticed it after turning up the gains, which makes me want to readjust them to be a bit lower. Something I'll have to look into over the weekend. Overall this project took roughly 35 hours over the course of 5 days. I basically removed every piece of interior besides the main dash, front seats, center console and carpet. Luckily now I have a base to start from. I could more easily add different amps, even a dedicated DSP.

I'd take a picture of where I have the amps but the Stealthbox prevents me from easily flipping up the trunk floor piece, and I have my work gear in the back that I don't feel like taking out at the moment, so I'll post one another time. Basically I have both amps side by side in that foam piece that supports the trunk floor and holds the tow hook.
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Old 05-06-2021, 07:57 PM   #2
Msquared
 
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I sent you a PM before I saw this new thread. If you turn the gains down somewhat, you'll actually improve your system's resolution, reduce the volume of the chimes, and also make the pops softer. If music you play can clip the amps with the dial turned nearly full-volume, then you have enough gain. And more than that is just reducing the resolution.

To address the pops from the trunk and unlock: first, try to verify if it's coming from just the front speakers, the sub, or both. That will tell you which amp(s) you need to focus on. Since you're using speaker-level inputs into both amps, make sure you are using the "DC offset" option to turn both amps on instead of the 12V remote turn-on via the blue wire. If you used the 12V switched turn-on power instead of DC offset, maybe there is some feedback in the circuit you're using and that's getting into one or both of the amps? If you're using DC offset to turn each amp on, then the only inputs going into either amp are the speaker-level signals. If the pop were on one of those, then it would have happened with the stock system (which it surely didn't).

One more shot in the dark: I wonder if the issue is the fuel pump module near your sub? The fuel pump turns on and pressurizes the fuel system for a second or two the first time you open a door or the trunk if the pressure has bled down (usually after sitting overnight). I don't know all the mysteries of that fuel pump module, but I presume it's getting signal each time the doors are open/unlocked or the trunk is opening. Is it possible your speaker inputs to the KEY500.1 are running really close to or even touching that module? Maybe that signal to the module is creating some noise on your speaker-level inputs to the sub?
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Old 05-07-2021, 09:08 AM   #3
SomeGeoffGuy
 
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Sounds like a nice setup! If you have trouble with that a-pillar trim piece being loose or rattling, you can buy a new one pretty cheap from the dealer ~$30 or so I would guess.

-Geoff
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Old 05-07-2021, 05:43 PM   #4
Plasar
 
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Thumbs up

Immdanny:
  • Thanks to both Immdanny and Msquared for doing what they do here on the forum, sharing their experience and advice. This is what makes Camaro6 great!
  • Yes, I'm glad I left my install to a shop - I truly feel that they earned every dollar they charged. The Camaro is tough to manoever around.
  • Sometimes to get clean sound at a high volume you just need a good amount of power. I don't think you mentioned your amp power. In my ZL1 vert with the top down at 80 MPH, I sometimes use all of the 1,400 watts in mine!
  • Good luck on resolving some of your final issues Immdanny - you are in good hands with Msquared and other forum members.




  • Oh wait - you did mention amps: Key 200.4 (assuming 4 x 50W) and Key 500.1 (assuming 1 x 500W). That's a good amount of power.

Key 200.4
Key 500.1
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:15 PM   #5
Msquared
 
Drives: Chevrolet SS 1LE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasar View Post
[*]Oh wait - you did mention amps: Key 200.4 (assuming 4 x 50W) and Key 500.1 (assuming 1 x 500W). That's a good amount of power.[/LIST]
Key 200.4
Key 500.1
That's funny, because to most "stereo" guys the 200.4 (50wpc) is not a good amount of power. But I would add that the AF speakers that Immdanny and I used in the doors and dash are quite sensitive and play pretty loudly without a ton of power.
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Old 05-08-2021, 03:35 PM   #6
ImmDanny
 
Drives: 2021 1SS, 1969 Convertible
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Msquared View Post
I sent you a PM before I saw this new thread. If you turn the gains down somewhat, you'll actually improve your system's resolution, reduce the volume of the chimes, and also make the pops softer. If music you play can clip the amps with the dial turned nearly full-volume, then you have enough gain. And more than that is just reducing the resolution.

To address the pops from the trunk and unlock: first, try to verify if it's coming from just the front speakers, the sub, or both. That will tell you which amp(s) you need to focus on. Since you're using speaker-level inputs into both amps, make sure you are using the "DC offset" option to turn both amps on instead of the 12V remote turn-on via the blue wire. If you used the 12V switched turn-on power instead of DC offset, maybe there is some feedback in the circuit you're using and that's getting into one or both of the amps? If you're using DC offset to turn each amp on, then the only inputs going into either amp are the speaker-level signals. If the pop were on one of those, then it would have happened with the stock system (which it surely didn't).

One more shot in the dark: I wonder if the issue is the fuel pump module near your sub? The fuel pump turns on and pressurizes the fuel system for a second or two the first time you open a door or the trunk if the pressure has bled down (usually after sitting overnight). I don't know all the mysteries of that fuel pump module, but I presume it's getting signal each time the doors are open/unlocked or the trunk is opening. Is it possible your speaker inputs to the KEY500.1 are running really close to or even touching that module? Maybe that signal to the module is creating some noise on your speaker-level inputs to the sub?
Turning the gains down did reduce the pop greatly. Also I believe in general I did have the gains too high because after readjusting everything is sounding much clearer and overall better still with plenty of loudness.

The pop definitely comes from the front speakers, roughly 3-5 seconds after unlocking the car or opening the trunk. I am using the DC offset on both amps. Or possibly that pop was always there, but since our cars don't have amplifiers (well even on the amplified cars) it's just not strong enough to get through to the speakers? I guess that would be a long shot but I'm just not knowledgeable enough to know what could cause something like that in the first place. I even made sure to keep my speaker wires away from the main power wire running to the front of the car as much as possible. And if I did get near it, I made sure to cross it perpendicularly instead of running it parallel to the power wire.

I don't think it's your last point, as I don't notice it coming from the subwoofer. I'll also post the amp setup in another post, and you'll see the speaker wire isn't really near/touching the fuel pump module at all. However near the amps the speaker wires and power wires do run fairly close and parallel to each other, but I can't imagine that is the cause.
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Old 05-08-2021, 03:36 PM   #7
ImmDanny
 
Drives: 2021 1SS, 1969 Convertible
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGeoffGuy View Post
Sounds like a nice setup! If you have trouble with that a-pillar trim piece being loose or rattling, you can buy a new one pretty cheap from the dealer ~$30 or so I would guess.

-Geoff
Thank you! I'm very pleased with how it turned out now that I have it "tuned" properly. It's given me everything I was hoping for.

Luckily that A-Pillar doesn't seem too loose and I haven't noticed any rattling yet, but I did find a replacement online from gmparts now for about 28 bucks so I do have that option! I'd rather not mess with it since it seems to be fine, but at least I know I have a solution if needed.
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Old 05-08-2021, 03:44 PM   #8
ImmDanny
 
Drives: 2021 1SS, 1969 Convertible
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Posts: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasar View Post
Immdanny:
  • Thanks to both Immdanny and Msquared for doing what they do here on the forum, sharing their experience and advice. This is what makes Camaro6 great!
  • Yes, I'm glad I left my install to a shop - I truly feel that they earned every dollar they charged. The Camaro is tough to manoever around.
  • Sometimes to get clean sound at a high volume you just need a good amount of power. I don't think you mentioned your amp power. In my ZL1 vert with the top down at 80 MPH, I sometimes use all of the 1,400 watts in mine!
  • Good luck on resolving some of your final issues Immdanny - you are in good hands with Msquared and other forum members.




  • Oh wait - you did mention amps: Key 200.4 (assuming 4 x 50W) and Key 500.1 (assuming 1 x 500W). That's a good amount of power.

Key 200.4
Key 500.1
Thanks for the response and I'm glad to share! I spent a lot of time both before I even got my car and after to research as much as I could. There is a good amount of information out there already, but I wanted to share some things that I hadn't come across that I felt could help others that are looking to do something similar.

I actually went over your build up as well, even saved the invoice you got from the shop you took your ZL1 to so that I could research what equipment was used. Your setup is very nice! I would've loved to gone a similar route but I was working on somewhat of a budget that was able to get me decent equipment, but not the labor. Now I understand why shops weren't really giving me the time of day when I requested quotes of ~$1,500-1800. Because that wasn't nearly enough to cover decent equipment AND the labor.

As Msquared as responded, it seems like 50W per channel really isn't all that special to most car audio guys. However, I've never installed a system with an amp specifically for the front speakers, I've only ever had an amp for a subwoofer. So to me, I'm blown away with how good it sounds because I'm not used to having even more power. The subwoofer is wired at 2 ohms so is only getting 300W but even with that cranked up, it starts vibrating the whole interior which is way more than plenty for me. I just like to feel the bass, I don't need the entire car to rattle to death. I'm just glad a company makes such small yet powerful equipment that is easy for the casual guy to setup.
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Old 05-08-2021, 03:49 PM   #9
ImmDanny
 
Drives: 2021 1SS, 1969 Convertible
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Here are the amps and subwoofer. Excuse the somewhat crappy wire management. Originally I was going to make it very tight and neat but as I got close to the end my patience for doing stuff like that was wearing out quickly. I figured it's covered by the trunk floor so what's it really matter? One day I may go back in there and tidy it all up but this is how it sits currently. I can adjust the amps fairly easy with a small flat screwdriver. I'm happy I was able to reuse the foam piece to mount the amps to so I didn't have to bother making something custom, also since it supports the trunk floor. I put the tow hook back in it's little slot too, just not pictured here.

You can also see the fuel pump module to the left, I think this is typically where the MRC module goes for those equipped with it, but it worked out perfectly. I robbed a nut from the fuse block on the right, but I think it should be fine with 2! I'll get another nut for it someday!
Attached Images
  
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Old 05-08-2021, 07:06 PM   #10
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Arrow

* Looks great Immdanny!
* I really salute your choice of the JL Stealth Box - JL is great for subs, and they pre-formed the sub for this car using the right amount of air in the enclosure. The air space is so critical to get right for subs - can't be too little, shouldn't be too much. 50% off is a steal as these seem pricey.
* You took time to Kilmat too - I think that could only help.
* I hold my breath asking one question - did you put a fuse inline with your amps? This might be a best practice. But I'm a nub with a YouTube video certification at car audio.


Fuses EXPLAINED! What size do YOU need & MORE!

Last edited by Plasar; 05-08-2021 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 05-08-2021, 10:21 PM   #11
Msquared
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasar View Post
I hold my breath asking one question - did you put a fuse inline with your amps? This might be a best practice.
Kicker provides an inline fuse for the power wire, so it's taken care of. It is definitely a best practice.
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Old 05-09-2021, 12:29 PM   #12
ImmDanny
 
Drives: 2021 1SS, 1969 Convertible
Join Date: Aug 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasar View Post
* Looks great Immdanny!
* I really salute your choice of the JL Stealth Box - JL is great for subs, and they pre-formed the sub for this car using the right amount of air in the enclosure. The air space is so critical to get right for subs - can't be too little, shouldn't be too much. 50% off is a steal as these seem pricey.
* You took time to Kilmat too - I think that could only help.
* I hold my breath asking one question - did you put a fuse inline with your amps? This might be a best practice. But I'm a nub with a YouTube video certification at car audio.


Fuses EXPLAINED! What size do YOU need & MORE!
Thank you!

Yes I'm glad I was able to find the stealthbox for so cheap, well cheap compared to its MSRP. I probably wouldn't have gotten it if it wasn't for the deal. But a main goal of mine was taking up as little trunk space as possible, and any prebuilt box would've taken a significant amount. I'd consider building a custom box that goes all the back against the rear seat but in the end it all worked out. I'm not all to familiar with subwoofers and enclosures and getting the right woofer for the right box, but I did read that this sub is specifically tuned for the stealthbox or maybe it was the other way around? Regardless it is giving me plenty of bass, and could probably go even more if I tuned it a bit differently.

I tried adding sound deadening material basically anywhere that I removed interior panels. I don't know how much of a difference it really made, but for ~$100 I figured why not? Especially since I was already going to have all the panels removed anyways. I fully did the door, both the inner and outer skin plus the interior door panel as well. Did all of the trunk, both wheel wells, rear seat area, rear deck shelf, and the area below the rear windows as well. I also added the thicker 315mm material behind the subwoofer arear as well.

Yes I have a 60amp fuse for the 500.1 and I believe a 20amp for the 200.4 (or whatever was provided with the amp). The leads were short for both wire kits I got so the amps are actually tucked up underneath the passenger side trunk panel.
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Old 05-09-2021, 12:31 PM   #13
ImmDanny
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Msquared View Post
Kicker provides an inline fuse for the power wire, so it's taken care of. It is definitely a best practice.
Correct, for the 200.4 an inline fuse is provided. However with the wire kit I got it also had an inline fuse already on the power wire so I ended up using that. I made sure the fuse in that wire was the same amperage as the one provided by Kicker.

The 500.1 didn't come with a fuse but when getting the recommended wiring kit it came with an inline fuse holder and I purchased the recommended 60amp fuse to go with it.
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Old 05-10-2021, 10:31 AM   #14
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Fantastic Immdanny, u r the man!
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