Major JBL stereo upgrade but keeping stock HU

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Audio and Electronics' started by UNCLBONZ, Oct 18, 2020.

  1. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    Seems like only yesterday....well actually it was yesterday that I said these projects seem to take on a life of their own and the costs keep creeping up. Well it happened again. After speaking with my tuner we discussed bringing in a fiber optic signal from the Stock head unit into the Helix DSP/Amp. So I've ordered the Pac Amp Pro AP4-TY11 interface module to do just that. It's a handy little devise that plugs in between the Head unit and the JBL amp. No cutting of wires of any kind. Just Plug and Play. It provides an Digital Optical output to run a length of Fiber optic cable to the Helix, supplying a perfectly clean, flat signal to the DSP/Amp. This method only needs one cable but you could also use the 6 Channel RCA outputs on the unit if so desired. This will replace the 9 wire speed wire I currently have installed and spliced into the factory JBL amp out speaker wires that marry the Helix to the factory system. I better hurry up and finish this system before I find something else to improve. The Wife is starting to wonder if I'll ever finish. She's like " You started in July ". Ahhhh. The quest for the perfect sounding system.!!! It never really ends.
     
  2. audiodave

    audiodave Active Member

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    Are you converting the signal off the deck to digital?
    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  3. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    Yes I ordered the optional Digital Optical Module to run a static free, clean, perfectly flat signal from the Pac Amp Pro which is located between the Head Unit and the Factory amp to the new Helix DSP/Amp. The Pac Amp also provides a remote turn on since I wont be pulling the turn on signal from the speaker wires any longer. I've already run the Blue turn on wire as well as the new 13' long Toslink fiber optic cable from the DSP to the location where the Pac Amp Pro will be in the dash. I'm hoping there will be enough slack in the supplied wiring harness for the Pac amp Pro, to be able to place the Amp Pro right behind the Lower glove box where I originally had the front channel crossovers mounted, before I switched to the Active front system. I want to leave it accessible in case of any future adjustments for things like chime volume, etc....FYI, you can only run a Digital feed off the JBL head units. All the non JBL head units are Analog only. Only the JBL Toyota units are Digital. At least on the Gen 3. If your stock radio says JBL on the faceplate then you have a digital system. Of course pics to follow once the unit gets installed.
     
    #123 UNCLBONZ, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
  4. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1347.JPG IMG_1508.JPG IMG_1346.JPG IMG_1507.JPG So I installed the Black plastic factory dash speaker grills back in the Prius. I think that I prefer them over the grey cloth ones that they replaced and I definitely prefer them to the Black cloth ones . The issue with the Grey cloth covers is that the cutout I had to make in the cover to accommodate the 4" speakers is so large that the opening shows thru the cloth and it sags a little bit. No matter how many times I re-stretched the fabric the sag always returns. If you look closely at the pics you can make see the outline of the cutout below. The sag is more noticeable in person. By the way left clicking with your mouse on any thumbnail pic in this build log makes it larger, for those who are unaware. Also if the pic has the little magnifying glass with the + sign, then Left clicking again makes it even larger. Which covers do all of you think look better???
     
    #124 UNCLBONZ, Oct 10, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2021
  5. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1510 (2).JPG The Pac Amp Pro showed up in the mail today. As you can see it's a nice compact unit complete with all the necessary wiring harnesses. Also comes with the volume control knob and wiring. It's reported to be Plug & Play...we will see!!!
     
    #125 UNCLBONZ, Oct 13, 2021
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  6. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1512 (2).JPG IMG_1511 (2).JPG Here is the front and back of the Pac Amp pro unit. The RCA side has the Left and Right outputs for the Front, Rear and Sub channels. I will NOT be using the RCA jacks as I am using the Toslink Digital Optical feed . In the pic you can see where I have added the Optional Digital signal output to feed the Amplifier/DSP. The back side is where you connect to the factory wiring harness as well as the connections for the volume control knob and the DIP switches for setting up the unit. There's also a reset button and a Mini USP plug to connect to a laptop computer for making final adjustments. I'm looking to place this unit right behind the lower glove box to allow for any future adjustments as long as I have enough slack in the supplied wiring harness. Install Pics to follow.
     
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  7. audiodave

    audiodave Active Member

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    That really makes wiring cleaner and much easier!
    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  8. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    It's a great little unit that can be used to add multiple amps or just add a subwoofer because of the 6 RCA outputs. Also eliminates the need to do any channel summing which is really a time saver. They also make the AP4-TY12 for the 2012 and up Gen 3 Prius. This unit only fits the 2010-2011 JBL systems
     
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  9. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    Here is the label on my radio for comparison IMG_1513.JPG
     
  10. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1517.JPG The back side of the radio. It's simply a matter of installing two plugs into the radio. Definitely the easiest interface I have ever installed. Truly Plug & Play. It's the white plug with all the brown wires and the second white plug with the brown and yellow wires. There is plenty of room behind the radio for all the extra wiring harnesses that attach to the unit. You could even fit the Amp pro back there with no problem. Very simple
     
    #130 UNCLBONZ, Oct 14, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
  11. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1519.JPG I had enough slack in the supplied wiring harness to mount the Pac Amp Pro in the space behind the lower glove box and I still have good access to the cabin air filter. I like it here because to access the amp pro all I have to do is remove the strut on the right side of the glove box and then tilt the box out. A couple of zip ties did the trick to hold the Amp Pro in place. You can see the tape in the pic that covers the dip switches on the Amp pro. This is so they stay where I put them and don't get knocked around and moved. The Red LED means it's working
     
    #131 UNCLBONZ, Oct 14, 2021
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  12. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1518 (2).JPG
    I mounted the volume control in the small recess in the upper glove box. Nice and tight and out of the way. There's plenty of room behind this little recess for other switches too. Jus Sayin
     
    #132 UNCLBONZ, Oct 14, 2021
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  13. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    compatible.jpg This is the rear of the radio on my 2011 JBL Denso system. The white plug with the red circle as well as the white plug just above the two Blue inputs are the ones used for this install. If the back of your radio looks like this then the Pac Amp Pro AP4-TY11 is compatible
     
  14. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    not compatible.jpg However if the rear of your radio looks like this then you need the AP4-TY12
     
  15. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1526.JPG IMG_1120.JPG Just thought I would show the New VS Old amp rack setups. Top pic is the new set up with the combination Helix 10 channel Amp/DSP. The bottom pic is with the separate Audiocontrol DSP and a separate Audiocontrol 4 channel amp. The new Helix set up has made is possible to keep the wiring look a little bit cleaner. I relocated the rear door passive crossovers to the top of the amp rack while moving the single channel sub amp to the bottom. I also change my Ground and Power distribution blocks to larger KnuKoncepts blocks since I had the available extra space.
     
    #135 UNCLBONZ, Oct 15, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
  16. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1524.JPG IMG_1119.JPG Some close up pics for comparison.
     
  17. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    IMG_1523 (2).JPG IMG_1121.JPG Some side view pics of the old and new Amp rack. In the top pic you can see the Toslink Fiber Optic cable feeding the Helix Amp/DSP. It's the Grey cable with the Purple and Black tip. It's a much cleaner install then the 9 wire feeding the Old DM-608 in the bottom Pic. It's a much Cleaner and flatter signal coming in too. The new set up required only one short set of RCA cables to feed the single channel amp but many more speaker wire since the front soundstage is now an active set up, requiring a home run to each of the 6 front speakers.
     
    #137 UNCLBONZ, Oct 15, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
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  18. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    Project changes...and WHY ???
    OK, so along the way while working on this build, there have been some obvious changes in the layout and equipment used even though alot of planning (over a year) went into this build. The biggest one was the switch from the Audiocontrol DM-608 DSP and separate Audiocontrol 4 channel amp over to the new Helix all in one v-Eight MK2 DSP / Amp. The main reason for this change was because I simply was not happy with he way the DM-608 integrated into the Prius system. After the install, I was having issues with the left channel plus balance and fade issues as well. Switching to the Helix immediately fixed these issues. Of course it came with a cost. The helix cost about $1,400 while the 2 Audiocontrol units together originally cost me about $750. I was able to recoup some of the cost by re selling these. I also had to upgrade the power wire for the helix as well as run all new speaker wire to the 6 front speakers because the helix is an active system. I also decided to install the Pac Amp pro to integrate the amp to the stock head unit. I ran it thru the Toslink Fiber optic cable for a digital signal as opposed to using the RCA cables. The Pac Amp with the cable and optional digital output cost around $300 extra but greatly improved the signal coming in to the Helix. All worth it in my opinion. Using the Helix also increased the power going to my speakers from 50 watts to 75 watts which will push these Focal speakers a little bit nicer. Always a plus! Using the Helix forced me to re work the Amp rack to fit the Helix which is a bit larger than the Audiocontrol. I re used the bottom half of the Amp rack and simply fabricated a new top piece. This gave me the opportunity to use some upgraded KnuKoncepts Power & Ground distribution blocks that I had from a previous build but originally did not fit on the first Amp Rack. Upgrading the power output from 50 to 75 watts meant that I couldn't use the 4" focal midrange dash speakers that I spent all the time fitting into the dash because maximum RMS on those speakers is 40 watts. At least I did prove that you can fit 4" speakers into the factory dash locations albeit with some modifications. This lead me to the decision to build the speaker pods for the front A-Pillars. I originally started with the front Tweeters in the 45 degree pods that came with the speaker kit but knew immediately that I did not care for the way they looked so I tried installing them semi-flush in the bottom of the A-Pillars. I did not care for that either so I fabricated the A-Pillar pods to house the Focal Tweeters and the new improved Focal AS3 Mid-Range speakers. I do like the way these pods look and more importantly the way they sound. Now the front sound stage is right in your face not bouncing off the windshield. Again it comes with a price. The materials for the pods and new Focal Mid-Range speakers was about $450 but well worth it in my opinion. If you have to pay some one to make you some pods be prepared to spend considerably more money. I'm no fiberglass wizard and I was able to make these so you can too. All the above changes have made it possible to go from a Passive to an Active front sound stage with alot more adjustability. I also now have a clean Digital Optical feed into the DSP/Amp instead of the speaker level input that I started with. Just my opinion but if you are either just adding an amp for a subwoofer of a new DSP amp system do yourself a favor and use the Pac Amp Pro interface. It's worth every penny. The system sounds so amazing already that if you sat in this car and closed your eyes you would never guess that it's all running off the stock head unit. I can't wait till Nick Apicella from Apicella Sound in Stony Point New York gets his hands on it and gives it a Professional tune. I will of course report back with a review once he fits me into his very busy schedule.
     
    #138 UNCLBONZ, Oct 18, 2021
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2021
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  19. UNCLBONZ

    UNCLBONZ Member

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    OPTIMA BATT.png So it looks like we're doing this now. Just noticed the Negative post on my 10 month old factory replacement battery is cracked and I'm getting all sorts of Wonky error messages and trouble putting the car into gear. Just ordered the Optima Yellow top model # DS46B24R from Elearnaid for $234.00 with free shipping. Not a bad price and it's a much better battery than the stock Toyota battery for cars with upgraded stereos. It's supposed to be a direct replacement with no mods or adapters needed. Pics and comments to follow.
     
  20. audiodave

    audiodave Active Member

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    It's been in my car for 4 years. I trickle charge it at least twice a month.
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