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jasonstephens37221

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2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes

As so many have indicated, the factory speakers that come with the Bronco are crap! My 2023 arrived last month and I instantly started researching how to replace and upgrade my sound system. I did not upgrade the sound system to the B&O package in my initial Bronco order. It did however arrive with a working factory sub and amp in the back cargo area. Therefore, it came equipped with 6 speakers (2 in the dash, 2 in the front floor kicker panel, and 2 in the rear rollbar speaker pods), plus the 1 sub and amp.

I watched several YouTube videos and read several blogs on which speakers to get and amp(s) that were the easiest to install yourself for the best bang for the cost while saving money to do it on my own. Below are my notes of what I did and what I purchased, which I hope saves any newbie like me just starting the sound system upgrade or considering upgrading some time and finds this information helpful.

I started by simply replacing just the rear rollbar pod speakers first from the factory 4” speakers with 6.5” Kicker speakers. In order to do this you will need to get a pair of 6.5” pods to accommodate the bigger speakers.

These are the 6.5” Pods I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3ZqZmyN

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887048514


Note: the first set of 6.5” Kicker speakers I purchased were the “DS” series, which were 240 watts (120 watts each). Once installed I only heard a slight increase in sound, then realized I should have gotten the “CS” Kicker series which were 600 watts (300 watts each) for only just $0.97 more (yes, less than a dollar more). After returning and installing the “CS” series speakers, it was a noticeable improvement.

These are the Kicker 6.5” CS series speakers I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3PKwXRd

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887082645


I still wasn’t satisfied with the overall sound, even though it was a little better. I continued on with my overhaul and upgraded the 2 front dash speakers and the 2 front kicker panel speakers with Kicker “CS” series 4” for the dash, and Kicker “CS” series 6.75” for the kicker panels.

These are the Kicker 4” CS series dash speakers I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3Lsdrqc

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887110881


These are the Kicker 6.75” CS series kicker panel speakers I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3EL8fd4

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887136791


After now having all 6 speakers upgraded to the Kicker “CS” series, it sounded even better, but no real bass! So I moved forward with my sound system upgrade by replacing the factory sub and amp to the Kicker 8” CompRT sub and the Kicker Key 500.1 amp. (I first ordered the 6.75” CompRT sub and used the factory amp and this changed nothing bass wise. I then returned and got the 8” sub along with the Kicker Key 500.1 amp).

Note: the Kicker 6.75” CompRT fits nicely without having to make any modifications. Upgrading to the lager 8” sub will take a little modification to get it to fit in the whole. I used the cardboard cutout that came in the speaker box and traced an outline around the new whole diameter I needed to cut with a sharpie pen and used a multi-purpose tool to cut the new larger whole diameter.

This is the Kicker 8” CompRT sub I purchased:

https://amzn.to/452CQgQ

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887180407


Here is the 6.75” Kicker CompRT sub that fits and requires no modification if that's the route you would rather take:

https://amzn.to/450lJwi


Note: you will still want to upgrade the amp to the Kicker Key 500.1 whether you go with the smaller 6.75” sub or the larger 8” sub or you will not get the power needed to hear a difference in the bass quality.

Here is the Kicker Key 500.1 amp I purchased for the sub:

https://amzn.to/3RpT9kQ

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887215527


You will also need to get a remote bass controller to be able to adjust the bass output if you desire. This is optional, but I went ahead and installed it and placed it under the steeling wheel just to the right.

This is the Kicker Remote Bass Controller I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3t0c1wx

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887234525


Regarding the sub installation, you’ll want to go with a thicker gauge wire for powering the amp. I went with the 8 gauge recommendation over the factory 12 gauge. This kit has everything you need, even an inline fuse for added amp protection. Also, make sure you disconnect the battery before you clip the factory wire harness feeding the factory amp (if you have it) because one of the lines is hot. Simply wire nut and tape off the existing factory hot/power line. I did the same for the ground as well.

Here is the wiring kit I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3t96cwJ

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887252055


Note: there is a nice spot to connect the ground located above and to the right of the amp/sub panel area where you’ll see an existing ground placement used by the factory.

Lastly, since the overall sound system was at 4 ohms, I connected my sub as shown below for achieving 2 ohms so it could handle the full 500 watts of power from the Kicker Key 500.1 amp.

Here is the wiring diagram to go from 4 ohms to 2 ohms:

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887278466


Now I was getting a little more bass, but no where near what I expected. I adjusted both the amp's gain and played around with the FORScan settings (more detail on the FORScan settings below), and still not achieving much bass from the 8" sub and amp. Frustrated, I pulled the trigger to purchase and install the Kicker Key 200.4 amp for all the other speakers, including the rear speakers where the sub speaker inputs are coming from. This step did the trick and I was literally getting some great sound from all the speakers and really good bass from the sub.

Here is the Kicker Key 200.4 amp I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3ZugGTS

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887303265


With the Kicker Key 200.4 amp, I recommend getting a plug n play wiring harness kit specifically for your Bronco. I purchased my wiring harness kit from https://plugnplaykits.com/

Here is the Kicker Key 200.4 wiring harness I purchased specifically made for the Bronco, which is Kit 11-1

Note: note shown in the picture, but the kit comes with all the additional power wiring: hot, ground, and fuse!

https://plugnplaykits.com/products/...y-audio-harnesses-kits?variant=41157659852990

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887326832






Now that you have all speakers upgraded, including the sub, and you now have two amps, one powering the sub in the back, and one powering the other 6 speakers, it’s now time to adjust your FORScan computer settings. You’ll need to get the recommended adaptor that plugs into your laptop to make the changes. You will also need to download the free software on your laptop at: https://forscan.org/download.html

Here is the recommended adaptor I purchased:

https://amzn.to/3RuzDU8

Ford Bronco 2023 Bronco Total Speaker Upgrade Notes 1694887353019


Finally, the FORScan settings I used for the ACM Module were:

First line in the ACM module series: 727-01-01

The Hex String: xxXXXXxx – xxxx

I only adjusted the capital X’s above. I left the lower case x’s at their default settings. I am merely using a lowercase “x” and a capital “X” for sequence illustration purposes.

The last two capital XX’s in the first group box I changed to: 03

This sets the settings to read [Speaker/Speaker] for your driver side and passenger side kick panel and dash speakers to get full power.

The first two capital XX’s in the second group box I changed to: 02

This sets the settings to read [Speaker/Speaker & Sub] for your driver side and passenger side rear pod speakers and sub to get full power.

Note: If for some reason you are not getting any sound from your sub, you can try setting to: 0E

This sets the settings to read [Speaker/Sub Only] for your driver side and passenger side rear pod speakers and sub.

*** UPDATE ***
I overlooked one critical step and setting to my overall setup with having the Kicker Key 200.4 installed and that is turning off the factory EQ within FORScan. OMG! what an improvement that one simple setting made! This is now a must do and I highly recommend doing so!!


Here are the settings for turning off the factory EQ:

Second line in the ACM module series: 727-01-02

The Hex String: xxXX – xxxx – xxxx

The last two capital XX’s in the first group box I changed to: 00

This sets the settings to read [EQ Off]

Note: To turn the EQ back on simply change the setting back to: 01

-----------------------------------

Now that everything is completed and installed from all the above recommendations, what an overall noticeable sound quality improvement. Just wow! I’m getting some amazing bass and the clarity of the music is so clear and clean. What I observed is if you do not install the Kicker Key 200.4 amp you will not get the power you need to fully access the wattage from all the new Kicker speakers you upgraded to and send enough power to the sub amp's speaker input.

In summary, I tried to layout out as much as possible my approach and process. That said, I really could not just replace a speaker here and there and not get an amp or amps in order to get the sound I was looking for and wanted that provided enough bass and kick. Therefore, skip the slow cutting corners approach like I originally did and go all in, otherwise, you’ll eventually get there like I did. Order it all at one time and allow yourself a day to install and tweak at your own pace.

Order summary:

[Pair of Kicker CS 4” dash speakers, Pair of Kicker CS 6.75” Kicker speakers, Pair of 6.5” new Pods, Pair of 6.5” Kicker CS speakers, one 8” Kicker CompRT Sub or one 6.75 CompRT sub depending on whether you want to do any modifications, one Kicker Key 200.4 amp, one Kicker Key 500.1 amp, a Plug and Play wiring harness for the Kicker Key 200.4 amp, Power/Ground wiring kit for the Kicker Key 500.1 amp, Kicker Remote Bass Controller, and a FORScan adopter]…and don’t forget to wire your sub from 4 ohms down to 2 ohms so you get the max 500 watt output from your amp to your sub!

Here are a few recommended YouTube videos to watch for making this upgrade and how to remove panels, etc. Tremendous help, so I wanted to say thanks and give credit to these folks for their helpful videos!!

From @RagnarKon

Sub Upgrade


Speaker Upgrade


FORScan




From Jacob Doty

Speaker Upgrade
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Just Rob Please

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@jasonstephens37221 This is an excellent summary with all the links one could need to reach the most common denominator in total audio system 'fixes'. Well done sir!

I'm an audiophile and have always had to do something to fix factory poo poo systems in the systems I love. Except for my Jaguar's which really are darn near perfect if they have the top trim sound system. That aside, I just got my Bronco a week ago and couldn't believe the stock sound was that bad. It is the WORST of any vehicle I've owned - and I've owned a lot. They must have worked hard to make it suck this bad - especially with modern tech within these modules to resolve a lot of issues on reflections and sound absorption.

In your approach, you mention that the rears didn't have any power / bass until you added the amp. While I support the 4 channel amp replacement wholeheartedly, I wonder if a forscan tweak would have opened up the rear channel before the 4 channel amp add. It seems that this should be a parameter within the settings to feed a stronger signal to the rear - like a db / level increase. Going back to the sub amp you added, I assume you cranked the gain up on that amp to "try" and get some bass to thump out of it before the 4 channel amp add. Right? It should have started pumping with that extra gain. I'm asking before I start my own journey to fix this crappy sound - and I intend on walking down the same path you laid out here. (again - thank you).
-Rob
 
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jasonstephens37221

jasonstephens37221

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Hi Rob, thank you for your comments. I will try and answer in the order you asked questions.
So the factory rear pod speakers worked, and the factory sub worked. The FORScan setting was factory set to [1A] for the first two digits in the second group box, which stood for Speaker/Tweeter ; Speaker/Tweeter/Sub. I first made the adjustment to [02] after installing the new sub and amp. I was getting some sound and even turned up the gain but nothing great given I just put in an 8" sub. After I installed the 4 channel amp, bam! I was getting all the bass I needed. Set the gain at 50% so I could play just about any type of music and adjust the bass with the remote knob for more or less bass depending on the song. But to answer your question, I did try setting the FORScan first, as it was already set to receive a sound signal from the factory, but it was really weak. The setting change I made going from Speaker/Tweeter to just Speaker/Speaker Sub greatly helped the rear pod speakers, but after adding the additional 4 channel amp, it was night and day difference to the pod speakers. Good luck, post back here after you make all your upgrades, love to hear how your experience went. Thanks!
 

Ixr

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Just wanted to chime in as I did similar upgrades. The first change I tried was the same rear pods with 6.75" kicker ks, and changing the dash to 4" kicker ks with bass blockers in the dash. I then did the recommended forscan changes and tbh it was extremely underwhelming.

After that major disappointment I went all out adding a 12" tailgate sub, a 4 channel amp for the speakers, the kicker 500.1 amp for the sub, and while I was at it I put in the kicker 6.5" ks speaker's in the kick panels.

After that second round of upgrades the system is wow.
 
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jasonstephens37221

jasonstephens37221

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Just wanted to chime in as I did similar upgrades. The first change I tried was the same rear pods with 6.75" kicker ks, and changing the dash to 4" kicker ks with bass blockers in the dash. I then did the recommended forscan changes and tbh it was extremely underwhelming.

After that major disappointment I went all out adding a 12" tailgate sub, a 4 channel amp for the speakers, the kicker 500.1 amp for the sub, and while I was at it I put in the kicker 6.5" ks speaker's in the kick panels.

After that second round of upgrades the system is wow.
Hell Yeah! you got it thumping by putting in that 12" sub. Glad to hear you went with the same amp and Kicker speakers, it's sometimes hard to believe what it use to sound like! Upgrading the sound system is must for the Bronco, especially riding around with the tope down!
 

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Los

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Great writeup regarding the sound on the Bronco.
1. I have Tinnitus from my military days working on jet engines and propeller
2. so what others hear and what I hear is a bit different
3. My bronco came with a deluxe package and I have the B&O system; and for my ears that sounds very good, I know others have complained about the sound of the B&O.
So maybe I should copy this information or maybe jasonstephens37221
Can send me this write via email so I can save it for future reference and order everything he order and start my sound project. just one problem, I don't have FORScan
 

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jasonstephens37221

jasonstephens37221

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Great writeup regarding the sound on the Bronco.
1. I have Tinnitus from my military days working on jet engines and propeller
2. so what others hear and what I hear is a bit different
3. My bronco came with a deluxe package and I have the B&O system; and for my ears that sounds very good, I know others have complained about the sound of the B&O.
So maybe I should copy this information or maybe jasonstephens37221
Can send me this write via email so I can save it for future reference and order everything he order and start my sound project. just one problem, I don't have FORScan
thank you for your comments. I didn't realize until your post that I forgot to mention that the FORScan program is a free download. I'll add that to my post, but here's the link to the free download. Thanks again for pointing that out!
https://forscan.org/download.html
 

Jo8n

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Great write up. Thanks for taking us all the way through your process.

We have replaced all our non-sub speakers and, while it is better, it still really sounds worse than any other car I can remember after speaker replacement. We have the B&O so I've felt really let down in how horrible the stock signal quality is. I'm also annoyed that, in order to even consider adding amps, we have to replace the DSP.

We'll probably get there but I thought my days of having to replace just about every audio component in a car were done.
 

Broncodave

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jasonstephens37221

jasonstephens37221

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Great write up. Thanks for taking us all the way through your process.

We have replaced all our non-sub speakers and, while it is better, it still really sounds worse than any other car I can remember after speaker replacement. We have the B&O so I've felt really let down in how horrible the stock signal quality is. I'm also annoyed that, in order to even consider adding amps, we have to replace the DSP.

We'll probably get there but I thought my days of having to replace just about every audio component in a car were done.
Thank you for your comments. Appreciate it!

I know what you mean. I'm 51 now and think the last time I made a sound system install was back in my late teens and early 20's.

Hate to hear so many people that upgraded to the B&O package did not get what they thought. the Kicker Key 200.4 amp has DSP and just that upgrade alone with boost the sound!
 

Ksjrb03

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Where did you pull your inputs for the sub amp from? You should have been shaking the windows after adding the sub without any forscan changes, if you pulled them from the proper kick panel speakers.

And for that sub you can just pull the plastic trim piece off the housing and install without any modifications to the sub enclosure.
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