1500 speaker upgrade


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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fdxhawkr15374
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1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »



I didn't realize it would be so hard to upgrade the system on a 1500 . Has anyone tried to make 5 and ¼ inch speakers fit on the front ? I know some cutting would need to be done but may be willing to do it for the upgraded sound with a small amp. 2nd question would a small 2 channel amp designed for motorcycles say from kenwood 45x4 be to much for a stock alternator? at this time I do not have any additional lights or accessories.



fdxhawkr15374
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »

I just proof read this and it should say a 4 channel amp not 2

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 »

A lot of people have installed the Polk DB501 speakers in either the front, or front and rear. Some have put the 501's in the front, and 401's in the rear. Most find it to be a very nice upgrade from the stock speakers. I really like the 501's I put in the front, and a pair of Scosche 4" speakers I used in the rear (simply because they fit (4"), and they were less than the Polk DB401's).
I think you will find that the biggest limiting factor of the 1500 audio system is the speaker 'enclosures'. They are poor, at best. They are very small, and provide poor resonance for any descent bass response. I don't see how a bigger amp will improve audio, given the poor speaker design, so I have never considered installing one.
I have read that installing foam enclosures behind the speakers is a great improvement. I find that evaluation to be questionable, and considering sound is a very subjective topic, I have not rushed to follow that advice. The resonance that I mention is generally created by installing speakers in a very rigid enclosure, such as wood or very heavy plastic, with a port to allow for bass to exit the enclosure. Foam exhibits none of those characteristics.
If you are still using the stock speakers, you may want to just start your upgrade there, and see how you like it. You may be pleasantly surprised. As to the alternator handling the additional wattage, I doubt it would be a problem. I doubt you would ever really hit that 45W level, driving 5" speakers, and even then, it would be intermittent at best, during heavy bass output. One guy that I read about did manage to install some 4x6 speakers in his dash, with a fair amount of modification. He was also installing an amp. (link below)
That's my 2 cents and experience so far.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31098

https://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-5-Inc ... ingdocs-20

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P ... ingdocs-20

http://www.scosche.com/hd-speakers-4-se ... res_tabbed

fdxhawkr15374
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »

Thanks for the info, when going with the polk 501 for the front and Scosche 4 " in the rear are any modifications needed to make them fit? thanks again in advance .

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 »

fdxhawkr15374 wrote:Thanks for the info, when going with the polk 501 for the front and Scosche 4 " in the rear are any modifications needed to make them fit? thanks again in advance .
The front speakers, the 501's, need to have the mounting holes cut from the outside with tin snips, toward the holes, so that you essentially wind up with mounting "slots" to accommodate the ever so slightly misaligned mounting screws. Then it helps to add small washers to the screws for extra grip on the speaker frame. A very simple modification, but DO use tin snips instead of a saw, that would run the risk of damaging the speakers it the blade were to jump.

The 401's or the Scosche 4" speakers on the rear, I believe fit very tightly, but with no modification. My Scosche did fit that way. I think I've read that the 401's might require some modification to the lower inside of the rear cavity to accommodate the speaker magnet size.

Those large magnets are part of the improved sound quality. It will be obvious when you set the OEM's and the replacements side by side. There's really no comparison. The replacements are a huge step up in quality from the original factory speakers, on every level. The Scosche magnets are much larger, but not so large as to require the modification.

The Polk's, 501 ans 401 are marine rated speakers that can handle the weather, and water exposure. The Scosche are not rated for water exposure, but are constructed of the same or similar materials, and mine have been in there for 3 years, with plenty of rain on occasion, and no ill effects. The cones are like polypropylene, and supports are a foam material, just like the Polk. That's why I say they are constructed very similar. And at half the cost, and the relative ease of installing the rears, I took a chance on the Scosche, and have no complaints. The sound quality is lacking in the rear, but that is primarily due to the really poor design of the enclosures.

Just some background. I've been messing with audio since I was a kid. I'm 62 now. In high school I became known as the "go-to" guy for speaker and audio installs with my friends cars. That was when 8-Tracks and under dash aftermarket stereos were state of the art. The trunk of a car made for a really great "speaker enclosure" back in the day. Everyone would install 5" door speakers and wonder why my 6x9 trunk speakers just kicked ass with the bass response, and theirs sounded so "tinny". I had played with speakers a lot when I was a kid, and stereos were in their infancy. You would be absolutely amazed to hear the difference in sound that one speaker can produce, when installed in different enclosures. It is startling. Anyway, I built my first set of floor standing speakers when I got out of college. They were incredible. I also worked in the audio visual field for 15 years out of college, providing me with lots of experience using audio in all types of venues. I was never trained technically in audio. All my knowledge is just from practical experience and fiddling with various audio and speaker experiments.

Hope this all helps. Just do it. You will like the results, within the limiting confines of the Goldwing speaker enclosure design. I actually think the OEM stereo is not of bad design or quality, and certainly has some nice features built into it. You have to keep in mind....you are on a motorcycle, with all of the ambient noise and wind disturbance that comes with that environment. let me know how it turns out. You may reconsider the amplifier install. Oh. And I'm betting that any amplifier you install might have a whole other set of complications regarding the fader switch on the controls. That fader was designed around the OEM system.

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offcenter
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by offcenter »

I replaced all four of my speakers with the Kenwood speakers as mentioned in this
thread here a few months ago:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=16789
I absolutely HATED the screechy sound of the original speakers.
With the Kenwoods and the foam baffles, the sound is GREAT!
I rarely ride the bike without my tunes on the stereo.

...oh....you don't need an amp. With good speakers, the system
puts out enough volume to wake the dead. :lol:
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"

fdxhawkr15374
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »

Does anyone know exactly how many watts the stock gl1500 radio puts out per channel. I was just on the crutchfield website . The polk db402 4" speaker , I guess possibly the new replacement for the 401 ? It has a polypropylene woofer cone with rubber surround it is specified as a marine speaker while The rockford fosgate 4" they sell is made from the same materials but are half the cost but for some reason not described as a marine speaker . My wing is a 1994 I was wondering back in 1994 do you think the stock speakers were marine grade? Im going to try the fosgates with the xtc 4" speaker baffles they sell for 6.99 a pair . give it a week or 2 I will let everyone interested know how they sound.

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 »

According to this spec sheet from the older style radio, it is 24W total output. I would take that to mean about 12W per channel (L + R).
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Uncle Fester
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Uncle Fester »

I upgraded my front speakers with the Kenwood 4" speakers and baffles , I will also be upgrading the rears to the same, PLUS adding 6.5's where the factory fairing pockets where (also using baffles) and will also , some day, be adding a pair of 8" subs in the trunk. The amp will be ran as follows : 2 channels will run the four 4" speakers, 2 channels will run the two 6.5s and the fifth channel will run the subs. The head unit is a marine unit

Thats the plan anyway. . .


4" baffles : http://www.crutchfield.com/p_237XT42/XT ... ml?tp=2809
6.5" baffles : http://www.crutchfield.com/p_237XT652/X ... ml?tp=2809
4" Speakers : http://www.crutchfield.com/p_1131065S/K ... tml?tp=102
6.5" Speakers : http://www.crutchfield.com/p_1131665S/K ... html?tp=95
8" Subs : http://www.crutchfield.com/p_113XW800F/ ... l?tp=68848
Amp : http://www.crutchfield.com/p_113KAC7005 ... 005PS.html
Head Unit : http://www.jmsonline.net/millenia-am-fm ... oCnajw_wcB
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
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fdxhawkr15374
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »

Best buy has the kenwood kfc1065r speakers on sale for 29.99 a pair I decided to go with them.

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offcenter
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by offcenter »

Get the foam baffles to go behind them.
They do make a difference.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"

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Happytrails
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Happytrails »

You guys dont worry so much about moisture and non-marine grade speakers?
1991 GL1500 SE Anniversary Edition
Sun Flare Gold Metallic
Vallant Brown Inset

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 »

I put a set of "non-marine" speakers in the rear of mine 3 years ago. They were cheap ($30), and easy to put in, so I took a chance on them. They are made of the same, or very similar material as the marine grade items. They may not be spec'd as marine, but the materials exposed to weather are waterproof "plastic" and "rubber". They have since seen their share of downpours on multiple occasions, sometimes for a 24 hour period on trips. They still work great. If there is a problem, I can't hear it. I do keep the bike covered or parked under cover as much as possible, but that's not for the benefit of the speakers as much as the bike itself. I think the marine spec is kind of outdated, as most all speakers no longer use any type of paper or water impervious material for the cones or surrounds, as were common back in the day. The old "paper" cones, and supports were susceptible to rot, if water didn't take them out directly. The most likely thing to fail on the newer designs is the rubber supports at the perimeter, from sun rot, age, or just too high a volume ripping them apart.

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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Uncle Fester »

Happytrails wrote:You guys dont worry so much about moisture and non-marine grade speakers?
In my case, not really, the speakers that are at risk are like $35.00-$40.00 a pair, so even if they only last a year, not a major deal. My bike has never been garage kept, so it has been exposed to all kinds of weather and the stock, non-marine, speakers lasted 20 plus years and where still going strong. . . . . I just wanted better.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore,
Dream,
Discover!

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fdxhawkr15374
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »

I tried putting the new speakers in but came across a problem . Im not sure if the bike came with rear speakers or they were an add on but one side has white and blue and the other has red and brown . none have a black stripe on them and all are I think made of steel / In other words most speaker wire has one strand copper and one I think made of steel? So how do you determine what wire is positive and other negative?

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Bluewaterhooker0 »

As near as I can "deduce", the right speakers always seem to contain an R and BR pair of wires, albeit with a stripe or stripes. The left speakers always contain a BL and W (or gray) pair of wires. The white and red are identified as (+). That's what I'd try. Since the primary effect proper phasing (which is what you are asking about) has on an audio system is the bass response, and these systems are starved in the bass department, I doubt you'll ever notice the difference in the sound, whether in phase or not. Give it a shot. You can't hurt anything. The speakers don't care which terminal is which, other than the phasing of the audio for bass response, and maybe a little volume. If you can't hear the difference, that's how much it doesn't matter in this case.

fdxhawkr15374
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by fdxhawkr15374 »

I did try both ways and couldn't hear the difference but I do like to do things the correct way thats why I asked . I will use your info to make sure its done the right way ,thanks.

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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by Uncle Fester »

In the case of our bikes, where acoustics are NOT that great, while not optimal , switching the hot and neg wires on the speakers will not have much effect. In a full completion stereo, it would cause a out of faze and mess up the sound, but on our bikes, again, not a MAJOR deal. Yes it would be best to know what wire was what, but not 100% critical .

Now that said, if you want to test them to find out what is what, do this. wire ONE speaker, loose in the trunk , power up the BIKE with the stereo off. Turn on the stereo while watching the speaker as the stereo makes its first POP / CLICK as the power comes on. If the speaker pops UP on that first click, it is wired right, if it pops down, it is wired backwards. now mount that speaker and wire it, and follow up by testing the other side the same way. . . . .
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore,
Dream,
Discover!

Mark Twain

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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by spiralout »

fdxhawkr15374 wrote:I tried putting the new speakers in but came across a problem . Im not sure if the bike came with rear speakers or they were an add on but one side has white and blue and the other has red and brown . none have a black stripe on them and all are I think made of steel / In other words most speaker wire has one strand copper and one I think made of steel? So how do you determine what wire is positive and other negative?
The stock rear speaker wires on my SE are yellow and white on each side with the yellow being positive. The front speaker positive wires are red/grn for the right side and blu/grn for the left. If yours are different, just do what Uncle Fester said. Put voltage to them and if the cone moves up, it's wired correctly.
The wires should have already had a wide and narrow connector on them, though.

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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by millerized »

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=31098
Just my opinion...

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KerryOkie
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by KerryOkie »

Spiral....
Use a 9volt btry across speaker. If the cone moves out, the way you had the btry tells you the pos. And neg side. If the wires are not typed hook it up and watch the cone on the base beat if the cone pops out on beat then that is the right polarity.

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JPochron
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Re: 1500 speaker upgrade

Post by JPochron »

I haven't been getting the sound quality that i'm looking for by replacing the OEM Speakers with Kenwood speakers so I had thought of using Wakeboard Tower Speakers but they are way to big. So I went with Shark Motorcycle speakers that mount externally like on the handle bars, engine guards or where ever you want. They come with a Bluetooth Amplifier but I'm not going to use it I already have a Marine Radio installed. I figured I'd mount the front speakers to the engine guard and the rear speakers to the trunk box next to the antennas. Below is a pic of the system.





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