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I'm on the fence about a speaker upgrade. I'm not sure if I should just add a sub woofer in the back or replace the door panel speakers. I've had an audio installer guy say that the stock speakers on a 2018 optima LX are better than average and only need a DSP for an improvement. Anyone that has changed their speakers or what not, any advice?
 

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2013 Kia Optima
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362 Posts
I replaced the speakers in my 2013 LX, but that's 5 years off from your car...

All I'd say is if your door speakers have mylar cones or better, you're fine. If your speakers have fiber/paper cones, upgrade. If you can, measure the impedance of the door speakers as well.

A subwoofer can only do so much, you need good audio processing, and sound isolation as well.

I use an old Galaxy S5 as my head unit, with specialized audio processing apps, and I've installed dynamat in all my doors. Those have improved my own vehicle's audio quality immensely, but you have a different vehicle, so your upgrade path will be different.

Best of luck!
 

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2016 KIA Optima
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28 Posts
I have a 2016 SX with Harmon Kardon and I ended up swapping all of my speakers out and adding a sub. I felt the HK door speakers were okay but were not giving me the crispness I was looking for especially after adding amp+Sub. Things sounded somewhat muffled or mono (not that bad obviously but missing the crispness of the mids and highs).
Once I got in and removed the door speakers and tweeters and rear I found the quality of the HKs installed weren't all that good anyhow (made in Hong Kong) and appear to be some lower end options for the brand (my opinion).
Went with FOCAL speakers in the end and am very happy with the results. More crisp and clean for both mid and highs and a nice compliment for my sub. All without changing out the head unit (which is not an option for '16 with climate controls built into head unit).
 

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2018 Kia 2018 Kia Optima
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10 Posts
I have an ‘18 LX, and imo the door speakers suck!!! Kia had the genius idea of finding a way to protect the speakers from damage by limiting the volume of certain frequencies at higher volumes, so there’s not really any decent sound at higher volumes. My wife has a ‘19 Forte LXS and her speaker are soo much better. I originally put my 2 12” Soundstream Tarantulas powered by 2 Skar LP1000.1D’s and I could barely hear anything but bass, so don’t go big without upgrading and amping the door speakers. I decided to pull the subs and throw in just an old 10” Clarion I had laying around until my warranty is up then I’ll replace the entire system including the head unit. If you just ad a small sub, maybe 200-500rms you’ll round out things fairly nicely, but i would suggest a quality line out converter like the LC2i, since it will compensate for the signal loss that Kia has built into their audio systems firmware.
 

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2015 Kia Optima lx
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13 Posts
I'm on the fence about a speaker upgrade. I'm not sure if I should just add a sub woofer in the back or replace the door panel speakers. I've had an audio installer guy say that the stock speakers on a 2018 optima LX are better than average and only need a DSP for an improvement. Anyone that has changed their speakers or what not, any advice?
 

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2020 Horizon Blue Kia Optima SX
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19 Posts
I have a 2016 SX with Harmon Kardon and I ended up swapping all of my speakers out and adding a sub. I felt the HK door speakers were okay but were not giving me the crispness I was looking for especially after adding amp+Sub. Things sounded somewhat muffled or mono (not that bad obviously but missing the crispness of the mids and highs).
Once I got in and removed the door speakers and tweeters and rear I found the quality of the HKs installed weren't all that good anyhow (made in Hong Kong) and appear to be some lower end options for the brand (my opinion).
Went with FOCAL speakers in the end and am very happy with the results. More crisp and clean for both mid and highs and a nice compliment for my sub. All without changing out the head unit (which is not an option for '16 with climate controls built into head unit).
Can you send me a write up of exactly what speakers you installed and where you installed them? also how you wired your amp to your factory head unit. Did you amp your interior speakers as well or just your sub?
 

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2020 Kia Optima
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7 Posts
I too would be interested in hearing about how others have set up their late-Kia model systems. Changing out the head unit is a no-go since there aren't really any compatible ones on the market and you do so at the expense of any variety to your climate controls, nav, rear cam, etc. I am in the process of potentially adding a amp/sub to piggy off of the existing unit since the bass levels even cranked to 10 are not strong enough to balance the high/mid ranges. I am considering speakers also as there is something about the placement/quality of them that is very painful to the ears. As it is, I can't crank volume past 8 or 10 even on the highway and the tinnitus is starting to set in even at that. I have a 2020 Optima SLX. Any assist other owners could put out there would be appreciated.
 

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2013 Kia Optima
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362 Posts
I too would be interested in hearing about how others have set up their late-Kia model systems. Changing out the head unit is a no-go since there aren't really any compatible ones on the market and you do so at the expense of any variety to your climate controls, nav, rear cam, etc. I am in the process of potentially adding a amp/sub to piggy off of the existing unit since the bass levels even cranked to 10 are not strong enough to balance the high/mid ranges. I am considering speakers also as there is something about the placement/quality of them that is very painful to the ears. As it is, I can't crank volume past 8 or 10 even on the highway and the tinnitus is starting to set in even at that. I have a 2020 Optima SLX. Any assist other owners could put out there would be appreciated.
I have a 2013... LX. And here is my current rig:

Source/Input - AUX input, Samsung Galaxy S7, running PowerAmp, System audio boost set to 0.0, Preamp set to -4.7, EQ set to Bass&Treble, Mp3 quality 320kpbs minimum.

Front Dash - 3.5" JBL GTO329 Coaxial speakers 1.5 Ohms
Front Doors - 6.5" JBL GTO638 3-way speakers 2 Ohms
(Circuit is wired in Parallel, total impedance per side = 1.7 Ohms)

Rear Doors - 6.5" Rockford Fosgate R165X3 3-way Speakers 4 Ohms
Trunk Deck Sub - 8" Skar Audio VD-8 D4 DVC 4 Ohms
(Circuit is wired in parallel from rear doors to either side of sub DVC, sub is unamplified total impedance per side = 2 Ohms)

Speaker output is biased 50% rearward, cumulative effect is central focal point, full range audio response.
 

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2020 Horizon Blue Kia Optima SX
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19 Posts
Do you have all your speakers running through the amp? Also what did you use to interface your head unit? Is it the factory radio? Thanks!
 
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