Make the Right Stereo Choice for your Hellcat

Discussion in 'SRT Hellcat General Discussions' started by GoodCaptain, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. GoodCaptain

    GoodCaptain Gold Member

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    My 2015 SRT 392 HK stereo was a big letdown and I eventually swapped out speakers and added amps and a proper sub.

    So before ordering my Hellcat Charger I checked out the latest HK system and found it fairly poor. So I decided to go with the STOCK Alpine system and this is what I hear:

    1) The stock system is more balanced than the HK system. There is no gaping hole in the midrange and the system is less strident. Though both systems fire their 3.5" dash speakers into the windshield and use bass panel drivers in the doors, the stock system is far less harsh, but also (at times slightly less detailed than the HK system, which has more tweeters at work. Overall the stock system is more pleasing in the highs and midrange.

    2) The stock system does not have the bass speaker, which is NOT a true subwoofer in the Charger. With that said, bass is "okay" but fairly weak. On the other hand the bass from the HK system is tubby, flabby and only occasionally sounding impressive when source material is ideal. Both systems are in serious need of a true sub with it's own dedicated amp. A 10" unit in a smallish enclosure will blow away the silly HK sub and you can adjust it properly.

    3) Both systems would have been better served with traditional 6X9 two or three way speakers in the doors and rear shelf. Though the HK system may use better components in the doors, integration remains poor and the stock system is superior.

    Summary:
    Get the stock system and add a powered sub with it's own volume control up front and you'll EASILY surpass the HK system. If you want to go further you can swap out the the dash units for the Infinity 3.5" units that are sold on Crutchfield. A pair of supertweeters in the rear shelf would probably also improve detail, but might also prove fatiguing. What I've written here applies more the Charger and the Challenger Hellcat has a better sub system and the interior cabin has acoustics that integrate better with the HK system.
    But NO WAY would I waste money on the HK system after owning/hearing both.

    Cheers,



    Robert
     
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  2. hemiplymouth

    hemiplymouth Senior Hellcat Member

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    The stock radio in my '06 Dodge Diesel Dually is much better than the HK in my Hellcat and 392 Scatpack Shaker.
     
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  3. YLWJKT

    YLWJKT Silver Member

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    My experience is 100% opposite of yours.
    I have a 2015 Scat Pack with the Sound Group II.
    Not a lot of clarity or volume, and definitely lacking bass.
    I wound up changing the front speakers and added a sub. It sounds better but still not as good as the HK in my Hellcat.
    With the EQ properly set in the Hellcat the system is pretty damned good imo.
    Now keep in mind, this is while listening to music from my phone.
    The minute you try listening to Sirrius the sound on either system is terrible, mainly due to the overly compressed signal.
    If it were possible to add the HK to my Scat Pack, I would.
     
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  4. mdmoore23

    mdmoore23 Senior Hellcat Member

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    The system in my Challenger Hellcat is the best I've heard, factory installed. I don't know what some of you guys expect out of a stock sound system.
     
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  5. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Gold Member

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    For the '16 Hellcat run, was there a stereo upgrade to choose?
     
  6. mdmoore23

    mdmoore23 Senior Hellcat Member

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    Harmon Kardon is the only system available for the Challenger Hellcat. The Charger has HK for a $1995 option. I don't quite understand that move.
     
  7. Nitemare

    Nitemare Silver Member

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    I think I remember the "reasoning" being that the Challenger is subject to a lot more road noise getting into the cabin and thus the 6 speaker Alpine wouldn't have worked out? Who knows...

    My thoughts on the HK...

    From the factory, the HK in my April 2015 392 was actually really good. Very detailed, but boomy bass. Sound stage was good, but didn't envelope you (surround you) perfectly due to speaker placement at the dash. There was some kind of bug in the software that on most startups, I'd have to mute/unmute to get the audio to sound good - sometimes the car would start up and the audio would be lacking depth and all the bass would be gone. Really weird... Amp updates were posted about here, so I go get it done last fall. It made the stereo suck in my opinion. The detail seemed to be about the same, but the bass quickly hit and decayed immediately. Sounded like garbage compared to how it came (even bugged) from the factory. I traded the car a few weeks later, so don't know if it got fixed or how the '16's are.

    Sat in a HC Challenger the other day testing it out. The HK system in it sounded good as well, but noticed the bass hit a lot harder than my Charger ever did - imagine that, it has 2 subs instead of 1 in the Chargers. The soundstage was bad though. It sounded like the music was coming from directly in front of me and not all around me... not natural at all.

    I currently have a '14 SRT Grand Cherokee. The HK system in it is better than all the above. The soundstage is perfect. The detail is there. The bass hits all the right notes - not a knock your socks off kind of bass, but what I would consider just right... anything more and you begin robbing the music of its detail due to overexposure with bass.

    I don't think the speakers themselves have changed much in design. Maybe, but I doubt it. I think the real kicker here is speaker placement. In the GC, there is plenty of room and only 1 set of speakers are in the dash (mid/tweeter). The rest are all in the doors (directly beside you) and in front/behind you (A/D pillars) aiming at you. It makes a world of difference.
     
  8. CubeMan

    CubeMan Tri-State Overlord

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    The main issue is they still haven't sorted out even after flashes getting the audio right or using the speakers properly. If anyone remembers how it was last-year pre update our bass was awful and every single media source (Radio,SirusXM,Flashdrive/SD Card) kept changing volume levels and how it used speakers.

    We've gone through two updates now, three if you include the one released a few days ago and while the first two updates helped we still suffer from a few issues on the software end (Sound can still go up when speeding up even if its selected "off") and it just really lacking. It makes no sense for the type of system it is. I haven't messed with the treble,bass or anything yet because by default it does leave me "satisfied" But i know it should be delivering more.

    I think my 08 Charger with the speaker system plus the Kicker sounds better sometimes.
     
  9. TorRed

    TorRed Silver Member

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    Glad I am sticking with the stock system and saving $1995. I will use that $$ to beef it up with aftermarket components.
     
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  10. Catscratch Fever

    Catscratch Fever Silver Member

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    I had no choice in my stereo for my 2015 Hellcat challenger.
     
  11. GoodCaptain

    GoodCaptain Gold Member

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    Folks with the Challenger can feel better about this because the acoustics of the Challenger are much friendlier to this system.

    I'm an audiophile of more than 30 years. My expectations for a car stereo are actually reasonable. But the HK system in the Charger doesn't even have a true subwoofer. The quality of the drivers is actually fairly good, but they simply can't crossover well enough in the cabin to create an integrated sound. Firing high frequencies into glass is never a good idea either.

    The reality here is that I've heard MANY stock systems sound better. The system in my Grand Cherokee was better and even the Infinity system in my Kia Sedona van was vastly better. I also question what you get with the "upgraded system" that is worth 500 dollars, let alone 2000.

    As I said, my bottom line is that Charger buyers should take a pass. The Stock system delivers better fidelity. What that means specifically is that the frequency response is more continuous from about 70hz to 20khz. The only advantage the HK system is that it will play a bit louder and it has more bass in the 45-70hz range. But adding a amped sub will leave the HK system in the dust and you'll have a better system before swapping out a single speaker.

    Robert
     
  12. MABBRYFL30

    MABBRYFL30 NYS President Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member

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    How much would this cost? I see and read a lot of concerns/complaints about the radio system. I attribute most of it to satellite radio signal. If there is a better option that sounds better let us know what kind of costs you have to do that.
     
  13. FLEX

    FLEX Gold Member

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    IMHO there is a big difference between the HK system in my 2015 and the HK system in my 2016.

    I seriously wondered if they forgot to install the upgraded system in my 2015.

    My new car sounds MUCH better.
     
  14. MABBRYFL30

    MABBRYFL30 NYS President Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree with that for two reason. My 14 ram and Durango don't have the HK stereo. Hellcat sounds great with HK on radio and iTunes. Satellite radio is and sounds inferior but it stills sounds better than what I am used to.
    Some owners are used to getting better sounding OE equipment and may be used to that as well is my point
     
  15. GrndFnk

    GrndFnk VIP Hellcat Member

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    My 2016 Challenger with the HK is the best sounding car system that I have ever heard. I can't believe it, actually. Impressive. But, I am judging it from music off from a SD card MP3 format if that makes a difference.
     
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