Kenwood KSC-SW1 Subwoofer
My 2005 Prius has the basic single disc cd player and six speaker package. It doesn’t sound bad but like most basic OEM systems, it’s a bit anemic. So the problem is, if you’re like me and you love your steering wheel controls, you love the control integration on the MFD, how do you improve it?
Kenwood has come up with something brilliant. The KSC-SW1 is a compact subwoofer with built-in amplifier. Cast in aluminum, this incredible solid yet slim unit houses two 6 1/2″ woofers (one active and one passive radiator) as well as Kenwood 150 watt (RMS) amplifier. Best of all? This unit fits perfectly in the tray above your spare tire with almost no alteration to the vehicle. It doesn’t need to be outside the tray so just slap the cover back and thump away, no one will ever know (at least by looking).
The KSC-SW1 connects to your system via either high level input (from your existing speakers) or via RCA jacks on the underside of the unit.
I had one installed in my 2005 this week and so far, I love it.
The KSC-SW1 is inexpensive, well made, preforms very well and it can be added to your vehicle and be absolutely invisible.
For the rock, jazz and classical I listen to, the difference is amazing. Suddenly the kick drums actually sound like kicks and I can hear the bass line, not some whimpy harmonic of it. The Toyota basic system performs well but with the addition of the KSC-SW1, it punches hard on the bottom while still keeping the top end crystal clear. This unit fits the Prius like it was made for it.
Below I’ve detailed the installation process however, this is not meant as a guide for installation. Installation of the KSC-SW1 is simple. My install took less than an hour but, and I want to be clear on this, I think it’s always best to have something like this professionally installed. It’s the best thing you can do to protect your warranty and your vehicle. As well, if something does go wrong with the sub, I just take it back to the shop. If you install it, no matter how skilled you are, you’re on the hook to take it and repair it. I make the point that this is was a breeze to install because it shouldn’t cost and arm and a leg to have a good local shop do the install.
Now, if you want to it yourself, go for it. Take your time and please, do your research.
Thanks now to WeeBee Audio/Video of Lancaster, PA and Mike for doing a superb job of installed the KSC-SW1 in my car.
Here’s how my install went…
click on the thumbnails if you wish to higher resolution version of the image
The battery area before the install
After the install. Almost nothing shows. The wiring is neatly tied up and unobtrusive.
Mike drilled one hole for this install, in the plastic pan above the spare tire. Note how he has grommeted the hold so that the wires don’t wear. It also looks better.
The battery area with the cover off. He’ll take that red plastic off the terminal so he can add a ring terminal to the existing Toyota one to supply power to the amp.
Here he’s feeding the wire through the grommeted hole. Kenwood supplies a ton of wire for this. Obviously, the installer usually has to go to the front of the vehicle for power. In the Prius, the battery is conveniently located right next to the pan where the subwoofer will sit.
You can see he’s wrapped electrical tape around the wires to keep them neat and to protect them from wear. He’s left some extra wire (about two feet) so I can also place the sub in the hatch area, above the door if I want to.
Here’s the extra length of wire run through the pan.
He’s taken the red plastic cover off the terminal in preparation to attach the power cable.
This is an excellent example of a little thing that a professional installer will do that you might not think of. He’s clipped off the nylon wire ties off the wiring that Kenwood thoughtfully placed there and he’s wrapping a bit around the wiring going to the speaker (the signal wire to the sub). Why? Well, wire with those nylon ties is more difficult to pull than wire with tape on it. The ties catch on things and make it more difficult to pull cleanly.
The power and ground wire are now attached and running to the amp.
The signal wire is run through the back seat and along the door frame.
Here is Mike fishing the wire through.
The trim from the door frame and pillar has been removed to ru the signal wire and tap into the rear speaker for signal for the amp.
The signal wire running along the door frame.
Signal wire running under the back seat.
Again, the mark of a professional, Mike is running the signal wire from the Kenwood amp through the same tie downs Toyota has installed for the Prius’ wiring. That keeps it neat and protects it from harm.
Mike is now running the signal wire up the pillar where he’ll tap into one of the Prius speaker wires.
Here’s the Kenwood molex plug that attaches to the amp.
Here the sub/amp is face down. You’ll note there is a small remote control wrapped in foam. You have the option of running that cable to the front and mounting the remote control. Me? I’m not really person who likes to fiddle with things. This control is mostly a “set and forget” one anyway. It controls the level, crossover point, phase and attenuation. So we tuned the amp and left the remote in the trunk. The amp is then attached with two inch wide piece of industrial velcro. That keeps from sliding around and allows me to remove it from under the floor of the hatch and place it above the trap door if I want to.
Keep in mind, there are steps that I did not document here. My intention was not to create an installation guide. I’m not installer and I wouldn’t be comfortable writing a primer on how to do this. I think those should be written by people who know what they’re doing. I did this to give you an idea of how simple and uninvasive this install is.
I’ll be shooting some in situ shots of the finished woofer during the car show at the Tour de Sol this Saturday. I’ll add them below.
Thanks to WeeBee Audio/Video, Kenwood and Mike for a great addition to my Prius.
For now, I’ll leave you with two things.
The first is, I cannot get over how painless the install and how smoothly the sub integrates with my existing equipment (it helps to have a professional do the work). I truly love the idea no one can see it and I really love the extra performance I’ve gained for what anyone would consider to be a small investment.
The second is, you can buy a Kenwood KSC-SW1 through the POG. We sell them for $249.99 with free shipping anywhere in the continental US. Just drop me an email and we can hook you up. All sales go through an authorized Kenwood dealer and you will receive the full factory warranty on this new product as well as an invoice from the authorized dealer.
Technical information on the KSC-SW1
» powered, enclosed subwoofer with 6-1/2″ driver and 6-1/2″ passive radiator
» built-in amplifier: 150 watts RMS
» frequency response: 35-150 Hz
» wired remote for control over:
• volume level control
• variable low-pass crossover (50-120 Hz)
• selectable phase control (0°, 180°)
» power/ground wiring harness with 10A in-line fuse
» preamp (RCA) and speaker-level inputs
» dimensions: 15-3/4″W x 3-11/16″H x 9-1/16″D
» warranty: 1 year
What’s in the Manufacturer’s Box?
Wired remote bass control with attached 19-3/4′ flat cable (terminates into an RJ-14 plug)
19″ RCA patch cord extension (with stereo female RCA jacks on one end and right angle stereo male RCA plugs on the other end)
19-3/4′ Power/Ground/Remote/Speaker input harness (with a 10-pin Molex plug on one end)
2 Rubber cushions (2-3/8″ square x 3/4″ thick)
3/8″ x 1″ Self-adhesive Velcro strip
6 Hex/Phillips-head self-tapping screws (5mm x 16mm)
6 Machine screws (M4 x 6mm)
2 Metal side-mount brackets
2 Metal horizontal-mount brackets
Metal cable support