First off, thanks to the RRS forum for providing most of this information. A lot more guys doing audio upgrades on their sports compared to full size owners. I guess the Sport owners are more fun then us
Im upgrading my Meridian 825w system to replace all 19 speakers. I'm using 18 speakers from the Meridian Signature line and 1 aftermarket subwoofer, the following OEM parts:
7x LR033292 tweeter
7x LR033293 mid range
4x LR047119 low range
0x LR035187 sub (didn't order)
You might notice there is only 16 locations, however there is 19 speakers. A tweeter and a mid goes in the center dash and the rear corners of the vehicle.
Price came to about $1200 for the 18 speakers from parts.com Upon initial inspection, I can see the meridian signature / reference speakers are all made of Kevlar, versus the paper cone speakers that come in the 380 and 825w system. I'm not upgrading the amp since the 825w amp will be sufficient to drive these 18 speakers. The Signaute amp is 1700w, but that's also because it needs to power 29 speakers. Those other 10 speakers go in the headliner, and I'm not going to attempt that.
I didn't order the meridian sub, as I'm going to disconnect the factory sub and run it into a custom built box that will be mounted in the cargo area-- specifically on the right side ident that was designed for the heads of golf clubs to fit. If you listen to your 825w system, you can hear that essentially all the bass is being handled by the 6.5" speakers in the doors. The sub is under the passenger seat, and it really is not doing much at all. It's not surprising, as a sub needs a good enclosuer to be any good-- and the factory woofer isn't even enclosed.
We are going to steal the line from the factory sub and run it into an AudioControl Epicenter Plus, which will convert the speaker level inputs into RCA (as well as "restore" some of the bass signal that has been removed by the Meridian digital sound processor to protect the wimpy factory sub) Which will then get run into a JL HD750 mono block amp, which then powers a 12" JL W6v3 subwoofer. This is the expensive part, having the custom made enclosuer, the sub, epicenter and amp is about $3300 total. You could save a lot of money if you didn't have a custom box made, but I want it to look as factory as possible.
So all in, I'll be at $4500 for this upgrade. I won't have the extra height channels, but I will have a lot deeper bass then what the meridian signature system comes with, and the excellent clarity that the signature line is known for.
On 10/22/15 I'll be swapping all the meridian speakers and I'll post an update on my impressions of how much the sound improved. Then about a week after that the subwoofer will get added, and I'll post a new update. My guess is just replacing the meridian 825w speakers alone for the signature speakers would be enough for the majority of people - and you can do that for $1200 if you skip the (in my opinon worthless) meridian subwoofer.
My biggest advice to people wanting better sound out of the Meridian: Don't use MP3s. High quality speakers need a high quality source, as you'll be able to hear audio compression defects better. MP3, HD Radio, XM are not good sources. I know it's old school now, but buy some CDs, our vehicle will store 10 of them. Huge difference in sound quality on our systems. Or, put lossless audio files like .flac or Apple lossless on your iPhone and plug it in to the vehicle (not via Bluetooth). The problem is, no one really sells lossless music. You need to buy CDs and rip the music yourself. I expect soon enough iTunes will offer high quality music, and sell us all of our music all over again!