In this article: We'll review Kicker's PS69 6×9″ speaker and detail our installation in a 1965 Ford Fairlane 500.
Unboxing the Kicker PS69
You can often tell whether a product is quality simply by how the manufacturer packages it. Unboxing the PS69 speakers indicates that these are going to be excellent. The speakers are encased in multi-layer cardboard to prevent damage during shipping. Though the exterior box showed signs of not-so-gentle handling, the speakers were in perfect shape.
The package features two 6×9 coaxial speakers, wiring harnesses and crimp connectors, plastic grills, and hardware to screw the speakers down. Everything is well-secured in the package to ensure you get what you expect and no damage happens from loose parts in the box. The speakers are wrapped in heavy plastic separate from the grills to protect them from scuffs and marks.
Kicker PS69: Features
The PS69 speakers look fantastic, which is great considering the minimalist grills. The polypropylene woofer cone has a slate blue color giving the speakers a modern look. The 1-inch high-efficiency titanium tweeter is suspended on a bridge above the woofer cone. This design reduces vibration and distortion. A textile high-excursion spider and a rubber surround provide flexibility to help push large volumes of air.
This combination works perfectly to provide volume and frequencies you can hear over the roar of your engine through the muffling of your helmet. The ceramic magnet and steel basket keep weight low so the speakers don’t significantly affect the balance of your bike.
These speakers are designed for amplification. Kicker says they work best with up to 90 watts RMS and they will handle peaks of 180 watts. Amplifying these speakers doesn’t require a huge amp, a nice feature for power sports installation.
Even though these speakers are built for bikes, the durability makes them an excellent candidate for any vehicle. For this installation we are going to install these speakers in a 1965 Ford Fairlane 500. At some point in the 1990s, this car received a complete stereo upgrade including the addition of 6×9 speakers in a custom rear package shelf.
To say the package shelf speakers have seen better days is an understatement. Their deplorable condition was obvious from the poor sound quality, but the fact that the surround was completely gone on both of the existing Alpine speakers only made this upgrade more relevant.
Tools and Supplies for Installation
- Phillips screwdriver
- Wire cutter and crimper
- Pencil for custom installation if necessary
- Jigsaw if necessary
Tips on Correct DIY Installations
Removing the existing speakers from the Fairlane provides an opportunity to discuss proper DIY techniques. These speakers are designed to fit many motorcycle bags with preformed cutouts, but the tips below apply to any modification.
If you are going to cut and install speakers in a package shelf or saddlebag, take the time to accurately draw the cutout onto the surface. Use a jigsaw to cut the opening so that the hole is smooth and symmetrical. Use speed nuts whenever possible to reduce the effects of fatigue on the shelf material. Taking your time on this step is critical to a clean installation.
Custom Speaker Installation
Classic cars from the 1960s and 1970s benefit greatly from upgrades to the audio system. One of the most common upgrades is the installation of speakers in the package shelf, also called the deck.
At some point in the life of this car, the package shelf was removed and replaced with plywood. The wood panel was covered in green vinyl to match the rest of the interior of the car. When the speaker cutout was made in the plywood, the hole was cut irregularly with lots of rough edges.
The vinyl is heavily padded to give the deck a cushiony look, but this causes an issue with the speaker installation. The padding pushes the speaker away from the wood panel. Over time, the screws pulled through the wood making screwing the speakers into place impossible.
You’ll find examples of this sort of handiwork in many classic vehicles that are modified, and it is an avoidable error.
Removal and Installation
The old speakers were somewhat held in place with the use of extra long drywall screws. This is one of those locations where having a stubby screwdriver is wonderful as the back two screws leave very little working room below the back glass. When the stereo system was installed, the proper wiring connectors were installed. The 16 gauge wires are in good condition so there is no reason to change them. You will need to use the included wiring harness if you are installing these with an aftermarket head unit in a custom location or if your factory wiring has incompatible end connectors.
The included wiring harness seems to be of good construction. Each harness is 12-inches long to make it easy to wire up. This speaker set includes four crimp connectors to make the connections. The connectors are low quality and you will have better long term results using crimp connectors that have heat shrink sleeves.
The PS69 speakers simply plug and play. The plastic grill fits over the speaker frame and four screws anchor the speaker into the panel. In most cases, this is the easy part. Due to the condition of the package shelf, the speakers were not securely anchored in our test install. In order to properly install the speakers, the shelf will need to be removed and reworked so the screws will have something to mount into.
Testing the Speakers
I was concerned that this design may create odd sounds in a hardtop car rather than a motorcycle. My fears were unfounded, though, as the deep, full sound of the PS69 speakers easily cuts through the rather loud V8 engine and buffeting wind noise from open windows.
As I started to play different songs to get a sense of the sound, the appropriateness of a power sports speaker in a classic muscle car made sense. The power and frequency response work great for overcoming loud environments while the durable, weather-resistant build will keep the speaker rocking for years. The package shelf tends to be one of the hottest parts of the car, so a durable speaker is a logical choice.
I have these speakers running on an amp that provides 65 watts RMS, so it is a little underpowered for optimal performance. Even so, the sound quality from the PS69s was clear and rich. The highs are a little harsh which isn’t uncommon with titanium tweeters, but they sound better at 60 miles per hour than when sitting in the parking lot.
I played a range of music including songs with deep bass lines, acoustical music, classic rock, and country music to test how the speakers handle different types of music. I was impressed by how excellent these speakers sound regardless of the type of music. Hearing how good these sound in a pillarless hardtop, I can imagine they would be excellent on a bike or an ATV.
The Kicker PS694 speakers are built to withstand the elements, and it shows in how excellent they are constructed. They look and feel well-built and durable. The sound is better than expected. This speaker is a great buy for installations in factory locations. Kicker does not include a cutout diagram with this speaker, which makes creating a proper hole in custom installations more difficult. These speakers will give you the volume and clarity