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112 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Merry Christmas Everybody,

I am new to this forum and have some questions regarding audio installation and hoping you guys could educate and help me out?

So Here we go:!!

I have a 2018 Road Glide Standard and am looking to upgrade my audio system with an aftermarket system but Ill be keeping my stock Harley head unit. (the Harmon Kardon).

I was hoping to install a new set of (not sure which speakers and amp yet and wiring kit)?

My question has more to do with 'flashing' an aftermarket radio.

Is flashing really necessary or is it something that can be avoided?

From my understanding when you 'flash' an aftermarket audio system on a harley, it needs to be brought somewhere after you have finished installing it in order for them to reprocess the signal to flatten its response.

Factory radios on 2014 and later Harley audio systems have an output signal that has been tailored by the manufacturer to have a custom frequency response curve which matches the acoustic response of aftermarket loudspeakers. When installing aftermarket loudspeakers and amplifiers the audio system will have excessive gain which will probably sound distorted. In order to use different aftermarket loudspeakers and amplifiers with these types of radio head units they need to reprogrammed.

This is done by measuring the O.E.M. response and then constructing an equalizer to reverse the manufacturer's signal and generate a flat response output.

Is there a type of module on the market presently that will adapt, whether its a 'STOCK' or 'Aftermarket' head unit's frequency response and speaker level signal that is able to match the input level amplitude, impedance and frequency response from an aftermarket audio upgrade that eliminates the need for a dealership to "flash" a radio upon upgrading.

(Cycle Sounds Magic Box DSP Line -Level Shifter)-(discontinued)

So, I researched the DSR1 by Rockford Fosgate which is a 8-Channel Interactive Signal Processor w/ Integrated iDatalink Maestro Module. But my question is can this be integrated for Harley Davidson motorcycles or is this just made for cars?

Can anyone help me answer my question and if anyone knows what other electronic device that can be integrated for Harley Road Glides that would be so great! (without breaking the bank)
I cant thank you enough guys!

PS..The more you know, the better off youll be!
Merry Christmas

John S
from Boston,MA

PSS...I was also thinking of installing the Rock Fosg HD14-TKIT for 2015+ Road Glides for $869.00
Anybody else have any other suggestions that would be great
Id love to 'Build" my own audio system but Im still learning!
Thanks again!

6,816 Posts
Merry Christmas John.
Here is a 5 Star review from a Customer regarding the Rockford Fosgate DR1.
"A Great Solution for Harley"
"I have a 2016 Streetglide, and needed away to run my after market amp and speakers and This DSR1 is the best product out!
It does what it supposed to.
After the shop tuned my DSR1 the bike sounds amazing!!
You no longer have to have the motorcycle flashed by a Harley dealer.
My hats off the Rockford fosgate for this DSR1 product!"
(I know it's not a Roadglide)
I hope this helps.
Mike U.

753 Posts
Welcome to the audio unicorn hunt. Before we even try to answer your questions, you need to define a budget and if you're just upgrading the fairing or adding additional speakers. The amount of $$ available will determine what exactly you can achieve. I'm no expert but I enjoy playing around with audio and perhaps the best advice I can give is buy once, cry once. A lot of guys come on here looking for the budget solution and by the time they are finally satisfied they have spent hundreds if not thousands more than they needed to it they would have just went high end to begin with.

I'll try to clear a few things up for you, but first please confirm what head unit you have and are going to use. You call your bike a "standard" but also mention "harmon kardon" and "flashing an aftermarket radio". Do you have the stock 4.3" radio and are you going to keep it or not?

Here's some general info on line converters/line levelers, DSR1, and flashes that you asked here and in other posts. It gets much more detailed, but this should get you pointed in the right direction: The stock HD radio is pre-programmed with various EQ curves to try to make the junk boom audio speakers and amps sound decent. Depending on what configuration you have (stock, boom 1, boom 2, 4/6/8 speakers etc) your radio will be programmed with the proper flash for that configuration. As part of that flash, the EQ curves will boost or dampen various frequencies to try to make the underperforming amps and speakers sound better. That's fine for guys with stock systems, but once you add an aftermarket amp and speakers it causes big problems. All an amp does is take the stock input signal and magnify it and crap in = crap out. In order for an aftermarket amp and speakers to reach their potential you need to flatten the signal coming from the stock HD radio - enter the world of line levelers, flashes and DSP.

Line leveler - the line leveler sold by biketronics provides 2 functions. It reduces the high level voltage output from the stock radio to a low level signal that allows use of RCAs for input to an amp (this part of the functionality is similar to a line out converter). In addition to lowering the voltage, it also tries to flatten the EQ curves I discussed above. It doesn't totally flatten them, but it gets them flat enough that most guys can get good sound and make the most of aftermarket amps/speakers.

Flash - having the radio flashed changes the output signal of the radio to a curve that is relatively flat all things considered. The 2 most common flashes used with aftermarket amps are 0 amps/4 speakers and 2 amps/8 speakers. Some guys that have installed the RF flash say it works really well, others have said it just doesn't cut it. Far and away, the most common approach for guys without a high end complicated system is a combination of the biketronics line leveler and one of the flashes I mentioned. Some sound shops swear that the stock CVO flash is great by itself with an aftermarket system. I tried it on my CVO and can tell you it was junk and sounded like crap. I run a line leveler and 0/4.

DSP - the DSR1 is a digital sound processor. DSPs allow you to totally customize the signal coming from the radio. In the right hands it can be used to totally flatten the stereo signal and then acts as an EQ to allow you to customize the sound based on your exact components and what your ears like. Some are easy to use, some are not. They work very well in the right hands, but are typically used by guys with high end systems and 6/8 speakers that really want to get every last ounce of sound out of their system. They are a powerful tool, but can also screw up the sound if you don't know what you're doing.

Lastly I'll say a word about kits - don't sweat the plug and play hype. No matter what you install you will have to pull the fairing and gas tank to run power/ground for your amp. If you can handle that you can handle any typical audio install. Amp tuning is not hard, just watch some videos and do some homework and it's easy. I try to order as much of my stuff from one vendor as possible and I avoid fleabay and amazon for audio stuff. I'll spend a few more bucks with a shop like biketronics because I know they will support everything before and after the sale and they will send me every connector needed to tie together stock radio, amp and speakers. Never ever hack a stock harness, there are plenty of resources for stock connectors, you just have to chase them down.

Remember - buy once cry once. Shoot me a PM if you want to discuss in more detail.
112 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
WOW!...That was awesome, thank you all
and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you ALL!

Thank you Mike U
Thank you Buzzy
Thank you roadie13

You guys have helped me out so much!
roadie , what more can I say!!
You are simply put, Awesome!!!...just Awesome

Just a quick FYI. and sorry for the confusion cause now I see what you are asking!...Yes I do have the 4.3 and I was going to keep the original stock head unit that came with my bike. I also have the 'stock' infotainment system (I do not have the BOOM). When I meant aftermarket audio upgrade, what I should have said and I apologize for the confusion is that I would keep the stock 4.3 head unit and add an 'aftermarket' kit.

What I mean by an 'aftermarket' kit would be: amplifier (such as for example, a diamond audio amp , or the Rockford Fosgate 4-channel 400+ watt amplifier) with a set of 6.5' inch fairings (ARC Audio, MMats, RF coaxials, etc..) and eventually down the line add another set of lids 6x9's with a horn (tweeter), undecided yet on the lids and eventually down the road because adding lids would be way out of my budget for now!

So as far now, just a pair of 6.5' aftermarket speakers on the fairings with an aftermarket amp.
That'll probably be it for now.
The question I'd ask you would be would I still need a line leveler, or converter, or signal processor?

The real reason why I mention 'flashing', since you flash your radio when u install an aftermarket kit and say it costs $100, for example, for your radio to be flashed by bringing it to the dealer?

What if down the road 1 day, u need to service your bike and there's something electrical that needs to be done to it, so u bring it to the harley dealer and they fix it. But in order for them to fix it, they would need to wipe out the electrical memory of your bike's ECM in order for them to fix it. and so what if during the process, as they were servicing your bike, as part of there service, they wipe out the flashing of your bike also, and thus returning the bikes OEM signal back and in return you losing the flashing upgrade you paid $100 for.

The reason why I mentioned, converters, line levelers and the RF DSR1 is I heard that there are some electronic audio adapter components on the market now that can eliminate the risk of you losing your bikes 'flashing' upgrade which will prevent you losing that signal every time its brought in to be serviced, preventing you to spend $100 every time you need to get your bike re-flashed over and over again!

Lets suppose something electrical goes wrong again on your bike, and it needs to be re-serviced again. So you bring it into Harley and in order for them to fix it, they put it on one of there electrical machines and as part of the service , they need to wipe out the bikes ECM again, which in turn loses the bikes signal again. I'm going to have to spend an additional $100 to have that signal match my bikes upgraded aftermarket upgrade again.

I don't feel like spending $100 every time something goes wrong with my bike. Because now my bike turns into a money pit, so I'm trying to avoid that by buying a Rockford Fosgate DSR1, or a line-converter or etc...

Does that make sense?

753 Posts
Don't sweat losing the flash with an ECM/BCM problem. Any dealer that won't return it to it's original state shouldn't be working on your bike anyway. When you go in for service just let them know not to touch the radio flash or to contact you first if something they run into requires it.

So let's back this up a few steps and keep it simple: Is $1200 max acceptable for a front fairing only upgrade that will be loud as all get out, sound great, and be clear at 75+ mph? If that's too high, what's your top number?
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