View Full Version : Awful sound?!?!?

12-28-2013, 04:38 AM
I currently have some Infinity Reference 5.25" in the front doors of my '88 CRX. I have a Directed 250 powering them. And I also have a JVC head, cheap EQ, and an Infinity crossover in the mix. Along with another amp for the subs. (I'll worry about those later)

I've been through many different setups in this car, and my previous '90 CRX. Both starting with the HU and the speakers, (doors and rears). I couldn't get rid of the crappy sound quality. I added a crossover, an amp and a sub. (mids and highs still of the HU) Then messed with the HU settings, then added an EQ. Then I messed with the EQ settings, and HU EQ (both separate and together) and played with the frequencies and levels on the crossover. Then amped the mids and highs. And tried messing with all of the settings again, but same crappy sound.

I've gone through at least 5 different HUs, and maybe more sets of speakers. I've tried different amps, and basically, the crappy sound just gets louder.

The only thing that I haven't done is kick panels. I can't go with them because it's a stick, and I have size 12 feet that barely even fit down there on their own!

What I'm talking about is there is an ugly midrange, no highs (or too high), and the lows are muddy and distort.

I've tried many songs ripped from the CDs in bitrates of 128, 320 and straight of the CDs.
I'm not enough of an audiophile to tell the difference between these, so I'm under the impression that the song isn't the problem. Yes, some songs sound better than others, and I want to change the settings from song to song, but I try not to.

I've opened the doors so I have a more direct point of view from the speakers, and still, crappy sound. I don't think that positioning would help. And I also have sealed up the doors completely. All holes sealed and sealed the speaker to the plastic baffles. At first, I just set the speakers in the baffles because I didn't want to cut them, but finally I cut out the rear.

I had 6.5"s in the rear, (I've tried many sets) they too sounded pretty bad. I could never get them balanced to the fronts. The rears have too much bass and the fronts have none. So I cut out the rears. Later, if I can get the fronts sounding good, I'll hook the rears up to the head, and figure out how to make them sound good.

I added the EQ because I thought that would help. What happens is the highs really bring out the static now. So I'm thinking of removing it. My HU has a single output, so I need either the EQ or the crossover to split the single output between my highs and lows.

I've had all of these components in other cars, (one was my wife's '94 Civic) and they sound WAY better! This is why I'm so stumped. I can't figure this one out.

Anybody have any opinions? I can answer any questions that need to be answered.

12-28-2013, 04:52 AM
easy answer would be vehicle accoustics. You need to treat and deaden your front doors create a proper seal and adjust your gains properly so that the rears never overpower the front stage.

Also what model headunits have you gone through and what speakers/amps have you tried? Hows your voltages looking?

12-29-2013, 03:22 AM
Ok, I already sealed the doors. And I have also removed the rear speakers completely, as I have stated in my initial post. And I have adjusted the gains from minimal, to maximum. They never distort from volume, I can't turn them up to that point. The sound is so bad. Another thing, I don't have an oscilloscope, so I can't correctly set the gains, and when I try with the DVOM, my numbers just don't mach up. Like it's supposed to be 35v but I get 11v. (those aren't the correct numbers)

I have swapped out Blaupunkt, Sony, Dual, Another JVC, Some other off brand from Target that had an SD card and USB as well as others I can't even remember. Common sense tells me that the cheaper HU would have been the problem, but when I put them in other cars, ('73 Nova, '70 Hearse....) they didn't sound bad. A CRX is a small hatch back, but like I stated before, the same cheap equipment sounded great in my wife's Civic. Just a little bit bigger.

As for the speakers, I've had Lightning Audio, a couple of sets of Pioneer, a couple of sets of Kenwood, Focal, some Walmart Road Masters or something. The Lightning Audio are the ones I originally pulled from her Civic. They sounded great in her car just off the Sony HU. I put the Infinitys in her car, took her Lightnings, and then when I sold her car, took the Infinitys, and HU.

12-29-2013, 04:41 AM
I currently have some Infinity Reference 5.25" in the front doors of my '88 CRX.

That's gotta be the problem right there. ;) Mostly kidding. I can't stand the sound of the Infinity Kappa speakers. I don't know if they fixed some of the tinny-ness in the Reference series. Every Kappa setup I've heard has a lack of mid-bass and a huge bump in the high end harshness. It sounds like their tweeter is made out of a garbage can lid powered by dynamite.

It can also be the amount of equipment you have in your chain. When you start stacking EQ's and other processing equipment, the sound quality can degrade greatly. It is similar to guitar equipment, if you have ever played electric guitar.

Sealing the doors, using a solid baffle made of MDF, plywood, or fiberglass will also help with a fuller sound.

If you can't get it to sound good with the HU and amp alone, with maybe a -3DB cut on the harsh frequencies around 7Khz on up - it probably won't sound good with those speakers. If you've swapped HU's and amps, it has to be the SQ of the speakers in your particular install. If you have another set of speakers you can test, swap them in to see if SQ improves.

I have demo'd 100's of speakers through the years. Some of the best sets I have heard were only $60-80, compared to $500+ sets. I have a pair of $60 coax Orion's that I would put up against any $200+ components I have heard. I've even had some Polk Audio and Alpines that have surprised me. It's more about the actual model and speaker than the brand or published specs.

12-29-2013, 06:33 AM
That's another set I tried, Orions. I bought 2 pairs when they were on sale at Fry's for like $40 or something. Thank you for your opinion of Infinitys. I've heard that before. But "tinny" highs would be better than the muffled crap that I'm hearing. But I don't have the Kappas, I have the reference. I bought these because I had some 4x6 plates and 6x9s in an older Firebird, and they sounded really good. Warm highs, and good mids, even from the 4x6 plates. I was really impressed. And like I said before, the crappy sound doesn't change with the speaker.

Think of it this way. When you have a cold and your head is all stuffed up, and your son is driving his power wheels all over the house. That whining from the motor gets that annoying sound in your head, and then he hits the horn. That's like what I'm hearing. At lower volumes, it's not so bad, but then you can't hear the song.

And about stacking the components, I believe that's where my static is coming from. I'd like to try to make a common ground with a wire, but I want to get good sound first.

12-29-2013, 09:22 AM
good sounds come from a good ground and uninterrupted signal make sure your power and ground wires are ran separately away from RCAs. Could also be a horrible phasing issue with the speakers, try wiring one out of phase and see if there's a change.

Ahmed Johnson
12-29-2013, 11:05 AM
^^ THIS! After reading all your posts. I'm going to agree with Jeff. Either your grounds aren't good enough, or your rca's are picking up interference. You can run the rca's on the same side as power wire as long as they're shielded but I still wouldn't do it.

12-30-2013, 03:48 AM
Ok, I was messing with it today. Disconnected the EQ. Connected RCAs straight to the HU. Turned off the subs. Focused only on the fronts. Again, that god awful, midrange sound. Sort of like a paper cone, full range speaker. Took the cars panels all apart, just so I could make sure nothing was pinching a wire, or shorting. And yes, I do have the RCAs (shielded) on the driver side, making sure they're no where near any power wires, and power and remote on passenger side. I always do this.
Static and hissing completely gone! Problem one solved.
Speaker grills off, doors wide open. Direct line of sight. GOD AWFUL SOUND! Messed with the EQ on the HU. Messed with the crossover. Oh, and my HU does have two outputs. One for fronts, and one for rear/sub (changeable in the settings). Then went to see if the HP crossover was on on the amp. It was off. Everything's set up right. Then thought, "I've already tried switching the phasing, but before, it's always been on both front or rear speakers at the same time. Why not just do one?" BINGO!!!! Holy cow! The only component that I haven't changed in the whole entire system was the HU wiring adapter, and that's where I wired in the front speakers. I used the same one from the first CRX. Turns out the wiring is incorrect. Before I try hooking up the rear speakers, I'm gonna double check to make sure they're in phase.
Problem two, MAIN problem solved!
Amatures mistake. I've been chasing this problem for about 5 years! Sometimes the most minor things are over looked. I can't believe how amazing these things sound. I'm sure that there are better speakers, but now, WOW! There is a lot of midbass coming from these little (5.25") things. Way more than I expected. And the highs are so crisp and clear!! The tweeters have a button for a 3db boost. I didn't need that. Turned it off. I'll probably run the rears (6.5") off the HU just for fill.
Started car. Had been messing with the engine off this whole time. No more engine noise! Problem 3 solved! I guess the EQ was picking up some noise. I'll leave that out of the mix for now. If, and that is a big "IF" I get some time to play with it more, maybe I'll try hooking it up again. Or use it in another project.
Thank you everybody for helping.

12-30-2013, 04:30 AM
thats awesome! glad you got it sounding great! Most of the times its not equipment quality thats the problem its just small things that are often overlooked that gets ya lol.

12-31-2013, 03:28 AM
Ready for this?

Got into my car this morning to take my son to school. On the way back home, turned the music on. Once again, the crappy sound returned. Right away, such horrible sound. All the way to work I delt with the crappy sound.

Then, on the way home from work, almost home, the sound had a revival. I have no Idea what is going on. I guess my next venture is to start looking for some kind of grounding, or shorting.

I have no clue......

What really pissed me off is that it sounded sooooooo good.

For example, yesterday I was playing Thriftshop by Macklemore and even in the beginning, where he's saying "What What.... What...What What..." when it sounded good, that was so distinct and perfectly audible. Like he was right next to me saying it. Then today, you could barely hear it. And in Michael Jacksons Beat It, the high hats were so pronounced. And today, they were soooo muffled. And songs like Too Short's Gettin' It, and Biggie's Hypnotize the bass was so smooth and tight. Today it was so slow and sloppy. But out of the blue, Eminem came on tonight, and the highs really rang out, the words were so clear. I was trying to think of the differences between yesterday and today. I was thinking maybe the grills are blocking them. But then I looked and I can see the speaker through the grill. The only other thing I can think of is I was testing everything apart, and maybe when I put it back together, some of the wires got moved, and shorted? I'm gonna check for that next.

12-31-2013, 05:33 AM
Most likely a ground somewhere, also check your head unit wiring on my friend had a similar problem and it was due to that but his it sounded good and every time he turned the car a little bit hard it started sounding awful or sometimes lose the sound completely.