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System sounds tinny with loud dash speakers after speaker and head unit upgrade.

5434 Views 13 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Kschill24
I have a base system with 6 speakers. Here’s what I’ve done:

Head unit – JVC arsenal 22wx4 rms

Dash speakers- kicker 3.50 2 way 50w rms

Doors -Pioneer 6x9 3 way 50 watt RMS

Rear speakers- Pioneer 2 way 40 watts rms

Small sub under rear seat.

The system is very tinny no matter how I adjust the EQ. Dash speakers are really loud, and the 6x9s are really unimpressive....can barely hear them. The speakers all work, and I am relatively certain are in phase. From what I understand the stock front speakers are wired in series. The harness from my deck has a lead for each speaker. I am wondering if this is my problem?

Has anyone else noticed this issue? I am considering getting a small amp for the 6x9’s and running RCA inputs back to the head unit.
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Before going any further, you said "The harness from my deck has a lead for each speaker" - you sure about that? You just said you have 7 speakers, but your head unit is most likely 4-channels.
Yes, with the OEM speaker wiring, the door and dash are wired in parallel (not series). So by swapping the dash and front door speakers without changing the wiring, you're effectively running both pairs of front speakers at 2-ohms each. On top of that, the 3.5's are less resistance compared to 6x9's, they're getting the bulk of the power, which can explain why your audio sounds as you described. Try disconnecting the dash speakers, and your 6x9's will sound much better... then you can use the HU's crossover points to balance out the door speakers and the sub (if your HU has a crossover function).

At this point you're probably thinking "what do i do with the dash speakers now?" and I hate to say it but the truth is you can't do much with what you currently have. To get the most out of the 4 front speaker locations, you either have to run a true 2-way component setup (tweeters in the dash, midrange in the door with a crossover, dedicated wiring from crossover outputs) or run separate amplification to all 4 front locations with level adjusting and the correct level/crossover settings. Alternatively, you could ditch the rear speakers (sound is supposed to come from in front of you anyways), connect the 3.5" dash speakers to channel 1/2 and the 6x9" speakers to channel 3/4, and then use the HU's fader, tone, and crossover (if available) to get the right tune.
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Thanks for your help! I do have tone, fade, and cross over controls in the deck. I'd ditch the dash speakers but I am a little worried about what my phone calls would sound like. Do you think that fear is founded?
Usually aftermarket HU's with Bluetooth phone function outputs the voice to the front-left or front-both channels. Remember, the factory audio wiring up front has both dash and door speakers on one channel, so if you ditch the dash speakers altogether you'll still hear BT voice during a call, it'll just come from the doors.

If I disconnect the rear speakers and run those wires to the 6x9......I am guessing the easiest place to make that happen would be the kick panel on each side? My only concern with that plan is the rear speakers are not all that loud either. Could just be placement tho.
Since you'd have to run extra speaker wires no matter what, I would go from HU rear output straight to the front doors, and just leave the rear wiring alone.

My other thought was just to pick up a small amp and run the 6x9's separately. Do you see any issues with that......Other than more wiring?
No issues, you could run the separate amp from the HU's line-out to get a signal for the 6x9's (assuming your HU has line-out).

FYI just to be clear - my suggestion to use all 4 HU channels just to run the 4 front speakers, I wouldn't do myself. But it's a suggestion that can be done using existing equipment, and some forum members have done it, and it works for what it is.
I know this is an old thread, but I just finished removing my front dash tweeters.

Last winter I installed new speakers, kicker 6x9s and 6"3/4s, into my king cab fronty that already had a pioneer head unit.
It sounded great but it vibrated the crap out of the doors at loud volumes so I decided to add an 8" JBL powered sub that would carry the bulk of the lows, which worked fantastically.

Even before the sub, when I first installed the speakers, you could tell that the tweeters in the front were playing too loud. I tried to play with the settings and got it as close as I could. When I installed the sub, I think it balanced a little better, and I think the speakers equaled out more now that they weren't pushing the bass, but in some songs, compared to other sound systems, the mids did not hit as hard.

After reading this thread I tried messing around with the tweeters and the EQ to see if removing them would make any difference. After about an hour of plugging and unplugging while comparing with all different types of music, country, rap, metal, and of course some classical, I made the decision to disconnect them. The more I listened, the more I liked it. I could now blast the music a couple notches higher without my ears bleeding and I ended up setting the bass a little lower to match the new high/mid levels. I probably haven't listened to it long enough to say that the levels are balanced but it definitely stopped my door speakers from being outplayed. And I think it got rid of some obscurities in the highs that the OEM tweeters were putting out. I wouldn't say I'm an audiophile, I just like to enjoy good music. Let me know if you have any further advice or if I should do something different.

Thanks guys,

Sooo... just curious, when you said "I tried to play with the settings and got it as close as I could" what 'settings' are you talking about that isn't the head unit's built-in EQ?
Well I was probably referring mostly to the head unit's EQ, but I guess there are a couple other settings that could help. Just so you know my EQ is different than standard, in other cars I've driven the EQ consists of only bass, mid, and treble, but in my frontier is has like 10 or 12 notches correlating with wave frequency.
Bass boost - Just a general boost, less specific to a particular range like the EQ is. Before my sub you couldn't here the bass without it on +2 or +3
cross over - I use it now with my sub woofer so that the doors don't have to play the lows as loud. Now that I think of it maybe you could use it to dial down the highs on the front speakers?
There are a lot more setting that still look foreign to me so maybe I'm missing something else, I just discovered how to program the time alignment yesterday.

Pioneer AVH-X491BHS
"Bass, mid, treble" are general "tone" controls, not EQ. EQ is specific to frequencies.

Be aware that no matter what you do to EQ/tone in your head unit, if you used the stock speaker wiring (meaning the stock speaker wiring scheme) then your adjustments will affect the front door and dash speakers equally. In order to truly dial in the front stage on our trucks, you need to be able to control the dash speaker separate from the front door speaker... which will never happen with stock speaker wiring.

Time alignment, crossover, same thing as above - with the stock speaker wire configuration any setting you change affects both the dash and front door speaker identically. (there is a way to reconfigure the install to gain separate control but you'll need extra speaker wire and you have to give up the rear speakers to do it)

So the reason why the sound was "ear bleeding" was simply because you had two sources for highs and some higher mids on each side up front (the tweeters in the dash speaker and the tweeters in the door speaker) running the same power. Disconnecting the dash speakers meant 1 source for highs... albeit down where your ankles are, instead of high and center like where the sound stage should be. Ideally you'd want to do the opposite - at minimum use the dash location for highs, and disable the door tweeters instead.

Unless your ears are at your ankles. Which means you're an alien. :D
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@raine If I installed 8 ohm tweeters would more power go to my door speakers?
And IF I were to reroute their power, is it possible to tap into the speaker wire and use some other little separate amplifier to drive them? Kind of like an iddy-biddy sub and amp setup?
Nope - doesn't work that way.
If you were to put 8-ohm speakers in the dash and kept your 4-ohm speakers in the front doors, then your front left and front right channel will "see" about 2.6-ohms. Again, this is because the dash and front door speakers are wired in parallel. Your front left dash and door speaker shares 1 channel (FRONT-LEFT) and likewise with the front right side so changing the impedance on one speaker affects the other. The problem here is that from what the manual says, your head unit is not rated to operate normally at below 4-ohms per channel.

The only real solution is to separate the dash speaker wiring from the front door speaker wiring - the easiest way to do this is to just run a new pair of speaker wires to the dash locations, and leave the OEM wiring connected to just the front door speakers. However - this means you'll have 6 main channels now:

1. Front Left, Dash
2. Front Right, Dash
3. Front Left, Door
4. Front right, Door
6. Rear Left, Door
7. Rear Right, Door

So yes, if you're using the head units built-in 4-channel amp... then you're short 2 channels. But you're on the right track with your "maybe add a small amp" idea. In fact, if you're open to it (and spending a little more $) I have a few possible solutions.
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