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Best sound quality? HELP!!

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Best sound quality? HELP!!

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I have recently bought and installed a Kenwood KDC-X596, Polk Audio db461p (dash), and Polk Audio db651 (rear deck). I'm trying to figure out what I can do to get the best sound quality out of my system so far. I don't have any amps, but I will eventually get one/two when I get more cash. I can set the volume to 30 (volume offset is -8), bass level +3, mid level +1, treble level +2, but if I go over that, it starts to get distorted. The volume goes up to 35, offset goes from 0 to -8, bass/mid/treble levels go -15 to 15. I don't have bass boost or loudness set any higher than 'off'.

I was looking into the EQ settings of the head unit and have found some things I'm not to sure about. It has a 'EQ Pro' setting where I can change different settings for bass, mid, and treble..

Bass: Bass Level, Bass Extend, Bass Center Frequency, and Bass Q Factor

Mid: Mid Level, Mid Center Frequency, Mid Q Factor

Treble: Treble Level, Treble Center Frequency

What does all of this mean? Where do I start adjusting things?

Should I buy some bass blockers? If so, which ones should I get? I like to listen to my music loud and clear with the bass powerful enough that when I hear a bass drum, it feels like I'm getting kicked in the back of my seat. I used to have this feeling with the stock system, but now I can't seem to recreate this.

If you need any more info from me, let me know. I'll be glad to add as much info as needed.

1992 Chevy Lumina Euro 2-dr Coupe, Kenwood KDC-X596, Polk Audio db461p (dash), db651 (rear deck), db1222 subs (not installed)

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150681137401334.389826.524471333&type=3&l=35ed826c1a
Verified Answer
  • Your Polk speakers are very good speakers. The biggest problem I see is they are underpowered. Adding to that is the small amp in the headunit is being overdriven in an attempt to get the sound you want. Most heads without other amplification will start distorting around 3/4's volume, which would be 27 in your case. If you can go to 30, that's a good thang. Your small front speakers are probably distorting first because they cannot handle bass much under what i would consider mid-bass to midrange. The little woofers just won't do it. You should set the highpass filter in the head audio settings to around 100 hz. You will need to live with not having low bass until you get a sub system. Your Polk speakers need a 50 watts RMS X 4 channel amp to begin to sound at their best performance. They will be 'punchier' with the power, but the small front speakers will still not handle anything under 150 hz well. Your head outputs ~22 watts RMS X 4, which is not near enough power for those Polks. 300 hz bassblockers on the front speakers will help alot. Also make sure you have very good clean unbroken 18-16 gauge speaker wire runs direct from the headunit to each speaker. This will help alot. Your stock speaker wiring in your car is very old. Sounds smart I know ... If your stock system was that good, why did you change it ?

    Speaker Settings: The Speaker Setting function tailors the System Q Sound Control settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a Speaker Setting of 'SP-Off' (flat/off), 'SP-OEM' (for OEM factory speaker systems), 'SP-6x9/6' (for systems with 6" and 6"x9" speakers), or 'SP-5/4' (for systems with 4" and 5" speakers).

    Try setting the above to 'SP-5/4'.

    Preset EQ: Eight EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. Each preset has its own level settings for bass (100Hz), midrange (1kHz), and treble (12.5kHz). You can choose from the following preset EQ curves - Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Natural, Game, and User.

    Have you tried any of the above presets ?

    EQ Pro: The Excelon KDC-X596 features independent Bass, Treble, and Midrange control when the Preset EQ is in User mode. EQ Pro allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid frequency levels.

    EQ Pro
    Center Frequency Q-Factor Bass Extension Level
    Bass 60, 80, 100, or 200 Hz 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, or 2.00 On/Off -8 to +8
    Midrange 0.5k, 1.0k, 1.5k, or 2.5k Hz 0.75, 1.00, or 1.25 N/A
    Treble 10.0k, 12.5k, 15.0k, or17.5k Hz N/A N/A

     

    If you use the 'user' setting and the EQ Pro, you are going to have to just play with it. I sure wouldn't use anything less than 100 hz in the bass setting, and would probably have the bass level at '0' or less. Again, your little front speakers just can't do it.

    Yes, definitely bass boost and loudness OFF.

    Front & Rear High-Pass Filter: The KDC-X596 features an independent High-Pass Crossover for the front & rear channels when your front & rear speakers are connected by the unit's speaker-outputs or preamp-outputs. You can adjust the high-pass crossover from "Through", 100, 120, or 150 Hz. The "Through" selection is a full-range setting. This feature is very helpful when you have smaller-type speakers in the front and larger-type speakers installed in the rear of the vehicle.

    Activate the above and try it on 100 hz.

    If you had a 4 channel amp for the speakers, most have settings onboard that allow you to highpass the front and rear speakers seperately where you could have the fronts highpassed at maybe 300 hz and the rears at maybe 150 hz.

    If you get the 300 or 600 hz bassblockers for the front speakers, maybe you can get more bass into the rears.

    You really are going to have to live without real low bass until you get a sub system. Sorry.

    GLH Geeked

  • bandball50
    With the bass blockers, should I grab the 300hz or 600hz?

    I recommend getting the 600 Hz  bass blockers for the 4" x 6" speakers. They will be fine with the Polk speakers even when it comes time for an amp. As for the bigger set, I only recommend getting the 150 Hz bass blockers if you will be installing a subwoofer.

     http://www.crutchfield.com/bio/Paul

All Replies
  • Your Polk speakers are very good speakers. The biggest problem I see is they are underpowered. Adding to that is the small amp in the headunit is being overdriven in an attempt to get the sound you want. Most heads without other amplification will start distorting around 3/4's volume, which would be 27 in your case. If you can go to 30, that's a good thang. Your small front speakers are probably distorting first because they cannot handle bass much under what i would consider mid-bass to midrange. The little woofers just won't do it. You should set the highpass filter in the head audio settings to around 100 hz. You will need to live with not having low bass until you get a sub system. Your Polk speakers need a 50 watts RMS X 4 channel amp to begin to sound at their best performance. They will be 'punchier' with the power, but the small front speakers will still not handle anything under 150 hz well. Your head outputs ~22 watts RMS X 4, which is not near enough power for those Polks. 300 hz bassblockers on the front speakers will help alot. Also make sure you have very good clean unbroken 18-16 gauge speaker wire runs direct from the headunit to each speaker. This will help alot. Your stock speaker wiring in your car is very old. Sounds smart I know ... If your stock system was that good, why did you change it ?

    Speaker Settings: The Speaker Setting function tailors the System Q Sound Control settings according to the type of speakers in your vehicle. You may select a Speaker Setting of 'SP-Off' (flat/off), 'SP-OEM' (for OEM factory speaker systems), 'SP-6x9/6' (for systems with 6" and 6"x9" speakers), or 'SP-5/4' (for systems with 4" and 5" speakers).

    Try setting the above to 'SP-5/4'.

    Preset EQ: Eight EQ curves are preset into memory, allowing you to recall the best preset EQ curve for different types of music. Each preset has its own level settings for bass (100Hz), midrange (1kHz), and treble (12.5kHz). You can choose from the following preset EQ curves - Rock, Pops, Easy, Top 40, Jazz, Natural, Game, and User.

    Have you tried any of the above presets ?

    EQ Pro: The Excelon KDC-X596 features independent Bass, Treble, and Midrange control when the Preset EQ is in User mode. EQ Pro allows you to adjust the following settings for the Bass, Treble and Mid frequency levels.

    EQ Pro
    Center Frequency Q-Factor Bass Extension Level
    Bass 60, 80, 100, or 200 Hz 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, or 2.00 On/Off -8 to +8
    Midrange 0.5k, 1.0k, 1.5k, or 2.5k Hz 0.75, 1.00, or 1.25 N/A
    Treble 10.0k, 12.5k, 15.0k, or17.5k Hz N/A N/A

     

    If you use the 'user' setting and the EQ Pro, you are going to have to just play with it. I sure wouldn't use anything less than 100 hz in the bass setting, and would probably have the bass level at '0' or less. Again, your little front speakers just can't do it.

    Yes, definitely bass boost and loudness OFF.

    Front & Rear High-Pass Filter: The KDC-X596 features an independent High-Pass Crossover for the front & rear channels when your front & rear speakers are connected by the unit's speaker-outputs or preamp-outputs. You can adjust the high-pass crossover from "Through", 100, 120, or 150 Hz. The "Through" selection is a full-range setting. This feature is very helpful when you have smaller-type speakers in the front and larger-type speakers installed in the rear of the vehicle.

    Activate the above and try it on 100 hz.

    If you had a 4 channel amp for the speakers, most have settings onboard that allow you to highpass the front and rear speakers seperately where you could have the fronts highpassed at maybe 300 hz and the rears at maybe 150 hz.

    If you get the 300 or 600 hz bassblockers for the front speakers, maybe you can get more bass into the rears.

    You really are going to have to live without real low bass until you get a sub system. Sorry.

    GLH Geeked

  • ****! Either someone knows their stuff, or you did a lot of research! I knew the head unit was going to be underpowering the speakers a little but, that's why I play my music loud to compensate. Having a minimal wage job and bills is are to buy all my stereo stuff at once while trying to buy other things I want haha. I'll eventually get either 4- or 5-channel amp that has 50RMS for the front and rear speakers. With the bass blockers, should I grab the 300hz or 600hz? And I don't think I have a System Q Sound Setting like you are describing. I'm using the factory wiring in my car since crutchfield said it would hold up to 50 RMS, but I'll replace all the wire when I buy an amp (since I'll have to run RCA cable and a power cable).

    I bought new stuff because I eventually want to have a system that is loud and clear to enjoy my music on car trips. The stock system wasn't clean, just loud and punchy, aka sounded like it was taking a $%#& inside my car. Thanks for all the info so far.

    1992 Chevy Lumina Euro 2-dr Coupe, Kenwood KDC-X596, Polk Audio db461p (dash), db651 (rear deck), db1222 subs (not installed)

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150681137401334.389826.524471333&type=3&l=35ed826c1a
  • All the system eq info I got from the instruction manual of your Kenwood KDC-X596.

    GLH Geeked

  • bandball50
    Either someone knows their stuff, or you did a lot of research

    Yes, I do know some stuff, and I did minimal amount of research.

    GLH Geeked

  • bandball50
    With the bass blockers, should I grab the 300hz or 600hz?

    I recommend getting the 600 Hz  bass blockers for the 4" x 6" speakers. They will be fine with the Polk speakers even when it comes time for an amp. As for the bigger set, I only recommend getting the 150 Hz bass blockers if you will be installing a subwoofer.

     http://www.crutchfield.com/bio/Paul