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  • Good Afternoon,

    I’m not sure if anyone has had the same problem I’m having but hopefully someone can help me if they have.

    I have a 2005 Silverado Crew cab with component speakers up front. The woofer and tweeter are close to each other on the bottom of the door (stock location). I have JL ZR 6.5 components (ran passive) being powered by an Arc Audio KS 300.4. The doors do have some dynamat and the head unit I have is a kenwood excelon DDX6904s.

    The issue I’m having is that the speakers sound muddy and the highs sound very faint. When it comes to the music, nothing has definition or distinction. For example the rolls on the drums of any song sound muffled like if you’re listening to them in the room next door through the wall.

    They did sound worse than what they do now, but I did change the battery and alternator in my truck, which helped but the JL ZRs do not sound how they’re supposed to, which is very bright and detailed. I do own the Focal ES 165 KX2 and Rainbow Germaniums that I have switched out and they all seem to have the same problem. The ZRs are still very new because I bought them and took them out since they were too bright for my liking, but I put them back in to see if they sounded like they used to, which they don’t, and now I believe the problem is somewhere else and not the speakers.

    I did have a basic Kenwood DPX300U before the excelon, and the speakers sounded a little more full and alive but now they don’t. Could the issue be with the head unit? Or is there somewhere I’m not looking? I have checked the polarity, I even bought new power cables, ground cables fuses and fuse holders for the amps but it seems as if nothing has solved the issue.

    Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you gentlemen.
 

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Possible you might have a routing issue like feeding them a band passed signal from the HU? Those Kenwoods have a lot of sound shaping functions that you can easily get lost in.. having something on without realizing you've done it.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
 

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It almost sounds like the tweeters aren't playing. If after working through the head unit settings you still don't have the issue resolved you may need to pull the door panels and actually inspect the speakers, or at least the crossovers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Possible you might have a routing issue like feeding them a band passed signal from the HU? Those Kenwoods have a lot of sound shaping functions that you can easily get lost in.. having something on without realizing you've done it.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
Possible you might have a routing issue like feeding them a band passed signal from the HU? Those Kenwoods have a lot of sound shaping functions that you can easily get lost in.. having something on without realizing you've done it.

Man & Machine... Power Extreme!
I did forget to mention that i am running these bi-wired (I think that’s the proper term). I have each channel feeding from the amp to the tweeters and woofers through the passive crossover. I have checked the settings on the head unit and everything is off. The HPF are on of course, but makes me wonder what should they be set for the channels that are feeding into the tweeters.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It almost sounds like the tweeters aren't playing. If after working through the head unit settings you still don't have the issue resolved you may need to pull the door panels and actually inspect the speakers, or at least the crossovers.
The tweeters are playing but not clear like they’re supposed to. I’ve taken off the door panels and checked the connections, I’ve inspected the crossovers also since I have them underneath my back seat. I’ve changed the settings on them but still haven’t had much luck. I’m tempted in just getting another head unit to see if it makes a difference but not sure if that’s the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What about the crossovers on the amp? They have a push for x1 or x10 on frequency range and a switch from Low Pass/High Pass/Full
I have checked the settings on the amp and made sure they’re on HPF and stereo and that they’re on X1 and not X10. So I just have to keep looking to see if the issue is somewhere else.
 

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I can almost guarantee this is due to a setting on your amp/HU/Xovers. Let's simplify this...

On your head unit, you have (3) sets of preamp outputs. Front, Rear and SUB. If your KS300.4 amplifier is only being used for powering these components, then do this:

1. Defeat any crossovers or set to off/Full on amp and the same in the head unit. If you believe you already did, check again. Don't engage any crossover in the HU or amplifier.
You have passive crossovers, you don't need to engage crossovers on the HU or amp at this point. Amp crossover switches should be set to "FULL".

2. Bridge the amplifier, do not bi-wire. On your KS300.4, set the mode switch for Front to "bridged" and set the mode switch for Rear to "bridged".

3. RCA connection...Make sure the FRONT L rca from the Kenwood is connected to Front L on the amp. Make sure the FRONT R rca from the Kenwood is connected to the Front R on the amp. You do not need to connect the REAR or SUB rca outputs from the head unit to this amplifier.

4. Speaker wire connections to the amplifier...The JL crossover module for the LEFT door speakers should be connected to REAR bridged +/- output from the amplifier. The JL crossover module for the RIGHT door speakers should be connected to the FRONT bridged +/- output from the amplifier.

5. JL Crossover module settings. On both crossover modules, make sure the internal jumpers are set for "STANDARD" mode. In this mode, you will have one set of speaker wires from the amplifier connected to the crossover module. This is all you need.

Now see what you get. If it is still muffled, then check your head unit for any other engaged settings like seat position, EQ, etc. But this should get you playing full range.
 

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If one unplugs the RCAs feed into the amp, it is possible to use ear buds to listen to what the amp is being presented with.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can almost guarantee this is due to a setting on your amp/HU/Xovers. Let's simplify this...

On your head unit, you have (3) sets of preamp outputs. Front, Rear and SUB. If your KS300.4 amplifier is only being used for powering these components, then do this:

1. Defeat any crossovers or set to off/Full on amp and the same in the head unit. If you believe you already did, check again. Don't engage any crossover in the HU or amplifier.
You have passive crossovers, you don't need to engage crossovers on the HU or amp at this point. Amp crossover switches should be set to "FULL".

2. Bridge the amplifier, do not bi-wire. On your KS300.4, set the mode switch for Front to "bridged" and set the mode switch for Rear to "bridged".

3. RCA connection...Make sure the FRONT L rca from the Kenwood is connected to Front L on the amp. Make sure the FRONT R rca from the Kenwood is connected to the Front R on the amp. You do not need to connect the REAR or SUB rca outputs from the head unit to this amplifier.

4. Speaker wire connections to the amplifier...The JL crossover module for the LEFT door speakers should be connected to REAR bridged +/- output from the amplifier. The JL crossover module for the RIGHT door speakers should be connected to the FRONT bridged +/- output from the amplifier.

5. JL Crossover module settings. On both crossover modules, make sure the internal jumpers are set for "STANDARD" mode. In this mode, you will have one set of speaker wires from the amplifier connected to the crossover module. This is all you need.

Now see what you get. If it is still muffled, then check your head unit for any other engaged settings like seat position, EQ, etc. But this should get you playing full range.
Brother thank you so much for your help. As we spoke before I tried this and the sound did not improved but then I also tried with my music source directly into the amp, and it was a night and day difference. So this Leads me to believe that it is my head unit that is causing the faulty sound. I do appreciate your help a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If one unplugs the RCAs feed into the amp, it is possible to use ear buds to listen to what the amp is being presented with.
Not sure how to go about this but I did plug my music source directly into the amp which played crystal clear music.
 

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Not sure how to go about this but I did plug my music source directly into the amp which played crystal clear music.
You have done something in the middle, which tells you which half of the system contains the problem.
So Capt obvious was right,
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You have done something in the middle, which tells you which half of the system contains the problem.
So Capt obvious was right,
Yeah, so I’m thinking of trying a new head unit like pioneer. If everything works how it’s supposed to, then hopefully I leave everything alone and try to enjoy my system which has been a problem for the past three years. Doesn’t help that I don’t know much but am learning from problem to problem........
 

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Sweet, so you are close to finding the issue! It is in the settings of the head unit. I don't think you have a "bad" head unit, rather that it needs some setting(s) corrected. My guess would be that it is in the crossover section. It seems like you have a LPF (Low Pass Filter) set on the rcas that supply the amp. I would start by verifying that.
 

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Yeah, so I’m thinking of trying a new head unit like pioneer. If everything works how it’s supposed to, then hopefully I leave everything alone and try to enjoy my system which has been a problem for the past three years. Doesn’t help that I don’t know much but am learning from problem to problem........
If the head unit has RCAs I would ear buds on and have a listen.
Then you'll know more...
 

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Here are your next steps to get the settings right on your Kenwood DDX6904S:

1. Let's start by clearing the current audio settings in the memory. From the home screen of the unit, select "SETUP". Then, select "Special". In this menu you can adjust settings for the memory. Next, select "Audio SETUP Clear". This will clear the current audio settings from the memory so it is default.

2. Now that audio settings are clear, go back to the home screen and let's select "Audio". There are several areas we want to make sure are correct here.
2(a): Select "Speaker/Xover". (There are some other settings for speaker type for each location of front,rear,subwoofer. Just set the front and rear to Large or whatever the biggest speaker size option is). Next, click on "Xover" and then click on "Front".
Set the "High Pass" to the lowest value it will allow or preferably off if available- then set the "Slope" to the lowest value available (usually -6db) or preferably off.
Set the "Low Pass" to the highest value it will allow or preferably off and then set the slope to the lowest value available (usually -6db) or preferably off if available.
If you are using the REAR rca outputs for an amplifier for rear speakers, then repeat this 2(a) process for the "Rear" speakers as well.

3. Now let's take a listen to the system and see if the top end is back like it should be. If so, continue with the following steps.

4. From home screen, select "Audio", then "Fader/Balance". Make sure that Balance and Fader are both set to "center".

5. From home screen, select "Audio", then "Equalizer". This should show a flat EQ curve since we reset the audio settings. If it does not, then select the "Initialize" setting from this screen and it should set the bands to flat.

6. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Zone Control", then "Zone Select", then "Single Zone".

7. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Sound Effect". ALL of the items in this menu should be set to "OFF" for now. If they are not, make sure you set them to OFF.

8. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Position/DTA", then select "Front L". This sets your listening seat position and allows you to do some time alignment.
8(a) Press "Adjust", then press "Delay". This allows you to adjust the distances for time alignment. Get out your tape measure and measure the distance from your drivers seat headrest to the left door speakers and input that number into the "Front L" distance (It shows Feet and milliseconds. Just go by the feet distance as close as you can get it). Now measure the distances for the right door speakers and to the subwoofer (if you have one) and input those in this screen as well. Finally, you can also make slight adjustments to the "gain" (you'll see it in the lower right of the screen) for each of these. You would do this (for example) if the output level of the left door was higher than the right, or to raise/lower the gain of the subwoofer, etc.



This process should get you where you want to be. From this point, you would use the EQ in the head unit for some adjustment to the necessary bands to get the desired sound.


Let me know how it goes!

-Steve
 
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Sweet, so you are close to finding the issue! It is in the settings of the head unit. I don't think you have a "bad" head unit, rather that it needs some setting(s) corrected. My guess would be that it is in the crossover section. It seems like you have a LPF (Low Pass Filter) set on the rcas that supply the amp. I would start by verifying that.
When I unplugged the RCAs (the first time to connect the phone directly into the amp) then reconnected them, everything started to sound a little bit more clear but it went back to the bad unclear sound. I did reset the head unit, but it still has the bad sound. So it seems like it’s ok one moment then bad the rest of the time. I have yet to use ear buds to tell what it’s providing. I will see how that goes.
 

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Just a thought. I had a kenwood ddx393 and mine did a similar thing but it was because I had the rca plugged into the sub on the back of the Hu by accident. I didn’t look closely but they were opposite of what I expected. Also kenwood decks come stock with some features turned on that need to be turned off. Go though each setting and turn everything off including the crossovers and sound settings.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Here are your next steps to get the settings right on your Kenwood DDX6904S:

1. Let's start by clearing the current audio settings in the memory. From the home screen of the unit, select "SETUP". Then, select "Special". In this menu you can adjust settings for the memory. Next, select "Audio SETUP Clear". This will clear the current audio settings from the memory so it is default.

2. Now that audio settings are clear, go back to the home screen and let's select "Audio". There are several areas we want to make sure are correct here.
2(a): Select "Speaker/Xover". (There are some other settings for speaker type for each location of front,rear,subwoofer. Just set the front and rear to Large or whatever the biggest speaker size option is). Next, click on "Xover" and then click on "Front".
Set the "High Pass" to the lowest value it will allow or preferably off if available- then set the "Slope" to the lowest value available (usually -6db) or preferably off.
Set the "Low Pass" to the highest value it will allow or preferably off and then set the slope to the lowest value available (usually -6db) or preferably off if available.
If you are using the REAR rca outputs for an amplifier for rear speakers, then repeat this 2(a) process for the "Rear" speakers as well.

3. Now let's take a listen to the system and see if the top end is back like it should be. If so, continue with the following steps.

4. From home screen, select "Audio", then "Fader/Balance". Make sure that Balance and Fader are both set to "center".

5. From home screen, select "Audio", then "Equalizer". This should show a flat EQ curve since we reset the audio settings. If it does not, then select the "Initialize" setting from this screen and it should set the bands to flat.

6. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Zone Control", then "Zone Select", then "Single Zone".

7. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Sound Effect". ALL of the items in this menu should be set to "OFF" for now. If they are not, make sure you set them to OFF.

8. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Position/DTA", then select "Front L". This sets your listening seat position and allows you to do some time alignment.
8(a) Press "Adjust", then press "Delay". This allows you to adjust the distances for time alignment. Get out your tape measure and measure the distance from your drivers seat headrest to the left door speakers and input that number into the "Front L" distance (It shows Feet and milliseconds. Just go by the feet distance as close as you can get it). Now measure the distances for the right door speakers and to the subwoofer (if you have one) and input those in this screen as well. Finally, you can also make slight adjustments to the "gain" (you'll see it in the lower right of the screen) for each of these. You would do this (for example) if the output level of the left door was higher than the right, or to raise/lower the gain of the subwoofer, etc.



This process should get you where you want to be. From this point, you would use the EQ in the head unit for some adjustment to the necessary bands to get the desired sound.


Let me know how it goes!

-Steve
Here are your next steps to get the settings right on your Kenwood DDX6904S:

1. Let's start by clearing the current audio settings in the memory. From the home screen of the unit, select "SETUP". Then, select "Special". In this menu you can adjust settings for the memory. Next, select "Audio SETUP Clear". This will clear the current audio settings from the memory so it is default.

2. Now that audio settings are clear, go back to the home screen and let's select "Audio". There are several areas we want to make sure are correct here.
2(a): Select "Speaker/Xover". (There are some other settings for speaker type for each location of front,rear,subwoofer. Just set the front and rear to Large or whatever the biggest speaker size option is). Next, click on "Xover" and then click on "Front".
Set the "High Pass" to the lowest value it will allow or preferably off if available- then set the "Slope" to the lowest value available (usually -6db) or preferably off.
Set the "Low Pass" to the highest value it will allow or preferably off and then set the slope to the lowest value available (usually -6db) or preferably off if available.
If you are using the REAR rca outputs for an amplifier for rear speakers, then repeat this 2(a) process for the "Rear" speakers as well.

3. Now let's take a listen to the system and see if the top end is back like it should be. If so, continue with the following steps.

4. From home screen, select "Audio", then "Fader/Balance". Make sure that Balance and Fader are both set to "center".

5. From home screen, select "Audio", then "Equalizer". This should show a flat EQ curve since we reset the audio settings. If it does not, then select the "Initialize" setting from this screen and it should set the bands to flat.

6. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Zone Control", then "Zone Select", then "Single Zone".

7. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Sound Effect". ALL of the items in this menu should be set to "OFF" for now. If they are not, make sure you set them to OFF.

8. From the home screen, select "Audio", then "Position/DTA", then select "Front L". This sets your listening seat position and allows you to do some time alignment.
8(a) Press "Adjust", then press "Delay". This allows you to adjust the distances for time alignment. Get out your tape measure and measure the distance from your drivers seat headrest to the left door speakers and input that number into the "Front L" distance (It shows Feet and milliseconds. Just go by the feet distance as close as you can get it). Now measure the distances for the right door speakers and to the subwoofer (if you have one) and input those in this screen as well. Finally, you can also make slight adjustments to the "gain" (you'll see it in the lower right of the screen) for each of these. You would do this (for example) if the output level of the left door was higher than the right, or to raise/lower the gain of the subwoofer, etc.



This process should get you where you want to be. From this point, you would use the EQ in the head unit for some adjustment to the necessary bands to get the desired sound.


Let me know how it goes!

-Steve



Ok so update,

I cleared the audio settings, I turned off the HPFs and set the LPF to the highest for my Sub. (I have a small 10” JL W1).

I ensured the fader/balance was on center, EQ was flat, zone was single and all sound effects were off. I did play with the TA and set it to the driver’s seat.

After this I am still getting an unclear sound unfortunately. If I do adjust the highs on the EQ it just makes everything bright, thin and uncomfortable.

Also, I was able to get a split cable to connect my earbuds into the RCAs from the head unit.

The sound (in the best way I can explain it) was that there was highs but they were dull and not as “open” sounding.

An Example I can use: (not sure if you’ve ever played acoustic drums) but the cymbals sounded like fast crash cymbals (sound decays very fast) instead of normal cymbals (which gives you a normal sound of a cymbal that sticks around a little longer).
Also hitting a cymbal on a drum set then grabbing the cymbal to stop the sound and vibration.

Hopefully this helps you understand my craziness.
 
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