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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so I don't have a terribly expensive, or high quality, system in my beater, but I seem to feel it sounds worse than it should.

A little background, if you will.

So, I have a Sony DSX-S200X that I used in my old car for a while. In it, I had Polk DXi350 front speakers with 800Hz bass blockers and a set of Pioneer TS-A6964R w/ 150Hz bass blockers, both powered off HU power. Ran a BA G310-4 in .5cube sealed enclosure off an Infinity Reference 611a. System didn't sound too bad.

New(er) car is a 99' Cavalier in which I decided to do a complete system upgrade from the stock system it had. Put the Sony in it and then installed Kicker CS65 front and back with a RF PBR300X4 to power them. Sub is the same G310-4, though the amplifier now is an Alpine MRD-M605.

Anyways, I installed all this equipment at the same time. After installation, I left the gains at minimum and never dialed past level 20 on the HU to allow some brief break-in time for the new Kickers. Well, fast forward a month, I decide it's time to set things up properly. Before, I had found that the internal amp distorts at level 30, so level 29 is the max clean level for the internal amplifier. Found this with playing test tones and clearly heard 1% THD appear soonest with a 400Hz test tone. Anyways, now that I'm running an external amp, I would be sure the volume could be dialed up higher before distortion appears. Well, following the same method I used to find the internal amps max volume level, I once again play test tones, with the gain still at minimum. Sadly, it seemed that I immediately heard... coloring(?) of the test tone being played. The tone never really seemed to change to a buzz as it had with the internal amplifier, but the louder I dialed up the volume, the worse the sound got.

With fear of amplifying a dirty signal, I decided to buy a cheap DSO201 pocket O-Scope. Well, I had difficulty connecting to my preamps, and ended up connecting the gator clip to the center shaft and connecting the little hook to the outer ring of the RCA cable. Now, this is technically backwards, but I'm measuring AC voltage, so it shouldn't matter. Anyways, I play a few test tones and it seems I need to crank the volume up to around 3537 to even get a strong enough signal for a wave to appear, but it looks clean. Dialing up the volume, I reach max volume of the unit and the wave still looks rounded, no obvious signs of clipping. However, the entire time, the wave does have some ever so slight jaggedness to it, as though it's very minor distortion, perhaps an inherit side affect of the workings of the boosted Rail technology. This may be what is seeming to sound "odd" to my ears.

So, my question is, does this sound normal by any means?

I mean I wouldn't expect the Sony to be distortion free at max volume, but it seems to be so. However, my ears clearly hear something that's just not right, no matter what test tone I play.

Could this be a combination of the PBR amp coloring the output and then the Kicker's harshness? I mean I've never ran Kicker full-range speakers before, maybe I should have opted for the Pioneer D series or Alpine Type-S that I was torn between at first. Sadly, I let the massive number or seemingly good reviews for these Kickers sway me to give them a chance, just so I could save a few bucks.

As of now, I haven't listened to my stereo at higher than level 30 (regularly) with the gains remaining at minimum. All of this is largely in due of fear of damaging these damn speakers I'm thinking I shouldn't have bought more and more.

I'm also beginning to regret the RF PBR300X4, but I wanted it for it's small foot print. Probably should have used one of my other 4-channel amps but I have nowhere in the car to mount it. Or should I say nowhere I want to mount one of them.
 

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are you really expecting uncolored decent sound from a cheap pair of coax speakers? I am not trying to be a jerk...but no matter how well you set your gains its a $70 walmart HU and $35 walmart speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Never noticed such issues with the Polk and Pioneers with the HU's internal amp. This makes me doubt it's an issue with the HU specifically. Never used the RF amp or those Kicker speakers before, so I figure it's got to be one or both of them at fault.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
May well be the end result (replacing the speakers).

No, I haven't any sort of EQ applied, it's set to flat. Won't be messing with it until I download a spectrum analyzer and get a mic. I've dealt with trying to EQ my system before by ear, took forever and I ended up seeking assistance from a few people I know.

DM+ and Loudness are off as well. Only thing I have done is measured out my speakers and setup the TA. And it shouldn't have anything to do with the issue, as I fade/balance all the sound to the front driver side speaker when I listened to the test tones.

I may have to try wiring up another speaker to see if the issue remains. I mean I have a few others, I just wanted to try going with the same speakers front and rear this time. Nearly every car I've owned has been a GM with small front speakers and large rear.

Of the other speakers I have to play with to see if it's the speakers specifically, I have some Alpine SPS-46C2 (BNIB), Alpine SPS-69C2, Alpine SPS-610C (BNIB), Memphis 15-SE572, Pioneer TS-D680R, Pioneer TS-A6964R, and Pioneer TS-6983R.

Initial plan was to run the Alpine components and 6x9s I have, but once again, I decided I wanted to run the same size speakers front and rear this time. This lead me to ditch the idea of running the Alpine setup. I was really leaning towards Pioneer's D line, probably should have gone with my gut gone with them instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Alright, so I found a large part of the problem, beside my choice in going with cheaper equipment. LOL

Took off the door panel to try out another speaker and I see that the surround on the speaker has been making contact with the door panel. I'm not sure how often it makes contact, but I could clearly see a partial ring in the dust on the panel. Never thought to check if there would be any sort of clearance issues, given I bought them from Crutchfield and they were "supposed" to fit with supplied bracket.

Well, I tried playing the one speaker with the panel off, sounded fine. Well, good enough for me to be content. Changed my balance over to the passenger door and there is was, speaker just didn't sound quite right.

So, now to make some modifications.

Thank you to those who took time to give any input.
 
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