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Trent Hari

Kenwood vs Pioneer SQ and Ease of Use/ SQ setup

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I'm thinking about a PRS-80 to replace my Kenwood KDC 896.  Its a very good quality deck, but there's not many audio adjustments and the interface is hard to use while driving. Would the PRS-80 be a considerable upgrade from a SQ and ease of use standpoint? .   If anyone has a better suggestion for a head unit or maybe an alternative (Sound processors) please let me know. Price cap for head unit - $350

 

My vehicle and setup

1999 Dodge Dakota SLT EXT cab V-6

Head unit - Kenwood KDC 896

Front- Alpine Type R 6.5" components
Rear - Pioneer TSD 6.5" coaxials
Speaker amp - Alpine PDX - 5 @ 100 rms *4 Verified
Subwoofer amp - JL JX 1000/1
Subwoofer - SA-12 in 1 cu sealed/Ported box
 
ELECTRICAL 
136 amp alt
750 CCA Class 27 Battery
Lanzar 6 farad capacitor (LOL)
4 Guage big 3
All amp power wire 4 Guage
Edited by Trent Hari

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I can't read anything you wrote on my iPhone.

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Are you going to use the active capabilities of the 80prs?

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Yes, if you mean the time adjustment and probably run the auto-tune because im not a pro- I would like a little better balance in my music

If someone could please tell me what "ACTIVE" means it would be cool. i hear the term thrown around alot but im not 100% on what it means

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Active would refer to the x-over. it uses an electronic x-over either a stand alone, or dsp, or the HU to handle the x-over duties. And instead of the amplifier channels running a mid and tweeter usually each channel runs a single speaker, although there are variations of that.  A passive system would be what  using the supplied x-overs that come with the component sets or similar.

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Thanks for the explanation :)

Ahh I see well that could be a problem if you see my setup there are only 4 channels on my amp and 8 speaker components (2 6.5s in the front and rear and also the 4 tweets to go with the speakers)

Would i still get a benefit from the pioneers active features or not?

 

 A shop told me that i could bridge all 4 channels of the amp to the front components and run the rears off of deck power. i didnt like the idea of running 400 rms to 2 type Rs though

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You should NEVER shop for anything without a goal in mind.  Is it a better headunit?  Sure.  Will it help your install?  We can't tell because we don't know what help you need.

 

Install does sound like a mess though.  There is absolutely no reason to have 2 tweeters on each side up front.  It won't be any louder and it'll surely sound an ass ton worse.

 

Time to take a step back and really figure out what you want to do and why.

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Oh, the autotune sucks.  One other comment of course.  With functionality you can kiss ease of setup out the window.  That holds true for any headunit/processor.

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Oh, the autotune sucks.  One other comment of course.  With functionality you can kiss ease of setup out the window.  That holds true for any headunit/processor.

so true... you just get used the menu system and layouts with the HU .... so I wouldn't be concerned with that part so much.

 

Another HU to throw in the mix is 

KDC-X997

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You should NEVER shop for anything without a goal in mind.  Is it a better headunit?  Sure.  Will it help your install?  We can't tell because we don't know what help you need.

 

Install does sound like a mess though.  There is absolutely no reason to have 2 tweeters on each side up front.  It won't be any louder and it'll surely sound an ass ton worse.

 

Time to take a step back and really figure out what you want to do and why.

Theres NOT 2 tweeters on each side up front theres 4 total tweets, 2 front, 2 rear in the coaxials. I'm not an idiot i had everything professionally installed. I basically replaced all factory speakers with new ones and installed a speaker amp and a subwoofer amp. All it really needs is tuning. I think the time alignment would help me though. It is loud and clear but I feel that it could be better.

LOOK at my setup in the origional post.

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No need for tweeters in the rear, actually no need for ANY speakers in the rear.

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Front/rear doesn't matter.  No reason to ever have 4 tweeters in a pickup.  Hell no reason to have 4 in a Suburban.

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Front/rear doesn't matter.  No reason to ever have 4 tweeters in a pickup.  Hell no reason to have 4 in a Suburban.

I have seen that most people do not recommend speakers in the rear but I want to keep my truck looking stock and I like the volume that 4 speakers produce. It seems strange that you recommend only 2 tweets with 4 speakers. Why would I buy a coaxial and disconnect the tweeter? I don't think that would sound good. I thought tweeters are matched to the output of the speaker.

 

Just to avoid any confusion, here is some pics of my setup

 

Edited by Trent Hari

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4 tweeters is ALWAYS a bad idea.  Mids can be used for other things.  Either way, you aren't gaining "volume" by adding rears, actually detracting.  

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4 tweeters is ALWAYS a bad idea.  Mids can be used for other things.  Either way, you aren't gaining "volume" by adding rears, actually detracting.  

So your saying take my Pioneer TSD's, cut the tweeter wire, and re install them? :/ . btw The door speakers you see in the photo is only a mid, the tweet is the black circle by the handle. btw I faded all the music to the fronts to test the concept of only front speakers, and lost about 40% of my musics volume and impact. I'm so confused as to how 2 speakers can sound better than 4 properly set up.

 

 

I'm about ready to give up on SQ, everyone seems to think my setup is terribly broken, but it sounds great . After we get around the concept of rear speakers, in what way could i make my system sound balanced and loud with that "handicap"? 2 speakers will never be louder than 4 and i'm not about to rip my doors apart trying to fit 2 speakers into one door, so i just replaced the stock speakers with new top-line speakers. Would time-adjustment on a prs-80 help create a "surround sound " effect or am i dreaming and should scrap my truck now? Just kidding i guess i'm a little disappointed on the bashing of my perfectly good system, i have a lot of time and money in it. I'm not looking to win a national championship, i'm just looking for great sound.

Edited by Trent Hari

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PRS80 won't do anything for the "surround sound effect".  The only way you'll get that is if you buy music recorded in surround sound.  Considering what you have is a 2 channel recording that is basically how you need to play it back.

 

Mathematically you are confused as well.  2 speakers with the same power as 4 will be the same overall volume.  Double the power or speakers same thing.  Only problem is when you double the speakers you create an eq and time alignment nightmare creating all sorts of interference and which changes the levels and really destroys all semblance of quality.

 

And no, you don't lose 40% of your sound unless your setup is seriously jacked.  Add to that if you truly want localizable sound from the back then you absolutely aren't interested in "SQ".  Not even close.

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4 tweeters is ALWAYS a bad idea.  Mids can be used for other things.  Either way, you aren't gaining "volume" by adding rears, actually detracting.  

So your saying take my Pioneer TSD's, cut the tweeter wire, and re install them? :/ . btw The door speakers you see in the photo is only a mid, the tweet is the black circle by the handle. btw I faded all the music to the fronts to test the concept of only front speakers, and lost about 40% of my musics volume and impact. I'm so confused as to how 2 speakers can sound better than 4 properly set up.

 

 

I'm about ready to give up on SQ, everyone seems to think my setup is terribly broken, but it sounds great . After we get around the concept of rear speakers, in what way could i make my system sound balanced and loud with that "handicap"? 2 speakers will never be louder than 4 and i'm not about to rip my doors apart trying to fit 2 speakers into one door, so i just replaced the stock speakers with new top-line speakers. Would time-adjustment on a prs-80 help create a "surround sound " effect or am i dreaming and should scrap my truck now? Just kidding i guess i'm a little disappointed on the bashing of my perfectly good system, i have a lot of time and money in it. I'm not looking to win a national championship, i'm just looking for great sound.

 

"Surround sound effect" is NOT the point of DTA.  DTA is used to time the sound waves from each individual speaker to your ears so that the interaction of the sound waves happens as its intended in the recording.  Basically it makes the speakers play as though they're the same DISTANCE away from you on each side.  The difference in distance to your ears from one speaker to the other jacks with the stage and imaging.  

 

The point behind running just front speakers and front/rears together along with the real concept of SQ is just outside your realm of experience, and that's just fine.  Most of the people in the hobby consider SQ to simply mean it's clear with little or no distortion at high volume levels but unfortunately its FAR more complicated than that.  I agree with Sean that something is probably not setup right in your current installation if running the fader to the front speakers has that much of an impact on how it sounds.  I would also like to point out that simply screwing the new speakers into the factory locations is not properly installing them either.  At a MINIMUM the installation should include a regiment of sound deadening and a solid baffle to mount the speaker to instead of the flimsy plastic the factory speaker is in.  Something seldom done by anyone and most definitely rarely done by most shops UNLESS specifically asked for by the customer in which they will pay at least double the price to have it done.

 

Please don't be offended or discouraged by the diagnosis, suggestions and recommendations offered up by everyone.  There is such a great deal to learn about the HOW, WHY and WHAT of car audio that it simply overwhelms most people, including me, when trying to take it all in at one time.  Experience installing, listening and doing it all over again several times over with the guidance of others who have already learned is the only way to learn what really works and the right from the wrong.  Even then we'll never know/learn it all.

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4 tweeters is ALWAYS a bad idea.  Mids can be used for other things.  Either way, you aren't gaining "volume" by adding rears, actually detracting.  

So your saying take my Pioneer TSD's, cut the tweeter wire, and re install them? :/ . btw The door speakers you see in the photo is only a mid, the tweet is the black circle by the handle. btw I faded all the music to the fronts to test the concept of only front speakers, and lost about 40% of my musics volume and impact. I'm so confused as to how 2 speakers can sound better than 4 properly set up.

 

 

I'm about ready to give up on SQ, everyone seems to think my setup is terribly broken, but it sounds great . After we get around the concept of rear speakers, in what way could i make my system sound balanced and loud with that "handicap"? 2 speakers will never be louder than 4 and i'm not about to rip my doors apart trying to fit 2 speakers into one door, so i just replaced the stock speakers with new top-line speakers. Would time-adjustment on a prs-80 help create a "surround sound " effect or am i dreaming and should scrap my truck now? Just kidding i guess i'm a little disappointed on the bashing of my perfectly good system, i have a lot of time and money in it. I'm not looking to win a national championship, i'm just looking for great sound.

 

"Surround sound effect" is NOT the point of DTA.  DTA is used to time the sound waves from each individual speaker to your ears so that the interaction of the sound waves happens as its intended in the recording.  Basically it makes the speakers play as though they're the same DISTANCE away from you on each side.  The difference in distance to your ears from one speaker to the other jacks with the stage and imaging.  

 

The point behind running just front speakers and front/rears together along with the real concept of SQ is just outside your realm of experience, and that's just fine.  Most of the people in the hobby consider SQ to simply mean it's clear with little or no distortion at high volume levels but unfortunately its FAR more complicated than that.  I agree with Sean that something is probably not setup right in your current installation if running the fader to the front speakers has that much of an impact on how it sounds.  I would also like to point out that simply screwing the new speakers into the factory locations is not properly installing them either.  At a MINIMUM the installation should include a regiment of sound deadening and a solid baffle to mount the speaker to instead of the flimsy plastic the factory speaker is in.  Something seldom done by anyone and most definitely rarely done by most shops UNLESS specifically asked for by the customer in which they will pay at least double the price to have it done.

 

Please don't be offended or discouraged by the diagnosis, suggestions and recommendations offered up by everyone.  There is such a great deal to learn about the HOW, WHY and WHAT of car audio that it simply overwhelms most people, including me, when trying to take it all in at one time.  Experience installing, listening and doing it all over again several times over with the guidance of others who have already learned is the only way to learn what really works and the right from the wrong.  Even then we'll never know/learn it all.

Thanks for the clarification by the way smile.png

I cannot run the same power to the front speakers as i have running to all 4 speakers in my truck. i would rapidly blow the two Type R components speakers on 400 watts rms whatever the deal is (They're only rated at 110 rms) I'm sure i could go up to 250 rms max but that would still be pushing it.

By the way, I always thought that more cone area generally means more volume at the same rms.

When i faded the speakers to the front, i also lost about 50% of my output because it was only getting 200 watts instead of 400. (I didn't bridge the amp)

(I do have about 14 square  feet of sound deadening in my truck) about 3- 4 square feet in each door and 1 square foot on each rear "quarter panel" and 4 square feet on the floor.. The speakers are bolted to the sheet metal.

Thanks for understanding im not looking for perfect sq if it involves extensive interior modifications. i'm just trying to do my best while keeping my truck looking stock.

That time alignment sounds like a good idea. would i see a benefit from it? i feel like it would help because one speaker is right next to my head while another is 4-5 feet away.

Edited by Trent Hari

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I'm not suggesting you bridge the amp to your front speakers, only trying to explain why certain things work, don't work, and what you need to be concerned with.  If all you have is CLD tiles for sound deadening you're only getting about 1/3 the potential usefulness of a sound deadening treatment.  Closed cell foam (CCF) and mass loaded vinyl (MLV) are both also essential to stopping other unwanted noises and sounds to ensure the best possible listening experience inside the cab of your truck.  Read up a little on SOUNDDEADENERSHOWDOWN.COM to learn more about those products, and SDS isn't the only place that sells them.

 

Also, the sheet metal is NOT considered a firm or strong baffle either.  Better than plastic but still flimsy and without a loss of mass.  The issue is that when the cone move's the rest of the speaker (frame and motor assembly) is trying to move the opposite direction.  Those forces are transferred into whatever the speaker is attached to and with something flimsy it will move with it easier than something that is heavier and less flexible.  When the speaker frame and the baffle it's mounted to moves in the opposite direction of the cone the forces on the cone are compromised, not transferred to the air to make the sound to hear and therefore output is lost.  Some searching on google can explain all this in much more and probably better detail.

 

More cone area "CAN" mean more output, but there's more to it than just that.  When it comes to BASS, yeah the more the merrier for output.  What you have to understand is that for all the rest of the frequencies in the listening range (and the vast majority of them I might add) more speakers can present a lot of problems and those problems can even lead to reduced output due to cancellations.  

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Alright I'm using Dynamat Xtreme in the doors and around the speakers and Hushmat in the rear. I'm pleased with the volume and clarity that i'm getting.

In all honesty, my system is probably "good enough" but i caught the audio bug so i'm always looking for improvement ;)

Im leaving the rears because double the cone area at double the rms should be louder and i really don't complain about the clarity.

I'm really interested in that time alignment. would it likely help the sound in my situation? or is it a gimmick? 

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Time alignment is no gimmick but whether it's use is practical for your application I'm not entirely certain.  Time alignment is necessary when the speakers are different distances from your ears to get them to basically play as if they were the same distance from you.  That helps with keeping the sound stage (height and width of where the instruments sound like they're coming from) and imaging (the locations of the instruments and singers on the stage) sounding like they're supposed to sound.  The problem is I'm not sure how effective it would be with all four speakers playing from all around you.  Think of your listening position as the position of the microphone when the music was recorded.  For example the singer should sound as though he is in the center of the stage, the drums directly behind him, bass guitar to the left and lead guitar to the right.  When you play your music from both in front of you (front speakers) and from behind you (rear speakers) the interaction of those sounds as they were recorded gets garbled, messed up, and no longer clear anymore to start with.  You're going to hear things behind you that weren't really in that location in the recording and between cancellations, environmental noises and other acoustic anomalies I can't imagine that DTA would do much to help and I could very well see where it could hurt.

 

Someone with more knowledge would have to answer on that.

 

It may be good enough to you now but believe me ignorance can be bliss.  If I hadn't learned all that I have over the years I would probably still be happy with much less work and money spent than I am and have spent on it so far and wouldn't likely be spending more of both in the future.  Learn all you can, there's nothing wrong with that, but don't be surprised if you look back 5 or 10 years from now and wonder what the hell you were thinking or doing right now.  I have spent more time and more money doing more things than I would ever have considered spending and doing even just five years ago.  I still have A LOT to learn to become anything more than just a novice and from what I've learned so far I'm not sure I can honestly even consider myself at that level yet. 

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Lot's of solid info in here. ;)

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Okay all I need to do then is fade it to the front when I want Sq and then when I want volume I just center the fader. Sounds simple. If I do the time adjustment with the fader to the front could I still get great SQ even with less than optimal placement?

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Err, not really.

Trent Hari, on 16 May 2013 - 13:43, said:

Okay all I need to do then is fade it to the front when I want Sq and then when I want volume I just center the fader. Sounds simple. If I do the time adjustment with the fader to the front could I still get great SQ even with less than optimal placement?

Sort of. Even better to bridge your amp on the fronts and sell the rears. It WILL be an improvement in all aspects.

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