TL: TL head unit low sound quality

Old 04-21-2019, 09:56 PM
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TL head unit low sound quality

I posted this in the 1st gen TL thread but just saw this Audio section of AZ. Sorry for the double post.

So. Supppperrrr uninteresting but I have a '97 TL 2.5 Prem radio in my '93 Vigor GS. (same radio harnesses, direct install) I installed it just to tie me over until I install the '14 Civic navi radio and get a JL 5 channel amp and some matching JL speakers and sub etc. $$$ I don't have yet exactly.

I'm having a problem with overall audio quality and loudness at and over half volume. Basically the first 1/4th of volume sounds great, even with bass and treble maxed out. But as I near the 1/2 mark or go over audio quality greatly diminishes and the imaging gets distorted. It sounds like the speakers are playing through a fan (you know that voice altering chopping effect when you talked into a spinning fan as a kid?) and I'm afraid of damaging my speakers. Even when turning the Bass and Treble to flat or all the way down there is still a lot uneven imaging going on and then of course it sounds super weak all around without any bass.

I have brand new JBL GX9638 6x9s (300w peak / 100w rms) and GX628 6.5's (180w peak / 60w rms). Are these underrated for the stock TL radio? I couldn't find the wattage/ output of the TL radio at all and just assumed it was around 30-50 watts per channel and the JBLs would be safe. Unless i am wrong I can't figure out why I am having this issue unless these head units are super powerful and stock TL's had some amazing speakers from factory that Acura never published or bragged about....

I even got another radio out of a 3.2 Prem TL from LKQ thinking it was a dying head unit amp but I had the same results.

Any tips?
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:06 PM
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So I learned a few things.

My speakers are 2 ohms!

Headunit is indeed only 25 watt per channel @ 4 ohm and because speakers are 2ohms they're over working the built in amp and the clipping is due to the amp not being able to power the speakers above X wattage/ volume.

I'm likely shortening the life of both the speaker due to the clipping and headunit from over working/ heating it when I have it cranked. I read undrpowering speakers are worse than overpowerinf them. No issues yet though.

To remedie this I basically need more power sent into the speakers.

I'm looking at 4 channel amps but its getting complicated. My front 6.5s are rated for 60 watts rms and the rear 6x9s are rated for 100 watts rms. 50 watts per channel should be plenty loud. The 25 watts are loud enough but not FULL enough, especially without a subwoofer and raised sound stage. -I'll be getting a 12" 300 watt JBL sub+amp box combo from a friend and plan on putting in new 2" overhead component speakers in the roof to replace my old ones and new dash tweeters to raise the stage and fix the depth. Currently only the doors and rear deck are working I believe.

Finding an amp that can sufficiently power the rear 6x9s (doesn't have to be 100 watts exactly but I'd like to feed them at least 60watts or so) but also not kill the front 60 watt speakers is harder than I though it would be.

Let's say a 120x4 amp (at 2ohm) fell into my lap with all the gain, boost, high and low and full pass filters and frequency adjustability: could I simply turn down the gain for the front 2 channels to save the 60 watt speakers or wire in-line resistors to the channels (dropping it back to a 4ohm equivilant resistance to achieve 80x4) ?

It would be so simple if I just bought an aftermarket head unit (GROSS!) or a new set of matching 4 ohm speakers (kinda dont want to dp that - cant return these JBLs now either) but I don't want anyone to be curious about what's in my interior as they walk by and see a obviously aftermarket radio...

And I know at the end of the day my set up is still going to be very rudimentary with an outdated stock head unit feeding an amp through high level outputs and then the speakers...

What do we recommend? Find higher wattage front door speakers? Modify resistance to equal 4ohm to run speakers at 80watts? Could the front 60 watt speakers handle the extra 20 watts? (They have a 180 watt peak rating which is almost pointless as thats for short bursts).
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:37 AM
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Headunit amplifier sections are not set up for a 2 ohm load so I would get those speakers off of deck power immediately or you will be replacing the radio as well. It sounds like your already convinced that your entire system basically needs an overhaul and it would be a shame for you to do all of it only to find that your OEM stereo is still holding back all of the wonderful components that you've placed around it. Against my own advice and experience, I tried to keep my factory headunit and did everything I could to retain it only to find out that it was truly the weak link and was holding me back from having the sound quality system I was accustomed to. High level inputs can be done with the proper amplifier but I certainly wouldn't do it for a SQ system install because of the inherent distortion associated with these types of sources. Just remember that your signal is only as good as the source and if you're HU is sending a distorted signal (which it is) then your amp will relay that distortion to the rest of your components as it has no way to filter out a "dirty" signal. Lastly, every 4 channel amp has independent gain and crossover controls (front and rear) so you can level match the front stage to fit the speaker power requirements as well as the rear outputs which should be attenuated anywhere from 4 - 8 db so it doesn't affect the front stage imaging.

Last edited by Bchester6; 04-27-2019 at 08:39 AM.
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