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Discussion Starter #1
I just installed 6 new door + rear deck speakers (JBL's) and not satisfied with the sound. The bass is not doing it for me and how could 6x9's be expected to anyway, right? Since I already have a powered sub gathering dust in my attic I decided that needs to go in next. But it's not just the bass that needs serious improvement, the factory head unit is under-powered and not driving these new speakers properly, so I want to add an amp too.

The question is what's a decent budget amp to hook-up to the factory HU? What is that box that bypasses factory HU and ?unscrambles? the signals to the speakers? I definitely want a clean full signal going to all speakers and then use bass blockers. By adding an amp to Factory HU + ?signal cleaner? will the sound ultimately be as good as replacing the HU with an aftermarket unit? Because I don't want to replace the factory HU, if possible, due to cost and more importantly want to keep use of steering wheel controls and retain stock unit looks. Thanks for the help!
 

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Do a search for amplifier install in this forum. This has all been well covered in the last 16 years. Plenty of great information. The car comes with an amplifier designed for the stock speakers. Replacing only the speakers will result in lower volume beause of the limited power of the stock amplifier.
 

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You need a line driver to boost voltage from the factory head unit. Then you can run your RCA's to your amps like normal. This is all bypassing the factory amp btw.

To wire up your speakers you either need to run all 4 sets of speaker wire and splice into the factory amp OUTPUT harness (larger of the 2 plugs from the factory radio) OR run new speaker wire to each speaker through the door via the factory rubber grommet/plastic molex plug. The latter is MUCH more difficult but can be done.

Btw ditch the 6x9's - they are useless and if you put a full range speaker there with a full range signal, it'll just rattle and vibrate. 6x9's and sound quality don't really mix either.

I have a Rockford Fosgate line driver I used in my TSX when I had a stock head unit still. Let me know if you would be interested via PM.
 

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I think I'm just going to install my powered sub with LOC box run from the the rear deck speaker wires. The Sub is is small enough to fit behind front passenger seat and should take care of the bass problem. That may be enough of an improvement overall and maybe I won't need to do anything else. But if I still feel the need to improve the sound after that then I think I'll go with an aftermarket head unit after all. So, nevermind on the question of adding an amp to stock HU.
 

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I think I'm just going to install my powered sub with LOC box run from the the rear deck speaker wires. The Sub is is small enough to fit behind front passenger seat and should take care of the bass problem. That may be enough of an improvement overall and maybe I won't need to do anything else. But if I still feel the need to improve the sound after that then I think I'll go with an aftermarket head unit after all. So, nevermind on the question of adding an amp to stock HU.
Some of the threads mention using a $40 Pacific Audio converter that goes between the factory head unit and factory amp. I just ordered it today; has four channels of RCA's - I plan to use the front channel RCA's for an amp and new front components, and the rear channel RCA's for a subwoofer amp. Factory amp can run the rear door speakers, or maybe I'll daisy-chain another small amp with the sub amp.

I can't see spending $200 for a dash install kit to put A/M in a 15 year old car that I doubt I'll have in 5 years; but I already put a $130 bluetooth adapter in before I realized I wanted a stereo.

The rear deck speaker wires will give you a signal that gets attenuated as you increase the volume - was meant to protect the factory 6x9's but it sounds like it isn't good for your plan. Maybe tap into the rear door speakers instead?
 

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The attenuation of the bass in the rear speakers can be corrected by using an Audiocontrol lc2i or lc1i line out converter. I used the lc2i connected to the rear speakers in the first upgrade to my Tsx’s system. I am currently using an lc2i in my Accord while I prepare it’s complete audio upgrade.
 

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for the Audiocontrol lc2i, did you grab signal from the rear deck 6x9 or the rear door 6-1/2"? Is the signal at the doors full range? That would make things a lot easier.
 

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I think I'm just going to install my powered sub with LOC box run from the the rear deck speaker wires. The Sub is is small enough to fit behind front passenger seat and should take care of the bass problem. That may be enough of an improvement overall and maybe I won't need to do anything else. But if I still feel the need to improve the sound after that then I think I'll go with an aftermarket head unit after all. So, nevermind on the question of adding an amp to stock HU.
Whatever you do don't splice into the rear 6x9 wires. They only get a certain range of frequencies and your sub will not sound good trying to amplify that signal. Always start with a full range signal.
 

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for the Audiocontrol lc2i, did you grab signal from the rear deck 6x9 or the rear door 6-1/2"? Is the signal at the doors full range? That would make things a lot easier.
I tapped into the 6x9 wires because I needed a signal for my sub amplifier only. At that point I was only adding a pair of subs to the stock system. Any signal after the stock amp is not ideal. For full range output from the l2ci I would’ve had to tap into the door speakers as others have pointed out. Ultimately, the best solution is to tap into the signal coming out of the head unit, which is what I did in the final version of my Tsx’s system. The head unit produces a very good quality signal that is lost on the low power stock amplifier.
 
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