Car Stereo Question

geno

Lifer
Dec 26, 1999
25,074
4
0
I just went out and bought a base system that I'm planning on upgrading shortly. All I got was a receiver and a pair of Cerwin Vega 5 1/4's to go in my front doors. I hooked the stereo up and connected the speakers with 8 gauge wire. The speakers sound nice, but I get alot of distortion even when I turn it up about halfway. I know that you can't get much out of 5 1/4s that are un-amped, but its threshold for distortion is extremely low. The only thing I can think of is how I connected the stereo itself to the wiring harness using some hardware store-grade twistoffs. Could this be the weak link that's causing the problems? If not, where else should I start looking? I'd like to know before I add the 5x7s which I intend to get in a couple of days. Any help is appreciated, thanks!
 

Preyhunter

Golden Member
Nov 9, 1999
1,774
12
81
Sounds more like the problem is that the speakers are UNDERpowered. Speakers tend to distort more when there is not enough power going to them. Also, if you ask anyone that has had a lot of exposure to car stereo equipment (such as installers), they are likely to say that about 90% of the time that speakers blow is because they are played too loud without sufficient power. They rattle themselves to pieces.
 

SViscusi

Golden Member
Apr 12, 2000
1,200
8
81
It's either 1 of 3 things.

1. Not enough power, most decks give only 6 or 7 watts of clean power before distortion sets in. (like preyhunter said)

2. Inability to play certain frequency's (ie below 120) you could try base blockers or some other crossover.

or

3. You could hav reversed the + and -'s when you hooked them up, either at the speaker or at the deck. Unlikely, but double check to be sure.

 

20_MuleTeam_Borax

Senior member
Oct 9, 1999
681
0
0
Reversing the + and -'s won't cause distortion like that. Well, not in my experience anyway. There maybe some long term problems though.

btw, some rear channel surround sound speakers are designed to have them crossed.
 

JW310

Golden Member
Oct 30, 1999
1,582
0
0
I have a similar problem with one of the speakers that came in the used car I just bought. The driver's side front speaker is distorted as he11, even with the volume turned most of the way down (by which time, I can't hear it). Should I just replace the speaker? Any ideas what else could be wrong with it? Still the factory stereo, and as far as I can tell, the factory speaker.

JW
 

SViscusi

Golden Member
Apr 12, 2000
1,200
8
81
JW310

The speaker could be blown, I'm sure any car stereo shop could confirm that. If it is then by all means get it replaced, but dont worry about it if its not bothering you.



20_MuleTeam_Borax

Yeah I kind off figured that but it's always worth it to check.
 

JW310

Golden Member
Oct 30, 1999
1,582
0
0
That's what I pretty much figured. It really bugs me, especially since I have a station wagon, and having it just on the rear speakers, I can't hardly hear the sound. It's a 1993 Ford Escort Wagon. How hard would it be to replace the speaker on my own?

Thanx!
JW
 

Doodoo

Golden Member
Feb 14, 2000
1,423
0
76
First check the settings on ur head unit. Make sure the bass isn't all the way up. Then turn the bass all the way down and then turn the volume up and see if its still distorting. What do u mean by twistoffs? As long as the wires are connected it shouldn't really matter much. They're brand new...so they shouldn't be blown yet. Only thing i can think of is that either you have the positive and negative mixed up or you have speaker wire touching bare metal somewhere. Double check ur connections. Yes most speakers blow because they distort so much cuz people play them so loud and they don't have enough power. Head units typically put out 12 or 13 watts rms. And 5 1/4's should be able to play frequencies below 120 fine. JW...sounds like you have a blown speaker. Probably should replace the pair. You can't really replace jus one unless u get an exact match. Shouldn't be too hard to replace a speaker. Depends on where ur speakers are though. Could be as easy as removing the grill and taking the speakers out and putting the new ones in. Or could be kinda involved taking apart the doors. Max time should be bout 15 minutes.
 

randypj

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,078
0
0
JW310--I had a 280Z that I had to replace the driver side speaker in about every year. Apparently, water was getting in somehow....just enough to muck it up.

This wasn't a factory install, so replacement was easy. I would think that if you know the correct way to get into the door panel, on most cars it shouldn't be too hard. I'm guessing it won't be as easy as popping a cover though. Maybe someone can point you to a site or you might go to a dealer or car shop and "peruse" a maintenance manual--I think they're called something else--not just the owner's manual. Sorry, it's early.
Randy
 

geno

Lifer
Dec 26, 1999
25,074
4
0
Preyhunter, it definitly sounds like they're underpowered. I've heard what that can sound like and the symptoms seem to match this. I'm positive I have the positive and negatives connected correctly, I quadruple checked them before finishing up. This sounds like this on both sides too, I'm sure that if I screwed up, it wouldn't have been on both sides. The deck is a Pioneer 4100, are there any settings that anyone's aware of that I should try?

Thanks a lot for all the responses, it's helped out alot!! :)

-EDIT- I just tried playing with some settings, turned loudness off (it was on medium) and changed the EQ settings, the distortion definitly seems to have gone down considerably. I want to install the bass blockers that I have. I'm not sure if they all look like this, but the ones I have look like capacitors. They only have 2 wires sticking out of them, they look like an un-bent paperclip almost. I know I'm supposed to splice them with the positive side of my speaker wire, but how am I supposed to connect the copper wire with the bass blocker? Do I have to solder it or something?
 

JW310

Golden Member
Oct 30, 1999
1,582
0
0
Yes... it appears that I'll have to take the entire door panel off to get to the speakers. I'll probably see what I can do about finding a maintenance manual for the car, and see what exactly is involved in getting the door panels on/off, and then replacing the speakers. That will have to wait, though, until I have the money to buy replacement speakers. Thanks for the help!

JW
 

olds

Elite Member
Mar 3, 2000
50,054
712
126
Reversing the + - connections can cause immediate problems. It's called being out of phase and you will lose all (or most) of your bass. I'd check that first, then get some clean power to the speakers.
 

Doodoo

Golden Member
Feb 14, 2000
1,423
0
76
Why would u want to put bassblockers on them anyways? I'd just leave em for now until you get a sub or something for some low end. With those bass blockers all ur gonna get are highs with no mid bass or bass. 20 watts should be fine for those 5 1/4's...most have a max rms of 50 watts.
 

hubbs

Platinum Member
Mar 26, 2000
2,442
0
0
If you plan on getting some subs and more higher output speakers you might want to check into getting a seperate battery to run the stereo. My uncle has 3 batteries to run his. But then again he spent $7,000 on it and has a water cooling system so it don't overheat:)

Can you say "AWESOME":p
 

Doodoo

Golden Member
Feb 14, 2000
1,423
0
76
Theres no need for a separate battery unless u plan on running ur stereo while the car is off for an extended period of time. How are those batteries being charged? By the alternator? Why does he need water cooling? Theres something wrong if his amps are overheating. Amps don't perform at their best when they are too cold or too hot. They usually have a happy medium.
 

geno

Lifer
Dec 26, 1999
25,074
4
0
I wanna install the bass blockers because I've heard that leaving a direct connection can kill the speakers because of the bass. Is this true or BS? Would loose connections cause the problems that I'm having? I only have the wires wrapped around the terminals, is this wrong? Also, does anyone have an answer as to how I'm supposed to connect the bass blockers? Again, the help is GREATLY appreciated, thanks alot!!!
 

SuperGroove

Diamond Member
Dec 17, 1999
3,347
1
0
Only $7,000 Hubbs?

The guy who used own shop next door to mine, has a then new, '97 Honda Civic Del Sol EX that is just insanely low to the ground because of his modifcations. There is no trunk, in place are 4 sub woofers, covered by a hydraulic plexiglass cover. On the sides of the trunk there are two amps. Inside the car speakers above him, speakers below him, speakers on the dash...and a N64 system! All in all, he paid $20,000 for the car, and $20,000 on his system. His business, a gaming store, went out of business after a month of getting his car:) To help him out with the costs though, Quality Out sounds stuck on their badges, as well as Clarion's. Still expensive. The week he showed his car to mine, the local news came to interview him. His name was...I think Darren Henricks something or other. Nice guy...but lazy. Spent all the money given to him from his parents on the car, the gaming store...and a lawsuit:)

It's a sweet audio setup...but when he says he can toast almost any car on the road...I find that highly unbelievable, as he can barely get the tail from scraping the road when he goes over a ditch.

Crazy Audiophiles:)
 

hubbs

Platinum Member
Mar 26, 2000
2,442
0
0
Ummmmmmm. DOODOO It's called stereo competitions. They run thier stereo w/o the engine running. Therefore you would need more batteries so you don't blow the one you have. He placed 2nd in a big stereo competition in Minnesota. And as for the water cooling. I'm not quite possitive why he has that. But it's not like spraying on the amp I don't think. He doesn't have a trunk or a backseat. His amp fills up the backseat and his trunk has 4 subs.
 

Doodoo

Golden Member
Feb 14, 2000
1,423
0
76
Yes i know what stereo competitions are. But just because someone gets subs and high output speakers...they don't need extra batteries. If they compete..then maybe yes. Though in most competitions you can have the car running to get the 14 volts to ur amps. Bass can't kill a speaker unless it distorts. I don't have any crossovers on my speakers and they're fine, though i do have a separate amp for them. Wrapping the wires around the terminals should be fine...jus make sure none of the strands are touching other metal parts. I don't really understand ur question bout the bass blockers. Bassblockers are really just capaciters. You just hook one end up to the positive end of ur speaker and the other end to the positive wire. Just solder or tape the wires together.