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Hiss/static/white noise problem; Setting gains with FIX 86 DSP; tweeter buzz; etc...

Technical & Advanced Car Audio Discussion - DIYMA Car Audio Forum -
Hi everyone, first thread here. I'm having a car audio problem with my new system, and I could use some help from much more experienced people. I'd really appreciate some help before I just give up and set my car on fire.. I'll summarize or skip some non-important details in my troubleshooting/etc, but this will still be a really long one, so strap in

Vehicle: 2017 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Sedan - came with "Premium" sound system that I am replacing, all except for the stock/OEM stereo.

Tools: Installation tools; laptop and JL Audio Tune software; Multi-meter; ?? nothing like an Oscope/etc.

Gear: (Note, Some gear is being re-used from my previous sound system I installed in my old truck).

JL Audio FIX 86 DSP... for OEM systems (Link)

JL Audio DRC-100... (optional, can remove) (Link)

Kenwood Excelon XR-5S 5 Channel Amp... (reused from truck) (Link)

JL Audio C2-650 Component Set (Link)

JL Audio C2-650x Coaxial Set (Link)

JL Audio 10w1v2 Subwoofer... (reused from truck) not sure if it's the v2-4 (Link) or the v2-8 (Link) ... think it's the 4..

My wire combo set (power, ground, remote) and RCAs are MESA brand (got at local audio shop) (Link to MESA site)

3 12' twisted pair RCA cables ... 6' would have worked lol. They were $30 each, 3 of them.

Added wiring is all 16 gauge; also MESA brand I got from the local audio shop.

Gear Layout: ... Stock stereo --> stock amp --> DSP --> Kenwood amp --> external crossovers/speakers/sub

RCAs down right side. Power wire down middle/console. They only overlap where they come together under passenger seat and connect into the Kenwood amp.

Active Noise Canceling harness is disconnected... Ground wire is 2.5' long, but connected tightly with ring connector to a stock-screw at the back of the middle console. This screw holds down the back/right side of the console metal frame and screws into the metal frame below. Metal to metal, no paint. Multi-meter reads 0.1 tested with probe at various spots.

I installed everything myself (this is my second install), except I let my local audio shop install the DSP for me. I got the DSP to keep stock stereo and therefore the tech functionality like steering wheel controls, bluetooth stuff, backup camera, etc...

DSP gets installed, then I go home and install everything else (it actually took me 2 weekends lol.. ) ... I haven't calibrated the DSP yet, and my amp gains are set all the way down. I turn on my car just to see how it sounds (aka, does it work?). As soon as the speakers get power, I notice a hiss/static/buzz/white noise/electrical noise come through all the speakers (but not sub). Radio played fine, it sounded pretty good, but still the static/etc problem. Wasn't sure if I should calibrate the DSP/etc, so I waited; The next day I go to my local audio shop b/c they're supposed to do the tuning for me $50 and I was hoping they'd be able to fix the static/etc problem as well.

They set up the FIX 86 DSP software on their laptop and I find out the DSP has its own master volume and subwoofer level settings (slider controls in the software). As he turns them down from 100%, the static/etc problem starts going away, by 60, definitely 50%, it's all gone. Great! .. He sets the amp gains to about ~50% so about 1.0v (range is 5min to 0.2max). Stereo to 30 out of 40 volume (so 3/4). Calibrates DSP. He sets EQ/etc and sends it to DSP and unhooks laptop. Turns car off then back on, and... static/etc problem is back... He tells me he's done a few of these FIX 86 DSPs and when you turn the car off and back on, the master volume/sub level always seem to get reset back to their default of 100%... The DSP just doesn't remember your setting for that (not sure if it resets the EQ/etc). He recommended a "band aid" fix; install the DRC-100 knob and keep it on 50% to "force" the master volume/sub level to stay at 50%. Ok I thought.. if that's what it takes to fix it, let's do it.. and so we did. They bring my car around and hand me the keys. I get in and play some music, but then I start noticing my tweeters are now buzzing/distorting, but only with music playing. It actually sounded like there was a loose connection for them, but it was both tweeters.. we double-checked ALL connections and everything was good. We troubleshoot some and find that at 60% or higher on the DRC-100 knob, the original static/white noise/etc problem comes back, but any lower and the tweeters have this buzz/distort sound... So we turn it up to ~75% (with static/etc problem) and turn the volume to 30 and the music sounds great.. but again, the static/etc is there. he sets it back around 50% and just tells me that's all he can really do. (I had to go at this point, so I thanked him and left).

Later on, I get my own laptop out and start troubleshooting. Still can't get DSP to remember master volume/sub level from laptop calibration, so I use the calibration button on the physical DSP unit itself. I had stock stereo at 30 of 40 volume, DRC set to 50%. This partially helped. Somehow the tweeters are working fine now. I also tinker around and find that the original static/white noise/etc problem is almost all gone, but starts coming back with the DRC-100 turned back up to around 90% or higher. My amp gains at this point are set all the way down.. and I can only assume that's the reason. However, I played some music at this point and it just sounded very weak, not very good SQ, and doesn't get very loud.. So I unhook the Kenwood amp speaker outputs and get my multi-meter. Calculated speaker channels need to be ~15.499v and sub to be ~30v. I softly tightened the probes down in the amp outputs and started testing. However, my multi-meter is reading FAR above my target voltage of 15.5v... I turn the DRC-100 knob down to 25%. Still FAR above target. I notice if I barely turn the DRC knob, even a tiny little bit, it jumps ~15-25v at a time.. So I found this video: (Link) and it says around 4:18 "If excessive voltage is being read with the input sensitivity dial turned all the way down, switch the amp?s input voltage from Low to High" ok.. so that's what's happening on my multi-meter.. but my Kenwood XR-5S amp doesn't have this "Low/High" Input Voltage setting.. so now I'm stuck. I try to research but can't find any info to help... I run out of time and just set my amp gains to ~25% so about ~3v (range is 5 min to 0.2 max). It still sounds weak, not good SQ, a little louder but still doesn't get very loud... and now I'm here. Fwew, if you've read this far, thank you!!

1. First of all, any thoughts, advice, tips, tricks, etc, etc... anything that may help?

2. Any thoughts on the FIX 86 DSP laptop calibration; DSP "forgets" my settings when I turn car off/back on..? The Turn-On Mode is set to "Remote", same as my amp.

3. Although the DSP is calibrated via the button on the unit itself, that means my EQ is stuck to being flat... Can't fix that until I can get the laptop calibration to work.

4. Any idea how I can set my amp gains if my multi-meter shows excessive voltage, but my amp doesn't have a built in "Low/High" Input Voltage setting..? Any tips on setting amp gain with a DSP in general..?

5. At least in the laptop software, it shows the DSP default output voltage as 1.0 volts for all channels (I assume calibration button on DSP unit is the same). Do I need to measure the DSP RCA outputs with my multi-meter; and is it safe to do that and not short anything? (Doesn't increasing the stereo volume make the volts increase though..? ugh idk..)

6. The stock amp is between the stock stereo and the DSP. Do I just need to attempt to re-do the DSP install that my local audio tech did and bypass the stock amp all together..? Would that potentially help..?

Again, if you're read this far, thank you. I would really appreciate any help you can offer; troubleshooting tips, things to try, anything really.. I'll check back in after work tmrw, adios.
Date: Oct 12, 2017   

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