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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:50 pm 
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Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
So, I've installed a kenwood deck and set of infinity reference component speakers in my vibe, with seperate tweeters and 6.5" door speakers. I didnt install a sub or amp, I was hoping this would hold me over for a while just to give some clarity over the stock crap until I can get a sub in there.

Now this new setup is definately more detailed and clear than stock, even though the bass is seriously lacking. But I've never experienced listening fatigue before, and this is extremely obvious- almost instantly, I get a numbing, irritating effect on my ears, its just tiring and gives me headache quickly- the only way I can handle it at all is to fade most of the signal to the rear door speakers. Its strange because it doesnt nessesarily sound bad, just lacks bass, and yet the tweeters don't sound tinny or harsh, its actually clear sound coming through.

I've come up with a list of possibilities, but have no idea what might be the cause:

- Lack of bass freqs, maybe this will all dissappear if I add a small sub?
- tweeters too much (they have a -3db wiring option on the crossover)
- lack of amp (kenwood is driving everything with 22watts)
- infinitys just not the right speakers for me?
- some kind of phasing problem? Installed the tweeters on the corner just inside the sideview mirrors, they are about 18 inches from the woofers
- Im on drugs and just need to forget about it and I will get used to it?

Any input would be helpful so I can plan out my system or send back some components while they are still under warranty. Maybe there are some on the board with experience with this problem?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:18 pm 
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Interesting question. I've always wondered what cues we use to decide what volume is right for the kinds of music we listen to. If it's rock you're listening to, it might be the lack of bass that's causing the fatigue. It's possible you've punched up the volume to the point where you're getting some 'feel' out of the speakers but the midrange is way too loud for proper balance - something you wouldn't suspect because the midrange is clean.

Just speculating.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Yep, this happens at all volumes, even when real quiet, then as I blend in the rears my ears can breathe somewhat.

Such a difference when I listen to the same track on my home stereo, its just so pleasant- like the difference between cashmere and barbed wire as a textile.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:59 pm 
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Well, if it bothers you that much even at low volumes then I don't see the subs helping any. Could it be the Class D amp in the deck? Try bringing the tweeter levels down a notch.

Still speculating.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:16 pm 
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Fatigue is almost always the result of distortion at the frequency extremes (and mid-range glare and grunge) caused by the hardware and/or the music.

When I listen to badly recorded stuff like most '90s rock, then I can expect a headache after awhile even if the gear is smooth and hi-fi.

On my car's system, I get fatigue even when the music is well recorded --this is due to the low-fi quality of the components introducing distortion that was not originally on the recording.

Most car systems really are garbage though :oops:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:16 pm 
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Location: London, ON, CA
Give things a chance to burn-in. I bought a new vehicle last summer and was shocked at how tinny the system sounded initially compared to the other stock system in the vehicle I sold. It was awful.

I can't recall how long things took to run in (maybe 2-3 weeks, maybe a month-I can't recall) but one day I took notice of how things were sounding and they were noticeably better than those first few days in the vehicle. Can't say I do much critical listening in the car, but it struck me as one of the clearest cases of burn-in I've ever experienced.

There will now, of course, be 15 posts saying how I'm delusional and burn-in/break-in does not exist, is a figment of imagination, etc. etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:36 pm 
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Last edited by Uunderhill on Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Location: Orangeville, ON, CA
I think the component thats causing most if the fatigue is the Vibe

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:20 pm 
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You could see if the tweeters swivel. Then just make sure they're not pointed directly at your ears.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:32 pm 
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ditton, dial back the tweeters and get a sub, after double checking that phase is not the issue. Who did the install?
I have an amp and a small sub from my old car that's not in use, PM if you're interested. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:59 am 
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sometimes i feel like eating kittens when my stereo is faded to the front too much... I don't think theres anything wrong with fading back if it helps... a sub will prolly make a big dif. too.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:40 am 
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Its tough to decide if I'm going to keep adding components or just send them back, I don't have time to rip off car panels and try all kinds of tweaks-(plus its -20 C outside!) I have less than 30 days to return them on warranty. Lately I noticed the mids are the most offensive, however turning mids down in the eq didnt fix the problem.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:55 am 
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Personally, I find all the Infinity speakers bright and you should rotate the tweeters away from you (most have this option). Sony's mid-range Xplod speakers are actually quite good. Same for their decks. Kenwoods tend to be lower powered than their rating so they distort quicker.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:08 am 
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What you might try mounting the tweeter to the back of the woofer's grill with silicon.

Mount it in a way that the contour of the grill positions the tweeter to be aimed at the driver's ear and silicon the tweeter wires to the back of the woofer grill to make sure they do not interfere with the woofer.

My guess is the listening fatigue is caused by the tweeter being so close to your ear vs the woofer's mounting location and thus really badly time aligned with the woofer - this is creating a very unnatural sound that you can only take for so long.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 5:17 am 
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You may also consider just running the front speakers only (ie. no rear speakers) and adding a subwoofer.

In a typical 2 channel home stereo system, the left channel comes from the left front speaker and the right channel from the right front speaker - in most factory car stereo systems that sound bad, the rear speakers "confuse" the stereo image by playing the same left/right channel signals as their front speaker counter parts.


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