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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been searching the forums for a few hours trying to find answers to my questions about the Pioneer sounds system. So far I don't feel like I found what I want to know, so I thought I would create a new thread. I personally think the Pioneer premium sound system is horrible. I only got it because it came with the sunroof. The highs are tinny and only in front, and the lows are muddled and only in back. I have tried manually adjusting every setting using high quality CDs and MP3s with a little improvement.

I can see a lot of preferences on the threads about this subject, so I thought it would be good to explain my preferences. I don't want to sit behind a sound stage or in a club. And I especially don't want to live in a strange world where all high pitched sounds are in front of me and all low pitched sounds are behind me. I want the music to be in my head, similar to when I put on a good pair of Sennheiser earphones. Music is actually almost never recorded on a sound stage. It is recorded in separate recording booths, sometimes not even at the same time, and then it is mixed in a studio to make it feel like it is in your head. I would prefer the sound in my car to be equal and balanced so that I can close my eyes and feel like I am immersed in music. I want to feel like I am sitting in the middle of the stage, not at the back of the stadium.

One more thing, I don't really want to rip out all of the components or cut wires if possible. I am capable of doing this, but only willing if there is no easy solution..

So, my first question, and it seems like there are a lot of people out there who would like to know this as well. Are there any easy fixes that can be done to the Pioneer system to improve the sound, and balance it from front to back? For example, would a new pair of 3-way 6x9s in the back improve the sound? I read somewhere that the rear door and rear deck speakers are in parallel one one channel per side. Would it help to remove the rear door speakers from the circuit, or does that mess up the impedance of the circuit?

If none of this will work, then is there an easy replacement for the Pioneer Amp that would fix the problem? Does anyone have any specs on the Amp? Does anyone know if there is a model number for the amp? Is it possible to get wiring harnesses that can be used to wire a new amp without cutting any wires? I would just leave the current amp in place and add a new one right next to it.

If none of that will work, does anyone have an easy replacement idea for all of the components that reduces the amount of hacking necessary. Preferably with speakers that fit into the original mounts and with wiring that can plug into the original harnesses?

Sorry for the long post. And, I want to say that I truly appreciate all of the information everyone has already posted on the subject of Cruze audio. Xtremerevolution's SQ audio post is amazing, but it doesn't give me an easy recipe for fixing my problem. And it seems very focused on a front sound stage, which is not my preference. Maybe I would change my mind if I sat in your car and heard your stereo, who knows.
 

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I have tried manually adjusting every setting using high quality CDs and MP3s with a little improvement...

I don't want to sit behind a sound stage or in a club. And I especially don't want to live in a strange world where all high pitched sounds are in front of me and all low pitched sounds are behind me. I want the music to be in my head, similar to when I put on a good pair of Sennheiser earphones...

Xtremerevolution's SQ audio post is amazing, but it doesn't give me an easy recipe for fixing my problem. And it seems very focused on a front sound stage, which is not my preference. Maybe I would change my mind if I sat in your car and heard your stereo, who knows.
As far as getting the music "in your head", that will require time alignment of each channel so the sound reaches your ears at exactly the same time. This will give you the illusion that the sound is coming from right where you're sitting. Without time alignment you won't get that effect.

To get there you're looking at installing a device like the MiniDSP and aftermarket amplification for each channel, unless there's a way to intercept the signal and modify it in between the head and factory amp? Maybe someone else has specific advice there.

As far as sound quality goes, the only way you're going to get good sound out of your Cruze is to get the bad sounding speakers out of it and replaced with something good. The factory speakers have peaky uneven response and do not handle power very well. You can EQ and time align all day long, but you'll still end up with boomy mid-bass peaks resonating in the doors and shrill tweeters that roast your ears with songs that emphasize specific frequencies. And a complete lack of deep bass.

The reason for the "sound stage" emphasis is easy to understand... that's the way music is intended to be listened to. Headphones sound very good, but they don't give music a sense of "being there", they give a sense of the music being in your head. Live music, especially, should sound like you're in a concert hall or stadium. The easiest way to do that in a car is to focus on the front stage and use time alignment.

I believe your final statement deserves some looking into. Since you're in San Fran you're not likely going to get a demo in Andrei's car any time soon, but you should seek out a good install shop who have a sound quality oriented demo car to listen to (NOT an SPL oriented system). A car with a good sound stage is a pleasure to listen to, IMO, and if you haven't heard one yet you owe it to yourself to experience it before setting off on a quest to build your own system. It may end up saving you a lot of time and money in the long run.

Or you could just drive around with a good set of cans on your head. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
You make a good point, Blue Angel. I should definitely go sit in a car with a high-end soundstage setup. Can anyone recommend an install shop in the SF Bay Area?

I am also going to print the Car Audio SQ How To article and read it carefully.

Thanks,
 
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