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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read many many posts on this forum trying to find the answer, and it's very difficult to find. What is wrong with the Civic EX/Si's stereo? Why does it sound so muddy, so bassless, so... crappy? I was hoping that a simple speaker swap with some nice, efficient aftermarkets would work, but after reading many posts, it seems you need to spend thousands on a new head unit, amp, speakers and then mummify your car with sound-proofing and sealant just to get it to sound decent.

I currently have a '08 CR-V EX and was surprised at how good the stereo sounds for a stock one with no big speakers/wattage. It's very clean and clear, and the frequency response on the speakers is great, if not a little bright (fixable with iPod equalizer)

I previously had a 2007 TSX, and that is, by far, one of the best sounding factory stereos I've ever heard this side of a $90k car. I LOVED that stereo, and would still be driving that car if not for it's Drive By Wire system mauling every shift on the 6-speed manual.

I am currently interested in a 2009 Civic Si Sedan, because, to my shock, the manual/DBW behaves nothing like the TSX and is very fun to drive and reminds my of my 2003 RSX-s....BUT...

What on earth is wrong with that stereo? I'm not the type of person that likes to heavily modify my car just to have decent sound, and was wondering if anyone knew if it is:

1. The Head Unit
2. The Amp
3. The speakers
4. The Doors/Trunk serving as speaker boxes
5. A combination

Is there any way to just put in some speakers or speakers and an amp and have a decent system? I really don't want to invest a lot of time/money in something if it only half-ass fixes the problem.

I've also noticed such oddities on the previous generation TL. The car has great highs, mids, and sub, but absolutely NO bass, no matter what you do. Songs with a midbass beat suddenly have no beat at all with that stereo...

Any simple answers would be greatly appreciated.
 

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uh, the sound system is fine. at least it was in my 2008 fa5. my previous sound system in my cougar xr7 was better, being aftermarket everything, so i would know. years ago, you had to replace the crap that came in cars, but now, if it's a "premium" system with a subwoofer, it should be fine. and with the hassle of getting a head unit in the si, with the plastic piece not matching perfectly and all, i'd say it's worth it to leave it as is. that and i pay people to install my ****, i don't do it myself, so that's several hundred for an install.
 

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I think the system is real good for a 20k eco box, you cant openly compare it to say a 30 grand luxo barge, or the Type-S for that matter, with its STANDARD bose audio (Always hated bose car audio though)

I actually liked the stereo but me being the type that likes biger and better, there is no part of the system left stock

the first things I swapped were the headunit and the amp out at the same time, an Alpine IVA-W505 and PDX-5, and with the new higher power amplifier the factory speakers came to life, then I added the woofer and it sure beat the hell out of the stock one and the stock speakers could take the volume increase to compensate for the new bass. . . then came the Focal KFs up front, I liked them with the amped factory rears, but then I cut them out all together sent all the power up front and now its amazing
 

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I have read many many posts on this forum trying to find the answer, and it's very difficult to find. What is wrong with the Civic EX/Si's stereo? Why does it sound so muddy, so bassless, so... crappy? I was hoping that a simple speaker swap with some nice, efficient aftermarkets would work, but after reading many posts, it seems you need to spend thousands on a new head unit, amp, speakers and then mummify your car with sound-proofing and sealant just to get it to sound decent.

I currently have a '08 CR-V EX and was surprised at how good the stereo sounds for a stock one with no big speakers/wattage. It's very clean and clear, and the frequency response on the speakers is great, if not a little bright (fixable with iPod equalizer)

I previously had a 2007 TSX, and that is, by far, one of the best sounding factory stereos I've ever heard this side of a $90k car. I LOVED that stereo, and would still be driving that car if not for it's Drive By Wire system mauling every shift on the 6-speed manual.

I am currently interested in a 2009 Civic Si Sedan, because, to my shock, the manual/DBW behaves nothing like the TSX and is very fun to drive and reminds my of my 2003 RSX-s....BUT...

What on earth is wrong with that stereo? I'm not the type of person that likes to heavily modify my car just to have decent sound, and was wondering if anyone knew if it is:

1. The Head Unit
2. The Amp
3. The speakers
4. The Doors/Trunk serving as speaker boxes
5. A combination

Is there any way to just put in some speakers or speakers and an amp and have a decent system? I really don't want to invest a lot of time/money in something if it only half-ass fixes the problem.

I've also noticed such oddities on the previous generation TL. The car has great highs, mids, and sub, but absolutely NO bass, no matter what you do. Songs with a midbass beat suddenly have no beat at all with that stereo...

Any simple answers would be greatly appreciated.

I agree with you. There is something about the Bass that is not right. I have an '06 Civic with Navi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Yup, the 160 watt system is fine for a car that costs 18 grand. If you want better then upgrade it yourself. Thats the only way. And i disagree, the 08 crv and tsx DO NOT have a good stereo system.
Well, the 160 watt system is in the other Civics, and I don't know what that sounds like. I am talking about the 350 watt system in the Si. It sounds incredibly muddy and has such low bass that you can sometimes not even hear a beat in a song you know has one (not sub, but bass as in mid-bass).

And I suppose each to their own, and I know the CR-V's stereo isn't a thumping machine, but it is incredibly clear and faithful to the recordings. As for the TSX, I'll take the incredible bass out of those rears any day over the 8" sub in the Civic Si (as stated I am talking about the previous gen TSX, the 2007, not the new one). The previous TSX, as quoted by Car and Driver is "one of the best stereos we've heard in a car, period." Only the BMW 3 Series rivals it, to me, for factory.

And as for the RSX Type S, I thought that system was incredibly weak. It had virtually no bass from it's odd subwoofer. It was clear, but that was about it.

I don't want ghetto bass, or so loud you can go deaf in 5 minutes. I just want nice, clear, faithful reproduction of music. The Si has none of these, just mud.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree with you. There is something about the Bass that is not right. I have an '06 Civic with Navi.
Bass, treble, midrange. It's all over the place. I have THX certified speakers at home and if I listen to a song on them and then on my friend's EX coupe, I make a horrid face when it comes on, it's so different (in a bad way). The treble is barely there, the midrange is entirely too bright, and the mid-bass is missing, almost as bad as in a previous gen TL. I was quite shocked when my CR-V sounded much cleaner and could be played as loud as you wanted without going out. If I turn the bass up on the Civic's stereo, most songs make the frail door speakers start going out with their tell-tale farting noises...

I guess you have to replace it all to get a good system... and from what I'm reading, should I buy one, I should start with the head unit and a new Amp.

Anyone recommend adding just an amp? Does that sound ok? I hate making my car a thief magnet with a new HU...
 

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Yup, the 160 watt system is fine for a car that costs 18 grand. If you want better then upgrade it yourself. Thats the only way. And i disagree, the 08 crv and tsx DO NOT have a good stereo system.
160? the si has a 350 watt (peak) stock sound system. it has 6 speakers and a subwoofer. not sure what car you speak of, but the op is talking about the si, which costs $22k for 2009. this is a discussion about the si's premium sound system, right?
 

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Well, the 160 watt system is in the other Civics, and I don't know what that sounds like. I am talking about the 350 watt system in the Si. It sounds incredibly muddy and has such low bass that you can sometimes not even hear a beat in a song you know has one (not sub, but bass as in mid-bass).

And I suppose each to their own, and I know the CR-V's stereo isn't a thumping machine, but it is incredibly clear and faithful to the recordings. As for the TSX, I'll take the incredible bass out of those rears any day over the 8" sub in the Civic Si (as stated I am talking about the previous gen TSX, the 2007, not the new one). The previous TSX, as quoted by Car and Driver is "one of the best stereos we've heard in a car, period." Only the BMW 3 Series rivals it, to me, for factory.

And as for the RSX Type S, I thought that system was incredibly weak. It had virtually no bass from it's odd subwoofer. It was clear, but that was about it.

I don't want ghetto bass, or so loud you can go deaf in 5 minutes. I just want nice, clear, faithful reproduction of music. The Si has none of these, just mud.
you have the bass setting turned up all the way don't you? that's your problem. i have the bass on "0" and the subwoofer on max. you should never put the bass setting up all the way, unless the system sucks and has no subwoofer and that's the only way to get bass, because it's going to sound like crap. i agree the subwoofer is weak, but that's just how it is. you could blow your speakers too with the bass up high. i was used to an infinity basslink (10", radiated, self-powered, 200 watts rms), but i just deal with it. the problem is stock systems aren't upgradable, which is so stupid. all i want is some preouts, that's all i ask for! i would simply connect my basslink (which is self powered), and problem solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
you have the bass setting turned up all the way don't you? that's your problem. i have the bass on "0" and the subwoofer on max. you should never put the bass setting up all the way, unless the system sucks and has no subwoofer and that's the only way to get bass, because it's going to sound like crap. i agree the subwoofer is weak, but that's just how it is. you could blow your speakers too with the bass up high. i was used to an infinity basslink (10", radiated, self-powered, 200 watts rms), but i just deal with it. the problem is stock systems aren't upgradable, which is so stupid. all i want is some preouts, that's all i ask for! i would simply connect my basslink (which is self powered), and problem solved.
Well, on my CR-V the bass is all the way up and the system handles it beautifully. You're right, with no sub, this is a must-do... but it works fine for mid and deep bass in that stereo (which is 160 watts).

My TSX was kept near flat for bass, and it produced beautiful sounds at that setting, would always have great mid-bass and bass, even moving my rear view mirror to the point that I couldn't see out of it if the song was bassy.

With the EX/Si stereo at 0 for bass you get absolutely no midbass. Set it higher and you get some midbass on some songs, and the tell-tale 'farting' noises on others. You can't win. As for the sub, when it's too high, it starts to make distorted sounds when pushed. It's like the crossover is set completely in favor of low bass, and bypasses mid-bass altogether, like the previous gen TL.

Basically, no one setting works for bass, and the mids and highs always sound washed out and muddy. The CR-V and TSX's stereos sounded great song after song at the same settings.

Make sense?
 

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Well, on my CR-V the bass is all the way up and the system handles it beautifully. You're right, with no sub, this is a must-do... but it works fine for mid and deep bass in that stereo (which is 160 watts).

My TSX was kept near flat for bass, and it produced beautiful sounds at that setting, would always have great mid-bass and bass, even moving my rear view mirror to the point that I couldn't see out of it if the song was bassy.

With the EX/Si stereo at 0 for bass you get absolutely no midbass. Set it higher and you get some midbass on some songs, and the tell-tale 'farting' noises on others. You can't win. As for the sub, when it's too high, it starts to make distorted sounds when pushed. It's like the crossover is set completely in favor of low bass, and bypasses mid-bass altogether, like the previous gen TL.

Basically, no one setting works for bass, and the mids and highs always sound washed out and muddy. The CR-V and TSX's stereos sounded great song after song at the same settings.

Make sense?
yes, but the si system is the best stock system i've experienced, except perhaps for a brief moment in a 350z.
 

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Well, on my CR-V the bass is all the way up and the system handles it beautifully. You're right, with no sub, this is a must-do... but it works fine for mid and deep bass in that stereo (which is 160 watts).

My TSX was kept near flat for bass, and it produced beautiful sounds at that setting, would always have great mid-bass and bass, even moving my rear view mirror to the point that I couldn't see out of it if the song was bassy.

With the EX/Si stereo at 0 for bass you get absolutely no midbass. Set it higher and you get some midbass on some songs, and the tell-tale 'farting' noises on others. You can't win. As for the sub, when it's too high, it starts to make distorted sounds when pushed. It's like the crossover is set completely in favor of low bass, and bypasses mid-bass altogether, like the previous gen TL.

Basically, no one setting works for bass, and the mids and highs always sound washed out and muddy. The CR-V and TSX's stereos sounded great song after song at the same settings.

Make sense?
To me it sounds like you need an outboard EQ. I wouldn't rely on the head unit's EQ anyway. A 3-band is going to do JS for you since you're pretty particular about your music reproduction (don't mean that in a bad way...)
I would do that first and change out the speakers to get rid of the farting. That way you can also limit the amount of "frankensteining".
For my doors, I'm building cabinets into the door liners, so that I can also eliminate the speakers radiating into the door cavity. That will do a lot for sound improvement as well as reducing road noise.
 

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Well, on my CR-V the bass is all the way up and the system handles it beautifully. You're right, with no sub, this is a must-do... but it works fine for mid and deep bass in that stereo (which is 160 watts).

My TSX was kept near flat for bass, and it produced beautiful sounds at that setting, would always have great mid-bass and bass, even moving my rear view mirror to the point that I couldn't see out of it if the song was bassy.

With the EX/Si stereo at 0 for bass you get absolutely no midbass. Set it higher and you get some midbass on some songs, and the tell-tale 'farting' noises on others. You can't win. As for the sub, when it's too high, it starts to make distorted sounds when pushed. It's like the crossover is set completely in favor of low bass, and bypasses mid-bass altogether, like the previous gen TL.

Basically, no one setting works for bass, and the mids and highs always sound washed out and muddy. The CR-V and TSX's stereos sounded great song after song at the same settings.

Make sense?
That's a perfect description of the sound issue. It would be great if there is a simple fix for it but I'm afraid there isn't...unless someone out there can figured it out. Right now, I have my Bass, Treble, and Sub set at 3 above center. It's the best combination I can find but it's just not right.
 

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Lets put it this way, to upgrade your stereo with a proper headunit, front componants, and small sub, then two amps for sub and speakers its going to cost you about 2000$. So if we had that in our civics it would cost about 2k more. not somthing most of us would want to be stuck with.
 

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Lets put it this way, to upgrade your stereo with a proper headunit, front componants, and small sub, then two amps for sub and speakers its going to cost you about 2000$. So if we had that in our civics it would cost about 2k more. not somthing most of us would want to be stuck with.
i agree, but at the same time i hate how you have to go out and get a slightly non-matching dash piece if you want to upgrade. i just don't get why stock units don't have pre-outs. that way you could do everything except the head unit, which i know is important.

this is what i had in my 1997 cougar xr7, and how much it cost, not including install:

pioneer premier head unit with insanely great eq controls: $220
infinity kappa speakers: $220
50x4 amp: $250
200w rms self-powered 10" sub: $290 (they have a 250w version now too)
wiring: $120

= $1100

so i'd say plan on spending at least $1000. $2000 if you get a really nice high powered amp, and do the whole ghetto sub thing where you have to have 2 12" subs with 9000 watts going to them. oh, and then you have to have your entire car sound proofed with that dynomat or whatever it's called, and that **** is very expensive.
 

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Six eyes
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You don't need to use Dynamat... there are plenty of substitutes out there that are much cheaper. The thing that irritates me about Dynamat is that they market it as this amazingly engineered invention, but it's just a heavy, adhesive backed sheet for dampening vibration. It's very simple and therefore easily substituted.
 

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No, he's right the Si sound system isn't up to par. I mean I guess I agree with some of you that you shouldn't expect much from a $22,000 car, but I also have a set of THX speakers at home and the car just sounds like trash. You can only tell the difference once you've heard crystal clear sound with pure bass.

The problem in my opinion is the stock amp that comes with the car, and here's why. If you hook up your iPod or MP3 device via auxiliary port, you will notice that the sound is muffled at high volume. (This is with all the equalizer settings at 0). But if you put in a CD that you have bought or a CD that you have burned using FLAC files, you will notice that the bass output is stellar. (This is why I always burn FLAC files onto CDs to play them, because the car won't have enough power to output them).

So this led me to hypothesize that the problem is not the speakers or the subwoofer themselves, but the stock amplifier. Now, how easy is it to upgrade your amplifier? I'm not sure... I'm definitely not a audio geek, just an audiophile.
 
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