Video: Kicker Front Row digital signal processor
Raises your music to front and center
Zak Billmeier grew up in southern Vermont and coastal Maine. After graduating from Mary Washington College with a Geography degree he still isn't sure quite what to do with, he eventually settled in the mountains of Central Virginia. He spends his free time chasing his daughter around, taking pictures, gardening and cooking. Zak traces the roots of his interest in electronic gadgets to the Casio wristwatch with a built-in calculator he received as a gift one year as a child. He joined Crutchfield's car A/V team in 2007.
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Kicker's Front Row digital signal processor puts your music where it should be — right up in front of you, instead of down around your knees. A wired remote control panel lets you center the music to your listening position, add bass, and engage a simulated 5.1 Surround Sound that makes it seem like you're at a concert, sitting in the front row.
Zak: Alright I'm at the Kicker booth at CES 2013 with Aaron, and Aaron, tell me about this Front Row digital signal processor.
Aaron: Front Row processor is a phenomenal product if you like concert-like experiences in your car. Essentially what it does it takes an ordinary car stereo and makes it extraordinary. Now I'm gonna show you, there's two basic parts to it. There's the "set it and forget it" in the trunk, and then in the "gee whiz this is fun with knobs and dials" part that you get to play with at the dashboard.
So first up, this will cover all the bases that you need in terms of crossover, attenuation, boosting, cutting, and even clip limiting. For example, if you're like me and you like to listen to music really loud, this'll actually help protect your speakers from too much distortion with the Clip Limiter. It also has adjustable crossover slopes so you don't get any frequencies in your speakers that you don't want. And it's like a brick wall filter with 48dB per octave cut off.
In addition, it can run a full active crossover system like tweeter high-pass, mid-range band pass, and subwoofer low-pass. So you can do a full active crossover with no passives in your system — phenomenal piece. On the subwoofer section, we give you a variable phase adjustment. This allows you to make it sound like your subwoofer's not in your trunk, but it's right on your dash where it belongs. So it takes the bass out of your trunk and moves it up front.
In addition, we have an adjustable subsonic filter. You can eliminate any bass frequencies that are useless in your car. Like let's say you've got a ported box at 40Hz. Nothing below 40Hz is gonna come out of that box anyway so we can eliminate those frequencies with that adjustable subsonic filter. So this part, you set it, you forget it, and then you move up front and you get to play with the knobs and dials.
So here we have Stage/Width. Stage/Width is like time alignment. Let's say that you're sitting close to this speaker, but you're far away from this speaker. We can actually move the speakers digitally so you're right between them where you want to be, so it's like being at a concert. We can do that front and rear. In addition we have a surround sound setting, so if you want to listen to that concert like you're actually there in the theater, press Surround Sound and it gives you that concert like experience with the back being like the ambience behind you and everyone's in front of you on the stage.
Next up, we have our KickEQ. We've done KickEQ for many, many years now, but in the past you actually had to stop the car, get out, go to the trunk and adjust the bass boost. Now you can adjust it right from the dashboard. This is not level control, this is KickEQ control. Finally, we have the SHOCwave (Sub Harmonic Octave Creation). We actually will take bass and create it where there was none. So for example, you're listening to Pandora radio. Well, Pandora's great, but they roll off the bass frequencies, just like MP3s. We'll actually re-create bass so that you're system is thumping like you expect it from Kicker. So this gives you a lot of control and makes your music a whole lot more fun to listen too.
Zak: Thanks, Aaron. Kicker puts you in the Front Row.