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Kicker KQ9 Signal Processor

Preamplifier with 9-band Equalizer and Crossover

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Item #: 20603KQ9
 

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Our take on the Kicker KQ9 Signal Processor

by Erin Blanton
Kicker

You bought some great audio equipment for your car, but you're only halfway there. Now you have to tune your system in order to get the performance you crave. Kicker packs a ton of useful sound-shaping features into the compact KQ9 preamplifier: 9 bands of equalization, high- and low-pass crossovers, fader control, speaker- and preamp level inputs, and subwoofer level control — all in a 1/2 DIN-sized box that installs in (or under) your dash!

The KQ9 features one set of RCA inputs; speaker-level inputs are also available if your receiver doesn't have preamp outputs. Three sets of outputs are available for connection to your outboard amplifiers. You can adjust 8 bands of equalization for your main speakers: cut or boost up to 12 dB at 125, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, 8,000, and 16,000 Hz. The subwoofer output features a separate sub-bass EQ (cut/boost up to 12 dB, variable from 40-60Hz) and a level control (0 to +6 dB).

If you're using a subwoofer, the high-pass crossover (100 Hz at 18 dB per octave) removes low frequencies from your full-range speakers for greater efficiency, while the low-pass crossover (variable 60-120 Hz, at 18 dB per octave) controls the quality of the bass being sent to your sub. The EQ Defeat switch allows you to compare equalized and non-equalized sound instantly.

Important Note: This unit has no built-in amplifier — must be used in conjunction with one or more external amplifiers.

Details:
  • 1/2 DIN size — installs in or under your dash (underdash brackets included)
  • 8 bands of equalization (12 dB cut/boost at 125, 250, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 4,000, 8,000, and 16,000 Hz)
  • variable subwoofer EQ (variable from 40-60 Hz, 12 dB cut/boost)
  • subwoofer level control (0 to +6 dB)
  • high-pass crossover (100 Hz at 18 dB per octave)
  • low-pass crossover (variable 60-120 Hz, at 18 dB per octave)
  • preamp- and speaker-level inputs
  • three sets of RCA outputs (this unit has no built-in amplification — amplifiers are required)
  • switchable green/amber illumination
  • EQ defeat switch
  • input sensitivity: 150 mV to 10 volts
  • 7-1/8"W x 1"H x 5-1/16"D
  • 1-year warranty
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Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • 1/2-DIN 9-Band Equalizer
  • 12" Power/Ground/Turn-on harness with in-line 2-amp and 1-amp fuses (has 4-pin Molex plug on one end and bare wires on the other end)
  • 8" High level input harness
  • 2 Brackets for under-dash mounting
  • 4 Self-tapping screws (5/8" length)
  • 4 Machine screws (1/4" length)
  • 8 Flat washers
  • Owner's manual

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Nine EQ Bands: The Kicker KQ9 equalizer features 8 bands of equalization and a variable frequency (parametric) sub-bass equalizer. There are slide controls for each center frequency:

  • 8 Fixed Center Frequencies: 125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1 kHz, 2 kHz, 4 kHz, 8 kHz, 16 kHz
  • Parametric EQ: variable from 40 Hz to 60 Hz

12dB Boost/Cut: At each of the 9 bands, the intensity of the signal can be cut or boosted up to 12dB. The slide controls are marked at -12dB, -6dB, 0, +6dB, and +12dB. The "0" position is marked with a stop.

Crossovers: This unit has an 18dB/octave high-pass crossover at 100 Hz, and an 18dB/octave low-pass crossover with an adjustable cut-off frequency from 60 to 120 Hz. When the crossover switch is in the "On" position, both crossovers are engaged, the high-pass signal is output through the front and rear RCA outputs, and the low-pass signal is output through the subwoofer RCA outputs. When the crossover switch is in the "Off" position, there is no signal from the subwoofer RCA outputs, and the front and rear RCA output signals are full-range.

Subwoofer Level Control: In addition to the variable subwoofer crossover frequency, you can vary the subwoofer output level between -75dB and +6dB. (Minimum position marked as "0" on unit.)

High/Low Level Inputs: The KQ9 has gold-plated stereo RCA low-level inputs. For head units without RCA outputs (including factory stereos), the high-level input can be used with both low- and high-power stereos.

RCA Outputs: There are gold-plated stereo RCA outputs for front, rear, and subwoofer.

EQ/Bypass Switch: You can defeat the equalizer with the push of a button to compare the equalized and non-equalized sound.

Fader: The KQ9 features a rotary fader control to allow you to fade between the front and rear RCA outputs. The "center" position is marked with a stop.

Illumination: An illumination switch on the rear panel allows you to select green or amber for the illumination surrounding the three rotary knobs. When you turn off the subwoofer low-pass crossover, the illumination goes out from the "Sub Xover Freq." and Sub Level knobs. The LEDs on the slides for each frequency band and the parametric EQ are red, regardless of the position of the illumination switch. The red LEDs are not illuminated when the EQ Bypass is on.

Amplification Required: Because the KQ9 only has a preamp-level outputs, one or more separate amplifiers are required. Depending on your wiring configuration and amplifier selection, you can connect one, two, or three external amplifiers.

Installation/Dimensions: The half-DIN KQ9 can be mounted in-dash in compatible vehicles, or with the supplied brackets and hardware, it can be mounted under-dash. The dimensions are as follows:

  • Width=7.107" (9.454" including under-dash mounting brackets)
  • Height=0.988"
  • Nose Depth=0.859"
  • Chassis Depth (w/o RCAs)=5.042"
  • Chassis Depth (with RCAs)=5.552"

Remote Out: In addition to the connections for +12V Power, Ground and Turn-On, the KQ9's power harness also has a "Remote Out" wire to use as a turn-on for a connected amplifier or other component.

Additional Specifications:

  • Signal to Noise Ratio: 90.5dB (ref 1V RMS)
  • Channel Separation: -75.0dB
 
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Kicker KQ9 Signal Processor Reviews

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5 out of 5

Perfect fit!

Written By Keith S., La Follette, Tn on Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is the missing link in good sounding, inexpensive car audio! I regret this
product is no longer available, because it is a must have for the car audio
enthusiast with a small budget!
1 out of 1 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Perfect.

Written By mike d., OC California on Saturday, August 28, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I installed this unit along with the following in my 2008 Ford F150 Supercrew. The difference between factory and what I have now - incredible!

You will not regret any upgrade you make to the factory system. There is no comparison. I consider the Kicker KQ9 the icing on the cake! Install is straight forward, but if you do get stuck Crutchfield is there. Just a phone call away. They did offer me some sound tips that definetly made the difference. It delivers exactly what it says it will. It especially works well in my truck.

I can honestly say the sound is crystal clear, well defined, powerfull and I love it! The KQ9 filters all signalls from my Alpine HU to two Kenwood Amps, (4Chnl and Mono) Infifnity componet skrs up front and Kenwood full range at back. All purchased right here at Crutchfield!

Overall I enjoyed my expierence, from shopping on the Crutcfield site to turning the last screw with my installation. Which by the way, saved me hundreds of dollars! So go head make the call or click the buy button you will not regret it!


2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

best ever

Written By tim, south louisiana on Thursday, March 30, 2006
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
hooked it up to a Sony CDX-GT400 MP3/WMA CD Player and 2 amps sounds great i regret not having it sooner
150 out of 184 people found this helpful
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For a more in-depth review and enhanced detailed information on the Kicker KQ9 Signal Processor, please visit the Crutchfield website product page (/ISEO-rccbcspd/p_20603KQ9/Kicker-KQ9-Signal-Processor.html ).