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What are factory sound processors?

Upgrade your sound and keep your factory stereo

Kicker Front Row

Kicker's Front Row puts your music where it should be — right up in front of you

Factory car stereos are getting more and more complicated, as car manufacturers move away from standard-sized receivers to complicated, integrated designs. Often they are tied into a navigation system, climate controls, or other electronic functions, which make swapping them out for aftermarket stereos difficult or even impossible. The problem is, its sound might not be up to your lofty standards.

Replacing the factory speakers is a great way to start. You might also choose to add an amplifier or subwoofer — or both. All of these things, done together or on their own, will improve your factory stereo's sound. But there will always be something holding you back, and it's built right into the stereo.

Factory stereos have built-in sound shaping

Your factory stereo uses preset equalization designed to make cheap factory speakers sound better, meaning that it automatically adjusts the different frequencies, creating audio "peaks and valleys" which can degrade sound quality. It is particularly noticeable when you add amplifiers, speakers and subwoofers to your setup, as any deficits in the sound are literally amplified.

Most factory stereos also limit the bass output as volume increases in an attempt to protect the speakers. The trouble is, even if you upgrade your speakers and install an amp and subwoofer, the bass output is still limited by your factory stereo. This throws your system out of balance and makes the bass sound muddy and weak.

How can I overcome the factory processing?

Fortunately, there's an easy cure. You can install a sound processor, which strips away the sound-shaping limitations enforced by your factory stereo and sends a clean signal to your external amplifiers. The amps send the signal to your speakers and subs. Your reward will be resonant lows, sparkling highs, and a realistic sense of space and depth.

Are these sound processors complicated to install?

Installation generally isn't too difficult — these processors connect to your stereo using your vehicle's speaker wires, and then to your amps and subs. You'll be able to keep the look and controls of your factory stereo, but expand your system for serious sound.

Sound processor system diagram
  • A sound processor connects to your factory stereo through the stereo's speaker wires.
  • The processor removes the factory sound-shaping, so the signal is clean.
  • The signal is sent to your external amplifier(s). The amps power your front and rear speakers, and subwoofers.

Choosing the right sound processor

We carry a handfull of different factory sound processors, each with slightly different capabilities. Generally speaking, they range from "easy to use" to "seriously intense". Here are some examples:

JL Audio FiX 82 sound processor

JL Audio FiX 82 sound processor

Processors like the JL Audio FiX™ only require you to connect them to your factory stereo and aftermarket amplifier, then they do all the sound shaping for you. No hassles or tweaking needed — easy in, easy out.

Audio Control LC6i

Audio Control LC6i sound processor

For a more traditional approach, check out AudioControl's line of factory sound processors. They clean up the sound and give you manual control of the output for your amps. They're a particularly good choice if you have a premium factory stereo system. They can convert the amplified signal from premium factory systems so you can add your own amps and subs. AudioControl's line drivers can send a clean, 9.5-volt signal to an aftermarket amp, giving you clean sound. All their processors have highly customizable configurations.

Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 signal processor

Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 signal processor

At the other end of the spectrum are processors like the Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3. Once you've installed it in your system, run a USB cable to your laptop and and you can not only flatten the factory stereo's processing, but you can also use a 31-band equalizer to adjust the sound to your heart's content. The 3Sixty.3 is a hardcore sound-shaping toolbox for the serious sound tweaker.

Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty.3 control screen

From your laptop, the 3Sixty.3 lets you control every aspect of your sound system.

Keep the look, love the sound

For some car owners, radio replacement isn't a thing they can't do; it's a thing they don't want to do. And that's okay. With a sound processor, you don't have to put up with a lousy stereo just because you genuinely like the look of your car's interior or some of the infotainment functions. If you've tired of settling, give us a call and let us help you find a sound processor that's right for you and your car.

Please share your thoughts below.

  • Jackie Cerich from San Juan PR

    Posted on 7/8/2020

    2010 Honda Accord LX upgrading speakers (Focal), adding subwoofer (Rockford P12D4) and two amplifiers (Rockford Prime) with factory radio. What sound processor is recommended. How many channels?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 7/10/2020

    Jackie, Knowing how many channels you'll need depends on the trim of your car and how many speakers it has. Give us a call so an Advisor can help you choose the gear that'll work best for you and fit in your vehicle.
  • Jeremiah from Ramona

    Posted on 6/15/2020

    I have a 2016 nissan rogue and I'm installing 2 rockford fosgate p2d4 10s with an amplifier. I'm only using the amp for the woofers and I am leaving the factory speakers connected to the factory oem radio. Do I need a sound processor?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/15/2020

    Jeremiah, If you're just adding subs, there's no real need for a processor.
  • George Whalen from Cambridge, On

    Posted on 6/1/2020

    Great article with great advise. I have a 2020 Kia Sportage EX teck package. It has a Harman/Kardon premium audio system in it. It still sounds bad. I love my music and want to upgrade. What would you recommend. Thanks George

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/3/2020

    George, I recommend you call us and talk with an Advisor who can help you get the best sounding equipment that will fit in your vehicle.
  • Robert Murphy from Nashville

    Posted on 5/11/2020

    Does an aftermarket amp with a DSP do the same thing?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/12/2020

    Robert, Yes it will.
  • Mark from San Diego

    Posted on 4/23/2020

    What processor would work best for 2006 525i w/o premium sound

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/24/2020

    Mark, Check out JL Audio's VX800/8i DSP amplifier, which will take care of your front door tweeters and midrange drivers, the rear tweeters and mids, and have two additional processed channels for a subwoofer amp.
  • Daniel from New York

    Posted on 8/23/2019

    hi Sir I am going to refit my vehicle with a completely new system amplifiers speakers etc. I have 1 din head unit which I will not remove, what I would like is 7inch touch screen to control the new system, the head unit will not be used except for radio. your advice would be appreciated. thanks

  • david from concord

    Posted on 5/8/2019

    i have a 2019 tacoma non jbl system. jl audio has told me that the factory system is not compatable with the fix86 because it causes the fix86 to have problems due to the factory system starting in 2019 has a all pass filter and the factory head constantly adjust the output every time you change the volume.

  • Chris from PNW

    Posted on 5/2/2019

    I have a 2016 Kia Cadenza that is sending too wide of frequencies to the factory separates up front causing some distortion. Plus the tweeters are just too tinny sounding. So I picked up some Infinity Kappa 60.11 CS 6.5" separates to replace the factory speakers as they come with crossovers which I figured might solve the factory stereo issues up front. After reading this article though, I'm now not so sure that's the case given whatever pre-EQ work my factory stereo is doing. I am trying to upgrade on a budget and don't want to purchase an aftermarket amp. the factory amp seems to put out enough juice as it is. Is there a DSP that will allow me to continue to use the factory amp?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/3/2019

    Chris, That's a great idea for a product; a DSP that works with a factory amp. I don't know that one exists. It would have to incorporate a vehicle-specific interface harness of some sort. The receiver in your vehicle, for example, sends only digital data to the amplifier, so interfacing with that may be impossible. Adding an amplifier with a built-in DSP may be your best solution. The new amp would get its inputs from the factory amp's outputs and mix the signals together to form a full-range stereo signal. Then you'd apply your tune-up via the DSP to get your high-fidelity sound.
  • Arturo Decano from Obando, Philippines

    Posted on 3/13/2019

    I installed Pioneer AVH Z9150BT in my car. Do i I still need a DSP?

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/13/2019

    Arturo, Although it isn't easy digging through the settings menus and pushing the right buttons, that receiver has a lot of DSP features built-in, like graphic EQ and time-alignment, so you don't really need an addition DSP device.
  • Robert from Cuyahoga Falls

    Posted on 8/18/2018

    I have a 2015 buick regal. I wanted to keep the factory head unit and keep everything looking as OEM as possible without having any visible amplifier in the car or truck. I went with the small alpine ktp-445u power pack and Alpine R series speakers. I believe the 6.5 components are hooked up to 2 of the channels and the 6x9s are hooked up to the other 2 channels. The 3.5 center dash is left disconnected and the rear door 6.5s are hooked up to the head unit. I want a smaller sound processor that can fit easily behind the dash but I dont know where to begin and what one will work best for this application. Looking for suggestions on what processor to buy and what I should be looking to pay for installation. Thanks!

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/20/2018

    Robert, Check out the Rockford Fosgate DSR-1 digital signal processor. It's tiny and will work with that amp. As for installation - look at online search results and reviews for car audio installers in your area.
  • Charles from Buda

    Posted on 7/28/2018

    Looking for a loc or processor that is signal sensing and turn on pop free. Factory radio has no turn on lead, and constant popping from ignition key is NOT tolerable. What will meet my demands?

  • Kevin Carrera from Miami

    Posted on 7/20/2018

    I have a 07 Acura TL and Elliot Scheiner put a lot of work into tuning the factory radio. He did a great job and the stock system does not sound at all but it did need an enhancement. I'm into Sound quality now and I learned a lot about dynamic sound and time alignment along with floor level sound. I had my factory amplifier modified by a guy who changed out the passive capacitors and used muse amps to enhance the sound in my TL. I would like to know is there a way to use a high output converter to use on my factory amp instead of buying an aftermarket amp?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/10/2018

    Joe, Crutchfield doesn't carry a sound processor made specifically for motorcycle application. I'm not sure what sound processing would even be relevant in a system without an interior space.

  • Joe from Southgate MI

    Posted on 5/9/2018

    Do you carry a sound processor that would be usable in a 2016 Harley Ultra limited? Already upgraded speakers and amp but I kept the OEM radio/nav unit.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/16/2018

    Dodger, I would replace the vehicle's receiver before getting a processor to fix the sound. If you're leaving the factory radio in, then, perhaps, you should give us a call and talk to an Advisor about what will accomplish your goals. With questions like this, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human in order to get what will work best for you.

  • Dodgersfeign from California

    Posted on 2/15/2018

    I have a 2017 chevy Silverado crew cab and and the following I'm going to install in very near future, Infinity kappa 693.11I 6x9's and kappa 62.11I 6 1/2's being pushed by a Kappa K4, 2 Sundown audio 10's being pushed by a fosgate 1200 prime... I'm thinking I'm going to have a solid setup but, My question is what other "good" options do I have other than a JL audio Fix 86? Is the $400 for the processor really needed?

  • Skip gist from Williamsville ny

    Posted on 11/26/2017

    Dear crutchfield, your advice is second to none. Iam a big fan & follower of you on social media and I have used your wisdom numerous times in setting up my home & auto system. Iam about to in the very near future upgrade my home theater system and I will need information on preamp and or audio recording . You guys always go the extra yard of explaining systems and then tell what systems are bad or not..KEEP UP THE FANTASTIC WORK

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/26/2017

    Tim, A digital signal processor (DSP) can improve the sound in any system, especially one using a factory radio. Most are simple to install but very difficult to tune. Your installer should have a better idea of what specific processor to use to solve the issues he or she hears. And they should be familiar enough with the gear to tune it properly. As for factory subwoofers: they're highly sensitive, low-impedance (1 or 2 ohms) drivers powered by very small amplifiers. If you replace the factory sub without replacing the factory sub amp, you'll end up with less bass than before.

  • Tim gotto from Fairview heights

    Posted on 10/25/2017

    I have a 2015 Dodge Ram 2500 with the 10 speakers I replace the door speakers with JL Audio 6 by nines I believe the two in the ceiling with Infinity Kappa and the front dash with infinity kappas. I use the factory amp for the kappas but the JL Audio I had a Kenwood Exelon put in in the issue is there they said I needed a sound processor to make them sound right. I'm not looking for top of the line but I definitely want something that in time maybe would be expandable. But yet something that has Crisp sound. Seems like I have a little bit issue with Bluetooth sometime not being loud enough to hear people. Would the JL audio sound processor be the easiest way to go yet have the quality that I'm looking for? Also the 8 inch sub in the rear is there a way to replace it with the factory amp that I can get some quality sound out of a speaker just putting in there some type of JL Audio or something of same quality? I have two 10-inch Subs with another amp but I was hoping maybe there was something to put in and replace that 8-inch some sub to make it sound good without going through the trouble of adding the subs I have now? Is there an amp that would work best to put in for the speakers in the dash and the speakers in the ceiling? Or what do you recommend so that they can keep up the power with the door speakers? Also is there a way to add a different 8 inch sub in the amp for the dash speakers in the ceiling speakers all in one so that I don't have to put in 3 amps.?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/5/2017

    Rich, Check out JL Audio's FiX 82 and FiX 86 processors. They automatically remove the factory sound processing, leaving a flat signal for you to deal with.

  • Rich from NY

    Posted on 8/27/2017

    I have a stock radio. I took signal from a rear speaker and sent it to an AudioControl LC2i for my remote turn on for an amp/sub-woofer set up. My problem is my factory radio heavily equalizes the signal(s) going to all speakers including the one i tapped for my remote turn. What can i use to get a clean signal from that rear speaker? Name of some brands/model? Also does the ACLC2i achieve this? In other words, I would like to kill the EQ or get clean/flat unequalized signal from my stock speaker to send to my ACLC2i > Amp > Subwoofer.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/3/2017

    T, Your stereo shop's recommendations sounds good, but I would add bass blockers to your door speakers to clean up the sound even more. Adding a sound processor and amplifier almost always improves the sound. And just because you add a sub doesn't mean you have to replace speakers.

  • T.D.

    Posted on 8/3/2017

    I have a 2013 Subaru BRZ Ltd. There's a rattle in the driver's side door and, in addition to applying Dynamat, the stereo shop recommended installing a subwoofer to lighten the stress on the front speakers. I was intrigued by this article and would like to get your recommendations for getting the best bang for my buck while keeping the head unit. Would a FSP help, and would I need to replace the factory speakers if I add a subwoofer?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/5/2017

    Nator, There are a couple of ways to upgrade the audio system of a vehicle which has a factory amplifier. One, as you say, is to take signal from the factory amp's outputs and send it to a DSP with speaker-level inputs. Another method is to employ an amplifier replacement interface, if one fits your car, that'll let you add your own DSP and amps while retaining all factory audio controls and features.

  • Nator from PGH

    Posted on 6/4/2017

    In a 2014 Taurus, the amplifier, steering wheel controls, voice feedback, etc. is contained in one unit in the trunk. So would I take the speaker outputs after this unit into a DSP, then to an amplifier? Thanks

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/3/2017

    Daniel, I know it wasn't talked about much in the article - dealing with factory tuning. A great way to get a flat, clean signal from a factory system is with a JL Audio FiX 86 processor and DRC-200 remote. You'll set your radio's volume at ¾ full and then control volume with the remote. The FiX processing automatically sums, EQs, and aligns the factory signals to a unified, flat stereo mix. Then you take the outputs of the Fix and apply your own customized DSP tuning and amplification.

  • Daniel Winebarger from Hoschton

    Posted on 4/2/2017

    I have a general question about these DSP's... Once a factory stereo limits or cuts out certain frequencies, how are those frequencies restored, and are they actually fully restored? It seems to me that once they are limited and the sound is sent out in edited form they would be gone and lost for good. Can you further explain? I'm interested in upgrading my 2017 Honda CR-V in this manner, but I truely want full-range original sound and to make sure that is what I'd be getting with this purchase. Also specific product recommendations would be welcomed. I'll be running the signal from my factory touchscreen stereo, through the DSP, into an Infinity Kappa5 amplifier, pushing 4- Infinity Kappa 6.5's and 2- 10" Kicker CVT's. Thanks in advance

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/3/2017

    Bill, I don't think there's any signal processing that can focus a musical image spread apart by the distance between tweeter and woofer. The remote knob that comes with the DQ-61 does more than just control the volume of bass - it's also used to make time adjustments. And if you don't like what the AccuBass circuit sounds like, don't use it.

  • Bill from Florida

    Posted on 2/2/2017

    I have a 2017 Hyundai Sonata Sport and am keeping the stock HU (mine plays .flac files-thank you Hyundai!) and am thinking of using an AudioControl DQ-61, with either a Pioneer PDX-V9 amp or JL Audio RD900/5 amp. I own Focal ISS-165 components (tweeters will go in stock location, dash firing at windshield) and mid-woofers in the doors, knee level; Focal ISC coax in rear stock locations and a JL Audio CS112RG-W3v3 Subwoofer. 1) Since the mids and tweets are not near each other as is recommended, is there anything I can do with the DQ-61 or another processor, to digitally close the gap between the mids and tweets? 2) The processor and either amp accommodated a remote knob - do I need both or just one - which one? 3) I am concerned about the AccuBASS circuitry of the DQ-61 sounding artificial. Is that possible? I appreciate any advice you can give. Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/20/2017

    Brian, I've forwarded your questions to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your vehicle. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat - just click on the phone icon at the very top of this page.

  • Brian McCaffrey from Bethel, CT

    Posted on 1/19/2017

    Hey Buck. I have a 2013 Nissan Rogue with the "premium" sound system. The sound lacks any punch and everything seems to come out of the speaker in the center dash. Not happy with the imaging at all. I was very upset to learn that with this system trading out amps and/or speakers can be very problematic. I have now decided that I would like to get a new amp(s), component front speakers, rear speakers and a new powered subwoofer. So everything but the head unit. My question is simply this, can I expect to get high quality sound with the use of some sort of sound processor to go along with everything else I am getting or will it be hit or miss?? And if yes, what should I get? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/5/2016

    BD, Check out Helix's P SIX DSP MK2. Not only will it enable you to tune every parameter of sound to perfection via PC, it also includes a 6-channel amplifier so you can experience the power of your music as well.

  • BDWW from Milwaukee

    Posted on 12/2/2016

    Seeking the best sound processor for a 2005 Jaguar XJ8 L...Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/21/2016

    Michael, If you want to add time-alignment, bass-enhancement, and surround sound simulation to your system, a Front Row processor by Kicker (not Kenwood) may be just what you want.

  • Michael from Houston

    Posted on 11/19/2016

    I have a Kenwood Excelon DPX59BT in a 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The HU is currently feeding a Kenwood Excelon X801.5 for a set of Focal Integration ISS 690's in the front and a set of Focal Integration ISC 165 for rearfill. Also, I have a set of JL Audio 8W1v3-4's in a custom sealed enclosure for the lows. Will I benefit using the Kenwood Front Row DSP?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/9/2016

    Luke, It sounds like Rockford Fosgate's 3Sixty.3 digital signal processor will be a good match for you and your system.

  • Luke Ponte from Wasilla

    Posted on 9/8/2016

    Hello, I have a 2015 Chevy Silverado 1500, has the 8" display, no Bose system. I have added Rockford Fosgate 10" subwoofer (T1S1-10), Rockford Fosgate amplifier (T500 - 1bdCP) In all four doors (T1650), and four PM100X1. What would be a good matching processor for this setup. Thank you

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/6/2016

    Mohamed, That receiver has so many tuning features, I doubt you'll need a separate DSP. Adding a DSP to a system will never improve its level of distortion. I think the Helix DSP Pro upconverts its input signal to 64-bit resolution and 96 KHz sampling rate.

  • Mohamed from Tehran

    Posted on 9/5/2016

    Hi, Do i need any DSP while i have Sony RSX-GS9 Headunit? Not for controlling the EQ or HPF or ... . Im thinking about the harmonic distortion and playing High Res. music files while im connecting my Headunit to my BRAX GRAPHIC GX2400 and BRAX 3 way Component Speakers with no phase Plug. And here is my biggest question, does these DSPies convert any low quality 16bit music files to 24bit or higher?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/24/2016

    Jim, I'm not sure the Honda receiver is as bad as you think, but you can remove all of the factory sound processing automatically with a JL Audio FiX 86 DSP.

  • Jim from San Diego

    Posted on 6/24/2016

    I drive a 2016 Honda Civic EX with a total of 8 factory speakers (4-6.5" and 4-tweeters). Sounds like a big bag of trash. In order to keep the HU and it's functions, I'm thinking of replacing the speakers (except for the rear tweets, probably just disconnect those) and adding the Alpine F300 to power them. I'm fairly certain that the HU is still going to hamper my sound upon completion. Do you agree and if so, which FSP would you recommend for me?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/15/2016

    Brentton, Check out AudioControl's DM-608, which has all its controls and adjustments accessible via PC, Android, or iOS device.

  • Brentton from Cheyenne

    Posted on 6/14/2016

    Outside of the Rainbow DSP 1.8, are there and DSP options controllable and tunable directly from and iPad? Or Mac?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/3/2016

    Dave, Your vehicle is a particularly difficult one in which to upgrade the sound. One way would be to connect a DSP with speaker-level inputs and signal-summing, along with an aftermarket amplifier, that takes its inputs from the factory amp's outputs or right at the speaker connections. A great product for you to check out is Helix's P SIX DSP MK2, a powerful digital signal processor with a built-in six-channel amp. I don't know exactly what to do about the automatic noise control (ANC) in the factory system. Perhaps you could find out how to disable it in a Honda owners forum.

  • Dave from Dayton

    Posted on 5/31/2016

    I have a 2015 Honda Accord Sedan, 7-speaker system. I'd like to make audio system changes in steps. The first step I'd like to take is to add a DSP and disable the ANC. I'm hoping that this will make an improvement on it's own, but am concerned about the OEM amp un-doing some of the good that the DSP does to the signal. Will I need to replace the OEM 5-channel amp to see the benefit ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/23/2016

    Jay, Almost any processor or equalizer can be used to improve the bass in a system. Maybe you should consider an AudioControl Epicenter. This processor restores and creates bass signals specifically for improved bass response.

  • Jay from Los Angeles

    Posted on 5/20/2016

    I have a 2006 Lexus IS250. I only have a 3 band EQ (Bass Mid Treble). I have a 500W kicker mono amp with 2 Dual 12 inch subs. Do you think a processor will give me deeper clean bass to my subs for them to hit harder with my factory stereo or should I go along with a in trunk EQ for stronger deeper harder hitting bass?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/13/2016

    Mike, To get great sound while keeping a factory system, you can use a sound processor that has speaker-level inputs, like Rockford Fosgate's 3Sixty.3 digital signal processor.

  • Mike Offre from Boston

    Posted on 5/11/2016

    Hello. I currently have a 1999 Lexus ES300 with the Pioneer factory stereo/amp/speaker/tweeter/sub setup. I plan to switch the stereo/amp to the Nakamichi ones and replace the OEM speaker/tweeter/sub with a Polk Audio set. I purpose want to keep the OEM head unit for the tape/cd to explain why I'm going that route. I'm wondering how I can incorporate a factory sound processor into that mix to add "oomph" to the Nakamichi stereo/amp?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/9/2016

    Gregory, There are a few digital signal processors that can solve your problems. For example, JL Audio's FiX 82 processor automatically removes all factory processing leaving you with a flat, coherent signal for your aftermarket amps to work with. An AudioControl DQ-61 can take your factory signals, combine them, and let you add you own EQ and time alignment for your amplifiers to then pass along to your speakers. I've forwarded your questions to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right gear for you and your vehicle. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat - just click on the phone icon at the very top of this page.

  • Steve from Chandler, AZ

    Posted on 5/8/2016

    I have a 2016 Tacoma double cab with the JBL system. I think it sounds muddy and bass heavy. It does have a sub and a reasonably powerful amp. I'd like to clean up the factory signal and increase the amount of equalization. Can I run some type of DSP or FSP that would give me a good signal but still allow me to use the factory amp / speakers? Then I could decide what speakers need to be replaced, if any, or what I need to add for amps. Or are there any amplified DSP's?

  • Gregory from Inkster

    Posted on 5/6/2016

    I have a 2007 Chrysler aspen with navigation system, rear dvd player, all the bells and whistles controlled by the radio. I have a nagging volume limiter that constantly kills my sound when I'm driving. It never stays up at a satisfactory level unless its nighttime. Will a sound processor help me sir. I have an alpine factory system in my truck. It seems like every radio tech here in Michigan seems to think that there is nothing I can do about it unless I swap out the entire system compromising all my controls. I cannot do that, will you please help me with some honest advice. I would greatly appreciate it. The sound processor thing seems logical. I wander why no one has advised me to try that.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/25/2016

    Lee, Most of the time, interference and noises that change pitch with the engine's RPMs are caused by loose or inadequate ground connections. If you bought any of your gear from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number would be on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Lee

    Posted on 4/23/2016

    I have a 2015 Ford Edge Sport with premium sony sound. I installed sub and a amp and used a stinger LOC on the factory sub, when i start the car the subs hum 4 or 5 times with the door closed but with the door open it doesnt do it. I also have motor noise coming from the subs. Ive got a good short ground, cant figure it out please help!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/6/2016

    David and Chris, I've forwarded your questions to Crutchfield's Sales Advisor Team, and a member will get in touch with you by email to offer suggestions and help you choose the right DSP for you and your vehicle. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat - just click on the phone icon at the very top of this page.

  • Chris Stevenson from Frisco

    Posted on 4/5/2016

    I have a 2011 Yukon Denali with Bose premium system. I have upgraded and bypassed the Bose amp using Audiocontrol L6ci LOC Currently running kicker ix1000.5,( about to upgrade to Arc Audio 1200.6 amp ) Would something like an Audison Bit One or BIt Ten, or other like brand be an upgrade over the Audiocontrol L6ci and help better the SQ of my system and function as a LOC? Speakers in my system listed below- open to upgrades: 6.5" dsk hertz components in front, 6.5" RF Punch 3-ways in rear JL 12" 3v3 4ohm sub in rear- (sub is in small ( built to spec) sealed box. )

  • David Strum from Hopewell

    Posted on 4/5/2016

    Hello. I have a 2013 Honda Accord Sport. Factory 180w stereo. I installed Polk Audio Db6501 components in the doors, factory rear speakers, and I had a Pioneer GM D8601 amp powering 2 10" JL Audio W3s installed. I was thinking of adding a DSP and possibly an amp to power the Polk's. What would be a good DSP option? Also, when I turn my ignition off, a tone cones through my subs like a single bump. Will a DSP remediate this issue? Thanks in advance.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/11/2016

    Brent, Alpine's INE-W960 navigation receiver includes 9-band equalization and time correction, so you may not ever need an additional signal processor in order to get excellent sound. But if you're unhappy with the sound available, adding a digital signal processor to your system should enable you to attain the sound you want.

  • Brent from Petawawa

    Posted on 1/9/2016

    I got a 2015 kia forte sx model so far with factory HU, kicker cs 6.5 componts up front, 6x9 alpine spr69 rear+ pdxf4 and two 10" alpine type r + mrx MRX-M110 and soon to replace the factory with INE-W960 is it worth investing in to a sound processor two ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/9/2015

    David, I think any of the processors mentioned in this article might work for you, but not knowing anything about your vehicle (it's not available in the US) nor what processors are available in your country, I can't say for sure which would work best. For a novice, I'd recommend going to a local car audio shop and ask for their opinions and recommendations.

  • David from Nottingham

    Posted on 11/7/2015

    I'm looking to do a boot build in my Mk4 golf r32, and keeping the standard stereo. Just stumbled across these and thinking they could be a very good idea to get the most out of my (future) system. Any recommendations? (complete novice at this)

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/29/2015

    CT, That receiver has all the digital sound processing you'll probably ever need right onboard, so any additional processor would be unnecessary. The DEH-80PRS' features include time alignment, 16-band equalization, and 3-way crossovers for active systems.

  • ct from San Diego

    Posted on 10/28/2015

    I have a Pioneer deh-80prs hu. Would it benefit if run through a digital sound processor?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/7/2015

    Jazzy, The sound quality of almost any system will benefit from the addition of a sound processor. From your description, it sounds like your premium system changes tone as the volume changes. A processor like JL Audio's CleanSweep compensates for this effect, resulting in a flat signal that you can EQ to your own taste. Almost any processor will allow you to set the tone the way you like at the volume you like.

  • Jazzy Blue from PHILADELPHIA

    Posted on 7/5/2015

    I have a 2014 Chrysler 300 w Beats audio...I love the sound at high volume but need a way to improve sound at lower volume. Will sound processor fix this problem and increase factory bass?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/26/2015

    Pavol, Almost all car audio systems benefit by the addition of an amplifier in musical clarity, energy, and loudness. While your sound will improve with the installation of those speakers alone, it will improve even more if you drive each of them with 50 to 75 watts RMS.

  • Pavol from Prague

    Posted on 6/24/2015

    Hi there, Considering to upgrade speakers on my VW Golf Mk7 with 2-way FOCAL Performance Expert PS 165F (both in front and rear doors). In addition the doors will be filled with three layers of noise blocking and anti vibration material (ZN FINISH and STP GOLD). I am concerned with the output of the stock Composition Media stereo (4x20w). Could you please give me an advice if the stereo's output will be appropriate in comparison with the speakers' output? Shall I rather go for lower Focal series as the factory stereo will not be able to utilize full 165F's potential? Or shall I rather buy aftermarket DSP/amp in order to match the speakers' level? My goal is just to have crispier sound at normal level of sound volume hence I believe that don't need high power output. I prefer to listen liquid drum and bass and house music. Many thanks and regards, Pavol

  • Robert Ferency-Viars from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/17/2015

    I think your situation is pretty cut and dried, as far as the cost-benefit goes: if you change the stereo, you lose the navigation system, aux & USB inputs, and you have to hardwire all the connections. In my mind, that's not worth doing in a nice truck that has a pretty good factory stereo system. Maybe put in some aftermarket speakers (but make sure you get low-impedance speakers to match the factory speakers) or a subwoofer. Of course, using a factory signal processor changes that. You get to keep all the nice bells & whistles Toyota gave you in the dash, but replace all the other audio components with your choice of amps and speakers. Your truck is a prime candidate for this approach. Give us a call if you have any questions or would like some help selecting the gear.

  • Mr Innovator from Oregon

    Posted on 6/16/2015

    Highly considering an Aftermarket HU for my 2014 Toyota Tundra however my door lock,chimes etc maintenance, Navigation & personal reminders are all integrated into factory HU. Crutchfeild has several aftermarket HU choices BUT the dilemma is if I go that route how much of the those so called minor conveniences from the factory am I willing to lose, for example on my model if I forget to close the sunroof and exit the vehicle I get an immediate chime to remind me that it's left open. A minor loss if it can't be integrated into a aftermarket HU, but it's a major loss if it happens to rain & you forgot because of the former factory reminder. I think Crutchfeild will eventually do this but they or someone should do a item by item cost benefit analysis of retaining factory HU vrs aftermarket HU, not your run of the mill audio specs. As any respectable audiophile knows the factory DSP's is so choked down & unalterable that it's almost worthless to modify with add on's. I assume a aftermarket FSP would solve most of these issues but a real hard core test would be how much of a sound stage do you get vrs dumping the entire manufacturers system & getting a proven aftermarket HU with programable sound stage. I'd Like to hear from any Tundra owners that have done ONLY an FSP add on to factory & someone that went 100% aftermarket then have both list pro's & cons of their install & soundstage.