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DSP recommendations and opinions for our double cab trucks?

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by CLVol1255, Feb 10, 2020.

  1. Feb 10, 2020 at 9:21 PM
    #1
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t had an aftermarket head unit in a vehicle of mine since highschool 20 years ago until recently. I bought a Kenwood excelon model headunit. I’ve always had Bose in either a Chevy or Nissan until the Toyota. I’m very impressed with how far they've came especially having time alignment and crossover functions built in but no crossover function for band passing the tweeters with 13 band or more equalizer and several other features such as slopes and dB gains etc etc that I’d assume similar to the out board dsp systems from some of the big brand names that cost more than a head unit in a lot of cases.
    I’m keeping this Kenwood headunit. Would I be wasting money adding an outboard dsp to my system or would it enhance the sound even more?
    Im really just wanting opinions from Tacoma users on the better dsp systems out there and how much If any improvements do they make in sound over the newer head units like the Kenwood excelons and other top brands higher end audio head units and would you consider these improvements and capabilities to be worth the extra money that they cost? I was thinking id definitely get one when i first started my upgrades but one thing has turned into the other during this process and I’ve gone to the higher end on each component and upgrade I’ve added thus far within my budget and I’m blown away at the sound and improvements made. Would a good dsp really give me that much better quality sound from my system than I’ve got right now as is. I could afford to spend another $600 to $1000 if it’d really make a good bit of difference but I could also settle on something for $200 if It’d be as good. I’ve got 1 8 inch infinity basslink powered sub with built in amp with 150rms@4ohms and 1 8” JL audio port boxed sub behind passenger rear seat with 250rms@4ohms all 4 door speakers are rated for 70rms 4ohms. So with tweeters I have 8 channels plus sub & powered sub. Would an outboard dsp be a big improvement over the head unit dsp and my JL audio xd700/5v2 amp filters?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  2. Feb 10, 2020 at 9:25 PM
    #2
    hr206

    hr206 Well-Known Member

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    Are you asking if you should get a new headunit or keep the factory and add a DSP? By your description, a DSP is an equalizer?
     
  3. Feb 10, 2020 at 9:27 PM
    #3
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I’m keeping the Kenwood aftermarket head unit. I’m asking if adding an out board dsp to my setup would be an improvement from the head unit dsp and or worth the extra expense. I’m saying I’m impressed with the built in features of the head unit Kenwood excelon makes. I’m asking if I added say an audio control dm 810 or audison bit ten d for example... not necessarily those two but as an example would it make a big difference in sound and sound capability of my current setup? I’m kinda skeptical and thinking the only thing that’s going to make a really big difference is full digital optical output and anything rca will only slightly help out with the reading and research I’ve done the last couple weeks. I see some of the audio control systems and JL TWK both have optical outputs for future technology that’ll likely be available before too long but not really a help today with my current setup at least
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  4. Feb 11, 2020 at 4:44 AM
    #4
    Taco1.1

    Taco1.1 Well-Known Member

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    I have an JL Audio TwK with Alpine head unit and an amp and it is a massive improvement. It is better than every previous car I’ve had except the Volvo S90 B&O system.

    keep in mind you need to budget for a qualified tuner to tune the DSP to get the most out of it.

    my opinion...a properly tuned DSP is the single biggest improvement you can make to a car audio system. There are ones now that are built into amps but I don’t have any direct experience.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2020 at 5:53 AM
    #5
    dolbytone

    dolbytone Well-Known Member

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    For the benefit of others I’m just going to copy/paste my comments on this topic from elsewhere.

    So something you need to realize is that the biggest jump in car audio upgrades is the stuff you have already done. Replacing the stereo, speakers and adding an amplifier is the biggest sound quality jump you will make. Everything else has a smaller and more subtle effect, and the return on investment becomes greatly diminished.

    The harder you try, the harder it is to get satisfying results because your expectation with every upgrade is that you’ll finally reach audio Valhalla and finally, FINALLY! dine on honeydew and drink the milk of paradise. It’s just not like that and you have to check yo-self or you’ll end up like a dragon chasing junkie.

    Now, that’s not to say there aren’t REASONS to add a DSP, there are. You get yourself into a whole new level of experimentation and control. The difference being you have just gone beyond the point where you can make adjustments by ear, and you need to have a much deeper understanding of audio, and the accompanying equipment because you’ve begun making changes that are not really audible.

    What you get with an external DSP:

    1. Advanced crossover settings
    2. Independent EQ for each channel.
    3. Better channel balancing controls.
    4. Mapping/routing options.

    I can’t speak for all DSPs but with the JL Audio TwK you get presets that you can switch between on the fly so you can A/B compare different tunes/settings, as well as a valet mode that can be activated to protect your system from assholes at the shop or kids going to prom or whatever, or you can use it to activate a preset that has a time alignment for when you have a passenger.

    While you can have more of these features, there’s just a LOT more things to fuck up too. It’s really easy for a novice driver to crash an Indy car and you have to be mindful of that.

    If you are determined to go down this path I recommend that you get an RTA and learn how to use it. One with FFT would be helpful for phase and time alignments but even a simple spectrum analyzer will have value when diving into this much deeper level of audio.

    It’s a time sink, it’s a money sink, and the gains are small. Keep these things in mind.
     
  6. Feb 11, 2020 at 3:53 PM
    #6
    tacosamdb1

    tacosamdb1 Well-Known Member

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    CLVol1255 [OP] likes this.
  7. Feb 13, 2020 at 11:36 AM
    #7
    troutspinner

    troutspinner Fishing Addict

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    In your situation, I would recommend staying away from a DSP and using a passive Xover between your front doors and tweeters. You’ll be impressed with how Kenwood seems to magically account for the tweeters when it comes to level and timing. It’s almost like it has its own control, even though it does not.

    One thing to consider, if you went active with a DSP, you are going to need 8 channels of power which would mean adding an additional amp as it seems you only have 4 channels currently other than subs.

    I don’t know your level of audio experience but DSPs are no joke and if you don’t know how to tune with preferably a calibrated mic, sweep tones and a computer, you’re going to get REALLY frustrated. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a hobby and want to learn, go for it! It is very satisfying learning and putting things together and then making a system sound amazing all from your own work.
     
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  8. Feb 13, 2020 at 12:12 PM
    #8
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Yes I don’t have much experience at all in audio or electronics but I do enjoy learning. For now I’m gonna use my headunit some more and try and find that sweet spot. I totally agree and am really impressed with the Kenwoods audio features thus far. My next move will be to upgrade my coaxial full range focals to the mid level expert series components or JL audio C3 or C5 6.5” and enjoy. At least for a little while anyway. I’ve been looking and reading more and more and a good upper end dsp is definitely above my level of expertise right now and I’m not even positive its needed to satisfy my tastes. I am somewhat of an audiophile though and love hearing my acoustics clearly and good all around sounds how they’re intended to sound from the studio.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
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  9. Feb 13, 2020 at 4:07 PM
    #9
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking of possibly adding the JL rd 400/4NEXD to my current amp. I’ve got some more homework to do though first. What do y’all think of that possibly? If I knew I could sale my current JL xd and get most the money back on it I’d just sale it and get a vx 8 channel with built in dsp but those chances are slim to none id imagine
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  10. Feb 13, 2020 at 5:34 PM
    #10
    007fodo

    007fodo Active Member

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    What are you unhappy with in your current system?

    You stated that you are impressed with the sound processing capabilities of your new head unit. If that's enough for you, just stick with it until YOU decide that setting up a DSP would be worth it. Your truck is sound deadened, right?
     
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  11. Feb 13, 2020 at 5:52 PM
    #11
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I’ve deadened it yes and I’m not sure. I think mid range as in mid bass mainly is slightly lacking in my current coaxs just a little maybe. I’m not 100% sure and I’m not just unhappy with what I’ve got. I just think it could be slightly fuller sounding within all genres and at the lower volume levels. Yeah though as Dolby stated earlier speakers are most important and although I’ve upgraded them big time from stock with everything I’ve now added I think components would likely polish it off and be the icing on the cake so to speak. I’m looking at options and combos too for future setup. If I do another amp I’m thinking I’ll save money getting the 8 channel JL all in one then using a mono amp That I’ve got laying in the floor never used for the sub. I’m just looking for ideas. Im going to do component speakers next move. I’ve almost pulled the trigger on a set 100 times but talked myself out of it until I finally got my stereo installed and going
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  12. Feb 13, 2020 at 6:18 PM
    #12
    007fodo

    007fodo Active Member

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    Agreed^

    Trash your coax's, it has been said by an expert that coaxials sound terrible in our trucks. Get a good component set, I reccomend JL Audio but others have recommend audio frog and morel (no experience here) infinity Kappa sets look good, kenwood might have some good ones... just ideas..


    If you're going to eliminate the crossover and use your head unit to run each speaker actively (using the head unit's low/high passes) then disregard the external crossover that comes in the kit but Do cross your speakers somewhere around where they were crossed externally; usually you don't want your tweeter to play any notes it wasn't set up to play, so choose a crossover point either at or above the factory crossover freq. Also note that if the factory crossover has a 24db Slope, make sure you can recreate that with your head unit just in case you want to run it close to factory crossover specs... for instance, my kenwood excelon lets me choose between a couple of crossover slopes that I know include 18 and 24db.

    Mount your tweeter high, disregard anyone who claims that the tweeter should be close to the woofer as possible. it may sound better in the sail panel than in the factory location in the door card.

    Look up component speaker system builds on here and copy someone else's setup, there can be a lot of trial and error especially with pointing speakers when it comes to car audio, better to learn from someone else's mistakes.
     
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  13. Feb 13, 2020 at 6:41 PM
    #13
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    @troutspinner are you saying I should use passive xover or I shouldn’t do passive xover? I just want to be sure I’m interpreting what you’re saying correctly

    @007fodo yeah my excelon has -24- -6db slopes and has tweeter front rear and sub dB gains. Time alignment, stage leveling 13 band EQ and several other features. It’s pretty damn sweeet actually. It sounds really really good.. 500% upgrade with it and my new amp and sub over stock. I’m still working on learning my time alignments with head unit.. it’s different than my dq61 was but I’m tweaking it a little each day and am getting there. My powered sub really sounds great with new HU too and I’m waiting on my y connectors from stinger to get in to run both subs off the headunit. I’m not even hearing much from my rear 108LG8w3 sub right now bc it’s not preampd to my unit only getting output from my amp at the moment
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  14. Feb 13, 2020 at 8:46 PM
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    troutspinner

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    Use the passive Xover.
     
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  15. Feb 14, 2020 at 8:38 AM
    #15
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I just noticed being first time since I’ve had rear panel taken off that I’ve drove on the interstate and that damn vent opening back there I can hear pretty easily even with my music up loud around 75db! Jeeeeeeez I’m gonna have to research how everybody’s fixing that now too
     
  16. Feb 14, 2020 at 5:20 PM
    #16
    mbrogz3000

    mbrogz3000 Well-Known Member

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    I still like the JL Tweak if there is already an aftermarket head unit in use. If the factory head unit is still in use, a JL Fixit also is needed. Full independent control over every channel.

    The revised Alpine DSP now comes the controller, and includes a 25 RMS watts x 8 channel amp. I’d like for someone to comment on whether 25 watts is plenty for a tweeter (if your running 100 watts to each mid range)..this would be awesome for an active setup. The European Alpine DSP unit has the same features as the American unit, but includes 100 rms watts x 8!

    Audio control has some good, lower cost options as well.

    Some type of DSP control is definitely needed in the Tacoma cabin since a flattened signal, even with good speakers with lots of power, sounds very dull in the cab.
     
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  17. Feb 19, 2020 at 12:23 PM
    #17
    CLVol1255

    CLVol1255 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    m really studying up on my next set of speakers and I had a question as far as tweeters that you may have a solid opinion on. I’m considering a few different upper end options and trying to decide which would be the easiest route installation wise and still give me audiophile ish sound. I’m just back and forth on ease of install with little to no modifications plus sound quality of the higher end coaxials and going component.

    option 1 focal K2 power coaxial for front doors with audio frog midrange in dash... supposedly they can produce the highs most tweeters produce but that’s my biggest concern with this option as well as option number 2. Idk if they can and I like my treble to be on the crispier side. $1,100

    option 2 focal expert performance line coax with those audio frogs in dash I think it’s GB10 or GB15 that’ll fit our 3rd gen trucks directly $900

    options 3-4 would be the same level door speakers from focal but components and just use a back strap or whatever for tweeter dash speakers from the K2 or kX2 I believe it is $1400ish

    option 5 -JL audio C7 system and would have to run active crossover and get another 4-5 channel amplifier $1250-$1500. These seem to be a tad brighter on the high notes than the C3-C5s is why I’m considering them.

    Thanks in advance I didn’t wanna start a new thread so I bombed my original lol
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020 at 7:37 AM
  18. Feb 20, 2020 at 9:16 AM
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    007fodo

    007fodo Active Member

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    I speak for other people and not my own experience, but research has led me to believe that GREAT results have come from 3-way front stages in our trucks , using something like a 3.5” and the tweeter both in the a-pillar. Custom fiberglassing must be done to achieve this and I have seen such modified a-pillars sell for ~$500.

    I don’t know what your budget is like, but make sure it includes getting the system professionally tuned. Also, you previously stated that your current system is kinda iffy but you’re not sure exactly how; I must ask if you have had your current system professionally tuned...?

    I have no experience with any of your options but all those brands are pretty much top, you might also look at infinity’s Kappa line.

    Last thing. Its generally a good idea to stick to one brand/line for all your speakers, it takes way too much research to properly mix n match, unless you’re into that sort of thing.

    Looking forward to your results :D
     
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  19. Feb 20, 2020 at 10:25 AM
    #19
    rob feature

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    If you dont have time alignment capabilities now, yeah, adding it to a solid tune should be a significant upgrade. Simply adding EQ bands and range might or might not help...depending on whether you actually need it.
     
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  20. Feb 20, 2020 at 10:39 AM
    #20
    rob feature

    rob feature Tacos!

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    Ease of install and great sound cannot coexist. If you're only willing to expend minimal effort to install then don't bother with high end gear. Install is critical in car audio.
     
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