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Acura TSX Audio

rlsfrlsf Posts: 5
My 2 week old TSX seems to have a too strong of an audio system for its own good! Whenever I listen to music that has even the slightest bass in it (even classical!) both door speakers seem to humm, rattle, and buzz. I tried to lower the bass- but it doesn't stop until you are in minus on the setting which makes the whole music experience somewhat lacking. Anyone else with speaker issues? Have you taken it in to Acura? Do they fix it?


  • elrod03elrod03 Posts: 12
    My TSX also has excessive bass but I don't mind lowering the bass level to negative 1 or 2. It sounds fine at that setting. I listen to music fairly loud and haven't had a problem with rattles that I've noticed.
  • damorminodamormino Posts: 82
    Rattling Speakers is why I haven't purchased the TSX yet. I have driven three so far and all had very disappointing sound - even at medium volumes. I'd gladly trade their 360-watt crappy sound for 80 watts of premium sound. I am guessing, and I am not alone on this, that there are three problems with the system. First, the speakers are very cheap - made of paper, I think. Second, the door mounting is inadequate. Third, there is a plastic sheeting inside the door that rattles when the sound comes out of the speakers. Several people have mentioned that you could coat the inside of the door with Dynamat (a sound absorbing material), but that's really a job for an installer. The consensus is, unfortunately, that the TSX sound system is a big, big disappointment. I guess I'll have to wait and see what they do with the 2004 TL.
  • mikearlmamikearlma Posts: 3
    I love my TSX, love just about everything about it, except the speakers. I've been thinking about replacing the speakers to get better sound. Went to Tweeter, etc.. and they told me to get a substantial upgrade to stock sound system, I should put an amplifier and new speakers in the front only (over $1000!). With 300+ watts, it seems like I should only have to put in new speakers. But it's been a long time since I put new speakers in a car and I am a novice in this area. Any advice???? I don't mind spending a few bucks, but over $1000 seems excessive. What do I need to spend to get it from bad to pretty good?
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Tweeter will sell you as much as they can. Try new speakers first. If that doesn't do the trick, then you spend more money for an amp.

    Damormino - I've done Dynamat installs myself. It's a sticky job, but not very difficult.

    I hesitate to let installers tear apart the interior of my cars. They tend to break things and not tell you about it. If I break something doing an install, I know about it. I can fix it if necessary. When they break something, you have to track down the problem before it can be corrected.

    JM2C =)
  • damorminodamormino Posts: 82
    You didn't say why the sound system is poor. I am curious about this because the sound system is why I did not buy the TSX. I don't want to pay $27-$29 for a car like that and have to tear the system out - especially when it's integrated with the Navi on some models. But I thought the stereo sounded cheap. Specifically, there was lots of distortion from the door speakers - even at medium volumes. I've since heard that the speakers don't use standard mounting, so they may be hard to replace. I have also heard that the problem isn't just the speakers, it's the way the door is constructed. All adding up to a problem that is hard to fix. Let me know what your specific grips are and I'll forward them to a contact I have at Honda.

    Sorry about the leather. I have ebony (black) leather in my MDX. I also had it in my previous MDX and my Nissan Maxima. The black always held up better then the gray leather I had in my Camry V6 XLE. I always thought it was related to the quality of the leather, not the color. But I think I will stay with black for my next car.
  • I agree that sound system in TSX is far less than advertised. In addition to speaker quality, I have problems tuning in FM stations clearly. I had no problem in either of my previous Accords, but now the FM stations fade in and out on a consistent basis.
  • id888id888 Posts: 12
    The TSX FM antenna is integrated into the rear glass. While that improves the lines of the car, I wonder if it negatively impacts reception.
  • damorminodamormino Posts: 82
    The jury is still out. Usually replacing the speakers will make the most substantial improvement in sound. But early reports on the TSX indicate that some of the distortion is related to where and how the TSX speakers are mounted in the front door. Apparently there is some film inside the door that is "excited" by the speakers. Ironically, this film is in there for sound insulation. But if the film "rattles" any speaker will excite it. The volume behind a speaker asks as the speaker box. If that is inadequate, you'll almost always have problems. A closed speaker, with its own box might work, but I don't know of any available to fit the TSX front door. The mounting for the speaker is nonstandard. Instead of a standard screw-mount pattern, the nonstandard speaker clips in.
    Finally, I decided not to buy the TSX because I believe, like you, that the stereo system is poor. Worse, since I would by buying the Navigation option, replacing the stereo would be a daunting task. I am suspicious as to whether the stereo unit really has to be replaced. I believe that a good fix for the speaker problem would be adequate. I also believe that this solution should come from Acura - as this is a design defect with the vehicle.
  • geoinsdcageoinsdca Posts: 9
    I've been driving my TSX for about 3 weeks (traded a TL/Navi).I should have focused more on the "360 Watt sound System" than I did during the test drive. My old Bose in the TL was much better at reproducing life-like sound.I really dislike everything about the sound system especially the speakers. The website says the rear-deck speakers are actually sub-woofers(mine are stamped "Pioneer" on the bottom) but the Fader control cannot independently control the bass level (from the other 6 speakers). By rear window shakes and vibrates like a freight train! Acura should have done better with this...even Mercury had a volume/speed control device in the Cougar bomb of the late '90's. I also really dislike 1)No Mute on the steering wheel and 2)No direct selection of the FM pre-sets since I have the Nav. But, its a lease so I am willing to put $0 into speakers/etc.
  • damorminodamormino Posts: 82
    There are a lot of people complaining about the TSX audio system on this website and others. Perhaps if everyone escalated this issue with their Dealers and Acura (you can contact customer service and start a "case"), Acura might do something to fix the problem. I am SO glad I did not buy the TSX as I hate driving a car with a system like that. I'd much rather drive a car that was lacking a little base or some highs, than one that distorts like the TSX.
    I really hope you can get this resolved. Other than the audio system, I think the TSX is a great car and a wise choice.
  • wgn4snowwgn4snow Posts: 17
    We are down to two cars under consideration: a Subaru Forester and a TSX. (Odd list, I know...)

    Last week I drove the TSX (drove the snot out of it actually!) and loved it. Great fun, and small enough for my tiny garage and narrow driveway. I played with the stereo on an earlier drive, and then only briefly, but I did not find it overly impressive. The stereo on my 97 1.6EL seems on a par with the 300+ watt TSX. I primarily listen to classical music. Is there anyone out there who has driven or tested a TSX with classical music? What were your impressions? My first impression is that the 80-watt stereo in the Forester sounded better. Maybe the plastic-coated spartan interior of the Subie is better for accoustics...?
  • damorminodamormino Posts: 82
    Not an odd list really. If you don't have any requirements, then shouldn't limit yourself. We have an Acura MDX as a primary vehicle. I work so close to home I could almost do without a car - so I can choose just about anything. My list includes the TSX, Forester, Infiniti G35, Audi TT and Lexus IS330 and SC430.

    There appears to be a problem with the speakers in the front door of the TSX. Specifically, the problem is with how and where they are mounted. The result has been described as "rattle", "distortion" and "vibration". Even the best speaker will sound terrible if it is mounted poorly. The TSX's speakers may not be great, but replacing them probably won't fix the problem.

    There are many 80-watt systems in new cars that sound better than the TSX because of this. I would not doubt that the Forester is one of these. My 1997 Integra GS-R sounds better than the TSX - and it is only fair. The Bose system in my 2003 MDX is far superior to both.

    The Forester probably has cheaper speakers and a cheaper stereo unit than the TSX, but if the mounting is better, it will sound as good or better. Furthermore, if you replace the speakers in the Forester with something better, it may sound really good to you. Something you couldn't do in the TSX because of the mounting problem.

    I love the TSX and would be driving one today if Acura hadn't gaffed on the stereo. Other than that, there's not much do dislike about the car.
  • wgn4snowwgn4snow Posts: 17
    damormino, thank you.

    Has anyone compared the TSX's sound system with the current TL's sound? Is the TL's substantially better?

    I realize that the handling of the TSX is more crisp and precise, but the discounts that my dealer is hinting at with the TL (along with Honda Canada finance rates, which of course do not apply to the TSX) are tempting from a finacial perspective. I have driven the TL but I paid no attention to the stereo at the time.
  • uncledaviduncledavid Posts: 548
    I have a TSX and am quite happy with the stereo system. I guess I don't see a problem there.
  • damorminodamormino Posts: 82
    My friends just let me drive their 2001 TL-S Saturday night. This "Type S" TL definitely had more power than the TSX. But the car was bigger and , for me, less fun to drive. Also, I thought the front seats in the TSX where more comfortable. Honestly, the TL-S reminded me of the Maxima I sold when I thought I wanted the TSX. It is quite fast and handles well, but feels bigger than a sporty car. You also sit lower than you do in most sedans. Climbing into the MDX afterwards, I really enjoyed sitting up straight for the ride home. The Forester probably sits you up higher and straighter as well.

    I did not get a chance to compare the TL-S's Bose system, but I am willing to bet it is noticably better than the TSX's system. I have read a lot of posts knocking the Bose system in the TL, but I have never heard any Bose system sound as stale and distorted as the system in the TSX.

    When I get a chance, I will take a few CD's to the Acura dealer and post my impressions. I hope you will do the same.
  • wgn4snowwgn4snow Posts: 17
    Yesterday, my wife, daughter, mother-in-law, and I drove the TSX and Forester back-to-back.

    Yes, the TSX's stereo front speakers will vibrate when hit with large amounts of base. We used Stravinsky's Right of Spring (my 4 year-old's girl!) for it's range of sound and very heavy bass. Adding more treble helped, as did more fade to the rear, but it did not completely remove the vibration. Still, the sound was clearer than in my 1.6EL. And after the TSX test, the 80-watt stereo in the Subaru sounded like my daughter's Fisher Price cassette.

    My wife is sold on the TSX. I was concerned about the TSX's traction in the wet. It was dry for our test, but clouds were beckoning, so we arranged to come back for another drive "if it rained". Sure enough, it did. The TSX out-handled the Forester in every respect in the wet. I have a new respect for traction control.

    The rock-hard, unsupportive passenger seats in the Forester, especially in the back, were the kiss of death. My mother-in-law was audibly complaining about the seat on our way back to the dealer. Since she takes several 1 hour journeys with us during the course of the year, this matters!
  • automophileautomophile Posts: 780
    We have had our new TSX about 3 weeks, and we still are amazed at what a great car this is! It is definitely a MUCH better buy than the BMW 325/330 we were considering, and may be a better car as well. After 4 coats of Zaino polymer finish, the car looks like a jewel going down the street.

    I am an audio engineer, and I bring my own CDs with me to car dealers to test the sound systems before considering a car. I find no problem with the TSX sound system. Ours is very clean and clear, especially at the "live-sound" levels I like to listen at. Perhaps there was some assembly problem in the earlier cars? When I set up the system, I did find that the bass was pre-set to a very high level. Reducing it to +1 or 2 made the sound much clearer, better balanced and less muddy.

    Also- I see some comments about the rear window vibrating - I don't see this either. Exactly when do you seem this?
  • geoinsdcageoinsdca Posts: 9
    It is possible the various production builds of the TSX have been tweaked based on complaints to dealers (and possibly reading these forums???)

    My silver TSX is 4 weeks old today, and has sounded terrible from day one. I have tried all bass settings, and the sound quality actually goes from really bad to bad with less bass.

    I checked, and my rear deck speakers are stamped Pioneer TS09534 (not my favorite speaker maker), the NAV/Radio unit says model 7GA0 on the front, and the car was made in 5/03.

    Regarding the rear window shaking...this is really annoying and is clearly visible esp. during night driving at low or high volume levels.

    If the Acura website is correct, the rear deck speakers a subs only, not full-range as the 4 doors are suppose to be.

    I stopped by the Acura dealer on Sat to discuss the issue, and the Service Manager said just 1 TSX Owner has complained about the stereo rattles in the doors (esp the passenger front). He said their solution was to "add insulation" into the door panel, but not a product like dyna mat or some other sound absorbing material.

    I will call Acura tomorrow and open a case on this.
  • I also have noticed a considerable vibration in the driver side door speaker when listening to songs with certain types of bass. Even after turning the bass down to +1 and fading the to be mostly in the rear, the vibration is audible. Has anyone successfully resolved this issue with Acura? I know some people discussed opening a case. Any input would be much appreciated.
  • pixmanpixman Posts: 3
    I drive a V6 Jetta with the Monsoon Sound System. The sound is excellent! No vibrations and very crisp. I test drove a TSX and brought a CD to test the sound in the TSX. I noticed that the doors would vibrate and the rear view mirror shook with the bass. I was rather disappointed. I am not buying one until March. Hope something can be done. I must have an excellent sound system. The car is great but the sound is a sore spot.
  • Me too! I test drive 3 TSX's in April and all three had vibration/distortion problems with the front door speakers. The system is poor. If you read various Internet boards, the number one gripe about the TSX from buyers (and those who chose not to buy) is the audio system. There is an "Amazone" of complaints about it. If you don't agree, you're in "de-Nile".
  • uncledaviduncledavid Posts: 548
    I've been messing around with the settings on the system. I found that the bass and tremble were turned up to far by the dealer. If I set the bass down to +1 and the tremble at about 0/+1 the system actually sounds very nice. I do get the rearview mirror jumping around when I turn up the volume, and I also sometimes have the buzz in the door, but otherwise it is a fine OEM system. I'm completely satisfied with it, myself.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    "I drive a V6 Jetta with the Monsoon Sound System. The sound is excellent! No vibrations and very crisp. I test drove a TSX and brought a CD to test the sound in the TSX. I noticed that the doors would vibrate and the rear view mirror shook with the bass. I was rather disappointed."

    How sad, it's even worse than a Monsoon? I thought that Monsoon I recently heard from a brand-new Wolfsburg Jetta in the show room sounded cheap, even if I dialed the mid-range all the way down to max the bass & treble.

    I don't like the way TSX stereo sounds either, especially w/ that distorting bass, but does sound more powerful & not as cheap as the Monsoon.

    Even a top-of-the-line Toyota OEM or a std Lexus stereo sounds better, & I'm not talking about Nakamichi or Mark Levinson.
  • pixmanpixman Posts: 3
    I love my music and bass as much as the next peep but it is a shame that the car is so refined and has a mediocre sound system. It 's too bad that Acura didn't put in better quality speakers. It might have cost $50.00 extra?
  • s852s852 Posts: 1,051
    It sounds like the speakers are not the problem if it is the door panel itself that's rattling and buzzing.
    Maybe the construction of the internal door panel and rear view mirror parts are cheap and cannot handle any bass.
  • ...that may be the case. In any event, the net result is that the sound coming from the door area is distorted....
  • sdradioguysdradioguy Posts: 101
    sfone - Man, that really sucks. I'm sorry to hear that two very important details were overlooked before you got the car. I know what it's like to have the carpet flooded (in my case, it wasn't with water, but with milk -- had to replace carpet and padding). It sounds like your Acura people will make sure everything is the way it's supposed to be, but it might be worth politely asking if there is some sort of pre-delivery checklist -- and, if not, why?

    Okay, now about the stereo. I've read a lot of posts about buzzing door panels and such when the bass and volume are cranked. I stopped by the local Acura house this morning with one of my favorite CDs, and sat in a TSX in the lot to try out the stereo. I turned the bass down to about +1 and the treble to +2, and it seemed to sound fine, with no buzzing at volume levels that would drown out most ordinary conversation. I didn't take it on the road, so I don't know if the combination of music plus road vibrations might cause the door panels to buzz.

    The songs I used to test the speakers, btw, included Can't Hide Love by Earth Wind and Fire, and Strawberry Letter 23 by Brothers Johnson. Go ahead and laugh, but both songs, esp. the one by EWF, will show off a system's range pretty well. Overall, I'd say the TSX is probably about average for its price and class.

    After I was done, I jumped back into my '96 civic with the Boston Acoustics speakers that I blew Mr. Bush's Great Tax Rebate on two years ago, and noticed that the TSX didn't sound quite as clear and natural as my aftermarket setup. Maybe that can be solved with a quick trip to Tweeter once I get the car. Anyone else out there replace speakers in a TSX yet?

    I'm still hoping to get a Satin/Ebony 6sp. with no NAV by the end of the month.
  • I agree with your findings. The stereo in our TSX is pretty good, but not great. ANY production car stereo system can benefit from upgraded drivers, the B/A are a good choice.

    By the way, the MOST critical speakers in any 2-way system are the woofers, not the tweeters(Woofer distortion is in the easily audible range, and tweeter distortion is not). They are also the most expensive, and the most likely to be compromised for cost. I think that we would all be surpised at the low cost that car makers pay for their speakers.
  • sdradioguysdradioguy Posts: 101
    I just wanted to clarify that when I said "make a trip to Tweeter" I meant "Tweeter" -- a chain of electronics stores in the Southwest (well, I've seen them in TX and CA). I wasn't trying to say "I'm going to replace the tweeters (in the TSX)"

    Most of Tweeter's stuff is what I consider a cut above Best Buy and Circuit City. It's where I got the B/A speakers a coupla years back.

    But anyway, I'll give the sound of the TSX a chance to grow on me before tossing the speakers. The sound may be a bit hollow (wish the head unit had a mid-range adjustment), but I could learn to like it after a few hundred miles. A strong mid-range is important in the Civic, because of the abundant road and tire noise, but perhaps it will be less of an issue in the TSX, since it's supposed to be (and does seem to be) a bit quieter.
  • I understood what you meant, I just wanted to throw in some information for those looking to change speakers.

    It is possible that a little extra dampening material in the doors can solve much of the muddiness problems. When a speaker has strong bass, the problem of the car parts vibrating and resonating can become very noticeable. I believe that you can read about this ad infinitum on the car stereo boards.

    By the way - It is easy to boost your midrange - just cut the bass and treble, and raise the volume. The end result is the same as raising the middle, and you don't cut your equalizer headroom possibly causing distortion.
  • Just reached 1000 miles on my TSX and everything is perfect, except that there is a lot of impulsive noise on radio stations to the left of the dial. No problem with CDs or even with stations to the right of the dial. It is very annoying. I haven't been able to correlate the noise with anything yet, except that I don't think it does it when idling. Did they forget to connect the antenna cable or ...? I have not brought this up with the dealer yet as I want to collect more info.
  • analyst7analyst7 Posts: 12
    While I love my just-acquired TSX, the sound system quality is moderate at best. Can anyone recommend a decent set of rear speakers that integrate nicely into my non-navi TSX? Can a roof-mounted antenna supercede the windshield mounted factory one?

    Thank you.
  • kptxkptx Posts: 10
    Has any one have suggestions on where to get XM radio, that is through the dealerships or Best Buy, car stereo store?
  • copseyalcopseyal Posts: 36
    Seriously, I have never seen someone obsess over a sound system so much in regards to buying a car. I don't think you want a new car, I think you want a new stereo.
  • members78members78 Posts: 130
    The sound system in the TSX sounds quite good, though my previous ride, a 2001 Nissan Sentra SE, with 7 speakers, sounded much better, though the Acura has double the wattage. I have a feeling that Acura spent good money on the amp, but saved on the speakers. I'm thinking of installing a custom setup in mine, maybe through Best Buy, or through Crutchfield (the only person I really trust for installation is myself). I don't know if that's the wisest way to spend my money, but since I've read a lot of posts complaining about the sound quality, that's affected my perception of the sound, which in the grand scheme is quite good, but for my tastes, lacking a bit.
  • redkey1redkey1 Posts: 270
    I have read on some "other" TSX specific forums that the Alpine SPS-170A (doors) with Alpine SPS-690A (rear deck) are a pretty good choice and relatively good fit.
  • members78members78 Posts: 130
    those look really nice, but the true test is to hear them.
    call me superficial, but i desperately want one of those displays with swimming dolphins and 20-set equalizers. anyone else like one, or own one?
  • saruhhhsaruhhh Posts: 47
    Ewwww. I had that dolphin crap on my Pioneer. It is ridiculous.
  • members78members78 Posts: 130
    What is so ewww about dolphins?! They are mammals, intelligent, warm-blooded, and doggone cute!
  • saruhhhsaruhhh Posts: 47
    I love dolphins. I was talking about the stereos that have moving pictures on them. My Pioneer has a bunch of different settings, and swimming dolphins is one. I think it looks ridiculous and juvenile, on a car's dash.

    I love REAL dolphins. But, not the ones on my stereo screen.
  • I'm getting the Milano red w/o nav in August. I have tried a FM transmitter in the past and found that to have an unacceptable static. I was told by one saleman that the TSX doesn't have a aux input like the BMW for the ipod. Any suggestions?
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Goto and get an aux-in harness for the TSX (same as for the 04 Accord). I got one for about $90. You can pull out the bin below the radio (I can give further instructions on that) and the connector is right there on the bottom of the radio. The harness gives you RCA inputs that are active when you hit the CD button on the radio to select "CDC". You can then hook up an RCA to headphone cable to connect to the iPod. I would also recommend a Belkin AutoKit, for 3rd/4th gen iPods, that will allow you to get a cleaner and more powerful signal out of the iPod and also charge the iPod.

    Note: we have a TSX without Nav. This line-in is not possible with a Nav equipped car from what I have read on other forums.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Both of these line-in adapters will work on the TSX without Nav:

  • Thanks. this sounds like a good solution. I'd appreciate reading how you did it. How long does it take to do? Can the radio control the ipod or do you use the ipod like it was connected to the earbuds?
  • I found the company that makes a lot of these adapters, and ordered directly from them. Personally I like ordering manufacturer direct - especially when the price is lower.

  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Yeah, that is just like the iceLink -- looks like another great option!

    One note -- none of these devices will work if you have NAV.

  • Craig, Actually I am using the part I showed above with a nav system, works just fine.... I'd suggest giving them a call about your specific car and seeing what they say, I cant remember the guys name who set my order up over there, but the number is 858-689-4141 and it works fine in my car with nav.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Wow, that's good to hear. A lot of the harnesses out there only work with the non-nav radio.

  • jkeen1jkeen1 Posts: 1
    Will this solution work for a TSX with navi? I just purchased my TSX yesterday and am looking for an ipod solution.
  • I want to install a Sirius radio into my TSX. I talking with one installer, the process would require a couple of wires to be exposed - I don't want a wire coming across the dash. Anyone have an installation that is clean?
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