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I recently replaced my built-in front and rear deck speakers on my '97 Aspencade GL1500 with recommended replacements from J&M via the Honda dealer. The new speakers are designed to fit exactly into the original mounting holes and are advertised as having better technology and 10% larger cone surface area than the originals. I was excited to anticipate a great improvement in sound, so I could finally play my Zumo MP3's properly.

I am thoroughly underwhelmed with the result. The sound is clear, but still tinny and there is almost no bass. I note that the speakers are good to handle up to 100 watts, but that the 1997 built in Goldwing sound system is only 25 watts. Is this my problem?

Are there better speakers out there that have some decent Bass response, or is there a way to boost the power of the unit? (Heck, does anyone maybe even make an improved drop-in replacement unit for the entire 1997 Goldwing sound system and controls?)

All I really want is for my rock songs to sound like rock songs. (I don't use headphones.) I don't need a gangster thumpa-thumpa sound system, but is there something reasonable out there that at least makes it sound as good as your car and doesn't require you to radically pimp-out the bike from it's stock look?

All my Harley friends seem to have sound systems that make the earth tremble, and most of their sound systems look unobtrusive and don't even have fairings or speaker decks, so what gives...?

Any advice appreciated.
 

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hi sorry to say but what you have is what you have mother honda installed a crap system compared to whats avabile today there is no bass built into the system you will have to install a seperet amp to get some but at high speeds your going to loose most of it how have you the zumo conected i run mine through a inline fm transmitter and the quality is better than the stock tape deck have you set the volume on the mp3 up high as it has its owen settings from the gps
 

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I play the MP3 through a cassette aadapter quasi-permanently inserted into the cassette deck. The Zumo GPS music output level is set to 100%.
 

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the cassett adapter may be off line if you eject it then re-insert but leave the door open with a small screw driver you can move the cassett up and down to see will the sound get better as it has to make contact with the tape head more or less bang on
 

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I think the feed through the casette deck is okay - good contact there. It's those miserable no-Bass speakers, and not enough watts.
 

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I think it's mostly the lack of power in the amp. I just ordered the Polk Audio DB speakers to replace my J&M speakers and after that, it's time for an inline amp. I also can't get diddly power out of the system when using my Sandisk MP3 and it really bugs me. You are totally right about the Harley sound systems also. It's funny that most of their bikes are still running a pushrod motor and yet they have better sound systems than the Goldwings. There are plenty of (Google it) 100 to 500 watt add on motorcycleamps available and I think it's time for another purchase. The fact of the matter is this, even when only using the radio on a very strong station, the system is pretty much useless at speeds over 65 even when riding without ahelmet which I don't suggest. I'm a huge Pink Floyd fan and refuse to even play their music through the Goldwing system simply because it just doesn't do the music justice. Someone on this forum must have a mega system and I wish they would share their ideas with us!

Respectfully,

Ed
 

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Monkey with a Football
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The biggest differences between the Harley sound systems and the Honda ones, besides simple watts is that the Harley speakers are larger and the are in enclosed cabinets.

4" speakers in open cabinets will never give you much bass and pushing them just wastes watts and causes distortion.

Also, at highway speeds, bass is pretty much useless. The high end is what you hear because it is more directional and pierces the wind noise and other sounds associated with the bike at highway speeds.

That said, I think the Honda system is good as is up to about 50 mph and after that, falls into the background of ambient noises.

I'm running a beefed up system at 400 watts (100 watts RMS per speaker) and 90 watt RMS speakers along with an equalizer.

It's purpose is not to give bass but to deliver the mid to high end frequencies at a level sufficient to overcome the road noises at highway speeds. It works well for that purpose.

The equalizer gives me the ability to 'dip' into the watt consuming, lower frequencies but limit them so the watts are used most effectively. I run them at the hairy edge of distortion all the time.

I sometimes think about making some back-cans for the front speakers so I get a little more out of them but so far I haven't gotten around to it yet.

If you want to get the most out of the stock system, I found the Polk Audio speakers from electricalconnection.com to be very nice front speaker replacements.
 

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You'll need more power to get any performance out of any 4.5" speakers.
On the stock system the problem is more a lack of power than a lack of speaker.

Remember, power does not kill speakers, distortion does.
I have a set of 15y/o, cheapo RadioShack 4' bookshelf speakers that have been getting 500 watts a side, outdoors, via a massive QSC pro-type amplifier. These speakers are rated at 50watts per and have been performing flawlessly for the last 8 years.

This winter I plan to completely bypass the stock system and install a large amp (200w+) with 5 1/4 speakers up front and 4's in the rear. A preamp will take care of the input duties as well as volume control. All could be easily hidden so as not looking different from stock.

Also, don't be afraid to spend some bucks. Good sound costs $$$, if you want it, $pend it at a local, reputable sound shop. Thank me later when you do.
 

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farmerkevin wrote:
I have a set of 15y/o, cheapo RadioShack 4' bookshelf speakers
.....and 4's in the rear.
Those 4 ft speakers are going to create lot of wind resistance on the back of the Wing, and you must have some huge bookshelves to have 4 ft speakers on them. :D
4'=4 foot
4"=4 inches ;) Sorry, couldn't help myself.:dude:

John
 

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Jluvs2dive wrote:
farmerkevin wrote:
I have a set of 15y/o, cheapo RadioShack 4' bookshelf speakers
.....and 4's in the rear.
Those 4 ft speakers are going to create lot of wind resistance on the back of the Wing, and you must have some huge bookshelves to have 4 ft speakers on them. :D 
4'=4 foot
4"=4 inches ;)  Sorry, couldn't help myself.:dude:

John
Did I mention that those are the loudest speakers the Shack has ever made?
ahhh, my shift button is broken?


Peace
 

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How many remember no music,no intercom,just wind noise, engine noise, load mufflers and passenger hitting you in the ribs. My headphones and speakers mounted in bike are a whole lot better than what I used to have, cheap headphones installed in helmet and a walkman on the gas tank on my old MotoGuzzi in 1980.
 

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farmerkevin wrote:
Did I mention that those are the loudest speakers the Shack has ever made?
ahhh, my shift button is broken?


Peace
:cheeky1::cheeky1: Nice! :)
 

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I also had the same problem with no good acoustics. I ended up goin with 5.25 speakers in the front and adding a amplifier. It sounded better but the thing that made the difference was a foam boot that is made to protect the speaker from moisture. This provided a almost air tight box. When i pushed the speaker in with out it playing it did not want to move. This has my system sounding superb. My speakers can handle more power and they have much more mid bass. You can find these boots for under $10 a set. I have seen different sizes #4, 5, 6, 6/9, 8, 10. If you are looking for something that makes a difference for a good price this is the way to go.

Good luck:ssshh:
 

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base wrote:
You can find these boots for under $10 a set. I have seen different sizes #4, 5, 6, 6/9, 8, 10. If you are looking for something that makes a difference for a good price this is the way to go.

Good luck:ssshh:
Got a link per chance? :)
 

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Are you talking about the XTC foam baffles sold at Crutchfield? I had been thinking about experimenting with them myself. I just installed a Sony CDX-M30 marine radio and have Infinity Reference 5.25" speakers. This setup alone has given me a much better overall sound but I also want to try the baffles. If those are the ones, did you leave them sealed or did you cut a hole to port them?
 

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When I used to have a car years ago, I had a nothing-special (25W?) Sony car stereo, the audio output of which was fed into a small 12V device the size of a USB stick which I called a voltage divider (not sure about the terminology)

This small device reduced the audio level to a line-level signal, which I then fed into a (100W?) Kenwood amplifier/equaliser to boost it back up to a level which I could feed into my speakers. The result was a powerful, and clean signal which seemed to match my 150W speakers quite nicely and which I could adjust to my liking using the faders on the equalizer.

I still have the little voltage divider and the (relatively small) amplifier/equaliser and I'm wondering whether I could hook up the audio out of the Panasonic radio on the wing in the same way to achieve a more powerful, better-sounding sound system (if necessary upgrading the stock speakers at the same time).

Anyone know whether this setup might work please? What I'm most concerned about is damaging the radio if I should decide to hook it all up as an experiment.

Thanks, Nicholas.
 

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base wrote:
...but the thing that made the difference was a foam boot that is made to protect the speaker from moisture. This provided a almost air tight box.
..and that is the key to your problem taines...

Make those enclosures air-tight! You will notice a night and day difference, even with crappy speakers. Any chump kid with two 12's and 1000 watt amp knows it. ...not sealed = not loud. The same is true for your small motorcycle enclosures. Ever heard a Bose Wave radio? Seald and ported for backwave... That thing, if mounted in front of you, would blow you off your bike.

I say this over and over when these audio threads come up. Sealing the enclosure is the first thing that should be done when installing a new set of speakers. I really don't get why othersrefuse to acceptthis... Could be they've never heard anything other than their bikes old, worn-out speakers, and if the new ones work at all they're happy enough... I don't know. Honda did not size their enclosure for sonic reproduction and purity. I question how air-tight any of them are to begin with. With a sealed enclosure yourfrequency response (including all Bass response), volume and claritywill dramatically increase. I'll put my CycleSound pod up against any other CycleSound pod, title for title.

Seal the enclosure... it's inexpensive to do and the most effective thing you can do.
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More power? ... More power is always good, but useless iffed into a poorly designed speaker system.
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farmerkevin... Those must be the Minimus 7's... Yes, the best they've ever sold. I have two pairs over twenty years old. For the longest time they were used with my Beo 8500. They get garage duty now-a-days...
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1500... I'm 10 years older than my GL and its CycleSound pod. It's my first bike with a permanent-mount radio... and it's gonna be the best it can be...
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...END OF TRANSMISSION... :smiler:
 

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