Ugh... (rant alert)
So I've been chasing an issue with my system for a while now, the audio coming out of it is harsh and fatiguing, which is odd since it's all made of quality components (theoretically):
Kenwood Excelon KDC-X996
Focal Access 165 fronts
Eclipse 5x7 rears
So I've got all the bases covered, Component fronts, dedicated amp, etc. Much like my prior system that I was pretty happy with, but became outdated (Alpine 3-disc in-dash CD Player, smaller front components).
I just got a UMIK-1 to measure it, and it turns out it measures pretty flat, which was a disappointing result, I was hoping to find a clue. Somewhat frustrated, I finally yanked the Kenwood out of the dash, got an adapter and plugged my phone straight into the cables to the AMP, and wouldn't you know it, the sound was no longer harsh! And on top of that, bass seemed to have more impact (but not really lower). On the up side, that means my amp and speakers are fine... Downside means I need to figure out what's up with the bloody Kenwood...
Anyway, I'd played with everything already I thought, I'd prevoiusly found some odd "enhancement" modes that I'd turned off. But today, one thing really stuck out at me, there's a "Speaker Setting" menu in the Pro Set menu, with no apparent way to disable it. But flipping through the options, you could definitely hear an effect. Found the manual, made some reference to setting crossovers based on what you select. Dig through some more, nothing. Finally I gave up an flipped the DSP to Bypass which turns off everything
. And once I got around the massive change in imaging/balance (since I'd setup the speaker distances/levels in the DTA settings), wouldn't you know it, I think the annoying harshness was gone!
I need to actually drive with it some, but it seems that the Kenwood DSP settings are worse than useless, they seem to actually destroy the sound. Grr, so now what, I really liked the way the DTA helped the imaging and balance, and I also liked the EQ for pulling up the bass to combat road noise...
If that wasn't enough rant for you, here's the real one... So I decide to take a quick look around and alternatives.
Clarion? Um no "Files and discs with following extensions are not supported: *.AAC, *.DLF, *.M3U, *.PLS
Alpine? Nope: "Song lists on USB devices are displayed in alphabetical order
Pioneer? Strike 3 "This product is not compatible with the following: MP3i (MP3 interactive), mp3 PRO, m3u playlist
Seriously, what the heck? These people can't even figure out how to parse a text file and play songs in it? My factory system in my truck can do it.....
Still searching around as I type this.... Haven't looked at the top of the line Alpine... INE-W960HDMI....
Searching the manual....
Dare I hope?
By using file tag information and keeping these songs organized in playlists
, this unit’s search functions will ease song searches in large libraries.
Each music category has its own individual hierarchy. Use the Playlists
/Artists/Albums/Songs/Genres/Composers search mode to narrow searches based on the table below."
And it's not even in the iPod section where you usually find the playlist stuff referenced...
The manual doesn't specifically call out playlist files or m3u files one way or the other... Doesn't support FLAC, but I don't really
care since the car's too loud to notice the difference anyway...
Although the INE-W967HD does list FLAC, and the same Playlist description....