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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Poor Quality Sound from THX Sound System

Disappointing Infotainment sy

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41 replies to this topic

#21 Brian V

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 02:41 PM

Hi Jim!   I also have the THX in my Hybrid, got it two days ago, and although I love the car, I am dissapointed with the sound on the satellite radio.  Voices are definitely where the issue is most evident- there's plenty of deep clean bass and great extension with the highs, but they really didn't do justice to the capabilities of the system with the EQ tuning. It sounds like there's a bump in the 150 -550hz range resulting in the muddy quality of voices- or instruments in that range.  

 

(See my next post for an update)

 

I was able to fix the sound in my 2013 Fusion Hybrid SE using the tone controls: Bass +2, Mid -6, treble +4 and selecting driver's seat mode, but it seems that the tone controls don't fall in the range that needs to be adjusted in the Z.  Since cutting the midrange back didn't help, I tried boosting the bass +5 and mid +5 with the treble +6 and that seems to be somewhat better.

 

By far the best auto sound I've ever had was in my 1994 Continental with JBL sound system- it was amazingly clean and had great bass and treble extension- sounded as good as a really good home stereo system.  The sound in my 2008 Sable Premier was also very, very good (the audiophile sound system).  Satellite radio was excellent, as it is with my other receivers- so it's not a problem with SiriusXM. 

 

I asked a friend who works in Ford Design about this, how they equalize the sound, etc. and he said he'd ask around to try and find out some info on it. I know that when they were setting up the JBL sound in the Continental, they had a very high end listening room set up (Magnepan speakers, Crown or McIntosh amps, etc) and compare the sound in the room and then duplicate it with the car's EQ to get it right.  


Edited by Brian V, 18 April 2015 - 02:24 PM.






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#22 Jim Ayres

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Posted 17 April 2015 - 06:06 PM

Thanks for your feedback on this issue Brian! At least I know I'm not crazy. Overall , I'm still in love with my MKZ!



#23 Brian V

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 02:22 PM

Okay, so I did some more listening, with CD's, and as someone had mentioned earlier, that the problem may be with the Sirius receiver.  For CD's I got very good clean and transparent sound with the following settings: Bass +3, Mid -2 and Treble +3.  FM HD also sounds very good.  My next experiment will be to hook up my XM Roady XT to the Z and see if it sounds better than the factory Sirius tuner.  Jim, try listening to some good CD's with those settings and see if you agree. 

 

Other than that (and the location of the brake release) I really love the car.  It's incredibly smooth and quiet (I have the suspension tuned to comfort for our atrocious Michigan so-called roads) and am  getting right about the same MPG's as my Fusion Hybrid: 39+mpg!  Hard to beat that combination of great looks, comfort, space and luxury with the gas mileage of an econobox!!!



#24 Jim Ayres

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 05:18 PM

Thanks for the advice Brian. I haven't listened to any CDs just Sirius and an AM station on the HD radio. It's the talk station on AM that's the most objectionable. I've noticed that when it's "acquiring the signal" the volume gets louder, and the gets lower again as soon as it's finished acquiring the signal.



#25 2015mkzhybrid

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Posted 18 April 2015 - 07:07 PM

Very helpful thread.... My THX II setup is much better now, especially when reducing bass and mid-range. The surround sound setting is an essential part too.

Thanks to all.

#26 Michael Katz

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Posted 15 June 2015 - 10:31 PM

I found on my 2010 with the THX system I have the base at -2 and the treble all the way up and the sound is pretty good. The problem I have is unacceptable radio reception to the point that I only use Serius or CD's. Anyone else have this problem?



#27 JoeBrown

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 08:51 AM

I don't have the THX system but, as far as FM reception I have issues with "some" HD stations but I'm sure that's due to the stations location. Otherwise the reception is fine.

 

I'm in the NY Metropolitan area (Westchester County) and you're way up in Dutchess County, so it could just be the stations in relation to your location. How is FM reception on your local stations if there are any nearby?



#28 Michael Katz

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Posted 16 June 2015 - 10:55 PM

Joe I am comparing this car to other cars I have and there is a big difference in the reception. Radio is basically unusable it is so poor.



#29 Davisjl

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 10:14 AM

Michael,

I live in the Atlanta area and have absolutely no issues with reception on the radio (AM/FM/HDFM). We are about 45 minutes outside the city (most of the radio towers are located in the city proper). Compared to my former Audi A4, the MKz get's better reception in both the AM and FM bands. FYI.

#30 Robert Iggy Cerami

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 12:49 PM

Window tinting can have an effect on radio reception... depending on the film that is used



#31 Navi 15

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 09:48 PM

Hook up a portable DVD player to the system, buy a audio dvd disc and the sound will blow u away



#32 Navi 15

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 10:12 PM

Believe me I've tried. Was so dissappointed I couldn't play a true surround source on my "THX 5.1 Surround System" I bought a portable dvd audio player (not a simple find cause a special codec is needed to access the advanced resolution surround layer of these discs. Anyway, it outputs 3 sets of RCA's so its not like us can just use the line out which is basically just for an mp3 player with a headphone jack. On my 15 Navigator the HD radio really does rock though.Plays much louder than the cd for some reason. The usb barely plays mp3 and I've tried the scandisk cause its used for the navigation. The system can sound pretty darn good in the front seat using cd or especially HD radio with the fader set midway between the second and first row, DSP on surround (to make use of the center channel). In the back doesn't sound too bad but not nearly as good so acoustics have been optimized for the front for sure. Lol...wouldn't be such a big deal if I hadn't been so deyermined to hear some damn surround music in my car. Unless scandisc supports Flac or wav files there is absolutely no way to play a true 5.1 source on the newer 5.1 surround systems. Ironic huh, if they had just kept the quality amplifier, jukebox, and dvd player and then added hd radio the system would be the best. Are you listening Lincoln? I want the system eveyone used to rave about. I want the system I thought I was buying based on your very own advertising!

#33 Navi 15

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 10:30 PM

There is a setting for speed compensation that increases the volume when you accelerate so look at your sound settings. Try your hd radio and cd. Much better sound than XM which is highly compressed. Bluetooth audio isn't bad either.

#34 Michael Katz

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 11:43 PM

Does my 2010 MKZ with the THX system and dvd player receive HD radio?



#35 drolds1

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 01:58 AM

Does my 2010 MKZ with the THX system and dvd player receive HD radio?

No. Not available for 2010.



#36 dmazakas

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 04:18 PM

I own the 2014 with THX and its by far the worse sounding system ever! The subs are a joke (non-existent) and the highs sharply just drop off short of the mark. Then you have to deal with a seriously unbalanced center speaker that is way too loud and has no tone quality what-so-ever. Poor design and poor sound quality. My Fusion has a stock low grade standard sterio and it sounds way better! So does the base stereo in the MKZ. THX system=downgrade from standard


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#37 Davisjl

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Posted 04 August 2015 - 03:22 PM

I own the 2014 with THX and its by far the worse sounding system ever! The subs are a joke (non-existent) and the highs sharply just drop off short of the mark. Then you have to deal with a seriously unbalanced center speaker that is way too loud and has no tone quality what-so-ever. Poor design and poor sound quality. My Fusion has a stock low grade standard sterio and it sounds way better! So does the base stereo in the MKZ. THX system=downgrade from standard


What source are you using for the audio? I have none of those issues when I play a CD or use USB High quality lossless WMA. I do see that issue when using Bluetooth audio/Sirius/or lower quality mp3's.

Not saying this is the case, but sometime a better sound system amplifies the crappy audio sources/mp3's we tend to use...
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#38 BlackPano

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Posted 14 August 2015 - 11:40 PM

I really don't get all the hate. Maybe I'm too young for this car, but I've never needed to go above half volume even with the pano open (my speed comp is on the highest however)

The Sirius radio sounds compressed and kinda crappy but the HD radio and CDs sound outstanding.

#39 lowfatdog

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Posted 30 December 2015 - 09:21 AM

I've decided my issue with the THX sound system is related to our 2013 MKZ having a Panoramic roof.  We drove a 2013 MKZ with the THX sound system but regular instead of Panoramic roof and it sounds much much better.  The bass is much deeper and sounds so much better (and even louder)  I don't know if they needed to use a different THX sound system in the vehicles with a Panoramic roof or it's just the way it sounds different because of the roof.  I know it sounds crazy but we had a chance to test it in a few different cars and IMO,  the Panoramic roof made the difference in the THX sound system.  Even the simple regular 2013 sound system sounds better (without Panoramic roof )  than the THX sound system with a  Panoramic roof!   



#40 TheRaven

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 08:07 AM

First post here, and reviving an old thread, but this is why I came here.  I traded in my 2012 Lacrosse daily driver on a low-mileage MKZ Select (with the Panoramic roof preferred package) and I was extremely disappointed in the billion-speaker million-watt THX sound system.  I'm a big audiophile and as such, I know that an automobile is among the worst environments available to engineer a quality sound system for, but it can be done at least to the point where it sounds pleasing to the ear.  The MKZ is not one such example.  Granted, i'm coming from the Buick Harman Kardon system which, to date, is hands down the best system i've ever heard in an automobile (and this includes Cadillac, BMW, Lexus, Infinity, and Porsche which all have pricey "premium" audio), however I never expected the MKZ's system to compare to that HK system.  Even with lowered expectations, i'm extremely disappointed.  It's unacceptable for it to be this bad.  The 4-speaker "monsoon" system in my 1996 Grand Prix had better sound quality.

 

Objectively - the crossover frequencies are far too high and the EQ is lacking enough range and resolution to fix anything.  As a result, you can't adjust bass without seriously muddying the midrange and you can't help ANYTHING by adjusting the treble.  Basically the treble adjustment is there to temper the insanely harsh metal-dome tweeters.  Currently I have the midrange setting all the way up with the treble at 0 and the bass at roughly +2.  This has gotten me to a point where it sounds like there is a thin pillow over the speakers (as opposed to a pile of feather pillows...or perhaps listening with the tweeters half-submerged).  There is just enough bass for some punch, but if I turn up the bass any higher those feather pillows come back, and if I turn down the midrange or turn up the treble the tweeters take knives to my ears.  

 

This system needs fabric-dome tweeters and at least a 5-band EQ with 2x the range (even more would be best).  Hopefully with a 5-band they could get the dividing frequencies closer to ideal.  I'm going to be looking into aftermarket options.








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