On My Dock With Randy Vance – Tuning Your KICKER Audio System

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Today we follow Boating Editor Randy Vance, in this latest installation of the ON MY DOCK series to show you how to tune your KICKER audio system. 

We are going to show you how to put the final tune on a new KICKER Marine Audio system, listening to your favorite music that you want to sound just right. In the last episode, we installed an awesome KICKER audio system in the boat, including a new amplifier, 8 new speakers, and a subwoofer. All the sound you’re going to love is coming from that amplifier and those speakers. 

Step 1 – Zones 

We first went to each zone: top zone, deck zone, and subwoofer zone. Adjusted all the tones to neutral except for the subwoofer zone which we put full-on. Now when tuning your system, you are going to use whatever music source you usually listen to. If that’s Bluetooth audio, pick a song that has a wide range of tones and volumes so you are getting the full experience and adjust to that. 

Step 2 – Let’s Amplify Things

Now once we’ve got all the tones set to neutral, the volume set to 75% and the subwoofer set to full, it’s time to take the control panel off so that we can get to the amplifier behind it. Once we get access to the amplifier we have to set up the crossover points for each pair of outputs labeled amp 1 and amp 2. Very low frequencies can be harmful at high volume to smaller speakers, so when we get to the subwoofer we want to disconnect the leads to the higher-frequency speakers on amp 1 and amp 2. But we’re going to start by adjusting the high-frequency speakers first. 

For the coaxial speakers in the top zone, we’re going to set the amplifier’s high pass crossover, and set the frequency to around 150 hertz. This will be approximately the 12’o clock position on the KICKER KXMA 900.5 amp, which is the one we have here today. 

Step 3 – Sound Check & Crossover Frequency 

Play your favorite music at the level you use to set the gains, which should be at approximately 75% of full volume. You’ll want to follow this procedure for each of the zones separately. 

  1. If you hear the speaker distort or make a popping noise, turn the crossover frequency adjustment dial clockwise. This will take more of the lower frequencies away from the coaxials. 
  2. If they don’t distort or pop, you can gradually turn the crossover frequency adjustment dial counterclockwise. This will send more of the lower frequencies to the speakers and make the system sound fuller and naturally balanced. 

Now keep in mind setting up some of your crossover frequency for each zone is essential to giving you the best sound and the longest life from your speakers. 

Usually, only the larger speakers like the KMXL 8″ horn-loaded speakers on the deck can handle those low frequencies at a higher power level. 

Step 4 – Subwoofers 

Now that we’ve got AMP one and two adjusted for higher frequency speakers it’s time to do the subwoofers. We’re going to do that with all of them hooked up together. While setting the crossover frequency on the high-frequency speakers can be destructive if you have too low of frequencies going through them, you won’t have that problem with the subwoofers so they can handle it, you’ll just get poor sound. 

We’re going to use the same music that we used to set the higher frequency speakers and now we’re going to work on the crossover for the subs. We will set that to about 100 to 120 hertz and turn up the volume of the entire system.

Tip: If the bass sounds hollow or muddy, turn the low pass crossover frequency down to prevent the upper frequencies from going to the subwoofer. 

Tip 2: The KICKER KXMA900.5 subwoofer amplifier section also features a “subsonic” filter. This will protect the subwoofer from ultra low frequencies at high volume levels. We suggest setting this at about 1/4 to 1/2 way up from the “10” position.

Ideally, your crossover settings on the subwoofer are going to closely approximate the crossover settings on your higher frequency speakers. By doing so, you now have a full range of sound with no gaps in the Spectrum. All that means is whatever the recording artist and their producers put on that track are going to come through completely and clearly on your stereo system. 

Step 5 – Enjoy your new audio system 

It’s really not difficult to perfectly tune your audio system for the optimum sound. Just follow the procedures that we’ve listed above and in the video to get things started. 

Thanks for joining Randy On My Dock, and enjoy your KICKER Marine Audio system.

For more, visit kicker.com.

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