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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone else notice that the subwoofer is fighting the front speakers? If you send the system a sine wave signal anywhere from 45 to 60Hz the total volume goes down when you turn the subwoofer up. Weird?!?! Perhaps it is the ANC? Is it wired out of phase? It looks like they may have gotten a bit heavy handed with EQ? It started with not hearing much bass out of the sub when playing music and then I started investigating. The subwoofer works but something seems really wrong with the overall setup? Overall sound is weak for what is in the car. Just wondering if anyone has made any progress with this system? I am tempted to flip the wiring to front speakers or sub as a test but the car is brand new. Phase checkers just seem to get confused with what was designed in. Given the integration, aftermarket radios/amps seem out of the question. I don't really need a SPL monster but some bass would be nice.
 

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FM in my Pilot is like crap. I thought the whole audio system was bad until I played music from iTunes and Amazon Music through Car Play. Day and night difference.
 

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Does anyone else notice that the subwoofer is fighting the front speakers? If you send the system a sine wave signal anywhere from 45 to 60Hz the total volume goes down when you turn the subwoofer up. Weird?!?! Perhaps it is the ANC? Is it wired out of phase? It looks like they may have gotten a bit heavy handed with EQ? It started with not hearing much bass out of the sub when playing music and then I started investigating. The subwoofer works but something seems really wrong with the overall setup? Overall sound is weak for what is in the car. Just wondering if anyone has made any progress with this system? I am tempted to flip the wiring to front speakers or sub as a test but the car is brand new. Phase checkers just seem to get confused with what was designed in. Given the integration, aftermarket radios/amps seem out of the question. I don't really need a SPL monster but some bass would be nice.
In my experience, the audio source tends to be the problem. The sound quality produced using the FM tuner is horrible in our Elite. However, playing a CD or Pandora over Bluetooth is excellent (in my opinion).

Are you experiencing this only with the Tuner? Or other sources as well?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yes the FM radio is defective in mine as well. I have an EX-L. I was hoping that not all the Pilots are defective but if your Elite (HD/FM) does not work then Honda has quite an issue. The subwoofer problems occur with all sources. FM being "extra" special! Up and down volume and no bass. Streaming is much better than FM but that is the easiest way to see the issue with the Sub. Would love to hear what an Elite does with a solid 50Hz bass tone. Increase the subwoofer gain and see what it does?
 

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Yes the FM radio is defective in mine as well. I have an EX-L. I was hoping that not all the Pilots are defective but if your Elite (HD/FM) does not work then Honda has quite an issue. The subwoofer problems occur with all sources. FM being "extra" special! Up and down volume and no bass. Streaming is much better than FM but that is the easiest way to see the issue with the Sub. Would love to hear what an Elite does with a solid 50Hz bass tone. Increase the subwoofer gain and see what it does?
I wouldn't consider our FM tuner "defective" but simply "old technology". We did turn off the HD signal as it would drop in and out causing a clear then low quality feed (drove us nuts!). So, essentially, we aren't using the HD feature of our tuner. My guess is it would sound better but not willing to put up with the HD signal dropping (we've experienced the same dropping issue in our Toyota as well). I'll try to give it a shot to compare this weekend.

I wonder if the subwoofer is different in the Elite or if the Elite has additional devices to "clean up" the bass? As mentioned, all sources with the exception of the FM tuner sound great for us (a well balanced sound across all speaker sources)!

More to come if I remember to test out the HD this weekend.
 

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the tuner just sucks across the board with the pilots.
we need more people to complain so honda notices. but these days people are using their smart phones, aux, ,bluetooth and streaming so im sure it is not as big of a problem seen outside of online forums.

all other sources are fine but the tuner is just horrible. honda sound system even upgraded ones that come in touring/elite isnt that great compared to other manufacturers, so it sucks that it is even worse using the tuner.

i wonder if the new infotainment/tuner has this same issue that is found in the new odyssey and prob all upcoming hondas from here on out.
 

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I'm pretty sure there was a TSB for replacement of defective tuner modules that were causing the FM output to pulse or fade in and out. If your Pilot is still under warranty, you might want to pursue that.

As for ANC "fighting" the door speakers, with sustained low frequency test tones that's quite possible. When a big resonator starts vibrating ( cough... car... cough ), it's not just the input signal that gets output, it's harmonics as well. How would the system distinguish between that and the drone from a vibrating out-of-balance engine during cylinder-shutdown operation ( VCM ) ?

For typical musical transients, maybe not so much. If you play the synthetic crap that seems designed to annoy people 2 miles away, TS. >:)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes. I think there are multiple TSBs for 16s and 17s and FM problems. I had a new tuner installed and it helped tremendously for a while.

Usually a properly designed noise reduction/cancelation circuit is designed to not cancel the input signal, only noise outside of the input signal. You feed the signal and noise into the noise reduction circuit and it picks up the difference between the signal and the noise. Out of phase output is added to the output to cancel the noise. Fairly straightforward circuit design that has been around for a long time. With a clean sine wave and a properly designed system there should not be a problem. IMO If the ANC is cancelling the input then there is something wrong with the design or implementation. For the life of me I can't hear the difference between full gain and minimum gain on musical content with this implementation. The test signal gives you a solid frame of reference. Curious what others find.
 

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I'm aware of the principles behind electronic noise cancellation circuitry, and I'm NOT attempting to defend Honda's implementation, but you may be neglecting the acoustic characteristics of the environment in which you are "testing". It's neither anechoic nor acoustically inert. The metal body is a rather "dirty" resonator, so your input sine wave will become a complex mix of harmonics the minute you dial up the speaker volume enough to get the panels vibrating. ( As in, anything above a whisper ). And at the frequencies ( wavelengths ) you are talking about, there will be multiple resonance and cancellation nodes inside the interior of the vehicle. Try moving your measuring instrument ( head? ) around inside the vehicle, and you may detect that. With a finite number of drivers, it's impossible for ANC to cancel "noise" at all points in space inside the vehicle. It's nothing like the small, acoustically controlled environment inside a headphone and ear canal, which is relatively amendable to noise cancellation within the frequency range of human hearing.

As implemented in Pilot, ANC only measures with two microphones in the headliner of the vehicle, and who knows how many of the drivers it employs, but only the "subwoofer" will have much response below 100Hz or so. At best, ANC would be designed to provide "some" low frequency noise reduction for "most" of the interior. And I do think musical accuracy was probably a secondary consideration.

Some guys who like musical bass and/or who have installed aftermarket enclosed subwoofers have reported better results with ANC disabled ( either by disconnecting microphones or unplugging the ANC module ). My personal take is that if you listen to bass heavy music most of the time when you're driving the vehicle, disable ANC and don't look back. But ANC exists for a reason, and that's VCM. The active engine mounts are designed to cancel some of the vibration from unbalanced engine operation during partial cylinder shutdown, by applying out-of-phase counter vibration at the source, but that's an incomplete solution and to my imperfect measuring instruments ( ears ) it seems less effective in the cold. So if you value any semblance of serenity when the audio isn't blasting, you may want ANC active. At least one guy ( Anekin007 ? ) has reported installing an under dash switch so he can choose at will. YMMV

But I guess my take-home point is don't get too hung up on "testing". The environment is very complex, and besides, we don't listen to music with RTAs. Trust your ears.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My ears tell me there is little to no difference between full gain and minimum gain when adjusting the subwoofer on musical content. Meters show similar results and I have had multiple people listen to affirm that the subwoofer does not seem to work or the difference is so slight that they cannot tell. This is in the front seats in the normal listening position. Doors and windows closed, EX-L, all settings at default, any volume level. That is why I started investigating. I bought a car with a subwoofer listed in the specs. There is an adjustment on the radio to control its level. So far it does not seem to work. To my ears the subwoofer adjustment does not seem to do anything with normal musical content. I would be the first to admit that my ears are not as sensitive as they were many decades ago, but no change with full swing adjustments? I would think I would hear something? At first I thought it was completely broken/defective and so did the Service department/mechanics/advisor.

I can hear the difference between the subwoofer gain settings with a clean input via AUX, Bluetooth, iPod, or ApplePlay interfaces while playing sustained notes between 70 and 45Hz. When you increase the subwoofer gain the cabin volume goes down when you decrease the gain the volume goes up. Backwards operation, but something. It does give me hope that this could be fixed by Honda. I agree that the implementation seems problematic and suspect that the "backwards" operation is symptomatic of the design problems. I think there is a decent sized woofer behind the grill. It just may not be fed the correct signals?

Just wondering if others find the same issues. If you have an EX-L do you hear an audible difference with changes in subwoofer level on musical content? If you can get it to work is it "backwards"?
 

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I'm not sure about EX-L, but for Touring/Elite different input sources are processed differently. This is done in DSPs in the external amp/ processor for Touring/Elite. No clue what the differences are. I assume different EQ, but perhaps also compression/decompression to massage dynamic range. Old-school "loudness" control or "late night mode" deliberately decreases dynamic range. Speed-sensitive volume control ( SVC ) is also suspect. There is a setting for SVC in the audio settings.

There is an outline of the processing in the "service info" sticky thread posted by Anekin007, under "system descriptions".

IIRC there was TSB and software update a while ago that addressed poor ( nonexistent ? ) subwoofer performance in some models/VINs. So not at all out of the question that there is a bug(s) at work. I don't have details. My Touring was very early production, and it has had many software "updates".

But I have had that "subwoofer" out and I wouldn't expect too much, especially at high volumes. It can reach low, but its dynamic range is very limited. The processing may even limit signal to prevent destroying it ( and maybe the door speakers? ), especially with noisy sources. I remember home audio receivers that would engage a circuit to prevent blowing woofers when the phono needle came down on the LP!

Sadly, for music, the sub in this vehicle is actually a downgrade from my previous 2nd-gen Pilots or 1st-gen MDXs. As previously noted, I think it's mostly intended for ANC.

Anyway, because the mounting for the OEM so-called subwoofer is so limiting, most guys upgrade to separate enclosures.
 

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I own a 2016 Honda Pilot EX-L. Honda seriously drop the ball with the sound system and this "Hondalink" system. Since we're talking about sound, I won't get into that goofy Hondalink, instead focus on the sound. I took my Pilot to several pro audio shops looking for a fix to the crappy bass and sound from the audio system. Besides, them wanting to install power amps and a powered subwoofer, I found and got installed "JL Audio C2-650X Evolution Series 6-1/2" 2-way car speakers" ($132 a pair on Amazon) in the four doors. The pilar tweeters I left alone and have not found a replacement solution for the sub. It's a 10 inch shallow housing speaker that seems the only solution is spending $500 to $1200 on a external powered sub. But, was satisfied with the up-grade! The 650X's do add a bit more bass and sound improvement than the original speakers! The bass is still lacking and this is not a solution if you're looking to rattle the license plate cover! But will do until another reasonable solution presents itself. Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Wanderer for the link to the service info. The ANC processing described by Honda is what you would expect. Mixes in out of phase sound to lower noise in the car. Audio information should pass through. That should be a desirable feature and works in tons of implementations. Any hints on how to find the TSB for the bug in my system? Did they replace parts on yours or just a software update?
 

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Out of curiosity I recently inquired about aftermarket sub install from an audio shop. The installer said that the dealer would be able to disable the ANC. Not sure if that info is accurate. Maybe someone can chime in on that. I myself disconnected the mic for testing purposes. But placed it back on due to engine noise. I did however add the dynamat hood liner to resolve that. So I might disable the mic again. Unfortunately Honda is using ANC instead of real sound deadening materials. Cost or weight must of been a factor. So sound quality will suffer. I drive a gen 2 touring with complete sound deadening materials. I have to say the sound is so much better after it was done. I would say the ANC is less intrusive now. The upper trim audio also makes a difference also. The sub is a true sub and not a large speaker. Gen 3 owners I suggest you disable the mic to see how much it affects sound quality and noise reduction. Enough rambling.
 

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IMO ANC isn't really "instead of sound dampening", it's mostly because of VCM ( cylinder shutdown ). When the engine shuts down a bank of cylinders ( to save fuel under low-load conditions ), the reciprocating mass of the internal engine components is no longer dynamically balanced, and the engine vibrates. A lot. And the engine is connected to the body of the car, so that vibrates. A lot. Honda deployed countermeasures at the engine/body interface with fancy electromagnetic active engine mounts, but that's not enough to cancel everything. Since the source of the low frequency noise is the whole darn body structure of the car, it would take a whole lot of sound dampening to tame it. Hence ANC. Suppression of some road noise is a limited fringe benefit. But with the limited number of sensors and transducers at its disposal, and the complexity of the acoustic environment, ANC has a tough row to hoe, and I'm not surprised the results are inconsistent, especially when you ask it to ignore "desirable noise" ( music ). But I completely agree the more you can do to reduce noise with passive measures ( sound dampening materials ), the better your audio will sound.

I'm not sure we should blame ANC for all our problems. Headunit software definitely has bugs, and I doubt they have all been squashed. TSB 16-097 was one update. But some guys claim subwoofer performance is WORSE after the FM tuner software repair ( are they still replacing FM tuners, or just patching software? I don't listen to FM, so I haven't bothered with it ). Which reminds me, turn off the "neural" audio setting.
 

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IMO ANC isn't really "instead of sound dampening", it's mostly because of VCM ( cylinder shutdown )

I thought that at first but I have the muzzler on. When I disabled the Anc mics the engine idle sound was louder and more pronounce when it is reved. Also there is reverberation at highway speeds in the rear cabin. ANC does a good job canceling out those sounds. I would recommend just dynamat 50% of doors for better overall sound.
 

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OK, one good experiment is worth 1000 expert opinions. Thanks.

Although 2nd-gen Pilot isn't identical to 3rd-gen, and AFAIK there is no VCM Muzzler for 3rd-gen. Yet.

One of Honda's stated goals for 3rd-gen was to improve NVH ( noise, vibration, and harshness ) relative to 2nd-gen. I had a couple 2nd-gen Pilots, in fact I traded in a 2011 EX-L for a 2012 Touring just cuz I couldn't deal with the noise in the 2011. Not my usual strategy for cars, to put it mildly. 2012 Touring was better, but still not as quiet as 2016 Touring. So I think Honda did something right in terms of noise abatement in 3rd-gen, but I'm only guessing as to what changed for the better. Or what changed for the worse in terms of audio bass performance.
 

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My Pilot is not in the garage yet. As soon as i settle on the sale of MDX (planned for Tuesday) and I move the cleaned up MDX out of the garage, I plan to do an experiment.

I will run some music thorough a home (AC) system through my boxed sub in the Pilot and play the Pilot radio with ANC on at the same time and see if anything odd happens. That will simulate a sub run off the full range signal and not touching the factory sub, its feed or the ANC.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sounds like fun! Let us know what happens when you increase or decrease the factory subwoofer level. There are some cheap or free signal generators out there as well as recorded test tones if you want to add a bit more control into the mix.
 

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i have a 2017 ex-l.. will tackle this upgrade in the next couple of weeks...
im a bit of an audiophile since i used to compete with SQ audio competition back then.
im actually looking int just adding a dsp first and see if i can manipulate the sound to
make it better on the stock ones. if not ill upgrade the amp and leave the speakers
alone for the mean time.

ill update soon...
 
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