Monday, June 22, 2020

New Speakers - Kenwood Sound Cruising System?

In an earlier recent post, I mentioned that I had begun researching speakers and speaker locations after I had removed the overly complicated Pioneer CyberNavi system, and that I was looking to replace it with a simpler 1 DIN deck.

And yes, one of the tasks for Nismo Omori Factory this time is to remove that mess of wiring, remove the Morels in the A pillars and the doors, and move the old 3 way coaxial Pioneers in the rear deck to the front doors, so that whatever deck I choose can be installed very easily.  But these Pioneers are not a permanent solution, as I'm sure there are newer speakers on the market that provide better sound quality.

In my research for new speakers, one option I DID in fact think about was the optional Kenwood Sound Cruising system, which in fact was standard on the 4 door Autech GT-R (and it's something I became aware of several years ago). Described in the catalogs as "200W, 8 speakers, 1 DIN AM/FM electronic tuner, single CD player (with CD auto changer capability)" putting something like this back in my car would be cool - OEM yet digital sound, and with 8 speakers!

Buttons look faded, and the scratches on the display...
Ah, but what about the speakers? We would need good ones for digital sound, right? Well, previously,  I had discovered the fronts are separates and go into the A pillar and that all cars are prewired for it.

But I had never realized (despite the description of 8 speakers) that the REAR deck speakers were also a bit different than the norm, until I came across this on Facebook.
Credit to Kesh on Facebook, apologies! Thank you for letting me post this! (see his comment below)
So my takeaways - looking at this photo, at the very least, these speakers appear to NOT have cones made of paper, but maybe a slightly better plastic (or a plastic coated paper cone)?

Compare with regular OEM speakers from my car that I still had saved!

And it's interesting that the fronts utilize the same plastic door mounts as the regular speakers, but the rears have independent tweeters next to the mids, or maybe they are subs.

Clearly the small tweeters that go up front seem a bit small.
As above, taken from a Facebook post by Kesh - thanks again!!
So the question now is, whether these speakers are actually placed optimally with sound quality and imaging in mind, much like the modern systems of today, or whether Nissan put these tweeters here for convenience.  In other words, if I choose separates again to replace the Morel speakers, is this where I should be placing the tweeters?  Somehow I doubt that optimal sound staging was the idea here...

Then again, I have no idea why they decided that separate tweeters were necessary in the rear - it's common knowledge that staging is more of a front position speaker thing, with the rears, if used at all, providing fill.

Further, I'm sure both speaker design and material quality has substantially improved in the 25 years since the Kenwood system was designed.  Those tweeters look very small, so my thinking is that given their sound dynamics, they NEEDED to be placed as high up as possible in order to provide some decent sound.

I'm also curious about the 200W Kenwood amp that came with this system. How good it is and how does it compare to a modern Class D amp?

In any case there was one very simple and OCD reason I decided not to go with this system in the end - if you look at the photo above, you will notice that the white lettering on the buttons has turned brownish orange. If I'm going to go OEM, I'd at minimum want it to look brand new...

And so my search continues...


Jason said...

Depending on how far you want to go, you could have restoration done to the CD player to make it look new.

Something like these examples done by Ito-san

AC Panel (Built by Legends Spoon EG6)

Interior Switches (Built by Legends Spoon EG6)

Interior Panels (R32)

Aki said...

Wow that DOES look fantastic, indeed! I may reach out to him - sharing the same last name, must be a nice guy! lol. Thanks for posting this information!

SashaECR33 said...

Hi aki! I used alpine dddrive, and sound was good! U can check! :)

Aki said...

Thanks Sasha! Very useful information. Something to add to my list!

kesh said...

hi all,

The picture with the the Kenwood cruising sound system is mine. I recently got the system installed in my r33 gtst. I can confirm the sound is amazing. the speakers are not paper. The system can be installed into any r33, however it has a very specific wiring harness that is part of the cars overall body harness, I got the harness from another car and got my auto electrician to pick out the wiring for the kenwood amp. i have more more photos of the install on my ig retronissan33. i have 15 factory options in my car :)

Aki said...

Hi Kesh,

Thanks so much for reaching out and letting me know those were your photos! I've gone ahead and credited you above under the photos. Just FYI, I've also done some research since and discovered that the speakers are made of some kind of carbon fiber infused material, so not paper, you are correct. Further, the front tweeters are 1.8cm diameter, rated for 60W max at 4ohms (compared to only 25W max for the normal system that had tweeters - this was on the 2 DIN systems in non GTR variants), while the door speakers are 16cm diameter and rated for 60W max (compared to 30W max in all other cars). Both the rear tweeters (2.5 cm diameter) and rear mids (16cm diameter) are good for 40W max (compared to 30W max in all other cars). The Kenwood Sound Cruising System head unit was made by Panasonic, by the way). Hopefully good info just in case your amp dies... speaking of which the standard cassette deck unit has a built in amp rated at 15Wx2; the separate amp for the Kenwood system is supposedly 60Wx2 (fronts) and 40Wx2 (rears) so effectively a 200W system! Not bad for the mid 1990s I think...


Unknown said...

hi aki,

no worries at all, i did a translation of the catalogue and it advises the speakers are made of cross carbon, so yes correct on the carbon material. i also followed you on ig a couple days ago :) looking forward to seeing more material on your website in the future, cheers