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I have a 2020 Sportage that is about two weeks old. There are two things I detest about the factory stereo:
1) The maximum volume is rather low; when at the max level of "45," you can still have a comfortable conversation with rear-seat passengers.
2) There appears to be "dynamic volume control" applied at all times. I have deactivated the settings that control volume based on speed. I do have volume control for when in reverse.
There may be nothing to do about #1, and I can find no documentation regarding #2.
A quick test with a dB meter clearly shows that "dynamic volume control" is most assuredly active, even when parked or idle.
I wish to turn this "feature" off. "Dynamic volume control" is horrible; it distorts every audio program.
Does anyone know how I can fix this?
 

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99 Kia Elan 1.8L
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I have a 2020 Sportage that is about two weeks old. There are two things I detest about the factory stereo:
1) The maximum volume is rather low; when at the max level of "45," you can still have a comfortable conversation with rear-seat passengers.
2) There appears to be "dynamic volume control" applied at all times. I have deactivated the settings that control volume based on speed. I do have volume control for when in reverse.
There may be nothing to do about #1, and I can find no documentation regarding #2.
A quick test with a dB meter clearly shows that "dynamic volume control" is most assuredly active, even when parked or idle.
I wish to turn this "feature" off. "Dynamic volume control" is horrible; it distorts every audio program.
Does anyone know how I can fix this?
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2018 Sportage SX | 2009 Borrego EX (gone)
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I am not sure I have ever had my unit past 25 as it would be too loud. Now the phone calls, yes I have hit 30 before, but that was max. I find the radio very well and this is from someone who competed in IASCA events. I don't think it is great by any means, but I think the Harman Kardon system is a good factory system.
 

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I have the same car and same problem. Its almost like the volume is pumping up and down at times. Its very annoying.


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2020 Kia Sportage SX AWD and 1988 Mercedes 300CE
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My 2020 SX does well with most inputs. I can pretty much run a person out of the car if I crank it up (again, with most input sources). Now, the exclusion: I have one album (the new Joe Bonamassa Live at the Sydney Opera House - download provided directly from the web to my stick drive) that must be turned up to about max to be enjoyable. Funny thing is that all other albums on the same drive are twice as loud.
 

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2019 Kia Sportage. SX with AWD. 2.0L Direct Injected Turbocharged & Intercooled Gas.
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ddhartma, that's called gain and it's up to the recording engineer to establish a level for it during any type of recording. Analog or digital...... Thumbs up on Joe....saw him in Cincinnati recently.

On my way to the service department today I note I have the volume more than half just to enjoy the music. Sounds like the stereo amp may not have enough watts to crank the tunes!

Some time ago I had a GM product that 'limited' the volume allowed in the vehicle, like big brother protecting me. Did not like the feature. Could not turn it off. Eventually got rid of the car.
 

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I was doing some experimenting today and I do think its some kind of safety-based limiting. It only seems to happen when the volume is turned up and the music peaks. If it was a good limiter you really wouldn’t notice it but it compresses slowly enough that you get this sort of pumping effect.
 

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2017 Kia Sportage
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1,390 Posts
Manufacturers use rather cheap speakers, even in the "premium" audio systems found in cars like ours. Too much amp gain can blow these speakers. The limiting factor is not the amps, but the speakers. The only place you'll really find good speakers is in ultra luxury brands when you spend $5,000 or so just on the upgraded audio. I've upgraded the audio in more than a dozen of my cars -- I do the work myself -- and the speakers are not very good. You have to limit the gain. If you really want volume, install a high quality LOC, good speakers, and a decent digital amp. Don't expect any low priced car to give you great audio....
 

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Manufacturers use rather cheap speakers, even in the "premium" audio systems found in cars like ours. Too much amp gain can blow these speakers. The limiting factor is not the amps, but the speakers. The only place you'll really find good speakers is in ultra luxury brands when you spend $5,000 or so just on the upgraded audio. I've upgraded the audio in more than a dozen of my cars -- I do the work myself -- and the speakers are not very good. You have to limit the gain. If you really want volume, install a high quality LOC, good speakers, and a decent digital amp. Don't expect any low priced car to give you great audio....
By limiting, I mean an actual limiter in the pre-amp circuit, not the speakers running to their physical “limit”. The system actually sounds quite good for a base level stereo. Better than my old Nissan and brand new Subaru, and plenty good for my daily commute. Maybe the limiter (if that’s what it is) is intended to prevent distortion rather than keep the volume down for safety reasons, if that is what you meant.

What doesn’t make sense is even cheap bluetooth speakers have transparent sounding dsp that adjust EQ and limit gain to prevent distortion. Its hard to understand how they could implement compression that poorly. Maybe that isn’t what is causing it. It sounds like someone turning the volume down for a few seconds and then back up. All the auto volume setting based on speed features, etc are turned off, as with the OP on this thread.
 

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2017 Kia Sportage
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By limiting, I mean an actual limiter in the pre-amp circuit, not the speakers running to their physical “limit”. The system actually sounds quite good for a base level stereo. Better than my old Nissan and brand new Subaru, and plenty good for my daily commute. Maybe the limiter (if that’s what it is) is intended to prevent distortion rather than keep the volume down for safety reasons, if that is what you meant.

What doesn’t make sense is even cheap bluetooth speakers have transparent sounding dsp that adjust EQ and limit gain to prevent distortion. Its hard to understand how they could implement compression that poorly. Maybe that isn’t what is causing it. It sounds like someone turning the volume down for a few seconds and then back up. All the auto volume setting based on speed features, etc are turned off, as with the OP on this thread.
The limiting is in the amp circuit as there is no separate pre-amp. And I agree that my HK setup is OK. For that reason, I've not upgraded this car as I've done for most of my previous cars. You should be aware that volume will be reduced when using navigation as it turns off volume to the driver's side speaker. It's not only distortion on the car's speakers that is the issue, but they are so cheap it is easy to blow them. I don't play hip-hop or rock so high volume is not an issue with me, but I do notice the lack of clarity and more boom than I had with my upgraded systems. If I did more travel in my car (I'm retired), I might have upgraded this unit as well.
 

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I just have the base system, no nav.

Another thing I noticed is that very little volume comes from the rear speakers. Anyone else notice that?
 

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Kia Sportage 1.6 CRDi 2018
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I just have the base system, no nav.

Another thing I noticed is that very little volume comes from the rear speakers. Anyone else notice that?
Yes I have the same system too (no NAV) and the rear speakers sound as if they're broken or as if the polarity is reversed. In my previous cars I always used to adjust the fader towards the rear speakers in order to get a better stereo effect. This is the only car that this doesn't work as the sound lowers to the point you cannot hear it.
 
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