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Poor FM reception after installing subwoofer
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Thread: Poor FM reception after installing subwoofer

  1. #1
    Member Dernt's Avatar
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    Poor FM reception after installing subwoofer

    Bear with me on this as it may be a little confusing. Roughly a year ago, I replaced the OEM radio with a Kenwood digital unit. Bought the proper aftermarket harness and the Euro anntena adapter, made all the connections, and all was good. I didn't install the secondary harness to retain the SWC at the time, mainly due to time and cost, but plan on doing so in the future. At this point, everything was perfect, no problem with sound, reception, all of the USB ports worked, etc.. About 4 months ago, I decided it was time to add some bass to the car. I bought a 10" shallow-mount sub because I have a 500c and very limited room in the trunk. I spent a decent amount of time configuring a box that would fit on the left side (like the JB Audio version) and meet the needed cu ft requirement for the sub. Also bought a Class D mono amp to drive the sub. Box built, amp connected and the entire unit installed in the car. However, after a few weeks, I started noticing the FM reception was declining on various stations. Double-checked all the wring and connections and all was as it should be but 1 shop suggested that having the amp tapped into the ANT Power could be drawing just enough amps to weaken the signal. So I moved the amps remote power wire to the charging port on the center console. The amp needs to be connected to a non-continual power source or else it will drain the battery even with the car turned off. This change had no affect on the reception. Fast-forward to about 2 weeks ago and I noticed that only 1 local station will stay in at all times. All other stations are either intermittant or simply don't tune in at all. Once again, out with the HU, check the wiring, etc. and all is good. I read online that Kenwood has a history of the blue/white wire (marked P. CONT/ANT.CONT) not providing 12v which obviously will affect reception and I read that Class D amps can also affect reception but usually when installed on a motorcycle, not a car. I have spoken to a few local radio install shops and also with Crutchfield's support and no one seems to have any idea what is causing this. Also, I had removed the entire sub box and amp for about a week as I built a new, smaller box and during that time, the reception was still bad. This eliminates the idea that the amp is causing the interference which only leaves the radio itself or something with the cars antenna. I am at a loss as to the cause of this and am hoping someone on here will have a suggestion that I have overlooked.

    The radio is connected as folows:
    blue/white wire from radio (P.CONT/ANT.CONT) to blue wire from the antenna adapter
    blue/white wire from aftermarket harness to radio blue/white wire (P.CONT/ANT.CONT)
    blue amp remote turn-on wire connected to 12v power plug in center console

    Also, with the car running and the radio powered on, I disconnected each blue/white wire. Upon doing so, almost all of the sound would then be routed through the subwoofer; highs, lows, vocals. The only way it worked properly was when all 3 wires were connected together. I tried each possible combination and got the same result.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    AWD enthusiast Lifetime Member 5port's Avatar
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    Is there any way to (with respect to FM) abandon the harness and run a dedicated coax from the FM antenna direct to the radio?

    Or install your own FM antenna and run that direct to the radio?

    The minute you start to multiplex FM radio with other items reception goes wonky. I can only get HD radio from NYC at one spot in my house. If I change anything connected to that radio I cant get it. I cant even plug in a line-out jack.

    In your case I dought its the class D amp causing the problem.
    2016 500X Easy, Go pedal, Autoflash, LED headlights and reverse, LED DRL, carbon fiber shift gate, ST T9 wheels, PIAA wipers, '17 motor mounts, AEM Dry Flow

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  4. #3
    AWD enthusiast Lifetime Member 5port's Avatar
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    I take back my comment on the Class D amp. The reason for that is I have an external 300W Class D Sub that wipes out the FM radio when I turn it on. To isolate the Class D power amp can you remove its power while the FM radio is working? It would prove worthwhile.

    Its possible you can isolate the inteference with ferrite cores placed in the right locations.
    Last edited by 5port; 02-14-2023 at 06:29 PM.
    2016 500X Easy, Go pedal, Autoflash, LED headlights and reverse, LED DRL, carbon fiber shift gate, ST T9 wheels, PIAA wipers, '17 motor mounts, AEM Dry Flow

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    Member Dernt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5port View Post
    I take back my comment on the Class D amp. The reason for that is I have an external 300W Class D Sub that wipes out the FM radio when I turn it on. To isolate the Class D power amp can you remove its power while the FM radio is working? It would prove worthwhile.

    Its possible you can isolate the inteference with ferrite cores placed in the right locations.
    The amp is not the cause of it. Somewhere in that long post I made, I commented that I had the entire sub box and amp out of the vehicle for about 1 week and the reception stayed shoddy and in some cases, got worse. To answer your question, yes I could disconnect the power turn-on wire to the amp but then I have nothing to power the sub and, as I stated, the amp is not causing the problem. As far as your question about the harness, no I can't remove it. Nothing is multiplexed to FM, as you put it. This was a straight-forward HU swap using the supplied P-n-P harness from Kenwood and an Access P-n-P harness to connect to the factory harness in order to maintain the factory amp and speaker connections. The only thing that was lost in the swap was the steering wheel controls (SWC) but there is a harness for that as well which is also plug-n-play with the exception of 2 wires that need to be connected by the end user. Why they don't have those included is beyond me. I did contemplate installing an aftermarket fin-type antenna or finding a decent spot and installing the factory type antenna but as my car is a convertible, that's really not an option. My antenna is made into the windshield which is why it has to be amplified or "powered" in order to work properly.

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    5port (02-15-2023)

  7. #5
    Lifetime Member Lifetime Member Hermiabarth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dernt View Post
    My antenna is made into the windshield which is why it has to be amplified or "powered" in order to work properly.
    Interesting: I have a Kenwood unit with the adaptor for steering wheel controls, no subwoofer or accessory amp. The only significant difference appears to be that my Abarth has a roof mounted antenna. My FM reception is fine - no appreciable change with the new HU. Is there no way you can take accessory power to the antenna to eliminate corruption/noise in the power supply to the antenna? I know the windshield antennae aren't the greatest; I had problems with my C5 Corvette and power to the antenna amp after a HU swap. Maybe an aftermarket amp might be the answer:

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    Member Dernt's Avatar
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    Did some online research and asked around a few more shops and the general consensus is that Kenwood is known for not providing 12v to the antenna. I wasn't impressed with the HU anyway so I uninstalled it and put the factory radio back in. Instant 100% improvement in reception which tells me the radio was the problem. Have decided to go with an underseat sub connected to the factory HU just to improve the total lack of bass. My friend has a 500 Pop with the basic radio and her car easily has 75% more bass than my amplified system. It's embarassing, honestly. Her radio also has a built-in EQ and a loudness option, neither of which mine has.

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    5port (03-10-2023)

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