Music can change a dull car ride into an interesting one. But things can quickly go from good to bad if your car speakers don’t play vocals as you listen to your favorite music.
Today. I’ll be answering the question many car owners have been asking for a while, “Why are my car speakers not playing vocals?”
As a general rule, car speakers don’t play vocals because of crossover issues or incorrectly set filters in the amplifier. Turning off LPF, switching on HPF, rewiring your car speaker, changing aux ports and cables, and switching off karaoke functions are common and easy ways to fix vocals problems in the car speakers.
As an Amazon Associate, ImproveCarAudio will receive a small commission from qualifying purchases made through the links in this article.
Tip: Having high-quality music is one of the things that can make your ride comfortable, so you shouldn’t settle for marginal sound coming out of your speaker. If your systems have been set up correctly and you still experience missing tones, try adding to the system a sound processor that will steer certain frequencies towards the specific speakers.
Sound processors are not the cheapest part of the car audio but they can make magic with sound. My favorite one is a 6 channel AudioControl DQDX. If you want to have something truly outstanding, click the link and check the latest price on Amazon.
In this article, I will show you various reasons that could prevent your car speaker from playing vocals as well as how to fix them. Stay tuned.
Why your car speakers don’t play vocals and how to fix it.
Fix 1: Turn off LPF when vocals are not playing.
Turning off LPF in many cases will fix the vocals issues of your car speaker. To do this, go to your car stereo or amplifier and navigate into the Audio/Sound settings. Then, turn off the Low Pass Filter.
Fix 2: Switch on HPF
You can also fix your car speaker’s vocal problems by turning on High pass Frequency on your amplifier. Go to your car’s amplifier and look for the switch that says Crossover. Typically, there are three options available under Crossover – LPF, HPF, and full range.
The next step is for you to turn on the HPF and if your amplifier has an adjustable HPF, set it to around 80 Hz.
One of these two methods should fix your car speaker’s vocal problem if the cause is a crossover issue.
Crossover issue is one of the most common reasons why car speakers play bass but no vocals.
The fact that your speaker is still playing bass shows it is okay and not blown, even though it’s not playing vocals. What you have to do now is to go to your car stereo or amplifier and turn off the low pass filter.
Having this option turned on prevents vocals from reaching your car speaker, which is why you hear only bass from your speaker.
The low pass filter is essentially a filter, cutting off frequencies that exceed 80 Hz. And vocals generally exceed this frequency.
I’ve also heard people complaining that they hear only bass from their rear car speakers when using a Pioneer car stereo.
And the reason for this is because the rear speakers have probably been bridged to drive a small subwoofer. Turning off the subwoofer options for the rear speakers in the audio options usually does the trick.
Fix 3: Rewiring Your Car Speaker
Speakers tend to develop wiring issues after using them for some time. If your car speaker is over 10 years old, then wiring could be the reason for no vocals or poor sound quality.
It could be that the insulation of your car speaker has already worn down, thereby exposing the wires. And this could lead to short circuits occurring in the speaker.
How to rewire car speakers
- Step 1: You’ll have to remove your car stereo with the help of a set of stereo removal tools. This can be easily done using two pry bars that can be inserted into either side of the car stereo to remove it.
Then, you’ll have to also remove the trim panel surrounding the stereo before you slid it shut.
- Step 2: You’ll need a stereo wiring diagram, which can easily be found online, to identify which wires are designated for which speakers.
Typically, colored stripes are used to designate speaker wires, but each speaker’s exact color scheme may vary for different car stereos.
It’s common to see stereos designating utility wires with solid colors while colored stripes define speakers’ wires.
After correctly identifying the speaker’s wires, connect each one of them using a pair of wire strippers. This can be done by stripping off 1 inch of each wire’s insulation then tying the exposed ends together.
- Step 3: Run the wires to the locations designated for them and tuck the wiring underneath maths or floorboards to achieve a clean installation. Then properly connect the speaker wiring to the speakers.
If you are going to replace car speaker wires, check out this step-by-step detailed guide I wrote about rewiring car audio.
Fix 4: Replace your aux cable.
A faulty aux cable could also be the reason why you are not getting any vocals from your speaker. A faulty aux cable can cause Quasi Karaoke, which happens when the speaker subtracts the two channels from each other! – the left channel of the original audio is subtracted from the right channel.
So what you get is music with no vocals. A faulty aux cable is one of the main reasons why wired speakers do not produce vocals. You may also get no vocals if the aux cable isn’t properly connected to the aux port.
The most common reason why aux cables go bad is due to being bent tightly or flexed back and forth repeatedly. As wires are metals, microscopic breaks occur as they are bent back and forth, and these fractures may eventually surpass the wire’s tensile strength and break the electrical bond.
It is therefore recommended to use quality and highly isolated aux wires in the car audio. These will not only provide a high-quality signal but, because of robust design, will not get damaged too quickly.
A great aux wire that I use is the Syncwire with its flexible woven body that can be adapted to any shape in the car. You can find it on Amazon, so if you want a high-quality aux wire, click this link and check the latest price.
Fix 5: Fix or replace the aux port.
Your car’s speaker will not produce any vocals if the aux port is faulty.
It’s common to see the jack having broken solder joints at the board or having bent or cracked internal contacts. Repairing the aux port requires some expertise, and it’s advisable to take your car to a professional if engineering isn’t your strong suit.
Sometimes, you should get a completely new audio system.
Fix 6: Check if your car audio system has a karaoke function.
Your car audio system can have a karaoke function that attempts to remove vocals from music using an Out Of Phase Stereo (OOPS) technique. This is achieved by center channel extraction, and this technique exploits the fact that most stereo recordings have vocals in the center.
The left channel of the original audio is subtracted from the right channel, and the vocals are removed. If your car audio system has a karaoke function, you may have activated it by mistake.
Fix 7: Replace your car’s speakers.
Sometimes you just need to let go of your car’s speaker and replace it. The truth is that car manufacturers do not generally give much thought to the speakers during the designing and building of your vehicle.
Now, factory stereos and audio systems have significantly improved over the last couple of years. But the truth is that many so-called “premium” systems still deliver underwhelming performance and poor quality audio.
If you’ve been using your manufacturer’s audio system for a while and you start experiencing issues like no vocal that do not seem to go away, then it’s time for a replacement.
Tips for getting the best sound quality in your car
Select higher quality for your music files
I think this is pretty obvious. You may be considering using greater compression when it comes to your music files in order to save more space and consequently store more music, but you need to select high-quality music if you want to have the best sound possible in your car.
The truth is, you won’t notice anything wrong with highly compressed music files when listening to them through earbuds. But this quickly changes when you are playing music on a car system.
Why? This is because you lose some high- and low-frequency information after compressing your music. And these are among what makes a song interesting, and you’ll notice the reduced quality of the audio on a car system.
So, always try to use as little compression as possible for your music.
You’ll notice that the higher your music’s bit rate, the better the quality of music your car’s speaker will produce. Also, make sure that the quality of your music is high when you are streaming online. Always use streaming services that offer high-resolution music.
Use sound deadening material.
You should know that there are some places in your car where speakers don’t perform optimally. For example, a door panel is not an ideal place for a speaker as the vibration of the thin metal from the door affects the quality of your speaker’s sound.
When you use sound-deadening materials, those vibrations are deadened, and as a result, you will have a more stable platform for your speaker. You can compare this to the wooden baffle used for a home speaker.
Perhaps you’ve noticed how the audio quality in your car sounds perfect at 25 mph but gets a little distorted when you hit 60. You may even notice that your music sounds overly bright when you raise the volume at highway speeds.
Road noise affects the sound coming from your speakers and tends to mask the lower frequencies first.
Using a sound-deadening material will significantly lower the level of interior noise in your car. And this means you won’t have to turn your music up as loud when you are behind the wheels. Also, the burden on your amplifiers will be reduced, and you’ll hear more details from the music.
When you are wondering how to proceed with sound deadening your car, check out this article I wrote about making cars quiet inside.
Add a car amplifier.
Many people do not realize the importance of a car amplifier. And this is because they do not understand that there is a significant disparity between the output of their factory car stereo and a car amplifier.
Using an amplifier will provide your car stereo with more clean power and sound output. In fact, you’ll see that there will be a significant increase in the quality of your music when using an amplifier. This is because the car stereo will be made to filter the sound by the amplifier, resulting in finer sound production.
I’ve seen people saying, “My factory stereo puts out 200 watts, and that’s plenty of power.”
Well…. is it really?
There’s a large difference between 50 watts peak power per channel your car stereo produces, and 50 watts RMS per channel from an outboard amplifier.
Try adjusting your car stereo volume to the lowest level while increasing the car amplifiers. You’ll quickly discover that you’ll get the finest sound output you’ve never achieved before. And this is because of the amplifier and also because there is no distortion to the speakers.
Don’t max out your tone controls.
A car’s audio system performs optimally when it is correctly tuned.
You can compare it to a guitar. Unless a guitar is tuned correctly, you are not going to get the best sound from it. The same applies to your car stereo. Increasing your factory car stereo’s tone all the way to the max might produce good quality sound in your driveway.
But this isn’t going to be the same when you pull up on a highway.
You’ll start to notice distortions when the tone is maxed out on a highway. So what do you do? To fatten your sound, lower the highs and mids a touch, then use a smaller boost in the bass. Using a heavy low-frequency boost is going to put a lot of strain on your car stereo.
The same still holds true even if you’ve replaced the factory car stereo with an aftermarket stereo that comes with a multi-band equalizer feature. Just make sure you avoid unnecessary and excessive tone controls or cuts. You see that a bad EQ setting can make even the best sound systems sound horrible or terrible.
At the same time, an intelligent tone curve can even make an average system sound great.
For many different reasons, you shouldn’t mess with your EQ on the road. You can program many different EQ presets into your receiver beforehand if you can. Then you can try out these EQ presets on the road to see which sounds best or works best for your car without having to adjust settings when you are behind the wheels.
You could also browse through your receiver’s preset curves to see if any of them sounds particularly good at highway speed. After that, you can customize that setting in your driveway.
Add a subwoofer and hear what you’ve been missing.
You won’t know the value of a sub until you install it in your car. Yes, you may have installed a lot of car audio systems, but you are still missing out until you install a sub in your car and notice the clear increase in the audio quality.
You see, a good subwoofer will make you hear familiar music/tunes in a whole new light as the bottom octave of your audio will be brought into proper balance. At the same time, the subwoofer will help take a lot of burden off your full-range speakers as you’ll now be able to play music with the bass control set at “0” instead of “+5”.
I’ve seen people that don’t rate subwoofers very much because they’ve been next to a thumping, vibrating car at a traffic light. But subwoofers are just much more than boomboxes. They can be tailored to fit your musical preference and your vehicle.
From the moment you install a sub in your car, you can’t go back to driving with one, or maybe two, haha.
Use high-quality cables for your amplifiers.
We can compare electricity to running water. Imagine trying to run a garden hose from your well to your home. Not the smartest idea as you wouldn’t get sufficient water to keep up with demand. The same applies to your amplifiers as using cheap or undersized power cables won’t produce the best results.
Your car amplifier won’t get enough power if you don’t use high-quality cables. A quality cable will ensure that your amplifier gets all the juice it needs, especially during peak demand.
Also, quality cables bring a better flow of signal from your receiver to your car amps. And the result of this is the production of focused and high-quality audio.