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Discussion Starter #1
First off here is what I have and the problem:

Head unit: the NON-Rockford deck with the 6 CD changer

Problem: I just installed the Harman/Kardon Drive + Play. Everything went together without any problems (installation is very straightforward), but the sound quality is HORRIBLE. I would say it is the equivalent to using an FM transmitter (no bass, weak overall power)

Connecting the iPod directly to the Aux-Input with a 3.5mm cable was MUCH better.

Essentially using the Drive + Play is the same as connecting it direct to the Aux Input - but now it is going into the "brain" of the Harman/Kardon unit before it is exported to the speakers. I just took the Aux-Input plug from the faceplate, unscrewed it from the faceplate, pulled it inside and connected it that way (there was no other option other than FM transmitter).

BUT, I have been talking to RonMartin27 - he said his sounds great - even better than the CD or radio, by far. BUT, he has the Rockford head unit.

Problem is, Ron isn't sure how his is connected (I KNOW it is different than the way I described above though). My question is, does the Rockford deck have an interface in the back for an external CD changer? If so, his is likely connected through an adapter cable, which is possibly how he is getting much better audio quality.

But maybe my unit is defective?

I have an Alpine deck that I can install which has the ability to connect the iPod through the CD changer interface....BUT I don't want to waste my time with that, if the device is defective.

I thought I'd come on here first to find out if the Rockford deck has the CD changer connection in the back- that might be my answer.
 

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Both the Rockford and the radio in your vehicle have the same connectors on the rear. You should be aware that both of those two radio systems are prewired for satellite radio. There is an aftermarket adapter which uses the satellite radio conection on those radio to provide two additional AUX inputs. It is possible that the other party you are talking to is using that interface.

For your present problem: the device you added could be defective, the new device may be amplifying the signal too much such that it is providing a much higher level than necessary to the radio.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
"Both the Rockford and the radio in your vehicle have the same connectors on the rear. You should be aware that both of those two radio systems are prewired for satellite radio."

Are you SURE? There aren't ANY open connections on the back of my deck - there are five plugs in the back of my deck like the photo below, and the antenna of course, but NOTHING else open.



Also, whatever was used on RonMartin27's deck rendered his Aux-Input at the faceplate unusable according to him. So FYI on that too.

Thanks for the help.
 

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I have a Drive + Play hooked up through the Aux Input on my rockford head unit and it sounds great. However I did install a PIE AMP between the two and I still have to crank the volume a little more than if I where playing a CD. Have you double checked the ground wire and Aux conections?
 

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Yes, both have the same number of connectors. ALL are filled. The one used for the satellite radio is prewired - there is a connector for the satellite box that resides just above the brake pedal if the satellite box is not equipped. Configured this way, addition of satellite service later does not require pulling the radio - the installer uses the in-place cable under the dash. The aftermarket adapter I was referring to plugs into the rear of the radio replacing the connector for the satellite radio.

If the normal AUX input is disabled, then I would suspect a pre-amp such as the PIE unit was hardwired between the D+P unit and the radio. The 04 radios definitely suffered from insufficient gain for the AUX input. Some external devices had enough gain to overcome this shortcoming, but a number of others did not. Addition of a PIE amp was the usual solution to increase the gain to the radio input (this was true of both the Rockford and midline HUs). My personal solution was to replace the HU with aftermarket.

The Rockford and Midline radios (both have 6 CD players) are basically the same unit. The difference is the Rockford unit does not have the 'high level' output transistor stage since it feeds to an external amplifier.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Silvernik - Yeah the ground is good; I bolted it to the bare metal framework that is behind the head unit....couldn't be better. The Aux connections are fine...the only plug that doesn't give you great acknowledgement is the iPod plug at the brain...but I triple checked that one too.

Eakes - thanks for all the great info - much appreciated. And yes my actual plan is to get an aftermarket HU like the Kenwood 7019...I just can't bring myself to spend that much on a head unit...yet (even the DPX-501 or 502 would do what I need, and for half the cost). I just wanted this setup to get me through a 10 hour drive to CO, but it pains me to listen to it (tin can).

I think the best "control" to this experiment is to go get a wiring harness and hook up my single din Alpine - I have the CD changer-to-3.5mm and I know that sounds good. This will tell me if the D+P is faultly.

Thanks.
 
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