Having issues with poor sound quality from a home-made speaker setup


Novice Member
Hi All,

So, I have a project on the go in which I am trying to bring back to life a set of old car speakers in a home setup within a custom housing and home network connectivity so that I can play music synchronously over several speaker units (the setup involves a raspberry pi and is not important to this thread).

I have tested all of my speakers in combo with the small amp, playing back music from my phone using the 3.5mm jack on the amp. All work, but the sound quality is not anywhere near where I'd like it to be: there's far too much high-frequency emphasis, it sounds tinny and there's not enough mid-range/bass. What I would like to find out is if any of the experts have any simple suggestions to improve this setup (beyond buy better amps and speakers) to try and cut out some of the unwanted aspects of the sound.

Note: for context, the components I am using are not exactly top of the line: the speakers involved are a pair of JBL 6x9 parcel shelf units and Pioneer 4 inch car 2-way co-axial speaker that typically lives in the door in combo with a small 'T-amp' style amplifier with a 60W output (see pics below) so I am not expecting audiophile quality, just good enough, for context.

The speakers are fairly meaty so should be able to handle and perform better, and currently this setup doesn't sound even as good as a £25 set of laptop speakers I used for comparison. The amp is basic, but again, I would expect it to do better.

I'm pretty new to the audio world (as you probably can tell!) and I'm keen to learn from the experts out there on how to make the most of the hardware one has.

Thanks in advance.


The 6x9 parcel shelf speakers



The 4 inch 2-ways


The mini-amp I am using can be found here:

Amazon product


Well-known Member
Most car speakers are 4 ohms nominal. Not ideal if the amp isnt 4 ohm stable.

That little amp is quoted as 50 watts. I may be wrong but I doubt such a tiny cheap thing can offer hi fi quality at that many watts with no distortion.

I would sell those car speakers which are budget end stuff and buy a pair of speakers. eg £20 JPW mini monitors would sound better. Those co axial are truly awful. Those old jbl 6by9 speakers are better than those pioneers but are still awful, they lack mid ranfe, the clarity. Components would be better.


Novice Member
I've tested them without an enclosure... granted they will sound better with one, but it's a first look-see.

I'm starting to align with password1's suggestion: I've tested both sets of speakers with a much better Marantz amp, the JBLs sounded better, not brilliant, but the Pioneer's still sounded crap... so those go in the bin.

On a more positive note, I tested the small amp I had with a good set of B&W bookshelf speakers and they do the job pretty well (for what I need), so I'll be sticking with it.

If there are any suggestions for an alternative compact 2-channel amplifier which is reasonably priced, I would be interested to hear suggestions? The key thing here is compact. because I want the amp to be tethered with a single set of speakers... a bit like a Sonos or Bose portable.


Well-known Member
Im not sure how much space you have or what your source is but one of the previous denon DM units may be suitable? Something like the DM 31, 35 or 37 are cheap.


Nobsound stuff actually isn't bad, for the money. Have a look at Topping as well, I use a couple of their amps for powering Bose type systems, exactly what you're trying to do.



Distinguished Member
Sad to read yr disappointment, - - but that line-up reads it's more suited to a car where the precise quality of the sound is somewhat secondary to pumping out lots of bass; as well as top.

Before you complicate things: - have you got a regular-recorded CD with a player +Amp and domestic speakers? . . . run this and then attempt the other needs - That way, whichever is at fault you can remove easily, while you settle down to listening to the music.... rather than the "sound".
Sound from small amplifiers may be class-D which is OK for Subs, probably, but not in favour for mid-audio Also, the audio from a phone is probably mp3 which is notoriously poor in bass . . . [ as most consumer-kit lacks any suitable speakers to reproduce LF . . . so they save bandwidth and increase compression ( saving media space) ..]
For a real test of an audio system you can't really improve on the organ recital ( off an old LP...or CD.) "Toccata and Fuge" - possibly Bach.
But at high quality-levels the recording itself may not do justice ( to the Organ,), . . . as microphone technology is improving all the time.

That's my pennyworth . . . FWIW...

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Well-known Member
I’d get another amp and a set of at least 8 inch component speakers. Use each amp to power the tweet and woof of each channel, then it will sing!

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