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I've had my 2011 RTL for about 8 weeks now and just found out i got a 90 day trial of XM radio starting when I took delivery. I noticed the sound of FM & XM channels get thin and don't really get any louder once the volume goes over 30. CD & AUX modes sound fine, although I dont need to crank them up as much. I saw someone mention that reception is poor on the RL, is this a possible explanation?
 

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I've had my 2011 RTL for about 8 weeks now and just found out i got a 90 day trial of XM radio starting when I took delivery. I noticed the sound of FM & XM channels get thin and don't really get any louder once the volume goes over 30. CD & AUX modes sound fine, although I dont need to crank them up as much. I saw someone mention that reception is poor on the RL, is this a possible explanation?
There are multiple threads here on that topic... you can search to find them. Essentially, the newer RLs (2009 & up) have a quirk in the audio system that wasn't there before. To get your "best" audio for FM & XM, you need to go to CD first (and there needs to be a CD in the machine if I remember correctly), and THEN switch over to your desired source. You should then find the audio equally good I'm told. Unfortunately, you need to do this each time you restart the truck. It's just a bad glitch in the system, that Honda won't own up to or fix.
If I've botched the explanation in anyway, the true audiophiles will follow-up to correct my deficiencies. :)

Try the search.
 

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The above only applies to RTL w/have and SE units. I've turned the "bug" in for about the 5th time since the 2008 model year, but to date Honda has said they will not fix the problem. But I have a new person looking into if it can be done via a firmware update.
 

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There are two separate issues at play here:

First, is the "equalization bug" that affects all 2009-2014 RL's with navigation mentioned above.

Second, is that beginning with volume level 30, the radio stops increasing the bass and treble and increases only the midrange. This is done to reduce the possibility of distortion and/or damage to the speakers at high volume levels. The primary purpose is to reduce warranty claims due to blown speakers. Because XM (and FM to a lesser extent) have reduced sound levels compared to CD and AUX (due in part to the above-mentioned bug), you notice the low frequency roll-off function more because you have to turn the volume control up more. Ideally, a system would have enough power and gain under all listening conditions for all sources. This system does not. Better systems (including those that are considered to be under-powered) have a "feedback" system that detects distortion and limits the output to a safe level based on an actual measurements instead of blindly assuming that damaging distortion may be possible above a certain (relative) volume level.
 
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