I have a 2002 Honda Civic and recently installed an Apline CDA-9853 head unit. It still has factory speakers.

I have a weird problem, such that when I connect an iPod to the unit (via a KCA-121B), on the vast majority of the songs I can't hear the lyrics.

I thought that this might mean my head unit is trying to output to more speakers than I actually have, but the radio sounds fine. I also thought it might be improperly grounded, (I connected the ground from the head unit to the ground coming from the car, rather than bolting it to the chassis). But again, radio sounds fine so that seems odd. Also, touching the metal back of my iPhone changes the sound (in fact, makes lyrics more clear) so that makes me think it's a grounding issue as well.

I thought I'd see if anyone has seen this before. I'm going to ground it properly today and see if that fixes it, but in the interim any light that could be shed on this would be appreciated.

2 Answers 2


Something could be wrong with your iPhone connection wire/connectors, perhaps it has bad or missing ground line signal.

When ground signal is missing the receiver plays the difference between the audio channels - and it often has the voice "ommited", as the voice is common in both channels and music slightly differs due to 3D positioning.

Check your connector for traces of dirt/oxygenation. Check your wire for defects and broken lines.

P.S. Sorry for my English, I don't know the right words.

  • Turns out the KCA connector was just loose in the back. I did go ahead and properly ground it, though. Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 4:49

If you are just missing lyrics, my thought is that something must be cutting out the mid range.

It could be that when you have your iPod connected, the system wants to send mids to other speakers, so check your config.

However, your comment about how you have ground connected, and what happens when you touch the iPod concerns me. You should always ground every device directly to the chassis, so that would be the key thing to check - it may be that the difference in ground is actually upsetting the output stage on your iPod.

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