Question for the audio geeks
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This is a discussion on Question for the audio geeks within the Interior Mods forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Alright techies, see if you can help me out here. I have a pioneer head unit that I love, but ...

  1. #1
    Registered User Graham46's Avatar
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    Question for the audio geeks

    Alright techies, see if you can help me out here. I have a pioneer head unit that I love, but still the stock speakers for now... Ive noticed changing the settings on the equalizer makes amazing differences depending on the music. My question is, can someone actually explain to me which Hz represents which part of the sound? All I can pretty much tell is that the bass is on the left and treble is on the right... If someone is willing to give a more accurate description, it might really make my stock speakers come alive for the length of time I still have them.

    Annnnddddd.... go!



    p.s. I listen to rock, jam bands, and some electronic stuff. So, looking for good bass, but crisp high end. Thanks!
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    The controls you are are centred at a specific frequency, but it is unlikely due to the design of the circuitry involved that they modify only that frequency. This means they tend to modify primarily that frequency shown, with effects on surrounding frequencies also.

    Assuming idealized human hearing ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and knowing an octave represents a doubling of frequency you can work out how many octaves idealized human hearing covers. However, our hearing response is not linear; we are more sensitive to specific frequencies and this changes with age, environment, and gender among other things.

    A car is a terrible environment for listening to music, as it combines very high ambient noise levels with poor speaker driver placement and has both highly reflective and highly absorbent surfaces in areas where one would want one but not the other, or vice versa. The best way to get flat response (a widely accepted goal) across the frequency range of your system is to use an SPL meter with test tones and adjust equalization accordingly. However, source material will then mess things up for you depending on how it's recorded.

    I gave up on car audio years ago, incidentally, because of generally low fidelity, but since you do have the capacity for equalization you can either do what I mentioned above, or just forget about all that, set everything to taste, and have fun. FYI the human voice and most source material tend to focus on midrange frequencies, so the middle of the scale is where most of the actual signal will be manipulated, whereas low bass and extreme tremble -- both not as abundant as one might think -- would be manipulated by the extreme left and extreme right controls on your scale.
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    Registered User Graham46's Avatar
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    Quite the high tech answer! I dont know what kind of meter you mean, I suppose itll have to be all guess and check. Thats what it has been this whole time, I just wondered if someone knew what instruments or type of sound those numbers are usually associated with. I hear you on giving up though, nothin sounds like my record player haha. Youd have to replace the stock speaker wire in the entire car to get the best sound and I do NOT feel like doin that...
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    A sound pressure level or SPL meter measures, well, sound pressure level. Ideally overall response should be flat, but that can be strident to some ears so many makers adopt a shallow rolloff for the top end, and others still that are working with limited frequency response, particularly bass extension, adopt a slight midbass exaggeration (some still call this the BBC hump due to its presence in the venerable BBC LS3/5a nearfield monitors) in order to give the illusion of more bass than is actually available.

    Many (OK I'll be cruel and say "most") car audio makers are obsessed with boom and tizz emphasis on mid-treble and mid-bass with little to no regard for fidelity, but they make more money than me and they're probably asleep now whereas I'm posting all this in the middle of the night, so what do I know...

    PSB, the Canadian firm that specializes in loudspeakers, have posted the general frequency ranges for human voices and musical instruments. This image is their property:

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    Registered User Heide264's Avatar
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    Just a slight note on musical frequencies that are kinda interesting.

    -You can't really hear below 20Hz... but you sure can feel it. I always enjoy listening to good home theater subs because many times in a well done sound track for a movie you can actually feel things you can't in an actual theater normally. Good examples are T-Rexs from old school Jurassic Park or depth charges in U571.

    -Extreme high's are just above our hearing. Can't really feel them. But as you go up in frequency, less power is required.

    -If you are playing compressed music, a lot of real high and lo's will be cut out. Thats how a lot of compression works. It is a pretty in depth topic, and I can always elaborate on it if you are interested and find some more references from some audio sites.

    As per your original question: There are 2 main ways to get a "flat" audio response curve.

    SUPPOSEDLY, your car's audio system accurately represents each frequency to your ears at equal volume. So you could play a test tone that goes from 0-99999Hz and the volume wouldn't change. This doesn't normally happen. Car audio is pretty bad acoustically, and it takes a lot of advanced tuning to correct this. You would have to read around on sound quality systems on car audio forums for a while (SQ is the sound quality acronym to save you trouble, as opposed to SPL, sound pressure level for loudness based systems). Its also expensive to fix correctly.

    On the realistic side (Don't shoot me audio peeps, I like a good sound system, but I'm a poor college student, so I have to deal with what I have)... Your car is unique. Some cars eat mid-bass, some cars eat treble. Some mounts are in bad areas. Basically, you end up with a sort of "Natural" equalizer persay. Different frequencies, even though they shouldn't, have different volumes to your ear when you are in your car. Your equalizer there, can correct for that. If your car eats mid-bass, take those mid-bass frequencies (normally 2nd and 3rd from the bottom frequency bars), and move them up a bit to correct for your car "eating" those frequencies... It's not "right", but it "works".

    Theoretically, all frequencies in your audio system should be the same volume now. You then adjust them for what type of music you are listening too. Most head units actually have preset equalizer settings for different types. For example, normally the bass is heavier in low frequencies or whatnot.


    In a nutshell, slide the bars around to compensate for your cars acoustics. Use your ears, and make it sound as you like it.

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