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  1. #1

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    Default Tuning is Driving Me Crazy...

    Hi guys,

    I'm starting to miss the old days when I had a mid-level Panasonic deck with bass, treble, subwoofer, and loudness as sound options!

    I now have a 31 band eq, time alignment, and unlimited crossovers at my disposal and I am wondering if I just need something more basic. It seems you can get into a lot of trouble with all of these sound options without the expertise to manage it all.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction (good website, etc.) to help tune properly?

    With the eq set to flat, the sound is dull. So, I am inclined to always boost the eq (which most say is not the way to go).

  2. #2

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    Thumbs up Don't Give Up

    Hang in there. Tuning is a lifetime hobby. You're always learning. This post is just to get you started. Keep in mind that internal accostics vary significantly from car to car. The post below is based on u running active with a pair of components up front and a sub. This tuning process is what works for me. Its not scientific, it may also not be accurate in parts. Its just based on my limited knowledge. Its going to be in parts as I am slow at typing and putting stuff together in my head. :)


    The three basic tuning functions you will use are:

    1. Time alignment
    2. Independent l/r equalisation
    3. Crossovers and slopes.

    You need to use these together while tuning.

    The first thing you need to do is to get your speakers in phase. This roughly means that the sound from the near side and far side speaker should hit your ears at the same time. Unlike home audio where you sit equi distance from the speakers, in a car, the near side speaker is much closer to you than the far side one.

    The same frequencies would hit your ears, first from the near side speaker and then from the far side one. When this happens, your brain rejects the sound it hears later and locates the source based on what it hears first. When you time align and get the speakers in phase, your brain locates the sound as comming from the front. Which is the way you would have it in a home 2-ch setup.

    The frequencies that are most sensitive to phase correction are your mid bass frequencies. 80hz to 200hz. Above this range the frequencies are more sensitive to l/r correction from your eq. I also look at TA as a tool to connect my drivers, so that I first hear my sub, then my mids together followed by my tweets together.

    The one thing you need to measure is the pathlength difference. This is the difference between the near mid and the far mid as measured from the tip of your nose. You may need help in measuring the far side mid since accuracy here is quite important. However, how it sounds is always more important than what it measures. How it measures is only relevant in getting you to the starting block.

    Let's say the near side measures 28" and the far side one is at 44" your pathlength would be 16". Your TA settings would be either in inches/cm or ms (milli seconds). 1 ms is roughly 13inches. If you TA in inches you will also need to measure the distance from the sub to your seating position. Lets say this is 70"

    As a first step you want to link your sub to your far side mid. Turn off your near side mid and the tweets and play only the far mid and sub. Set the sub at either 0ms or at the measured distance, if you TA in inches. Set the farside mid with a delay of around 4.5 ms or 128.5" (70" + (4.5x13)) from the sub. Now play around the far mid delay between the 4.25-5.25ms range. You want to get to the point where you hear the sub bass flow out of the far mid. This, while maintaining clarity in the mid bass and mid range. The last bit is important from a tonality standpoint. The sound should be located high up on the dash. Your sub and far mid are now in phase.

    Next you want to set the two mids in phase. Turn off your sub and play both the mids. Set the near mid to far mid minus path length. Now attenuate to minimum, all frequencies except 80hz-200hz, from your processor. You want to hear these frequencies as located around above the middle of your dash.

    At this point, if you can locate both mids, you need to reduce the time delay between your mids. Generally a time delay of .8ms to 1.25ms (10"-16") between door mounted mids seems to work best for regular cabin width's. I keep the far side mid fixed and play with the near side one.

    Once you've got the mids in phase, turn on the sub and hear the sub and two mids together. The sub frequencies should be directly from the front above the centre of the dash. If you find the sub too boomy or if you can locate it as the back, try setting a lower xover point (sub to mid) on sharper slopes. A xover point between 50-63hz would give good sq results. You want set the sub on the steepest slope you can get. This will help in getting you frontal sub bass presentation.

    Set the far side tweet at the same delay as the near side mid and near side tweet at the same delay as that for the mids.

    Will do the eq and the xover points in tmrws post. Its 1:40am here and I have to wake up at 6.

  3. #3

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    Default

    Heh, I 86'ed all that years ago and used Kenwood decks with the crossover defeat options enabled. Then again, if you wanted a 20+ band EQ back then, you have to strap a Kenwood, Eclipse or PowerCoustic EQ to your dash somewhere and wire it in. Not so bad but, most were accompanied by line-drivers which added noise to the signal and made teh result barely listenable.

    Be glad the technology improved!
    You're just jealous 'cause the voices don't talk to you!

  4. #4

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    The way I do it is with the narrators voice on the Chesky Ultimate Demonstration Disc. I use track #1 and put it on repeat.

    I set the EQ to L&R together and while listening to his voice Ill start with the midrange's EQ and start at 63 Hz and turn it all the way up then all the way down then fiddle with it back and forth til it sounds right. Ill do this all the way up even beyond the crossover point (4 KHz). After I get to around 6.3 KHz, Ill go back to 63 Hz and tweak all the frequencies again just for good measure and make sure they all gell together. Then Ill
    move up to the tweeter's EQ and do the same there but at like 3.2 KHz up to 20 KHz.

    After I got that sounding ok to me Ill go to track #3, Rebecca Pidgeon's "Spanish Harlem" and tune it in right. Then Ill go to track #5, Sarah Kay's "If I Could Sing Your Blues" and dial that in.

    Once those are all set, Ill switch to L and R only EQ's and then using filtered pink noise and using my ears along with my trusty Radio Shack SPL meter, Ill go thru and level match every frequency.

    After all that, sit and play with it for a while then leave it. Come back the next day and live with it while youre driving around. Note what you dont like about it. If it just sucks balls, start a brand spanking new on just like you did the old one. After you get it done, save it to a preset next to the last one and A/B them and see which one you like best.

    Believe me, you can convince yourself that the complete dog squeeze you just tuned up sounds great. Many MANY times have I put down a curve thinking I was the man only to come out the next morning thinking I should get my hearing checked.
    polkaudio sound quality competitor since 2005
    MECA SQ Rookie of the Year 06 ~ MECA State Champ 06,07,08,11 ~ MECA World Finals 2nd place 06,07,08,09
    08 Car Audio Nationals 1st ~ 07 N Georgia Nationals 1st ~ 06 Carl Casper Nationals 1st ~ USACi 05 Southeast AutumnFest 1st

    polkaudio SR6500 --- polkaudio MM1040 x2 -- Pioneer P99 -- Rockford Fosgate P1000X5D

  5. #5

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    Mac and John are the Jedi Masters here. You'll learn a lot from them by just hanging around here and asking questions.

    Go thru some of the threads here on tuning. Mac has a thread on tuning his sr's. That's virtually like my tuning bible and a must read. I go back to it regularly and read it end to end. Its amazing how many things I'm still picking up from this thread.

    There's also a thread I started, 'sq steps', that you may want to look at. Ignore all my posts within that thread, largely because I'm asking some really stupid quesions and am not connected with what Mac and Candaddy are trying to teach me. There are some great inputs from Mac in this thread as well. On page 3 Mac has posted his complete tuning sheet from '08 Finals. It gives you everything from TA settings, to xover and slopes, to the settings for the 31 band l/r eq.

    For a year I wandered around all over the map with my settings and I ended up with my settings at a 95% match to Mac's sheet. So why did'nt I just start from his sheet? Prob because I'm thick upstairs. ;). But yeah wandering around for a year was fun in its own way, I got to understand some of the basics. A year back 90% of time was devoted to tuning and 10% to listening. Today its a bit more balanced.

    While the accoustics and install in mac's car and mine would be different and even the seating positions are different, the difference between the settings on that sheet vs what I have is nominal.

    I would recommend that you dial in macs settings as your starting point. It will give you a fair idea of what you're chasing. You can then fine tune from there in.
    Last edited by arun1963; 12-11-2009 at 01:38 AM.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the input, guys. I will try to stick it out a bit longer and try out the tips. I guess what I miss about my first low to mid level system was that I actually enjoyed listening to music. It seems that now I listen to music mostly to fine flaws with how the equipment is set up/tuned.

    It seems really easy to go from awful sound to good sound. But, to go from good to outstanding sound has proven very difficult in a car. The resources it takes to get to outstanding are more than I imagined.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by arun1963 View Post
    Mac and John are the Jedi Masters here. You'll learn a lot from them by just hanging around here and asking questions.

    Go thru some of the threads here on tuning. Mac has a thread on tuning his sr's. That's virtually like my tuning bible and a must read. I go back to it regularly and read it end to end. Its amazing how many things I'm still picking up from this thread.

    There's also a thread I started, 'sq steps', that you may want to look at. Ignore all my posts within that thread, largely because I'm asking some really stupid quesions and am not connected with what Mac and Candaddy are trying to teach me. There are some great inputs from Mac in this thread as well. On page 3 Mac has posted his complete tuning sheet from '08 Finals. It gives you everything from TA settings, to xover and slopes, to the settings for the 31 band l/r eq.

    For a year I wandered around all over the map with my settings and I ended up with my settings at a 95% match to Mac's sheet. So why did'nt I just start from his sheet? Prob because I'm thick upstairs. ;). But yeah wandering around for a year was fun in its own way, I got to understand some of the basics. A year back 90% of time was devoted to tuning and 10% to listening. Today its a bit more balanced.

    While the accoustics and install in mac's car and mine would be different and even the seating positions are different, the difference between the settings on that sheet vs what I have is nominal.

    I would recommend that you dial in macs settings as your starting point. It will give you a fair idea of what you're chasing. You can then fine tune from there in.
    Yeah, I am pretty awesome.

    :D :p
    polkaudio sound quality competitor since 2005
    MECA SQ Rookie of the Year 06 ~ MECA State Champ 06,07,08,11 ~ MECA World Finals 2nd place 06,07,08,09
    08 Car Audio Nationals 1st ~ 07 N Georgia Nationals 1st ~ 06 Carl Casper Nationals 1st ~ USACi 05 Southeast AutumnFest 1st

    polkaudio SR6500 --- polkaudio MM1040 x2 -- Pioneer P99 -- Rockford Fosgate P1000X5D

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    Yeah, I am pretty awesome.

    :D :p
    :) you're good becoz ure a nice person first and then an sq champ. :p

  9. #9

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    Tuning the audio is tough

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