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Car Audio

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Anyone have a recommendation for Car Audio forums? I need to tweak the sound in my F-150.

post #2 of 9
I used to frequent caraudio.com and diymobileaudio.com. DIY has a more mature audience.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks,

 

I'm also trying AVS Forums.

post #4 of 9

If you really want to get to know how to do it right even if you aren't literally DIY-ing it, www.diymobileaudio.com is the best forum to browse. Basically, in a car, the basic problem is the car itself, not just the gear. I've heard cars where the owner blew $2,000 of gear on, but didn't install the speakers nor use the proper processor, and it still sounds like crap. In the meantime the budget category of the local competition scene was won twice in the last decade by a guy who used a TOTL Alpine head unit (that had the proper processor, plus a V-Drive amplifier section that puts out a real 20wpc++) and $30 raw drivers (that's for a pair of midwoofers and tweeters).

 

In brief: the reason why the processor is the primary concern is because no amount of other gear can fix the fact that you aren't driving a Maclaren F1 - you will always be closer to the driver side tweeter, then the driver side midwoofer, then the passenger side tweeter and midwoofer. You need to aim the tweeters towards the center to minimize its dispersion pattern sending soundwaves to just bounce off the windshield (you can't put acoustic panels on it unless you have X-Ray vision), which does a lot to center the vocals. Ideally you should do something similar on the midwoofers too, mostly to aim it upward, so you won't have a soundtage where some instruments (coming more from the midwoofers) are set lower. Fine tuning will be done on these through the processor primarily to tweak time alignment, introducing delays to the speakers closest to you so sound from all of them arrives at your ears at the same time. When you do this however in most processors this is done in the digital domain, so when it sends out the signal, the crossover can be applied here as well, so your amps' channels get only the freqs for the midwoofer or tweeter it's driving. Some amps conveniently have five channels with a dedicated subwoofer channel to simplify wiring for such set-ups (instead of using two or more amps).

 

Used to be head units were 1- or 2-DIN units that you pull out and replace, but since the mid-2000s they've been integrated into the dash for aesthetics as well as for factory GPS units, so processors nowadays will use one that takes in high-level (speaker inputs) and send it through an ADC, process in the digital domain, then send them out through a 6-ch or 8-ch DAC (usually the same type as on an HT receiver). Don't worry too much about the GIGO principle here - no amount of conforming to GIGO at the cost of being able to apply time alignment and such can give you a Maclaren F1 cabin. Hooking up a HiFiMan HM801 to the 3.5mm aux input isn't going to magically simulate sitting in the center for example, so no matter the changes in tonality, the vocals will still be off-center on the dash and everything else all over the place. Even tonality can suffer because reflections off improperly mounted tweeters on the windshield, plus time alignment issues, can result in sharp treble - particularly with cymbals, or "t" and "s" in the lyrics - because you're hearing each tweeter out of sync with each other and the midwoofers.

Basically, car audio has a lot more similarity with pro audio than home audio, but for those who like working on their cars and/or joining EMMA or IASCA autosound competitions (scores based on imaging from either just the driver or both front seats, neutrality/spectral balance, etc), that's precisely where the fun is.

 

 

 

A couple of examples of proper tweeter mounting:

 


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 1/10/14 at 12:14pm
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

@ProtegeManiac

 

Thank you for your response! I appreciate the pointers. My needs are a bit more focused and specific at the moment.

 

I spent 20 years as an Electronics Technician in the Navy, so I have a solid foundation on basic electronic principles. Hence, my OCD in Home Theater, Headphones and Car Audio.

 

I need to take some pics of my installed system and get the correct model numbers for what I have before asking my specific questions. Already joined www.diymobileaudio.com , they look like a great source of knowledge.

post #6 of 9
I miss the days when a pair of 6x9s in the back of a Chevelle with a 50 watt amp was a killer set-up... tongue.gif
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by vipervick View Post
 

@ProtegeManiac

 

Thank you for your response! I appreciate the pointers. My needs are a bit more focused and specific at the moment.

 

....

 

I need to take some pics of my installed system and get the correct model numbers for what I have before asking my specific questions. Already joined www.diymobileaudio.com , they look like a great source of knowledge.

 

I'm planning on getting a new car myself, but not before I submit my MA thesis (not enough money now, and better if it's like a reward) and with it a new system. I still have the same goals - the best possible imaging and tonal balance - which is why the car choice itself can be crucial. A sports car with a huge hood over the instrument panel that gets in the way of the tweeter's path is out of the question for a daily  driver with killer audio. Although the FR-S has a decent 3-way system and the hump isn't too high (my brother has one and I wouldn't be in a rush to replace the system in it) some cars' dashboards are just a lot friendlier to tweeters and midrange drivers (and more trunk space to stow the electronics, can fit a huge dog through the 5th door and my cats on the rear passenger seat, etc).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vipervick View Post
 

 

I spent 20 years as an Electronics Technician in the Navy, so I have a solid foundation on basic electronic principles. Hence, my OCD in Home Theater, Headphones and Car Audio.

 

That sounds like good news to me, in terms of how far you'd go to make it a proper installation

:D

 

 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I miss the days when a pair of 6x9s in the back of a Chevelle with a 50 watt amp was a killer set-up... tongue.gif

LOL,

 

My first "new" car was a '99 Civic hatchback. I bought it bare-bones. No a/c, no power anything, and no radio. Installed a Kenwood Excellon deck, JL Audio components up front, 6x9's in the back and a JL Audio 12w3 sealed box in the hatch. Best car audio I've ever had.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by vipervick View Post
 

LOL,

 

My first "new" car was a '99 Civic hatchback. I bought it bare-bones. No a/c, no power anything, and no radio. Installed a Kenwood Excellon deck, JL Audio components up front, 6x9's in the back and a JL Audio 12w3 sealed box in the hatch. Best car audio I've ever had.

 

I'd personally never use any speakers in the back, it just screws up the soundstage; I rarely have rear passengers and on the stock system having the 6x9's smack next to their heads means I have to bias the sound almost exclusively to the front anyway. What I did with the 6x9 holes on the rear deck of my Mazda was to cover it up with dampening materials, so the plastic bits don't rattle when the bass hits and also covering the holes means the bass doesn't get into the cabin through there and through the seats.

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