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Anyone Know Anything About Car Audio? UPDATED

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Re: Anyone Know Anything About Car Audio?

Postby TheRock » Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:51 pm

sox 06 wrote:I have one more question then I think I will be all set :-o ;-D

I installed one of the speakers (it took me and my Dad and hour and a half to do so because of all of the hacking/grinding we had to do to the door panel) and I'll be getting the second one in tonight. I'm not hooking up the amp right now because I haven't bought one yet. My question is, how should I tune my CD player? Should the bass on the CD player be set to zero/off? They guys who installed the subs said that it "sounded the best" with the bass on the CD player set to zero/off but was that just because I had stock speakers in at the time? I have three different bass settings on the CD player:

High: -10 to +10 (+10 being all the way up and "0" being off)
Mid: -10 to +10
Low: -10 to +10

Right now I have them all set at +2, can I turn them up a bit without hurting the subs?

There's not really a "right" answer, other than you'll likely get the truest sound with them all set at 0. Those controls affect such a wide spectrum of frequencies it's hard to say what you'll end up with. That's not to say it's going to be the best sound, you'll just have to tinker with it until it's to your liking.

A word on amplifiers. And speakers.

The power to produce those thumping bass notes from your subs comes not from the subs, it comes from that enormous amplifier. Your subs are likely producing soundwaves in the 20-80 Hz range. Frequencies from that point up come from your front and rear speakers. High sounds are the easiest to produce, even your factory speakers probably do an ok job. They can sound fairly good even with low power. The gap you're trying to fill in with beefier front speakers is the mid-bass, the couple of octaves starting around 60 Hz. To get good sound in that range you really need some larger woofers such as your new 6 1/2 Fosgates. Now these are things are pretty rugged and you'll note have huge magnets on them. Cheaper speakers would have much smaller magnets, would give you crappy mid-bass, and can't handle as much power. But, would give you more high frequency sound at lower wattages - they're more efficient by not trying to do as much.

Moral of the story - don't expect miraculous sound to suddenly emerge from your new speakers using the same power you were before. :-/
And you'll likely notice that they don't put out as much sound as the old ones.

In fact...

Most speakers actually get a bum rap. If you take say a cheap boom box and crank the volume til it sounds like #$%^, that lovely sound you hear is distortion. A good amount of that distortion is actually coming from the cheap amp, you could hook it up to better speakers and it would still sound like crap. Most speakers will produce much more clean sound than you'd think, but they usually get fed a lousy signal. Speakers make pure sound very well. What they don't do well is produce sound they weren't intended to produce. I.e. 4" speakers don't produce bass well. But, they can damage themselves trying. No speakers produce static and noise very well. Again, they can be damaged if they do.

So from the more bad news department, you could actually damage your new speakers if you crank the volume and feed them distortion.

Look at any car stereo website at amplifiers. Even a cheap one is at least the size of a cigar box, a better one looks more like my old calculus book or larger. The amplifier you're currently using? Well, let's just say it fits inside your CD deck. Pay little attention to wattage ratings if they defy common sense. This 4x50 amp is going to produce exponentially more sound than the 4x50 amp inside your head unit. If you read the fine print, the Alpine amp is showing you the RMS rating, whereas the Sony deck leads with its peak rating. It's actually about 23 RMS, and likely not a very clean 23 at that. You're just never going to get that hard hitting midbass and sparkling highs without more clean power. You need a good amp. Serously, Blu-Ray on a black & white. Think about it. :-)
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