That all makes sense and I appreciate your input. Thanks.
I'm still here monitoring things.
I really see no point in tuning while going down the road. Typically people fine tune a system for critical listening and this is always done parked, preferably with the windows up and engine off. That's when you'll be able to really hear all the small nuances in the music. Typically it's going to be the lower bass freqs that are going to get overpowered in a moving car. That is the only thing I would alter for driving down the road. I usually keep a few EQ curves preset all the same, but with differing levels of bass. That way it will sound good when driving, plus it is good for certain songs where the bass is weak or if it's too strong.
As far as getting a smooth curve, it's more important to look at adjacent freqs. With a 1/3 octave range if 2 adjacent bands are say 6dB apart, then you need to investigate. I wouldn't just assume the meter is correct. You see, there is not a microphone/supercomputer combo in existance as accurate and complex as human hearing. Regardless of what any meter says it's up to your ears to get the final verdict. If your meter shows a big change like I was saying before, first verify if you can actually hear the change or try moving the microphone slightly to see if it disappears or changes in any way. If you play some test tones on those 2 freqs and you can can clearly tell there is a big jump up or down in volume, then tweak it slightly based on the other freqs around it.
The car environment can be pretty brutal for a microphone (well, sound in general) because it is picking up sound from only one point of space at a time it might pick up a reflection or cancelation that your 2 ears and big head don't. I think some of the best microphones we have are built into a fake head with earlobes and everything to simulate the human head as much as possible. Then those 2 mirophones are fed into a big computer designed to simulate how the human brain interpretes the combination of sounds and the tiny differences in time the sounds arrive. Plus your body can actually effect the way you percieve sound. If your pant's leg is moving or you seat is vibrating, etc... all play a role in the sound system. So there is no true way to measure this stuff. Your ears will always be the final judge and that may not result is a smooth RTA curve.
Still, these measurements and stuff can help you get closer to your goal of better sound. It's just a matter of knowing how to interprete them. For instance, in the earlier example of having 2 adjacent bands 6dB apart, there are a lot of things you need to look at. First, are the bands near a x-over point? If so you may need to tweak the amp gain levels or x-over freq or even it's slope. It may only exist on the meter, so check that too. If none of those are to blame and you actually hear the difference yourself, then don't go raising one band 3dB and the lowering the other 3dB. First try raising one band 2dB and lowering the other 2dB. Now the difference is only 2dB. Listen to that and see if it's better or not. You always want to limit your use of the EQ as much as you can.
Hopefully that helps. Sorry, but I don't know much about the software your using so I can't say much about it.
That all makes sense and I appreciate your input. Thanks.
Just installed my audio system. (only have about half of what i want currently) The main component being an H700 (controller and processor) and found this thread as I am severely overwhelmed with the options at my disposal.
I just wanted to say thanks to all involved with this thread as I would have no idea where to start my tuning journey. I guess I am off to get a meter...
Just remember to do the EQ last. Set all bass boosts, loudness, etc... to off. First get the amp signal levels right, then get the x-overs set for best sound quality and then do the EQ tweaking last.
It helps to write down the changes as you save them under preset one.
For the Alpine H700/701, focus on one pair of speakers at a time.
-First work with the crossovers and try to finda good spot where distortion is limited on each pair of speakers and they blend well together.
-Attenuate speakers on the drivers side that are playing frequencies >250Hz. Rule of thumb is that loudness is perceived 3db louder at distances half as far. So a speaker .5m from you will sound twice as loud as a speaker 1m from you. You can tweak it until it sounds equal loudness on both sides.
Find a nice strong vocal track that has the vocals centered very well
-Then go for the time alignment and try to get a nice center image roughly in the center of your dash/windsheild.
-Finally, make adjustments with the EQ to your liking. Try to do left and right individually. I like to use balance and go back and forth.
This is a basic guide to tuning with the H700/701 that I follow (some may do it differently), but if you have other tools at your disposal such as the meter and a good demo listenign disc you can really go at it. Just remember, meters are tools and don't expect them to "fix" everything.
I always EQ the left and right at the same time not seperately and I don't delay the front speakers, either. Doing so may make the drivers side sound better, but at the expense of the passenger side. I try and have it sounding good for both front seat listners. If you just want to focus on one listening position, then that's OK, too.
As far as attenuating speakers on the drivers side that are playing frequencies >250Hz, I don't do that either. A lot depends on the vehicle, the mids, the speaker locations and their mounting angles. Most of the time the mids are mounted in the door and are facing at one another. So even though the drivers side speaker is closer to you it is going to be more off axis than the speaker on the passengers side. The more off axis a driver is the more attentuated it sounds, while the farther speaker being more on axis is going to sound louder. This is what's known as time/intensity trading.
There is a lot of user preference involved, so I'm not going to say one method is right and another is wrong. I just want folks to understand what's going on and how all this stuff works.
I realize Red is trying to get me to leave all software EQ'ing alone and do it strictly on the H701 hehe, but sorry Red, I'm really digging Creative's own EQ and it sounds really good to my ears
I pretty know how to operate all the 701's functions now, with the exception of the EQs and X-overs. The thing about the H701's EQ, is that the appearance of it is completely foreign to me. I've never seen an EQ like that before. I'm used to seeing EQs with the standard vertical sliding bars layout. If the 701 had that kind of layout for its EQ, I'd be all over it.
I need to know what the numbers mean, and how they relate to the high, mid and low frequencies, and I'm still somewhat intimidated to start messing around with altering those numbers not knowing what they do and how they affect the sound. If there was a chart for dummies explaining the 701's EQ for us n00bs, that'd be great
Which EQ in the h701 are you talking about?
The graphical EQ has 30 or 31 little verticle bars from 20-20K. You choose which band and adjust it up or down in 1dB increments.
Right from the manual:
Graphic EQs allow you to modify the sound using the individual 31 bands, but the frequency bands are fixed causing undesried peaks and dips @ specific frequencies.
Parametric EQs- allows you to specify and tune the center frequency. It also allows you to adjust the bandwidth and level independantly to make corrections as needed.
As the manual states: "The parametric equalizer function is an advanced tool for serious audiophiles."
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