Car Audio Design

Thought some of you would like to read this article in the design and marketing of sound systems for cars. What are your thoughts?

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Interesting, but I never listen to music in a car so it makes no difference to me how much effort they put in to the system.

Sorry, but they never do it correctly… ultimately, it is designed to impress a shopper (always a bit bright and forward), not to live with it.

Bruce in Philly

You need extensive EQ adjustability which none of these systems provide. I’m talking 31 graphic band resolution on each channel, and fully active design. Although a 9-11 parametric EQ per channel would be good as well.

None of these systems have good Dacs or clean signal paths.

The cleanest path is music on an SSD with toslink transferring data to Processor and that sending digital info via Ethernet to Amps.

The Audison Bit One HD and Voce accomplish this. The Voce have an add in Dac which receives the digital signals from the processor.

I like it, I see it as a way to introduce people to high end. It is also another revenue stream for audio manufactures.

Just imagine if PSA built a car audio system and was able to put them into Lexus cars. If they sold 150K cars and made a profit of only $100 per car that would be 15M.

I drive a Ford Escape with a Sony “Preimum” Audio system. I had to turn the bass wayyy down. Once I set up the bass, front and back speakers (more front), I think it sounds nice. I drive a lot for work, all local, and listen to WDCB (a local Community College Jazz station). I enjoy listening to music on this system a lot. Keeps me calm in a mad world.

I remember when Lexus put a Mark Levinson system in I think it was the SC450, the small sports car, with the retractable hardtop. Stereophile did a positive write-up on it. I believe it was Fremer who got to drive it for a while.
It automatically changed the EQ when the top went down. Now every luxury model has an optional system. Many well respected names in high end audio. I have seen Bumeister [sp?], the various Harmon International brands, and I seem to remember seeing Linn too.
Like the article said, it will be the best audio system many will own.
Even non branded car stereos often sound better than the after market systems we were buying from Crutchfield in the '70s. Cars are often the only place you can crank it up without your SO complaining.
The best models are loaded with DSP.
Music in a car is a different experience, but I have to think they can only help high end audio sales.
My first system was a 4 channel 8-track with small cabinet 2-ways from Radio Shack. Later an Alpine cassette in dash, with add on external amps for the rear speakers. Speakers were most likely 6"x9" coaxials mounted in the package shelf.
All of this was long before subwoofers were being marketed. And none of those premium systems will have the outside of the car rattling from overloaded bass.
I think if you listened to some of these high end car systems, you might be impressed. As long as you understand the limitations of the space, and some of the sources, FM radio or Sirius. Most accept flash drives.

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I have been impressed, in a singing pig sort of way; it is amazing the pig sings, leaving aside how well he sings.

Then one starts the engine and all subtlety is lost. Begin driving and much more is lost.

It well may be whether one enjoys car audio depend on what music you listen to and how loud you are willing to turn up the volume.

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My wife has the Burmester in her Macan Turbo. It is the best manufacturer car audio system I have heard. I believe it has ribbon tweeters. It’s still not that great though. Lots of DSP adjustments to make it sound good.

For our discerning ear drums, the bottom line with car audio is you have to love the music more than the quality of the playback.

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Or, if you are like me, have absolutely no interest in playing music in a car.

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I’d guess that for me, during the whole of my life, the vast majority of musical enjoyment has been had in a car of some sort. I’m sure it wasn’t faithfully, or even very well reproduced, but damn have I enjoyed tunes while driving.

I would be interested in some attempts to make it sound better, no matter how ultimately futile.


Audison processors, Audiofrog speakers and components

No Rear Fill!!!

Car audio is like background music in the home on my squeezebox(s). Enjoyable and pleasant - doesn’t sound bad but sometimes I find I enjoy it more because I’m completely out of evaluation mode and just enjoying the music. I’d agree with the need for parametric eq for car audio to sound decent. Most cars don’t have it.

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I do not do background music either. For me, there is no such thing. If there is music anywhere, I am compelled to listen to it.

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I’m the same way. I get very annoyed when I am subjected to background music.

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I’m able to handle it - tune it in and out as I want and function normally. When I’m at a party with music on I’m still able to have a conversation or if I’m working on something else with music on I can still complete the task and not feel compelled to stop and focus on the music only - or turn it off because I’m annoyed.

I can tune it out, but it is a deliberate act. Which of course means it breaks through repeatedly.

The upside is I hear music in grocery stores, restaurants, etc. I thus know the Top 40, etc.

My point was really music that I put on in the background for myself not what others put on. Either way to each his own…