View Full Version : Tuning and testing

03-22-2011, 07:19 PM
Just got the new system installed in the 2011 "no Surrender" Supra and I could not remember what the tunes/songs were recommended for tuning. Little Help! Thanks, Bill

03-22-2011, 08:01 PM
check out the how to forum, but I think nickleback was recommended

03-22-2011, 08:09 PM
Any other recommendations...something good? If I blast Nickelback, the neighborhood will laugh me out of the cul-de-sac:D

03-22-2011, 10:02 PM
how about POISON :D

sorry..........couldn't resist!

03-22-2011, 10:24 PM
We tune systems everyday with music that I can't stand and some that I really like, Dave Mathews for example. It doesn't have to be and sometimes shouldn't be on your favorites list.
You should have a clean recording with a lot of bandwidth coverage and a lot of inherent dynamic range. A CD would be better than a compressed file as you should be tuning under optimum conditions. You want music that is fairly busy with instrumentation over most of the bandwidth because this is how you establish the correct octave to octave balance when splicing your sub and fullrange speakers. Any program material that over-emphasizes any particular portion of the music or a certain instrument doesn't give you a true reference.
For instance, Michael Jackson Thriller will make any subwoofer sound good and is mixed with a strong upper bass emphasis that is easy to reproduce. So, while its good demo material to show off your system its not at all good for tuning your system.
You also want to try a variety of different recordings. A couple of good vocalists will allow you to establish a good spectrum balance (provided that you are even interested in balance).
Also a high quality recording with lots of contrasting content will enable you to find your true clipping point. Songs with good but not over-done midbass will be helpful in finding the best highpass cutoff point for your in-boat and tower speakers.

Earmark Marine

03-22-2011, 11:03 PM
Should have seen that one coming:p

Believe it or not, that nickname has nothing to do with Bret Michaels.

03-24-2011, 11:59 AM
Listing bands does me no good. i needs band names and songs. i cant even name a dave mathews band song

03-25-2011, 01:12 PM
RD - Tune your system with the type of music that you listen to out on the water. Not songs that people will give you that have fantastic recordings that you wont listen to in a million years. If you want that stuff go have a look at Sheffield Labs. Probably some of the most audiophile recordings out there. I'd bet 100 bucks you dont recognize any of them. (maybe I'm wrong? hehe).

I think better advice FOR EVERYONE, is to take a look at your music library and make sure you have high bit rate recordings BEFORE you dial in your system. You would be amazed at the number of people that plug my iphone into their system and think it magically made it sound better. It's not the damn phone..its the content on it. Get away from the compressed tunes and your ears will love you for it.

Give me a call when your ready to dial in the system and I'll walk you through some tips.

Exile Audio

PS: As a side note, Everyone should listen to some well recorded music. It will give you a great point of reference.

03-25-2011, 02:11 PM
Hey Guys-

Let me jump in here... Poison, there is a good reason to get the neighborhood laughing; I will show you! :D

I have recommended NICKLEBACK CD recordings for gain setting in the past, not due to its lyrics, or its format, but due to the fact that it was recorded and mastered in the studio with a very dense signal. When viewed, the amplitude of the recording is very dense.

See the first pic of the screen shot of the audio waveform of the Nickleback song "ANIMALS". Notice how it really looks just like a big gray brick? this is because all the sounds have been manipulated so that the music is as loud as it can be all the time. We can zoom in and look at the waveform if we want, I have shown that below in the 2nd pic. At that point you can kinda tell that there is a waveform going on...

The third picture is a screen shot of Police's "Message in a Bottle" and it looks a lot different. There are loud parts, (the big tall peaks) and less loud parts, (the smaller areas) but nothing as consistently loud as the Nickleback ANIMALS recording.

Finally, the fourth pic shows a screen shot of Diana Krall's "Quiet Nights", a soft acoustic and vocal song. Again, see how it has basically nothing approaching the consistently loud and dense recording that the Nickleback song shows?

My reasoning for using Nickleback is the dense nature of the recording. I use Nickleback speciifcally to dial in the gains of all the components of the stereo. I can count on them to deliver a sonically dense recording that will drive any piece fo audio equipment to its rail voltage, (peak output) at basically any point in the song.

I start out with the radio's tone controls set flat, (to zaero instead of + or - something) and with LOUDNESS turned off. Then I can take the radio to the point it starts clipping, (usually at about 75% of max volume) and then turn it down a little bit.

Then I can go to electronics down stream of the radio, (EQ's, proccessors, etc) as well as the amps and move one by one from the radio to the amplifier(s) setting each the same way, turning it up to audible clipping, and then backing off a litle. Doing this ensures that every piece of electronics, from the head unit to the amplifiers clips at exactly the same time. Doing this provides the lowest gain setting for each individual piece of electronics, providing the quietest system froma noise standpoint, and giving you the greatest range of control with the head uni's volume control

I can do this with the Nickleback and know that for almost every point in any of their hard songs, the sound is right at the max volume that the media can handle. For a CD it is right up at zero bits, the place where the digital device cannot make a waveform with any greater amplitiude. When I use Nickleback, I remove any doubt; I know that I am using program material that is recorded at the absolute max that the digital format will allow. From there I can move to any song, any other format and know that I will not find anything louder. Just like the rest of the audio chain, I want the very first piece fo the puzzle to be at just under clipping, and that is what most Nickleback recordings provide; they are just under clipping, and cannot get any louder.

From there, I will move to something with vocals, something I am familiar with, something that I know how it sounds. I can from there go to a Diana Krall CD, or a Grace Potter CD, or a James Taylor CD and I can use their voice to set crossovers, check for phasing, check for proper relative gain settings between amplifiers. These recordings, while not sonically dense, provide me with a program that lets me hear the nuances of the instruments and voices to make good decisions about setting all the rest of the controls.

It is a complicated process, yet there are some general guidelines. Starting with the gains though is the critical frst step; therein lies the reasoning for Nickleback. Know, these are screenshots of the music as stored on the computer as .WMA or MP3 files, but the amplitude picture tells the story; don't worry about what format I am showing you. Know though that you want to use an ORIGINAL CD copy of whatever you decide to use, to remove yourself from the chance that you are setting up your suystem based on someone else's crappy lo-rez MP3 rip... :D

Here are the pics:


03-25-2011, 07:44 PM
Mods.........how about taking Phil's comments and saving as a "sticky".

good stuff Phil!!

2007 Outback V
03-25-2011, 11:12 PM
Mods.........how about taking Phil's comments and saving as a "sticky".

good stuff Phil!!

Agreed! Sticky it! Well done Phil.

03-25-2011, 11:54 PM
Phil's post is packed with real and useful information. It would be tough to say it any better. Well done.

Earmark Marine

03-28-2011, 11:23 AM
i dont think my ears a sensitive enough to tell a difference