What song, or songs, are you using to tune your system? Is it possible to tune it in the garage or do i have to wait till I can get it out on the water? I don't really want to spend my first couple outings doing a bunch of adjusting, and neither does she!
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yes, you can tune the system in the garage. Now it will sound very different out on the water than it will in the garage but most of that is out of your control. With the correct tools, you can set all the maximum pre-clipped gains without ever hearing the system. The audible part is the level matching between highpass and lowpass. That is more of a splice over a narrow bandwidth where the garage dimensions can definitely have an impact.
Originally Posted by KRAK
I was kidding above. I think you are looking for this thread (and good luck!):
There will be NO KIDDING in the audio & electrical forum dammit. This is serious stuff!
Krak - there are a lot of ways to look at this question. Some boats dont get tuned at all. Some get tuned and retuned and retuned. Some boats get tuned, and then people play with Eq's all over the place on the water and make smiley face curves. My approach to tuning is like this....
In the garage -
check polarity of speakers
adjust gains on each amp
Level match bow to cabin (usually boats are over or under gained on one of these area's because of the impedance loads on the amp)
Adjust Subwoofer xover point, engage subsonic filtering (If applicable).
Eliminate bass boast on amps
setup ipod for 3/4 volume and flat EQ
Establish Maximum output of each zone (i.e. more level matching)
On the water -
Fine tune EQ and boost or (usually cut) specific frequencies.
Minor adjust gains.
Review subsonic filtering.
And surf behind the boat and see if I got my own smile on my face.
All of this can be done with tools, scopes, RTA's or just your ear. Ultimately your ears dont lie. Scopes and RTA's can help with the academic stuff. But once the engine cranks over all that stuff isnt going to help you establish the right sound for your setup.
When I do tweak and tune clinics on the water (last year I did 4 of them regionally), I'm usually mixing the garage items and water items together. Often times wiring issues and or phasiing issues (i.e multiple subs on the boat), can really slow down a tune. The term tune to me is not a good one. I try to optimize the entire system. the "tune" is going to depend a lot of the music selected by the user or bit rate the media his recorded in.
For example, when Mandley was at Exile yesterday, I think the absolute best music that played through his stereo was Michael Jackson. Fantastic recording, lots of dynamic sounds within the recording. It was just WOW impressive. Only problem with optimizing the setup for that is ---- Mike dont listen to MJ all that much. He prefers some rock and roll -- which typically has a far more compressed sound. The solution is to find a middle ground that will give a good platform to reproduce the "tunes" you play on the system. You can do lots in your garage.
The further into the future we go, the funnier it gets, but there is still very proper reasons for using NICKLEBACK for gain setting.... Nice Pic KG... :) Let me explain.
If KANEBOATS had been serious, depending on where in Vivaldi's Concerto he picked to set his gains he probably would have set the gains too high. The reason is that there are lots of very quiet, medium and loud sections in most classical recordings. If you are setting gains with a quiet song, or quiet section of a song you will find that you will clip easily with other more normal "boating" recordings, OR that you are only using about 15% of the head unit's colume control to reach full power from your stereo.
Consider this screen shot of Diana Krall's "Quiet Nights" The dark Roarchalk Ink blot - looking thing is the actual visual representation of the music. As you move from left to right you move from the beginning to the end of the song. The lighter areas above and below the dark part represents headroom left over and not used by the recording or the recording medium. The horizontal floor and ceiling at the very top and bottom of the lighter areas represent MAX AMPLITUDE. You can't record anything louder than what will fit between the floor and ceiling of this lighter area. One can infer a parallel between this picture and amplifier or head unit clipping. If one tries to make the dark representation of the song louder such that the peaks extend above and below the lighter area's floor and ceiling, it is the same thing we describe audibly as clipping distortion. Pretend you could turn a knob that made the dark aection of the picture taller both top and bottom, so that parts of the dark waveform extended past the floorand ceiling of the white area. IF this were an o-scope pic of the amp's output you woudl see those parts outside of the white area will be clipped.
A very quiet recording would have a horizontal ink-blot thing that was very narrow vertically. A very loud recording will have a very wide ink-blot thing. Vivaldi's Concerto will have skinny quiet parts, and loud wide parts. A recording that does not have a lot of loud passage will make it very hard to set gains; if you set the amp where it clips using QUIET NIGHTS loudest section as pictured below, you will find other songs that have greater amplitude and use up more of the area between the lighter area's floor and ceiling. The amp will have been set to max clipping based on a non-maxed-out recording..... So as I pointed out above, your gains will be higher than necessary if you use this recording to set gains, and louder sondgs will clip the stereo at high volumes.
More on that in the next post
So now I am going to show you a picture of the waveform of NICKLEBACK's Animals. See the attached pic. When we look at this song, we can see that the engineers who recorded it maxed it out and compressed it to be as loud as possible. The dark Roarchalk blot is now basically a rectangle. there is very little white area left above and below the waveform of the song.
Except for at the beginning and a section at about 2:15 the song is fully filling the available bandwidth window. Put another way, there are no quiet spots..... There are no spots on this song where the "tuning music" is not as loud as it could be. You can fiddle with gains all the way through this song, except for at the two points mentioned and know you will not find a digital recording louder than this one. The analogy to a head unit or amplifier is quite literally this song is recoded at max un-clipped levels and represents a unity gain song in that it is as loud as it can be, just under the verge of clipping; this is the same thing you want from all other parts of your audio system.
If you set your gains with NICKLEBACK's Animals, you will have used basically the loudest possible recording for gain setting. You will find that you have set your gains lower than when using other tracks and you will find that you don't accidentally clip when you move from Vivaldi to Michael Jackson....
Now understand, to best utilize this capability you need to go out and buy the CD... IF you are using an MP3 recording that you did not rip yourself, you cannot be assured it is at max amplitude. There are lots of sketchy rips and copies out there, so do yourself a favor and if you buy into my logic, go get the CD and use it in your head unit directly, or if you don't have CD playback, take the time to rip a good .WAV or virtually lossless MP3 copy to use, and then try to use the 30-pin output instead of the 3.5mm headphone jack.
I hope this makes sense. I see the waveform, as I am a pro-sound and recording engineer, but for some folks, it is hard to "see" the music when presented visually. If you have any questions about what I am showing here, feel free to ask.
loud and proud! Good song too...........