Best Sound System For Car – For music lovers, there has never been a better era for buying a new car. Automakers recognize the need for entertainment in your car has evolved over the last decade or so, and as a result they work much more closely than ever with speaker companies like Harman and Bose to turn your car into a four-wheel concert hall.
If you are someone who appreciates how music can improve the driving experience – or you wonder if the premium audio system is worth the extra cost – here’s the basics for understanding audio in the car.
Spectra that can be heard: Bass, midrange and treble
Most people are familiar with bass, midrange and treble, low-frequency, medium and high sounds that join the music. Although the term is commonly known, it’s good to start with these concepts as a refresher, as they provide a platform for understanding the rest of the ideas we’ll be discussing in the future.
Spectrum that can be heard ranges from 20 to 20,000 Hertz. 20 Hz, or 20 cycles per second from the loudspeaker (usually a large subwoofer) moves forward and backward, producing the lowest frequency that the human ear might feel. On the flipside, 20,000 Hz means the loudspeaker (usually a small tweeter) vibrates at a rate of 20,000 oscillations per second. At 20,000 Hz, the human ear is at the upper end of what can be felt on the high-pit side of the audible spectrum.
To put that into perspective, the bass is a sound that falls between 20 and 250 Hz. Instruments in this range are tuba (32 Hz), bass drum (100 Hz) and viola (196 Hz). Midrange covers an audible spectrum from 250 to 4,000 Hz, and includes instruments such as guitar (275 Hz), flute (800 Hz) and piano (2,000 Hz). Finally, the treble sound falls between 4,000 and 20,000 Hz, but the instrument usually can not exceed 12,000 Hz. An average triangle is 4,500 Hz, whereas cymbals are usually on average up to 8,000 Hz.
Keep equalization flat
Storing a flat equalization (EQ) sound system lets you hear music in the most accurate way. The audio engineers who built this system during the entire development of the new car set the vehicle stereo for flat equalization, based on the audible spectrum.
If an engineer sets the sound system for treble-heavy distribution, then you, the consumer, will be forced to focus on high-frequency musical elements such as cymbals. But that’s not how you’ll enjoy music if you’re at live performances or in a recording studio. You will be able to hear the instruments mixed in a way in which every musician completes his fellow players.
Flat alignment puts all the instruments of the song at the level of the playing field, in that way vocals, bass guitars or crippling cymbals do not beat the other instruments to the background of their own performances on stage or in the studio.
The car audio system offers several different ways to adjust the equity. The most common way is through bass and treble adjustments. Sometimes, midrange can also be adjusted. Keep the buttons centered on their most neutral (or “zero”) settings, and you will have a flat equalization. Sometimes the car maker will get a bit of a fancier and offer you anywhere from a handful to about a dozen control sliders that individually manage the volume of segments in the audible spectrum. Again, leave the slider itself in the default center setting, and you will hear the music reproduced in the way desired by the artist, producer, and engineer of your premium audio system.
Should you tamper with this adjustment? Sure, but if you get acquainted with your new car and its highly engineered premium audio package, it’s best to let your ear adjust to the system’s natural flat tuning for a few weeks before you start experimenting with the controls. But, really, you do not have to bother with your EQ settings.
Keep balance and centered faders
“Someone sits in the car for up to a minimum week, and they install the amplifiers and they control every speaker individually in the cabin,” said Jonathan Pierce, senior global benchmarking manager at Harman International. And it’s just about the tuning phase that happens close to the start of vehicle production. Audio suppliers such as Harman have their acoustic engineers present from the beginning of the car development all the way up to (and sometimes over) early production so that the audio system can grow a step with the vehicle.
“They set this whole thing to be as accurate as possible,” Pierce said.
How to listen
Playing your songs is great and all, but sometimes it’s nice to listen to a softer volume. You should be able to enjoy your premium audio regardless of the volume you choose. When testing the tone in your next car, listen to the low, medium, and high intensity. Notice how well you can hear the various frequencies and instruments across the audible spectrum. Is the bass too soft at low volume, but satisfying when loud? Does the treble start injuring your ears in the middle-high volume before the rest of the frequency starts to light up?
Ideally, the audio package should have the lowest, mid and high, or have the same frequency balance across its entire volume range. When this happens, a system is called “linear.” The chart below is a linear system. Notice how the line of volume looks the same? Let it be a visual target for what you listen to in your next car.
What to listen to
If you close your eyes, you should be able to “see” where the vocals come from. In addition to all the previously mentioned items, if you can quickly determine the location of a particular instrument across an imaginary soundstage that looks wider than the car’s interior, it is a good setup system.
Sometimes an audio supplier will set its virtual sound stage to cover you as if you were on stage with the band. Other suppliers can leave the voice imagery strictly in front of you. Sometimes you are given the option to be immersed on stage or in a virtual audience, all without having to adjust the fader settings. Either way, you should be able to “see” where the specific sounds radiate. The point is that it should never seem as if you are listening to the sound coming from the speakers. A great audio system projects the illusion that you are performing live.
How do I test the audio system
I have a 10-genre, 21 song playlist ($ 150 in Crutchfield) on my phone called “Test Audio System.” It was the first 21 songs I enjoy every time I evaluate a new car. It is a good idea to test premium audio with a set of music choices that you know well. The best audio package allows me to find instruments I never knew existed in my favorite songs. It’s always been a pleasant surprise, and it’s an easy way for a system to gain additional points in my evaluation.
A personal favorite is Bentley Bentayga with an optional Naim audio system. I might as well be in a sophisticated recording studio, because I can bring my focus to any instrument as if my finger were at the helm of the 80-channel console, million dollar mixing.
But you do not need a $ 270,000 SUV with an array of 1,920 watts, 20-speakers to experience exceptional sound, first class. Nissan has just introduced its $ 23,000 Kicks with Bose Personal Plus audio, and I will rank it in the top 10 of my favorite premium audio systems. It provides many immersive stimuli, cold spine and instrumental separation of the Naim system, but with only eight speakers engineered into a vehicle that costs less than a tenth of Bentley.
No matter what your budget is, there’s a transformative audio experience waiting to make your Sunday trip or Monday trip awesome.
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