Over in this post I will be discussing the best way to tune your system so you can go to the limits and not blow anything. Remember that the speakers get spoiled due to distortion, if you have a graphic equalizer on your pre, distortion is sometimes easy to check from it, usually some band will be always going above the limit, and some pre have “Clip” sign that flashes when there is distortion. Bad quality cds with scratches on them also cause distortion and can damage your system easily.
I have noticed that audio walas do not take care of the + or – on the speakers and connect them to the amp, turn up the volume and then if there is a problem, switch the + – of one speaker. Always have small pencil cell with you during the installation. Before connecting the speaker wires to the amp, briefly connect the wires to the cell. If the speaker pops outwards, the + of the battery is connected to the + of the speaker. If it goes in, you have connected the wires wrong, this is important as some local and cheap Chinese brands and also repaired speaker don’t have proper markings on them or sometimes if a speaker or woofer is inside a box where you can’t see the back of it, this will help you find the + – easily.
Sound damping is also very important specially if you have a big woofer in the boot. It’s a good idea if you line your boot with sound dampening material. We don’t get Dynamat in Pakistan and it’s too expensive anyways. A cheap alternative is “underlay” that they use under the carpets. The best type is the one which has small foam pieces glued together, kind of like the one we get in the cars under the carpet. It’s a bit heavy and stops the rattles. Another alternative is the thin foam underlay. You can get it for Rs 7 to 15 per sq. foot. It’s pretty easy to apply and does not take much time. I did my trunk myself and it took me 3 hrs at max with around 20 sq foot of foam and a small jar of samad bond. The difference was very apparent.
Normally what people do is just plug in any CD to test their system to tune it when they should always get an original CD to tune the system and not one made from mp3 as the ones made from mp3 will have lot of frequencies filtered out due to compression and de-compression. If you are a real sound quality buff like me, look for chesky records audiophile series CDs or Sheffield records audiophile CDs on torrents. If you can’t find them then get a good jazz music CD because they usually have the best recordings with clarity and use the system capabilities to the maximum. Once you have tuned your system properly, you will notice major difference. These CDs are for tuning the mids and the highs. And that’s basically where the tuning is required. For bass you have to tune the box frequency according to what you like. Once you tune to jazz, everything will sound clearer. Go to ROE :: Car Audio :: SPL :: Community – Audio Downloads to download various frequencies, burn them to CD and check your woofer. CAUTION: you won’t hear anything if you don’t have a woofer. If you have a woofer, it wont play any sound but you will notice your woofer going crazy. So don’t play it loud or for extended period of time if you don’t want to fry your woofer.
For tuning your system follow these steps
1. Turn the equalizers, gain of amp and volume of your pre to zero.
2. Turn off the woofer.
3. Increase the volume on your pre till you can hear distortion on your speakers (phatti howi awaz).
4. Turn down the volume 2 steps (this is your max volume you can go to without blowing your speakers).
5. Increase the gain on your amp slowly till you hear distortion again. Turn down the gain slightly so the distortion goes away.
Now you can play with the volume all you want and your speakers won’t blow if you don’t go above the max volume.
6. Set your equalizers as you like.
7. Turn on your woofer keeping the volume at max and slowly increase the gain for it till the bass is to your liking.
With this method you can have the right bass that you like at the max volume and it will be distortion free. Also the sound will be balanced and the woofer will not drown out the mids and high.
Also from the link I gave you earlier in the article, (ROE :: Car Audio :: SPL :: Community – Audio Downloads) get the track called digital silence, burn it on CD and play it on your system. This can help you track down the source of the noise in your system by checking various parts of it one by one.