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How do you set the tone controls on your car stereo?
Old 25th January 2013
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Banana Brains's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
How do you set the tone controls on your car stereo?

Just curious.

Since I was a kid, when someone presumably told me how to adjust the tone controls on my ghetto blaster, I have been boosting the bass a little and the treble alot.

For the last few years, since I got into recording, I just leave the tone controls on my home stereo and my car stereo flat. I figure some engineer worked hard to get those mixes right.

I just drove my wife's car for about three months and switched back to my own, and I was amazed at how different the music sounds in either car.

What do you all listen for when adjusting the tone control in your car?
Old 25th January 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Ain't Nobody's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Unfortunately, "flat" is not enough for mine. It gives a huge unnatural boost to the low end when the volume is turned down. Turns up the high end too, but not as much. To get anything approaching flat, it has to be zero'd out and volume up quite a bit. On the plus side, it keeps me from letting bass-heavy muddy mixes pass inspection.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #3
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hasbeen's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Bass up 2 notches, treble all the way up. If it has midrange, minus or plus 1.
Old 25th January 2013
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I had to ween myself off radio eq. Growing up always had the bass and treble boosted...... Low and behold, that is how my mixes sounded. As I weened myself off eq, my mixes got better (coincidentally, less harsh and boomy).

I must admit I treat myself to a little bass every now and then if it is a song I really like.
Old 25th January 2013
  #5
Lives for gear
 
fhames's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Flat
Old 25th January 2013
  #6
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterndrup ➑️
Just curious.

Since I was a kid, when someone presumably told me how to adjust the tone controls on my ghetto blaster, I have been boosting the bass a little and the treble alot.

For the last few years, since I got into recording, I just leave the tone controls on my home stereo and my car stereo flat. I figure some engineer worked hard to get those mixes right.

I just drove my wife's car for about three months and switched back to my own, and I was amazed at how different the music sounds in either car.

What do you all listen for when adjusting the tone control in your car?
I adjust the car stereo so that it sounds good on well-mixed/mastered material and then adjust as needed.

Listening 'straight edge' (as it were) makes sense in a well-treated room with good speakers (good as in flat) for critical listening (or perhaps accustomization) purposes.

But having the available tone controls set flat in a car or on a consumer stereo doesn't necessarily mean you're getting the most 'accurate' sound.

You can't use EQ to 'treat a room' -- but you can sometimes milk a little more evenness -- or perhaps just more euphony -- out of a given playback system with judicious use of EQ.
Old 25th January 2013
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
every car I've driven is a little different. My current one, I usually turn down the low end by a little to a middle-sized amount, and occasionally turn down the highs depending what I'm listening to. On my last car, I'm not too sure because the screen didn't work, but I'm pretty sure it was usually flat. It's also worth noting that most of what I listen to for enjoyment isn't "radio-ready" mixes
Old 25th January 2013
  #8
Lives for gear
 
filipv's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My car stereo flattens the eq progressively as I turn the volume up. So, its bass +5 and treble +4 for me (my android device which I play music from is thin on bass!).

Bass and treble really get beefed up just when the volume is low. When I turn it up - it gets flat. Exacltly how I want it. If it was flat while volume is low - it would sound like s*it (no low or high end, just mids piercing through the ambient noise)

When I listen to radio (which is very, very, very rarely), then the bass control stays at 0.
Old 25th January 2013
  #9
Lives for gear
 
cavern's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Generally car stereos are a crap shoot,they all sound crappy.I use a CD that i know really well and set it there,usually around flat somewhere give or take a few notches and settle for what i can get.
Old 25th January 2013
  #10
RiF
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RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
My car stereo sounds good with the EQ flat. But it's an Audi and those guys care about acoustics (no weird bass resonances or other stuff), even for the mid-of-the-line system that I have.
Old 25th January 2013
  #11
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I rent a lot of cars and this is the first thing I check out, ha.

I arbitrarily start with BASS 0, MID 0, TRE +1. The bass, especially in American cars, is usually a booming mess much beyond +1, especially for talk radio.

And satellite can't really take the treble boost, that's a swirly mess. Satellite is often awful sounding anyway. They should have chose 32 kHz and up'd the bitrate instead of the dumbass choice of squeezing that bitrate at 48 kHz. That's what you get when you put a bunch of EE's, CE's, and CS's at a problem like that.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by filipv ➑️
My car stereo flattens the eq progressively as I turn the volume up.
Do your ears' natural frequency response not do this as the volume increases also?

See the following chart (I hope it's at least familiar to you )

http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/audi...lLoudness2.jpg
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Ain't Nobody's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomtomtom1230 ➑️
Do your ears' natural frequency response not do this as the volume increases also?

See the following chart (I hope it's at least familiar to you )

http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/audi...lLoudness2.jpg
It's an extreme over-compensation that the stereos are doing these days, though. I swear the bass gets cranked 12db when the volume in my car is at half. Flat full-on. It's a horrible mess when turned down. I guess it's to overcompensate for road noise, impress car buyers with "deep rich sound" or whatever... and it's much more pronounced in the lows than highs, so not straight Fletcher/munson.

I miss my Toyota Solara convertible. It had a very sweet, very flat system.
Old 25th January 2013
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Thanks for clarifying that for me. I knew there was some EQ compensation in the stereos as the volume changes but I wasn't aware that it was that full on!

I apologise for coming across a bit patronising (didn't mean to, but it reads that way now I reread it) in advance, by the way.
Old 25th January 2013
  #15
Lives for gear
I really like the stereo in my VW Golf, I know it well. I listen to it flat. When I'm checking mixes, sometimes I'll use the treble boost and if the song sounds better, I know my mix is too dull. If it touch it and things get harsh and sibilant, I know I've got it right.
Old 25th January 2013 | Show parent
  #16
Lives for gear
 
filipv's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomtomtom1230 ➑️
Do your ears' natural frequency response not do this as the volume increases also?

See the following chart (I hope it's at least familiar to you )

http://blogs.msdn.com/blogfiles/audi...lLoudness2.jpg
but, that's EXACTLY why the lows and highs need to be boosted while the volume is low!

fm curve shows that we hear LESS bass and treble at low volumes, hence the need to compensate.

that's why there are "loudness" buttons on hifi amps. Turn the volume up, and "loudness" button does nothing. Lower the volume - bass and treble get boosted. Thats exactly because of the fletcher munson curve.
Old 25th January 2013
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Hyder boy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
FLAT
Old 25th January 2013
  #18
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Lipps's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Flat is the only way
Old 25th January 2013
  #19
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Flat never gave me enough information. Every system is different, but usually a little boost in the lows and boost in the highs translates from in the control room to real world the best for my purposes (same with portable stereos). If you know the sound of an album, sometimes one you've been listening to for 10-20 years, you know where to set things so it just sounds right. And if you have 2 or 3 key songs to compare your own work to (based on genre) it's a good thing because you won't be overwhelmed with too many comparative choices.
Old 25th January 2013
  #20
Lives for gear
 
beingmf's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I can't listen with the bass > zero (Mercedes A / Kenwood stereo), so my setting is bass -2, treble +2. Sounds very acceptable that way.
Old 26th January 2013
  #21
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
If a mix is great, then it will translate whether the car stereo is set to flat, hyped, or anything in between.

Notice I said translate -- not sound good.

If it's a bad mix then the flat setting in the car will be a most humiliating (and humbling) experience !
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