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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a classical music lover and simply cannot get the radio to play loud enough. It always seems to be on MAX, especially if the windows are opened. The problem with an inferior radio and symphonic music is you miss the variety between highs and lows, and subtle instrumental shading.

I have the upgraded radio. Is there anything I can buy to really upgrade to quality?
 

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I wrote about this some time ago, but I'm too tired and lazy to do a search right now.

Essentially, the key is to cut the midrange frequencies. Too much midrange tends to make the upgraded stereo system sound rather muddy. There's some high-falutin' language that an audio engineer could use to describe it in all painful details, but that's the gist of it as I understand it.

Your lack of power is due to the fact that bass and midrange both require more power than treble. It's all a factor of how far the speaker cone has to move in order to reproduce a given sound frequency. The cone is moved by the magnet. Lower pitch, bigger movements. Bigger movements, more energy needed.

So try this:

Sit in the car, and pull up the sound settings screen.

Drop the midrange to one or two marks BELOW "zero" (below the midpoint).

Drop the bass to the "zero" mark.

Raise the treble to one or two marks ABOVE "zero."

Listen. Fine-tune to taste. I think mine is set as follows:

Bass: 1 mark above zero
Mid: 2 or 3 marks below zero
Treble: 3 or 4 marks above zero
 

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drtravel47 said:
I'm a classical music lover and simply cannot get the radio to play loud enough. It always seems to be on MAX, especially if the windows are opened. The problem with an inferior radio and symphonic music is you miss the variety between highs and lows, and subtle instrumental shading.

I have the upgraded radio. Is there anything I can buy to really upgrade to quality?
My opinion is that quality music is not amenable to be listened to agreeably in a moving car. I stopped fighting it, and save the "enjoyment" for a proper room.

I listen about half time to classical and half time jazz. I gave up trying to gain satisfaction with any car radio. So I only buy the basic radio that comes with the car...and consider it a news/weather source, and a music filler to alleviate boredom. Of course, only my opinion.
 

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BIF said:
I wrote about this some time ago, but I'm too tired and lazy to do a search right now.

Essentially, the key is to cut the midrange frequencies. Too much midrange tends to make the upgraded stereo system sound rather muddy. There's some high-falutin' language that an audio engineer could use to describe it in all painful details, but that's the gist of it as I understand it.


Bass: 1 mark above zero
Mid: 2 or 3 marks below zero
Treble: 3 or 4 marks above zero

Prior to taking delivery of my Prius, the salesman proceeded to adjust the JBL radio in the same fashion as BIF suggests. It does sound better but the overall quality of the "upgraded" sound system still leaves a lot to be desired.
 

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An04Prius said:
drtravel47 said:
I'm a classical music lover and simply cannot get the radio to play loud enough. It always seems to be on MAX, especially if the windows are opened. The problem with an inferior radio and symphonic music is you miss the variety between highs and lows, and subtle instrumental shading.

I have the upgraded radio. Is there anything I can buy to really upgrade to quality?
The simple fact is that quality music is not amenable to be listened to agreeably in a moving car. Stop fighting it, and save the "enjoyment" for a proper room.

I listen about half time to classical and half time jazz. I gave up years ago trying to gain satisfaction with any car radio. So I only buy the basic radio that comes with the car...and consider it a news/weather source, and a music filler to alleviate boredom.

Of course, you could always switch to RAP, and let the lyrics eat your brain. :D
Is this meant for me?
 

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DanB said:
Prior to taking delivery of my Prius, the salesman proceeded to adjust the JBL radio in the same fashion as BIF suggests. It does sound better but the overall quality of the "upgraded" sound system still leaves a lot to be desired.
Agreed! I am a musician, and would like a better system. But my adjustment really helps me to enjoy the music. If I'm singing along with it, then I'm not really thinking about how bad it sounds!

And I can't grouse too much, because when I make my own recordings or recordings of my fellow musicians, the Prius with it's "to be desired" sound system is actually the IDEAL proofing environment for listening to test mixes.

Yeah, weird. But true. There's a rumor that REO Speedwagon's big hit album in the 80's was mixed (or test-listened to) on a cheap Radio Shack boombox of some sort....
 

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I am somewhat of an audiophile, or at least I like to think I am. I also have the "upgraded" JBL system and was not happy with the sound quality at all.

BIF's method gets you closer to listenable, but at high volumes, the sound is so muddy that I thought my head was gonna burst.

As far as I'm concerned, it is essential to add a subwoofer. Since doing so, I am 100% satisfied with the sound I'm now getting. The system has tremendous punch. The mids are still turned down about 2 notches below "zero" (as is the bass, but the sub has it's own level control). The treble is turned up about 2-3 notches and you can really discern the highs!

One reason I believe I'm getting clearer highs is I disconnected the utterly useless center speaker on the dash. Does anyone have any idea what Toyota was thinking by giving us that cruddy excuse for a speaker? Personally, I'd rather have another cup holder or cubby hole in that location. Maybe instead of a vase (like the VW bug), I could retrofit a clay pot so I could grow some veggies there. How green would that be?

Anyhow, you can read all about my experience (subwoofer, not farming) over here:

http://www.priuschat.com/forums/kenwood-mini-sub-vt7080.html


DGStan
 

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BIF said:
There's a rumor that REO Speedwagon's big hit album in the 80's was mixed (or test-listened to) on a cheap Radio Shack boombox of some sort....
Dunno specifically about Speedwagon, but it's absolutely true that pop music engineers will burn a tape or CD of a song and trot it out to their car to see how it sounds there before they call the mix done.

Likewise, when I worked in TV-land, the mixers would always do checks with a plain ol' 1" television speaker to make sure things still sounded right conimg out of a cheap TV as well as their gazillion dollar studio speakers.
 

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evander said:
An04Prius said:
drtravel47 said:
I'm a classical music lover and simply cannot get the radio to play loud enough. It always seems to be on MAX, especially if the windows are opened. The problem with an inferior radio and symphonic music is you miss the variety between highs and lows, and subtle instrumental shading.

I have the upgraded radio. Is there anything I can buy to really upgrade to quality?
The simple fact is that quality music is not amenable to be listened to agreeably in a moving car. Stop fighting it, and save the "enjoyment" for a proper room.

I listen about half time to classical and half time jazz. I gave up years ago trying to gain satisfaction with any car radio. So I only buy the basic radio that comes with the car...and consider it a news/weather source, and a music filler to alleviate boredom.

Of course, you could always switch to RAP, and let the lyrics eat your brain. :D
Is this meant for me?
Of course not, Evander. You are much too nice to let the RAP get access to you. Your basic nature makes you immune. :D
 

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An04Prius said:
evander said:
An04Prius said:
drtravel47 said:
I'm a classical music lover and simply cannot get the radio to play loud enough. It always seems to be on MAX, especially if the windows are opened. The problem with an inferior radio and symphonic music is you miss the variety between highs and lows, and subtle instrumental shading.

I have the upgraded radio. Is there anything I can buy to really upgrade to quality?
The simple fact is that quality music is not amenable to be listened to agreeably in a moving car. Stop fighting it, and save the "enjoyment" for a proper room.

I listen about half time to classical and half time jazz. I gave up years ago trying to gain satisfaction with any car radio. So I only buy the basic radio that comes with the car...and consider it a news/weather source, and a music filler to alleviate boredom.

Of course, you could always switch to RAP, and let the lyrics eat your brain. :D
Is this meant for me?
Of course not, Evander. You are much too nice to let the RAP get access to you. Your basic nature makes you immune. :D
You why thank much so.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
one more radio thing

I usually have to run the CD at MAX volume to get any semblance of sound, especially with classical music. However, I don't need to go higher than 35 to run the radio loud. Why can't the CD player be on the same level?
 

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Most radio stations use companders which compress the volume to a semi-constant level. You can often hear this during silent times of the broadcast where the gain control turns up, thus amplifying station/studio noise until some sound (talk, music, etc) comes through, and the auto gain control turns the gain down so that the volume is flat.

CD has a very wide dynamic range, and classical music is also very dynamic in sound level. So in order to accomodate loud portions, the soft passages can seem very soft. Also the 'average' sound level can vary from CD to CD. I believe though it is because of the CD dynamics that the CD input to the main pream/amp is lower than the radio input, so that a maxed out CD input level would not overdrive the preamp, causing distortion.
Movies on HiFi tape and DVD are notorious for seeming too low, then suddenly too loud during some scenes. Most DVD players are equipped to try and equalize (compress) the sound level a bit so soft sections aren't too soft, and loud sections aren't too loud.
 

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DanMan32 said:
Most radio stations use companders which compress the volume to a semi-constant level. You can often hear this during silent times of the broadcast where the gain control turns up, thus amplifying station/studio noise until some sound (talk, music, etc) comes through, and the auto gain control turns the gain down so that the volume is flat.

CD has a very wide dynamic range, and classical music is also very dynamic in sound level. So in order to accomodate loud portions, the soft passages can seem very soft. Also the 'average' sound level can vary from CD to CD. I believe though it is because of the CD dynamics that the CD input to the main pream/amp is lower than the radio input, so that a maxed out CD input level would not overdrive the preamp, causing distortion.

Movies on HiFi tape and DVD are notorious for seeming too low, then suddenly too loud during some scenes. Most DVD players are equipped to try and equalize (compress) the sound level a bit so soft sections aren't too soft, and loud sections aren't too loud.
I can add to this: The CD, recorded at 16-bits and 44,100 hertz, has incredible dynamic range as DanMan says.

But believe it or not, most commercial CD's are "mastered" to "squash" the dynamic range and make the quiets and louds very similar in volume.

Lots of music (recorded with microphones and direct plug-to-computer) is recorded at 16/44,100 (the same as a CD) or 24-bits and 96,000 hertz (higher quality; makes for better interim manipulation by human and computer). Music that's made "internally" (sounds created BY THE COMPUTER) are often initially recorded at 32-bits. Eventually it all gets "rendered down" to the CD standard of 16/44,100.

At any given stage of musicmaking, a lot of audio recording engineers will use compressors, limiters, and/or normalizers to do some real "magic" with the sounds.

For example, an engineer might use a compressor on a vocal track when the singer is having trouble controlling and/or fine-tuning their volume levels. A compressor can raise the level of the singer's quiet, intimate voicings, and put a "top limit" in on the loud parts. It makes a vocal more listenable, and less likely to get trampled by other instruments that might be in or near those vocal frequencies.

After all of the individual instrument and voice tracks are "mixed," the whole CD project stays in house or goes offsite for "mastering."

Mastering is where they take all the songs on a CD and they make EQ, volume, and other adjustments so that the whole album sounds like it "fits" right with itself. Some pop and top-40 type CDs are compressed and limited so that they'll be as loud as physically possible. Sometimes, this actually degrades the wonderful dynamic range (difference between loud and quiet parts) of a CD.

Then radio goes and ruins it even further, exactly as DanMan says! :x

Anyhow...just some tidbits for you to ponder.
 
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