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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently took delivery of my car and have been enjoying the sound system: the car interior is noticeably quieter than my last car, and the audio quality is better, so overall a big upgrade for me.

However, I feel like better sound could be achieved with this system (for me, better = flatter frequency response curve). I find the bass is hyped a lot, and even when turning off the subwoofer, turning bass level down, and lowering bass in the advanced graphic EQ, there is still a lot there. I find the graphic EQ changes are too subtle overall.

I would love to see a "reference" setting, where instead of a hyped, showroom-demo style EQ curve, you get one aiming to behave more like a studio monitor, to whatever degree it can.

Has anyone done any experimenting in this regard, i.e., trying to squeeze the most faithful sound out of the existing system? If I can find time I might measure with a spectrum analyzer and see what settings get me closest to flat.
 

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I'd like to see the results of a spectrum analyzer.

There are a number of apps out there in the Android world. Of course, their accuracy would be heavily limited by the phone's microphone, but it might serve as a starting point.
 
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I think you're chasing the impossible. You'll get something that sounds nice... and then drive away and everything below 200Hz disappears. I have the bass and subwoofer turned right up, which sounds stupid at traffic lights, but gives a reasonably full sound above 20mph. There's fundamentally far too much road rumble and roar from the tyres.
 

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I think you're chasing the impossible. You'll get something that sounds nice... and then drive away and everything below 200Hz disappears. I have the bass and subwoofer turned right up, which sounds stupid at traffic lights, but gives a reasonably full sound above 20mph. There's fundamentally far too much road rumble and roar from the tyres.
I think your car is faulty. If I turn the bass and subwoofer right up on mine, it is absolutely unlistenable at any speed.

There are a few people on the 'official' Polestar facebook page with similar issues.
 

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Bass is no different to any other part of the frequency spectrum in that if it is drawing attention to itself it is probably excessive or is lagging behind the higher registers. Really high quality bass seems to have knock on benefits in unexpected ways such as opening up the soundstage and giving a greater sense of air.

Although we might assume that aspiring to hearing a system with a perfectly flat frequency response is the ideal in practice it might disappoint. Studio monitors may have a flatter frequency response but they may suit the sound engineer's task rather than our listening pleasure. I guess what I am trying to say is trust your ears and tailor the tone settings to your preference.
 

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I guess what I am trying to say is trust your ears and tailor the tone settings to your preference.
Amen. These types of arguments stretch far and wide. But what sounds good to one person may not to another. In addition, the sensitivity of our ears changes with sound pressure levels.
 

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No professional install ever aims for flat - flat generally sounds awful and particularly lacking in depth.

What you aim for is a so called 'house curve' and for the system to closely track that curve.

The house curve is open to interpretation - there's no right or wrong for this. What might be ideal for a cinema isn't necessarily optimal for critical music listening.
 

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Here's what i try to stick to, to avoid the constant fiddling:
  • make a mental note of the details you hear in a certain song, play that song again while driving to hear what's drowned. Adjust and try again.
  • set it up and leave it for a while, so that your ears can adjust
  • try to subtract what is too present instead of boosting what is too weak
  • when I want loudness, I just turn up the volume
Happy tweaking!
 

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I've noticed that my perception of the bass response varies widely with the content. Far more than I've experienced before. Perhaps because the bass in this system is more responsive than I'm used to in a car.
 

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Actually your observation may support our opinion that this is a relatively well behaved system. I play all sorts through the home system from live transmissions via the satellite box to ripped SACDs and streams at resolutions up to 192kHz/24 bit. The better the recording (regardless of bit rate) the wider the frequency range. The bass behaves appropriately and doesn't thud along monotonously.

I think our perceptions about the quality of the H-K system may be influenced by what we're listening to. After all, garbage in, garbage out.
 

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I recently took delivery of my car and have been enjoying the sound system: the car interior is noticeably quieter than my last car, and the audio quality is better, so overall a big upgrade for me.

However, I feel like better sound could be achieved with this system (for me, better = flatter frequency response curve). I find the bass is hyped a lot, and even when turning off the subwoofer, turning bass level down, and lowering bass in the advanced graphic EQ, there is still a lot there. I find the graphic EQ changes are too subtle overall.

I would love to see a "reference" setting, where instead of a hyped, showroom-demo style EQ curve, you get one aiming to behave more like a studio monitor, to whatever degree it can.

Has anyone done any experimenting in this regard, i.e., trying to squeeze the most faithful sound out of the existing system? If I can find time I might measure with a spectrum analyzer and see what settings get me closest to flat.
Yeah, we have definitely different taste for music 😅 , i m missing a subwoofer in the rear but i cant listen loud enough with kids on board. This is my EQ
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
No professional install ever aims for flat - flat generally sounds awful and particularly lacking in depth.

What you aim for is a so called 'house curve' and for the system to closely track that curve.

The house curve is open to interpretation - there's no right or wrong for this. What might be ideal for a cinema isn't necessarily optimal for critical music listening.
I like the name 'house curve' , except I would probably want to call it the 'car curve' to avoid people thinking I slept in my car. Since I listen to a wide variety of music, I want the bass generally tamed. I can turn it up for the genres that can benefit from it, but then, those tracks are usually mixed to sound bass heavy anyway. I generally trust my ears, but with three controls for bass, I feel I could use some help in understanding what each is doing to the signal (beyond their names).
 

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Since the subwoofer is up front behind the center air vents I think anything that has xtra base will sound bass heavy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I had about half an hour to take some measurements in the car today. I'll take some pics of the graphs some other time, but my basic findings are below. I generally was measuring with pink noise played back through in-car Spotify and watching the curve with a spectrum analyzer.
  • There is very strong bass boost in effect when all controls are flat. This is both audible and observable in the frequency spectrum analyzer I was using.
  • The subwoofer control adjusts frequencies below 50Hz by about +-10dB
  • The bass control adjusts frequencies from 50 - 100 Hz by about +-5dB
  • The treble control adjusts frequencies above 8 KHz by about +-5dB
  • No signal was present above about 16,600 Hz - possibly due to the Spotify audio encoding
  • I tested the graphic equalizer with a 1KHz tone, and found the EQ only affected it by about +-3dB. So, only useful for fine-tuning, but this car really needs better coarse adjustment controls first.
  • This was all tested with the car parked. My aim was for decent sound when I am hanging out in the car not driving, and it was not practical to test on the highway :)
Then I started playing with flattening out the bass hump. What sounded best to my ears was to roll the bass and subwoofer all the way off. Once this was done, the highs were standing out a bit too much so I rolled those back a bit. Doing that, I got much closer to what sounded like a flat frequency curve. Bass was still very present, but better controlled IMO. I tried rolling off a bit more bass with the graphic EQ but it started to sound thin, so I left that off.

Note, I make no claims my measurements were scientific or done correctly. These settings are entirely subjective, and I am only saying they might work for me (time will tell). In fact, from other comments here it is highly doubtful anyone else will enjoy them. But, more data is always better, so here you are!
Output device Gadget Audio equipment Font Computer monitor accessory
 

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I've always been disappointed in the meager effect of the graphic equalizer. Nice to have independent confirmation. I should test it, too.

Hoping for a software fix for it.
 
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