The Importance of Sound
I have a very unglamorous Renault Scenic into which I have a system comprising an amplifier running a pair of components actively. I have a Bit 10 which I had Bit-tuned to match the factory unit and have generally been happy apart from a few issues with lack of bass which I put down to not running a subwoofer and also a disappointingly narrow stereo image. I recently had cause to change the head unit for a Pioneer DEH-80PRS which gave me the perfect opportunity to experience exactly what the Bit Tune had had to do in order to make the factory unit sound good. Without any tweaking at all, the Pioneer sounded incredibly bass heavy, there was a horrible harshness to the treble and no middle frequencies at all. What I was listening to was the antithesis of the pre-set curve in the factory unit. It was actually very easy to completely overhaul the sound, I simply set the Bit 10 dual 31-band graphic equaliser to flat and hey presto. Ok, it will need another Bit tune but it is certainly listenable. So, why would Renault choose this particular sound curve for their head unit? A quick look at the speakers tells you all you need to know! The woofers have paper cones and magnets the size of a £2 coin so clearly won't handle any bass frequencies without disintegrating and although there is a bass control on the head unit, it is playing flat when turned up full probably. Similarly, the tweeters are absolutely minuscule and probably sound quite nasty if presented with any high frequency energy at all and so the head unit has a "tailored" high-end response to stop causing aural bleeding! Alas, this is not unusual which is why whenever I get into someone else's factory equipped car I will always find the bass and treble turned fully up. Funnily enough, I don't want car manufacturers to stop doing this as choosing and purchasing your own car audio is a fun and very satisfying thing to do but it would be handy if they stopped trying to prevent the specialist dealer from trying to do so by changing the shape and integrating all sorts of controls which could easily and in many cases, more conveniently sit elsewhere. Ultimately, talent will out and the talent for good audio in a car clearly does not lie with the vehicle manufacturer.
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