Well the Pioneer autotune officially stinks. DEX owners- invest in an RTA setup ASAP to get the most out of your hardware investment. Posted in the "technical" forum but also deserves to be posted here as well-
OK- first series of (True) RTA sessions were run yesterday and I learned a ton- not finished yet but the end result in my "new" sound is nothing short of amazing- EVERY CD sounds good now- no more thin sounding older CDs, older recordings, bad recordings, etc. Once you approach a realistic frequency curve everything sounds good- maybe with minor adjustments but nothing where you want to actually avoid playing certain CDs.
I did a series of (9) RTA captures using 20-20K pink noise from my Shefield Lab "My Disk" CD (track 43 if you're keeping score at home).
I used the popular Dayton Audio mic. Based on the flatness of the mic, the flatness of my multimedia laptop's sound and graphics card I did not calibrate either device. I was looking for relative curve differences and not precise measurements within a db or so. As it turned out the initial curve was so way out of whack that fine calibration did not matter.
The (9) measurements consisted of (3) microphone positions at (3) volume settings, (all positions at nose height, center of driver's seat)
Mic aimed 45 degrees left, mic aimed straight ahead, mic aimed 45 degrees right, each position seeing volume settings of 20 (moderate) 30 (fairly loud) and 40 (very loud). I then "averaged" the left, center and right positions for each volume level.
The center measurement was nearly identical to the average of all three, and there was not much difference between the curve shapes of the 30 and 40 volume positions. As a time saver for future sessions I will use the mic aimed center and volume position 30, this will give good results to fine tune the curve.
So here is the "curve" from my system, the one that was really not very satisfactory.
OK- first series of (True) RTA sessions were run yesterday and I learned a ton- not finished yet but the end result in my "new" sound is nothing short of amazing- EVERY CD sounds good now- no more thin sounding older CDs, older recordings, bad recordings, etc. Once you approach a realistic frequency curve everything sounds good- maybe with minor adjustments but nothing where you want to actually avoid playing certain CDs.
I did a series of (9) RTA captures using 20-20K pink noise from my Shefield Lab "My Disk" CD (track 43 if you're keeping score at home).
I used the popular Dayton Audio mic. Based on the flatness of the mic, the flatness of my multimedia laptop's sound and graphics card I did not calibrate either device. I was looking for relative curve differences and not precise measurements within a db or so. As it turned out the initial curve was so way out of whack that fine calibration did not matter.
The (9) measurements consisted of (3) microphone positions at (3) volume settings, (all positions at nose height, center of driver's seat)
Mic aimed 45 degrees left, mic aimed straight ahead, mic aimed 45 degrees right, each position seeing volume settings of 20 (moderate) 30 (fairly loud) and 40 (very loud). I then "averaged" the left, center and right positions for each volume level.
The center measurement was nearly identical to the average of all three, and there was not much difference between the curve shapes of the 30 and 40 volume positions. As a time saver for future sessions I will use the mic aimed center and volume position 30, this will give good results to fine tune the curve.
So here is the "curve" from my system, the one that was really not very satisfactory.
The general shape of the curve is OK, but the trouble starts at around 300hz where it takes a 8db nose dive on its way to 500hz, where it abruptly starts climbing as it approaches 800Hz which is nearly 18db above the previous region of the curve! As you follow from 800Hz to 5Khz (crossover frequency) the shape and slope are nice, but that whole plateau region of midrange frequencies is nominally 10db higher than the flat region between 150Hz and 300Hz.
No wonder the sound was occasionally very harsh, midrange frequencies from 800Hz to 5Khz were in effect boosted 10db! Thanks Pioneer autotune!!!!!!!!
I would have NEVER been able to account for this by ear- the curve is just too extreme to imagine.
Unfortunately the EQ on the deck is limited in range and making 10db cuts did not sound reasonable. So I lowered the level of the mid-bass drivers by 5db and made 5db cuts from 800Hz to 5Khz.
I then remeasured with True RTA (did not save those curves) and it seemed much better.
Quite simply the new sound is what I have been missing all along. It is awesome.
I will remeasure later today based on some refinement to the True RTA settings that I used initially, like speed, sample frequency (averaging) and to turn off peak hold.
Quite honestly unless you are a truly experienced by-ear tuner I doubt anyone could get the most out of their system without an RTA analysis as well as having flexible capability of the system's output and adjustment.

As a reference to DEX owners I will run an RTA session using the supplied Pioneer autotune mic and compare it against a higher quality microphone.