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Discussion Starter #41
Update 4/22/2012.
After hours of experimenting with manual time alignment settings, I stumbled on a very simple way to dial in the settings after an autotune. First off, let me please say they I have never heard a car stereo sound like this before. It is a whole other world of sound quality once the stage is truly time aligned.
I had an Alpine CDA 117 before and could never get it to sound right so I never really understood how big of a benefit it can be for sound quality.
Basically I ran the "best" autotune sweep for mic position that I had achieved to date- although a per-the-manual autotune as a starting point would probably work.
Then I needed a decent source to play in order to fine tune the settings.
The articles I have read that suggest other methods (manual time alignment using noise and listening for the doppler effect, time alignment by finding the worst out of phase sound) somehow did not seem very easy to work with. All I wanted was for the image to be "centered" equally as to provide a nice stage. I know the autotune on the DEX really struggles with this, the image tends to wander all over the place, probably due to the amount of cabin reflections the various drivers and frequencies show.
So i thought, how do I center the image using time alignment? I really need to do this using music with my own ears because in the end that is what I am hearing when the system is in use.
I thought about using a mono source, since there would be no stereo or studio effects that alter the image position and that I would strictly be adjusting image to center it among the drivers.
AM radio was an option that I quickly dropped because it is not dynamic enough and has a limited frequency range.
I looked at my demo CD "My Disk" by Sheffield labs. It has a mono track of really dynamic, full range well recorded music. Unfortunately it is very short, so I put it on repeat track.
I then decided right or wrong that the "distant" speakers were somewhat OK per the autotune and decided to only adjust the left tweeter, the left midbass and the left rear passive. I wanted to see how this would work. The distances shown on the autoTA seemed reasonable for those farther away drivers on the right side and the sub.
I isolated the tweeters (mounted in stock position just below sail panels).
I changed the crossover to 3K so that they would play a decent range of frequencies.
First off, all levels were set equally and I had the balance position set to the right by (2) on the scale.
I played the mono track and began adjusting the distance settings of the left tweeter. I wanted to focus the tweeter sound to the center of my windshield. I listened carefully as I heard the image go from left to right and back again just by adjusting the left tweeter TA distance.
When I was happy with the center of the tweeter image, I then turned them down and isolated the front mid-bass drivers, located on the bottom front door panels.
Whoaa- this image was really biased to the left. No wonder the stage was crappy.
I again set the mono track on repeat and adjusted the distances on the left mid driver only.
It was a lot easier to center than the tweeters. I quickly had the midbass drivers centered with time alignment.
Then did the same to the rear door drivers. These were already close to center so it did not take too much to adjust he left rear driver to center the rear image.

I then adjusted all crossover points to normal as well as the levels.

Then I played one of the demo tracks (stereo) on the Sheffield labs disk-

I actually shouted out loud in my car in my garage when I heard it for the first time. Un believably amazing. Seriously, I have never heard this before ever- anywhere. I played the FM and a few CDs. Completely blown away. A whole new league and dimension to the sound. The highs are so much brighter but somehow smoother and more natural. The vocals are dead center in my windshield. The left / right stereo effects for instruments or other studio tricks pop out with precision- a keyboard pops out left of center- stays right where it should- and sounds clear and amazing. A guitar springs up to the right of center. Cymbals crash on the far right.
Simply astounding- and very easy to get to using a high quality dynamic full range mono music track.
DEX owners- be prepared to be blown away if you have such an opportunity.
 

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Update 4/22/2012.
After hours of experimenting with manual time alignment settings, I stumbled on a very simple way to dial in the settings after an autotune. First off, let me please say they I have never heard a car stereo sound like this before. It is a whole other world of sound quality once the stage is truly time aligned.
I had an Alpine CDA 117 before and could never get it to sound right so I never really understood how big of a benefit it can be for sound quality.
Basically I ran the "best" autotune sweep for mic position that I had achieved to date- although a per-the-manual autotune as a starting point would probably work.
Then I needed a decent source to play in order to fine tune the settings.
The articles I have read that suggest other methods (manual time alignment using noise and listening for the doppler effect, time alignment by finding the worst out of phase sound) somehow did not seem very easy to work with. All I wanted was for the image to be "centered" equally as to provide a nice stage. I know the autotune on the DEX really struggles with this, the image tends to wander all over the place, probably due to the amount of cabin reflections the various drivers and frequencies show.
So i thought, how do I center the image using time alignment? I really need to do this using music with my own ears because in the end that is what I am hearing when the system is in use.
I thought about using a mono source, since there would be no stereo or studio effects that alter the image position and that I would strictly be adjusting image to center it among the drivers.
AM radio was an option that I quickly dropped because it is not dynamic enough and has a limited frequency range.
I looked at my demo CD "My Disk" by Sheffield labs. It has a mono track of really dynamic, full range well recorded music. Unfortunately it is very short, so I put it on repeat track.
I then decided right or wrong that the "distant" speakers were somewhat OK per the autotune and decided to only adjust the left tweeter, the left midbass and the left rear passive. I wanted to see how this would work. The distances shown on the autoTA seemed reasonable for those farther away drivers on the right side and the sub.
I isolated the tweeters (mounted in stock position just below sail panels).
I changed the crossover to 3K so that they would play a decent range of frequencies.
First off, all levels were set equally and I had the balance position set to the right by (2) on the scale.
I played the mono track and began adjusting the distance settings of the left tweeter. I wanted to focus the tweeter sound to the center of my windshield. I listened carefully as I heard the image go from left to right and back again just by adjusting the left tweeter TA distance.
When I was happy with the center of the tweeter image, I then turned them down and isolated the front mid-bass drivers, located on the bottom front door panels.
Whoaa- this image was really biased to the left. No wonder the stage was crappy.
I again set the mono track on repeat and adjusted the distances on the left mid driver only.
It was a lot easier to center than the tweeters. I quickly had the midbass drivers centered with time alignment.
Then did the same to the rear door drivers. These were already close to center so it did not take too much to adjust he left rear driver to center the rear image.

I then adjusted all crossover points to normal as well as the levels.

Then I played one of the demo tracks (stereo) on the Sheffield labs disk-

I actually shouted out loud in my car in my garage when I heard it for the first time. Un believably amazing. Seriously, I have never heard this before ever- anywhere. I played the FM and a few CDs. Completely blown away. A whole new league and dimension to the sound. The highs are so much brighter but somehow smoother and more natural. The vocals are dead center in my windshield. The left / right stereo effects for instruments or other studio tricks pop out with precision- a keyboard pops out left of center- stays right where it should- and sounds clear and amazing. A guitar springs up to the right of center. Cymbals crash on the far right.
Simply astounding- and very easy to get to using a high quality dynamic full range mono music track.
DEX owners- be prepared to be blown away if you have such an opportunity.
Congrats, I know the feeling. But would you believe there may be even more to be had? The method using the noise (listening for doppler effect) not only centers your image but it also makes sure the tweeter is in phase with the mid, the mid in phase with the sub etc. So while you have the mids adjusted L and R try the noise method on the tweeter/mid first on the left side and then adjust the right side, (don't change the mid TA, just adjust the tweeter).
You will be in audio heaven soon :laugh:
 

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Update 4/22/2012.
After hours of experimenting with manual time alignment settings, I stumbled on a very simple way to dial in the settings after an autotune. First off, let me please say they I have never heard a car stereo sound like this before. It is a whole other world of sound quality once the stage is truly time aligned.
I had an Alpine CDA 117 before and could never get it to sound right so I never really understood how big of a benefit it can be for sound quality.
Basically I ran the "best" autotune sweep for mic position that I had achieved to date- although a per-the-manual autotune as a starting point would probably work.
Then I needed a decent source to play in order to fine tune the settings.
The articles I have read that suggest other methods (manual time alignment using noise and listening for the doppler effect, time alignment by finding the worst out of phase sound) somehow did not seem very easy to work with. All I wanted was for the image to be "centered" equally as to provide a nice stage. I know the autotune on the DEX really struggles with this, the image tends to wander all over the place, probably due to the amount of cabin reflections the various drivers and frequencies show.
So i thought, how do I center the image using time alignment? I really need to do this using music with my own ears because in the end that is what I am hearing when the system is in use.
I thought about using a mono source, since there would be no stereo or studio effects that alter the image position and that I would strictly be adjusting image to center it among the drivers.
AM radio was an option that I quickly dropped because it is not dynamic enough and has a limited frequency range.
I looked at my demo CD "My Disk" by Sheffield labs. It has a mono track of really dynamic, full range well recorded music. Unfortunately it is very short, so I put it on repeat track.
I then decided right or wrong that the "distant" speakers were somewhat OK per the autotune and decided to only adjust the left tweeter, the left midbass and the left rear passive. I wanted to see how this would work. The distances shown on the autoTA seemed reasonable for those farther away drivers on the right side and the sub.
I isolated the tweeters (mounted in stock position just below sail panels).
I changed the crossover to 3K so that they would play a decent range of frequencies.
First off, all levels were set equally and I had the balance position set to the right by (2) on the scale.
I played the mono track and began adjusting the distance settings of the left tweeter. I wanted to focus the tweeter sound to the center of my windshield. I listened carefully as I heard the image go from left to right and back again just by adjusting the left tweeter TA distance.
When I was happy with the center of the tweeter image, I then turned them down and isolated the front mid-bass drivers, located on the bottom front door panels.
Whoaa- this image was really biased to the left. No wonder the stage was crappy.
I again set the mono track on repeat and adjusted the distances on the left mid driver only.
It was a lot easier to center than the tweeters. I quickly had the midbass drivers centered with time alignment.
Then did the same to the rear door drivers. These were already close to center so it did not take too much to adjust he left rear driver to center the rear image.

I then adjusted all crossover points to normal as well as the levels.

Then I played one of the demo tracks (stereo) on the Sheffield labs disk-

I actually shouted out loud in my car in my garage when I heard it for the first time. Un believably amazing. Seriously, I have never heard this before ever- anywhere. I played the FM and a few CDs. Completely blown away. A whole new league and dimension to the sound. The highs are so much brighter but somehow smoother and more natural. The vocals are dead center in my windshield. The left / right stereo effects for instruments or other studio tricks pop out with precision- a keyboard pops out left of center- stays right where it should- and sounds clear and amazing. A guitar springs up to the right of center. Cymbals crash on the far right.
Simply astounding- and very easy to get to using a high quality dynamic full range mono music track.
DEX owners- be prepared to be blown away if you have such an opportunity.
What music of the cd did you use? I'm running a P99 from 2 weeks now and it's a nice HU(besides my old 9887)...But I'm looking for a better soundstage and trying to ajust the 31 band EQ...I guess I will center all 31 bands using "sine waves" tracks...what do you think about this way?
 

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Discussion Starter #45
What music of the cd did you use? I'm running a P99 from 2 weeks now and it's a nice HU(besides my old 9887)...But I'm looking for a better soundstage and trying to ajust the 31 band EQ...I guess I will center all 31 bands using "sine waves" tracks...what do you think about this way?
hello vitor! I have a colleague named vitor from brazil.

I tried using the tone bursts for each frequency of the DEX's 31 bands to adjust the L/R EQ- adjusting to center each frequency.
Unfortunately it did not work and the image was horrible. I tried it several times. The problem was that many of the key frequencies tended to reflect and bounce around. Some frequencies reflected so much that I could not get them to center no matter what I did.
It is worth a try but I believe you will have better success using your ears to adjust the TA.
 

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hello vitor! I have a colleague named vitor from brazil.

I tried using the tone bursts for each frequency of the DEX's 31 bands to adjust the L/R EQ- adjusting to center each frequency.
Unfortunately it did not work and the image was horrible. I tried it several times. The problem was that many of the key frequencies tended to reflect and bounce around. Some frequencies reflected so much that I could not get them to center no matter what I did.
It is worth a try but I believe you will have better success using your ears to adjust the TA.
Were the frequencies you couldn't get right around your crossover points? With higher and thus shorter frequencies a little movement changes a lot. But I was wondering if having the tweeter and mids/woofers in phase on each seperate side would give better/easier results aligning them with tone bursts.
Out of phase at the crossover point would mean you won't be able to hear the directionality as much right? It would sound like it's coming from around you (like when you have the mids time aligned and then swap phase/polarity 180 deg).
If it is around the crossover points try and use the noise method to align the tweeters to the mids with TA (while overlapping the frequencies from the tweeter and mid as much as possible, restore original crossover points afterwards) and listen again. After aligning them try and use 6 db/oct (if the tweeter han handle that) or 24 db/oct slopes at the crossover points, else it might change phase to much but you could play with that too. Left and right crossover points and slopes don't have to be symetrical due to the different angles you listen to the speakers.
 

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The sine swep was useful for me...when playing it, the sound begins in the center and at the final of the track (lower frequencies) is remains the center too...

I'm going to try another slopes today...
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Were the frequencies you couldn't get right around your crossover points? With higher and thus shorter frequencies a little movement changes a lot. But I was wondering if having the tweeter and mids/woofers in phase on each seperate side would give better/easier results aligning them with tone bursts.
Out of phase at the crossover point would mean you won't be able to hear the directionality as much right? It would sound like it's coming from around you (like when you have the mids time aligned and then swap phase/polarity 180 deg).
If it is around the crossover points try and use the noise method to align the tweeters to the mids with TA (while overlapping the frequencies from the tweeter and mid as much as possible, restore original crossover points afterwards) and listen again. After aligning them try and use 6 db/oct (if the tweeter han handle that) or 24 db/oct slopes at the crossover points, else it might change phase to much but you could play with that too. Left and right crossover points and slopes don't have to be symetrical due to the different angles you listen to the speakers.
good observation, you might be right about the reflections being at the crossover points but I don't remember. i will have to try one of these days that and the pink noise experiment.
it just seems like it will be difficult to adjust 4 speakers in an active setup that way- so you get the right speakers in phase, then the left, and then adjust the delay on both lefts at the same time to center the image?
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Tomorrow I am upgrading the front tweeters to Scanspeak 1" silk domes ordered the other day from Madisound. Great delivery BTW (ding ding ding) ordered Wednesday afternoon arrived on Thursday.
I'm going with the Scanspeak because I am tired of the in your face qualities of the Focal tweeters- while excellent are not the style I like. Also I hope to be able to cross the Scanspeak tweeters much lower (2Khz or 2.5Khz) to help the imaging and get the focal midwoofers out of their breakup frequencies. Focal are very open with their frequency plots but because of this you can easily see where they break up. In my case the 165 V30 midwoofers break up just north of 3K or so yet the tweeters sound awful below 4Khz. After realizing this IMHO the Focals are somewhat overpriced.
I actually ran an older set of Vifa NE19VTA04 aluminum domes in hopes that I could cross them lower than 4K- unfortunately even with a low Fs they did not sound good crossed any lower than the Focals. Although the VIfas were not too bad, the Focal tweeters have them beat in other areas too BTW FWIW.
Looking forward to seeing how the Scanspeaks sound. I have read a lot of good reviews but also see a lot of them for sale too.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
vitor-
i shifted the balance to the right a little as a quick way to center the volume level from the front and rear speakers together. in my past vehicles the right balance has somewhat centered the image from a volume level point of view.
then i could focus on the time alignment to further refine the center of the image. it may not be the most technical way to do it but it works for me.
 

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I see we're working on achieving the results we want with some of the same techniques.

I have to mention two gripes about the P99rs.
1) The balance adjustment doesn't work on the sub output.
This won't be noticed by anyone with only one sub or possibly with more than one in their trunk/hatch where they're farther away for the listening position.
I will have to disconnect one sub to isolate the other one in order to TA it with any other drivers.
These are directly behind me (extended cab ranger).

2) Why did they put the TA in inches instead of milliseconds?
This makes everything backwards, at least to me it does.
I would rather add delay to the driver closest to me (drivers side), not choose the driver on the opposite side (pass.side) and add inches to it in order to delay the closer one (driver side).

I'm still working on TA between drivers on the same side, I haven't figured out what I should be listening for.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
hi all,
There is this CAR icon just above the volt's display. Can any one tell me what does it means? I cannot find it on the manual or I am skipping something on the manual.
Plz see the pic attached..
I don't know what the car icon represents- It does not display on my DEX. I like it though!
 

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It means traffic signal detected AND the radio is not at the TUNER source.

Do you have an accessory radio tuner installed? Or you have a P01? Because as far as I know P99RS does NOT have RDS function.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Update 5/22/2012

Overall I continue to be pleased with the sound quality and volume of my system due in no small contribution to the performance of the DEX P99.
The image is set- I find no need to adjust TA any longer. Thanks to those who suggested to go for it, once you record the settings it is quite easy to run through the menu and make additional refinements.

I am not quite satisfied with final tonality of the autotune EQ portion. Even manually adjusting the EQ is kind of like shooting in the dark.
I have hardware on order to do some real time analysis and I am anxious to see the response of my current tune as well as the (hopefully) improved SQ once I know where the hot frequencies are boosted / reflected. Switching off the auto EQ reveals a very hollow, bassy sound so I know there is plenty of midrange / upper midrange boosting occurring from the autotune EQ results.

An observation of a particularly nice touch is that the audio menu always returns to the place you left off when you select it. This is helpful when tuning on the run, say you make an adjustment to the tweeter level, play it for a few miles, you can easily and quickly get back to that menu just by entering the audio menu and re-adjust as necessary. I'm sure this has led to arriving at a more refined tune in a shorter amount of time.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
Update 6/5/2012:

Still trying to perfrct the "tune" using RTA tools. Getting closer but has a setback because my laptop sound driver would not register the SPL of frequencies above 5Khz.

In the initial settings menu there is a switch for "digital attenuator".

Quote:

Correcting distorted sound
When listening to a CD or other source on
which the recording level is high, setting the
level of each frequency to high may result in
distortion. You can switch the digital attenua
tor to low to reduce distortion.
! Sound quality is better at the high setting
so this setting is usually used.
1 Use MULTI-CONTROL to select
Digital ATT in the initial setting menu.
Refer to Adjusting initial settings on page 35.
2 Press MULTI-CONTROL to select the digital
attenuator level.
Pressing MULTI-CONTROL repeatedly will
switch between High (high) and Low (low)
and that status will be displayed.

I wound up turning it to "low" yesterday becaues some of the vocals on a CD sounded a litle raspy / distorted.

It did sound better in the low position. More listening to come about this feature. I had first understood this to be an aid when playing digital media but not so.

Based on the burried menu layer it's difficult to do a quick A-B comparison but I do find the "low" position sounds noticeably cleaner.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Update July 8th, 2012.
Peace everybody, hope your audio projects are reaping many rewards.

In the ongoing exploration of the RTA process I was having great difficulty in achieving consistently good sound quality over a variety of the music I listen to.
I discovered a fundamental flaw in the method however. I was basically trying to tune over the Pioneer autoEQ results, which in effect is "un-tuning" the resulting Pioneer curve. So basically the Pioneer autotune creates this EQ curve (which looks like God knows what) and I was trying to use RTA and the 31-band graphic EQ on top of this. No wonder the sound was strained and artificial (for lack of a better term).

So in a fresh start, I turned the auto EQ off. Then I listened to the system completely flat for a week or so. While it did not sound spectacular, it did sound completely clean, easy to listen to and more importantly sounded like this for every CD I played. Gone was the strained processed sound and occasional harshness. I could also turn the volume up extremely loud and it would sound great. No longer did I have to reach for the EQ or crossover or network level controls on a harsh Mark Lanegan vocal, for example. Everything was CLEAN. This was promising, I thought. Needed a little work but promising.
After running flat for a week, I put the mic to the sound and did an RTA session. It showed a very high bass and mid bass region (plus 10-15db or so) and a few peaks in the midrange and lower treble regions.

I made a few EQ cuts in these areas, attacking the peaks with a moderate cut, then a smaller cut on either side of the peak so as to smooth the transition in the system from unit to amp to speakers.

I have lived with this for about 2-weeks or so and I must say it does sound very nice.

In an experiment I did switch the auto EQ back on a few times. The strained midrange / vocal sound returned immediately, although the bass did sound more punchy and dynamic.
I will soon do an RTA session to see what the bass region of the auto EQ looks like and see if I can duplicate it with a little EQ magic.
 
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