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Discussion Starter #1
Most of you know or heard how the music industry got caught up the the "loudness wars" where there is very little head room if any so the music can be played as loud as possible with very little dynamic range.
So did car audio manufactures get caught up in the same "loop"? has HU, amps, etc been engineered to have the loudest sound but not the sonically best quality sound?
Not talking about how cheap looking or unreliability, but just SQ

just a question, and theories welcome!

thanks

randy
 

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kinda hard to understand what you are talking about, but, i'll try. most amps/heads/etc are capable of said "loud" settings that sound like poo......we don't use the settings, and that leaves you with some decent sq. this is seen as the "bass boost" buttons on amps, and loud buttons on heads. not like the settings of the 90's cheap lines, if that is what you are refferring to, but still show on a lot of products. just as it's been for as long as i've been in it, you have your cheap garbage, cheap power, expensive power, hq, exotics, etc, there's just about everything out there nowadays
 

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No, what he is referring to is production values in recorded music.

Also, the 'loudness' button on an old head unit is simply equalisation and isn't actually 'louder' in any meaningful sense.

To address the OP's question, not really, no. There has always been cheap gear and expensive gear. The cool thing about modern times is that if you are careful adn prudent, you can get a way 'louder' AND better sounding system on a budget than you could in the old days. People will argue that 'old school' gear was better, but the reality is that on a budget, you can get gear that simply didn't exist 25 years ago (med. sized amps for $125 for example).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No, what he is referring to is production values in recorded music.

Also, the 'loudness' button on an old head unit is simply equalisation and isn't actually 'louder' in any meaningful sense.

To address the OP's question, not really, no. There has always been cheap gear and expensive gear. The cool thing about modern times is that if you are careful adn prudent, you can get a way 'louder' AND better sounding system on a budget than you could in the old days. People will argue that 'old school' gear was better, but the reality is that on a budget, you can get gear that simply didn't exist 25 years ago (med. sized amps for $125 for example).
You are right about the price factor
So you think amps, HU etc. Are still engineered for sound quality or designed for the masses who want the loudest possible equipment?
Referring to high end products

Thanks

Randy
 

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Well, I've been away from car audio for a long time, so I don't have a complete answer. I will say that 100% for sure there are fewer companies making less high end gear than there was 25 years ago. If you're looking for a high end head unit these days, there are very (very) few choices compared to the late 80's/early 90's.

Now that said though, I think we run into the same phenomenon. Like I said, I've been away...but it looks to me like mid-priced stuff is a lot better than mid-priced stuff was back then. I have a $200 head unit in my car that I absolutely love. It has a 3 ch. true parametric eq built in (adjustable Q etc), bluetooth, sat radio, sub out with level control, USB input, etc etc and even the built-in amp sounds pretty damn ok. $200.

So I guess the answer might be "it depends" right? If you want a large selection of high end gear, maybe the market has focused on louder and cheaper more so than years back. But IMO if you're on a budget, life is really good.

I'm actually in the midst of an install in my car right now with the aforementioned HU, a couple of inexpensive amps, a bass processor, some nice mid-priced speakers, and one sub. I think the total $$ for all of that stuff came to just about $1100 and I _guarantee_ that it will absolutely destroy any system made in, say, 1989 where the street price of everything together came to that. Hell, back then you couldn't get a head unit that even had pre-outs for under $300 half the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well, I've been away from car audio for a long time, so I don't have a complete answer. I will say that 100% for sure there are fewer companies making less high end gear than there was 25 years ago. If you're looking for a high end head unit these days, there are very (very) few choices compared to the late 80's/early 90's.

Now that said though, I think we run into the same phenomenon. Like I said, I've been away...but it looks to me like mid-priced stuff is a lot better than mid-priced stuff was back then. I have a $200 head unit in my car that I absolutely love. It has a 3 ch. true parametric eq built in (adjustable Q etc), bluetooth, sat radio, sub out with level control, USB input, etc etc and even the built-in amp sounds pretty damn ok. $200.

So I guess the answer might be "it depends" right? If you want a large selection of high end gear, maybe the market has focused on louder and cheaper more so than years back. But IMO if you're on a budget, life is really good.

I'm actually in the midst of an install in my car right now with the aforementioned HU, a couple of inexpensive amps, a bass processor, some nice mid-priced speakers, and one sub. I think the total $$ for all of that stuff came to just about $1100 and I _guarantee_ that it will absolutely destroy any system made in, say, 1989 where the street price of everything together came to that. Hell, back then you couldn't get a head unit that even had pre-outs for under $300 half the time.
well I paid 1,400 just for the HU. The amps where around 360 dollars each, and the blaupunkt cassette deck before that was 799. not including the speakers, it was one big bill.
I do admit, the speakers now a days are much better as far as imaging goes and reliability.
what brand of HU is high end that doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the new mp3 age?
here is a link to some of the features from this early 90's amp, including HUSH noise reduction
http://autosound21.co.kr/shop/board_data/automanual/blaupunkt-amp-v250-manual.pdf


thanks

randy
 

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I dont think a head unit should be discounted as sounding bad because it CAN play mp3s. I think in some cases things have Improved. For less than $400 you can play multiple sources and process all before leaving the digital domain, leaving one d/a conversion. Sure most arent rocking 20bit burr browns or better but at that price point many weren't before. They arent any noisier, and they still pass a flat output. I'll take that over 1995s version of a $400 deck any day. as far as dynamic range goes, not clipping the output, is not clipping the output. Know when and if that happens on zero bit and never go past that. I think 128kbs mp3s have more to do with the loss of dr than the hardware.

I do think reliability is so so, but may old high end decks sucked. My 5302 eclipse skipped hard from day one, as did my 5332. I cant tell you how many transports I saw go out on sony c910s and c90s.

One of my biggest gripes with head units are appearance. i dont want a million bright blue LEDs. I would also like my preset buttons back.
 

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It would be nice to have a deck with preset buttons, digital out for all sources bypassing internal DACs, and still had BT, USB, IPod, etc. Simple black face without flashing LEDs, and cost less than $400.

And yes dynamic range on recordings is dead. As Spinal Tap says all our amps go to 11.
 

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The Loudness War the OP refers to is actually a separate issue from stereo equipment. It really has to do with the way music is mastered in the studio.
Mastering engineers are the ones who determine how 'dynamic' (the difference between the loudest and softest bits) a recording will be, by way of limiting or compressing the source audio. The process boosts the quiet passages, and reduces the volume of the peaks (loudest bits, like snare drum hits, screams, kick drum, or whatever else the artist chose to do to express himself/herself). Then they take this squashed signal and crank it as loud as they can.This method of mastering can take all the intensity and imagery out of a song. But it allows the music to be played at ridiculously loud levels, even on cheap systems. After all, a bass drum that is uncontrolled/uncompressed could blow speakers if it is mixed too hot. But they've taken it to the extreme by over-limiting everything. I hate the way modern recordings sound. Why do they do this, you might ask?
Modern pop/rock mastering engineers have been pressured by record companies to make the music they issue louder and louder to make their track stand out. The result is a barrage of sound that teeters on the brink of actual distortion, with no soft spots at all.
This practice achieves the goal of being extremely loud, but it also can be extremely difficult to take for extended listening. I would compare it to having a dinner date with a Marine drill instructor.
Audiophiles call it the Brickwall effect. Is the guitarist using a Stratocaster or a Les Paul? It becomes difficult to tell on these tracks because the sound is so smashed together that it all sounds like one big noise collage instead of an actual band of musicians playing instruments together. Anybody who spends thousands of dollars on a high-end stereo system will come to hate these recordings, because the sound quality is usually awful. Why spend all this money on a great rig if it's just gonna sound like over-compressed mush. The recording can't breathe. There is no space, no air. You lose all definition; fidelity becomes a moot point.
That's what the Loudness War is.
Sent from my HTC Rezound
 

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The Loudness War the OP refers to is actually a separate issue from stereo equipment. It really has to do with the way music is mastered in the studio.
Mastering engineers are the ones who determine how 'dynamic' (the difference between the loudest and softest bits) a recording will be, by way of limiting or compressing the source audio. The process boosts the quiet passages, and reduces the volume of the peaks (loudest bits, like snare drum hits, screams, kick drum, or whatever else the artist chose to do to express himself/herself). Then they take this squashed signal and crank it as loud as they can.This method of mastering can take all the intensity and imagery out of a song. But it allows the music to be played at ridiculously loud levels, even on cheap systems.
From my point of wiew, there has been a large change in "listening habits" last 5-10 years. How many of us had a "iThing" 15 years ago? Now the mastering engineers have to have in mind most og the cd-buyers copy the cd to a "thing" (Ipod, iphone, MP3) with only eardubs. These earphones and dubs have limited dynamic range, so, to sell cd`s, the dynamic range have to be limited.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It would be nice to have a deck with preset buttons, digital out for all sources bypassing internal DACs, and still had BT, USB, IPod, etc. Simple black face without flashing LEDs, and cost less than $400.

And yes dynamic range on recordings is dead. As Spinal Tap says all our amps go to 11.
I just bought a used Clarion dxz845 (on it's way) and it looks like it is full of bells, whistles, and lights. The price was good (60 dollars) but I really don't know how it will compare to my old school Blaupunkt. cheaper then getting someone to look at my Blau, but will get it going hopefully this summer depending on how good the Clarion sounds
It looks very intimidating indeed
I wish it had presets like old school.... well, once I get it rigged up I will finally see what the SQ difference is.
hopefully this HU won't "squish" the music as to not hear the channel separation of my Blau.

randy
 

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I just bought a used Clarion dxz845 (on it's way) and it looks like it is full of bells, whistles, and lights. The price was good (60 dollars) but I really don't know how it will compare to my old school Blaupunkt. cheaper then getting someone to look at my Blau, but will get it going hopefully this summer depending on how good the Clarion sounds
It looks very intimidating indeed
I wish it had presets like old school.... well, once I get it rigged up I will finally see what the SQ difference is.
hopefully this HU won't "squish" the music as to not hear the channel separation of my Blau.

randy
uh the 845 does have 6 channels of presets....
 

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Stickin to the Original Topic, refined playback on mobile devices has evolved dramatically. If sonic purity is the goal, DA Converters, 3 Way Processing & CD (BD) sources would prevail. Unfortunately this isn't the issue. Majority of people rely on MP3 playback via iPod or USB or Memory Cards as the storage source. Compressed files deviate off the original recording reducing some of the original sonics supposed to be heard. This is specifically the reason why IASCA judges utilized Compact Disc as the source to analyze a contestant's audio setup.
 

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I feel this pain, well stated. Some cd's just simply sound like ASS in my car, usually some of the rap stuff, it's all one big mass of boom/snap/sizzle/mud. I HATE when one of my friends wants to hear his latest rap cd and it sucks so bad it makes my brain hurt.

That being said, I do like some rap, the southern stuff, but it's not my main listening material at all.


The Loudness War the OP refers to is actually a separate issue from stereo equipment. It really has to do with the way music is mastered in the studio.
Mastering engineers are the ones who determine how 'dynamic' (the difference between the loudest and softest bits) a recording will be, by way of limiting or compressing the source audio. The process boosts the quiet passages, and reduces the volume of the peaks (loudest bits, like snare drum hits, screams, kick drum, or whatever else the artist chose to do to express himself/herself). Then they take this squashed signal and crank it as loud as they can.This method of mastering can take all the intensity and imagery out of a song. But it allows the music to be played at ridiculously loud levels, even on cheap systems. After all, a bass drum that is uncontrolled/uncompressed could blow speakers if it is mixed too hot. But they've taken it to the extreme by over-limiting everything. I hate the way modern recordings sound. Why do they do this, you might ask?
Modern pop/rock mastering engineers have been pressured by record companies to make the music they issue louder and louder to make their track stand out. The result is a barrage of sound that teeters on the brink of actual distortion, with no soft spots at all.
This practice achieves the goal of being extremely loud, but it also can be extremely difficult to take for extended listening. I would compare it to having a dinner date with a Marine drill instructor.
Audiophiles call it the Brickwall effect. Is the guitarist using a Stratocaster or a Les Paul? It becomes difficult to tell on these tracks because the sound is so smashed together that it all sounds like one big noise collage instead of an actual band of musicians playing instruments together. Anybody who spends thousands of dollars on a high-end stereo system will come to hate these recordings, because the sound quality is usually awful. Why spend all this money on a great rig if it's just gonna sound like over-compressed mush. The recording can't breathe. There is no space, no air. You lose all definition; fidelity becomes a moot point.
That's what the Loudness War is.
Sent from my HTC Rezound
 
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