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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, all.
Before andyone says anything, i'm putting this here because I need suggestions on equipment and design. That said......

I have been having a hell of a time designing and tuning my system. Never is right. Far from it.
As some of you may know from the old days of eca, my problem has always been that it's been too "harsh".
That was a while ago, and since then the system has been through many iterations. All with the same issue.

And it's not only my system. I've been increasingly been having issues with the home audio setup, tv, phone, etc....

So, a few weeks ago Des and I decided that it was time to go to an audiologist just to see if anything was wrong.

Well, wouldn't you know, I have a hearing problem.

Not losing my hearing, believe it or not, but something has happened that has given me well above average hearing. Sounds good, but it most definitely is not.

Here's the issue. I can hear everything. And it's all loud.
For example, if i'm in a room full of people, some talking loudly, some normally, and some quiet, I can hear it all, loudly, at roughly the same volume. I guess you can say my volume is broken.
As you can imagine, it gets extremely confusing at times, because since it is all hitting me, it's very hard to sort out. Sounds like a big jumble, and sometimes I can't make out what's being said, even directly to me.

I have to ask people to repeat themselves, sometimes multiple times, before I can get it all.

Yikes.

Couple that with an extreme sensitivity, and it makes for a lot of headaches. Literally.

And by sensitivity, I mean I can almost never put my TV above 10-12, the phone is always on minimum volume, audio system both car and home are kept low.
It sucks. Not because it's too loud, but because it's "harsh". Harsh is not really the right word, but it's the only way I can describe it for now.

I went through extensive testing, lots of tests, charts, graphs, etc.....
My hearing is so sensitive, i'm even hearing things a lot of people can't.

Long story short, this is why I feel my system always sounds like ****, even when others says it's fantastic.

To make matters worse, I eneded up undergoing brain testing, something about the nerves is causing this, and find out that not only the problems above exist, but the left side of my brain is processing audio "delayed".
That's how the Dr described it.

One side of my head processes the info faster than the other, making one side "delayed", in effect seeming that one side "hears" the sounds after the other.
I guess you could say my "time delay circuit" is malfunctioning. :)
Double yikes.

Anyway, that's the short of it. Obviously, I could go into more detail, but why bother.

The point is, i'm not ready to give up audio, instead, I want to do a complete system redesign and try to compensate for the issues.

I need equipment suggestions, and setup suggestions.

Currently, I'm running Scan-Speak D2904-60001 Alpine variants for tweets, MLI-65's for mids. Subs I have no issues with.
Mids in doors, tweets in sail panels.
P880-PRS for source.

Both mids and tweets are way too harsh for me. If I turn it up, it just hurts. And I'm not talking loud. The volume is fine when still, in motion, I can barely hear it. That's how low it is. It's the audio ITSELF that's the issue.

I'm relegated to talk radio while in motion, because that's the most pleasing too my ears while I drive.

The EQ on my P880 has the last 3rd of the EQ range set to near or as low as the deck will let me, as that is where most of the sensitivity lies, and the levels in the level adjustment is at like -10.
All gains set at minimum. Still have an issue.

What I need are the most laid-back tweets and mids I can possibly find. (if "laid-back" is the correct term - if not, "non-harsh" would do it.)

Thing is, they must also of course fit my main choice for music. While I do in fact listen to most genres, my main choice is rock/metal.

Iron Maiden
Bruce Dickinson
Suicidal Tendencies
Firehouse
Megadeth
Metallica
Ozzy
Nightwish
G'n'R
and the like.

I have no idea what to look for in speakers with my above issues.

DIY is preferred, but not required. At this point, even a 40 dollar cheapo comp set would be acceptable, if it fit the bill, and didn't hurt.
I don't care anymore.

I would like to keep this as cheap as possible as well. Don't want to throw tons of $$ at what is essentially a medical problem after already throwing a crap-ton for co-pays, percentages, etc....

Power is not an issue. I have more amps than I can shake a stick at. In fact, I'll be selling some.

As far as what help in system design, I have no idea how to compensate for the harshness or delay issues. Possibly a combo of phase, time delay, etc....?

No idea.

I'm lost here.

Any suggestions? Equipment? Design?

EDIT: Corrected spelling and punctuation.
 

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I'd look for the most "warm" speaker set you can find, probably with a cloth or slik dome tweeter as opposed to any sort of metal dome. Probably also want a speaker with cone material thats not metallic, as that can introduce ringing and harshness at the breakup point. Having used a cheap PA set in my home as a makeshift guitar amp, I can tell you that EQing 10 khz and above frequencies down quite a few DB's can do a lot to tame harsh sounds (with the PA set it used Piezo tweeters, infamous for being very harsh). As for amps, using a pretty high powered amp will actually let you play with the volume lower and still have a powerful sound, possibly helping your hearing situation.
 

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man youre like some kind of superhero!

why not try going the way of a few on here and eliminate tweets altogether with a full ranger taking over?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
man youre like some kind of superhero!

why not try going the way of a few on here and eliminate tweets altogether with a full ranger taking over?
You know, i've thought about it.

I have a Logitech z-5500 5.1 set on my PC, which uses what i believe is a 3 inch Tang Band full range driver in the fronts/backs and center.

Oddly enough, even though the issue still exists, it is much less noticeable on the PC setup. I tend to find myself listening to music more and more on the PC for this reason. More enjoyable, hurts less.

Although, the clarity and detail leave much to be desired, at least I can still enjoy the music this way.

No idea how I'd implement an idea like that in the car though....


Incidentally, I got another z-5500 set for the living room just for this reason, so I can enjoy surround sound again. Doesn't sound as good, but better than just the TV/PS3. Installed the fronts/center last weekend, tomorrow for the rears.:)
 

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Hmm can you hear below under 20 hz? :D
 

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I agree a soft dome tweet at least 1", paper cones for mids, that is always warmer sounding to me. I don't know about a full range, maybe. It depends on where you are most sensitive, many people get it in the voice range and that is where a 3" can peak. A larger mid and smaller tweeter or laid back like a soft dome seem to work in my experience. To me that mid to low tweeter range has always been harsh, metal tweeters and some metal mids I just hate. Has always been that way. I mean metal in general, as some of them are very good and don't do that. You could also plug a huge EQ in and try that, but you are kind of screwed with the 880 far as external EQ (far as I know). I always swapped tweeters a lot to get around this, back in the day and I still do. Can also try putting a smaller cap in your tweeters in a comp set, been there before. Could also check out sparkplugs earplugs, those things are great. I worked at a place that had them and I still have some, lol, they work really nice to give the ears a rest in loud conditions and even in quiet you can still converse with people. I forget Hz but I can dial up a couple bands on the 880 EQ and it screams at me, often EQ a dip there but not that much or any if I have the right driver setup.

Delayed audio...I love it great post. Hope you get rid of this of course, but well said. I agree, you people with 150rms/ch amps maxed out on your mid/highs are going to be so pissed later when your ears get screwed up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So "warm" is what I should be looking for?
Both the MLI-65's and ss tweets have reviewers stating about their warm sound.
Not warm enough?

The MLI's are pulp cone, and the tweets are textile.

IMO, the midrange on the MLI's sucks (although the midbass in phenomenal), and the tweets are very harsh.

just keep in mind what I hear and what you hear are 2 different things. This is going to be very hard. :(

Anyone have suggestions on brand/models I should be looking at? Any dirt cheap parts at partsexpress or the like I can try out?

Just want to be able to enjoy music again.
 

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The Morel large domes have a relaxed, warm sound IMO and they never sound harsh to me. Some are expensive, but others are very reasonable. You can play them low enough to catch much of the vocal range.

Do you have room for a large format? Morel CAT308 1" Textile Dome Tweeter from Madisound
 

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I'm gonna suggest you look at your installation locations as well as how you have your mids installed.

Do whatever you can to reduce reflections and resonances.

I might have missed it if you stated where/how you had things installed, but I know reflections (especially with tweets mounted up high) can really bother me as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've tried the best I could. Yes, tweets are high now in sails, but before they were in the kicks with the mids in a 3-way setup. Went back to 2-way and moved tweets in hopes that it would help. No go.

And it happens in the other car as well, tweets/mids both low in doors. Different equipment.

As well as in a lot of other areas. And it sucks, my job is mostly on the phone, can't believe the migraines I get sometimes from it.
(and yes, it was happening before this job, and no, I won't quit yet, as I get paid a good amount to work there)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just thought it might be helpful if I could list some of the speaker equipment i've had. Some has affected me more than others, of course. But thought it might help in picking new equipment.
All driven from quality amps (arcs, CousticDR, OS RF, etc....)
Gains always at a minimum if possible.
Sources always quality, Eclipse ECD models, (with and without external DAC via optical) Alpine 7995, P880 to name a few.
Install is quality, many layers of deadening throughout car, from firewall back to rear bumper, and doors/panels etc. I've tried to eliminate reflections and resonance the best I can. Custom baffles for speaker mounting in the doors (thanks Marv!), doors sealed.
tweets in kicks or sail panels, depending on 2-way for 3-way front stage.

I've had:

Infinity ref comps. Different models. Not bad, but very harsh at high volumes. As you would expect from lower quality equipment.

1st gen polk Momo comps. Harsh at all volumes. Unbearable if turned up.

Seas Lotus mids with ID NX-30 tweets. Very harsh.
Lotus mids with ID CD1-Pros not too harsh, but some notes unbearable. This is also after eq'ing with dual ID31 eq's.
Lotus mids with DLS Iridium tweets. Nice. Not all that harsh, but still hurt at times.

Vifa PL mids with both the NX-30's and DLS tweets.
Harsh with NX-30's, Iridium's same as above.

Alpine SPX-F17t 3-way set. Vifa mids/midbasses, scan d2904-60001 tweets. Harsh as hell.
Went to 2-way with the set, relocated tweets to sails, no difference.

MLI-65 mids with above mentioned Scan tweets.
hurts. Just hurts.

Please keep in mid, volume is not a contributor to this. Volume on 10 is so low the car has to be off to hear it clearly. Still hurts.

This is a taste of what i've had, that i can remember right now.

And yes, systems had extensive tuning ans setup time put into them. Been doing this since my early 20's, now in my mid 30's. (33)

Remember, a right setup will be wrong for me. I've been in SQ winning competition vehicles, and a good friend is a judge. The cars he thought were phenomenal hurt so bad i almost puked at times.
I really need help to break away from what i've learned and try something new.

i realize that most here do not have this problme, and it will be very hard to help me. But from one enthusiast to another, give it your best shot.
I don't have the cahs to buy a few sets of drivers and tweets, for trial and error to see what works. I'm relying on your experiences.

I need the most non-harsh possible mids and tweets I can find.

I realize it may not be possible to get what I need. It may me be medically impossible. If so, then I have to give up audio. But I want to try.

Thanks.
 

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I would try and get in touch with an audio expert, like someone who has studied audio and the effects it has on the ears or how we perceive audio.
 

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I ask, have you tried these tweeters you are using now, in the kicks?

Are you running passive or active?

I just had someone come to me with a similar issue, tweeters where to bright... told him to try them in the kicks and he came back with very positive results.. He said it warmed the mid a little bit too... And this was on a "cheap" component set (pio TS-D series)

I know you said you've had tweets in the kicks in the past, but this is now.. give it a shot..
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I have had these tweets in the kicks. Along with the mids. I did try to disconnect the mids and leave tweets in kicks and just run 2-way, nothing. Did not solve the issue.
That's when I moved them back to the sails.
Figured i'd at least regain leg room.

Currently running active via the P880.
Eliminated a lot of extra equipment in order to simplify it all. Did this before going to the ear Dr. Now I know it's not the system, but my ears.
 

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Or do a little testing on yourself. Get some kind of frequency generator or listen to music with a nice frequency display (I forget what it's called) and try to identify your "hotspots". Are there peaks of freqs that annoy you, or a whole sweeping band? You said mids hurt too so is it like 2,000 hz - 25,000hz? Do you think the harshness has anything to do with the time alignment of your brain or what the DR. said? Like you said, this is definetly not going to be easy, but you have to try everything. Start learning more about it and do some professional AND amateur self-tests. Maybe try some more external eq units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Huck, that's not a bad idea!
Thanks!
I'd very much like to know the hotspots myself. So far, seems to be from 1.5k to 5k mostly. little under and higher, but nowhere near as bad as this range.

I've thought about going with a powerful external EQ, but haven't yet due to cost. Don't want to spend a couple hundred or so on something that will not work, then stomach the loss.

Ah, man. This sucks. Well, we'll make the best of it.

I'm actually rebuilding the other car (older 95 Altima, i tore doan and rebuilt engine, installed new tranny, now rebulding the interior) because I drive a long way to work, and it's killing my main car.
Sould be completed this weekend.

I plan on doing a completely new install in the car as well, so i'll try to carefully pick speakers and see how it goes.
 

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You can get Sheffield Labs "My Disc" and it's got all sorts of tests and test tones... Full frequency sine sweep as well..
 
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