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Tweeters melt my ears in new system!!?!

4523 Views 65 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Holmz
Hi all I just did an overhaul on my audio in a 2016 chevy cruze limited and that install is complete but now the techy stuff needs tinkering with.

I'm gonna try to list everything in this system so that there is no confusion and hopefully I can narrow down my issues.
Main Concerns
1. My tweeters overpower my mids and blast my ears before I can get close to my distortion number(32) on my factory headunit. Hit about number 20 and it's about the loudest I can comfortably listen but the mids are no where near how good they can get.
2. My door chimes/turn signals are now annoyingly loud and i'm not sure if there's equipment I need to install or how to bypass this.
3. I have a whining noise now that I would like to address.

I'll start by detailing the install. I disconnected my rear door speakers and am only running 2 front door woofers and 2 tweeters. They are each ran to their own channel on a compact 4 channel amp. I have an lc2i running from my factory radio and that feeds from the main output to a minidsp which then leads to the 4 channel amp that powers my front stage and then the bass output runs to a mono channel amp that powers a single 10" subwoofer. I have 4 gauge wiring that runs to a fuse block and it's grounded to the chassis of the vehicle and everything runs off of the block.


2016 Chevy Cruze Limited

Front stage setup
Door Speakers: Silver Flute W17RC38-04 ohm 6-1/2" Wool Cone
Pillar Tweeters: Vifa BC25SC06-04 1" Textile Dome Tweeter
LOC: AudioControl LC2i 2 Channel Line Out Converter with AccuBASS and Subwoofer Control : Everything Else
DSP: miniDSP 2x4
DSP Isolator: miniDC Isolator
4CH amp: Alpine KTP-445U Universal Power Pack Amplifier : Electronics
Fuseblock: WUPP 12 Volt Fuse Block, Waterproof Boat Fuse Panel with LED Warning Indicator Damp-Proof Cover - 6 Circuits with Negative Bus Fuse Box for Car Marine RV Truck DC 12-24V, Fuses Included : Automotive

Mono Amp:

I tried to include everything but I'm sure I've missed something. I'll add some more install notes now.
Each door was treated with deadener and I installed custom mdf speaker ring adapters with speaker foam tape as well as silicone baffles
to help seal the door speaker to the panel and direct the rear waves into an eggcrate foam pad. This whole setup was recommended on another
forum regarding chevy cruze audio installs. This person posted their setup piece by piece and had at least 20 other cruze owners using the components
and having solid results with them. They also posted the "tuning files" that matched the speakers I'm using and the same car interior which should get me
in the ballpark of a nice sounding system. Everything was great until I started setting the gains and here's why.

I started by setting my gains on the mids in my car. I had already come to the conclusion that my headunit sends out an undistorted signal at the number 32 so that's where I'll have my volume at. I unplugged all of the other speakers and ran a -3 db 1,000hz test tone. I heard volt matching is what you want to do to get your peak performance from your equipment and be sure you're getting the most powerful clean signal from your head unit to your amps. So my 4ch amp states it accepts 0.2V-4V and so on my LC2i I turned my main output up until it was hitting close to 4V. From there I started turning my gains up on my mids until I heard distortion. Then I played some music just to check and listen for distortion and wow my door speakers were sounding amazing! I was so happy with how powerful they hit and how much rumble I was getting from my doors. It really brought the sound to life. After that I plugged my tweeters in to match them and immediately boom! They were so powerfully loud I couldn't even break number 20 on my radio without my ears screaming. So at this point Idk what to do. I start fresh and cut the Volts in half from the LC2i. Now I'm sending 2Volts to my amp and this makes me have to turn the gain up much higher on my mids channel now and it doesn't sound nearly as nice. Even at this 2 Volst setting my tweeters are still overbearingly loud with 0 gain on their channel.

I wanna mention that in between the LC2i and the 4ch amp there is a miniDSP which is supposed to set my crossover points and set latency on each individual driver so that I have a more clean sound stage. Other than loading in this persons file that had "hours" of tuning and plugging it into my system I've done zero tweaking with how this person has the crossovers set. I'm curious if I bought a rta mic and tried to tweak the system and possibly roll the high frequencies down if it would solve the insane shrill noise they seem to have on my ears when trying to enjoy a nice booming sound.

But that then leads me to my next issue. If I do Volt match again and bring the Volts back to 4 where the mids sounded amazing previously then I will have a lot more noise in my system. There is a whining noise that increases as I rev the engine. On top of that a higher output from my LC2i means that my door chimes and turn signals will be even more insanely loud then they already are at 2volts. I've got a solid ground but I haven't done the big 3 upgrade which some sources claim may solve the whining issue. I'm tempted to take my vehicle to an audio shop and see if they could possibly tweak everything right but for whatever reason I have more faith in myself to learn it and adjust it properly then to trust the shops around here to touch my stuff lol.

Anyways I think I've covered the majority of my install and issues that need resolved so I hope someone could possibly shed some light on what could be my issue. I didn't mention any bass related stuff bc it's perfect and has no issues. I volt matched to 4 on that as well and set my gains with my oscilloscope and it packs way more power then i'll ever need so I mostly keep the bass knob turned to the lowest setting for regular listening.

Thanks in advance everyone!
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I see this refrain against boost quite often in threads here, and I wonder if what people actually mean is not that having an eq band or two (or 10) going up is bad/risky, but rather that NET boost is bad/risky.
If, for example, you make an 8db cut with a Q of 3 at 850Hz and then a boost of 4db and a Q of 10 at 920Hz (not talking about nulls here), you have boost but the net is still not above the "zero" line. I don't see why that is "bad"...
that’s a good question.

It’s possible to clip individual frequencies (or more accurately, a tight band, given that any filter you apply to 1k is going to affect its neighbors somewhat). If you put an O-scope on your output signal, like if you’re trying to find your max clean output from your head unit, testing individual frequencies will reveal that there are a few that start to clip first; they don’t all start clipping at the same level. So each frequency has the ability to be overdriven, independent of the rest.

If you take your example of offsetting boosts in one band with cuts in another to a broader view, it starts to break down. For instance, if I boost 1k +20, but cut 20 other bands -1, the net may be the same mathematically, but everything around 1k is going to sound hideous. Whether it’s overdriven enough to damage the driver is another concern; square waves are never a good look. :)

There are some people out there (and on this forum) that like to ride the hairy edge of a hot signal, believing that if you’re not clipping at least a little, you’re not getting everything your rig has to offer. As long as you’re not smoking your drivers, it’s a matter of taste, I suppose.
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I, like many of you run amps that exceed rms power rating of speakers used (mid+high) for several times, so boosting a part of freqs in the mid band is absolutelly not an issue with corect gain structure,...probably speaker will die of excessive power rather than from cliped signal since there is so much clean power avaliable. It may be an issue with lower power amps.
I hear you.
I managed to smoke a 2” wideband driver with a 2k test tone that was moderately clipping. It happened faster than I could reach for the volume knob. “Ew, that sounds “off,” I should probably turn it dow—.”
True, it was a test tone, and delivering all the wattage into that one band, but it made me much more conservative about how hot I run the signal. :(
^These “why” answers^ could be more important than just following the “obey” rules?
Wait, what?
I can't just give the answers, I have to show my work?
It's like 7th grade math all over again, LOL.

Maximum clean input signal.
I agree that -10db is probably better than -6db. Back in the day, the standard for recording was -12db, but I honestly don't know if that's been bumped up in recent years; it seems to be less of a standard to my ear, now. As I've said in other posts, I tend towards the conservative in these matters. I'm happy to hear differently from anyone here with knowledge.
So, for the OP: if you're setting up your system with a -3db reference tone, you're telling it to amplify based on that "expectation." But if your music is coming in at -12db, it's going to be a lot quieter than it "expects," leaving a lot of headroom on the table. Having some headroom isn't a bad thing, for variations in recording standards, but you also want to have as strong an input signal as possible.
Or you can max it out and rely on your ear to hear where on your volume knob things start to distort. If you follow Andy's advice, you never trust your ears.
My advice, as a recovering newbie, is to start safe and get comfortable with how your changes affect the sound before you decide where you're willing to take risks.
Your call...

For clarity, I'd consider anything other than 4th order (24db slope) exotic. There may be good reason in home audio speakers to go with shallower slopes, given that the disparate drivers are mere inches apart and the listening environment is more controlled; that's out of my experience, however.
But the reason to go with 24db slopes in general comes down to how phase is altered by the filter: Each 6db of slope added rotates the phase by 90 degrees, so a 12db slope will give you a 180 degree offset in the phase at the crossover frequency, giving you a cancellation (dip). 24db gives you phase coherence, and a smooth transition from one driver to another. Very important when the drivers can be physically separated by feet, not inches.
Now, you can correct that 12db phase cancellation by rotating the phase of one of the drivers 180 degrees in some DSPs, but that has implications throughout the spectrum, and needlessly complicates the tune, introducing phase conflicts elsewhere. There may be times where this is warranted, but those would likely be the exception, and best left to when a robust understanding of the basics is well ingrained.
As for a 48db roll-off, while it does keep everything in phase agreement, it's a hella steep drop. You're likely to have more discrete sounding drivers, with a sharper handoff from one to another. In this case, there's less wiggle room in choosing the right frequency, based on the acoustics you your environment.
There's a pretty good discussion of it in Hanatsu's thread on tuning with REW, which is a good read in it's entirety (here). While I prefer Andy's method of tuning, Hanatsu's is really great for identifying where, acoustically, you should set your levels and x-overs.
Bottom line: a 24db slope will cover you for 99% of your scenarios, and there are plenty of other ways/settings to screw up your tune; eliminating this one is a no-brainer.

So, cuts not boosts.
Given an evenly leveled full-spectrum test tone (pink or whatever), peaks and dips in your audible output (what's coming out of your speakers) will be coming from:
  • your equipment (EQ curve built into factory head, deficiencies in the amp design, distortion introduced by gains, etc)
  • your listening environment (cabin gain, nulls, phase boost/cancellation, reflection)
There will undoubtedly be elements of both, but I'd say that the overwhelming majority of problems come into the second group: the interior of a car is the most absurd place imaginable to attempt to accurately reproduce a recording.
Peaks are the least problematic to correct, with no danger to your equipment if you go overboard with cuts; the worst you can do is make it sound lackluster (or cut to your maximum and still have a problematic peak. I have one around 300hz that refuses to be tamed).
But dips, particularly deep ones, are most often the result of phase cancellation, where there's a reflection (or discrete waveform from another driver) in that frequency that is anti-phase to it (or to some degree). These types of nulls cannot be filled with boosting; any attempts to boost them will also boost the reflection, cancelling out any benefits at the expense of pouring more power into that freq. And lest we forget, a +3db boost requires double the power. If you're starting with a maximum clean power input, boosting from there is going to "bring the noise," as the kids and Anthrax/PublicEnemy/Leo say. You can be clipping that frequency (distorting it), at the same time that it is still below your reference curve; read: can barely hear it, but it still sounds like ass. Better to just barely hear it, without the ass flavoring added.

I think that covers it?
As an amateur tuner, I'm happy to hear what I've gotten wrong. There are (symbolic) greybeards here that have forgotten more than I'll ever know about this, and I appreciate the opportunity to replace ignorance/misunderstanding with solid knowledge...
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Mic still hasn’t arrived yet so I can’t delve into that part yet. The tweeters blending was mostly my biggest concern due to it ruining the listening experience. Once I changed the jumper on the DSP board that fixed my issue with that.

Now my issue lies in with the noise/whine. I was playing with the gain on my amp and output gain on the dsp software to find out when my door speakers clipped and I never found a point even with the Gaines turned to the max on my amp. But as I came to the front to listen I noticed the noise was horrendous at max gain. Ive turned my gain back down to the halfway point which reduces the “air noise?” and let’s the door speakers have some oompf. I’m not sure what this noise is referred to as. Just sounds like air when the car isn’t running.

When the car is running I get the whine. So today I took my radio out and ran a ground from it all the way to the trunk to where my equipment is grounded and it did nothing. Noise hasn’t changed a bit. Should I do the big 3 upgrade next to try to get rid of the noise?

My only issues at this moment are removing the noise from the system and maybe addressing a new issue I’m noticing. At the final 3-4 clicks of volume within my clean signal range I notice the tweeters turn “fuzzy” I guess you could say. I unhooked all of my speakers and left the tweeters hooked up and listened to pinpoint the area. It seems around 29 or so, on some tracks they get blurry/fuzzy. The sound muddies up and no longer sounds clear on vocals. Other tracks sound just fine all the way to 32. Different sources tested as well and I get similar results.
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I see this refrain against boost quite often in threads here, and I wonder if what people actually mean is not that having an eq band or two (or 10) going up is bad/risky, but rather that NET boost is bad/risky.
If, for example, you make an 8db cut with a Q of 3 at 850Hz and then a boost of 4db and a Q of 10 at 920Hz (not talking about nulls here), you have boost but the net is still not above the "zero" line. I don't see why that is "bad"...
Many people that have had nasty tweeters sounds have had high input gain and/or boosting EQ.

Like a constipated mathematician, one could work it out with a pencil.
But one needs to do so at each sample coming through at 44.1 lHz or whatever.
It is not just: -8 +4 = -4

If there is no sound in the 850 Hz then the sample depth there is zero.
If the 920 Hz was at the edge of 16 bits, then the new value is past 17 bits.
17 overflows 16 bits, so we get high frequency at that instant.
etc. etc, etc. as each sample gets added up… one after the other.

it would work if the input gain was -6, as then the +4 happened against the 16 bits which were to 14 bits with the -6 input gain. Then the +4 brings them to just over 15 bits… no overflow... and it still sounds great.
Wait, what?
I can't just give the answers, I have to show my work?
It's like 7th grade math all over again, LOL.
Unfortunately; I could only like the post once.
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