Free Shipping on Everything.
60-Day Money-Back Guarantee | Lifetime Tech Support

How can I improve imaging?

Car Audio, Video, & GPS

Car Audio, Video, & GPS
Talk about stereos, navigation, amps, subs, and all things car audio

How can I improve imaging?

This question is answered

Alright you GM Truck specialists - I've got a 2008 GMC Sierra Crew Cab with a full aftermarket system installed. I'm running Polk MM651 comps in the front and MM6501 coax's in the back doors pushed by an Alpine MRP-F600 amp. (Some of you may be familiar with my config. from my other posts)

When I was originally researching speakers for my truck, I was told by a random salesman (not Crutchfield) that putting components in the back of my truck was not advised as it would 'confuse the ears'. Is this a true statement? The factroy speaker locations in the rear doors are very low and does not offer a direct line of sound to the front of the truck, but I was thinking that mounting tweeters from a set of components up high on the door panels might sound pretty good...  Any input on this?

One other thing, I mounted the front tweeters in the 'easy' location - the black plastic triangles adjacent to the side mirrors and the sound is almost too bright, overwhelming even. (The driver side tweeter reverberates off of the edge of the dash).  Should I relocate them to the factory locations?... Or am I getting too picky for the interior of a truck? :)

Verified Answer
  • http://caraudiomag.com/articles/car-stereo-questions-and-answers-car-audio-fundamentals-myths-misnomers-general-bs

    See first question on tweeter placement, although it kind of leads you in a circle and doesn't get anywhere concrete.

    kawboy22
    When I was originally researching speakers for my truck, I was told by a random salesman (not Crutchfield) that putting components in the back of my truck was not advised as it would 'confuse the ears'. Is this a true statement?

    Components in the rear are a waste of money unless you have a lot or rear seat passengers and want them to have superior sound.

    Any full-range rear speakers that are not low-passed will hurt sound staging, but you need to decide how important that is to you.

    kawboy22
    Or am I getting too picky for the interior of a truck? :)

    If you don't like the sound, you aren't too picky and should relocate them (unfortunately, you now will need new triangles as they have holes in them).

    Hope This Helps!!!

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • Tweeters:

    First and foremost, are you primarily worried about imaging or bright tweeters?

    If it is just bright tweeters, you can try EQing them down a bit, relocating them, or changing them completely. (Everyone has their own opinion of what sounds good to them, but from my experience, Polk dB tweeters were a bit too bright/harsh for me regardless of EQ settings.)

    If it is just imaging, I would invest in a solid EQ, preferably with time alignment. Another option is to invest some time and/or money in making or buying some kickpanels. If those are not viable options, moving them closer to your mids will help equalize the path length difference and improve your imaging.

    Generally speaking, as far as tweeters go, mounting them high on the sail panel can be asking for trouble. If you don't like A LOT of treble or screaming highs, having them that close to your ears might make you cringe. The close proximity to the windshield and dash only add more problems with reflections that will kill your imaging and add a nice shrill sound to your highs. (Think tweeters in the dash firing directly intto the windshield.) Additionally, from a pure imaging perspective, the path length difference between the tweeters and mids when you have them separated that much can destroy your sound stage if you don't have any EQ or time alignment compensation.

    Rear Speakers:

    I think many people have quite a few misconceptions about rear speakers. Putting components in the rear wont necessarily hurt your imaging...if configured correctly. The main issues are really price (along with the law of diminishing returns) and install complexity.

    If one decides to install components in the rear, that is additional money spent (over similar coax speakers, or no rear speakers at all) and additional time spent (configuring the extra set of drivers so they don't pull the soundstage back toward the rear.)

    Purists will tell you that many of the best sounding, lowest cost, simplest systems are a set of properly configured, properly installed, well configured components. One HU... one amp... one set of components. I'm not a purist per se, but I would definitely be more inclined to spend $200 on a set of solid front components than two sets of $100 components (or a set of components and a set of coaxes as the case may be.)

    In the land of imaging, front components are first and foremost. If done correctly, you can get away with rear coaxes, stock speakers, or even no rear speakers at all!

    02 BMW 330Ci

    Alpine DVA-9965, and a mix of stuff

    12 Ford F-150

    In progress: Pioneer DEH-80PRS HU -> DLS RA40 amp -> Seas G18RNX woofers & SB Acoustics SB29 tweeters

All Replies
  • http://caraudiomag.com/articles/car-stereo-questions-and-answers-car-audio-fundamentals-myths-misnomers-general-bs

    See first question on tweeter placement, although it kind of leads you in a circle and doesn't get anywhere concrete.

    kawboy22
    When I was originally researching speakers for my truck, I was told by a random salesman (not Crutchfield) that putting components in the back of my truck was not advised as it would 'confuse the ears'. Is this a true statement?

    Components in the rear are a waste of money unless you have a lot or rear seat passengers and want them to have superior sound.

    Any full-range rear speakers that are not low-passed will hurt sound staging, but you need to decide how important that is to you.

    kawboy22
    Or am I getting too picky for the interior of a truck? :)

    If you don't like the sound, you aren't too picky and should relocate them (unfortunately, you now will need new triangles as they have holes in them).

    Hope This Helps!!!

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • Tweeters:

    First and foremost, are you primarily worried about imaging or bright tweeters?

    If it is just bright tweeters, you can try EQing them down a bit, relocating them, or changing them completely. (Everyone has their own opinion of what sounds good to them, but from my experience, Polk dB tweeters were a bit too bright/harsh for me regardless of EQ settings.)

    If it is just imaging, I would invest in a solid EQ, preferably with time alignment. Another option is to invest some time and/or money in making or buying some kickpanels. If those are not viable options, moving them closer to your mids will help equalize the path length difference and improve your imaging.

    Generally speaking, as far as tweeters go, mounting them high on the sail panel can be asking for trouble. If you don't like A LOT of treble or screaming highs, having them that close to your ears might make you cringe. The close proximity to the windshield and dash only add more problems with reflections that will kill your imaging and add a nice shrill sound to your highs. (Think tweeters in the dash firing directly intto the windshield.) Additionally, from a pure imaging perspective, the path length difference between the tweeters and mids when you have them separated that much can destroy your sound stage if you don't have any EQ or time alignment compensation.

    Rear Speakers:

    I think many people have quite a few misconceptions about rear speakers. Putting components in the rear wont necessarily hurt your imaging...if configured correctly. The main issues are really price (along with the law of diminishing returns) and install complexity.

    If one decides to install components in the rear, that is additional money spent (over similar coax speakers, or no rear speakers at all) and additional time spent (configuring the extra set of drivers so they don't pull the soundstage back toward the rear.)

    Purists will tell you that many of the best sounding, lowest cost, simplest systems are a set of properly configured, properly installed, well configured components. One HU... one amp... one set of components. I'm not a purist per se, but I would definitely be more inclined to spend $200 on a set of solid front components than two sets of $100 components (or a set of components and a set of coaxes as the case may be.)

    In the land of imaging, front components are first and foremost. If done correctly, you can get away with rear coaxes, stock speakers, or even no rear speakers at all!

    02 BMW 330Ci

    Alpine DVA-9965, and a mix of stuff

    12 Ford F-150

    In progress: Pioneer DEH-80PRS HU -> DLS RA40 amp -> Seas G18RNX woofers & SB Acoustics SB29 tweeters

  • Ninja1283
    Putting components in the rear wont necessarily hurt your imaging...if configured correctly.

    Yes, but later you said that purists will run NO rear speakers - so from a front seat perspective, configured correctly means barely audible - so you are spending a lot of extra money for barely audible or low-passed speakers.  (Which I know feeds into your next sentence ...)Devil

    Hope This Helps!!!

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • I agree with you Ninja1283. Truly excellent imaging isn't going to happen so long as the listener is sitting offset to one side with a concave piece of glass in front of them and a flat piece of glass next to one ear. Separation is possible at moderate listening levels, but that isn't the same thing.

         RESIma

  • What I was thinking about was the fact that cars have rear speakers that are much more audible than the rear speakers in most trucks and they sound great. I was just wondering about getting the same effect with better speaker placement and since the woofer is pretty much 'stuck' in the lower door panel you could make up for that with the tweeters in a better spot... I don't know and I have nothing to compare to. (I know very few people that mess with car audio, especially 30-something y/o!)

    I do think my system sounds great, but at times it seems like a little different configuration would make it sound better. 95% of the music I listen to is straight off of a USB drive plugged into my HU. Almost all of it is recorded at 320kps, so the sound quality is considered the best you can have in a digital format. But, even then the music is only as good as the original recording. I think this is important for your speakers to sound their best. Also, the type of music makes a significant difference too, and I listen to everything from rap to country, but primarily techno/electronic music.

    I think I'm just going to leave it alone and enjoy what I have. Maybe my next vehicle will get a little better in the sound department. Thanks for the input guys.

    P.S. - Once you turn my system up to 11, it really shines! Plays very clean at high volumes!

  • I'm glad you're happy with your music, and don't want to pick apart your post, but...

    kawboy22
    Almost all of it is recorded at 320kps, so the sound quality is considered the best you can have in a digital format.

    I wouldn't necessarily say that 320kbps (mp3, wma, or otherwise) is 'the best you can have in a digital format." All of those formats are lossy, and discard or compress music information in the name of space conservation. 320kbps is definitely on the high end of the spectrum, but there ARE higher quality digital compression formats (such as FLAC, MPEG-4 ALS, APE, or the older uncompressed WAV).

    Few HUs actually can play these formats, and most people wouldn't hear the difference between a 320kbps mp3 file and a lossless FLAC, but I just wanted to point this out.

    02 BMW 330Ci

    Alpine DVA-9965, and a mix of stuff

    12 Ford F-150

    In progress: Pioneer DEH-80PRS HU -> DLS RA40 amp -> Seas G18RNX woofers & SB Acoustics SB29 tweeters

  • Ninja1283

     ...most people wouldn't hear the difference between a 320kbps mp3 file and a lossless FLAC, but I just wanted to point this out.

    Good point. And I agree. But for archiving and playback on nice home equipment FLAC is a great way to go. At the very least you have an unencumbered lossless copy.

         RESIma

  • kawboy22
    What I was thinking about was the fact that cars have rear speakers that are much more audible than the rear speakers in most trucks and they sound great.

    They may sound great to you, but they don't have great imaging - it's a subtle difference but until you understand it and come to grips with it, it will be hard for you to define what you are looking for and even harder for us to advise you.

    kawboy22
    Almost all of it is recorded at 320kps, so the sound quality is considered the best you can have in a digital format.

    Agree with others - CD audio is the best you can have in a digital format and is NOT the same as 320 Kbps - although 320 kbps should be quite good.  Also - the quality of the encoding can make a huge difference - if you rip with Windows Media Player or some encoder without error correction you won't have great quality.

    (I think that's beside the point, though - as I don't get the impression that you are saying your system sounds terrible on FM or MP3, but great on store-bought CD's ....)

    Hope This Helps!!!

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs