SOUND SYSTEM RESEARCH

I told my brother I wasn’t gonna pay extra for the Shaker 1000 sound system, which is the same as the Shaker 500 that comes standard in the Premium GT. The difference is an added subwoofer in the trunk and a separate amp to run it, plus an improved crossover network to run it.

He says:

I wouldn’t pay for the 1000 system unless you want to blow your ear drums out and let them hang on the side view mirrors while you driving. Plus you’ll get blood all over your new car.
No, no, the blood would just be on my car seat! That’s as far as I want to go!

The Shaker 1000 is a LOT more money than the 500, and I’m not convinced it would be worth a vague sense of deepness being felt. Plus I know how most modern music is recorded. A lot of it has little response below 60 Hz, and really nothing below 40 for almost all music. I like full frequency USEFUL AND AESTHETIC response when I record, and my software lets me see exactly what’s going on for response. But I sharply cut off frequencies below about 30 or 35 Hz generally as almost no one has a system that will let them hear it, plus it robs overall level for APPARENT volume. When you get the spurious energy below 30 Hz, you have to compensate for it in the mix by doing things you don’t really want to do, otherwise the mix lacks punch. Anything below 30 Hz really is quite low. I could prove it to you with energy sweeps through my studio monitors. My sub is rated for 26 Hz but has useful response down to about 22! I’ve measured it. I used these sweeps to find objects hanging on the walls down here in the basement that rattle. Then I put little pieces of foam under them to stop the rattle! However some portions of the sweep also buzz the wood wall paneling and ceiling strapping for the tile!

Modern music is not really high fidelity, certainly not pop. Television was traditionally limited to 50 Hz. The only thing that’s really well recorded nowadays is movie soundtracks and some certain genres of music. I’ve been studying a lot about peak and average volumes, perception, limiting, compression, all that.

Back to a car environment:
My whole thing is not volume, I don’t want pain and I don’t want loose fasteners all over the car. What I want is when I have the volume where I want for those “special mood” times (maybe 105 dB for about one song), I want no distortion, and I don’t want the amp bottoming out and running out of headroom because it doesn’t have enough juice to run unlimited bass at a given bottom. You’ve heard this yourself, no doubt. Lower volume you have the bass where you like it, then when you pump the volume, the bass thins out. You can have loudness with little bass, or bass with lower volume. For car systems you can pretty much take the stated rating and divide it by 4! So my Buick is about 5 or 10 watts RMS a channel for real. The speakers are typically rated for about 4 times that.

If the Mustang is, let’s say, is 360 rated watts over 8 drivers, it’s really probably 90 RMS total with electronic crossovers going to subs, mid drivers that cover high bass and low treble, and tweeters, probably a 3 way system. The Shaker 1000 probably has an additional crossover for a very low sub with its own amp.

But 90 real watts going through a 3 way crossover (at the crossover points I think they’re using) works out to listening to stereo home speakers with a bass and tweeter with a single passive crossover between them, and putting about 150 watts a side into them (would sound like 150 a side, or at least 100 as side, into average 2 way stereo speakers with a tweeter and an 8 inch woofer).

So in the Mustang (much smaller space than a small bedroom), even just 90 watts through all that electronic path would be more than enough. Certainly for me. I know the formulas for converting electronic bandpass signals into passive equivalents. You get quite a boost in efficiency. The drivers also work better and tighter because their getting very specific frequencies only, plus it just plain sounds better, usually with steep crossover slopes. Each speaker sounds tighter.

The biggest challenges for car audio is the interior of the car itself in terms of its shape and materials and getting the sound to the listeners without too many weird reflections, etc.
What helps the power aspect is neodymium speakers and Class D amplifiers, which both are smaller and lighter. The Class D amps need less battery power, too, and can put out a pretty amazing amount of power. What I don’t know is if car manufacturers are using neodymium and Class D. Neodymium costs more, but Class D doesn’t really. I bet a lot are using Class D, and maybe some more expensive systems use neodymium speakers. Don’t really know or care at this point.

My Mustang research says regardless of whether you have the standard exhaust system or even put on the Shelby axle back mufflers on a regular V8, people say the Ford mufflers have no “drone” effect, which is a good thing in general, including listening to music. I guess some after market mufflers, axle back or cat back, sometimes have droning which of course people find annoying.

I’ve toyed with the notion of different mufflers but will never have the money. I think I can hear a difference if I was to put on the Shelby mufflers, but then again, I have to think of the car idling in the winter during warm up and bothering the neighbors. The standard mufflers would be okay, but the Shelby’s seem deeper, so that sound would carry farther.

Of course all my speculating is premature at least until a month or so before I’d be likely to buy the car. But I can’t help getting at least a little excited about the prospects, even knowing that something stupid could come along and blow my plans.

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