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biamp 22nd June 2010 11:28 AM

comparing hi fi sound to car sound
This is my first post on this site. Hello there!!
Some time in the future(after I move) I hope to be building new cabs for my Tannoy hpd 385's At present they are in custom built cabs very similar to Berkeleys.The point I want to make,while I am deciding which diy cab to construct, is the issue with modern car audio.

I know this is an odd topic but I recently bought a modern car,and as I thought,the car audio sound is just great. Just Something that is just thrown in with the car.No system building whatsoever............Music,male announcers voice, everything effortlessly deep resonant,all of it! got this KIND of sound on hi fi ,even with good equipment seems hard to do. I mean standared car audio is based on small cheap speakers,and at normal listening volumes male announcers voices are incedible.Even the doors vibrate.I realise that sitting in a car is like sitting inside a speaker cab with toally different values to a living room,but I've never really understood just why it sounds so good.

Sure,my hi fi has a big powerful sound(both set ups) and I love it,can shake the room and all that,but the car sound is just so good. I am trying to find out the reason why.However it's done I would like to apply the principle to home audio.It must be down to near perfect system matching and some kind of advanced processing that doesn't seem to present in home audio .When the subject of car audio is ever dicussed anywhere,a lot of folk say how bad it is.I don't really understand that.Yes the sound could be tidied up a bit on the top end,but the basic sound is liquid gold.

Any views on this?


whiterx 22nd June 2010 11:38 AM

I would love to know the same thing. My car stereo sounds fantastic. the bass is perfect, and the treble and midrange is smoooth but not harsh. Mine is a mcintosh stereo in my car, and it is the model on how i wish my house sounded.

EBM_dude 22nd June 2010 11:55 AM

I don't know exactly how they calculate that, but they use the doors and door boards, the dashboard and whatnot as a part of a speaker enclusure. As most modern cars have sound proofing applied, this sound proofing is like stuffing the enclosure. My almost 20 year old car doesn't have this and the front speakers sound dull, because of their low position, no real enclusure (the dashboard is open on the back), plastic parts rattle... etc.
Also, the car is a MUCH smaller room to listen. Put all your speakers and gear in a small 2 m x 2 m room, put a seat in the middle and start listening. I think this is the greatest difference in home and car sound.

Jozua 22nd June 2010 12:15 PM

Could it be that within a car environment the car audio system has access to much more current compared to the 15 amps from the average 220 mains socket?

biamp 22nd June 2010 01:43 PM

Comparing car sound with hi fi sound.
Thanks for the response! Another unsettling aspect is that car audio seems to break every known rule in the hi fi book.And there isn't an oak cone foot in sight!For a long time.I have a feeling there is a lot of audio secrets locked in there,but as it's another totally different medium to home sounds so they may always have to be seperate.I still feel, though there is something going on there,that might just be of use to us home audio entusiasts .

Have you ever checked out the sound systems on modern fair grounds?The fairground operators are total professionals ,know their music.The cabs in their rain jackets are just loaded onto the ride,no fancy speaker supports,cryptonite pucks or amp racks or any of the hi fi stuff,driver alignment of the hi,mid and bass,Not an issue ..... but the sound...............It's seismic....AND pure and undistorted .The mids and tops fairly spit the sound out at you,and NO DISTORTION!!!!Bass of course is the same quality. Wouldn't really know how this stuff images or how a string quartet would sound(probably great) but this stuff MOVES ME. One of the top specialist sound companies who supply this gear, is Disco Smash (DS) of Holland. Boy have they got their act together.I think there could be a lot to be learned from studying the approach of these systems.Of couse there are several of these professional type systems which I believe ,if studied hold a lot of clues to good home sound.A sort of trickle down proceedure,to be applied to home hifi.....I say this by observing the results achieved with the LACK of hi fi paraphinalia.......Check out Jamiacan reggae sound systems. Cinema systems, quality PA's..............Yeah,I know,again,all this is a TOTALLY different medium to what we have in the front room,the laws of phisics ,the length of bass sine waves and all that sort of thing and being able to ACTUALLY use most of the power of the amps,instead of just for headroom.....One of the main problems is the sheer physical space this stuff operates in.I know that,.......Butttt
Still feel there is something going on, in equipment developed for the pro workplace that we need to know.(and not just the reliability factor.)It all seems to get better and better.


biamp 23rd June 2010 08:39 AM

trying to find a useable link between pro sund and hi fi
Having said all that in the previous post,maybe the laws of phisics preclude any possible link with home hi fi.
Any views?


Mooly 23rd June 2010 10:48 AM

I would hazard a guess that you like the sound in the car because it is "coloured", and distorted... I know exactly what you mean in your description too, I have experienced the same thing. It just sounds "nice"

It's not an "accurate" sound however... and it's a fact that most listeners prefer this.
When it come to hifi in the home, very very few systems achieve a "satisfying" musical performance... and the amps that manage it are usually the ones designed from the ground up with an "ear" to sond quality. The amps designed to iron out distortion at all levels, and in general designed just for ultimate specs usually sound "bland", "boring" and "fatigueing".

biamp 23rd June 2010 12:14 PM

Hi Mooly

Thanks for the reply.....I agree with that!! ......


Cal Weldon 23rd June 2010 01:52 PM

Your car environment is very small. Makes any system sound better. Take your car system to where your Hi-Fi system is and it will sound terrible. Move your Hi-Fi system into your car and you'll wonder why you ever thought the car system sounded good.

jymz4941 27th June 2010 04:37 PM


Originally Posted by Cal Weldon (
Your car environment is very small. Makes any system sound better. Take your car system to where your Hi-Fi system is and it will sound terrible. Move your Hi-Fi system into your car and you'll wonder why you ever thought the car system sounded good.

That's why it's called 'High Fidelity' eh ? ;):rolleyes::D

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