2018 Premium Audio System

  1. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    I (personally) do not know for sure either way yet... still trying to figure out a way to tell 100%, and to quantify exactly what the "4K Harshness" is, and what is causing it.
     
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  2. shoegazer

    shoegazer assistant to the assistant manager

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    I'll amend '4K harshness' and substitute 'the general unpleasant and ear fatigue-inducing digital signal processing'.

    I may do some excavation on my Sport and see if there's an external amp. If so, I'll take photos and note any documentation.
     
  3. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    It looks like your 2019 Sports has 160-Watt AM/FM Audio System -inc: 4 speakers, ...
    so that means the 4 channel amp is IN the head unit. 4 speaker, ie no Useless SUB !! and no external amp.

    So that makes it easy... any signal processing in your car MUST be done in the Head Unit.

    There this app that keeps getting mentioned -- DSP-FLAT.apk.
    I think its is just an app made with TASKER, that sets a setting in the Head Unit to turn off some DSP processing ... and it maybe that it this processing that is responsible for the unpleasant sound effects.
    I think this setting can be reached with on of the Hidden menus, but the issue is, if you do set it to FLATTERN the DSP response, it only stays set as long as the ignition is on.
    Next time you come to use the car, it has reverted to the original DSP setting.

    Hence the APP, that can be run automatically, each time the Head Unit is started PROVIDED you are Honda Hacked and can install the App, and set it to run at startup.

    Here is my dilemma .. I have not heard this "'the general unpleasant and ear fatigue-inducing digital signal processing" , so it is difficult for me to even start to determine where it might be coming from.
    Maybe, because the only MUSIC I listen to in the car, is MP3 and Wav files, on a USB Flash drive. FM radio in my region is not something I care to listen to, and the wav/mp3 music is so much clearer than the FM in any case. HD Radio sound ok, just the content is the problem !!

    In my attempts to ANALYSE the Honda HU's Audio, so far I have not brought the speakers into the mix .. I have so far concentrated on the electrical outputs of the AMPs that feed the speakers, so see how flat they are.

    I have attached various speaker (Honda eom Front Door speakers, as well as a couple of aftermarket ones, and they do sound "Different" to the Honda ones, but not that much. I am certainly not hearing any "unpleasant and ear fatigue-inducing digital signal processing", like one can hear when messing with some PC sound cards.

    Currently, I am starting to evaluate speakers -- maybe I will hear a more marked difference when I have the speakers suitably mounted.
    I have some medium size Speaker enclosures (ex Goodwill) and am in the process of modifying those "Built like a Battleship" enclosures to take the Honda Mid and Tweeters.

    With a calibrated Mic, I should then able to measure their responses, and see if it is what the final Audio outputs sound like, in a best Speaker Enclosure configuration.

    At the moment, listening to Flac files, played with PowerAmp and with its multi band Equalizer, on a Honda Hacked Head unit (even without any eom SUB - which is pretty useless in any case), the Audio sound amazingly good...

    I have been listening to it at work the past few weeks, and it is most pleasant to listen to.. at least as good as most Home 5.1 music system.

    The biggest difference I hear, is the difference between how different music is mixed and recorded by the Music Studio producing the music, and I think if I can hear that detailed a difference, the Honda Audio system must be giving a reasonably good, uncolored rendering of the music.
     
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  4. shoegazer

    shoegazer assistant to the assistant manager

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    Back in my producer days; I always used a known reference disc to compare monitors and amps. Some of the older folks always used 'Hotel California'. Others would use a Steely Dan disc. Etc. Even playing wav files ripped directly from the factory (pressed) disc sounds awful to my ear once the volume exceeds a certain point. I find this (the changing EQ curve) to be global on the Honda system regardless of the source. I'm taking the sensitivity of the system and the Fletcher-Munson curves into account with all this. But sheesh... I find it to be a brutal experience.

    Anyhoo... I'll be interested in the results if this all gets solved. Meanwhile... my ears are happy with Kenwood and Klipsch... because Led Zeppelin just doesn't sound correct at low volumes.

    I appreciate everyone's input and experience.
     
  5. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    side-jpg.jpg

    Thanks -- I was unaware of the Fletcher-Munson curves.

    I have being doing my AMP Frequency Response measurements at Full Volume.
    (Not yet taking speaker into account, just seeing what the AMP output voltage is vs Freq).

    at 3-4kHz the output is some +10db above the 1kHz value.
    Given that at loud volumes, we hear Louder at the higher frequencies, (Ref Fletcher-Munson) maybe this explains why we get a DOUBLE WHAMMY of actually + perceived loudness at the 4kHZ region in the Civics.

    Time to go do a series of plots at 25%. 50%, 75% and 100% volume, and see if the shape of the output frequency response changes.

    It may be that the Civic's DSP is compensating in the wrong direction !!! :doh:

    ---------------------------------------


    (Got sidetracked this weekend .. one of the A/C Fan in the 30 year old Maxima seized up, and drew so much current, that it melted & fried the Fan Relay socket, before it finally blew the fuse. So no A/C until that got fixed, and its starting to warm up here in the MID-East USA, so A/C fan relay repair was a high priority. Luckily I have a Donner car to rob parts from !! )

    Got to wonder if anyone will be doing similar maintenance in 30 years time on GenX Civics ?? Wonder how many will still be around then ??
     
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  6. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    #111 SCOPESYS, Mar 17, 2019 at 12:35 PM
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 12:53 PM
    Here is an eye opener !!!

    Many have speculated that the Harshmess (or CRAP) or whatever is not pleasant to hear, with the Premium system, is because the System is processing the audio, and altering it's frequency response with volume.

    ie when you turn up the Volume, the balance is being changed by some Honda DSP processing system, and the High Frequencies get louder and piercing painful, and the low frequencies "May" be getting louder, and the Mid Frequencies Disappear, so that at higher volumes, it sounds HORRIBLE, and not like it did at lower volumes.

    I now do NOT believe the Honda Unit is doing this at all !!!

    (Bear with me, this is a little complex to explain what I did)

    If you plot AMP Output vs Volume control settings, for a set of frequencies,
    ( with a source Input level as high as possible, but not so big that it cause the Amp to limit at any frequencies, at Max volume, )
    Then normalize each of those Output vs Volume setting and then Normalize each of those plots, for a range of frequencies, so that the Output Voltage is normalized to 10 at Volume level 40 (max), then you get following plot.
    Output_vs_Volume_Control.jpg

    It does not matter what frequency you are considering, the Output vs Volume control level follows the same curve.

    ie The Unit is NOT making the Higher frequencies around 4 kHz, excessively louder than other frequencies at the volume is turned up,

    BUT.. the Human ear (Brain) perceives the Higher Frequencies to get louder than the Mid & Lower Frequencies, and the volume Increases.

    ie The Fletcher-Munson effect !!

    In order to reduce this effect, the Honda Unit would need to alter it's frequency response with Volume, so that a HIgher Volumes, the Higher Frequencies were REDUCED ... but looking at the above graph, it is obviously not doing this extra "Fancy advanced" processing... which is typical of most audio systems, unless you are talking ultra sophisticated.

    I mus admit, all this is pushing my Audio technical knowledge, I had never even heard of the Fletcher-Munson effect, until someone recently mentioned it in this forum. ( I am much more comfortable with HF, VHF, UHF and Microwaves, than AOutput_vs_Volume_Control.jpg udio !!)


    So, maybe it is not so much that The Honda Unit is doing some strange DSP processing , but rather it does not have an adequate Graphics Equalizer, so that users can adjust the soundscape to what sound pleasing at whatever Volume level they choose to listen at.

    ie The higher you set the volume, the more you need to increase the MID range, and reduce the high end (and low end), to maintaining the pleasing Soundcape you have at lower volume levels.

    So having established that there is no DSP processing going on to increase higher frequencies more than mid frequencies with volume setting, one question still remains to be answered..

    What is DSP-FLAT doing ??

    Is it that the Honda Unit has a LOUDNESS setting that is always on ? and that DSP_Flat turning that off ??

    I am getting a little out of my depth. here. so if anyone has any input about this, please chip in..
     
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  7. 86salmon

    86salmon It's Hedley, Hedley Lamarr!

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    This correlates with the common fix of changing the tweeters. This perception is helped more if switched to a less "bright" sounding material such as textile
     
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  8. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    #113 SCOPESYS, Mar 17, 2019 at 1:04 PM
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 1:19 PM
    If the Tweeters are Disconnected,or reduced in volume, maybe it will make it sound more pleasing at High Volume levels.

    I still need to get my test speakers into some enclosures to be able to evaluate them with any accuracy.

    I think it time to find out what DSP-FLat is really doing !!! ???

    If Honda "optimized" the system, but failed, and only did that at Low volume levels, then this might explain what we have what we have .. Pleasant audio at low levels, and a painfully Piercing and harsh blast at high volume levels, with no mid frequency definition.

    A user controlled "LOUDNESS" control is very conspicuous by it's ABSENCE on the Honda HU.

    Maybe that would have been a better thing to have added in 2019, than a KNOB !!!
     
  9. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    a less "bright" sounding material such as textile[ ??
    Please can you explain that in a little more detail :)
     
  10. 86salmon

    86salmon It's Hedley, Hedley Lamarr!

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    #115 86salmon, Mar 17, 2019 at 1:29 PM
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 1:38 PM
    Metal tweeters have what some describe as a bright but also harsh sound. Silk tweeters are described as being more smooth in delivery


    Edit: These are generalizations. High end speakers have design elements that take in to account material resonance

    https://www.audioholics.com/av-research/fabric-vs-metal-dome-tweeters
     
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  11. shoegazer

    shoegazer assistant to the assistant manager

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    Back in the day; we used a box made by Barcus-Berry that would change the brightness of a dull recorded signal based on dynamics. It was kind of like turning up the highs but running that signal through a noise gate to keep the hiss down. Aphex made one too. It was one of those effects where a little went a long way. If it was used on a single track; it worked okay to rescue a badly recorded source. But applied to program material (the entire mix); it just made the bright frequencies even brighter (and louder) when they triggered the device. I guess it was an early version of DSP. And that's kinda' what I think that I hear with the Honda system. It's almost as if the system is optimized for hearing full range at lower volumes. But when that given spectrum gets louder (and the response of our ears and speakers fails to follow the same curve); it becomes unpleasant. I'm not trying to keep harping on this. Just trying to clearly describe what I think that I hear. For anyone interested; the Barcus-Berry unit was called a 'sonic maximizer' and used phase to 'reorder' the harmonics. The Aphex used harmonic distortion to achieve a similar effect in their 'aural exciter'.
     
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  12. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    #117 SCOPESYS, Mar 17, 2019 at 7:37 PM
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 7:45 PM
    I think you are 100% correct -- :thumbsup:

    That is exactly the conclusion I am coming to. :dunno:

    If I play back Flac files using a decent Flac Player on a Honda Hacked head Unit, with a player that has a decent Graphics equalizer, I can turn down the Lows & Highs and it sounds Fantastic at High Volumes, but when I turn down the volume to a low level it sound flat.
    Then at these low volumes, if I set the Players Equalizer to Flat, so, its using in effect Honda's "response" it sounds great again.

    Leaving it Flat, and turning up the Volume, and it sounds shrill and over bright with no mid frequency content-- in fact, it is so bad, it would gives me a headache in no time at all.

    It is as if the Honda Head unit has a Permanent "LOUDNESS" turned on - great at low volumes, but literally a PAIN at high volumes.

    These is meant to be a way to turn off that "Loudness", and return the Honda Unit to a "Flat Response", but I cannot seem to get it to work on my 2018 head unit .. its there in the Deeply hidden Menus, but does not seems to accept the change.

    Using the built in Bass, Mid, High sliders in the Audio Menu of the HU, does not give the desired correction at high volumes, whatever these controls are really doing, just make it sound "WRONG" . Its very different from using the decent Graphics Equalizer.

    =========================

    Now that I come to think about it, this is what I have been doing in my Maxima for some time with its added, more versatile Android Unit, without really knowing technically WHY it worked.

    Turning on LOUDNESS at low listening volumes, especially if I want to have a conversation with my passenger, but then turning it off, if I want to play music louder and fill the car with Music, and drown out the outside world !
     
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  13. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    Reading what some audio experts are say, the GOAL is NOT a perfectly FLAT speaker frequency response, but rather response that sounds flat (Pleasing) to the Human ear/brain, at all volume levels. To achieve this, the response will need to change with VOLUME.
    Ie A Volume level dependant modification to the current Equalizer setting.

    This was done in older, more expensive systems, using hardware electronics, but now, with modern Microprocessor/Android controlled system, it should be possible to include such functionality in an advanced Equalizer APP.

    So, as well as upgrading the Stock "Budget" speakers in the car, the Car's Head Unit could benefit greatly by a decent Graphics Equalizer, that includes dynamic LOUDNESS, that ideally should be user controllable. ie Dynamic Loudness "Gain" .

    Relatively easy to do in an APP that is customized to a particular head Units Audio process in Hardware and software drivers, but the stumbling block is the Locked down Honda Head Unit, that does not allow the addition and installation of additional, apps. (without first Hacking the unit).

    I do not know if such advanced Equalizer even exist for Android unit (need to research hat one), but if they do, and can be installed onto the Honda HU, it would appear that this would go a long way to make the Honda's Audio far better than it currently is.

    In the meanwhile, one simpler solution if one is Honda Hacked, is to have a simpler Graphics Equalizer, with a couple of presets, one for HIGH Volume, and one for Low, and accept that one might need to manually select which one one wants, according to Volume level,
    Obviously an automatic Dynamic solution would be less demanding to use.
     
  14. Nitroturtle

    Nitroturtle Senior Member

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    I realized last night when listening to some music in the car that I typically have the volume in the 14-20 range, which is somewhat in the middle I believe. I didn't end up messing with the new DPS last weekend, because it was nice and I just ended up driving rather than working on things. I will say that the sub running how I have it currently, using the front speakers as input, sounds significantly better than it did with only the factory sub as input. I'm very happy with how it sounds currently.
     
  15. OP
    SCOPESYS

    SCOPESYS Senior Member

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    Good to hear all is working well for you.

    I think by the time anyone "needs" to turn it up past 20, their hearing is already impaired and damaged, so what they hear is really a Crab shoot,, and no amount of DSP processing is going to make it any better for them than it already is :(

    I think that prolonged use of Ear-Bug headphone, with music turned up too loud, has unfortunately impaired many peoples hearing, without them even noticing it yet. :what:

    Use to be Rock Concerts, now it's Smartphones & MP3 players !!! :spaz:
     
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