Audio Systems

Be Your Own Audio Engineer: Tune Your Car Audio System in 4 Easy Steps

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Arndt Hensgens, courtesy of Harman MediaTuning a car for optimal audio is a difficult process.  You can tweak the treble and bass.  You can add an equalizer to adjust bands, or use component speakers to address treble, midrange and bass tones.  But it’s even more complex than that.  Since most people listen to mp3s or streamed music, now you have to correct for the quality of the stream as well as the particulars of the device you are streaming from.  Even though everyone says devices are sound-agnostic, your ear tells you otherwise.

And that’s what tuning your car for optimal sound is all about: YOUR ears.  What sounds warm to you may sound harsh to a buddy.  Tuning your vehicle must please your ears first, others…third.

That’s why we have Harman Media to help with this easy to use guide to tuning your own car audio.  We leaned on the knowledge and experience of Arndt Hensgens, the chief engineer of Harman Audio; as he provides a background on the complex, challenging task of creating and tuning an OEM audio system for automotive use.

“There is a huge range of materials – plastic, cloth, leather and glass – which all absorb and reflect sound waves at different rates and every model has a different shape cabin, adding yet more complexity,” said Hensgens.

Autoradio_panasonic-300Before You Begin: 3 Steps to Success

  1. Set up the controls– make sure that all the audio controls (bass, treble, balance, fade) are set to ‘0’ or normal (setting to ‘0’ ensures the most accurate music reproduction from the system)
  2. Playing the audio – play the tracks from your smartphone or other device, try to use high quality sources
  3. Create your playlist– playing short 20-30 second segments of several different tracks, spanning genres, will show the system’s capabilities for handling a variety of music styles


Harman’s  ‘Golden Ears’: The Audio Engineers

Hensgens: “Car audio is a long and delicate process that combines technology but most importantly, the human ear.  Each model-specific car audio system is meticulously tested by our trained team of audio specialists, nicknamed ‘Golden Ears’ for our abilities to hear subtle audio differences.”

These 5 songs are used by Harman’s Golden Ears when tuning an audio system

  1. Cassandra Wilson – Fragile
  2. Juri Horning Trio – Walking On The Moon
  3. Eva Cassidy – Fields of Gold
  4. Allan Taylor – Colour to the Moon
  5. Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition, Fritz Reiner Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Follow the steps on the next five slides and learn how to optimize your car audio sound:

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