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WakesetterE

Audio Control Dqs, Eqs, And The Epicenter-Ipod Bass Mia?

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WakesetterE

Has anyone had any experience withe the Audio Control DQS, EQS, or the Epicenter? The EQS and DQS are both signal processors. One is a analog and the other is a digital processor. It appears my Fusion head unit is only designed to output 2volts from its pre-amp outputs. While it is nice to have a 9 channel head unit, I completely missed the low pre-amp voltage figure. Thus my gain on my amps has to be run very high, which creates a noise floor issue. (hiss)

I'm considering adding a EQS which would allow six channels of equalization and pre-amp line drivers to correct my low preamp issue. The EQS has seven bands of full and half octave equalization control for the front and rear plus six, one-third octave equalization bands for maximum bass control. Add to that the Programmable Frequency Match (PFM) filter and a low output impedance line driver . The DQS is a digital version that is much more comprehensive, higher priced with more control. I'm curios if anyone has run one of these in their boat stereo and how they felt it performed for them?

Also, I'm considering installing a Audio Control Epicenter which is supposed to "the Epicenter restores bass cut-off by iPods TM and other MP3 players". It claims to add back in rolled off lower bass frequencies. Anyone run one one of these and could share the results?

Of course I'll post my results but it would be great to learn before I bought one of these audio controls. I'm afraid the standard three/four knob eq wont allow enough flexibility to tune my system.

I run 2 pro 485s on the tower at 300watts RMS each crossed at about 150 htz, 4 xs-650's in the cabin at 90 watts RMS each, and a 15" Rockford T215d4 sub at 1500 watts RMS in a 4 CU (gross) ft ported box tuned to 35 htz, crossed at 150 htz. It doesn't sound bad. The low end sounds great with some music tracks, boomy with others. I'm unsure if the ipod is rolling the low end frequencies off or if I have another problem I've overlooked....

Suggestions?

Edited by WakesetterE

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Deephaven

The 2 volt output does not create the noise, nor does turning the gain up. You have noise and are amplifying it. There isn't "more" noise at a higher gain. Most likely you need a larger amp and are compensating by turning your gain well into the distortion range which at the same time is broadcasting noise.

The Epicenter sole purpose is to create bass notes where there aren't any. For music listening they are very distrubing, but if you are trying to make "party noise" they can be an effective mechanism to significantly alter the music content so that your subs have notes to play.

As for the DQS, EQS and such. There are a ton of better options...but you haven't described what you are needing for eq/processing so its hard to comment. Do remember that EQ's are not made for boosting frequencies, but instead should be used to cut anomalies that create issues in your music. Processing is normally time alignment and crossovers of which you have no mention of making me think all those options are way overkill for your needs. Again if its just for the hiss then get a larger amp or...

Re-rip your music to your iPod. It sounds to me like you have another problem. If some songs are okay bass wise and others not, it isn't your iPod that is cutting out the bass (if both songs are from the pod), but can surely be how they were ripped. If you ripped them its time to re-rip, if you bought them its time to start buying higher quality songs. I'd also check to see if the "hiss" only occurs on the songs without bass. There are some seriously crappy rips out there and they will sound like a turd no matter what. In fact the better your stereo, the worse they will sound.

When I see the word "boomy" I also think that is a problem. Normally due to a box being tuned too high. As for where to tune, it depends a lot on the music you listen to and your goals for output.

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Deephaven

Oh, not implying your box is tuned to high. Could even be too low depending on what you listen to. Lower is better for a flatter response, but of course if most of the music you listen to has "bass" notes higher you can tune higher to pronounce these more. I leave my norm for boat stereo's and tune higher so I don't need as much of a setup. The boat noise is so high that losing fidelity doesn't bother me.

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WakesetterE

Good points...it may be crappy mp3 rips....they come form various sources....we listen to rock and country. Generally we are playing at a moderate to high volume when involved in a surfing/boarding/skiing activity. Sub should be tuned around 35htz, but with no analyzer, who knows...wish it was warmer so I could do some more testing....its really loud in a neighborhood...at testing levels.

Edited by WakesetterE

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jk13

First off let me say don't rely on these products to fix a noise issue.

I still own an Epicenter, 24xs crossover, and EQL2 that I used back in the early 90s. The Epicenter will do what you are asking in regards to adding in lower frequencies in music that doesn't have much. Certain old rock albums like U2's War were almost un-listenable without it. However with music that already sounds full it either: a)won't do anything at all or b)it will try to add lower octaves in and really mess things up. It's pretty much a song by song deal as far as adjusting--kind of a PITA.

Be aware that when using an Epicenter it needs full range music to read. It will not work just putting it on the low pass sub-out of a head unit, unless you can turn off that crossover and use the one in the amp or an outboard dedicated crossover between them.

I hate to say this, but I have not heard many good things about Fusion products. Many people are happy using their ipods on some pretty high end stereos, so it is certainly possible to get decent sound. I would start with a different source unit rather than using a band-aid to try and fix it after the fact.

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Murphy8166

I agree with Deephaven and think it would be valuable to start at the source. We have always downloaded our music from Itunes but do pull a few songs from other lower quality sources when looking for a remix or something not yet available on Itunes.

IMO opinion the 7 band per 6 channel Line Driver/EQ are a bit overkill for the boat and open air environment. Have condidered looking at a unit that that would give you an EQ and line driver in the same piece. You can also ditch your Fusion unit as well and I echo the concerns about that unit.

Here are some you could take a look at:

Audiocontrol Three.2

Arc Audio KEQ5 or XEQ

Zapco SP4-SL

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Earmark Marine

E,

I really, really enjoy what a bass restoration device can do for 'some' older analog recordings. It sounds awesome when you can restore the original relationship between bass fundamentals and harmonics. But it has to be used very conservatively. If you are using it for general bass boost rather than selective restoration it sounds terrible. Like any processor it has limitations and when over-used or used incorrectly the byproducts are far worse than the problem they remedy. The other issue is that it takes four times the power to reproduce one octave lower at the same amplitute so I'm not sure that I want to invite this type of processor into an open boat environment with its existing challenges.

In my experience when you have a linear subwoofer response and midbass speaker relationship the bass will sound equally good and neutral on all types of music. Any subwoofer is going to sound soggy and indiscriminant in the absence of the midbass contribution from the coaixials. Listen to any sub in isolation and you will see. So you are very dependent on the coaxials and the transition between the coaxials and subwoofer to have good pitch accuracy and tonal definition in your bass. Level matching, enclosure tuning, phasing, crossover setting and making sure that the coaxials are large enough, plentiful enough and acoustically isolated in such a way as to make a significant midbass contribution are all part of constructing a system with great sounding musical bass.

Also, a fatal mistake in open field system design and set-up is too high of a subwoofer tuning and too low of a crossover point. Consider that the bass-reflex sub rolls off at a 4th order slope below the tuning region. At the crossover frequency selection the subwoofer is already at half power. If they are too close together you will have a narrow peaky output. You can't fix that with equalization. Some like the pronounced bump. Some don't.

David

Earmark Marine

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WakesetterE

Ok, sounds as the Epicenter may be more problems than its worth. I may have to ditch the Fusion, although I do like many of its features....I spoke to David about bringing the boat in, when I saw him at the boat show, for a listen. Thats likely my best starting point. He has listened to so many more systems in boats than I, whatever issue I may have could jump out at him.

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BSUBU_Kris

Before adding the AudioControl 3.2 to my stock system it did have an annoying hiss. The amp gains were turned up quite a bit from the factory in order to get much volume out of the speakers. The sub also sounded like crap. After adding the AudioControl and adjusting the line out level no hiss what so ever and the sub sounds great. This EQ has done everything I want it to. Fade is used for boat vs. tower and the ability to adjust the sub level and frequency is great. I also found that the auto volume on the Maliview works really great. I set the power on volume at 26 and adjusted the gains with the volume set at 38.

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Bobby Light

Preamp voltage is a wonderfull thing, especially in a boat.

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liljohn

Preamp voltage is a wonderfull thing, especially in a boat.

I Learned that the hard way! I should have listened...

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Deephaven

Preamp voltage is a wonderfull thing, especially in a boat.

There is a reason amplifiers have gain knobs. Raising the pre-amplifier voltage really isn't necessary.

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WakesetterE

I thought higher HU pre-amp voltage would lower the noise floor in relation to the music signal so that the amp would have a cleaner signal to amplify from. Thats why I thought HU's with 5 to 7 volts pre-amp out were preferred and common in higher priced HU's. It always worked that way in cars....but I can always learn something new. This sunday I'm going to test the EQS and set my amp gains to zero and adjust the line drivers in the EQS to output 5 volts, while limiting my deck output to about 80% of its total output. I believe it will allow more output overall and lower my noise issue while allowing additional flexibility to tune the system. Either way, I'll report back and we can see what happens when the real world intercepts the theoretical......

I did find my deck sub out was only band passing 80htz and below due to a crossover setting in the deck. I connected the sub to full range outputs and allowed the amp xover set at 122 hz to handle this. This made the base sound much better overall tonally.

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Earmark Marine

E,

At an 80 Hz crossover you were at half power already and even a 3 dB difference is very noticable. The fact is that there is soooo much output naturally in music at and above that frequency. Also, if the HU lowpass was combining with the amplifier lowpass the slope was like a brick wall and changes that ubrupt are audible in a very negative way. This would make a coherent bridge between the subwoofer and in-boat coaxials nearly impossible. Once you soften the slope and raise the bandwidth of the subwoofer a little you will notice a substantial increase in perceived output forcing you to gain down the subwoofer a bit. And, you will find that as a result the sub will sound infinitely tigher at higher volume levels.

David

Earmark Marine

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Bobby Light

There is a reason amplifiers have gain knobs. Raising the pre-amplifier voltage really isn't necessary.

You're right it isn't necessary but it helps ALOT. Makes the system sound a whole lot better.

Edited by Bobby Light

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shawndoggy

You're right it isn't necessary but it helps ALOT. Makes the system sound a whole lot better.

This has been my experience too. I'm not a scientist, so I can't explain why, but a stronger pre-amp signal seems to make everything sound better.

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Earmark Marine

I also have to agree that a stronger preamp voltage 'can' have several sonic attributes to offer. I have heard the difference in dynamic range at the same apparent volume. I can provide explanations and analogies to substantialte the reasons why. But its just one of those areas that everyone is not going to agree on. And I can live with that.

David

Earmark Marine

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Deephaven

You're right it isn't necessary but it helps ALOT. Makes the system sound a whole lot better.

Then you had other problems that are completely unrelated to the output voltage

I also have to agree that a stronger preamp voltage 'can' have several sonic attributes to offer. I have heard the difference in dynamic range at the same apparent volume. I can provide explanations and analogies to substantialte the reasons why. But its just one of those areas that everyone is not going to agree on. And I can live with that.

David

Earmark Marine

In a listening room perhaps, in a boat in particular when moving? No way.

It's really rather simple. An amp is there to provide gain. Whether you have it provide more or less based on the input voltage it won't matter **of course assuming that the amplifier you have can truly handle the input levels associated, which nearly all high quality ones can**

There are a couple factors to keep in mind however. Many 2v headunits are crap to begin with so changing them out will help. And of course the classic audio sales persons demo room psychoacoustic response doing a/b comparisons. Guess what everyone always picks? The louder setup. It sounds "better". **again assuming comparing of similar quality**

The comments that it helps noise are wrong, unless your amp of course is a POS. No matter what noise in the signal chain in either way will be amplified. The only time it could be more or less with a different preamp voltage is if the source is in the amp.

Real easy test for all you. Turn your gain down on your amplifier. Take your 5v headunit and measure where it outputs 2v and where it measures 4v. Turn it to 2v and adjust your gain on the amp so your amp outputs X volts and now listen. Then adjust your h/u volume up to where it would be 4v and turn your amp gain down so its outputting the same X volts. When you do this it will become rather obvious that its all psychoacoustics and there is no benefit. One other thing you'll learn which is how often your magical 5v headunit is actually above 2v. I pretty much guarantee that at the listening levels you are describing where you hear improvements it won't be above 2v, but measure for yourself instead of taking my word for it.

There is a reason there is a gain knob on your amplifier and it has nothing to do with reducing noise. That being said, don't take my statement as completely disagreeing with Dave there are amplifiers that cannot handle a low voltage input but there are also amplifiers that cannot handle a high voltage input. There are also sonic benefits to headroom which is why I used the caveat of at least requiring that you have a decent amplifier.

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Deephaven

And yes, plenty of experience here with all of the above. I have an Eclipse 8454 (8v out) a Pioneer 880prs 5v and probably 5 cheaper low voltage headunits sitting in my basement right now. I've also owned a few different line drivers including an Epicenter.

For the OP in this case, I am not saying to not replace the Fusion headunit as it is probably the problem but reducing yourself to only high voltage sources or thinking a line driver is the right solution is not what you need to be doing.

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Bobby Light

Then you had other problems that are completely unrelated to the output voltage

No actually didn't have any other issues. If output voltage means nothing why not just take your ipod and run it directly into an amp? Because it will sound like crap that's why. Why does your fancy Eclipse deck have 8v outputs, because the higher voltage equates to better sound quality and dynamic range.

Edited by Malibudude
personal attack

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Deephaven

No actually didn't have any other issues. If output voltage means nothing why not just take your ipod and run it directly into an amp? Because it will sound like crap that's why. Why does your fancy Eclipse deck have 8v outputs, because the higher voltage equates to better sound quality and dynamic range.

Simple answer, marketing to the uninformed. As for why I own it, that is simple. I bought it for its active crossovers and parametric equalizer as I needed an adjustable q crossover for the install in my M5. Also, couldn't beat it for $175 used. BTW, I didn't set the gain at 8v but of course the amps I had couldn't take 8v or the input stage clipped. That sounds great, lol.

Not sure why audio has to be magic instead of science. It is really simple, stop thinking of the gain knob as a volume knob and instead realize its purpose. Amusingly even on the label for the inputs they specify why they are there. You are power output limited by your power supply, how you get there is irrelevant assuming you avoid the extremes.

Edited by Deephaven

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Earmark Marine

Deephaven,

Some of us have come up with different conclusions. You may consider more or less into the analysis than someone else. Its like Ohm's Law or any law. Its highly applicational and not a fixed equation in every situation. But even if we don't have the identical conclusion I appreciate your logical approach and enjoy reading your posts. They definitely add to a quality exchange.

David

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Deephaven

Most people aren't capable of understanding a/b blind testing either.

Line drivers do have their place. If you are running crap tons of drivers and your voltage needs to get split into so many amps that it is reduced beyond where the gain can compensate then of course they are needed.

Sad thing is, the OP has a noise problem that no one here is helping. First thing I'd do is start replacing/removing portions of the music chain to see if it was the h/u that is the cause and then replace the troubling piece.

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Deephaven

And just to push you a bit further, I'd like to see you disprove Ohm's law. :P

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JTech

And just to push you a bit further, I'd like to see you disprove Ohm's law. :P

Epic.

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