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Slurpee

JL TWK-88 DSP Install

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Slurpee

This will be a work in progress, but I'm starting the process of changing out my AudioControl EQS for a JL TWK-88 DSP.  I figured that needed it's own thread because it almost hijacked @ponderosasurf's thread for his 25LSV speakers.

So to start things off here's picture #1.  It's the remote/LED for the TWK88 and the remote for the HD750/1 amp (for the sub).  I decided I'd just make use of those very nice aluminum fixtures Malibu provided.

I also decided to swap the holes the horn and USB port were in.  I thought it made more sense for the USB port to be closer to the charging cradle.  My short little flexible USB cord now fits the distance more comfortably at least.

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Edited by Slurpee
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Slurpee

Time for an update.  This is a work in progress / trying not to trip and fall on my nose too many times learning thread.

So I've ripped off the Audiocontrols EQS and put the TWK88 in it's place.  A note to those looking at the EQS.  I was taking some scope measurements of it before removing it and it has definitely gotten a little finicky over the last year.  Just some mechanical agitation of the knobs would mess with the potentiometers and give some screwy outputs.  Fair warning that electro-mechanical and marine don't go together well.  I saw no signs of corrosion anywhere and the board metered out fine when I checked it over on the lab bench and seems to work well now.  Your mileage may vary.

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What's really cool so far about this DSP is the GUI and how much you can do with it.  What really sucks is that you can do so much with it.  Certainly it will control your levels and crossovers like a dream if that's what you want.  That's not too hard to do at all.

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What's really a never ending learning process is actually using that Parametric EQ to correct for the speakers location and other peculiarities.  So since I had the calibrated MIC and a working knowledge of using Room Equalization Wizard from my sound deadening project I decided to use up a little of my life figuring it out.  Oh my.  I am by no means done or happy with my settings.  It's a learning process, but every PEQ tun sounds better and better.  Here I was using too many large Q values to squash things and I'm learning to me more elegant.  I just wanted to get some pictures up for y'all.  Here's some I took in the first couple of hours of using it over the weekend.

I started with having a look at my subwoofer with a flat PEQ setting and no crossovers.

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After putting a PEQ on EQ5/6 the Sub now is much tighter and has more range.  Less boomy for sure and better blended.

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What really was a shock was the M650s down on the floor at the driver's feet. 6-8dB Boyoyoyoyoing!  I can tell that's a location thing, because the EQS settings from the old Graphical EQ that Earmark tuned for me are set in such a way as to try and tame this curve below (even with the OEM brand speakers I had last year).

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I was a little heavy handed with the PEQ, but a half hour of tweaking and it is much better now.  At least within a 1-2dB of flat.

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And together with the subwoofer it's definitely better.  After listening to countless frequency sweeps for REW to generate these graphs I'm actually beginning to get an ear for when the coaxials hand off smoothly to the sub.  

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Next is to tune the M880s behind me and introduce them into the mix.  

I haven't done very much messing with speaker distances and time delays yet.  At least not any more than doing some heavy handed exaggerated changes to see what the effect was. More on that later.

And just putting it out there, but if anyone would like to trade a like new SD4 for an SD6 I'd be interested in talking to you.  I ask because I can see how I would like to have individual control of the M880 speakers so the extra pair of inputs would be nice.  Right now I have them parralleled up.  It might not matter much in the end once I get a good look at how I can tune the system up.  But I'd be interested in talking about it with you if you have a reason to switch to an SD4.

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Slurpee

So an update.  Do not, I repeat do not follow in my footsteps trying to "correct" speakers.  Not in a boat at least.  It's sort of a never ending game of house of cards.  And then it doesn't sound right with real music.  The M880s were perfect right out of the gate, and the sub was pretty good to.  The M650's were tricky because of the location when I measured a frequency response like I showed above, but really there's not a way [for me] to EQ that is what I decided.  And I couldn't hear what the frequency sweeps were showing me with my own ears so I figured it wasn't worth the fight.

What did work was light touches like any of us would do on graphic EQs and having a lot of fun with the time delays.  

The time delays are the coolest thing ever.  You can really get a stereo effect and put the image of the sound all over the place.  It's fun just jabbing the up or down arrow next to some speakers and listening to the stereo effect shift to the left, right, forward of you, behind...  That compared with the high quality sound from the JL speakers is worth every penny.

I just left WakeMD out there in the boat playing tracks and singing after a half hour of smiling at her being happy.  Happy wife...... more projects! :)  The bummer though is that since we have stopped listening to music behind the boat I've lost my only tenuous reason to get tower speakers.  There's no reason whatsoever to need tower speakers now to "fill out the sound" in the cabin.

I'll post a couple screenshots soon of the tune settings I had at the end when I finally called it quits.  You can spend an awful lot of time playing with this DSP, but it's a boat, not a theatre so I left it at three "tunes".  One with everything flat as if I ran straight to the amps to show folks the difference between my main tune.  Then I have a third tune that's a copy of the second for just playing around with the laptop while we're out and about.  Sort of the work in progress tune.  I can see having a couple for different seating arrangements in the boat just like in a car (driver, front, centerpoint, rear, etc).  I guess it just depends on how lazy I am going forward.

Edited by Slurpee

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David

Equalization will always be in a battle against dynamic range. Peaks are easy to correct. Entirely fixing dips can often be a black hole for power that sucks the dynamic life out of a system. For that reason, perfectly flat seldomly sounds good.

Memory settings for different speeds is effective, like for example, at rest/slow cruise versus on-plane.  

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Slurpee

Howdy @David  I discovered that about dips, yes.  Squashing peaks - wide ones anyways - sounded to me like I was muffling the sound in that range and losing details.  So I went much gentler on those in the end.  It's a lot of fun playing with this.  I've spent less time finishing video game sagas though.  Sound engineers have an enormous amount of my respect now.

I had the idea myself about a setting for when we were running down the lake.  I sort of know in excruciating detail where the ambient sound floor is now from the sound deadening project I did.  Would you expect that a "cruise" tune would just tilt the whole sound curve to match the noise floor?

I love this TWK88.  I'm glad Odin told me about it last year and I took a chance on it.

Do the highest end PEQs do any auto-tuning like the Audyssey system in HTS?  I wonder what one of those would make of a ski boat.  Heh, probably spit out, "does not compute..... cough!"

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David
14 hours ago, Slurpee said:

Howdy @David  I discovered that about dips, yes.  Squashing peaks - wide ones anyways - sounded to me like I was muffling the sound in that range and losing details.  So I went much gentler on those in the end.  It's a lot of fun playing with this.  I've spent less time finishing video game sagas though.  Sound engineers have an enormous amount of my respect now.

I had the idea myself about a setting for when we were running down the lake.  I sort of know in excruciating detail where the ambient sound floor is now from the sound deadening project I did.  Would you expect that a "cruise" tune would just tilt the whole sound curve to match the noise floor?

I love this TWK88.  I'm glad Odin told me about it last year and I took a chance on it.

Do the highest end PEQs do any auto-tuning like the Audyssey system in HTS?  I wonder what one of those would make of a ski boat.  Heh, probably spit out, "does not compute..... cough!"

Even the best home programs will be strapped with the same challenges and need to be tweaked by ear for the final analysis. They can fully correct in the time domain but too much auto correction in the frequency/amplitude domain is harmful.

Perfectly linear sounds magical if it occurs naturally or with minimal correction. As an example, the 6.5" distance off the floor can cause reflections that are out-of-phase and cancel out the incidental radiation at a certain frequency and to a lesser degree at multiples. Since there is an inherent cancellation, the fix will be horrible inefficient and require an inordinate amount of power. No longer 2 X power = + 3 dB. A fix could suck 10 X power or more over a narrow bandwidth. And if you do that 2 or 3 times across the spectrum, that's a lot of current, and you run out of dynamic room with no apparent change in volume. So you temper perfection as measured by both experience/anticipation/calculation and by what you hear.  

The at speed, or on-plane tune would reflect the noise that masks certain frequencies. Like in a noisy, crowded restaurant without partitions, noise from ambient voices make intelligible conversations at those same frequencies more difficult. In the same way, hull to surface noise will mask bass at speed. A bass level control is an abrupt change that completely ruins the bass tonal construction beyond a 2 or 3 dB boost. However, the DSP processing power allows you to make smooth octave to octave changes that more closely mirror the competing noise. And like other EQ corrections, you temper the amount.      

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Slurpee

Okay.  So an update.  I traded out the SD4 for an SD6.  So now channels 1 and 2 are driving the 6.5" cabin speakers in parallel with the 6.5" bow speakers.  Channels 3-6 are driving the 4x 8" cabin speakers.

With that setup I can put individual time delays on each speaker.  It's pretty cool now.  I can hear the appeal.  My rock and roll that's a bit light on vocals doesn't really show it off well, but even then there is an improvement.  My wife's music on the other hand which is heavier on vocals sounds really awesome.

My translation... it's like playing a FPS shooter with the speakers from your TV.  The sound is all there but it's kind of mushed together.  Then you play the same game at your friends with some surround sound dialed in and it's noticeably cleaner.  You can hear details.  What's fun is mashing the preset button and flip flopping back and forth between a totally flat stock setting and the tuned setting.  That's when you can appreciate it. :)

Anyways, I have to re-tune all the gains and stuff now.  When I finish with that I'll post screen shots of the settings for anyone who might care.

My advice though... if you're going to go DSP, do it right and make sure you have an amp channel per speaker.

OH! one other nice feature.  This one isn't new.  I did the same thing with my WS-420 in the old boat.  You can adjust the gains for each full-range input.  So my Airport Express that I tend to use more has more signal out than the Black Box/Bluetooth module.  I dialed down the gain on it so that they match.  Now switching between sources doesn't give you that volume jar.

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Slurpee

Update to the install:

M650's are out at the Captain's feet and the M770 components are in.  Tweeters pointed right at my ears.  Slight tune change on the TWK88 for the new drivers.  WOW!!  Special thanks to Ronnie for the use of his chop saw and being lucky enough to have exactly as much scrap carpet as I needed. :)

 

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