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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know if this has been done before but I did a quick check of frequency response of the HK system in my Limited this morning in order to adjust the EQ under Power Amp. I will say up front that I'm not 100% confident of the accuracy of these values but they should be close. I'll also note that I'm still on the 503 software so these numbers may change after I get the 504 update. I used a Radio Shack SPL meter for the tests, which isn't perfect but is pretty good so the numbers below should actually be fairly close. Volume levels were kept fairly low (but within a reasonable listening level) for the test since I was using sine wave test signals and don't want to inadvertently fry a speaker. The meter was placed between the front seats just below ear level and pointed up. EQ for the car and Power Amp were set to 0 and the fader for the car was centered. I used frequencies that were close to the centers for the EQ in Power Amp in order to make it easy to make corrections. Sometime after I get the 504 update I'll do a more detailed and accurate mapping of the frequency response. I centered the volume of the system and SPL with the 1 kHz test tone and went from there. With that, here are my results:

31 Hz: +6 db
62 Hz: +6 db
125 Hz: +3 db
250 Hz: -9 db
500 Hz: -9 db
1 kHz: 0 db
2 kHz: +1 db
4 kHz: +4 db
8 kHz: +1 db
16 kHz: >-10 db

As always, YMMV. I hope my results are somehow not the norm but I adjusted my EQ under Power Amp to at least partially compensate and the system sounds a whole lot better. Much of the excessive brightness and harshness in the treble is gone and the lower midrange is more pronounced. I will say that I don't understand the huge suckout in FR between 125 Hz and 1 kHz and the complete lack of any energy above 16 kHz. Has anybody actually put eyes on the coaxial drivers in the dash? Do they use tweeters or are they just whizzer cones?
 

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What EQ settings did you arrive at as optimal for your listening preferences? I realize many more variables at play (music genre, relative volume, driving environment, etc), but still interested in your EQ choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I tend to look for relatively flat frequency response but if there's any variation I tend to lean toward a more midrange forward presentation. I like bass but I prefer clean, tight bass over high volume levels. The bass in this car is just fine for my purposes but the highs before EQ were harsh and ear-bleeding bright to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Current EQ settings are at:

31 Hz: -6 db
62 Hz: -5 db
125 Hz: -3 db
250 Hz: +5 db
500 Hz: +4 db
1 kHz: 0 db
2 kHz: -1 db
4 kHz: -3 db
8 kHz: -1 db
16 kHz: +5 db

These are just initial settings for a quick tweak. I'll play around with them more later. After I get the 504 update I'll do a much more detailed set of measurements, adjust the EQ and measure again to get it better dialed in.
 

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2020 Onyx
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I don't have the HK system but even the base system has missing midbass. Not as bad after 504 but still seems not where it should be. I hope the 505 software version comes with a 5 band parametric equalizer!
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT
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I don't have the HK system but even the base system has missing midbass. Not as bad after 504 but still seems not where it should be. I hope the 505 software version comes with a 5 band parametric equalizer!
Not sure if it would help as much without deadening and sealing doors or at least speaker boxes.
 

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Not sure if it would help as much without deadening and sealing doors or at least speaker boxes.
Good point.

I wonder if the reason why both the HK and Base systems have a suck-out at 250 and 500 hz has to do with some kind of antinode (I mean where the frequencies cancel out - maybe using the wrong word) because of door construction, dimensions, etc.

At 500hz the wavelength is 2.25 feet.

At 250hz the wavelength is 4.5 feet.

Then again I've had numerous vehicles of various dimensions and have never had such an extreme midbass gap judging from ear estimation. I do think that EQ/DSP might be creating or exaggerating this gap.
 

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2020 Outback Limited XT Black on Ivory
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Current EQ settings are at:

31 Hz: -6 db
62 Hz: -5 db
125 Hz: -3 db
250 Hz: +5 db
500 Hz: +4 db
1 kHz: 0 db
2 kHz: -1 db
4 kHz: -3 db
8 kHz: -1 db
16 kHz: +5 db

These are just initial settings for a quick tweak. I'll play around with them more later. After I get the 504 update I'll do a much more detailed set of measurements, adjust the EQ and measure again to get it better dialed in.
Nice work! Not allot is known about the HK system ( and both HK and Subaru are intent on keeping it that way.) This data provides another bite out of that elephant. Curious, what did you set your 3 band equalizer at to get these results?

Having played with the HK system for 8 months now, I can tell you that:
  • many of us found the overall sound stage much more pleasing if we covered the (overbearing) center dash midrange speaker.
  • The system does seem to "break in" with use.
  • Since updating to 504 I can tell you there are differences and that muting that speaker is no longer as critical. It also seems more ballanced.

FWIW, I’m running my EQ at +1, 0, +3 with the fader set directly back two clicks.
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT
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Good point.

I wonder if the reason why both the HK and Base systems have a suck-out at 250 and 500 hz has to do with some kind of antinode (I mean where the frequencies cancel out - maybe using the wrong word) because of door construction, dimensions, etc.

At 500hz the wavelength is 2.25 feet.

At 250hz the wavelength is 4.5 feet.

Then again I've had numerous vehicles of various dimensions and have never had such an extreme midbass gap judging from ear estimation. I do think that EQ/DSP might be creating or exaggerating this gap.
Actually, that is the reason I run my Eq. with a downward slope towards the higher frequencies. i.e. +3dB, +4dB and -4dB for bass, mids and treble. But I tried bumping up mids as high as they would go and there is only so much an eq could do. It just increased higher frequencies as well (which is to be expected with only 3 bands).

I took a look at the inside of the door and there are big gaps there for mid base to escape from. I am actually surprised I am getting any mid base at all and it is one of the harder frequency ranges to get right with out sealing cavities.

Mine is the base audio so we may be speaking about different systems :)
 

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Actually, that is the reason I run my Eq. with a downward slope towards the higher frequencies. i.e. +3dB, +4dB and -4dB for bass, mids and treble. But I tried bumping up mids as high as they would go and there is only so much an eq could do. It just increased higher frequencies as well (which is to be expected with only 3 bands).

I took a look at the inside of the door and there are big gaps there for mid base to escape from. I am actually surprised I am getting any mid base at all and it is one of the harder frequency ranges to get right with out sealing cavities.

Mine is the base audio so we may be speaking about different systems :)
Post 504 I'm running -2 bass +2 mid -2 treble, but I'm using kicker dash tweeters, alpine front door speakers, and kenwood rear door speakers. I thought you had the Kicker DSP amp installed?
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT
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Post 504 I'm running -2 bass +2 mid -2 treble, but I'm using kicker dash tweeters, alpine front door speakers, and kenwood rear door speakers. I thought you had the Kicker DSP amp installed?
I was going to get it installed at BestBuy but their in store services are closed right now due to COVID19. I will get it installed as well as the Morel Maximo speakers as soon as they open back up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Nice work! Not allot is known about the HK system ( and both HK and Subaru are intent on keeping it that way.) This data provides another bite out of that elephant. Curious, what did you set your 3 band equalizer at to get these results?

Having played with the HK system for 8 months now, I can tell you that:
  • many of us found the overall sound stage much more pleasing if we covered the (overbearing) center dash midrange speaker.
  • The system does seem to "break in" with use.
  • Since updating to 504 I can tell you there are differences and that muting that speaker is no longer as critical. It also seems more ballanced.
FWIW, I’m running my EQ at +1, 0, +3 with the fader set directly back two clicks.
I set the factory EQ and Fader to default values since I'm still on 503 and they keep resetting themselves anyway. I actually do use the dash mat mentioned in another thread here but left if off for the measurements. It does help. I've read that there are changes in 504 which is why I didn't get too detailed with this effort. I think the results are good enough for now. In the long run I'll probably swap out the speakers with something else because I can be a bit of a fanatic but there's a lot of research to be done before I go down that path.
 

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I have the HK system in my vehicle, but there are only 3 equalizer ranges...bass, mid, and treble. Where do you find a 10-band equalizer? Apparently I have the 502 software version. Is this something available only on the 503/504?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Good point.

I wonder if the reason why both the HK and Base systems have a suck-out at 250 and 500 hz has to do with some kind of antinode (I mean where the frequencies cancel out - maybe using the wrong word) because of door construction, dimensions, etc.

At 500hz the wavelength is 2.25 feet.

At 250hz the wavelength is 4.5 feet.

Then again I've had numerous vehicles of various dimensions and have never had such an extreme midbass gap judging from ear estimation. I do think that EQ/DSP might be creating or exaggerating this gap.
It could be partly due to an acoustic null but 9 db requires wavelengths meeting in the same spot from all three dimensions which is unlikely in a car. You get a 3 db drop in SPL from wavelengths for a given frequency meeting from each dimension so getting three nulls across that broad a frequency range isn't likely. I assume they're using active crossovers in the head unit between the individual speakers and the switch between the dash and door speakers is probably somewhere in that range as well so maybe that's part of it as well. If so, that's a really lousy job of crossover design. My other concern is the extreme upper frequency response. If this thing has real tweeter in a small coaxial speaker it has to be a 1/2" or 3/4" tweeter which should have no trouble at all reproducing frequencies all the way up to 20k. At 16k there was absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing.
 

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It could be partly due to an acoustic null but 9 db requires wavelengths meeting in the same spot from all three dimensions which is unlikely in a car. You get a 3 db drop in SPL from wavelengths for a given frequency meeting from each dimension so getting three nulls across that broad a frequency range isn't likely. I assume they're using active crossovers in the head unit between the individual speakers and the switch between the dash and door speakers is probably somewhere in that range as well so maybe that's part of it as well. If so, that's a really lousy job of crossover design. My other concern is the extreme upper frequency response. If this thing has real tweeter in a small coaxial speaker it has to be a 1/2" or 3/4" tweeter which should have no trouble at all reproducing frequencies all the way up to 20k. At 16k there was absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing.
Harman Kardon's website for the Outback describes the corner dash speakers as:

2 ×
80mm midrange speaker with 16mm tweeter unity extended bandwith speaker
A 16mm tweeter should be able to get you up to 20K or so. Are you sure the meter is working at those frequency ranges?

So I'm unfamiliar with the particular tool you are using. Is there a way to isolate the tool in front of an individual speaker to check what frequencies that they are putting out? That info would be super helpful in estimating what the DSP is feeding different positions. I’ve found the lack of that info particularly frustrating in my quest for replacement speakers for the front door and dash corner positions.

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Harman Kardon's website for the Outback describes the corner dash speakers as:

2 ×
80mm midrange speaker with 16mm tweeter unity extended bandwith speaker

So I'm unfamiliar with the particular tool you are using. Is there a way to isolate the tool in front of an individual speaker to check what frequencies that they are putting out? That info would be super helpful in estimating what the DSP is feeding different positions. I’ve found the lack of that info particularly frustrating in my quest for replacement speakers for the front door and dash corner positions.
I've thought about taking extreme near field measurements of the front speakers but without disconnecting the other speakers I'm not sure what my results will be. It might be worth a try though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok, that doesn't quite clear it up for me. Is this app from Subaru, or is it an aftermarket thing. Also, does my stock HK need additional equipment to work with it?
It's a music player available on the Google Play store. I'm not sure if it's available for Apple or not. It doesn't require any additional equipment.
 
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