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Old 04-26-2019, 12:14 AM   #1
Pizzachicken
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Is Stock Stereo Time Aligned?

Not sure how common sense of a question this is, but is the factory stereo in our car, or cars in general "time aligned" and tuned for the driver's position?

I've been doing my research on an audio system upgrade. Not an audiophile but music is a priority in this car as I'm looking for some more bass and quality. In my previous cars, I've done simple head unit/speaker/sub replacements with no attention to specs - unamplified speakers slapped together, basically. Have been blissfully happy thus far enjoying rattling loudness. This time around however, I'm looking to do things a little more legit. Planning to sound deaden doors and trunk, swap the head unit to a higher wattage one or add an amp to 2-way speakers. Had my eyes on the Sony XAV-AX5000 or 7000 when it comes out, but depending on responses I might have to look into something more intricate. A DSP seems out of my experience, although I was looking at the Kicker Key amp that has auto TA/EQ.

So in reading too much into time alignment and sound stage, where some swear by the importance of it and others say the average listener wouldn't notice, I was wondering if the stock stereo is time aligned so that I might have an idea if it's necessary for my tastes. I've never been in a car to play with such settings, and never thought any differently without it in previous cars (but maybe now that i'm aware). I tried sitting in the driver and passenger position to see if it was any different, may have noticed a difference but also wasn't sure if it was simply placebo or just that in the driver seat i'd be sitting much closer to the tweeters. Aside from that, any opinions/input would be appreciated. Thanks

Last edited by Pizzachicken; 04-26-2019 at 12:21 AM. Reason: add detail
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:25 AM   #2
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Jesus how much time offset could there really be in this tiny little car. We arenít talking about a 500sf living room. The car audio scene is good about inventing problems that need to be solved by gimmicks and of course the guy that buys into the gimmick will say its absolutely necessary. I very seriously doubt the stock head unit does this.
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Old 04-26-2019, 12:31 AM   #3
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Jesus how much time offset could there really be in this tiny little car. We arenít talking about a 500sf living room. The car audio scene is good about inventing problems that need to be solved by gimmicks and of course the guy that buys into the gimmick will say its absolutely necessary. I very seriously doubt the stock head unit does this.
lmao thanks for the quick reply
That's honestly the answer i'd prefer to hear. Hey, I mean the less money I have to spend for enjoyment. I try to do my research, but sometimes idk if i'm reading from a serious audiophile's point of view or the average consensus/recommendation. I just don't want to buy parts and install only to realize I should've listened to the forums
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Old 04-26-2019, 01:31 AM   #4
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No matter what you do, it's going to sound like shit compared to a good listening environment. Deaden some vibrations, sure. Put in a better amp and speakers, sure. Expect anything truly good in this buzzy tin can of a car? You're fooling yourself.
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:58 PM   #5
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I convince myself I hear a difference.

My aftermarket HU allows entering the speakers to seat position distances then select which seat position it will be optimized for. I do hear a difference when jumping from one position selection over the next. If I were to leave the vehicle and someone changed the setting from that which I thought sounded best, unless they told me, I doubt I would notice the change.
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Old 04-27-2019, 06:44 PM   #6
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My aftermarket HU allows entering the speakers to seat position distances then select which seat position it will be optimized for. I do hear a difference when jumping from one position selection over the next. If I were to leave the vehicle and someone changed the setting from that which I thought sounded best, unless they told me, I doubt I would notice the change.
my head unit does this as well. i spent half a saturday carefully measuring all my speaker distances to my ears and inputting the settings.

and then it gave me massive headaches every time i drove the car until i turned it off 3 days later.
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Old 04-27-2019, 06:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pizzachicken View Post
Not sure how common sense of a question this is, but is the factory stereo in our car, or cars in general "time aligned" and tuned for the driver's position?

I've been doing my research on an audio system upgrade. Not an audiophile but music is a priority in this car as I'm looking for some more bass and quality. In my previous cars, I've done simple head unit/speaker/sub replacements with no attention to specs - unamplified speakers slapped together, basically. Have been blissfully happy thus far enjoying rattling loudness. This time around however, I'm looking to do things a little more legit. Planning to sound deaden doors and trunk, swap the head unit to a higher wattage one or add an amp to 2-way speakers. Had my eyes on the Sony XAV-AX5000 or 7000 when it comes out, but depending on responses I might have to look into something more intricate. A DSP seems out of my experience, although I was looking at the Kicker Key amp that has auto TA/EQ.

So in reading too much into time alignment and sound stage, where some swear by the importance of it and others say the average listener wouldn't notice, I was wondering if the stock stereo is time aligned so that I might have an idea if it's necessary for my tastes. I've never been in a car to play with such settings, and never thought any differently without it in previous cars (but maybe now that i'm aware). I tried sitting in the driver and passenger position to see if it was any different, may have noticed a difference but also wasn't sure if it was simply placebo or just that in the driver seat i'd be sitting much closer to the tweeters. Aside from that, any opinions/input would be appreciated. Thanks
consider going full active with an amp, as it allows more custom crossover control(but this is slightly my bad experience, as i had a set of pioneer REV series 2-way components that i ended up chasing a distortion issue for 2 years that turned out to be too low of a crossover point on the tweeters). i'm also one of the wierdos that run a 3-1/2" pointsource fullrange as my high end...

audio has some very simple rules. if it's a massive amount of effort for a large sum of money, it likely is either not needed or can be done much cheaper, despite the fact that 'purists' will turn their nose up at such installs.

and don't get stuck up on car audio brands. as long as you don't tell the speakers where they're installed, they play just as well in the car as they do the house.
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Old 04-28-2019, 09:54 AM   #8
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Toyota had an optional DSP unit that could be installed behind the factory head unit. The idea was to provide a properly equalized and balanced signal to suit the vehicle based on microphone analyses.

My personal opinion is that this makes sense for vehicles that are quieter such as Lexus. If you change your exhaust especially, this will be hardly the optimal environment for critical listening.

I am in my man cave now listening to a Molly Hatchet LP in an environment that is conducive to critical listening. Save your money and purchase high quality powered Bluetooth speakers for your home environment (KEF LS50W for example) and get bang for your listening buck.
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Old 04-28-2019, 11:10 AM   #9
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Judging by the "so called" system in my car, I think it's aligned to circa 1977...
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:31 PM   #10
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After a bunch of non answers.

Yes it is.

If you go in the settings for car type, you'll have FR-S, iM, C-HR and Other. if you want to get a taste of non-aligned sound, set it to other. I had a Kenwood Excelon HU in a RAV4 before my 86 and after doing the time alignment and no EQ, the difference in sound between DSP On/Off is about the same as going from 86/Other in this car.

Honestly it's infuriating that Sony's XAV-AX____ units don't have time alignment, and it's the reason I don't have one. I'd love an AX5000, and it obviously CAN do it since it's got some "dynamic stage organizer" bullshit, but just removes manual control from the user. Even more frustrating is the fact that cheaper non-android auto units do it.
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:39 PM   #11
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After a bunch of non answers.

Yes it is.

If you go in the settings for car type, you'll have FR-S, iM, C-HR and Other. if you want to get a taste of non-aligned sound, set it to other. I had a Kenwood Excelon HU in a RAV4 before my 86 and after doing the time alignment and no EQ, the difference in sound between DSP On/Off is about the same as going from 86/Other in this car.

Honestly it's infuriating that Sony's XAV-AX____ units don't have time alignment, and it's the reason I don't have one. I'd love an AX5000, and it obviously CAN do it since it's got some "dynamic stage organizer" bullshit, but just removes manual control from the user. Even more frustrating is the fact that cheaper non-android auto units do it.
While the other answers were insightful, this simply answers my question without overcomplicating things.Thanks. Suppose I'll go check out those settings and see if it bothers me. Did you end up with any aftermarket unit then? I like the simplistic look of the Sony the best, but yeah sucks they don't have the option. Seems like Android units aren't the go to for an audio focus
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:21 PM   #12
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No aftermarket hu so far, I've been dealing with the stock radio and playing Spotify over Bluetooth like a peasant.

[edit]

Also, about doing time alignment with speaker distances, that's how I did it the first time with the kenwood in my RAV4 and the result was atrocious. I found that the easy way to get superb results was creating an audio track in audacity with a metronome tick. I'd use the fader and balance controls to work speakers in pairs and adjust the delay until the ticks were as sharp as could be at the driver's position.

Last edited by RZNT4R; 05-12-2019 at 06:56 AM.
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