why is my engine and road noise swallowing all the bass/ midbass?


idkcaraudio

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 16, 2020
29
7
United States
So I just finished with upgrading the stereo in my car. I'm pleased with how easy it went considering this was the first time I've installed a sound system in a car, but I'm also kind of disappointed. The stereo sounds amazing when the engine is turned off and I'm sitting still. No exaggeration, it's no proper home stereo, but multiple times better than the old oem crap. However, as soon as I start driving, it's like someone turned my subwoofers off; it's almost like the engine noise is cancelling out the bass, and a lot of the clarity in the mid frequencies is lost. At freeway speeds, the stereo is only marginally better than the oem stereo. I'm sure a huge factor is that my car is a convertible and I'm running autocross tires, so road noise and wind noise is really high. I added sound dampening to all four doors; it didn't seem to make much of a difference when it came to drowning out road noise. The car is still really loud inside. I wouldn't really mind if it didn't completely ruin the sound of the stereo. I'm considering adding sound dampening also under the rear seats but I'm not sure how much of a difference it'll make. Any suggestions?
 

1aespinoza

Junior Member
May 22, 2013
339
100
Pharr, Texas
Any suggestions?
You have the convertible Mini Cooper with the soft top right. IIRC, you had to use your 6.5s as woofers. Small cone area with low power cannot defeat the flexing of the soft top. As soon as you start moving, the car is bouncing making that roof flex. It is like a super woofer cone against those 6.5s. And since those same 6.5s are providing voice, it suffers as well. With no room to spare your options are quite limited. I know someone suggested an amplified enclosure, that may be your best bet.
In retrospect, try mounting those 6.5s in a speaker baffle. About $12 at Autozone. It should keep them from overflexing by way of soft top.
 
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audiobaun

CarAudio.com Veteran
Jun 28, 2011
10,546
247
USA
It would help by deadening the entire flooring as well as much of the cabin as possible.The baffles for the 6.5s I would get the plastic and drill a small hole for moisture drainage rather than the foam ones. I have dual flowmaters on my truck and have deadened my entire cabin and flooring and sealed off all my rear windows and at 75mph, I can whisper to my passenger and both can hear just fine.may even consider buying a Hard Top in the Future to help. As stated.. That Bazooka would be ideal for some substage. I recommended due to space but Hell, you have a convert. vehicle, and these are used in Boats as well the Marine version?? If you can fit an 8 in there the better for few $ more. But this 6 will give you some bass too. I ran 4- 8250 8s that I had from two different work vehicles in a hatch back 93 Integra for a bit and got down pretty good



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idkcaraudio

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 16, 2020
29
7
United States
You have the convertible Mini Cooper with the soft top right. IIRC, you had to use your 6.5s as woofers. Small cone area with low power cannot defeat the flexing of the soft top. As soon as you start moving, the car is bouncing making that roof flex. It is like a super woofer cone against those 6.5s. And since those same 6.5s are providing voice, it suffers as well. With no room to spare your options are quite limited. I know someone suggested an amplified enclosure, that may be your best bet.
In retrospect, try mounting those 6.5s in a speaker baffle. About $12 at Autozone. It should keep them from overflexing by way of soft top.
Yes, I do have a soft top mini and I'm using the 6.5 woofers. The speakers are already in a baffle actually from the factory, and the amp seems to have enough headroom so if I want bass on the freeway I can turn it up without it distorting, but that means I get an overwhelming amount of bass at lower speeds. I didn't notice this to be as much of an issue with the factory system, I'm not sure how they got around it. I do remember bass being very peaky in the oem system so maybe it was just less noticeable. It also surprises me how much quieter other convertibles are, so I'm not sure why mine is so loud. I drove my father's 2 series bmw for a day and it was ridiculously quiet on the freeway. I'm not sure how they got to that point but it was very impressive. It's atleast twice as quiet as my car inside at 80 mph. I think it came from the factory with sound deadening already installed, as I guess bmw is a luxury company now.
 
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idkcaraudio

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 16, 2020
29
7
United States
It would help by deadening the entire flooring as well as much of the cabin as possible.The baffles for the 6.5s I would get the plastic and drill a small hole for moisture drainage rather than the foam ones. I have dual flowmaters on my truck and have deadened my entire cabin and flooring and sealed off all my rear windows and at 75mph, I can whisper to my passenger and both can hear just fine.may even consider buying a Hard Top in the Future to help. As stated.. That Bazooka would be ideal for some substage. I recommended due to space but Hell, you have a convert. vehicle, and these are used in Boats as well the Marine version?? If you can fit an 8 in there the better for few $ more. But this 6 will give you some bass too. I ran 4- 8250 8s that I had from two different work vehicles in a hatch back 93 Integra for a bit and got down pretty good



Shop around for the 4th July Sales. may find them On Sale elsewhere
Unfortunately given how small my trunk is I can't even fit the 6 inch version of the Bazooka :( it's barely big enough for four backpacks. On the brightside, I don't think my woofers are "underpowered" even at freeway speeds. I can turn it up and get some decent bass for 6.5s at 80 mph, but that means the bass is overwhelming at lower city speeds. My main problem is as I speed up, even if the bass sounds full at lower speeds, it just disappears at higher speeds, and turning it up makes it alright on the freeway but muddy at lower speeds. My exhaust is quite drony also, I did a resonator delete on it. So I feel like this might also be affecting my bass because the woofers are in the rear of the car which also happens to be the droniest, noisiest part of the car I think, which is why I'm considering adding a lot of sound dampening in the back of the car. Would sound deadening the back and the floor be my best shot then?
 

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
527
92
United States
Sound deadening is the obvious solution for most vehicles, but with a convertible you're going to reach diminishing returns much quicker. You'll never get it to sound good next to a guard rail, curb, or building, but my order for killing exhaust sound would be first address the exhaust itself if you can find an alternative muffler or more quiet solution. Then use CLD and CCF on the bare trunk ground and CLD, CCF, MLV, and CCD again on the underside of the carpet. From there you can address the wheel wells and trunk lid if it's not better but be careful not to expect too much. Similarly for road noise get your balancing and alignment taken care of first, then wheel wells, trunk, flooring, and doors.

Your easiest solution here might just be a bass knob if the difference in high volume w/ road noise and low volume w/o is too much to enjoy music with. Interestingly with an audiocontrol LOC you can address this more directly with bass at least, not so much midbass by increasing the bass restoration higher over a volume threshold. I don't know if there's any head units that address this automagically, it's rare to even find one that can adjust the volume to speed let alone the EQ.
 
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idkcaraudio

CarAudio.com Enthusiast
Jun 16, 2020
29
7
United States
Sound deadening is the obvious solution for most vehicles, but with a convertible you're going to reach diminishing returns much quicker. You'll never get it to sound good next to a guard rail, curb, or building, but my order for killing exhaust sound would be first address the exhaust itself if you can find an alternative muffler or more quiet solution. Then use CLD and CCF on the bare trunk ground and CLD, CCF, MLV, and CCD again on the underside of the carpet. From there you can address the wheel wells and trunk lid if it's not better but be careful not to expect too much. Similarly for road noise get your balancing and alignment taken care of first, then wheel wells, trunk, flooring, and doors.

Your easiest solution here might just be a bass knob if the difference in high volume w/ road noise and low volume w/o is too much to enjoy music with. Interestingly with an audiocontrol LOC you can address this more directly with bass at least, not so much midbass by increasing the bass restoration higher over a volume threshold. I don't know if there's any head units that address this automagically, it's rare to even find one that can adjust the volume to speed let alone the EQ.
Alright, thank you. :) Do you think there's anything I would be able to do about clarity? I feel like everything is muddied up at speed and I can't hear detail as well, is my best option for this also sound deadening?
 

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
527
92
United States
Alright, thank you. :) Do you think there's anything I would be able to do about clarity? I feel like everything is muddied up at speed and I can't hear detail as well, is my best option for this also sound deadening?
I'm not sure, but I'm inclined to think that 1aespinoza is correct about what's causing the muddled sound. Increasing the volume would improve clarity I'm sure, but I think you're just dealing with the effects of a soft top. The sound deadening would allow distortionless increases in volume, but if it's loud it's probably too loud, + volume is just going to hurt your hearing after a certain point.

As with other noise sources you address the source first, but I don't think there's any remotely cheap options for going from softop to hardtop, you may just be stuck with the issue unfortunately. The largest part of any system is the car itself, sometimes it's just not a proper match for quality audio. Maybe you could experiment with more or less slack on the fabric, stuff like that, but I think the force of the air at 70mph is going to do what it wants to do with any fabric.

Edit: This is all assuming that it's your soft top rippling rather than your exhaust that's causing the muddied response. The exhaust would benefit from sound deadening, but the soft top is a whole other potential issue.
 
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1aespinoza

Junior Member
May 22, 2013
339
100
Pharr, Texas
I get an overwhelming amount of bass at lower speeds. I didn't notice this to be as much of an issue with the factory system
Upon further reflection I am incilned to say that you are probably correct. Your muffler is acting as a noise canceling device which changes frequency as your revs move, hence the loss of details in your system.
Like Lasherz advised, sound deadening or muffler adjustment may be your solution.
Now as for the oem system, it was probably programmed to adjust bass and volume in sync with engine revs or cabin noise.
 
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Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
527
92
United States
Upon further reflection I am incilned to say that you are probably correct. Your muffler is acting as a noise canceling device which changes frequency as your revs move, hence the loss of details in your system.
Like Lasherz advised, sound deadening or muffler adjustment may be your solution.
Now as for the oem system, it was probably programmed to adjust bass and volume in sync with engine revs or cabin noise.
Yeah, most likely the OEM one was defaulted to adjust volume by speed and potentially ANC played a large role in it.

The moment you go aftermarket with an amp or a head unit you sacrifice your active noise cancellation and so your car gets "louder."

The BMW likely has sound deadener or at least superior decoupling along the exhaust run and a more silent exhaust. They also have full donut shapes around the wheel well with frame metal whereas most cars have gaping holes if you take off the liner. Their noise deadening can be improved, but especially when you add in ANC it's very quiet stock.
 

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