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FOUR MASTER News

New FOUR Car Audio Site Launched

16th February 2015

A brand new website for customers old and new!
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Driving Sounds Issue V Coming Soon!

16th February 2015

New issue of the UK's only specialist car audio magazine is on its way.
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Downloadable Driving Sounds

26th November 2014

Download the entire current issue of Driving Sounds (4) for just £3.50.
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Latest Car Audio Article

Phasers On Stun

November 24, 2014

Phasers on Stun! This month’s final frontier is to the highly critical, planet phase. To kick off, we need to make sure you all understand how sound gets to your ears. Sound is basically the detection of movement of air entering our ears and creating sympathetic movement of the ear drum. The more violently the air is moved, the louder the sound and the more times per second that the air is moved backwards and forwards the higher the pitch of the sound we hear. All very simple if we strip away all the unnecessary scientific stuff going on!  The air movement is created by the cones of a loudspeaker moving forward and backward in response to an electrical stimulus. In the age of mono where a single point source generated the air movement, phase was not a particularly discernible issue but when stereo came along things went a bit phase critical. If you have two speakers generating air movement then they are going to affect each others ability to do this with absolute integrity. The best way to demonstrate this is to reverse the + and – connections on one of your speakers on your home stereo. Depending on

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Found in Space

October 15, 2014

Found in Space Look closely at the above image. Can you see a whole load of stars or just a vague homogenous glow? I hope it is the former as otherwise this entire post fails. Once more, I want to speak about separation in audio systems. This is a concept which many find extremely hard to grasp and is of total relevance as it is directly connected to the discernible difference between a good car audio system and a not so good one. But, rather than jumping in at the deep end as I am often accused of doing, I wanted to attempt to go back to first principles with the aid of a visual analogy of what I mean by “separation” and what it brings to audio pleasure. Much recorded music consists of a number of sounds, whether they be musical instruments, pieces of electronics or things being hit, blown, bowed or squeezed into making a noise. The combined effect of the hitting, blowing, bowing and squeezing should cause joy for the listener and can convey a story in the same way that words and pictures in a book or magazine do. However, unlike reading a book or enjoying

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16 bit vs 24 bit-depth audio

September 24, 2014

16 bit vs 24 bit-depth audio This topic is probably one of the most difficult to boil down for the lay person! Digital audio is a very complex and controversial business due to the apparent need to parameterise what is considered by many to be as psychological a phenomena as it is physics-based! An example of the battle digital audio pioneers still have on their hands is in the fact that continued AB testing of “golden-eared” luminaries still points to the possibility that although the limit of human hearing in terms of frequency response is scientifically proven to be around 20kHz, that analogue systems which will produce in some cases up to 50kHz sound better! It is necessary to put such unknowns to one side however, and have a pragmatic explanation as to why increasing the number of bits from 16 to 24 in a digital system is or could be desirable and the real world affect this can have on listening pleasure. Digital anything is all about the maths (note the “s” proudly displayed on the end of this word!) Digital signal manipulation is especially so and this can be quite handy in comparing parameters. As you will probably

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Parametric vs Graphic – Equalisation with knobs on!

August 26, 2014

Already struggling with terminology? For those who are, I will start by telling you that “equalisation” is simply a posh term for tone control. Sometimes these appear as bass and treble on audio equipment but in a car, this is never adequate in order to tailor sound to match the listening environment. Graphic Equalisers Since the early days of car audio, the graphic equaliser was the weapon of choice for those looking to “correct” the sound of their stereo and make it more palatable. The advantage it gives over a plain old tone control or bass and treble is that it offers adjustments at several specific frequencies. The number of specific frequencies is dependent upon how accurate the adjustment needs to be as well as the cost and size required to accommodate a control for each frequency.   The image above is of a 2-channel 31-band equaliser as you may find in a recording studio or more typically these days in a PA set up. each slider enables the user to boost or cut the level at one of 31 specific frequencies. This type of equaliser offers the user a graphical representation (frequency against level) of what adjustments have been

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The Length The Width And The Breadth Of Sound

July 16, 2014

The Length The Width And The Breadth Of Sound Human ears are wonderful things and when combined with the brain are capable of tremendously precise feats of perception. As hunter gatherers, our ears allowed us to hear our dinner moving about in the primeval forests we hunted and not only hear it, but analyse how big it was and which direction it was coming from or heading in. We can tell if a sound is above or below us as well as to the left or right or even behind. Our natural reaction is to turn and face a source of noise and it is no accident that when we go to hear music, we stand or sit facing the musicians. There are many facets of audio reproduction that can affect the resulting stereo “picture” or to be more inclusive, the sound stage. To explain this more fully, the reader ideally needs to go to a local jazz club or to watch an orchestra. Close your eyes and visualise where the sound of each instrument is coming from. When you listen to the same ensemble in your car the instruments should appear in those very same places. In the early

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