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Old 01-29-2013, 03:30 PM   #1
PTL5spd
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2012 focus SE - Stereo compression?

I have a 2012 focus SE with the standard radio. I have noticed that at moderate volume there is a very noticeable compression applied to the sound. I have turned off all audio processing and it is still there. At lower volumes it doesn't seem to be there, though I haven't tested this extensively.

Does anyone else have this issue? Is there anything I can do to disable this, or work around it? I was planning on installing some aftermarket speakers, but if I can't turn off this compression I'm not going to bother until I can fit an aftermarket head unit because it can be pretty annoying.

I'm not too knowledgeable when it comes to car audio, but I know the basics of audio from the studio side of things. Any help would be appreciated!


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Old 01-29-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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My SEL with the 10 speaker sony system doesn't compress anything at all until it's cranked all the way up (then it distorts).

Stupid question but are you sure your music files aren't compressed?
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:04 PM   #3
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I just checked, and no the audio files themselves have not been run through any sort of compression, and my iPhone does not have any sort of compressor/limiter/eq set on it. Everything sounds good through headphones or desktop speakers.

This is the base stereo, and it seems to only happen at the high end of the volume spectrum. When cruising I've usually got the system at about 10-18 (out of 30) but sometimes I like a little more volume and bump it up to 22-24. At this point it seems to hit some sort of limiter or compressor that tries to flatten out the volume. Do you think this may be a function of the amp itself, trying to protect speakers?
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTL5spd View Post
Do you think this may be a function of the amp itself, trying to protect speakers?
If the Ford engineers wanted to keep their jobs, yes - I presume so.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PTL5spd View Post
This is the base stereo, and it seems to only happen at the high end of the volume spectrum. When cruising I've usually got the system at about 10-18 (out of 30) but sometimes I like a little more volume and bump it up to 22-24. At this point it seems to hit some sort of limiter or compressor that tries to flatten out the volume. Do you think this may be a function of the amp itself, trying to protect speakers?
I don't know the specifics of your system but what you describe is not so uncommon, especially for class D amplifiers. Compression (limting) occurs to prevent (or at least minimize) clipping.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:17 PM   #6
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A lot of factory sound systems ala Bose will use variable compression on different frequencies at higher spl. The whole idea is to cut out, roll off the frequencies that will make the speaker(s) distort in an unwanted fashion. Bass, very low frequencies will be the first to go.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Take your bass down to -5 and see if you still get as much compression.

The reason I say that is that I installed a subwoofer, and the regular speaker bass sounds much better around -5 or -6. I used to have the same complaint you did, but it sounds better now. Plus, 22 to 24 is LOUD. Maybe your MP3 player has a different output, but that would be unpleasant with my setup.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Thank you all for your replies.

I now believe this is a protection mechanism, as that seems to be what most everyone here is saying. I will try to roll of the bass and see if there is still a lot of compression. I have the highs set at +7 and mids at +3 and bass -1 to counteract this very bass heavy system.

I just tried rolling off the bass and leaving the highs/mids near stock, and there is less compression but at the same time a little less volume. I will give this a test on my drive home to see how things work out.

and to Detonator555, yeah, 22-24 is pretty loud. After going out to the parking lot and testing my new settings, I am amazed I listened at that volume this morning. I'm guessing between the rain and rolling noise I didn't notice :D
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:59 PM   #9
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lol Blowing eardrums in 4,3,2,......
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:11 PM   #10
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Wow. I have my system set at 7-9, even on the highway =\. Source is iPhone, through bluetooth or through USB.

What's your source?
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