Monday, May 11, 2015

Maximizing Speaker Performance with the 7-Band Equalizer

The 7-Band Equalizer works just like the sliders
found on stereo systems to maximize speaker performance.
It's easy to get great sound from any speaker using the 7-Band Equalizer (EQ) feature in Tsunami and Econami digital sound decoders.

The EQ is controlled by eight Configuration Variables (CVs), which allow you to cut or boost frequency ranges to maximize speaker performance. Some CV adjustments are obvious (e.g., cutting frequencies not within the speaker’s range), while others can be tuned to your personal preference. Frequency ranges for SoundTraxx speakers are available on our "Speakers" page.

The Equalizer Control Register CV (CV 153 in Tsunami, CV 225 in Econami) allows you to select preset cut/boost levels configured for various speaker sizes and types, or enable the user-adjustable setting. There are seven associated CVs (all defaulted to 128) that act as sliders to boost or cut corresponding frequency ranges (CVs 154-160 in Tsunami, CVs 226-232 in Econami). Values from 0 to 127 reduce the output from -12 decibels (dB) to 0dB, and values from 128 to 255 increase the output from 0dB to +12dB.

Adjusting these frequencies will provide the ultimate tone control and help you get the most out of the speaker’s strengths.

Tsunami and 35mm x 16mm Speaker EQ Setting Example

Tsunami 7-Band Equalizer CV Adjustments 
For this example, we'll use Tsunami and our popular 35mm x 16mm speaker. First, enable the user-adjustable EQ by setting CV 153 to 7. CV 154 controls the 62Hz frequency band, which is too low for this speaker to physically reproduce (its lowest frequency is 250Hz). Set this CV to 0 so the speaker will not cause any distortion. Likewise, CV 155 controls a frequency that is too low for this speaker (125Hz), so also set it to a value of 0. CV 156 controls the 250Hz frequency band, which is the starting threshold of the speaker’s capabilities. You can boost this a small amount, so set CV 156 to 175. The rest of the CVs (157-160) are in the speaker’s frequency range as well. We suggest starting with the following values and then altering them to your preference: CV 157 = 200; CV 158 = 225; CV 159 = 200; and CV 160 = 185). Try different settings and listen for what sounds best to you. Record your changes so you don’t forget the settings you liked.

Recommended EQ CV Values for SoundTraxx Tsunami Decoder and 35mm x 16mm Speaker
  • CV 153: 7
  • CV 154: 0
  • CV 155: 0
  • CV 156: 175
  • CV 157: 200
  • CV 158: 225
  • CV 159: 200
  • CV 160: 185
  • Note: You may adjust CVs 156-160 to your personal preference.

For more information regarding the EQ, refer to the user's guides on our "Manuals" page. Our “Sound Primer” also details the science behind sound and has tips for speaker installation. You can also watch our EQ demonstration video: