The best car for the car test?

VW Bug

I was talking via IM to “Raytrace” who’s name you see all over music tech social media sites. We were talking about checking our mixing in cars and he said that the Volkswagen Beetle is known to have the best shape for audio playback. I never heard that before but on the surface it makes sense. I guess if the circular interior walls are matched with a killer Blaupunkt system right?

Here’s my check the mix workflow:

  1. Adam P11A (nice monitors)
  2. Yamaha NS10M’s + Powerful Amp (harsh but acurite)
  3. Sony MDR-7506 headphones (loud cans)
  4. Apple iPod in-ear headphones
  5. Subaru Impreza (Japanese car)
  6. Nightclub Soundcheck

Remember to listen from other rooms from where the speakers are playing with the doors shut. The next door effect can point out too loud mix elements. Try mixing with a fan or noise in the room. Check mixes in loud cars (see above) and in parked cars. Remember to mix with fresh ears before any other music making.

photo credit: nitrox09

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

6 thoughts on “The best car for the car test?”

  1. My listening environments for songs in progress:

    laptop speakers
    20$ headphones
    a car with blown out speakers
    an old tube television
    a phone’s speakers

    And if, through all that it still sounds good? It’s gold.

  2. I cant remember where I read that about Beetles tbh, I think it was an interview with Mark Levinson or something about designing speaker systems for Lexus’ (Lexi?). Yeah I definitely love listening to music in cars, they’re perfect for blaring it as loud as you want. I would say maybe the Beetle was singled out because its one of the few remaining pre-war curvey shapes around to this day. Also maybe the fact that the engine is behind the back wheels means better sound for the driver and front passenger :) – although in fairness air-cooled boxer engines arent known for their quietness :D.
    My checklist of stuff I get to check my noises on are:
    KRK Rokit R6 (through KRK Ergo)
    BeyerDynamics DT-770 Pro (cans)
    System Audio 1530 floorstanders through ARCAM (Solo) Amp (I test a burnt 16-bit 44,100hz WAV CD on this)

    I’m now going to add this to my checklist-

    Streaming 320kps 48khz LAME MP3 to both 360 and PS3 (out through the ARCAM amp and SA1530s)

    1. Mine goes like this:

      Yamaha HS10s (With, then without BX105 SUB on)
      Alesis MK2s
      Yamaha DJM1000 Headphones
      Back to the Yamaha’s but in mono playback
      Car test in my 2004 F150
      Macbook speaker test

      i’m surprised no one has mentioned a mono playback test…or is it just assumed?

  3. yes mono is very important and tbh – I always forget it :o

    I try to make sure my bass is always in check by using OtiumFX Basslane at least though…

    I was thinking what would be cool would be to test it on radio by using one of those semi-illegal small range iPod to radio broadcast thingies that people used before cables were common for connecting the iPod. Id love to do that as I have a lovely Tivoli Audio radio which is mono and I could check stuff on that…

    I also check on my PCs BOSE 2.1 system, whose sound I really like, but is definitely overly round/warm in the bass frequencies, I figure if I can get any form of bass detail on them, I’m doing ok :D

    1. I never used to test in mono, but currently I’m routing my two pairs of monitors through a Mackie Big Knob which has a mono switch on it so it makes checking the mono signal very quick and easy….however more than once i’ve opened a project and been very confused as to why it sounds different than i remember it sounding, or why spacial effects arn’t working right, until i realise i’ve left the mono monitoring selected :O

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