Simple EQ Tips for Bikes

There are a few basic concepts to be aware of before setting your EQ that will get you better result much quicker than just playing with the EQ until you think it sounds better. 

Step 1. Get yourself a few good recordings.

Your selection of music should be dictated by particular aspects of the recording (wide range of bass tones, clear vocals .etc) that have nothing to with the type of music you like. Forget about your favorite artist or album for now. 

My recommendations for music tracks to use for tuning a bike system. You can use any number of services on your smartphone (such as iTunes) to download the following tracks.  

  • Billy Jean - Michael Jackson. This recording was done particularly well for many technical reasons. It's a great track to set your amplifier gains with due to the relatively high recording level and low distortion. The bass track in this recording is great for assessing the performance of your woofers and how well they are (or are not) working together. If you listen you will notice that the bass line goes up and down in frequencies giving you a wide range of bass tones. Most popular music will focus on just one bass note. That makes it really hard to tune a system that will sound great with a  variety of music. The hard drum strike in this song is a good one for identifying speakers that are out of phase (signal phase) with each other. I wrote an entire article about that topic that you should read and follow before attempting to set your EQ. You can find that article here. Now listen to how hard each drum strike sounds. Use the phase control to invert each set of speakers until you get the most impact from those drum strikes. A harder impact is indicative of proper phase alignment amongst your speakers. And is a great indicator that you are headed in the right direction. Beyond the Bass. There is more to this music track than just bass. Listen to Michaels voice. He should sound clear and focused. He should not sound distant and should not sound like he is singing into a coffee can. Most anyone from planet earth is familiar with this song and how it normally sounds. That makes this song a valuable tool when setting your system up. This track is also good for setting up tweeters and evaluating all of the highs. 
  • The Breakup Song - Greg Kihn Band. This song is another great recording that displays a very wide range of tones and vocals. I like to use this song mostly for equalizing vocals and setting amp gains. 
  • Anima - Bastian Bux. This is the go to track for bike systems with subwoofers. I really only use this track to setup subwoofers. Its a good track to use to make sure that your lid speakers are in phase with your subs. Its very apparent when that speaker phase relationship is correct or not when playing this track. 
  • Use any track that you are familiar with on a big sound system. Being familiar with how a track sounds is important. Getting a bad or mediocre music track to sound the way you want is not the goal here. That's a waste of your time and frustrations. And has nothing to do with properly tuning a sound system.