Car speaker tuning

Does anyone have any experience tuning car speakers?

It seems like the bass in my car is super duper boomy when playing EDM, but with other genres it’s anemic, even with songs that usually have pretty prominent bass tracks.

On top of that, upper midrange vocals seem to be completely obscured, especially at speed.

Me thinks it’s some form of “room gain” at the certain low frequencies you usually find in an EDM kick drum and the wubwubwub machine.

I’d that despite my many headphones and IEM’s, my car is probably the thing I listen to music on the most.
So if any of you lovely people have advice on where I can start, I’d really appreciate it.

If it helps, the car in question is a 2014 BMW 335i GT with the “upgraded” sound system. I believe it has a few more speakers than the base system and two subwoofers, one under each front seat along with a DSP setting that seems to widen the soundstage (which I prefer). The badge on the speakers says Harman Kardon iirc.


Good morning. Let me first ask what do you mean by “tuning”? An EQ can adjust certain frequencies but if you’re dealing with a stock or upgraded (still stock but slightly better speakers and amps), the only adjustments you can make would be dampening material added to doors and trunks. This would effect audio resonances at certain frequencies. You can also add foam baffle baskets (XTC is one company that comes to mind) to your mids because act like a foam speaker enclosure. I even heard of people adding them to subs that are used in a free air enclosure (using your trunk as a large sub enclosure). Doing a quick search on your car, instead of RCA’s, I see wiring harnesses. Not to sound mean, but you’re extremely limited on your options.

Is this your dream car? Do you plan on keeping it for a large number of years? If your answer is yes, my suggestion is scrap as much as you can (head units usually control air/heat and navigation and you might have to keep it) and replace everything. Go to a reputable car audio store (not Best Buy) and listen to a wide range of mid/tweet separates. Not all speakers are created equal. Ask the installer of the store about sub options. Sub size, enclosure type, single voice coil to dual voice coil. Amps and power requirements and if you want total control, a parametric equalizer. Sound Stream, AudioControl, Stillwater Designs (Kicker) are a few that come to mind. Cars are very imperfect environments for sound. Parametrics give you awesome control over very specific frequencies that need tuning. I remember Hifonics had an in-dash 3 band parametric/2 way crossover unit that gave you great control within arms reach (I think it was the Series VII Ceres).

This is a nasty rabbit hole you can fall down into. I am a recovering car audio addict. The money spent, the time cutting MDF, working out Theile Small specifications, Liquid Nails under your nails, dreaming about the clam shell design for the two Punch 10’s and leaving room to get to your spare tire in a 1986 Honda Civic hatchback. Using Kimber 8TC for your Bowers and Wilkens 5" mids and Madison 1" poly tweeters…I could on for days.

Long story short, you are very limited by what you can do. If this is not a car you will be keeping for years, I would live with what you have. If you love the car and want to take the plunge…do it right. Good luck

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Hmmm my 2017 7 has the harmans and they sound absolutely clear.

Besides that EQ on the car there isn’t much you can do and the car is so technology driven it would be difficult to do an internal tweak.

Not sure how long you had the car, or if you bought it used. But you may have damaged components from a previous owner who was using them over the top. I mean on my car and I love to listen at really high volumes and I can’t max out volume so there’s potential that someone or even you tried that and created the damage

Sorry if I repeated anything in the previous comment/reply, I didn’t read it

I’ve been always curious if we can have the car bass in a headphone/IEM. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Anything close to that experience?

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Doubt a cars bass, but I hear reviews raving about those sennheiser’s 300 and 900 hitting above there weight class in bass

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I thought the whole point of bass in car systems was to make it louder on the outside than it is in the inside …



That certainly seems to be the goal with most people out there.

Can speak from personal experience. The IE300 bass is great if you’re into that sort of thing. Oodles of kick and not too bad when it comes to control either.

I should clarify. They already sound great… Just, only most of the time. I’m looking into making the system more well rounded, which I’m quickly starting to realize may be a fool’s errand since the system is already so tightly integrated. Turning down the bass slider seems to do more good than any eq adjustments I could do.

This is exactly the information I need!
As far as available parameters (eq, dsp, speakers, amps etc…) I’m starting to realize I have less control over the sound than I thought I did.
Though I plan on keeping this car until either it or I can’t drive anymore, I think I’m going to forego any modifications for now. It sounds like the amount of effort and money that would be required to outfit it like a listening room would be vastly disproportionate to the amount of enjoyment I’d get.

My previous thought was essentially this;

  1. I love listening to music while driving
  2. I probably spend more time listening to music while driving than I do when I’m not driving.
  3. It doesn’t sound -exactly- how it feel I want it to sound

But there are a few good counterpoints;

  1. Wind and road noise would probably cover up anything I could gain in resolution and technical performance.
  2. It already sounds more than good enough to be enjoyable.
  3. I’m just not knowledgeable enough right now to be able to do anything significant anyways. (and I’m perfectly fine with that)

I really appreciate all your responses.
Here’s to enjoying the awesome stuff you have!


Not sure how you do your car set up, but if you want loud and clear my go to on any car has been bass 1/3 up mid 1/3 to 1/2 down and treble 2/3 up. Speakers set two** clicks to the rear pushing out more sound and it’s perfect if you want it really loud and clear.

Works on every car I’ve used from rentals to personal. Otherwise if you turn it up without those settings it sounds poopy