2014 Focus - Audio Levels since update

8-Channel Interactive Signal Processor w/ Integrated iDatalink Maestro Module
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perriinn
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:04 am

2014 Focus - Audio Levels since update

Post by perriinn » Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:10 am

I am just pasting what I sent to Rockford support as a reply to a previous support interaction as it is way too much that I don't want to type it up twice.

This has been a long involved process of troubleshooting and testing of the dsr1 and other components since I received the unit back and it was re-flashed with the newest firmware from both Rockford and I data link.  The initial problems I was having have been corrected with the newest updates.  The connection and unit lock up problems are 100% gone and the auxiliary input is now working correctly.  However, since that last update new issues arose or possibly were there to some extent but became worse.  I have spent a lot of time tuning the system, beginning with RTA analyzers and an oscilloscope to help set my base line and the adjust to my taste from there.  Before this last update, I had been able to find stable settings that I was about 90% happy with and just left alone but I would sometimes hear something that would sound off.  I would typically make a small adjustment and then it would be fine again.  It kind of seemed as if something would change slightly on its own as often it would be the same song I was happy with before, now had an odd bass hit or the highs seemed muddy.  I discounted this, figuring I was crazy since I could see none of the settings changed in the app.  This has gotten much worse after the last update and has taken me this long to figure out that it is in fact the DSR1 that is the cause.  I will go through the sequence that has led me to this conclusion but I warn, it will be rather long.
 
The first thing I noticed was that after updating my output levels were much higher than they were before.  One of the first things I did was adjust the front and rear speakers down 5db.  From there, I worked with adjusting on and off for a while but could never get anywhere close to happy especially with the bass.  The bass was much lower than it was and turning it up sometimes sounded distorted and occasionally cause the amp to cut out for a very short time, so short that i did not notice it at first as it (this was a 5 channel amp and only the bass channel would cut out) so I kept it down.  At this point, since I had been planning to add a second amp for the sub itself instead of using the 5 channel I decided to get it hooked up (already had it from a friend anyhow).  This next amp gave me a level remote to work with also and since I was having a hard time getting consistency I thought not using the dsr1 sub level may help. 
 
Since I was changing the amp and with the dramatic change in volume level from my highs, I thought it a decent idea to not use any of my stable presets from before the update.  Not wanting to do anything halfway, I flashed the system back to factory defaults intending to rebuild the entire profile from scratch to ensure nothing that shouldn't be there got carried over.  I checked everything with the oscilloscope for clipping then took all new RTA readings and built the new profile from there.  Once finished I did a final clipping check.
I worked with it for a few days with settings and I did get more bass at low levels, the other problems also got worse up to the point where I realized that the sub was blown.  Even the situation around the sub being blown was rather strange and I can go into more detail if needed but not sure it will provide any insight.  Once I got the new sub put in it made it obvious that it was part of the problem with how I could not get the system tuned to where I was happy (although fairly certain now that it was caused by these issues).  The bass was now deeper and clearer but still nowhere near the levels it had been prior to the update.  Not wanting to blow another sub, I became much more methodical and careful with my testing and this is where I started to look at the dsr1 but did not rule out the second amp yet.  The first thing I noticed was that the amp would cut out more often now.  I am really not sure of the exact sequence of tests at this point but with the amp turning off (not always at high levels) and just how it did not sound right at all, I thought it possible that there was an issue with it so this became a good time to move onto my plan b of getting the more powerful amp that I was thinking of getting. 
 
Once I hooked it up is when I realized that I really needed to thoroughly test with the assumption of the dsr1 being at least part of the cause.  I quickly found that with the amp not even having the gain turned up 1/8 of the way,  it would still cut out.  I have now been able to trace that issue back to the dsr1 and the punch eq.  Having the punch eq up to even 2 is more than any of the amps can handle with higher volume.  Having it at 5 would cause the amps to cut out at moderate to low volume levels.  I then started testing different settings with the oscilloscope directly connected from the dsr1 output and found it basically impossible to get the signal to not clip when using the punch eq settings at moderate boost.  So I now took that piece out of the equation and left it at 0.  No amp cut out issues now but even with the gain turned up on the amp, the bass levels are nowhere near what they should be or again even where they were with a less powerful amp before the update.
 
Here is where it begins to get interesting.  I have left my oscilloscope hooked up to the amp output to watch for clipping or any other information I could glean.  I have also been going back and forth between the same music in different genres attempting to get the tuning stable and every time I would sort of get close I would go to a different song or genre and I would be back at square one.  I had another person in the car with me today who has been interested in what I was setting up and as we were going through multiple songs I mentioned that even during the same song the bass would sound different and how frustrating it was as it seemed like it was almost changing on its own.  He also agreed that it sounded as if things were changing.  This realization and listening specifically for it with him over multiple songs gave me a few ideas of other things to try. 
 
First on my list was I wanted to try using an iPhone to connect and adjust some settings to see if there was any difference. There was one extremely interesting piece of data in the iPhone app that is not available in the android version.  Input level.  Also there are diagrams of the inputs when you open that page on the apple app which I believe are supposed to be on the config page of the android one where there is just a blank square.  This is now the part where I start having questions as they could lead to the root issue.  Starting with the diagram it showed rcas going into the dsr1 for the input.  Since I am running through the maestro is this just a default picture, does this indicate that it is using low level input or have no meaning at all?  Now what I think may be the more relevant piece, the input level.  How does this work?  Because when I was using the app, each time I went into that screen the level was different.  The level was bouncing from all the way down to all the way up and I was going in and out of the page within a short period of time and without changing anything.  At this point my guess is that it is intended to self-adjust based on some algorithm using the source audio.  With the earlier realization that I may not be crazy that things sounded different on their own and the input levels showing changes, I thought of a few more specific things I could try.  I started by hooking up the oscilloscope to the amp outputs and running through bass frequency test tones at high volume to identify if there was any clipping at the settings and levels I was using.  There was none and the tones produced solid, loud bass.  Pretty much what I would expect to hear from the equipment I have.  I then picked one song and in that song one specific area to focus on.  While watching the oscilloscope, I replayed that section multiple times.  The first time that section went by sounding ok and i saw no clipping.  I turned it down and restarted it, turning the music back up shortly after it started.  This time the most powerful frequency clipped.  Doing it the same way a few more times, it would clip sometimes and other times not.  I then tried it a couple more times where I turned the volume up shortly before the target area and there was no clipping.  The only variable during this time was the volume control of the radio and each time it was turned back to the same level.  I want to continue testing this more and try to pinpoint a few more things but I believe I came upon enough that pointed to where the issue may lie that this was a good time to get support involved. 
 
My current working theory at this point is that the input levels are constantly adjusting which is making it impossible to get consistent sound from the settings.  If the input levels have always worked this way, something in the last update made it exponentially more impactful (as i mentioned earlier, i have had issues being 100% satisfied with the settings but was able to get to a mostly stable spot where I could leave it and not adjust a setting for a week or maybe more).  Now if that change came about from a piece in the Rockford or I data link side, I have no guess but whatever it was also caused me to turn the levels of my door speakers down significantly and is probably making it so the punch eq cannot be turned up.  Another thing worth noting is that I was looking through the I data link forums and stumbled on a post that asked to put in the ability to adjust the input level so the user could turn the gain back down on the amp.  I have a feeling that at least that person may be also having problems based on this.

perriinn
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Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:04 am

Re: 2014 Focus - Audio Levels since update

Post by perriinn » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:25 pm

Any thoughts on this from support? Any further information I can provide or gather to assist?

Also, I thought of another symptom which I should have added after the post. The chimes, specifically from the backup sensors are extreamly loud for the first beep and then goes back to the standard set volume for the rest of the beeping. Then when it fades back to the music, the volume is much louder than where it is set and then drops to the initial listening level.

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