Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Car Stereo Volume

One day, I was curious about something. How high does the volume on my car stereo go?

I wasn't thinking so much in terms of "how loud can I get it to go"; I was actually thinking in terms of numbers. Normally I keep the volume somewhere between '4' and about '14', depending on what I'm listening to ('4' to '7' for CDs, '9' to '11' for music on the radio, '12' to '14' for talk radio). But how high does it go? Surely, there must be a maximum volume, right?

Well, to find out, I tuned it to a low volume radio station, rolled down the windows, and turned the volume up to the max and then back down really really quickly so as to not bust my eardrums, but long enough to find out what the maximum available setting is. Ideally, the thing to do would have been to insert a CD with a long silent stretch, skip to that part of the CD, and then perform the experiment, but I didn't feel like going to that much trouble.

So, anyway, it turns out the maximum volume setting on my car is 40. Woo. Not that I'll ever need to turn the radio that high, but it's good to know I could if I wanted to.

On Amber's car stereo - in which the volume increases much more rapidly with each tick, to the point where we almost never use a setting higher than '7' or '8' - the maximum is 34. Although it doesn't actually say '34', it just says 'MAX', and 'MAX' happens to be one tick above '33'. It's possible that '33' and 'MAX' are actually the same volume, and that the 'MAX' message that appears is really just the car telling me "33 is as high as it goes, sorry", but trying to determine if there's a difference between '33' and 'MAX' isn't something I was interested in doing. I think that decreasing the volume from 'MAX' resulted in a '33' setting, which would imply that 'MAX' was indeed '34', but I'd have to double check that.

But wait, there's more! Both Amber's car and my car feature speed-sensitive volume controls. The faster you go, the louder the volume on the stereo gets, to compensate for road noise; this way, you don't have to keep adjusting the volume when you stop and go. I think it's a great feature. But does this particular setting affect the max volume? Because '40' with speed-sensitive volume on is going to be a heck of a lot louder (in theory) than '40' with that setting off. So if you can crank it up to '40' with speed-sensitive volume off, maybe it only lets you go up to '30' with that setting on?

I didn't have a chance to test this in Amber's car, but in my car, the maximum is '40' regardless of the speed-sensitive volume setting. That means if I were interested in experiencing the true maximum volume of my car's stereo, the thing to do would be to turn the volume to 40, set the speed-sensitive volume setting to 'HIGH' ('LOW', 'MED', and 'OFF' are the other available settings), and drive as fast as I can! And wear earplugs, perhaps.


allen_t said...

When you get older you will need a setting of 45

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