Jon Raymond Whitledge, President of Whitledge Designs, is a polymer scientist, engineer, and craftsman with over 30 years of industrial experience.
Whitledge Designs offers state-of-the-art tuning and fabrication services backed by a 100% money-back guarantee. Whitledge Designs guarantees to:
(a) provide optimum value solutions to meet the customer's objectives, and
(b) accurately define costs and timelines, and
(c) explain all options and the pros and cons of each, allowing the customer to decide which is best, and
(d) provide PROOF of excellence in the form of graphs, data, and diagrams.
So far, NO customer has requested a refund - in fact quite the opposite - many customers increase their business with Whitledge Designs.
Perhaps you're an experienced installer/tuner and you believe Whitledge Designs services offer minimal or no benefit to your application. Think again. Whitledge Designs has helped numerous competitors and installers over the years and the responses to Whitledge Design's know-how and services are universally the same - "Why don't they teach this stuff in commonly available courses taught by the best in the industry?" Whitledge Designs is not intimately familiar with the practices of certain "pros", but you can be certain of one thing. If any "pro" tunes your car only by ear, or in a matter of a only few hours using a computer-based measurement system, you may not be getting an optimized tune.
Over the years, patterns have emerged. Customers who come to Whitledge Designs generally have systems already designed and installed by others. Unfortunately, these customers feel their systems are not performing to their expectations. There are a number of possible reasons for this:
(a) Customers tend to impose unreasonable cost restrictions because they don't understand or appreciate the value of labor.
(b) Car stereo shops underestimate budgets and timelines, and under periods of stress, take shortcuts.
(c) Installers tend to be accomplished fabricators but lack sufficient knowledge of system design, acoustics, and tuning. They can build aesthetically pleasing systems but these systems lack solid foundations in loudspeaker transducer selection, power allocation, enclosure design, and system tuning.
(d) Some shops consider tuning a separate and additional expense. It's tough to sell tuning services because the customer is generally unaware of the difficulty or value of such services. Customers should be told that about 10-20% of the overall budget should be allocated for tuning.
Whitledge Designs particularly excels with new customers who have invested $30,000 to $50,000 in their systems who are dissatisfied with the outcome. Imagine their dilemma - they've "sunk" this much money into their system and they're still not satisfied. How do they pull themselves out of this situation? To whom do they turn for help? Who can they trust?
On multiple occasions, Whitledge Designs has saved customers from this dilemma. For usually no more than $4,000 or $5,000, or as little as 10% of the overall budget, these customers can go from despair to elation with the help of Whitledge Designs.
Admittedly, most car stereo enthusiasts don't have $50,000 systems. Whitledge Designs also helps those with "entry-level" systems valued at as little as $1,500. It's quite satisfying to help car stereo enthusiasts at this level, because everything is new to them, and a long and pleasurable journey into the realm of car stereo will likely begin. Again, the "20% rule" applies - so for about $300, or so, Whitledge Designs can optimize the performance of their system.
Sometimes customers already have a preferred shop and installer. Whitledge Designs encourages them to keep that relationship strong, and only provides help where needed, on an hourly consulting basis, for matters related to component selection, system architecture, and enclosure design. The final system tuning is then done by Whitledge Designs.
Through years of tuning experience, Whitledge Designs has developed a methodical approach to system tuning. The overall time required to tune a system is about three hours per loudspeaker transducer (or system of transducers). For example, a system with a three-way front stage and a subwoofer system, would require about 21 (twenty-one) hours to tune. In a likewise manner, a system with a two-way front stage and a subwoofer system would require about 15 hours to tune.
Why so much time? Consider the following tasks and deliverables:
(a) Impedance sweeps are run on all loudspeaker transducers to determine Fs (resonant frequency), and Qtc (damping factor at resonance). Graphs of the as-found condition are reported.
(b) If the Qtc of any enclosure is greater than 1.2, the process stops, and corrective action is implemented. Otherwise, the Qtc for each enclosure will be adjusted with stuffing in accordance with system goals. Generally a Qtc between 0.5 and 0.8 is desired. Left and right channels will be matched as close as possible. Graphs of the final result are provided.
(c) An oscilloscope is used to learn where the source unit and processor clip. Data is provided.
(d) An appropriate non-inductive dummy load resistor (usually about 4 Ω) is used to measure each amplifier(s) loudspeaker(s) output potential to determine the maximum permissible input sensitivity ("gain") to avoid clipping. Polarity is confirmed. Data is provided.
(e) Loudspeakers in enclosures are modeled using VituixCAD to estimate the optimum combination of power and crossover topology to avoid exceeding Xmax (linear excursion of loudspeaker transducer).
(f) Both electrical and acoustical crossover topologies are modeled for each driver, and all drivers collectively, and the frequency- and phase-optimized results are exported to FuzzMeasure Pro (loudspeaker measurement software).
(g) A frequency calibrated Earthworks M23 measurement microphone is positioned at the listening position.
(h) Each loudspeaker transducer (or system of transducers) is experimentally measured using swept sine waves from 1 Hz to 48 kHz. For each transducer (or system of transducers), the crossover topology (polarity, crossover point, and crossover slope) and equalization (parametric, as opposed to fixed 1/3-octave bands, is preferred) is optimized. All graphs of before and after frequency responses are provided as well as all settings.
(i) Each loudspeaker transducer (or system of transducers) is time-aligned for proper intra- and inter-channel integration. All graphs of before and after impulse responses are provided as well as all settings.
(j) The frequency responses of the loudspeaker transducers are measured individually, pairwise, and collectively, to assess proper integration. Graphs are provided.
(k) Critical listening using test tracks and music is performed and adjustments to the target curve(s) and/or inter-channel time alignment are made. Final graphs and final settings are documented.
Whitledge Designs provides customers with any level of involvement in the tuning process they desire. Customers have the following options:
(a) On-location tuning. Jon Whitledge will travel to the customer's facility and bring all the necessary equipment.
(b) Off-location tuning. The customer can send the vehicle to Whitledge Designs in San Diego for tuning.
(c) The customer also chooses the level of involvement desired. Some may choose to be entirely "hands-off", while others wish to be intimately involved. Either way, or some combination of both, works. Experience has shown that customers generally like to be intimately involved so they can see the process and the results first-hand. In doing so, customers develop an appreciation for the level of difficulty and the patience required to achieve optimal outcomes.
It is important to realize the tuning process is difficult, time-consuming, and in some cases exasperating. Cars are hostile acoustical environments and some problems simply can't be fixed, especially those related to the intrinsic acoustical nature of the car or the system and installation choices. The best that can be expected is optimization, not perfection.
Customers who have participated in the tuning process routinely suffered from an "emotional roller coaster ride" because measurements tend to give a brutally honest picture of the audio system and its inherent limitations. Almost always, when customers take their first listen after tuning, they are underwhelmed and they begin to question the process or lose faith. This is typical. However, with appropriate refinements to the system tune, disappointment turns into jubilation. Objective technical optimization typically requires subjective adjustments to achieve a lifelike sound. After all, a microphone is no replacement for two ears, a brain, and years of listening experience.
Whitledge Designs also specializes in state-of-the-art fabrication services. Within the mobile audio realm, Jon Whitledge possesses a unique combination of scientific, engineering, and craftsmanship capabilities.
The Magic Bus is substantially industrial in aesthetic appearance. It's a scientifically-designed musical reproduction instrument capable of enduring the rigors of travel, shows, and thousands of guests. Because of this, customers may get the wrong impression. They might think Whitledge Designs is incapable of "upscale automotive aesthetic", but nothing could be further from the truth. Whitledge Designs utilizes San Diego's finest automotive subcontractors for the best in paint and upholstery, in addition to the best machine shops for custom CAD/CAM work. Beautiful, exotic, or industrial - whatever is desired, Whitledge Designs can deliver.
The Magic Bus by Jon Raymond Whitledge