An important process in upgrading our clients’ motorcycle audio systems here at Sweet Sounds in Mankato is the Harley-Davidson radio flashing process. Failing to compensate for the factory equalization curves found in new Harley Boom! Box infotainment systems is a recipe for disaster. Even the best of our Focal speakers will sound horrible using the factory EQ curve. This article will explain the process we use to ensure that the Harley motorcycles we upgrade sound amazing.
The Factory Harley-Davidson Radio EQ
Out of the box, the most common Harley radio configuration includes a strange EQ curve with a dip at 5kHz and bumps at 80 and 400 Hz. If we install an amplifier and premium speakers on these bikes, this EQ curve makes the new, high-quality speakers sound terrible.
Using our AudioControl SA-3050A audio analyzer, we have documented each of the 13 different factory EQ curves, including their response with the bass and treble boosted and cut all the way. As you can see from the image, some differ by more than 24dB from top to bottom, and none sounds good once we upgrade your speakers for better performance and more volume capability.
After The Harley Davidson Radio Flashing Process
As you can see, once we reflash the radio, the frequency response is smooth and natural. Other than at the extreme ends of the audio spectrum, everything is within a 3dB window. For some of our more complex systems, we can combine one of the preset curves with bass and treble adjustments to create a system that sounds exactly the way the client wants with realistic tonal balance and smooth response.
What Happens If We Don’t Flash A Harley Radio
A lot of shops say you can get away with the factory tune. The biggest problem with the tune is the huge 15dB boost at 80Hz. Not only does it sound bad, but this boost, combined with a quality amplifier, can also overwork even the best speakers we offer. The factory tuning is designed for speakers that have trouble playing below 100Hz. When you boost those cheap speakers, they end up sounding, well, better than if you didn’t. Once we install a speaker that plays fine down to 60 or 70Hz, the boost simply isn’t required. Unless you want to invest in a dedicated digital signal processing, the Harley-Davidson radio flashing process is mandatory when upgrading these systems.
Radio Flashing Equipment
We have invested in dedicated equipment to reconfigure Harley radios. This hardware communicates with the factory radio through the CAN bus data network on 2014 and newer Road Glide, Street Glide and Electra Glide bikes. We can change the radio configuration to any of the 13 available options quickly and easily. Harley-Davidson dealers won’t make these changes, no matter how much you beg. We know, we’ve tried.
Upgrade the Stereo on Your Harley-Davidson at Sweet Sounds
If you are tired of the bad sound of your Harley stereo, drop by Sweet Sounds in Mankato and speak with a member of our sales team. We’d be happy to show you how we can design and install an audio system upgrade that will sound amazing even when you’re rolling down the Interstate. For more information, give us a call at 507-345-8863 or send us an e-mail using our contact page.