The intent of IASCA’s SQC, or Sound Quality Challenge, format and its rules is to provide a fair, fun and unbiased sound judging format , evaluating automotive sound systems in five critical areas of sound reproduction; Tonal Accuracy, Sound Stage, Imaging, Linearity and Absence of Noise. The main premise of evaluation is to Judge the system as it would be used in a real world application (the user driving down the road listening to the music). Certain classes are designed for vehicles that are not intended for road use, but that is the main premise.
It’s all about how well the sound system can reproduce the music… how realistic and natural it sounds…
There are seven Classes in SQC; Rookie, Amateur, Pro/Am, Pro, Ultimate, Expert Solo and Expert. The first four Classes (Rookie, Amateur, Pro/Am, Pro) are evaluated in what has become termed as “single seat” or “one seat” judging. The Ultimate and Expert Classes are evaluated in the “two seat” judging format, which is one judge in each front seat, while Expert Solo (a Class designed for single seat vehicles) is evaluated by two judges from the same seating position.
SQC judging is performed in two methods, one (1) seat (single seat) and two (2) seat. There are variations of each method, dependent on the class being Judged. The following outlines the general criteria used by Judges when evaluating a vehicle’s sound system:
- Judges will evaluate the sound system by the order of the criteria as they appear on the score sheet; 1-Tonal Accuracy & Spectral Balance, 2-Sound Stage, 3-Imaging, 4-Sound Linearity, 5-Absence of Noise.
- Sound judging for Tonal Accuracy, Sound Stage and Imaging will be performed at a system volume level between 80 and 90 dB. If the noise floor at an event is too high to properly Judge at 90 dB, the volume level will be adjusted up in 5dB increments to compensate. The volume level for judging will be set by the Judge using a portable SPL meter, establishing a consistent volume level of evaluation for each vehicle at an event.
- All sound judging will be performed from the forward most front seats in the vehicle. One seat judging evaluations will be performed from the driver’s side seat only. Two seat judging evaluations will be performed from both front seats, either with two Judges (one in each seat) or one Judge evaluating the system twice, once from each front seat. For single seat vehicles, two Judges will evaluate the system from the same seat, one after the other.
- Sound judging criteria is the same for all classes. Judging will be performed using the Official IASCA Sound Quality Reference CD, utilizing the specified tracks listed for each judging section of the sound rules.
- For systems without a CD player, an alternate source unit such as an iPod, MP3 player, memory card or flash drive may be used. It is the competitor’s responsibility to provide the Judge with the unit to be used; the Judge will upload the music from the IASCA Sound Quality Reference CD to the unit for judging, then delete the files once judging is completed.
- Judges will utilize the stage maps (as found in these rules) and track maps (In the CD liner notes) to determine some of the sound judging criteria, as required.