Having gain in a crossover isn't necessary for good sound quality. So using test tones and listening to them through the car speakers does NOT damage the speakers? Eventually I moved back to Charlottesville, Virginia and opened a small demo recording studio. Most amplifiers have gain controls. Adding boost, at any frequency, after setting the gain, can make the amp clip, distorting the sound and endangering speakers and subs. This means that the triangle may produce an output level of maybe -40dBfs and the drums -1dBfs. For crossovers, many have a maximum output of zero or 'unity' gain. I don't detect distortion from my camry 2016 head unit even at full blast (with amp turned down) so I tune at 75% volume. My car has a stock head unit . This must be due to the low input impedance of the scope giving unrealistic output from the amp. For some people, not allowing their amplifiers to reach full power is a tragedy that rivals death. And thank you for the article. I followed your o-scope method to the tee. Back off the volume until the hum returns, and write down or mark the volume setting. The top is clipped (you can see the flattened top and bottom of the wave). Am I missing something? Eyvindur, A signal strength of 0 dB for analog and 0 dBFS for digital pretty much describe the same thing - the standard top line level (0.775 VAC for analog signals) used for electronic devices. Highly regulated power supplies, unregulated power supplies and loosely regulated power supplies have their advantages and disadvantages. If the pink noise is recorded at something less than the maximum possible (no points at or near 0dBfs), you'll need a disc with a sine signal at the point where you have the most boost (on the EQ or tone controls). Also if you know of a CD that has 0 Db test tones. This should still be unclipped for this head unit. My 2 ohm sub calls for 48 watts. Then you would play that tone and adjust the gains on the amp so that it doesn't clip at full volume. 4 channel pioneer GM D8604 You can download "0-dB" test tones for free from the internet - a web search will turn up a vast selection. Is simply rotating the gain knob to the voltage location that matches the head unit output voltage an accurate way to set it? Where is the best place to download dependable 0 Db test tones. Comments will display after being approved by our moderators. Also, the amp gains should be re-set after any EQ or tone adjustments are applied. If that's not possible (filters always on), then you'd start with high-pass filters set to their lowest frequency and the low-pass filters set to their highest frequency. ground is good from the amp to the frame. Of course, the width of the sine wave would also change during a real sweep. After me knowing about you for 40 yrs & never hearing anything negative, I knew what I bought would be good quality. Another complication that you might not be aware of is that the impedance of a speaker or sub changes with different frequencies, and its output power does as well. The gain setting for my amp to get 30V on my multimeter gives me about 80V on my scope. Strangely channels 1 and 2 show voltages of 17.5 and 16.5 even though I set them both to high pass at the same level (180 as per mfr). That explained some of the "extra" power. Turn the CD player up until the deck just starts to clip (while the scope is connected to the RCA outputs of the deck - you'll need a y-cable to make the connection) and back it down one or 2 steps. They also don't realize that every signal processor can't pass the same amount of signal without clipping. Turn the gains down to their minimum setting. Infiniti Convertible Stereos and Speakers. When a speaker gets replaced, then the gain should be re-set to ensure that the new speaker doesn't distort. Two hours later, my ears were still painfully ringing from the very high 8K Hz tone. This is why I buy my high end AV equipment from Crutchfield. Our Advisors test and install gear in their own vehicles. I want to say, in advance, that this was not a pleasant experience. Take note of the peak voltage (from the reference to the top of the waveform). In addition, I also have my HU's HPF set to 80hz with an -18db cutoff slope so they aren't even running "full range". Pick the tone with the lowest clean volume setting and play it again at that setting. How do you prevent the other speakers in the car from not playing the test tone? It didn’t "clip" at the top and bottom, it distorted in the middle. That's why I recommend using your ears to set an amplifier's gain, so you can hear distortion when it occurs. Play a 0dBfs test tone between 40 and 100hz with the volume and bass at their maximum settings. Plus, I don't usually listen to music full-blast for very long periods of time, so in real use, I would likely never be able to hear the difference. So once gains are set, do you then reduce the sub amp gain until it sounds matched with the lower power amplifier ? Play the pink noise and increase the gain on the highs amp just to the point where the amp starts to clip. If it's just another gain control then my inclination is to set it to the max and leave it there, setting the on amp dial to minimum and turning the on amp dial up until I find clipping, backing it off to the clean signal point and leave it there permanently. I'm a little confused and frustrated. Shannon, Thank you - it's heartening to hear that there are actual readers out there. I've heard clipping the sound will wreck your tweeters. Equalizers may (likely will) have the same gain controls as those found on a crossover but will also have controls for individual frequencies. But performance in the real world is affected by the acoustics of your car or home, your choice of amplification, and your source material. I'll let you in on a little writer's secret. HU - Pioneer AVH-1440NEX (No "Bass Boost" or eq boosts - HPF @80hz w/ -18db Cutoff slope) Thnx. Ray, There are a few short-falls to using multimeter readings to set gain, instead of your ears. Mixing differently voiced subs in a system together often results in less than-ideal-sounding bass. Completed our thorough in-house Advisor training, learning about the ins and outs of our various products, Stays up-to-date by attending vendor training sessions for new products, Earned MECP (Mobile Electronics Certified Professional) certification, Designed and organized Crutchfield's subwoofer wiring diagrams, Authored dozens of Crutchfield articles and hundreds of product presentations, primarily focused on car audio amplifiers and pro audio gear, Answers the many customer questions posted in the comments on his articles, Semi-retired soundman with decades of experience making other people sound good, From 1999 to 2018, also worked as a sidelines video camera grip for University of Virginia football and basketball games. A test tone is a single note played at a specific frequency, and is typically found on a level-setting disc, but can also be found online for downloading. Set the receiver's fade control all the way to the rear speakers. It lets you compare sonic characteristics between speakers so that you can make a more informed shopping decision. Try to find a setting that will work with most of the music you listen to. This would result in a calculated wattage about one-twentieth of the correct output power. Hi i have a rockford p3 2ohm dvc and a infinity 1600a monoblock amp push 600rms at 2ohm can u please tell were must i put the gain and also how big must my seald ancloser be it seems like mind is to small because when i turn my bass frequensy up i hear no deferents but when i had n ported enclosure i can hear the diferents in bass frequency when i turn it up. Again, turn the receiver's volume up to ¾ full and turn up the rear gain control of your amp until the music distorts, then turn it down so it plays clean again. Our Amplifier FAQ answers many common questions like: How can I add an amp to my system?

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