It … 7. 2. As an example, if the HU readout for volume goes to 35 as its maximum volume output and at a volume setting of 10 the system is VERY loud,  99% chance that the gains on the amplifiers (or signal processors in-between) are set too high (meaning – incorrectly!). All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. With the gain at B, the amp may be producing 100WRMS per channel. Otherwise, if the subwoofer overpowers the front stage, the bass will not blend in well and it will not sound that great. For example, an amplifier may produce only 100WRMS of power, beyond which it will clip. By reducing the gain setting, the amplifier will never reach clipping despite the volume control being turned up full. *HP = Highpass By using a HP filter to remove bass, it will greatly improve the power handling of the speaker and avoid over-excursion. If so, do NOT increase the gain on the front/rear amp channels but reduce the gain on the sub amp by turning it anticlockwise. The input “gain structure” of different manufacturer’s amps is…well different. Set the amp gain to minimum (all the way to the left) 5. ), Waveform Not Clipping (up to 2) and progressively more clipping (2-10). Even though an amplifier’s job is to “amplify” the signal, it’s only to increase the signal voltage, not to “color” it in any way. An example of underlapping would include a HP setting of 90Hz and a LP of 70Hz. However, if the subwoofer it drives has a power handling rating of 300WRMS, it will not be overpowered or at risk of seriously overheating. Therefore, you want full volume to be achieved when the volume control on the HU is full (100%) or as close to 100% as possible, the difference being where the signal distorts if it does so before the headunit reaches full volume. MEANS NOTHING WHEN SETTING UP INPUT SETTINGS!!!!! Set all headunit EQ settings and bass controls to 0. For example, if you have three speakers with resistance values of 4 Ohms, 6 Ohms, and 8 Ohms your total resistance wired in series would be 18 Ohms (4+6+8=18). The input gain control allows you to essentially match one piece of equipment to the other for ideal performance. This is a warning to back off or risk permanent damage! It is a common cause for burning out voice coils. Over-excursion of the cones of speakers and subwoofers from being pushed beyond their physical limits. 6. Although it’s a bit less obvious to identify clipping with the varying nature of music signals, by the time you DO hear clipping with the music signal it’s going to be severely distorted! When sound quality is a priority, I would suggest to start tuning the filters at fairly low points (some SQ cars have their subwoofer low passed below 50hz, some at 120 Hz!) The result of clipping is pretty obvious. What this all means is even IF you HU ‘s volume control goes up to say,”45” but the scope shows noticeable clipping at “37”, turning the volume control past this part (38,39,40,41, etc) is pure distortion and not good for the amplifier, system or speakers. As an example, consider three gain settings: A, B, C. A is ‘low’, B is ‘medium’ and C is ‘high’. This transition is typically sudden and harsh, but some amps have soft clipping, which is far less noticeable. To avoid overpowering speakers. Beyond this, the output signal becomes highly distorted, and is referred to as being ‘clipped’. It is simply ABUSE!!!! Turning down the gain means that the amplifier is not amplifying the signal coming in from the stereo head (the part m… Finally, realize that some CD recordings vary in quality. Turn the gain right down (full anticlockwise). The aim is to simply try out the various points and listen to what sounds the best. Secondly, it is important to set the high pass (on your front stage) and the low pass (on your subwoofer) filters correctly. For example, if the gain is set where the amp requires an input signal of 3V to produce full power but the HU only delivers 2V even at full volume, the amp will never reach full power. I'd purchased a DSO 112 O'scope which was en route when I asked. It’s bad all the way around. For example burned voice coils of speakers (typically subwoofers). Learn more... Singing in the car is likely the second most popular pastime while driving. On your stereo, if there is a crossover menu, you can set it to play full range if you have your amp crossovers set. It is NOT instantaneous damage!! The amplifier is usually an aftermarket part that is installed trunk of a car or the rear of a truck. Now you want to achieve some form of balance between all your speakers without the fronts, rears or subwoofer dominating the end result. This decreases the resistance of your system. In other words which is the 0.2 v setting and which is the 4 volt setting?? Therefore you can afford to set the filter at a lower point without delivering excessive low frequencies. 7. *EQ = Equalizer *HU = Headunit , the systems distorts quickly, eccessove hiss at higher levels (tell tale sign that gains are set TOO high)and the amplifier runs really HOT really FAST. Right?? Disconnect or disable the subwoofer when setting front and rear balance (i.e. This is a must, otherwise, car amp can catch fire. If an amp produces a maximum of 100 watts (RMS) per channel, increasing the gain will not yield more than this. The formula for finding total resistance of speakers wired in parallel is a little trickier. Do this more easily by using the ‘balance’ function to concentrate on one side at a time. Period. At the “minimum setting” – fully counter-clockwise, it has the MOST resistance, and at the “maximum setting” – fully clockwise, it has the LEAST resistance. You are aiming to have all the sound ‘appear’ to be from in front (like a concert). This is NOT caused by a “design” error, this is caused by abuse!! This article has been viewed 172,117 times. Gradually turn the gain upon your HU: keep going until you now hear distortion (the “clipped” waveform on the right side of the above sinewave waveform. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. Setting the amplifier's gain is an important step to achieve the most performance, as well to protect your equipment. Turn on all the units of your system. Typically speaker level inputs are higher voltage, but may also clip sooner depending on what IC “chip” amplifier is used to drive the output. You need to know WHERE your HU clips at, Note that clipping, per se, is not dangerous for the speaker. (read on). You want to perform these settings in an environment where loud music is not a nuisance. Other amplifiers feature a clipping warning system, which is commonly an LED warning light. Then adjust the balance in sound between front, rear and sub, which may require turning the gains ‘down’ for some amps (e.g. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. The actual crossover points, depends on how low your front stage can play, without distortion. Clipping occurs when an amplifier is pushed beyond its design limits; this limit is the maximum clean output power the amp can reliably produce. It takes a LOT of time and abuse to do this. Hi again Buck Thanks for that. Their rationale is that you’ve CHEATED them on the power they bought!!!! With that in mind, you want the quality of your music to be as good as it can be, right? % of people told us that this article helped them. In fact turning input gain “UP” causes more system noise..or HISS. you want it to sound as if all of the bass is coming from your front speakers, rather than noticing that it is coming from the subwoofer at the rear of the car). Note that if you can ‘hear’ a subwoofer’s location, it will be because the subwoofer is either reproducing higher frequencies or there are rattles and vibrations that localize it. Some is audible and this should always be considered ‘bad’, if not only to our ears, but also to the components. ANY voice coil that is “blackened” or burned has been thru intensive ABUSE. Below is a picture of a GOOD voice coil and a BURNT voice coil. By Larry Frederick and Friends. Clipping of the amplifier. Other schools of thought have been that you should always start your crossover at least one octave above the speaker’s Fs (Resonant frequency –or Fs). Well you already know what could happen, and it’s unlikely the results of added hiss, possible clipping, and overpowering can really help things. A HU with a higher voltage signal will require a low gain/sensitivity setting; if the HU only produces a low voltage signal, the amp would need to be more sensitive (read –have more GAIN) to produce the same power. Consider setting the HU sublevel control to about 1/3-1/2 (e.g. It may also ‘muddy’ their sound because they struggle to maintain the clarity of the higher frequencies whilst reproducing the midbass. The whole purpose of gain setting is to match the audio signal voltage output of a given headunit with a given amplifier. Again, play the CD and turn the HU volume to the level used to set the other gains. There’s no point having the amps reach full power with only 30% on the headunit dial where every little step produces a large volume difference. On your amp, set the LPF (low pass filter) to around 80 Hz, and if your amp has a subsonic knob, set it to 30 Hz. You can use these to easily switch between a clean and distorted tone, but without messing with your gain setting.