Browsing Archive October, 2011
If you are one of the many lovers of music who understand the importance of investing in a premium set of headphones, you may also consider investing in the missing piece of the puzzle to make your great headphones sound amazing.
Headphone amps aren’t just an expensive toy for eccentric audiophiles. Since the advent of the iPod and iPhone, the past decade has undergone a revolution in the way we experience music. We compile our own personal playlists and shuffle through life to our own soundtrack, and we make a very personalized statement with the way we experience our music.
A headphone amplifier is typically a class A transistor circuit amp, although they are sometimes vacuum tube driven amplifiers, that will enable you to get the absolute most out of your headphones. Your high-end headphones are designed to work in a very specific way, and unlike the white ear buds that came with your phone, the drivers in your high-end headphones are much larger and require much more power to reproduce all frequencies and perform to their max potential.
A high-end headphone amplifier like the Grado RA-1 uses a 32Ohm output impedance allowing you to make a great set of high-end headphones sound amazing all in one stylish and sexy package. This amp is also available in a portable version powered from two nine volt batteries.
Another use for a headphone amplifier is to allow multiple users to experience the same audio source all at once. Some times refered to as distribution amps, these devices are designed for music production but can be employed by any group of music lovers who all want to get the best possible sonic experience. The Presonus HP4 is the perfect way to pass the sound around, with four independent level controls the Hp4 gives you a ton of control.
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In this week’s What Amplifier Do I Need? we will be looking at JL Audio’s W3v3 Series Subwoofers. The W3v3 subwoofers are available in a 6.5”, 8”, 10”, 12”, and 13.5” size option that will satisfy any personal preference. The woofers range from 150W RMS to 600W RMS depending on the size of the woofer. JL Audio is known for manufacturing amazing drivers that are able to produce unsurpassed bass reproduction but even these amplifiers can’t power themselves up, they need the right amplifier to perform.
JL Audio XD200/2
If you are going to go with a JL Audio subwoofer might as well go with a JL Audio amplifier. The JL Audio XD200/2 is the perfect amplifier when wanting to get your feet a little wet. This amplifier works perfectly when wanting to amplify a single 6W3v3-8 or a single 8W3v3-4 subwoofer when bridging the 2-channels. The amplifier will put out 150W RMS at 8 ohms bridged or 200W RMS at 4 ohms bridged. There really is nothing better than a JL Audio amp, this amp will be extremely efficient and features technologies like Advanced Thermal Rollback in order to eliminated thermal shut-down events. The amp features low and high pass filters as well as noise killing differential-balanced inputs for clean and reliable power output.
The Alpine MRX-M50 is rated at 500W RMS @ 2 ohms, making it the perfect amplifier when wanting to run a 10W3v3-2, 12W3v3-2, or a 13W3v3-2 subwoofer. Its small design and both high-level and low-level inputs allow this amp to be installed in virtually any vehicle, not many other amplifiers can offer that. The amplifier also features a variable bass boost along with a low-pass filer and subsonic filter that will allow you to manipulate the frequencies to your personal taste. When purchasing an efficient sub like the W3v3 you need an amplifier that is just as reliable and also affordable.
Boston Acoustics GTA-100m
Boston Acoustic’s GTA-1000m monoblock amplifier is rated at 600W RMS @ 4 ohms. This amp will allow you to run a 10W3v3-4, 12W3v3-4, or 13W3v3-4 subwoofer to a final super efficient impedance of 4 ohms. This is going to give you the best performance, the amplifier won’t have to work as hard and draw less power for lower thermal output. The woofer will run more efficiently as well due to the constant supply of undisturbed power. The GTA-1000m features balanced asymmetrical inputs for noise cancellation and fully adjustable and selectable low and high-pass crossovers for complete customization of sound reproduction.
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Tweeters are loud speakers that are designed to reproduce high frequencies. In car audio, you will typically find tweeters either mounted coaxially in the middle of mid-range car speakers, or you will find them mounted individually in other locations throughout the vehicle. Component speakers will include a mid-range driver, a tweeter, and in most instances a crossover to filter lower frequencies from the tweeters to prevent damaging them.
Tweeter Styles and Designs
Car Tweeters come in many different sizes, depending on what range of music you are trying to reproduce. A one inch tweeter will usually reproduce notes between 5,000-22,000 Hz, which is the common spectrum of vocals, drum symbols, and guitars. These high frequency drivers come in designs such as Horn, Cone, Bullet, and most commonly Dome tweeters. A dome tweeter will have a very accurate reproduction of music just as the music producer had intended, while horn and bullet tweeters are designed to pierce through large sound pressure levels and be heard over the top of subwoofers and mid-drivers. People using horn tweeters are usually looking for volume out of their car audio system as opposed to a good quality setup.
Why Do You Need Tweeters?
Almost every standard sound system has a set or two of tweeters mounted in the doors, pillars, or coaxially with another speaker. They are very important for maintaining proper imagery and for adding the effect that a band is right in front of you playing each song. Without tweeters music will sound very muffled and bland, as if you were cupping your hands over your ears. If you don’t think you have tweeters in your vehicle currently, there is no need to worry. They can be added fairly easily and aren’t terribly expensive. Different materials that the tweeters are composed of will make your music sound slightly different, and it all depends on your taste. If you aren’t sure what to look for, go to your local car audio shop and listen to some soft material tweeters such as silk, as well as some brighter sounding materials such as aluminum with music you are familiar with. Check out our knowledge base articles “What Are Component Speakers?” and “What Are Coaxial Speakers?” for more information on the world of tweeters.
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The GoGo Tuners TT1 is a the handiest of the handy when it comes to guitar tuners. The TT1 clips right to the headstock of any guitar so its a hands free way to make sure you’re always in tune.
The TT1 checks your tuning in two unique ways. The first is using a highly sensitive internal microphone designed to be used with acoustic and hollowbody instruments. The second is the piezo pickup found in the clip of the tuner. The extremely sensitive clip “feels” the vibrations of the strings though the guitar rather than picking them up through the mic. This is a wonderful advantage when trying to tune during a noisy rehearsal session because unlike other tuners the TT1 doesn’t require a quiet environment to work. The pickup can simply feel if your guitar is in tune or not.
Another awesome feature of the TT1 is the color indication. The entire backlit screen of the tuner will light up green for in tune, and red for out of tune. This is great if you often play in dimly lit rooms unlike other tuners with simple lCD displays. The body of the TT1 is a smokin’ blaze orange as well so if you happen to set your tuner down on your amp or by your pedal board while playing in that dimly light room your eye is easily drown right back to it. This thing is hard to lose!
The GoGo Tuners TT1 features three 360 degree points of swivel so no matter where you place the tuner on youre instrument its easy to adjust for a clear line of sight to the screen.
There are several operation modes to choose from including chromatic mode, guitar, bass, violin, and viola. So no matter what your instrument this is the tuner for you.
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Here at Sonic Electronix we give our customer the option and opportunity to ask us questions regarding car audio. One of the most common questions that we receive is What Amplifier Do I Need? For the next couple of weeks we will be looking into some of our top rated woofers and we will be pairing them with the perfect amplifier to make your car audio system run efficiently and smoothly. This week we will be taking a look at Alpine Type-R Series Subwoofers.
Kicker’s ZX500.1 monoblock amplifier is the perfect choice when looking to amplify a single SWR-1043D or a single SWR-1243D Alpine subwoofer. The ZX500.1 has a power rating of 500W RMS at 2 ohms which is enough power to properly run any of those two subwoofers when wired in parallel to a final impedance of 2 ohms. The Kicker amp will actually exceed the rated power meaning you get more bang for your buck. The ZX500.1 features a tuned bass EQ, variable low-pass filter, and a subsonic filter for complete control of the sound reproduction. The amplifier is CEA-2006 compliant meaning you get the power you paid for and also features a high-density convection heat sink for extreme heat dissipation, allowing you to run the Type-R for long periods of time without losing efficiency.
Massive D 1200
Massive Audio’s D 1200 monoblock amplifier is the amplifier to go with when wanting to amplifier a single SWR-1023D or a single SWR-1223D Alpine subwoofer. These subwoofers can be wired individually to either a final impedance of 1 ohm when wired in parallel or 4 ohms when wired in series. The D 1200 will require you wire which ever subwoofer you go with to a final impedance of 1 ohm. The amplifier offers a small chassis for convenient installation and a 6-way protection circuitry for complete protection of the car audio system. It also features an N-channel circuitry for high-efficiency eliminating clipping and cutting that usually occurs on less efficient amplifiers.
Polk Audio PA D1000.1
The Polk Audio PA D1000.1 will allow you to run the SWR-1023D or the SWR1223D to a final impedance of 4 ohms. This is the best way to go, the amplifier will run at the up most efficiency and so will the woofers. The PA D1000.1 can also be used if wanting to amplify two of these subs instead of just one; this will have to be done to a final impedance of 1 ohm on the amplifier. The amplifier features a variable bass boost, low-pass filter and subsonic filter for a custom sound reproduction. While the included wired remote bass level control adds convenience.
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