Tag: Amplifier

Shopping for an Amp Kit

When shopping to upgrade your factory radio system you’ll most likely start off with choosing a head unit. Then will come the time to look for some speakers, maybe a subwoofer or amplifier. For ANY stereo installation that involves an amplifier, you will need an amp kit. You may think, “I don’t know anything about this, how do I know what to get!” Worry not! Sonic Electronix not only has have several resources to help but this is why I am writing to you today.

So, let’s talk a bit about how to choose the proper kit for your setup, shall we?

Most commonly used sized wire for powering car amplifiers is 8 gauge or 4 gauge. Due to the high current demands, a car amplifier needs large power wires to get the energy it needs from the battery to operate correctly. Depending on the wattage of your amplifier (which you should know after buying it) you pick the gauge of wire that you need in the amplifier kit. To figure out the correct size wire you need for your application, visit our knowledge base to read our article on the gauges of wire you will need.

Complete 2-Channel Amplifier Install Kit

A complete amp kit has everything you need to install your amp to your aftermarket head unit such as speaker wire, power wire, RCA cables, remote turn-on wire, fuse holders, etc. These are usually the ones to go with for the easiest installation. If you already have speaker wire for example and you only need power wire and interconnects, the Power kit would be the one to choose.

The Power Kit or Multiple Amp Kit included accessories differ.

Amplifier Power Kits come with only the wiring for powering an amplifier and allow you to select the grade of RCA interconnects that you would want for the install.  Multiple amp kits are made for more than one amplifier to be set up to the stereo, hence the kit title. These can be complete kits or power kits and usually include a distribution block and additional wiring to install more than one amp. For the case of two amplifiers, rather than running 2 heavy gauge wires throughout your vehicle, you can run a single wire to the distribution block in the rear which will split it into two smaller gauge wires for each amplifier.

So there you have it. First and foremost check the wattage for your amplifier and choose the proper gauge wire. For additional information on installations, shopping for the proper equipment, etc., see our Sonic Knowledge Base, YouTube Channel or other Blogs.

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MB Quart Reference MYKRO Amplifiers

MB Quart RM10001

New to the 2013 Lineup is the brand new MB Quart Reference lineup – the Reference MYKRO. This is the first time the folks at MB Quart have gone with a full-range Class D Design. They are CEA-Compliant amplifiers designed to offer a small, compact install; but still retain big, heavy output.

MB Quart RM440.4

The new MB Quart Reference MYKRO amplifiers are
available in a 4-channel, 5-channel, and a monoblock configuration. All of them use Class D technology, and the four and five channel are both full-range Class D amps.

The new MB Quart Reference MYKRO amplifiers are available in a 4-channel, 5-channel, and a monoblock configuration. All of them use Class D technology, and the four and five channel are both full-range Class D amps.

Each amplifier has a Q-Stasis pre-amplifier circuitry stage. This circuitry rejects noise and assures that clean signal is introduced into the amplifier circuitry. The signal that comes into the amplifier from the source unit can vary widely and depending on the length of the RCA cable, there is a nerly certain chance f noise being injected into that signal wire. Signal from a head unit can be as low as 2 volts and as high as 8 volts. It is critical that an amplifier be able to balance this input signal without allowing noise into the circuit. The Q-Stasis Pre Amplifier Stage keeps the signal in balanced, quiet, and ready for the amplification circuit.

These amps are the definite choice for those limited with space in their installation, but still want have a clean, powerful amplifier. The Hybrid Class D topology is designed for a small footprint, but has exceptional sound quality.
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2008 Scosche Subaru STI At CES 2013

I don’t know about you guys, but I like to go fast. However, there is one thing I like more than going fast: Going fast with lots of bass. This year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Scosche came out strong with a fully loaded 2008 Subaru STI Hatchback with an impressive audio system that caught the eyes of many.

It is fully equipped with two 10″ HD subwoofers with an impressive custom enclosure.  It also has 5 sets of HD Series speakers powered by three HDA8004 four-channel amplifiers and two HDA8002 two-channel amplifiers for the subs. To top it off, there is a car stereo with wireless app control and a convenient custom iPad mount in the trunk strategically located with the subs and amps.

Audio upgrades aren’t the only thing present on this all-wheel drive beauty.  It comes complete with upgraded upholstery, surf rack, and carbon fiber lip kit.  Performance parts are plentiful with performance exhaust, cold air intake, coil overs and a sway bar. This would be quite a car to own.

As an added bonus, the folks at Scosche used hyperflex accumat to sound dampen areas such as door panels resulting in drastically reduced outside noise from the road and engine.  This tricked out subby is completely capable of handling extreme weather conditions and anyone would be satisfied with the level of sound quality the system provides.  This is just one of the many specticals to be discovered the year’s biggest electronics expo.  Stay tuned for more coverage of CES 2013!

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Everything to Know About Fuses

Don’t Refuse the Fuse!

ATC Fuse

ATC Fuse

We’ve all heard of them but few people actually understand how they work.  Fuses are an absolutely essential part of any car audio system.  You can think of them as pawns in a chess game since they act as sacrificial tools in order to protect your amplifier or battery (your King and Queen).  They are low resistance and provide over current protection.  Basically inside a fuse, there is a thin metal strip and depending on the fuse rating it will be thinner or thicker.  If there is excessive current the fuse will blow the metal strip and interrupt the electrical circuit in order to prevent overheating or catching on fire. 

ANL Fuse

ANL Fuse

AGU Fuse

AGU Fuse

There are many different type of fuses but some are more popular than others.  The first to mention is ANL/AFS fuses.  Mini ANL and AFS are basically the same thing with their wafer style design.  These fuses are used in fuse holders and are run in-line between the battery and the amplifier.  Depending on the RMS wattage of your amplifier, you will require a different fuse rating.  Failure to use the right sized fuse will have dire consequences!  ANL fuses are larger and range from 100 to 300 amps while AFS fuses are smaller ranging from 40 to 125.  Remember that ANL fuses have the highest capacity of any fuse type so these are ideal for high wattage systems.  Another type is ATC and ATM fuses which are used for your vehicles fuse box for applications such as your interior dome lights or headlights.

Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are an alternative to fuses

Then there are MAXI fuses which are essentially a larger version of the ATC fuse.  Last but not least is the AGU fuses which are glass tubes instead of bladed like all of the other ones listed.  AGU fuses are used for small to medium sized amps which range from 30 to 100 amps and are included with numerous amp kits.  Another alternative is using a circuit breaker which is unlike a fuse in that it does not need to be replaced.  Circuit breakers are simply reset either manually or automatically in order to continue normal operations.

Don’t be the person that decides to connect their amplifier straight to the battery without at fuse.  Not only will you destroy your system, but you’ll look like a noob!

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How to Properly Set Gain on Your Amplifier

Why Set Gain?

NVX JAD8004

NVX JAD8004

People end the lives of their subwoofers everyday and one of the most reoccurring reasons is due to improper gain settings on their amplifiers.  A majority of people mistake gain to be nothing more than a volume knob but that misconception can lead to horrific subwoofer murders.  Knowing exactly what gain is and how to set it will not only prevent your precious power-pushing woofers from meeting their maker, but will also give you the cleanest output possible.  Gain is basically defined as input sensitivity and is used for matching the output from different sources so that they reach optimal performance and minimal damage.  The main thing you are trying to avoid is clipping your signal. Clipping is the distortion that occurs when an amplifier is pushed beyond it’s limits.  At high volumes the music will sound muddy and will cause unpleasant sounds.  If you avoid clipping your signal,  then you will give both your amplifier and woofer a longer lease on life.

Procedure  

With all of that being said, here is a quick way to set your gain:

  • Insert a CD into your headunit that you know to be fairly loud.
  • Play a song and set the volume on your headunit to about 75%.
  • Set the gain all the way down and slowly raise until you experience clipping (audible distortion).
  • Once you reach the clipping point, set it back down so you no longer experience a clipped signal
  • The volume that your headunit was set at during this procedure is now your head unit’s MAX volume.  This is the loudest it will play without clipping and will sound good and clean if you have done it right.
JBL GTO-751EZ

JBL GTO-751EZ

Please note that this is not the most accurate way of doing this but it will get you very close.  If you’re looking to get the most absolutely accurate result then you’re going to want to use an Oscilloscope or Digital mutimeter.  Just make sure you know how to use them!  Another alternative is getting an amplifier such as the JBL GTO-751EZ which features gain LED indicators that will tell you if you signal is being clipped.  For a more in-depth analysis please read our knowledge base article here.

Have you guys ever experienced issues with your gain settings? Comment below and tell us about them!

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