Tag: subwoofer

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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Biggest and Baddest Amplifiers

If you’re the type of person who wants to fill your ear drums with gratuitous amounts of bass, then you’re going to need epic amounts of power to make it happen.  Here at Sonic we love power and carry a wide range of high wattage amplifiers that will give you enough power to destroy all that oppose you.  Just make sure that you use 0 gauge wire for all of these amps or you won’t get the full potential.

Precision Power PDX-10K

Precision Power PDX-10K

Precision Power PDX-10K

How does 10,000 watts of power sound to you? That’s exactly how much the PDX-10K puts out at .5 ohms.  This 2 foot long amplifier is accompanied by a variable subsonic and lowpass filter and comes with plexiglass and metal bottoms.  Additionally, its has dual speaker terminals that will simplify the connection of multiple subwoofers and a wired bass level control knob which can be placed strategically in your vehicle.  This amplifier is no laughing matter.

Lanzar OPTI7001D

Lanzar OPTI7001D

Lanzar OPTI7001D

Looking for gargantuan power on a budget?  Then Lanzar might be your calling card.  The new revamped Optidrive 7001D can achieve 7000 watts at .5 ohms which is ideal for two high powered dual 2 ohm subwoofers.  It features a heavy duty powder coated heatsink for maximum heat dissipation as well as a subsonic filter and 180 degree phase control.  With all of the versitility of this amp,  you have an amplifier that is ready to take on any challenge.

RE Audio MT10K

RE Audio MT10K

RE Audio MT10K

This beast of an amp will give you monstrous amounts of power.  To put it into perspective for you, it is able to achieve 7500 watts RMS at 1 ohm and requires not one but two 0 gauge power inputs in order to run properly.  You can power two RE Audio 15″ XXX15D4‘s without this amplifier breaking a sweat!  What more could you ask for?!  It is fully equipped with 180 degree phase, +18 dB bass boost, wired bass knob, and pre-amp outputs to daisy chain multiple amplifiers.  All of this makes the MT10K  the ultimate solution for car obliterating bass.

Keep in mind that all of these amplifiers are geared towards a more competition-based system.  Adding any of these amplifiers to your vehicle will require you to upgrade your battery and alternator as well.  However, if you’re up to the challenge, then pick up one of these amps and let your neighborhood know you mean business! You can’t have too much power!

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JBL MS-8 Sound Processor Overview

THE BEGINNING:

2008+ Mitsubishi Lancer Rockford Fosgate Amplified Sound System Diagram

When someone says to me, “Come check out my awesome sound system!” Deep down I sigh to myself knowing that they will have two subwoofers in the trunk powered by a no name amplifier as well as a cheap head unit. Sure enough, it’s just bass… sloppy and inaccurate but loud bass. If only they knew what amazing sound lay just on the horizon. They can have loud, deep bass but obtain quality with their current setup. Where are the mids and highs? How about accurate, punchy bass? Does no one want that live concert, movie theater type sound? I bought a new 2008+ Mitsubishi Lancer and wanted to get the best possible sound from my factory amplified sound system, I had decided to hold off on an entire system until the vehicle was paid off. The JBL MS-8 was rumored to rock socks off, so I pulled the trigger and purchased one. It would integrate with my factory amplified navigation and sound system nicely. The system is made up of the following:

  • Navigation Headunit
  • 8-Channel DSP Amplifier
  • Front 6.5″ Component Speakers
  • Rear Coaxial Speakers
  • Trunk Mounted 10″ Subwoofer

INSTALLATION:

I had to do quite a bit of research before the installation of the MS-8 because I wanted to be absolutely sure I was cutting into the correct wires of my factory amplified sound system, which looked like rainbow spaghetti. If I had a basic, non-amplified or aftermarket sound system, the installation would have been very easy and straightforward. I used the hi-level input and output of the MS-8, which were two wiring harnesses. The clearly labeled harnesses made it easy to crimp all of the wires together once I had the colors figured out. I connected the MS-8 to the output side of the factory amplifier between the amp and speakers themselves, it would utilize it’s own high quality built-in amplifier from now on. Installation was slightly more difficult than a regular amplifier, but only because of the factory wiring.

CALIBRATION:

The included LCD display and bi-aural microphone are used for setup, calibration, and tuning of the MS-8. It can be mounted anywhere within the vehicle or simply used once and then unplugged and stored. I opted to store the display once I finished using it, however I connect it often to make adjustments to the 31-band EQ or the listening position. You must tell the MS-8 what speakers are connected to each channel, so make sure to write them down ahead of time. I then had to set the crossover points for each speaker and was delighted that I had this kind of control of my system. However, I had no idea what crossover points the factory system’s speakers were set at and Rockford Fosgate wouldn’t reveal that information to me, trust me I asked. This was a big pain in my side, but crucial to getting the best sound. The first x-over points I selected made the MS-8 sound awful and muddy, so keep that in mind if you are un-happy with the outcome, just re-calibrate with new x-over points. Finally, I donned the bi-aural microphone headset like a champion and started the sound calibrations. The measurements will take about 5 minutes to complete at which point the unit will calculate the frequency response, level and arrival time for each of the 8 output channels. Finally, it auto-tunes the car using 48 measurements per seat, up to 4 seats total (driver, passenger, two rear seats). Impressive isn’t it? Just make sure no one sees you during calibration. Looking in all directions with the headset on and the car making tons of awkward beeping noises will leave people wondering.

THE DEFINING MOMENT:
When completed, the MS-8 was ready to output the optimized tune from all of its calibrations. I was immediately impressed. I could no longer pinpoint the individual speakers in my car, all I knew was that the sound was coming from the front dashboard and all around me. More than just raising the center stage, the MS-8’s quality amplifier brought out the little nuances in my music that I was never able to hear before from the stock amplifier. Cymbals sounded like they were crashing, the bass drum was punchy and even vocals were more human and sibilant. I turned the calibrations off to revert back to the factory sound output and felt disgusted that I had ever thought it was good, at which point I immediately turned the MS-8 back on. Had I spent the same amount of money on just upgrading my speakers and radio, I would have better quality sound from the individual speakers but without time alignment and staging, it’s almost pointless. Now that I have the MS-8, adding upgraded components will be a breeze and they will sound significantly better with the additional calibrations.

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Personal Review: Kicker ZX750.1 & Earthquake Subzero

Being an employee at Sonic Electronix,  it’s nearly impossible to avoid buying car audio equipment.  I for one could not resist the temptation.  I indulged in the Kicker ZX750.1 amplifier paired with the Earthquake Subzero SZ-10 subwoofer.  Im here to give you my honest opinion and review of my choice and maybe help you along the way in making a choice of your own!

Kicker ZX750.1 

Kicker ZX750.1

Kicker ZX750.1

First off lets start with the amplifier.  The ZX750.1 is the perfect match for my subzero.  This amplifier pumps out 750W RMS at a 2 ohm load, perfect for the Dual 4 ohm sub which wires to a final impedance of 2 ohms.  However, the birth sheet states over 900 watts RMS which my sub can scarf down with ease.  The amplifier’s chassis is compact enough to allow me to mount it on the sidewall of my small trunk, space is at a premium.  Tuning the amplifier was a breeze because it includes a low-pass crossover frequency selector, bass boost and gain adjustment.  While some people might find the simplistic design of a monoblock amplifier to be a bad thing, it made it easy for me to find the desired sound I was looking for right away.  I turned the gain 1/4 a turn to match the 2 volt output of my headunit so the signal won’t clip, meaning my bass will sound crystal clear with no pops, thumps or crackles even at high volume.  The amplifier dissipates heat very well, even after extended periods of brutal bass notes it was only warm to the touch. I can play sweet bassy songs all day long without this amplifier breaking a sweat which is good news when it comes to my addiction to bass.  I tried to come up with shortcomings for this amplifier but so far I’ve had no negative experiences.  It’s priced reasonably for the build quality and power output and has been quite reliable for the duration of ownership.  If anyone tries to tell you that Kicker amplifiers are garbage, don’t listen to them….just don’t.

Earthquake Subzero SZ-10

Earthquake Sound SZ-10

Earthquake Sound SZ-10

Now the fun part!  If you are unfamiliar with Earthquake Sound, you are probably not alone.  They are a brand that should be as well known as Kicker or JL because of their high quality system components.  The Subzero is one of their top of the line subwoofers and I decided to go with one of their 10″ versions.  You might be thinking that just one 10″ subwoofer will not produce the pounding bass that two average woofers could produce but you would be wrong my friend.  I have this in a 1.0 cubic foot sealed box which is not exactly ideal for maximizing bass output in comparison to a vented enclosure, but that is exactly what it does.  This sub is rated at 750W RMS and like I stated previously, im pushing over 900 watts to it so it pounds hard and loud.  Connecting this subwoofer to the amplifier was easy due to the PSP terminals on the Subzero which use fuses to give you different ohm loads.  This eliminates the use of pesky jumper cables between the terminals.  The only complaint that I have is that my car is falling apart from all of the bass rattling the screws right from their panels.  I need to sound dampen my car to reduce vibrations and rattling before it’s too late.  If you’re wondering, it does play every genre of music exceptionally well, from the low bass notes of E-40 to the soothing bass lines of Sublime.

Oh, did I mention that it has some serious excursion? If you don’t believe me, check out this video of my Subzero and amplifier in action.  Enjoy : )

Any comments or questions about my system? Comment below!

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Can-Am Spyder w/ Massive Audio Gear @ CES 2012

CAN-AM SPYDER W/ MASSIVE AUDIO GEAR

Massive Audio unleashed it’s bulk at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 by displaying a 2010 Cam-Am Spyder that they decked out with their audio gear. Beauty is more than skin deep as portrayed by the matte black finish which hides the inner audio components and upgraded engine parts. A custom built suspension system with prototype chrome swing arm could easily be seen glistening away under the lights at CES. LED encircled projector fog lights and headlights as well as wide swept fenders gave the already fierce Can-Am Spyder an even more aggressive look. We are glad Massive Audio got their speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers integrated into this beautiful vehicle, it seems more than fitting. You must be wondering what Massive put in the system? Good, wonder no more!

Three pairs of speakers and a subwoofer are easily seen on the outside of the vehicle while two amplifiers are less visible along the smooth exterior. Massive Audio RK6 speakers are lined up in the back running 120W RMS each side while providing great filler audio on the highway. In the center of the RK6 component speakers is the TW10 10″ Dual 4 ohm subwoofer with 500W RMS power handling which was punchy and accurate in it’s small enclosure. Up front were two pairs of CK 5 Stage III Component Speakers that also handle 120W RMS each side and were aimed directly at the driver for great sound imaging and staging. Powering the rear speakers and subwoofer is the new 2012 NX3 3-Channel power amplifier which output 240W RMS at 2 ohms for 2-channels and 600W RMS at 2 ohms for the sub channel. The amplifier uses a Class D and class A/B topology to keep the heat down but the quality up. Lastly, the Massive NX4 4-channel amplifier powered the front speakers effortlessly at 100W RMS each channel. An integrated iPad in the center controls the entire system giving you your entire music collection at the touch of your fingertip. A beautiful Can-Am Spyder combined with Massive Audio equipment was a big hit at CES 2012 and easy on the eyes and ears.

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