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Gain on my new subs.


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wretchedunloved 
Member - Posts: 29
Member spacespace
Joined: December 19, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 4:43 PM / IP Logged  

Alright, I finally got my new subs installed, but I'm kind of suprised/confused.   I got a Sony XM-2002GTR and a pair of Sony XS-L123P5's ( 12" ) which are installed via high-level inputs to a stock H/U in my 2001 Monte Carlo SS.

Now, I know I kind of asked this in my old thread, but I never meant to.  The forums were being kinda weird for me yesterday, and it was supposed to be a new topic, I didn't want to keep dragging that one up from the grave, so I'm going to see if this will start as a new topic, hopefully, since it's completely different questions in comparison to my first posts.  But, anyway!

I got my subs installed, and I went to set the gains... Wow.  I put on a trance CD, with some decently heavy, constant bass, and I couldn't get it to clip.  I went to about half way, then backed it down a bit because I was scared, I left it at 1/3 or so for the night.

Well, this morning, I went ahead and made a test CD, with 20-120hz tones, since my LPF is set at 140.  I turned my bass boost off, and started to set my gain at the lowest level.  I turned it up slowly, listening to a steady 110hz tone, and honestly, I could never tell when it would clip.  I got it all the way to 4/5's of the way to full, which is well into the low-level input gain settings, according to my manual.  All it did was get louder, it got to the point where I turned it down back to half way, just for the sake of the air in my lungs, which was being rattled around.

Am I just dumb, and not noticing when it's clipping on a steady tone?  I have it set now at just over half-way, and my speakers weren't acting funny, it just sounded LOUD.  Mind you, this is my very first amp and subs, so I don't have anything to compare it to.  The only other subs I ever heard in a car were my sisters, and that was well over 10 years ago.

Should 200 watts RMS per channel, into 350 watts RMS max speakers really be shaking my ribcage?  Or am I throwing it into clipping but not noticing?  Also, if I DO tune it to the point of clipping, then I turn down the bass on my H/U, will that stop the clipping?

I really wasn't expecting this kind of power out of this amp and subs, and I'm afraid of tearing something up.  Any tips or advice are appreciated!  Thank you!

-Travis

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2
stevdart 
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Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 5:33 PM / IP Logged  

You will hear a slight tone change and a somewhat noticeable click click click in the tone when it gets to the clipping point.  The thing to do is to set it at a comfortable level now...and then go through the gain-setting procedure again in a couple of days.  For one, you will have to start being comfortable with the louder SPL that you have now, and also that will give you time for relaxing and making sure everything is set up correctly.  It's not uncommon (in a DIY install) to go through the gain-setting a couple of times to be sure it's okay.

Leave the bass setting at flat on the head unit.  There is no reason at all to turn it up, but turning it down may be necessary with various sources.  Adjust the amp gain while it is at the flat level.  Since lowering it from flat decreases the signal of that frequency range, then yes, that manuever can (but not always) stop the amplifier clipping.  You don't want that to be the case, though.  You want to be able to fine-adjust the deck without sending too much signal to the amplifier.  A sine wave test tone recorded at 0 db is as strong of a signal as you are ever likely to feed the amp, so setting gains with the test tones is the best approach. 

And be sure you've double-checked the volume level of the deck first, for highest clean output level.  Use the tones for that, as well.

Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.
wretchedunloved 
Member - Posts: 29
Member spacespace
Joined: December 19, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 6:41 PM / IP Logged  

Ahh, thank you.  My problem is that there are slight sounds, other than the actual tone coming out of my speakers.  But it's like a buzzing of some kind, I believe it is something in the frame of my car rattling a bit though, because it doesn't really get louder as I turn up the volume, it stays steady, like my rattling license plate.  Though, I'm going to fix my license plate soon.

Is it normal for 200WRMS per channel to a pair of 12's to make your ribcage rattle?  I wasn't expecting that kind of power at all, which is why I am afraid I am clipping it, but I'm pretty sure I'm not.  Wouldn't the clipping have to be pretty bad for 200WRMS to blow 350WRMS subs?

Thank you very much for the response, I'm keep the bass on the H/U down a little, and I'll recheck my gains in a day or two.

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2
stevdart 
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Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 7:05 PM / IP Logged  

You can ruin your subs with just the slightest amount of clipping, at extended high volumes.  Don't look at that 350 WRMS rating as being "out of reach" of danger.

Ascertain that rattles and sounds that are heard are, in fact, NOT coming from the subs.  Take the time to damp the vehicle's sheet metal until you can hear subs...not car noise.  You will be in a better position for proper "listening-type" gain setting once this is achieved.

400 watts into two subs should be loud, yes.  It's always startling and exciting on the first setup, and then later you become a lot more critical.  It is then that you become more cognizant of extraneous sounds and do what is necessary to quiet them.

Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.
wretchedunloved 
Member - Posts: 29
Member spacespace
Joined: December 19, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 7:13 PM / IP Logged  

Yeah, I think that's part of my problem.  I'm going to go check it out a little bit before it gets too late and my neighbors set me on fire or something.  I'll come back and see if I can give a better description of how it sounds.  I really appreciate all the help.  And I do think part of my problem is that this is my first set of subs, whether in house or in my car, so I'm comparing it to the 6x9's that are in my car and going 'wow, this is awesome' which is kinda throwing off my ability to tell how it sounds a bit, if that makes sense.

I'll go play with it for a minute and see if I can give a better description.

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2
wretchedunloved 
Member - Posts: 29
Member spacespace
Joined: December 19, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 7:36 PM / IP Logged  

Alright, well, I tested again... Playing a 110hz sine wave, recorded at 0dB's.  I turned it all the way as low as it goes (6v) and slowly turned it up, I could honestly not notice a quality drop, and I got it 3/4 of the way up (Somewhere around 1.5v) which is still in the range of "high level inputs" according to my manual.  I actually knocked it down to just over half way, at 2v, and at this point, 0 bass boost, inside my car, with the H/U bass at control at +0, certain songs are knocking the air in my lungs around.  It really doesn't sound clipped at all to me, bass drum hits sound pure and clean, as far as I can tell.

Does this seem right?  I know you can't tell for sure without actually seeing the setup and hearing it for yourself, but does anything seem askew here?  It sounds awesome, and all the stuff I read about Sony had my hopes way down while I was waiting for the stuff to arrive, I was afraid I'd be straining to hear the bass, as I haven't heard anything good about Sony from these forums, really.

As far as the noise I was hearing, it's pretty distinct when you listen for it.  With the trunk open, I can hear a rattling/clicking noise, but it comes from the very far right corner of my trunk, somewhere under the carpeting.  I can't hear the noise outside the car, I kneeled down and listened under it a bit, and also near the wheel well, but I just can't hear that one outside the car, just with my head inside the trunk, listening to the corner of my trunk.  It's 100% gone when I close the trunk, or just step back a couple feet, and like I said, it sounds like it's coming from under the carpet on the opposite side of my trunk from where my box is mounted, and it's only in one corner of my trunk.

I also heard my license plate rattling, which I'll try to fix tomorrow, and if I crank up the volume, my actual trunk lid seems to vibrate against the latch, but that's it.  Inside my car, the music sounds amazing, some songs I turn the bass down on the H/U, just for the sake of hearing notes above 120hz, because my inside speakers are still stock, so they can't really hold their own against my new amp.

I don't think it's clipping now that I've listened again, but any tips or suggestions would be awesome, thank you!

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2
stevdart 
Platinum - Posts: 5,816
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Posted: December 28, 2006 at 10:05 PM / IP Logged  

Yes, from where I sit it seems right to me.  Just as a note:  when you get the gain into clipping levels, the sound pressure level doesn't seem to keep increasing as much as it starts to sound different.  Just keep at it for a few more times as you make advancements with the noise damping in the car.  You seem to be on the right track.  You might also try a tone at 50 Hz, as this frequency can often be the telltale loudest sound in a vehicle.  Some cotton balls stuffed in your ears will go a long way in keeping your hearing intact;  sine wave tones will fry voice coils if played too long, you'll smell the burning odor.  Let your hearing normalize for a day, use the hearing protection and try it again.

And BTW, you can always take off the license plate for this critical listening procedure.

Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.
wretchedunloved 
Member - Posts: 29
Member spacespace
Joined: December 19, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:07 PM / IP Logged  

I thought I was crazy that 50Hz seemed disproportionately loud, thank you for mentioning that.  I actually turned down the bass a bit on my H/U, my interior speakers are straining the keep the mids and high's going at the same rate.  I guess it's pretty typical of most things though... You upgrade one part, and everything else starts seeming lackluster, heh.  Time to get saving for some rolls of dynamat and some new interior speakers, plus a four-channel and H/U.  I'll keep checking my gains every day or two for a while until I'm 100% sure they are perfect.  I say gains... But I only have one little knob for it.  Oh, and I should keep bass boost off, right?  Will it make my amp clip also?

Thanks for all the information, it is greatly appreciated.

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2
stevdart 
Platinum - Posts: 5,816
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Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Posted: December 28, 2006 at 11:53 PM / IP Logged  

Yes, bass boost will alter the signal level of the sub range which will change the input level at the amp.  It doesn't sound as if you need a bass boost from what you've said, so keep it off.  If you decide to use it for any reason in the future, reset the amp gain after boost has been employed at the level you intend to leave it at.  And yes...it's an addiction!  Gain on my new subs. - Last Post -- posted image.  You'll want to amplifier the front soundstage for an well-rounded, complete sound.

I'll note, now that I realize you are using the factory deck, that head unit clipping occurs at about the halfway point on the volume...far lower than that of aftermarket decks.  The difference is not because of deck quality but that the signal is speaker level rather than line level.  It's important that you find this level before amp gain is adjusted and that you never turn your volume past that point.

Build the box so that it performs well in the worst case scenario and, in return, it will reward you at all times.
wretchedunloved 
Member - Posts: 29
Member spacespace
Joined: December 19, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: December 29, 2006 at 3:32 AM / IP Logged  

My head unit seems to have an automatic anti-clipping or something... If I turn it up to about 85%, it's as loud as it will get.  The sound actually gets quieter in the last 15%.  I can't notice any clipping at all on it, at any volume.  Right when it seems like it might be clipping, the volume goes down if you turn it up anymore.  My amp manual lists it's current setting as well within high-level input range, so it seems safe from there.  And the sound is amazing coming out of it ( To my ears ) though I'm sure it would probably sound horrible to most others.

All I can say is so far... I don't see what all the talk of Sony car audio being horrible is about.  Now, if my amp pulls it's namesake on me tomorrow ( It is an Explod after all ) then I may come back and make a nice rant about how only an idiot would buy Sony.  But, until then, it sounds great.  And thanks so much for the help, I can't wait to get the rest of my system upgraded, every time I turn on my stereo now, I go 'wow, my interior speakers sound like crap!' heh.

2001 Monte Carlo SS
Sony XM-2002GTR
Sony XS-L123P5 x 2

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