Are you disappointed with your sub(s)? Is your amp shorting or overheating frequently? Are you considering installing your own system but you don't want to mess it up? If so, then this instructable is for you!
Hundreds of factors have to be taken into consideration when it comes to car audio to achieve a clear, crisp sound. While throwing a subwoofer and amp in your trunk may give you some bump, but what you really want is a BOOM that will make friends jealous and neighbors annoyed!
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Step 1: The Wiring.
Understandung the wiring in your car audio system is crucial to good, clean bass. Run the positive cable on the opposite side of the car as your speaker and RCA patch cables. If not done correctly you might get severe ground noise (static/fuzz).
If your amp is blowing fuses, shorting frequently, or abnormally overheating it is commonly caused from an improper ground.
Correctly ground the amp! Make sure the ground location is excellent. Preferably directly to the car frame, not a flimsy peice of aluminum. Sand the surface, make good contact, yadda yadda yadda. A simple test is a to use a battery tester or a test light to assure 12.6 volts is running through the cables. But a true test is to use a multi-meter set to Ohms and connect one lead to your ground location and somehow connect the other lead directly to the Negative battery terminal, then subtract the natural resistance from the test leads/multimeter. Idealy the goal would be 0 ohms but that is near impossible, just do not allow more than 1 Ohm.
Also important is the guage of the cable. The chart provided is a useful reference tool. The length of the wire and the desired power of the system is taken into consideration.
Step 2: The Ohms.
The wiring options for subs are numerous! To begin, first note if your sub is Dual Voice Coil (DVC) or Single Voice Coil (SVC). DVC is reccomended because many more wiring options are avaible, especially with a multiple sub arrangement, but there is nearly no sound quality difference between the two.
Wire the subs to the lowest Ohms or impedance. When wiring a sub your aim should be to wire it to the lowest Ohms the amp can handle. A typical amp can handle 2-Ohms while the newer, Class-D amps can handle 1-ohm! Do not associate Ohms with sound quality. To put it simply, the lower the Ohms, the higher the power to you sub(s).
It can be confusing to determine the correct wire layout, luckily Rockford Fosgate has a handy tool that can be found here!
Step 3: The Box
Achieving correct internal volume in a sub box is important for correct sounding bass. Too little volume is a common occurence that causes
Fill the sub box with pillow stuffing!
Filling the box with stuffing will fool the box into thinking its larger. I know, it sounds contradictory, how can filling a space with material result to more volume and space?! It works because it slows the air down inside the box as the sound waves travel through the stuffing, in effect tuning it lower. You can find plenty of complex explanations on the web. Although if you pack it in tight or use (lots of) foam the air can't travel through it, and you effectively make the box smaller and tune it higher, boom-boom is what you get not thump-thump.
Reverse/Power mount your subs!
Simply flip the sub(s) and mount them on the outside of the box. Also flip the phase switch on the amp to 180°. There is much debate to if the reverse mounting subs makes a quality difference. It does free up internal volume in the box, which may help the sub reach lower frequencies. However, it is a fact that mounting the subs this way will give your subs a new look, a sort of "bag on the head" appearance, which can be useful when your cone is cracked or damaged.
Step 4: The Amp
- Turn the Gain/volume knob to zero or all the way down.
- Play a song with a middle amount of bass. Not too heavy not too light.
- Turn the volume on the head unit to 80% of its max volume.
- Increase the Gain/volume until the sub begins to distort.
- Slightly decrease the gain to remove remaining distortion.
Doing this simple procedure will allow you sub to have a wider range of frequencies and volume, instead of just loud. (Now you'll have loud and louder!)
Step 5: All Together!
I applied these tips to a friends sound system, since I cant afford one of my own :,( and the difference was astonishing! The initial sound of cheap bass was replaced with a full sounding BOOM! Help a friend or yourself with improving a sound system today!
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