View Full Version : High amp gains and low stereo volume output or vice versa?

10-25-2011, 01:07 AM
I don't know whether to post this in amp's or head unit's so I just did both.

I'm a little bit new to this specific area, what are the pro's and con's of having stereo volume output high versus low and amp gains high versus low?

For example, I have an amp in my car with gains adjustable from 1-11 and they are currently at 9. Then my stereo has volume output from 0-35 and when I have my gains at 9 I usually listen from 8 to 11ish. Is this a good way to do it, or is there a better way? If it's not the right way, please tell me what I'm doing wrong and how I can fix it.

Thanks everyone!

10-25-2011, 01:16 AM
im lost

10-25-2011, 01:21 AM
you want high preout voltage and low amp gains if possible.

10-25-2011, 01:23 AM
set your stereo as high as you can without distortion, usually about 75% of max. then set your gain with a dmm

10-25-2011, 01:41 AM
set your stereo as high as you can without distortion, usually about 75% of max. then set your gain with a dmm

Well what level do I have my gain set to if I'm moving the stereo until it has distortion? And what is a DMM and how much would that cost me?

10-25-2011, 12:07 PM
seeing as your hu will go to 35 then id set it to 22 and adjust the gain until its loud. you should be able to turn you hu up to 25 without it distorting. i know theres ways of doing it with a meter but i do my gain about 3/4 turn. it works for me.

10-25-2011, 12:22 PM
Read this SoundMan Car Audio (http://www.soundmancaraudio.com/articles/26/proper-level-setting-part-1) and this SoundMan Car Audio (http://www.soundmancaraudio.com/articles/29/proper-level-setting-part-2) and find out why you're missing out on clean power.

10-25-2011, 12:37 PM
Well I'm assuming you have an alpine stereo I would turn your amp gain down until 20 is your normal listening volume because they start clipping around 25

10-25-2011, 01:34 PM
That is a broad generalization that has been proven to be untrue. Not all Alpine head units have been tested, but some of them have been proven to not clip at all, even at 35 out of 35 on the volume. If you would read the articles I linked in post #7 you will learn that you're missing out on clean pre-out voltage by setting gains with the volume set at the standard 75%.

10-25-2011, 02:16 PM
The gain knob, is not a volume knob. It should be set, and never touched again until you have an equipment change.
DMM is a Digital Multi-Meter. You can buy a cheap one from radio shack to get the job done.
You want to set your gains to their maximum SAFE limit, at the highest SAFE volume on your HU. If it is too quiet for you once you turn the volume down, do NOT change your gain from there. Your gain is set at the proper level, and you need louder equipment.
I have a Kenwood HU that tops at 35, the highest I'll listen to it is 30, and I set my gains at 27 or 28.
A simple google search "setting amp gains with a DMM" will reveal everything else you need.
Turning up your gain past it's proper setting dramatically increases the chance of damaging your equipment.

10-25-2011, 02:24 PM
gain up on amp, deck sub level down personally for me.