Pre-out Discussion

Not really. The only real benefit you get from higher voltage is that you can use a lower gain setting on the amp to get full power. This will allow for a lower noise floor in your system. With lower gain settings, you are less likely to pick up alt whine or have an audible hiss in between songs.

Having too high a voltage can be bad though. If you amp cannot handle 8V inputs, you will run into clipping issues even with the gain all the way down. Some amps can handle the higher volts, some cannot. As long as the amps you use can, there is not a problem. 4-5V is a good place to be. Most all amps can handle that level.

 
Once you get into the higher voltages (8+ or so) it is probably balanced. I think eclipse just came out with an 8 volt deck, I don't know of any others. Balanced is superior to regular ouputs as far as noise rejection goes, otherwise there is really no difference.

 
4 v rms is the highest you can get from a 12 v power source without boosting or bridging it. 5v is actually cheating, cuz it assumes 14V power.

8v outputs are "bridged" or have internal boosters on the power supply. Only high-end units bother to do that. Usually they offer balanced output drivers too.

What this means is that higher output preouts tend to indicate higher levels of performance, and I think it's safe to say that the quality of other aspects of a HU will also follow. Like the Pioneer Premere series is 4V while the lower models were 2V.

In practical terms, besides what helo said, I notice I have to put my amp gains almost to the max for my 2V preouts and I just don't like that.

 
well i have an older CD player and its only 1 volt pre out and i have my gain almost all the way up and i was wondering it is bad for the sub or anything to have the gain most of the way up?

 
well i have an older CD player and its only 1 volt pre out and i have my gain almost all the way up and i was wondering it is bad for the sub or anything to have the gain most of the way up?
NO, its not bad. Gain dosn't have anything to do with power. The amp is only going to put out a certain number of watts and that's it, regardless of the preamp voltage. Like stated earlier its only to match the voltage coming into the amplifier. Setting it too high can cause a hiss and maybe pickup a little alternator noise, but that's about it.

 
Once you get into the higher voltages (8+ or so) it is probably balanced. I think eclipse just came out with an 8 volt deck, I don't know of any others. Balanced is superior to regular ouputs as far as noise rejection goes, otherwise there is really no difference.

Eclipse has had 8 volt decks out for many years. RF also has atleast 1 8 volt models.

 
There are 8V decks out there but only a few amps can take advantage of the higher preout voltage. If yours can't you are going to clip the amp at high volumes. Unless you have an amp that can use the higher input voltage, it is a waste of your time and money and will actually put you on the ragged edge of doing damage to downstream components (mostly speakers and subs but overdriving an amp can kill it, too.)

To answer the other question, there is no correlation between the lower preout/high gain setting causing light dimming. If your gains are set too high for the voltage you do have and the amp is clipping, that can cause excessive current draw and dimming of the lights.

 
Setting it too high can cause a hiss and maybe pickup a little alternator noise, but that's about it.
Setting it too high will also allow the output section to be overdriven and run it into clipping which pretty well falls into the bad category. Setting it just right will allow the amp to make its full power without being overdriven. Setting it too low will limit the max power that the amp will produce, so as JMac said, it has everything to do with power.

Just because a higher gain setting than needed will not allow the amp to make more power doesn't mean that you can turn it up with no ill effects. Yes, an amp can only make a certain amount of power, but if you ask it to try to make more, it will protest quite violently and take its anger out on your speakers. They will lose that fight most every time.

 
so what changes in the signal between the amp and HU when you turn up the volume? I guess what I'm asking is it better to have the volume on the HU turned up a little with lower gain settings on the amps or lower volume on HU with slightly higher gain settings on amp?

 
No one has touched yet on how and where the voltage is measured. This too drastically effects the output voltage. While some companies claim a 4volt preout, it may have 4 volts at 1000hz, but at 100hz it may be down to 1.5 volts. It is widely assumed that because a cd player says it is 50w x 4 and you believe what you read, that the 4v stated on the front of the cd player must be a 4 volt. This is usually far from the case. Anyone can make power at 1000hz, I have not seen one manufacturer release to the general public on how tey measure their output voltage. From what I have found, most companies apply it at 1000hz.

Buster, it is best to have the gain as low as possible for immunity to noise. Just because the gain can be turned up and it does make things louder, it will only be louder to a point. This point is called clipping at which point in time the amp has run out of clean power and causes distortion.

Here is two examples. Lets say that you have two identical systems, the volume control on each goes up to 30. System 1 the gain is turned all the way down, you can turn the volume dial up to level 26 before you hear distortion. On system 2 the gain is turned up to halfway, you turn the volume dial up and notice now that you hear distortion and the volume dial is at 18, yet the volume level is the same. The lower the gain, the more flexibility you gain with the system and the greater immunity to noise.

 
does anyone know how pioneer rates the 8500 or their middle-upper end h/u's voltage at? because i have my jbl 600.1 (which has crappy tuning knobs on it) on my 8500 and id like to find a definitive way to set it so i can get the most out of my system. is there any sine wave tune i can use to find otu where clipping is?

 
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