turn up H.U. or amp?

Why would lowering the gain lead to more distortion? It will reduce noise in the system and reduce the chance of clipping the amp.

so just comphensate for the clippage. the preout voltages will usually clip at like 85-90% of the headunit's max volume. so turn the gain down just below the 5v mark.
Most amp are not marked as to the corresponding voltages that a particular gain setting is for. That being said you are better off setting the gain lower rather than higher. If you set your gain correctly there is basically zero chance of clipping the amp.

 
Cause I thought, for example, say I have a 5v preamp on the HU. If I set the gain on the amp to like 10v, and have the HU volume at 90-100%, say with bass boosts, that it wouldn't be as loud as it can be and the distortion (from the HU clipping the preamps) would be audible?

 
Cause I thought, for example, say I have a 5v preamp on the HU. If I set the gain on the amp to like 10v, and have the HU volume at 90-100%, say with bass boosts, that it wouldn't be as loud as it can be and the distortion (from the HU clipping the preamps) would be audible?
If you are clipping the HU then it doesn't matter what the gain on the amp is set to, you will get audible distortion. I'm not talking about being way off on the gain setting. I'm talking being a fews tenths of a volt off on a 4-5V preout signal. It will, to your ear anyway, get as loud as the amp is going to get but you won't run the amp into clipping. Ideally you should have your amp set so your HU clips first and your amp clips never.

 
ok so i read your frig'en book on clipping and it would seem that when i go to buy my next amp i need to get one that has the right multiplyer for the out put of my HU. or does the gain controle completly eliminate the need for this? do amp manufacturers provide there amps multiplying factor?

-brian

 
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