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cab13367
09-27-2010, 03:21 PM
We have all seen on this forum the helpful posts by Phil, David, and Brian on how to properly set amplifier gains by ear. The issue with this is that these three have been around stereos most of their lives so they can easily hear what max output/borderline distortion sounds like. But for the rest of us, I don’t think it’s as easy.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. The manual for my M6600 JL Audio amp describes a way to set the gains by measuring output voltage at the speaker wires (with the speakers NOT connected) and setting the amplifier gain to achieve a specific target voltage. This method requires the use of a test CD that contains sine waves at specific frequencies which JL sells for $10. You set the HU volume to about 3/4, insert the CD, choose the track with the appropriate sine wave frequency, then turn up the gain until the voltmeter reading equals the target voltage. The target voltage is calculated using the following formula:

Target Voltage = the square root of rms power per channel times resistance. For example, on my M6600, which is rated at 75 watts per channel at 4 ohms, the target voltage when connecting a pair of 4 ohms speakers to a pair of channels is 17.3 volts. This is calculated by taking the square root of [ 75(rms power) x 4(resistance in ohms) ]. 75 x 4 = 300. The square root of 300 = 17.3.

So you would be looking at a voltmeter instead of listening for distortion or clipping which at least in theory, would seem to be a more accurate and objective way to set the gain. This method assumes that your speakers are rated to handle the maximum rms output of your amp.

So has anyone used this method and if so, could you comment on how it worked for you? Or is everyone doing it by ear? I am an engineer by education and manage an engineering office so the technical method appeals to the way I think :)

Phil/David/Brian - any thoughts on this?

Thanks,

Al

lewisb13
09-27-2010, 03:32 PM
So crazy I was JUST typing out a new post asking if you could use a multimeter to match the output voltage at each channel with the output voltage preout(s).

cab13367
09-27-2010, 03:41 PM
So crazy I was JUST typing out a new post asking if you could use a multimeter to match the output voltage at each channel with the output voltage preout(s).

Brad,

If you are going to do this, please read "The Nine-Step Procedure" on pg 14 of the manual in the link below. Unless you own this amp, you'll need to calculate your target voltage based on the formula in my first post.

http://marine.jlaudio.com/pdfs/M-08/M6600.pdf

And here is the link to the CD with the test tones:

http://www.shopatron.com/products/productdetail/CleanSweep+Calibration+Disc+%28Audio+CD%29/part_number=97018/1451.0.1.1.0.0.0.0.0?

Al

lewisb13
09-27-2010, 03:44 PM
Rock on. Thank you so much. This should also help all of us that have the 6 channel amps with analog gain controls for the cabin speakers. Its impossible to match 6 speakers with a little screwdriver and your ears.

EarmarkMarine
09-27-2010, 03:55 PM
The JL Audio method is dead on to find the pre-clipping point of the amplifier. But there are many variables beyond that in considering the particular speakers that you have and the type of system you have. We have a very defined prescription for tuning that uses a number of sonic and visual cues. However, as much as we believe that our methodology is the best way I must tell that your individual system objectives will change the way you tune even in a procedure that is as rigid as ours. Your equipment selection will have an impact. Your system expectations will have an impact. One person wants an honest and linear system that is the mirror image of the way it sounds on the studio monitors while another person has something entirely different in mind. We all have experiences and notions that shape our idea of what 'good' sound is. There is no absolute right and wrong. To give you tuning advice we have to ask alot of questions and gain a better understanding of what you want personally. You can give me a ring and I'll walk you through the process.

David
Earmark Marine

cab13367
09-27-2010, 04:10 PM
Rock on. Thank you so much. This should also help all of us that have the 6 channel amps with analog gain controls for the cabin speakers. Its impossible to match 6 speakers with a little screwdriver and your ears.

One more thing - when calculating the target voltage, be sure to use the rms rating under the conditions you will set the gain. For example, if you look at the specs of the M6600, RMS output is given as 55W at 12.5V (engine not running) and 75W at 14.4V (engine running).

cab13367
09-27-2010, 04:18 PM
The JL Audio method is dead on to find the pre-clipping point of the amplifier. But there are many variables beyond that in considering the particular speakers that you have and the type of system you have. We have a very defined prescription for tuning that uses a number of sonic and visual cues. However, as much as we believe that our methodology is the best way I must tell that your individual system objectives will change the way you tune even in a procedure that is as rigid as ours. Your equipment selection will have an impact. Your system expectations will have an impact. One person wants an honest and linear system that is the mirror image of the way it sounds on the studio monitors while another person has something entirely different in mind. We all have experiences and notions that shape our idea of what 'good' sound is. There is no absolute right and wrong. To give you tuning advice we have to ask alot of questions and gain a better understanding of what you want personally. You can give me a ring and I'll walk you through the process.

David
Earmark Marine

David,

Thanks for the response. It seems that you are talking about more than just setting amplifier gains though. Sure, there will be some tweaking afterwards such as setting the equalizer settings, crossover points, etc. but I am only addressing setting of amplifier gains. Or am I misunderstanding your post?

Thanks,

Al

EarmarkMarine
09-27-2010, 04:41 PM
Al,
If we are talking about a simple fullrange system then its just as simple as JL Audio describes. But in a more complex high and lowpass system both the gain and crossovers are going to be very integral and can't be separated. These are interdependent adjustments. Determining your weakest component will also decide the tuning sequence. For now I think you are good.

David
Earmark Marine

cab13367
09-27-2010, 05:52 PM
Al,
If we are talking about a simple fullrange system then its just as simple as JL Audio describes. But in a more complex high and lowpass system both the gain and crossovers are going to be very integral and can't be separated. These are interdependent adjustments. Determining your weakest component will also decide the tuning sequence. For now I think you are good.

David
Earmark Marine

Thanks David. I do have a more complex system with three amps and three amplification "zones" - sub, towers, and cabins. So I guess the JL method will not be good enough in and of itself. But at least it will tell me where the max gain setting is of each amplifier and then I can work down from that.

Al

mmandley
09-27-2010, 06:03 PM
The JL Audio method is dead on to find the pre-clipping point of the amplifier. But there are many variables beyond that in considering the particular speakers that you have and the type of system you have. We have a very defined prescription for tuning that uses a number of sonic and visual cues. However, as much as we believe that our methodology is the best way I must tell that your individual system objectives will change the way you tune even in a procedure that is as rigid as ours. Your equipment selection will have an impact. Your system expectations will have an impact. One person wants an honest and linear system that is the mirror image of the way it sounds on the studio monitors while another person has something entirely different in mind. We all have experiences and notions that shape our idea of what 'good' sound is. There is no absolute right and wrong. To give you tuning advice we have to ask alot of questions and gain a better understanding of what you want personally. You can give me a ring and I'll walk you through the process.

David
Earmark Marine

I think this is the best response to a question Dave has ever given. Not all techy and easy to understand. Nice way to be straight forward and not elusive Dave. 2 thumbs up

mmandley
09-27-2010, 06:05 PM
Thanks David. I do have a more complex system with three amps and three amplification "zones" - sub, towers, and cabins. So I guess the JL method will not be good enough in and of itself. But at least it will tell me where the max gain setting is of each amplifier and then I can work down from that.

Al

Al why not just take the boat down to Brian and let him have a listen? Also honestly bro if the system is tuned correctly with the gain and cross overs you wont be adjusting the EQ at all. In my boat everything is set Flat, even my IPhone the EQ is Flat and all the sound i have is dynamic and straight off the music track.

I know we tried to tune it a couple weekends ago and ill admit my ears arnt as sharp as Brians but i can tell if your clipping sound.

I can also say it took a couple trips to Exile to really dial in my system and hence why i never touch my amps now lol.

lewisb13
09-27-2010, 06:07 PM
I wish we had some support like this in the DEEEP south.

cab13367
09-27-2010, 06:52 PM
Al why not just take the boat down to Brian and let him have a listen? Also honestly bro if the system is tuned correctly with the gain and cross overs you wont be adjusting the EQ at all. In my boat everything is set Flat, even my IPhone the EQ is Flat and all the sound i have is dynamic and straight off the music track.

I know we tried to tune it a couple weekends ago and ill admit my ears arnt as sharp as Brians but i can tell if your clipping sound.

I can also say it took a couple trips to Exile to really dial in my system and hence why i never touch my amps now lol.

I do plan to do that but I was just curious about learning more about the voltmeter way of doing it.

Brianinpdx
09-28-2010, 12:24 AM
Al-

Intersting post. I would echo many of the same comments David brings up.

On some of the higher end Exile gear we have added post gain clip indicators to help the installer properly set up the amplifier.

Al - not sure what your schedule is tomorrow, but we are giving the Samson sports installers a training at noon. They are bringing over a Malibu 247 with a full blown system for final tunning.

Your welcome to join us if you'd like... Maybe we could video the thing for the benefit of the forum. Doing so would probably bring up more questions than answers but would still be beneficial to all.

Let me know if you can join us.

Brian
Exile audio

cab13367
09-28-2010, 01:48 AM
Brian,

Thx for the invite! My day is pretty open tomorrow so I'll come on over. See you at noon.

Thx.

Al

jmvotto
09-28-2010, 09:13 AM
I wish i could be there. as Ed says wish we had an east coast custom shop..

brian, dumb question, but i heard of samsons before exile, do you guys make the samson speakers?? they look alot alike.

thx

kaneboats
09-28-2010, 11:01 AM
I would echo many of the same comments David brings up.

I caught that one. Nice! :)

mmandley
09-28-2010, 11:16 AM
I wish i could be there. as Ed says wish we had an east coast custom shop..

brian, dumb question, but i heard of samsons before exile, do you guys make the samson speakers?? they look alot alike.

thx

Exile makes the speakers Samson is selling and Samson makes the clamps Exile is using. Nice little marriage. Also both owners are in Portland area and both are very nice guys.

Brianinpdx
09-28-2010, 12:24 PM
Kane - chuckles... Last night I was on my iPhone and thought oh brother how can I type all these thoughts out. After I read davids comments I nodded my head and said... Yea I agree. See the thing is, tuning stuff is all based on scientic fundamentals but after that, you have to take into account many many real world situations with gear, speaker heights, locations, amp power and the list goes on and on.

So has been said before there is no right or wrong way to do this. The proof is in end result. Can you gain match levels with a volt meter, yup. But that's just one ingredient in the pie. Makes sense?

Jmvott- mandley has the Samson relationship pretty close. They used to be a customer of mine way back in my pg days. They make awesome wake towers. They used to do like many others and bolt speakers into cans and sell them. Fast forward ten years and i sat down with them and we created the backbone of a great collaboration whereby exile would design and engineer a new tower speaker and Samson would be the tower experts. Originally we intended to use the Samson collars and such but when we got deep into the project we opted for a completely new reinforced design which meant more costs and new "tools" yada yada... The good news is that the new design was based on the same concept and patent that Samson had used for the previous 3 years. So, yes, we make the speakers for both brands. We are both NW companies. The combined effort has really helped both companies be successful.

Al - see you at noon today.


Brian
Exile Audio