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Old 24th August 2010, 08:35   #1
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Question ICE Tuning?

Hello Gurus!
I Iced my Alto, Thanks to T-BHP for increasing my budget from 15K to 27K
My set up is:

Head unit : Kenwood KDC-U7046BT
Front comps: 6.5" Auditor RIP-165S
Rear : Auditor RIP-690C
Amp: 4 Ch. Auditor RIP-4280

My H.U max volume level is 35 and i have to turn it up to 30 (almost 90%) to hear the real effect of the speakers. Is this normal? I have read in this forum, many guys here don't have to turn it up so much.

Is this related to the hardware I have or can it be tuned?

your inputs is very much appreciated!

Thank you,
-Z
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Old 24th August 2010, 08:46   #2
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I had the same speakers in my car, these are value for money speakers which also plays well.

The volume level issue you have is due to how gain is set up in the amp. Get it retuned or you can do it yourself. Refer to the amplifier gain settings thread here in the ICE section.
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Old 24th August 2010, 09:34   #3
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Check you gain / input sensitivity settings. It must be too low, increase it and it should solve your problem.
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Old 24th August 2010, 10:30   #4
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Before you set the gain at the amp, set amp gain to minimum (max. anti-clockwise), and set the HU volume to 10 or 12. Then increase the amp gain gradually (clockwise) till you hear music at a comfortable volume. With this setting, you will be able to go loud enough when you increase HU volume.
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Old 24th August 2010, 14:41   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie69 View Post
Hello Gurus!
I Iced my Alto, Thanks to T-BHP for increasing my budget from 15K to 27K
My set up is:

Head unit : Kenwood KDC-U7046BT
Front comps: 6.5" Auditor RIP-165S
Rear : Auditor RIP-690C
Amp: 4 Ch. Auditor RIP-4280

My H.U max volume level is 35 and i have to turn it up to 30 (almost 90%) to hear the real effect of the speakers. Is this normal? I have read in this forum, many guys here don't have to turn it up so much.

Is this related to the hardware I have or can it be tuned?

your inputs is very much appreciated!

Thank you,
-Z
The gains are bit low. Take the gains for both the front and rear channels to minimum. Now keep the volume knob to ~25 and start increasing the gains for the front channel till you feel the volume is adequate. Now shift to the rear seats. Start increasing the gains for the rear channel so that you are just able to detect the presence of music from the rear speakers. Move to the front and check if the rear speakers have altered the front sound-stage. And that's it.

@DerAlte
Sir, not sure but isn't 10-12 very low for a HU that supports a max volume of 35? I think apart from damaging the equipment accidentally at high volume, the amp will also color the sound with its own signature a lot.
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Old 24th August 2010, 15:02   #6
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Thank you guys for your valuable input. I will try to tune it first thing when I'm back in town! Hopefully I won't damage the equipment.
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Old 24th August 2010, 15:06   #7
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Gurus. Please correct me if I am wrong but I beileve that the gains of the amplifier shoud be set with the HU at 80% - 85% of its total volume.

In Zombie's case the HU volume should be set at 28 or 29 while setting the gains on the amp. Once the gains are set, you can change other settings like bass boost, etc. to suit your needs accordingly.
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Old 25th August 2010, 10:43   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelord View Post
... isn't 10-12 very low for a HU that supports a max volume of 35? I think apart from damaging the equipment accidentally at high volume, the amp will also color the sound with its own signature a lot.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epic View Post
... I beileve that the gains of the amplifier shoud be set with the HU at 80% - 85% of its total volume. ...
What are you taking as reference? The apparent loudness corresponding to the HU volume fed by HU amp, or the loudness that an amp can produce with signal levels at 80% of peak?

1. In most no-external-amp installations, one relies on a comfortable listening level *no matter what* the HU volume setting is. This generally is lower when the windows are up than when the windows are down
2. If you look at around in different cars, people generally set the volume setting at between 30% (normal) and 60% (I want to blast). Take it beyond 60% and chances are that you will hear more distortion than music (listen carefully, you can figure out what that is)
3. If this is generally the user behavior, where would you intuitively keep the HU volume when tuning - 30% or 80%?
4. When one adds an amp, one keeps the apparent loudness levels the same (it is the dynamic range that changes, making some stuff audible that you were not able to hear with the HU amp). Adding an amp does not mean you all of a sudden start hearing music (under normal circumstances) at a loud volume. If you do, that would be the equivalent of driving at twice the average speed if your new car happens to have an engine twice as powerful as the old car
5. With tuning done at HU volume set at moderate level, with an external amp you can go much louder when you increase the volume level to 60-70%. Much much louder than with the HU amp - without the sound distorting. At 80%, one is risking component failure apart from possible distortion even with the external amp (one has to reckon with bursts of loud passages)

@thelord, *all* amps impose/'color' the signal with their 'signature' at *all* amplification levels other than very low. This is unavoidable, and not undesirable. Also, I am a bit perplexed by your expression, which seems to state and contradict an idea at the same time. Is a low setting good and high setting bad, or the other way around?
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Old 25th August 2010, 23:49   #9
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DerAlte, this might sound naive so feel free to correct me. All that I have learned comes from experimenting.

We need to remember that car-audio is far from perfect.
Let's assume a HU provides 2V 'music' output at volume 15, then I am sure we all agree that it'll be actually < 2V music voltage and let's say, 0.2V 'noise'. This noise could be the RCA's picking up signals from power wires etc and for a given state of condition (car running/idle), this noise will be constant. So for volume 15, we have 90% music signal and 10% noise which will be amplified by the amp.

Let's push the volume to 25. Let's assume the rated music output volt becomes 4V. So in actual it's 3.8V music and 0.2V noise and we get ~95% music signal which will be amplified.

Perhaps, this is also the reason why the 'hiss' is so prominent in 'ordinary' installs where amp gains are kept high.

I did some tests with my equipment as well. Had a HU which supported vol 1-35. The sound became much warmer and sweet when I set gains so that the nominal listening volume was ~26-27 compared to the initial setting where I had set the gains high to make the nominal volume ~18-19.
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Old 26th August 2010, 00:11   #10
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Quote:
Q: How do I fine-tune my amplifier's gain and bass boost settings?

A: Setting the "gain" or input sensitivity control is an important adjustment common to all amplifier installations. Proper gain setting helps reduce noise and distortion and allows for the widest possible dynamic range. Here's how to do it:

1. Turn your amplifier's input level controls all the way down.
2. Put in a tape or CD or tune in a radio station. Turn up your receiver's volume control. You'll begin to hear music at faint levels. (Audiophiles and sound competitors may want to use a dedicated test disc.
3. When you start hearing distortion, lower your receiver's volume control until the distortion disappears. At this point, you have as much signal as possible passing from your receiver into your amp. (This gives you maximum signal-to-noise ratio, so you'll enjoy clean sound and your system will be less prone to engine noise problems).
4. Now begin adjusting your amp's input gain. Turn the input level controls up until the system is as loud as you can stand it or until you begin hearing distortion whichever comes first. If you hear distortion, decrease the gain settings slightly.

By following this procedure, you'll optimize your amp's performance at the receiver's maximum volume level, so you can crank your system almost all the way up without amplifying any distortion, or damaging your speakers. Keep in mind that this adjustment does not affect the power output of the amp you're simply setting the amount of input signal needed for optimum sound quality from your system.

Car stereo competitors sometimes employ a technique called "gain overlap" to wring some more dBs out of their rigs while keeping distortion out of the audible range. Many amplifiers have a bass boost function. In most cases, it is a variable control you simply dial in the amount of boost you'd like to hear. Bass boost levels can range from +6dB to +18dB, depending on the amplifier. As you experiment with this adjustment, you'll notice that the boost is centered at a given frequency, so you'll still experience some bass boosting at frequencies above and below that point. Make sure that your system is turned off or operating at low volumes when you engage or turn up your bass boost control boosting bass at high volumes can damage your speakers.
Source is Crutchfield.
Car Amplifiers FAQ

P.S. Not a guru here just read this online thought might be helpful in this thread
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Old 26th August 2010, 10:16   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelord View Post
DerAlte, this might sound naive ... All that I have learned comes from experimenting....
Arrey bhai, since there are no academic courses on ICE, *everyone* learns by the same method. Nothing to be embarrassed about. There are no absolutes, and "one man's meat is another's poison" is always possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thelord View Post
... and let's say, 0.2V 'noise'. ... So for volume 15, we have 90% music signal and 10% noise which will be amplified by the amp....
Arre baap re, never thought noise could be so much! To get a correct picture, try to look at what comes out at the amp end with an oscilloscope, you will get a better picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thelord View Post
... Let's push the volume to 25. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by abhibh View Post
Source is Crutchfield. ...
Different philosophy, extracting every possible dB during tuning - that is SPL. For that Dr. LBM Freedabadwale is the Professor Emeritus and his works are text books.

Sorry, never did that since I have always preferred to stay within sensible limits where distortion is obviated even theoretically. Old man, old school of thought: Listening to music at a normal volume is the objective, entering Limca book of records for absolute loudness is not.
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Old 26th August 2010, 12:21   #12
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I suggest you go back to the installer.
He might have some reason to tune the amp gain to low. Check with him and he must be able to tune it to your taste up on request.
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Old 26th August 2010, 13:13   #13
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Most amps (and opamps) have lowest distortion (THD, IM and otherwise) in the middle of their gain bandwidth. Most pots track best in the center of the wiper. So it makes best sense to keep both HU output and amp gain in the 30%-70% region.
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Old 26th August 2010, 18:11   #14
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Wow!! I didn't know there was so much to tune an AMP!!! I will try to tune it myself this weekend, jeez i have to remove the passenger seat. AMp is installed below it:( or else Satya where art thou?
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Old 26th August 2010, 18:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Before you set the gain at the amp, set amp gain to minimum (max. anti-clockwise), and set the HU volume to 10 or 12. Then increase the amp gain gradually (clockwise) till you hear music at a comfortable volume. With this setting, you will be able to go loud enough when you increase HU volume.
I am not able to understand the above, Like i a have pioneer HU which have a volume of 62 but my system was tuned @51/52 volume dint remember the exact, was this wrong if yes HOW ?.

If you tune your HU with 33% of the HU volume then you are using the amp gain as a volume control, this is what i think.

Just take it this way if i am using a component kit and a sub i tune my setup @ 33% volume and suddenly somebody increases the volume to 80/90% wont there be chances for the speakers and sub to get spoiled ?
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