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question on aftermarket amp installation

  #1  
Old 02-20-2012, 02:40 AM
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Location: Minnesota
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Default question on aftermarket amp installation

Besides obviously running the wires back to the amp i've heard some people say that you have to also run new ground wires to the car's battery of equal or bigger size of the power wire to the amplifier is this true? should bigger wires be ran to the positive to?

I've had a system in my vehicle since my first car, i slowly keep upgrading to bigger and better i'm at the point were upgrading further doesn't seem reasonable and just wondering if maybe i'm missing a step or two somewhere inbetween.

Currently my system is in my daily driver (99 sc1 saturn) i'm running a 1,000rms alpine type d mono amp, 2farad audiobahn cap, and 2 old rusty but trusty sony xplod's with 4 gauge power wire. The head unit is a sony xplod (purchased at wal-mart)

When i switch over to the monte as my daily driver i plan on using 2 or 0 gauge wire, the alpine amp, 2 farad cap and 1 of the nice subs i have laying around that need a little fixing, alpine type x (problem unknown but works when held down gently, scary repair thought since basket is pressed together) or 1 of the 2 audiobahn flame q's i have.

I don't think i'm getting the bump i should get from the trunk, and yes my lights do dim if i have the volume to high, maybe just not enough power to perform like they should?
 
  #2  
Old 02-20-2012, 11:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Originally Posted by mwjames View Post
Besides obviously running the wires back to the amp i've heard some people say that you have to also run new ground wires to the car's battery of equal or bigger size of the power wire to the amplifier is this true? should bigger wires be ran to the positive to?

I don't think i'm getting the bump i should get from the trunk, and yes my lights do dim if i have the volume to high, maybe just not enough power to perform like they should?
At your power level I think it would be a good idea to do it, it's called the Big 3.....it's Alt power to battery, battery ground to chassis and battery ground to engine block, and yes they all should the same size as the power and ground wires you're using on the amp, or larger. Your box has everything to do with the output from your sub, can't overlook or forget about that. I had a pair of 12's running on about 800 watts and it got down! The worst equipment in a great installation can outperform the best equipment in a bad installation.
 
  #3  
Old 02-21-2012, 11:35 PM
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Location: Minnesota
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Thanks for the reply. I've never bothered to run a new power cable off the alternator i'm hoping that'll make quite the difference along with the grounds. Once that's all said and done I might play around with different boxes if i'm not satisfied with the sound. I'm pretty sure i'm good on the rest of the install procedure as that's mostly about hiding wires.

my first set of subs were some cheap *** dub editions came with amp and box i think the pair was rated at 150rms when i bought a new amp to replace what came with them they slammed probly the hardest i've ever had in my cars, they only lasted about 10 minutes until they started roasting so i know what you mean by installation and box can make a huge difference.
 
  #4  
Old 02-22-2012, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mwjames View Post
Thanks for the reply. I've never bothered to run a new power cable off the alternator i'm hoping that'll make quite the difference along with the grounds. Once that's all said and done I might play around with different boxes if i'm not satisfied with the sound. I'm pretty sure i'm good on the rest of the install procedure as that's mostly about hiding wires.

my first set of subs were some cheap *** dub editions came with amp and box i think the pair was rated at 150rms when i bought a new amp to replace what came with them they slammed probly the hardest i've ever had in my cars, they only lasted about 10 minutes until they started roasting so i know what you mean by installation and box can make a huge difference.
Install is also about speaker location, which effects sound stage and imaging, proper amp tuning, and much more than just hiding wires. If your subs started roasting after just ten minutes i'm guessing your gain was set way too high. Do you have a particular way of setting your gain or do you just turn it up until it sounds loud enough?
 
  #5  
Old 02-22-2012, 09:59 PM
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I knew they were gonna fry I just didn't care about those subs. I usually set the gain on how it sounds/ guessing according to rms rating.
 
  #6  
Old 02-22-2012, 10:41 PM
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any tips you got i'm definately willing to hear them as i see your making some pretty good db's in your car
 
  #7  
Old 02-23-2012, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by mwjames View Post
any tips you got i'm definately willing to hear them as i see your making some pretty good db's in your car
I guess I should change my sig now, I'll pm you about that.

Yeah man, if you don't have access to a scope or now an SMD DD-1, using a digital multi-meter is the next best way to get your gain set. I now have a DD-1 but before I got it I set my gain with a DMM and when I reset it with my DD-1 it was surprisingly close.

To set your gain with a DMM:

 
  #8  
Old 02-24-2012, 12:37 AM
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thanks for the great info!! can a head unit make quite the difference? if so any recommendations?
 
  #9  
Old 02-24-2012, 04:06 PM
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do you know somewhere i can download the test cd?
 
  #10  
Old 02-25-2012, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mwjames View Post
thanks for the great info!! can a head unit make quite the difference? if so any recommendations?
It can. But our cars are weird, they use 2 ohm speakers. So if you just replace the head unit it will still sound better but won't get as loud, I always suggest replacing the speakers with 4 ohm models when doing the head unit. That way you get the most bang for your buck. My only suggestion would be to go with a big name, Kenwood, Alpine, Clarion and Eclipse are some good one's. When I buy things like this I try to think about the future....when I first got my deck I just ran interior speakers, no amps, so in theory I could have been fine with a deck with just one set of RCA's even though they weren't being used (can't get a deck without at least one set, AFAIK). So think about if you have any intention on running any amps....most people run one for the subs and one for the other speakers, meaning you'd want a deck with at least 2 sets or RCA's since it takes at least one set per amp. If you plan on running a 4ch amp and a sub amp then ideally you'd want a deck with 3 sets of RCA's. Think about if you want to run an ipod, a flash drive, other mp3 player, bluetooth, satellite radio, etc. You just have to figure out what your needs are and start looking at some decks that have what you want/need and get an idea of what they cost and go from there.
 

Last edited by Milhouse; 02-25-2012 at 10:15 PM.
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