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How to: Setting gains for your subwoofer

 
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Old 22 Mar 2011, 10:13 am
Kawizx9r's Avatar
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Location: Salinas, CA
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Default How to: Setting gains for your subwoofer

Important: Most amps will specify the specific voltage output an amp should have given at a certain load. A simple google search will provide this if it is not included in your instruction manual.

Now, dialing in your amp;
1. Download or purchase a CD with test tones recorded at reference level (0db)
2. Disconnect your sub from your amp.
3. Connect a multimeter/voltmeter to the speaker terminal outputs on your amplifier making sure your meter is set to measure DC voltage. Gain on your amp should be at a minimum.
4. Insert media (test tones), and disable any and all sound enhancements as well as equalizer.
5. Depending what your speaker frequency cut-off is, just disable your interior speakers so that only your subwoofer is playing. You could also try setting the cut-off at a higher frequency than the test tone you will playback for your subwoofer.
6. Play said-media at 3/4 max volume, or even a notch above that.
7. While media plays, take note of what your meter displays. Raise the gain until specific voltage is acquired.
8. Turn everything off, hook everything up and you're ready to go as far as your subwoofer goes!

Here's a great source for test tones
- Realm of Excursion

A few things to make note of, I understand that most subwoofer and amp combos are not matched to exact spec and this is ok.

Rule of thumb is;
1. You can get away with slightly underpowering a subwoofer in a ported enclosure.
2. You can get away with slightly overpowering a subwoofer in a sealed enclosure.
3. If you are running a ported enclosure, turn on your subsonic filter to prevent your subwoofer from bottoming out!

Enjoy!

-Freddy
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