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Old 12-01-2008   #1
 
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Default how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

i have a bad feeling that one of the RCA input on my amp is flawed...

although i still get sound out of it... it is somewhat distorted in nature and a very low whine is coming out.... i tried switching the rca's but still had the same effect so im thinkin its not the rca cable...

may it be the RCA input itself? or should i rewire and use another cable?

this is not the 1st time i've installed a simple system in my Car and never had the issue in the past... the amp is SS Ref700...
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Old 12-01-2008   #2
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

I had the same thing happen a while back, after checking everything and swaping cables. It was the outputs of my headunit, Do you have a spare you can Wire up to check it if all else fails. Does this happen on both inputs.
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Old 12-01-2008   #3
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

just one input. i think its just channel 2... channels 1,3,4,5 sounds clean... i'll try another amp then... or i will use the rear out of my deck instead of the front outs.. if that fail then ill try a different amp...
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Old 12-01-2008   #4
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

how come the distorted sound only comes out in my tweets? i tried hooking up the mids on the same channel where im having the funky noise but there's no distortion/whine...

could it be the tweets then?
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Old 12-02-2008   #5
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

how can i validate if its the RCA input on the amp that is causing the distorted sound? anyone? thanks!
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Old 12-02-2008   #6
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

The only way I know to check that is to take the amp apart, remove the RCA stalk, check for broken legs... I don't recall if the SS Ref series has a stalk or if it has the fancy panel mount inputs... But either way, if you at some point accidentally touched a 12v+ Wire to the RCA Shield behind your head unit or at the amp (doesn't matter where it touched) it could have burned a PCB trace up in the amp for the shield.
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Old 12-02-2008   #7
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

sound is coming out on that channel.. its just i hear some distortion and whining sound... i made sure the Power and the rcas are not near each other... grounded all components properly...

i will try to open it up and see... i will also try and change the RCA cables... its just frustrating that after weeks of doing my 1st custom install, the end product was not what I expected...
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Old 12-02-2008   #8
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Muting plug

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Old 12-02-2008   #9
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aztec1 View Post
Muting plug
sorry but im not too technical.. would you expound further?
if theres one downside of me doing Car audio.... that is, i am seriously having a difficult time understanding the technical side of it...

i enjoy building and working on installs, but when it comes to the tuning etc, im no good...
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Old 12-02-2008   #10
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Hold on with the opening things up a little... it's not going to tell you squat unless you knew what you were looking for and those amps have some of the best RCA inputs in terms of strength, of the sort... you just can't get any stronger than that... so, possible, but not very probable...

EDIT: expanding on muting plug above ^^^

A mute plug is a cheap ass RCA connector, cut from a old playstation 1..lol..or something, where you take the cable and strip it back and short it together... so you literly short the input to ground...

I would first pull the RCA's all together, and use the plug... if the amp comes though fine, then i'd be looking at the RCAs or the HU

The sound you hear, is it RPM related to the Car in any way? If so, I would try re-grounding the HU, again, before you start opening amps up...

You could also try a different RCA ran over the carpet, to test if it's a pinched cable...

Are the amp crossovers configured correctly and do you have all the speakers wired to the proper outputs...?

What sort of gain set-up did you do?

Quote:
how come the distorted sound only comes out in my tweets? i tried hooking up the mids on the same channel where im having the funky noise but there's no distortion/whine...

could it be the tweets then?
You must be running it active, if you are swapping mid for tweet, are you SURE the settings are correct? I know that amp, it can be confusing even if you know them... You said Ref700, but you also said 5ch's, so, you mean the 705 correct? Great amp....

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Old 12-02-2008   #11
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

yes it is the 705... it took me time to think about the setting and yes it was confusing in sorts... i set it up as to run in 3 way mode to get the active setting for the xover since my HU is not active capable...

for the whinning sound.. yes it is RPM related... so that for sure is a grounding issue...

but for the distored sound... i have no clue... but i wil try to run the rcas over the carpet and see... i already had a bad feeling on those since it was a recycled ones from an older install on my previous car...

as for the gain its over 1/4 but not over the half way mark...
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Old 12-02-2008   #12
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Yeah, re-ground the HU, first... did you use the factory harness ground? If so, you might want to try grounding right to the body. if not, you might wanna try the harness ground.. lol...

Get some different, cheap RCAs and run them over the carpet and see...

Make up a mute plug first though, you can easily and quickly tell if it's the amp that way... Those amps rocked, but at the same time could be very delicate... they earned the nickname "SmokeStream" for a reason... this doesn't sound like that though... just keep your subs at or above 2ohm... running 1ohm is asking for it, even if it states it's not a problem...

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Old 12-02-2008   #13
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

For the mute plug... so i butcher an old RCA connector... this is basically the female part of the RCA (correct)... loop the wires together as if im jumping it and grounding both wires up... then what?

yes, i just did use the factory harness plug.. i did use a new harness connected to the factory but basically, the grounding point for the HU is the ground line of the stock harness...
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Old 12-02-2008   #14
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Quote:
Originally Posted by burakol View Post
For the mute plug... so i butcher an old RCA connector... this is basically the female part of the RCA (correct)... loop the wires together as if im jumping it and grounding both wires up... then what?

yes, i just did use the factory harness plug.. i did use a new harness connected to the factory but basically, the grounding point for the HU is the ground line of the stock harness...

You can use a connector, you need the male, to plug into the amp, but all you are doing is shorting the center pin to the case... or the 2 wires if it's a cheap molded plug type... cheaper the better, it's just a very simple tool..

So, you might want to try grounding the HU to the body... sometimes grounding the case of the HU can help as well.... you simply losen a screw on the case, place a thin Wire under it and tighten it back up,... ground that somewhere, make it a good clean paint free ground... try to get it on the tranny tunnel or firewall or something... grounds are getting worse and worse these days... hell, you might even try grounding it to the battery... all grounds are NOT always the same...

Quote:
The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections. - Narrator: Idiocracy
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Old 12-02-2008   #15
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

found an old thread about the mute plug... ill try to make them tomorrow and see... hopefully i can then isolate the real cause... but just in case... worse comes to worse and the amp is the problem... would this be an easy fix???
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Old 12-03-2008   #16
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Something else simple you can try without taking the amp apart, is to take a screwdriver, just any kind with a shiny metal shank, and lay it across the Shield from one of the "good" RCA's to the questionable one, if no luck then problem may be in the amp. If it's a 4 channel go from 3/4 to 1/2. This connects the shield from the 3/4 channels to the shield on the 1/2 input channels and see if the noise goes away...
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Old 12-03-2008   #17
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

sure will.. i will keep you guys updated.. thanks!
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Old 12-03-2008   #18
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

I'd be VERY careful when removing the cover of the amp and trying to get to the board. If you've not done it before, its easy to break a Wire or switch in the process, because of connections that you can't see, or mounting screws that aren't as visible as you'd like.

I've built home amplifier and pre-amp kits and torn apart a lot of electronic gear over the years and I accidentally destroyed my ADS 8 channel when just removing the cover due to a switch that I accidentally snapped off the board - couldn't replace exactly and then had issues with soldering a new one to the board... so please take care.

Did I read that this noise issue only took place if the channel is connected to a tweeter? If so, that makes is pretty questionable that its and amp problem... did you try it with another tweeter? Are you 100% sure you don't have a driver problem?

Not knowing this specific amp, I do know that a noise issue is much more likely to come from an RCA cable than from a broken amp. One of the best ways to isolate an issue is by swapping wires with a PROVEN set of RCA cables taken from a working installation and left completely exposed (not reinstalled in your mounting locations) to avoid any pinch issues. Yo may well be past this point already but I can't quite tell from the conversation here... its good to know anyhow though!

Start by removing all of the old RCAs coming from your hu to your amp. Then, plug in one pair of rca cables - being sure to include the reportedly bad channel of the amp and the possible bad channel on the head unit. Turn it on and listen for noise? No noise - then get new RCAs and your good to go. Still noise - then your RCAs are probably fine.

Next - swap your two RCA channels at the head unit end only. Noise moves? If so, the issue is somewhere with your H/U - if noise stays the same, the issue is with something to do with the amp and you now know at least where the problem lies! If the issue is your amplifier and its an older one, you might try totally disconnecting it and then using some high quality contact cleaner on all of the switchs on the unit. Once you spray the switch, then manipulate it on and off several times rather roughly to help remove any corrosion and help the chemical by giving it some physical pressure. Don't go too crazy with the cleaner and be sure to let the unit sit unplugged for 24 hours to assure that nothing gets shorted.

While grounding issues are certainly major noise makers... it seems unlikely that a ground issue would only impact one channel. If you have alternator variable noise, its likely a seperate issue, but deserving of attention. Grounding issues can be a major pain to track down. I first suggest doing the big three (or 4 if you have a civic) as that is a MAJOR improvement for many vehicles... especially older vehicles. The big three made major improvements for me and I'll do it to any Car I get in the future as well - system or not. Be sure to check for a fuse in the line from the alternator to the battery and install one if you have one there on the stock line too. If you can't do that make sure you have clean connections where your stock cables meet the body - block and battery at the very least!

Just try cleaning up various places where you have a nice possible connection to a solid body part, starting your own new self threading screw and listen until you get clear of the trouble... and be sure to recheck the connection a couple days later to make sure its still tight.

Anyway, I'm sorry I couldn't contribute more, but either I didn't read well enough or there just wasn't enough information for me to make a better analysis. Either could easily be the case because it is still too early for me to think lol!

Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2008   #19
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

It's not hard to replace the RCA jack. You can do it with very minimal soldering skills. It's also very easy to see the RCA jacks on Soundstreams. They are nice and airy inside. Soundstream uses the "flying buttress" type of connectors. Look to see if one of them is broken. The problem you are describing could very definitely be caused by a broken connector on the jack. The difficulty will be in removing the board. Soundstream mounted all the fets between the heatsink and the board. You will need to unscrew nearly a dozen screws to pull the board out and resolder the jack. Jacks are easy to find. Go to someplace like Mouser Electronics. You can buy them for under $1.

Just open up the amp and look for a broken connector. You should be able to open it up and tell in under 5 minutes.

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Old 12-03-2008   #20
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

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Originally Posted by Mooble View Post
It's not hard to replace the RCA jack. You can do it with very minimal soldering skills. It's also very easy to see the RCA jacks on Soundstreams. They are nice and airy inside. Soundstream uses the "flying buttress" type of connectors. Look to see if one of them is broken. The problem you are describing could very definitely be caused by a broken connector on the jack. The difficulty will be in removing the board. Soundstream mounted all the fets between the heatsink and the board. You will need to unscrew nearly a dozen screws to pull the board out and resolder the jack. Jacks are easy to find. Go to someplace like Mouser Electronics. You can buy them for under $1.

Just open up the amp and look for a broken connector. You should be able to open it up and tell in under 5 minutes.

Agreed, but not till AFTER some troubleshooting of the RCA cable and HU...

With the way SS RCA inputs are it's so un-likely... not saying it's not possible, but it's slim...

I've teken them apart and it sucks... the worst part is the LED indicators, they are just bent into place and often get mashed in the mix.. lol..

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Old 12-03-2008   #21
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron'z 2.5RS/WRX View Post
Agreed, but not till AFTER some troubleshooting of the RCA cable and HU...

With the way SS RCA inputs are it's so un-likely... not saying it's not possible, but it's slim...

I've teken them apart and it sucks... the worst part is the LED indicators, they are just bent into place and often get mashed in the mix.. lol..
Yep, SS uses some of the strongest connectors I've seen. It may be a hard connection, but it's extremely sturdy. Linear Power used some very weak and crappy connectors on the LP and DPS series that are only held fast by one screw. It's very easy to snap those.

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Old 12-03-2008   #22
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

schools over and im going home now... im in no mood to stay behind and do some after school activity... need to solve this issue quick!!!

ill let you guys now... for now, i'll start with the muting plugs...
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Old 12-03-2008   #23
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Even WITH the muting plug, my vote goes to re-grounding the HU...

Quote:
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Old 12-03-2008   #24
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

ok so here are my initial results after swapping RCAs and re-grounding the HU and amp...weird thing is, I noticed that when I turn off my engine but the radio and amp is still on, the distortion goes away... here's what I found out so far...

i did use a new pair of RCA cable I have laying around... used different Power cables and ground cables...

When engine is running:
1. RCA is not connected to both amp and HU - no distortion coming out
2. Both ends of a new RCA is connected to the HU and AMP - distortion comes out
3. One end of the RCA is NOT connected to the HU but one end connected to the amp - distortion comes out
4. Used the mute plug on the AMP - no distortion coming out

When engine is off but key is on ACC
1. Ends of the RCA connected to the HU and AMP respectively - no problem
2. Only one end of the RCA is connected to the AMP - no problem
3. Using mute plug - no problem

When engine is off but key is on BATT
1. When both RCA ends are connected to the HU and AMP - problem comes out
2. One end is only connected to the AMP but NOT to the HU - problem comes out
3. Using mute plug - no problem

I also opened the amp and here's what I saw on that problem RCA input... haay... any thoughts?

FYI.. my deck is an alpine CDA-9830
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Old 12-03-2008   #25
 
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Default Re: how do i know if its the RCA input on the AMP?

Your amp has the cheapy plastic RCA stalk, not the old fashioned ones I thought were always on the old ref series... You likely got a broken shield leg from your RCA stalk to the main amp PCB.
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