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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few questions here on the technical side of audio...

- From what I know, clipping is the amp working too hard. So then when that comes to speakers, does size of speaker or power handling capacity have an effect on what clips easier?

- Why do speakers start to distort under loud volume? Is distortion a sign that clipping will soon occur? does distortion mean you need better speakers or a better amp, or both?

- as I raise the volume on my components it gets to a point where the bass frequencies do not go any louder while the highs and mids do. Is this purely because 6.5"s and 6x9"s are just not meant to push much low end but still have the ability for louder mids and highs?
 

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I have a few questions here on the technical side of audio...

- From what I know, clipping is the amp working too hard. So then when that comes to speakers, does size of speaker or power handling capacity have an effect on what clips easier?

- Why do speakers start to distort under loud volume? Is distortion a sign that clipping will soon occur? does distortion mean you need better speakers or a better amp, or both?

- as I raise the volume on my components it gets to a point where the bass frequencies do not go any louder while the highs and mids do. Is this purely because 6.5"s and 6x9"s are just not meant to push much low end but still have the ability for louder mids and highs?
Clipping is when the amp is being asked to go beyond it's designed electrical ability to produce clean power. The size and power handling of the speaker have no effect on the amp clipping. Now the more inefficient a speaker is, the more power you need to drive it. So in other words, you may be satisfied with the amps output power if it was running an efficient speaker but not when running an inefficient speaker.

Distortion is clipping. Distortion comes from the amp. If you are distorting it, you are trying to get more power out of it than it can cleanly deliver. It means you need a bigger amp...or at the very least considerably more efficient speakers.

You are probably getting to the point that the amp is clipping, just not real hard yet if you are getting more high frequency output, but no more bass. Yes, a 6.5 or 6x9" does have a somewhat limited ability to produce really low bass, but that often shows up as mechanical noise in the driver, like the voice coil bottoming out.

The amount of output you get out of an audio system is directly related to the speakers efficiency vs the amps power output. At some point, one or the other will be the limiting factor. Either the amps will run out of steam and start to clip, or the speakers will reach their mechanical or thermal limits.
 

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I have a few questions here on the technical side of audio...

- From what I know, clipping is the amp working too hard. So then when that comes to speakers, does size of speaker or power handling capacity have an effect on what clips easier?

- Why do speakers start to distort under loud volume? Is distortion a sign that clipping will soon occur? does distortion mean you need better speakers or a better amp, or both?

- as I raise the volume on my components it gets to a point where the bass frequencies do not go any louder while the highs and mids do. Is this purely because 6.5"s and 6x9"s are just not meant to push much low end but still have the ability for louder mids and highs?
Do you have a factory head unit, or aftermarket? some factory decks like mine will weaken their bass output at higher volumes, which sucks.
 

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Do you have a factory head unit, or aftermarket? some factory decks like mine will weaken their bass output at higher volumes, which sucks.
Yeah that sucks. Mine does that too. The system is all stock now so it's no big deal, but my system is going to built around the stock head because of the other **** tied into it. It makes me wonder what issues this may cause once I use the after market gear. I just hope it's some circuit in the stock amp that will of course be by passed rather than in the deck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you have a factory head unit, or aftermarket? some factory decks like mine will weaken their bass output at higher volumes, which sucks.
Alpine head unit but it powers nothing. I just got a phoenix gold ryval amp to power 4 components.

So distortion is clipping? I always thought clipping was the horrible popping noise you get.

My buddies system pretty much skips the distortion and goes straight to a popping type clip if you turn it up too loud. Why do my speakers not pop but just distort?
 

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That is bottoming, which is when the speaker has reached its max limits. Not good either, and it is a form of distortion but an extreme one. Clipping is when a wave's top and bottom crests get chopped off, which makes for a jagged waveform. The amp simply can't push out any more power, so it clips the tops and bottoms.
 

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They are two different things. Distortion is the amp clipping because it has run out of the ability to produce any more clean power, the speaker popping is the speaker making mechanical noise because it's being driven beyond it's x-max (back and forth throw) with too much power in the lower octaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That is bottoming, which is when the speaker has reached its max limits. Not good either, and it is a form of distortion but an extreme one. Clipping is when a wave's top and bottom crests get chopped off, which makes for a jagged waveform. The amp simply can't push out any more power, so it clips the tops and bottoms.
I see, well then now that makes me wonder...

I used to run live sound, and a sound guy showed me what 'clipping' was by turning the volume way down and the gain waaaaay up on an EQ. This produced the exact same popping noise I hear in my buddy's system, however the volume was at a whisper. How did the speaker bottom out with absolutely no volume?
 

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Think of a sine wave. Remember those from trig?

The job of the analog playback section - from the source unit preamp out to the processor in to the processor out to the amp in to the amp out to the speaker - is to be able to handle the largest peaks. If the highest peaks exceed the capability of the source unit's output section to generate, or the EQ input section to handle without overloading, the top of the sine wave gets "clipped off" - if you look at it on an o-scope, it looks like a flat line (with a bunch of distortion in it).

So your buddy was overdriving the inputs of SOME part of the analog chain, but had the volume down really low. You heard the speaker popping as it tried to play a DC flat-line signal.

Clipping is not just for amps, or speakers - it can affect any part of the analog chain.

That's all you get.
 

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Relevance of DC and speakers [ dirrect current moves in 1 direction ].

see diagram:
Continuous movement of electrons Direct Current (DC) Electricity - Succeed in Physical Science: School for Champions

more info from wikpedia Direct current - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Point I'm making ... if your speaker only moves once {either all the way out or all the way in} it is seeing direct current [ just like from a small battery { A, AA, AAA, C, D ,etc..,}]

If your speaker is going in and out or up and down IT AIN"T DC it is AC ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok another question...

I read somewhere (not sure if it was on this forum or somewhere else) that you should set your head unit volume to around 90% max and then turn up amp gain until it distorts (approximately 40% power on my amp). When I do this it sounds bad, why?

Also the EQ on the head unit has very little effect. Why is this?

When I do the reverse, amp gain at 90% volume at 40% it sounds clean and clear, and the EQ has much more effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I swear I read it somewhere and there's even a good chance it was here. I have only been reading these forums and I've read a few articles online a few weeks ago. Anyway, I assume based on your response that I should be running the amp higher...ok thats out of the way, good. lol

I still wanna know why though? I like to know the technical aspect of things. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
yeah I did that already, and I get about 500 threads none of which I viewed have what I want. Actually I JUST re-searched and found the thread where someone said to adjust head unit 75% volume and adjust amp gain, leaving me with bad results.

I don't need to know HOW to set gains, I am just curious on the technical aspect of why my higher deck volume had bad results while doing the opposite (high gain low deck volume) had great results. I don't have time to read 500 threads so I am hoping someone is kind enough to type a short explanation. :)
 

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I don't have time to read 500 threads so I am hoping someone is kind enough to type a short explanation. :)
You probably wouldn't have to read 500... you could probably skim them till you find the one you want, which is probably not #499.

But as you point out, your time is totally more important than mine...
 

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yeah I did that already, and I get about 500 threads none of which I viewed have what I want. Actually I JUST re-searched and found the thread where someone said to adjust head unit 75% volume and adjust amp gain, leaving me with bad results.
Ok, here is how I do it...

Buy an Alpine 9887
crank it 100 % [ Alpines don't clip ;) ].
Set gain on amp.

If your HU clipped and sounded like **** , sell it and buy an Alpine for wormproof gain setting adjustments :)

wormproof is oil field slang for a 1 yr old couldn't possibly **** it up !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ok, here is how I do it...

Buy an Alpine 9887
crank it 100 % [ Alpines don't clip ;) ].
Set gain on amp.

If your HU clipped and sounded like **** , sell it and buy an Alpine for wormproof gain setting adjustments :)

wormproof is oil field slang for a 1 yr old couldn't possibly **** it up !!!
I have an alpine HU :p
 

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yeah I did that already, and I get about 500 threads none of which I viewed have what I want. Actually I JUST re-searched and found the thread where someone said to adjust head unit 75% volume and adjust amp gain, leaving me with bad results.

I don't need to know HOW to set gains, I am just curious on the technical aspect of why my higher deck volume had bad results while doing the opposite (high gain low deck volume) had great results. I don't have time to read 500 threads so I am hoping someone is kind enough to type a short explanation. :)
There is no difference between high volume and low gain vs low volume and high gain as long as the head unit is not clipping on the pre outs and the amp has no noticeable hiss.

Are you using some sort of loudness control? If so, that'll make a big difference in how it sounds, but loudness controls are mostly the suck because they are usually too aggressive.
 
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