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Discussion Starter #1
I have been reading some old posts about when to use line drivers and I wanted to revisit the topic a little. Is the only time that a line driver is beneficial when you don't have enough volume? Can a line driver be a benefit to an install even when the gains on the amps are already set low and the desired volume can be reached?

The reason that I'm curious is that I have a Xenon 600.1. A lot of people talk about them needing really high input voltage. I have a Pioneer 880, so the output voltage isn't bad. Mine is running a pair of 10's IB, so I get plenty of volume even with the gains very low.

So other than volume, is there a benefit to using a line driver? If a system is already able to reach the desired volume with the gains low, will a line driver clean up the signal from the HU, or will it just be an unnecessary addition?

I figure that the amps job is to increase the voltage and if it can do that without being maxed out then there isn't a need to increase the signal before it gets to the amp.
 

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some feel distortion is more discernible if the voltage going into an amplifier is low thereby necessitating turning the gain up for desired loudness.

Some feel that in the frequencies covered by a subwoofer it will be hard to notice up to 10%-15% distortion.

Gain structure is a ratio of input to output [ intended example 1-to-1, equals one volt in for every one volt out ]

As you increase the amount coming out in relation to the amount going in HISS becomes noticeable at higher frequencies [very easily ].

So, please start at the front of your chain [possibly a head unit], and run a hot signal to the next device [ turn the volume up as loud as possible without hearing any clipping from midranges and or tweeters], then slowly increase the gains on your amp for desired earsplitting levels :)
 

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I wish I had noticed this thread, I would have just added my question to it( noob mistake by someone here long enough to know better ).

Anyway, if you are able to attain the volume you are seeking and still have low gain settings, then I don't really see the need for a line driver.
 

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I just installed a line driver and I noticed a huge benefit, but my case was not the norm. In my case, my HU was not capable of providing enough voltage to the amp.

I would say there are still benefits to using a good line driver, but not enough to justify the price. Amps are typically mounted in places where they can pick up lots of noise if you turn the gains up. You can mount a line driver in a very quiet place and use minimal gains on the amp to avoid that. I had this happen with my amp mounted close to the fuel pump.

Besides, would you rather have your power come from this, or some squashed circuits in an already crowded HU. :D

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Besides, would you rather have your power come from this, or some squashed circuits in an already crowded HU. :D

That's kinda the question that I'm hoping drives this discussion. If the amp is designed to increase the power, and can do so without reaching it's limits, is there still a benefit to amping the signal one more time? The HU sends the signal and the amp amplifies it. Is there a benefit to amping it again before it hits the amp, besides volume?
 

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Only if noise is an issue. That's the only other reason I can see to using a line driver. Maybe control is another benefit if you don't have independent gains on all channels and your HU doesn't allow for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ok, so far it seems that a line driver isn't going to help anything unless there is a specific problem. Unless you already have noise in the system, or if your hu's output voltage is too low and the amps gain have to be turned up to a dangerous level to achieve sufficient output, a line driver is completely unnecessary.

Since my gains are already set very low on my highs, mids and lows, a line driver won't help anything. Correct? If I were to add a 6 channel line driver to my system, I would not gain anything in the way of clarity, dynamics or channel separation?
 

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Ok, so far it seems that a line driver isn't going to help anything unless there is a specific problem. Unless you already have noise in the system, or if your hu's output voltage is too low and the amps gain have to be turned up to a dangerous level to achieve sufficient output, a line driver is completely unnecessary.

Since my gains are already set very low on my highs, mids and lows, a line driver won't help anything. Correct? If I were to add a 6 channel line driver to my system, I would not gain anything in the way of clarity, dynamics or channel separation?
You got it;)

Anyway I use a linedriver because Alpine preouts are weak. After adding it I noticed increased clarity and dynamics. Gains on both amps are all the way down. Independent level control for each channel is nice as well. To make my points valid, I'm running Xenon amps that are notorious for needing insane preout voltage.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Good information. Thanks!

Maybe I'm just itching to spend some money on my stereo and thought a line driver would be something fun to play with. I'll have to figure out what part of my system would actually benefit from an upgrade. Maybe I'll look into some new tweeters to play with. Or just invest some more time into cleaning up my install a little.
 

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Hey HillbillySQ your running a 9887 correct? What line driver are you using? I think that this might be the issue I'm having . I'm running American Bass amps and I understand they need more input signal.
 

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Hey HillbillySQ your running a 9887 correct? What line driver are you using? I think that this might be the issue I'm having . I'm running American Bass amps and I understand they need more input signal.
No it's a 9833 but still basically the same as the 9887. I'm running the pg tld66 with good results. Only thing is you have to mount it up front like up against the firewall on the passenger floorboard.

One thing worth noting is the 9887 puts out clean voltage with the volume pegged at 35/35. NO CLIPPING!
 
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