Owning a car means you have to improve your knowledge about cars. Getting a driver’s license and driving your car from one place to another is not enough. Cars serve more than transportation purposes as they are of use in other cases, such as entertainment and leisure.
The main entertainment system that every car comes with is the sound system. Your car’s sound system may look simple with just a music player and maybe a radio. But it takes many components to come together to achieve a common goal. One of the major components of a car’s sound system is the amp.
What Is an Amp?
Your first question may be to ask, “What is an amp?” An amp is the short form of the word “amplifier.” The word amp is more often used. An amplifier is equipment that transmits the sound from speakers to a higher power level. Amplifiers are common in sound system setups, such as musicians’ stages, DJ corners, home theaters, and even cars.
What Is a Monoblock Amplifier?
Now that you know what an amp is, it is time to understand different types of amplifiers. The type of amplifier we will focus on in this guide is the monoblock amplifier. So, what is a monoblock amplifier?
A monoblock amplifier is an amplifier with one channel (mono) that provides greater power amplification for single and multiple subwoofers. Monoblock amplifiers are common in cars because they give all power to one channel, enabling a powerful and high-quality sound.
You can pair a monoblock amp with a multi or single-channel amplifier to get a more refined tone. This amplifier is pretty durable, but sometimes you need to tune it to ensure excellent performance. If you want to learn how to tune a monoblock amp, continue reading to the next section.
How to Tune a Monoblock AMP: A Step-by-Step Guide
It is finally time to settle down to the main task: how to tune a monoblock amp. The process is simple, even though it can be a little tricky. So, if this is your first time, you do not have to worry. We will take you through the process step by step to ensure that you do not get confused at any point. Here we go:
Gain Setting and Volume Control
Start by turning off your stereo and disconnecting the RCA cables. Next, turn the sound on and raise the volume on your receiver to the maximum. Watch the volume sign to know when it hits the maximum volume.
Once the volume exceeds the high-pass filter, you will notice a distortion in the sound produced. Knowing the high-pass filter of your sound system will enable you to tune the system optimally.
The point your system reached before the distortion began is the maximum volume your receiver can achieve. Once you know this level, turn the gain dials down until the audio quality is smooth again.
Some systems use numbers to gauge the volume of the audio. If your car is similar, the good news is that all you have to do is note the number.
First, turn the volume knob and increase the audio to about 75% to 80% of the maximum power output. Then, set your receiver’s equalizer to “Flat” and the amplifier’s gain and bass boost to zero.
After completing that stage, plug the RCAs into the amplifier channel you want to tune. Play a song on your receiver or buy a test disk for tuning. Turn the gain knob up gradually until you hear distortions. Then, lower the volume to clean sound waves.
That level is now the base gain you will use when tuning frequencies on your sound system.
If there is an additional subwoofer in the system, turn all the speakers off during the gain controls. This will protect the speakers from becoming damaged.
The next thing to do is to switch to the cross-overs and filters built into your amplifier. There are two types of filters: low-pass filter and high-pass filter.
The low-pass filter only allows frequencies lower than the specified limit to pass through the system. Contrarily, the high-pass filter allows signals higher than the specified number to pass through.
When tuning frequencies, you will use the high-pass filter for speakers. These sound systems have a separate subwoofer or speaker covering low-range frequencies.
You will use the low-pass filter to tune the frequencies for ordinary subwoofers as it requires the lowest frequencies possible. If your speakers only cover midrange frequencies, you should select the full or off position.
You should continue by finding the frequency range of your speakers or the subwoofer. Remember that if you are tuning for speakers, you must select the high-pass filter. This will enable you to align the frequency dial with the lowest signal that your speaker can produce.
Conversely, if you are tuning for a subwoofer, you should select the low-pass signal. This option will allow you to align the frequency dial with the highest frequency your subwoofer is capable of producing.
An Optional Bass Boost
With the steps above, you have successfully tuned your monoblock amplifier. The gain setting, volume control, and frequencies have all been tuned to your liking. However, some car owners like to go the extra mile and increase the power level of the bass.
The bass is a risky part of the sound system that many people prefer not to mess with. It is difficult to get right, and many things can go wrong while setting it. You should know that if you tune your bass to increase its volume, you may be sacrificing its longevity.
Before you boost your bass up, you should turn the gain down. Getting a balanced sound between bass and gain is not an easy feat but is achievable. Whatever you do, remember that the goal is to get the max volume without distorting the sound quality.
Go Over the Process and Test Drive
The final step is to wrap up the entire process. Go over each step and see if you missed anything. This is also the time to reconnect all the system components if you tune them separately.
Test your work by playing your favorite music or the radio. Increase the volume slowly until you reach 80% of the total capacity. If everything works well, you should not experience any distortion up to this point.
Now that you have tuned your mono amplifier, you know the limit of your sound system. Of course, there may be some differences, depending on the genre of music you are playing. However, you can tune the system for each genre or as you please.
Other Things to Know When Tuning a Monoblock AMP
In the previous section, we explained how to tune a monoblock amp manually. The method is one of the simplest if you want to tune a monoblock amp manually. There are other technical methods, but our method focuses on simplicity.
There are some other key things to know when tuning a monoblock amp. We will go over some of them now.
Tune a Monoblock AMP With a Multimeter
Many people are familiar with tuning a monoblock amp manually but few use a multimeter. For the sake of having options, we will give a quick run-through on how to tune a monoblock amp with a multimeter.
The first thing to note is the speaker impedance using the multimeter. You will multiply it by the amp’s wattage output. You will then use the square root of the product to get the output voltage. It is this output voltage that you will use to tune the amplifier.
While tuning the amp, disconnect all accessories. Then, adjust the equalizer and gain to zero. After tuning the amp, use a test disk to check the result of your work. Finally, reconnect all the components and double-check to ensure everything is in place.
Tuning a monoblock amplifier with a multimeter is not encouraged because the chance of success is low for a non-expert.
Tune a Subwoofer AMP
This is a quick guide if you want to tune a subwoofer amp.
- Start by turning down the volume of the head unit to the lowest. Ensure that it is not muted, as you need to hear the sound to make necessary adjustments.
- Next, remove the bass option or turn it off.
- Adjust the low-pass filter and set it to around 100-140 Hz.
- After turning the amp to the lowest level, increase the volume slowly. Note the point at which the amp reached the loudest without distortion.
- This is the number you need to take note of.
You can also tune the bass amplifier before wrapping things up. Again, however, this is risky and not advisable to embark upon.
That is all the fundamental knowledge you need to know about how to tune a monoblock amp. It is easy to tune it manually, so you don’t have to use a multimeter.
The key to completing the task successfully is to follow the procedure to the letter. If you prefer to tune the monoblock amplifier with a multimeter, you should carefully read the section dedicated to that.