Adding amplifiers to your vehicle will put an additional burden on your vehicle's electrical system. This may result in dimming dashboard or headlights especially when extremely loud bass notes "hit". This extra burden can also affect the performance of your system which can be noticed in excessive overheating and shutting down of the amplifiers in the system. Often times adding a capacitor or battery is the quick solution to the problem but it may not be the best solution. For example, a 2000W RMS amplifier will potentially draw up to 240 amps of current depending on the design and efficiency of the amplifier. Even though the normal operation of the amp will probably run less than that on average, even half of that, 120 amps, is more than most vehicle electrical systems supply to run the entire vehicle. Most stock electrical systems use alternators that are between 60 and 120 amps. Even if you add capacitors or batteries your stock alternator will still limit the amount of current that can be sent to the batteries and caps. Although upgrading your alternator may be more expensive, in the long run your system and vehicle's electrical system will perform much better than just adding a capacitor or battery.
Consult your local specialist installer or call 1-800-CALL-MTX for advice on current draw from your amplifier to see what would work best for your system.
In some vehicles, the wire size used by the factory between the alternator and the battery is calculated to limit the amount of current that can be drawn from the alternator. This can protect the alternator from excessive draw due to a bad cell in a battery or multiple batteries in the circuit. Upgrading the ground wire is a good practice but you should only upgrade the wire between the alternator and battery if the alternator is upgraded to a high output unit. If you are using a factory alternator, it may be best to assure that the factory wire is in good condition and then leave it alone to so as to avoid damaging the alternator.
Capacitors and batteries are often added to audio systems in order to help overcome vehicle electrical system shortcomings.
Capacitor - A capacitor in a system is designed to help an amplifier to compensate for transient current peaks, it is not a power supply.
Battery - A battery in a system is designed to allow extended play time when the engine is not running. A battery will be an additional load on the charging system.
Alternator - Your vehicle's alternator supplies the actual current to the vehicle's batteries and consequently the sound system.
A monoblock amplifier is a 1 channel amp (mono literally means 1). Since bass is omnidirectional, meaning you can tell where it's coming from, it isn't necessary to run subwoofers in stereo. you may see 2 sets of speaker teminals on monoblock amps and they will be labeled as either speaker 1 and speaker 2 terminals, or simply + + and - -. that is because the two + terminals are connected to each other inside the amp, as are the two - terminals. The second set is there simply to make it easier to connect multiple speakers to the amplifier. Do not confuse the two sets of terminals as separate channels. if you're not sure whether an amp is a mono or two channel amp, you can look at the labels above the speaker terminals. a multichannel amplifier will have the separate channels labeled as Left and Right, or L and R.
An amplifier's Class refers to the amplifier's output stage. Although a Class D amplifier can also be a digital amp, the "D" does not stand for digital. What "Class D" does signify is that certain parts of this amplifier turn On/Off to create a signal instead of constantly varing the voltage or current. Changing how long these parts are On or Off changes what you hear. Class A and Class A/B amplifiers are always "On" to some extent, being more or less On as the audio being amplified calls for. The benefit of Class D topology is that current only flows when the parts are On, meaning they run cooler and are more efficient. The problem is that the switching creates distortion, so a low pass filter must be used to counter the distortion produced, because of certain characteristics of the parts used in this circuit, it is much easier to adapt Class D technology for low frequency (subwoofers) applications than for full range speakers. See the Technology section to learn more about MTX Patented Adaptive Class D Technology and its added benefits.
Most MTX amplifiers feature a patented auto sensing turn on technology called Smart Engage. Smart Egage technology allows you to use the signal sent through the full range speakers in your car as the remote turn on mechanism for your amplifier rather than having to install a remote wire from the head unit to the amplifier. This is especially convenient if you are using a factory head unit as it allows you to install the amplifier in most instances without having to remove the head unit making for an easier and faster installation.
The input sensitiviy adjustment, or Gain, on an amplifier is designed to match the input voltage of the amplifier with the output voltage of the head unit (source). Different head units have different pre-out voltages, 2v, 4v...8v. Unfortunately, no one tells you what that means or why they're offered. the speaker level output of your head unit has been amplified internally, the pre-outs have not. everything that an audio signal has to pass through will lower the "quality" of the signal by adding it's own distortion to it. in most cases, it's so little we can't hear it, but it adds up. since the pre-out signal has not been amplified in the head unit, which is why it's considered to be a "cleaner" signal to send to an amplifier. the higher the signal voltage, the better the signal to noise ratio, which is why you see higher pre-out voltages with more expensive head units.
Bridging an amplifier is often most useful when you have a 2-channel amplifier that you want to use to run as a mono channel or a 4-channel amplifier that you want to run as a 2-channel amplifier. Bridging is the combination of the left and right channels of an amplifier, using one terminal from each side, to make 1 (mono) channel with a higher output than either channel running separately. A mono block amplifier has only 1 channel and cannot be bridged. The 2 outputs of a mono block amplifier are there to easily connect multiple subwoofers. If you are not sure whether your amp is a mono block or a multi-channel model, look at the speaker terminals. Multi-channel amplifiers are labeled Left and Right while mono block amplifiers are labeled Speaker 1 and Speaker 2. Every amplifier has different requirements for bridging, so consult your manual or installation instructions before making any connections.
As a general rule you should use the largest gauge power wire that your amplifier's input terminal is designed to accept. For example, if your amplifier has a 4 AWG power and ground wire input you should use a 4 AWG power wire. Consult your owners manual or installation instructions if you are unsure what size input terminal your amplifier has.
Thermal protection is not a defect in your amplifier. Every amplifier has thermal protection built into it as a safety precaution against damaging critical electronic components within the amplifier due to excess heat. The amplifier once cooled down will resume playback. If your amplifier is going into thermal protection often, check the setting of your input sensitivity to ensure that it is properly set to match the output voltage of your source unit. You can also lower the volume on your source unit to increase the intervals between thermal events.
Volume displacement is the amount of air that a subwoofer or speaker can move during use. Volume displacement relates to the speakers ability to generate higher levels of SPL. Volume Displacement is calculated by multiplying the Surface Diameter (Sd) of a subwoofer, most often measured in square inches in the U.S., times the Xmax of that subwoofer, most often measured in inches in the U.S., with the resulting volume displacement number being measured in cubic inches. The final equation then looks like this: Vd = Sd*xmax. The values for Vd, Sd, and Xmax can most often be found in the Thiele/Small parameters of the subwoofer.
A subwoofer that is reverse mounted will not sound any different than a subwoofer that is mounted traditionally. The advantage to reverse mounting a subwoofer is that you can use a much smaller enclosure since the volume taken up by the subwoofer would not be a factor as it would be mounted outside of the enclosure. Read more about controlling phase of reverse mounted subwoofers.
The difference between the MTX and Kicker square subwoofers is that the MTX TS series speakers have a patented surround design that increases the mechanical excursion by 20% and the Surface Diameter by 10% over the Kicker L series subwoofers resulting in greater Volume Displacement and consequently SPL levels.
Subwoofer frequencies often generate a considerable amount of rattle when played at high volumes in cars. The best way to eliminate rattling is to use a sound dampening material to absorb the soundwaves created by the subwoofer before they can reverberate and rattle parts in your vehicle. Sound dampening material is an adhesive material that can be stuck to the inside of doors, the headliner, the trunk or anywhere else a rattle can be heard. MTX recommends ZeroNoise NoiseKiller Mat from StreetWires as an excellent sound dampening option.
If your subwoofers are distorted you may have the input sensitivity (gain) on your amplifier incorrectly set. Distortion is caused when a soundwave has its amplitude adjusted from a traditional sine wave (round peaks) to a square soundwave (square peaks). Square waves are caused when the input sensitivity (gain) is set in excess of the output voltage of the source unit (ie. radio) and the volume is turned up louder than when the amplifier was set. This "amplified" signal results in the square soundwaves that you hear as distortion. You can use an ossiloscope to check the output wave if you have one available or you can use a multimeter and measure the output voltage of the amplifier at the speaker terminal and then use this calculation to determine if your gain is set correctly. Voltage equals the square root of RMS Power times Resistance. For example if you have a 1000W RMS amplifier connected to a 2O subwoofer the optimum voltage should be 44.72V. You can adjust the gain up or down while measuring the voltage until the multimeter measures that voltage and your amplifier would be properly set and the distortion should be eliminated. Watch our Set Your Gain instructional video for more information.