Tag: bass

What are Bass Restoration Processors?

When it comes to your car audio system, bass is an extremely important factor. In order for you to truly enjoy the music in your vehicle, you will need to be able to hear your music’s low frequencies! Although adding a subwoofer to your car audio system will definitely allow you to hear more of those low frequencies, a bass restoration processor digitally restores that heart-pounding bass that is still missing from your music. Bass restoration processors are the perfect add-on for those who want the lowest hitting bass possible. You can read this Knowledge Base Article if you’d like to learn about all the different types of sound processors.

1How a Bass Restoration Processor Works

A bass restoration processor, also called a bass booster or bass restoration processor, such as AudioControl’s Epicenter, has multiple adjustments which allow the user to bring out the ideal amount of bass for their music. Most of the time, they have three types ofAudioControl Epicenter adjustments: frequency, width, and level. The frequency adjustment allows you to choose the specific frequencies you would like brought out in your music. This allows you to have complete control over the bass in your system. Width adjustments on bass restoration processors allow you to choose the amount of frequencies that are affected. You can adjust the processor to affect a wide or narrow bandwidth of frequencies around the selected frequency. For example, if you have set the processor to affect 30 Hz, a narrow setting would only mainly affect that frequency, while a wide setting would affect a large range of frequencies around 30 Hz. Lastly, you can adjust the amount of manipulation for that selected frequency at the selected width, with the level adjustment. If you would like to get the most bass possible, you can crank the level knob up. In addition, you can also turn it all the way down if you would like to. For convenient adjusting of this setting, this knob is usually located on an included bass remote.

2Types of Bass Restoration Processors

Most bass restoration processors are the same, with some varying features such as different types of bass adjustments. Most of them include a bass remote, however there are a couple that do not have this accessory included. In addition, these sound processors have a variety of maximum output voltages. Lastly, most bass restoration processors have an auxiliary input, although there are a couple models that don’t come with this input.

2How to Wire a Bass Restoration Processor

Most bass processors are connected the same way. There are Ground, 12V power, and remote inputs on the processor that will all be hooked up to your aftermarket car stereo. The ground wire from your car stereos is going to go straight to the processor, the yellow 12V wire will also go straight from the car stereo to the processor, as well as the blue and white remote wire which will go from your car stereo – right to the bass processor. This will allow you to tie in power for the processor right from your car stereo. To get signal to the processor, you’re going to hook up an RCA from your car stereo’s subwoofer pre-out to the input of your monoblock amplifier. Then, you will use a jumper RCA connected from the output of your bass processor and into the input on your monoblock amplifier. And that’s all it takes to wire your bass processor up, so you can start restoring the bass in your car audio sound system.

Bass Restoration Processors

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Car Audio 101: Car Subwoofers

Adding an aftermarket stereo and speaker set to your vehicle’s sound system will have you on your way to the perfect setup, but speakers alone won’t be able to reach the deep lows in your music. Without this bass, you will never truly experience your music. Adding a car subwoofer to your system is the perfect remedy to this problem because they are designed specifically to reproduce the low frequencies recorded in your music. When looking for a subwoofer, its important to know that you don’t have to have a subwoofer that makes your entire car shake, you can get subwoofers intended for more subtle bass.

Unlike aftermarket speakers and headunits, a car subwoofer requires a bit more than simply plugging it in and going. Car subwoofers also require an amplifier, an amplifier wiring kit and a subwoofer enclosure that matches up with the subwoofer. With enclosures, you need to know how much space you have available in your car as they can be fairly large and take up quite a bit of space. Subwoofers are traditionally available in sizes from 6″ up to 18″ to fit a variety of needs and preferences. However, 10″, 12″, and 15″ subwoofers are the most popular sizes.

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How to Tune and Adjust Amplifier Gains and Bass Boost

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You might want to force this into your head because tuning your equipment is one of the most important things you can do. Car amplifiers have lots of knobs and buttons that, when adjusted the right way, will make your subwoofers or speakers perform at their best. Improper tuning can create distortion, which can sound like buzzing, crackling, hissing, whomping, and various other noises that intrude on the instruments of your music. This is a ballpark method for setting up an amplifier, always refer to the owner’s manual first for more detailed and specific instructions. Most of us do not have an oscilloscope to properly tune a system, but the method outlined below will work well enough. Now let’s get down to tuning!

Kicker IX500.4

4-Channel Class D Amplifier- Kicker IX500.4
Step 1: Setting Volume and Gain Control

With your sound system off, disconnect the RCA cables that run to your amplifiers. Next, turn your system back on and turn the volume on your radio up to max, make sure no music is playing in the system. Disconnecting the RCAs makes sure nothing is playing through the amplifiers which would risk blowing your amplifier, speakers, subwoofers and eardrums. If your speakers run off of your radio and you have a subwoofer amplifier that your trying to set, disconnect all your speakers for safety, then reconnect them after you find the 75% volume level highlighted below. You can leave the speakers connected only if you are 100% sure no music is playing through your system. Most radios have a numerical association, for example the max volume could be denoted as “60” on the dial. The numbers for each radio differ; some might be at 10 max while others could be at 30 or even 100 max. Now that you have the max volume number, multiply it by .75, this will get you 75% of your max volume. For example, if our max volume is 60, then 0.75 x 60 = 45. Now that we have that figured out, turn your volume to zero and plug in your RCA cables or speakers if your running off the headunit. Now, turn the volume down to the 75% point (45 in this case) and turn the gain on your amplifier to zero. Set all bass boost and crossover filters to off, and make sure your headunits built-in EQ is set to “Flat”.

We recommend you use a 1-kHz sine wave tone from a test disc for this next step. If you cannot get a test disk purchase a store bought CD with your favorite music and use it instead. With your sound system off, plug in your speakers if you disconnected them and RCA cables and then turn your system back on. Now start playing the tone, slowly turn the gain up on the amplifier until you hear distortion, also known as clipping. Back off the gain about 1/8th a turn or until it becomes clear again. Remember to mark the gain level and the volume level should you need to reset them at a later date. This is the maximum volume your system will play before it might start clipping the signal. If you have multiple amplifiers, use this method for each amplifier separately. So, hook up only one amplifier at a time, unhook it and move on to the next one.

AutoSound 2000 CD-104

Amplifier Level Setting CD- AutoSound 2000 CD-104
Step 2: Tuning Frequencies

Time to adjust the built-in crossovers on the amplifiers in your system. Most subwoofer amplifiers have a Low-Pass Filter which prevents higher frequencies from reaching your subs. Subwoofers are designed to reproduce low frequency bass tones, so a low-pass filter is very important. A great starting point is around 80 to 100Hz on the low-pass crossover. Disconnect all other amplifiers and play your favorite music type from a CD at 75% volume. While listening to what the subwoofer is playing, slowly adjust the low pass filter from high to low until the mid-frequencies and high-frequencies disappear. You need to filter out cymbals, vocals, guitars, strings, and any other instruments that are not bass or low drum type. If you experience any popping or muddy sounding music from the subwoofer, turn the filter down lower.

For your speaker amplifier, you will have a Low-Pass and a High-Pass filter set on a switch so you can choose which to use. The High-Pass filter lets all frequencies above the setting to go through to your speakers while preventing the lower bass notes from getting through. Disconnect all other amplifiers and start playing your favorite music from a store bought CD. Your subwoofer will handle the lower notes, so a great place to start on the high-pass filter is where you set your low-pass filter on your subwoofer amplifier if you are using one. If not, a good starting place is between 60 and 80Hz. Listen to your speakers as you adjust the high-pass filter slowly. Get rid of any bass or low drum kicks that might cause distortion in your speakers.

Step 3: Bass Boost

If your subwoofer has a death wish, this is often the way to grant that wish. Bass boost can be very effective but it is rarely ever set correctly. The objective of the bass boost, should you want to use it, is to get more kick out of your subwoofer. For most, the bass boost is best left untouched, but you’re not most are you? Ok, so set your gain to zero, and toggle your bass boost button, switch, or turn dial. Play your favorite music and slowly turn the gain up until you get distortion. Back off the gain setting until the woofer is clear again, then start adjusting the low-pass filter. You will need to mess with the low pass and gain until you feel your woofer sounds just right. Bottom line; if you’re going to turn the bass boost up, make sure to turn the gain down. Bass Boost is not a toy and must be used responsibly.

Step 4: Mix it All Together

Kicker IX500.4

Speaker Polarity Checker- PAC TLPTG2
Phew, final step! Let’s connect all amplifiers in the system, turn the radio down to zero and start playing that CD. Slowly turn the radio up until you hear distortion or you reach that 75% limit, do not ever go past that limit. If everything was done correctly, all speakers and subwoofers should be distortion free until that point. If the bass is overpowering the speakers at the 75% volume point, lower the gain on your subwoofer amplifier until it blends well with your speakers. Do not adjust the full-range speaker amplifier to match the subwoofer(s). If your bass is not sufficient enough for your needs, you will need to upgrade to a bigger subwoofer and a more powerful amplifier.

If you can’t seem to get your system to sound just right, we highly recommend you take it to a professional. It is possible your components could be damaged, connected improperly, or simply not efficient or of enough quality to produce the sound you need. Simple things such as replacing power, ground, and speaker wire with higher quality cable could help improve the sound of your system. It is also possible that the polarity on your speakers could be switched, resulting in awkward sound reproduction. A polarity checker can fix that issue quickly. If you listen to a wide range of music, try readjusting your gain controls using different CDs with different music types to get the most even sound. Tuning is all about hearing the difference.

 

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