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Tech Tip: Clipping

Clipping. What is it you may ask?

In this instance, clipping is the act of over-driving a piece of audio equipment’s outputs. This usually happens by turning the gain settings too high in an attempt to maximize the amp’s output potential. When the gain is set too high for the application, the amp will produce a squared or clipped sound wave. When an amp’s outputs are being over-driven, both the amp and the speakers attached to it will generate a large amount of heat trying to reproduce the clipped signal.


This can result in catastrophic damage to both the amp and/or the speaker. In fact, the majority of amp and subwoofer failures we see come through our service department are the direct result of amplifier clipping.

Steps to help remedy the situation:

 

  1. Set LPF to 100-125
  2. Set Subsonic to 30-35
  3. Set Master/Slave switch to Master
  4. Set the gain on the amp to minimum (all the way to the left)
  5. Install the remote gain knob and turn it 1/2 way up (the midpoint on the dial)
  6. Set all headunit EQ settings and bass controls to 0
  7. While playing one of your favorite tunes via the source you use most commonly, turn the headunit volume to 3/4. At this time, you will have no output because the gain on the amp is turned down.
  8. Slowly turn the gain on the amp until the clipping indicator on the remote starts to flicker as the frequencies in the music change. Do not allow the clipping indicator to glow solid or flicker continuously on constant music or stay red on transients. This is clipping and we know what happens to those who clip.

Note: If you set your gains with an o-scope it’s all good until some factor in your system changes. This change could be in headunit volume, charging system voltage, source recording level, etc.

2 thoughts on “Tech Tip: Clipping

  1. Thank u for this helpfull insight, i do installs , and i use a smd to set gains, most people have no clue on how to set gains. Maybe this will save some of us alot of time . i set my homies gsins 2 weeks ago, he comes back 3 days ago and he set it to were when you turn it to 10 its clipping and as high as it will go. I exsplained why i set it that way and now hopefully he leaves it alone Thanks man rock on

  2. Thank u for this helpfull insight, i do installs , and i use a smd to set gains, most people have no clue on how to set gains. Maybe this will save some of us alot of time . i set my homies gsins 2 weeks ago, he comes back 3 days ago and he set it to were when you turn it to 10 its clipping and as high as it will go. Thanks man rock on

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