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Old 11-27-2002, 15:35   #1 (permalink)
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Read Amp and Sub Issues

When a mate (Commodore owner no less) offered me his sub and amp for 150 bucks, I thought, yeah, a good chance to get some cheap base to start out with. He wasn't sure what condition they were in, they'd just been sitting in the back of his VT for a year.

So I checked them out, and discovered that the amp didn't work. No worries, 150 bucks for a hardly used boxed 12 inch Kicker Impulse sub and cables is reasonable, so I bought it. I went out and picked up a (note: these figures are from the box,so dont flame me if they are lower in reality, I expect they would be) 1400W Altec 3 channel amp (one 800W sub channel, two 300W speaker channels). The amp is quite large, has a remote so I can change the bass from the dash, so I thought, yeah, no worries. It's no competition amp, but it should do for now.

I plugged it all in, and found the level of base was extremely average, even with maximum base settings on the head-deck and amp. I was somewhat suprised, but put it down to the amp, or perhaps my level of expectation. Needless to say, I was suprised when there was a huge POP (I thought I'd blown a tyre), and my base disappeared. A quick investigation revealed two very blown apart fuses. Puzzled, I took the amp back to the Strathfield (Wagga), where they checked it out. They put it down to a fault in the amp, and swapped it over for a Sony 222, which had a higher RMS rating than the Altec amp.

The new amp installed, I couldn't even hear the sub before the car speakers began distorting. I was surpised, and the guys at Strathfield were too, and swapped over the 222 for a new Altec, same as the one I had before. (They came to the conclusion that 222's are good for running 6x9's and smaller only, not subs). Instantly more base, more than originally, which confirmed to them that the first amp had problems when it started. But still nowhere near the base it should have. I persisted with this for a while, but got sick of the relative lack of base. I went back on a day one of their sound mechanics was in, the only words he told me was "Give that sub a good burial".

Apparently the 12 inch Kicker Impulse sub was causing all my problems from the start, although to an untrained ear, it just sounded low on volume. A new Sony XSL1236 sub was installed, and suddenly the car has enough base to vibrate the mirror off my front window.

In the end, I ended up paying for an amp and sub that didn't even work, plus the cost of a new amp and sub, and new cabling (for looks). Strathfield Wagga were extremely helpful to me, and I recommend them to anyone, they did more than they had to.

Moral of the story? Shortcuts suck, what started out as a good idea at the time turned into a painfully long trouble shooting exercise... know what you're getting yourself into, I guess....

And if you read all this, well done, I admire ya!

Now the only thing I need to do is work out which way to face the sub in the boot...
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Old 11-27-2002, 17:52   #2 (permalink)
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Maybe before, all you had was 'base', but now you have bass ;-)

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Old 11-27-2002, 19:44   #3 (permalink)
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Well... at least you got a box!! Some boxes do fetch quite a bit.

Just a note/tip with your amp, set your speaker channels(300x2) to high pass, and your sub channel to lowpass. (if you haven't already done it)

This way, you should be able to crank the speakers in the car alot louder.
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Old 11-27-2002, 20:27   #4 (permalink)
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Sucks that you bought some faulty gear. Note to be made that the Kicker Impulse series are only entry level, and are the basic quality gear you can get. You shouldn't expect massive amounts of bass from them in the first place.

Now with the way the sub actually points, all depends on weather you have ports in the box or not. Ports meaning round holes with a cylinder inside. If you do, it's best they either point their way towards the front of the cabin, either though the back seat, or even better, through the parcel tray. This will filter in your deeper sounds.

For some punch in your bass, I find the sub towards the front of the car is good. For a more droney, dullish bass, point to the rear.

I have 2 x 12 JL subs pointed to the front of the car, with the ports going through the back seat, and it sounds AWESOME. Also, don't be discouraged from Kicker in the future. Their amps are my favorite.
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Old 11-28-2002, 00:55   #5 (permalink)
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dcstraight - that might have been my problem from the start! LOL

Futura97 - I dont actually have any speakers hooked up on the amp so far, but you're very right, when they are, I'll definitely set them to high pass. The car speakers are next on my list, I think if I amp the factory rears, bad things will happen...

Hoon - Thanks for your info, the box isn't ported, and after a quick play around, it seems to give a punchier bass pointed into the car. Which is consistent with what you've said. As for brands, it seems whenever I stray from Sony (who currently dominate my car audio), I get problems, but I'll always remain open minded - things happen to the best of brands too.

Thanks for your help and comments!

Cheers... Tim
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