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Old 04-25-2004, 07:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I was starting to totally hijack this other thread, and since I'd gotten some of my questions answered and can now post some more specific ones, I thought it was time for my own thread

I want to get a Audiobahn ALUM10Q sub, which is a dual voice coil, 6-ohm, 800W RMS (which is 400W per coil, I think, but I haven't been able to confirm that) 10" sub designed for a sealed box. I have also found out, with much thanks to jllphan, that I should get a mono amp and wire up the coils in serial. Now, what I still don't know about is:
1. What power output amp should I get? I'm not sure what would work well with my sub, especially since I don't completely understand the significance of the ohm ratings. Please keep in mind I'm not trying to make people outside the car or four blocks away hear my bass; I just want some nice tight low-end to compliment my new MB Quart speakers.
2. Knowing the above requirements, what specific models could you recommend? I'm trying to keep this as inexpensive as possible, but still quality; "bang for the buck" is my favorite line.

Thanks everyone. Please use small words and patience; I'm totally new to car audio, as jllphan knows, but I'm learning!
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You want to wire the coils in parallel, so the ohm load drops (less resistance) and therefore you can push more power through it.
A 1000 watt amplifier at 1 ohm does not produce 1000 watts at 2 ohms, keep this in mind. You want to shoot for the lowest number of ohms that your amplifier can handle. (of which you will have no problem given you use the speaker you stated) At 6 ohms, a parallel wiring setup would yield 3.5 ohms. Series would give you 12 ohms. Thats a good deal of resistance.

As for an amplifier, any amp will do that produces enough power. If you get a dual channel amp, you can either bridge the channels or run one to each coil. I reccomend buying a monoblock amp anyways. You want to buy an amp with the lowest THD rating, highest signal to noise ratio, and if it comes down to it, a large damping factor (not that important - it's amps ability to controll the subwoofer's cone motion) With those guidelines, get whatever you want that fits your budget.

Word of warning: DO NOT BUY A SONY AMP. Period. All of their car audio equipment is inferior to the rest of the products on the market. Plain and simple, look at the ratings on the box.. if they have the balls to show them to you.

edit: Oh yah, the power handling is an RMS figure.. EG: both coils combined. So yes, each coil can handle about 400 watts.
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Old 04-25-2004, 07:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, then why would anyone want to use serial at all? Is there an advantage that I don't understand?

So, if I wire in parallel, ideally I should get an amp that is capable of producing 400W @ 3 ohms? Except I've never seen one like that...I've seen xxxW @ 2 ohm and @ 4ohms, but never at 3...I assume I should go for one that is stable at 2 ohms, correct?
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Old 04-25-2004, 08:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Anything that's stable at 2 ohm or less will be fine (which is just about everything on the market)

All the "@ X ohms" figures do is show you a rough representation of the power curve that the amplifier is able to produce at specific, common ohm loads.

Here's what you NEED, plain and simple:
Amplifier, at least 500W, 2 ohm stable, low THD, high SN. The more watts, the better.

One more tip of advice: Ignore "peak" values for anything. It's a marketing term and a meaningless figure.
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Old 04-25-2004, 08:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks! I just talked to my roommate too, who knows some of this stuff, and he helped me understand some of it.

So now here's what I'm looking at. I found an amp capable ot 600W at 2 ohms, and will hook it up to my DVC sub in parallel for effective 3 ohms impedance. My roommate said it is better to get an amp more powerful than the sub because amps start to distort as they approach their maximum power output. With a 600W amp (and 400W voice coils on the sub), I can keep it turned down.

Any opinons on this plan? Also, any recommendations on sealed sub boxes?

My last remaining question is, what makes one amp better than another of equal power?
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Old 04-25-2004, 09:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just a little clarity in addition to some already provided good advice....

I never told you to wire a subs voicecoil in a series config, i said wire a dual 4ohm sub in parallel to produce a 2ohm load.

You would never hook a two channel amp up to one dual voicecoil sub

The reason the sub you like is a dual six ohm voicecoil is because they are designed to be run in threes. If you had three of those, you could easily wire them to induce a two ohm load for the amp. They may make that same sub in a different config, you might check into it .

Why so interested in the Audiobahn? They are good, and it will work, but if you have no particular fascination i would recomend a dual four ohm voicecoil sub,

From what i gather in your ultimate goal, you deffinately want a sealed box. For more info on this check your hijacked thread. :P

Other than that, Bitcore has you headed in the right direction. Low THD (amount of distortion, how clean the amp is), high signal to noise ratio (self explanatory) and only look at RMS values.

BTW, your last question answered...you just have to know. Due to new laws (take effect next model year) output power amongst other things will have to be standardized. Right now, there is no such thing meaning an amp manufacturer could deceptively fool you into thinking his product is better than it is. There are a lot of good amp companies and i hate to even list any (there are just too many) but a few that fall under that good bang for the buck catagory are:

Precision Power
Rockford Fosgate
Kicker
Alpine (V12 series)
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Old 04-25-2004, 10:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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OK thanks for the good info. I am continuing to look at other subs, but everything I've read about the ALUM10Q seems to be exactly what I want, and I can get it for a really good price too. So let me ask this: if I hook up that sub in parallel (3 ohms) to an amp capable of 600W @ 2 ohms, it will work, right?

Can anyone recommend another (preferably 10") sub that produces very tight bass, designed specifically for sealed enclosures?
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Old 04-25-2004, 10:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If really like that sub, buy it, i took a look at it and seems ok.

If you want a sub that sounds a lot better than it looks (as opposed to the other way around), I might recomend the Kicker CompVR 10" Subwoofer by Stillwater Designs. Not only have they been making some of the best subwoofers for the past twenty years, but I have sold them for ten, never give my customers problems, I have owned them myself (and curently own a Kicker sub at the moment), and their website has a ton of info on wiring, box building, etc.

Check it out [HERE]
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Old 04-25-2004, 11:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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OK I will check that out. I really don't care at all how it looks -- but I was under the impression that Kickers were more for the boomy rap i-wanna-be-heard-down-the-block crowd. Perhaps I was mistaken.

One thing though: the Audiobahn magnet is 120 oz.; the Kicker CVR10 is only 43 oz. My roommate, who has quite a bit of experience with home audio, always stresses the magnet weight as an oft-overlooked part of a sub's performance, and he was amazed at the AB's magnet weight. Also, the kicker is also rated at 300W RMS; is that per voice coil or total? Probably per coil, but I can't find out for sure...the AB website lists totals (800W for the one I'm looking at).

I'm not trying to be difficult--you're the expert, I have no doubt the Kicker sub is great--I just like to make sure I get the full argument But being that I can get either sub for the same price (roughly $120-$130), the numbers make me lean toward the Audiobahn.
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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as for a box, I may be able to help you. I currently have a box and sub on loan to a buddy of mine from work. The box is designed to fit in the trunk of an e36 and stop at the spare tire well, giving full access to the spare without having to remove the box. Very handy.

If you can give me the size requirements of the sub and the volume I can find out if the box will work for you, if you are interested that is.
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks, Presidente, but I've got a box lined up here

Another amp question...I've been reading so much stuff today I'm starting to confuse the hell out of myself. When I'm looking at amps, say the mono kind, I often see something like this:

# 150 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms
# 300 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms (bridged)

From what I understand, the only way I'm going to get bridged mode with a mono amp is if I buy two of them. Which I don't want. So how else am I going to get down to that 2 ohms? My sub will run at 3 ohms in parallel. So then I look at the option of briding a two-channel amp, and in the specs I see something like:

# 100 watts RMS x 2 at 4 ohms
# 200 watts RMS x 2 at 2 ohms
# 400 watts RMS x 1 bridged output

Yet from what I gather that bridged output is at 4 ohms. What do I do? Does that mean if I bridge the amp so I get 400W, and hook it up to my sub in parallel which will have 2 or 3 ohms impedence, it just won't work?? Whether I get the Kicker or the Audiobahn sub, they will run at 2 and 3 ohms respectively, and take 300 and 400W RMS respectively. All these different wattages are confusing me. Could someone do me a favor and pick out a sample amp, one that you would choose to power either of these subs? Thanks!
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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yea, I guess I should've paid more attention. I don't know how well it would fit in the back of a 5er.
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Old 04-26-2004, 05:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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As far as a Kicker being made for that "holly shit what is that i hear" kinda sub, that is not entirely false. But in all honesty, the type of box has as much to do with the way a sub sounds as the type of sub itself. If you didn't have a huge wall seperating you from the sub (had a hatchback), I would be more apt to recomend a really expensive SQ sub. But that is not the case.

I am instead recomending a sub that exhibits superior build quality, power handling, and reliability in comparison to any of its direct competitors. And all of this comes at a very reasonable price. If you have more to spend, I can recomend others, but the Audiobahn you were looking at was what i used as a guide to what you wish to spend.

Yes the Audiobahn has a significantly larger magnet. That means it will require a significantly larger amp(more money) to push it to its limits. See a trend starting? They are made to run in threes (obnoxious), they have a huge freakin magnet (inefficient), they look like they belong in a ricer: that sub is made for a big obnoxious system that is loud and ugly. Like i said, look at the Kicker.

As far as amp ratings go, you can run a mono amp at 2 or 4ohms. This is dictated by wiring a dual voicecoil sub's voicecoils in either a parallel or series configuration. It is incorrect to say this is bridging the amp (there is only one channel), but you are merely changing its operating impedence. Keep in mind the lower the ohm load induced, output wattage increases, but so does distortion.

Like i stated in the begining, you would be best served by purchasing a dual 4ohm voicecoil sub and a mono amp. This is a very cost effective decision. My recomendations for brands come from over a decade in sales and installation experience (clears throat in a listen to me fashion), but feel free to learn these technologies yourself and make your own decisions! :P
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Well, OK then jllphan...I'm going to take your advice. I was just thinking about what I think of people that ask my advice about computers and tech devices (my specialty) and then ignore me.

I'm getting ready to order a Kicker CVR10 sub. Now, what I haven't been able to confirm and I REALLY need you to answer before I order is: Is that 300W rating on the Kicker total (as Audiobahn did), or for each voice coil? In other words, should I get a Pioneer GM-D510M (mono Class D, will do 600W @ 2 ohms, which will output exactly 300W to each coil of the sub), or something like the Rockford Fosgate P3001 which will do 300W @ 2 ohms, resulting in 150W to each coil?

I'm really close to pulling the trigger...as soon as I get your answer! I appreciate all your help.

EDIT: One additional question: should I use line level or speaker level inputs and WHY? I kindof asked this question before, but I didn't get a totally clear answer.
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Old 04-26-2004, 09:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The power rating for the CVR is total input power handling (i guess you could say both voicecoils). Keep in mind though, the manufacturer's power ratings are unregulated (no regulatory commision like with home gear), meaning a crappy company could slap virtually any rating they wanted on the box of their amp. This means Kicker has to make a generalized guestimate on power handling. Realistically, if the amp were clean enough (low THD) you could put a lot more than 300W to it!

The lower the THD (distortion created by the amp), the more power a sub can handle. Stated in simpler terms, if you bought a really nice an expensive amp rated at 1000W, and a really crappy amp that created 250W, guess which one could damage your sub if you decided to test some limits? That's right, the 250W amp. Keep in the back of your head, that distortion blows subs much more readily than power. Or even better, when an amp ceases to create power (maxed out), it starts making distortion.

That being said, i think i've solved one dilema and created another. I say this because i'm not crazy about either of those amps. I have never thought much of Pioneer amps (Premier on the other hand is nice), and the Fosgate amp (while it is a good amp company) wouldn't really be able to fully utilize the sub's capabilities. I sell Fosgate, and while i have yet to play with the P3001, i have tested the 301M (predecessor), and it's ok, but i would feel much better about it, if you had a hatchback (nothing between you and the sub).

Don't get me wrong either will work, but you might be able to find a better deal. I'm sure you have found a retailer or friend or whatever that is giving you these choices, so either shoot me a few other ideas, give me a price point, or buy the Pioneer.

As for the last question, DEFINATELY RCA's via a line level converter (LOC). I don't wish to get into the dynamics of line level voltage (I'm wordy enough as it is :P ), but this is the superior means of signal flow. Don't buy a crazy expensive LOC you should be able to find something decent for 15-25 dollars.

Now, want to sell me a computer, i know nothing about them!
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