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Thread: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

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    Noob blacknteal831's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    Quote Originally Posted by JCsAudio View Post
    Donít put too much faith into thinking different amplifiers will make significant differences in sound. Yes there are differences, but they pale in comparison to everything else that matters more, like tuning and installation. The Pioneer digital series are really good sounding amplifiers for the money, and even for twice what they cost MSRP, probably because Pioneer has the experience and engineering resources to make an amplifier design that is very good.

    The start-stop compatible thing though I canít speak for. That is something that might make the HELIX line of amplifiers worth the extra expense maybe, if it is really an issue?

    Yeah, the start-stop thing has been a consideration for me, though I found a free way to disable it at this point, just had to pull a 4 pin plug in the driver's footwell that sends turn signals to your trailer plug. Pulling it makes the ECU think you've potentially got a trailer attatched so it disabled auto start-stop. Probably will make a jumper for the dash later so it just thinks I've turned it off all the time rather than pay $75-$100 for a fancier solution.

    And I've read there really isn't as much difference in amps when it comes to sound reproduction itself, that installation and tune are going to have much larger impacts on all that. I was more trying to get advice on how much power I should be providing to the sub, though spending more time reading makes it pretty clear that the enclosure itself will help dictate the kind of power I should be providing. Too many opinions all over the net, from 600w is fine in the recommended box to others not liking SD's in anything but smaller enclosures with damn near twice RMS power going into them, so I was just trying to figure out which direction I should be looking at. Still damn new to all of this, just gotta keep reading and learning lol. (Next task is figuring out WinISD) I guess my only real concern with Kicker was if they are just crap behind a big brand name or not, though that doesn't seem to be the case. Again, just read a lot of random opinions, including quite a few trashing anything from Kicker.

    And I'll be certain to put up a build log once I get started with everything in a new thread. It's gonna take some time to get everything installed once I start, I'll have to be able to put the truck back together each time so I can use it to get to work.

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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    There are a lot of things that determine the actual power handling of a subwoofer, including the box type, tuning frequency if ported, and size. Then there is the speaker coil size and itís thermal ability to shed heat, and there is cone excursion which is tied to box type and size and power level. Subwoofer sensitivity and Thiele Small Parameters all play a part. Then you have really no standard for manufacturers to rate their subwoofers consistently in an apples to apples way across the board, so some are conservatively rated and some are not. I can tell you youíre better off getting an amplifier that is rated about 125% of the rated power of the subwoofer and then set the gain of the amplifier to match the power required. This gives you dynamic headroom which most all speakers handle just fine when playing music. You can go much bigger and be safe as long as you set the gain correctly and donít abuse the volume.

    If you are building a high fidelity system that will be balanced and itís not just all about the bass or SPL then whether to get a 600 watt amplifier or an 800 watt amplifier shouldnít matter as much and you should be more concerned with driver parameters, driver distortion characteristics and tech, and just using the highest qaulity parts you can afford and also using them in a way for which they will perform optimally. The box type and construction will play a significant factor in how good it sounds as well as DSP tuning or even basic tuning, especially with cabin gain involved. The box location, time alignment with the midbass, crossover selection, and type will be important.

    So if you want, I can model something in Bassbox Pro for you which can tell you how much power you should need based on box type and cone excursion. I prefer a good ported box tuned low and with DSP intervention to remove cabin gain. This to me makes the ultimate SQ sub stage because it allows for low distortion with less power and can also give you maximum SPL as compared to a comparable sealed box. A sealed box will be easier to build and more forgiving in regards to construction tolerances.

    So I see you like the Sundown SD4 10 and Dayton HO 10 but which model? Are you open to other models of low distortion subwoofers for the same or less $$$? What is the preferred box type or do you not know? Are you building it or prefab? Do you have and know how to use a DSP with REW and a microphone? What kind of vehicle is it, hatchback, SUV, Sedan, Truck, Etc?
    Sienna SB29 Focal PS165V Alpine SWS10 Mazda CX5 AF GB15 AF GB60 AF GB12 Ford F150 AF GB10 AF GB25 JLC5 Sundown SD310.


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    Noob blacknteal831's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    Quote Originally Posted by JCsAudio View Post
    There are a lot of things that determine the actual power handling of a subwoofer, including the box type, tuning frequency if ported, and size. Then there is the speaker coil size and itís thermal ability to shed heat, and there is cone excursion which is tied to box type and size and power level. Subwoofer sensitivity and Thiele Small Parameters all play a part. Then you have really no standard for manufacturers to rate their subwoofers consistently in an apples to apples way across the board, so some are conservatively rated and some are not. I can tell you youíre better off getting an amplifier that is rated about 125% of the rated power of the subwoofer and then set the gain of the amplifier to match the power required. This gives you dynamic headroom which most all speakers handle just fine when playing music. You can go much bigger and be safe as long as you set the gain correctly and donít abuse the volume.

    If you are building a high fidelity system that will be balanced and itís not just all about the bass or SPL then whether to get a 600 watt amplifier or an 800 watt amplifier shouldnít matter as much and you should be more concerned with driver parameters, driver distortion characteristics and tech, and just using the highest qaulity parts you can afford and also using them in a way for which they will perform optimally. The box type and construction will play a significant factor in how good it sounds as well as DSP tuning or even basic tuning, especially with cabin gain involved. The box location, time alignment with the midbass, crossover selection, and type will be important.
    Yeah, doing more research on all this I realized there's a lot more to it that just the power needed. I'd been basing this on some claiming the SD3/SD4's are decent for SQ, but I'm certainly not settled on those now, especially being it doesn't seem to be the consensus anymore. I think the big thing with those was they would fit in shallow depth sealed enclosures under the rear seat, but I don't think I'm going to worry about that going forward. I'm learning as I go, first audio build and all, but I'm getting the picture of getting good SQ is going to take a bit more homework and planning than I had considered originally.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCsAudio View Post
    So if you want, I can model something in Bassbox Pro for you which can tell you how much power you should need based on box type and cone excursion. I prefer a good ported box tuned low and with DSP intervention to remove cabin gain. This to me makes the ultimate SQ sub stage because it allows for low distortion with less power and can also give you maximum SPL as compared to a comparable sealed box. A sealed box will be easier to build and more forgiving in regards to construction tolerances.

    So I see you like the Sundown SD4 10 and Dayton HO 10 but which model? Are you open to other models of low distortion subwoofers for the same or less $$$? What is the preferred box type or do you not know? Are you building it or prefab? Do you have and know how to use a DSP with REW and a microphone? What kind of vehicle is it, hatchback, SUV, Sedan, Truck, Etc?
    I'd appreciate that! I'm up in the air though now as to what I'm going to do. I'm honestly open to any suggestions as to what to look at for my sub as well, so fire away. Right now the IDQ 12 (not settled on impedence yet, it'd depend on box size and what kind of power I'd be needing to provide) is probably my front runner for a sub, but that's definitely open to change. I had originally planned on a sealed box under the rear seat, but now I'm going to have a bit more room available for the enclosure, and am leaning towards a ported enclosure tuned low with all the suggestions I've been given steering me that way.

    I've got a 2017 Ford F150 Supercab (extended cab, not crew cab sized. Rear doors swing backwards), but I have the advantage of my rear seats are going to get pulled out. I was planning on leaving the area behind the driver's seat clear to place my sub, preferably in the corner near the rear wall. However, I do need some space back there to place my work bag, so I don't really want a large enclosure back there, so that's about my only limitation. As far as what I consider large, I'd probably like to keep it smaller than 2 cu feet (doesn't have to include port area), but that isn't set in stone. With where I would like my enclosure, I think I have no option except for a custom built box as the floor isn't flat where the seats mount. I do have some basic woodworking skills and tools, but I'm not sure I'm up to building a well designed and built ported box, a slot ported box would be the most ambitious project I've done with wood. Though I guess not too different in essence than the DVD case I built years ago, but I had access to more woodworking tools then. I'll worry about deciding on that once I have a plan for the enclosure itself. Orientation doesn't matter much to me, though I'd probably prefer for it to not fire up from the floor. Towards the rear wall, downfiring or front firing are what I'm leaning towards.

    As it's my first ever aftermarket audio install on any vehicle...no, no experience with DSP's at all. I've been leaning towards getting a Dayton DSP-408 to begin with, and I might try tuning it on my own to start, but could always bring it somewhere if I can't make it sound good. Lots of options near by I believe, I know I've seen Simplicity in Sound suggested before.

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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    I own a Sundown SD3 10 and it’s a very good sounding subwoofer. Also own AudioFrog GB and many others. I’ve owned a lot of different subwoofers so I have a decent amount of experience. I’ll get to this a little later.
    Sienna SB29 Focal PS165V Alpine SWS10 Mazda CX5 AF GB15 AF GB60 AF GB12 Ford F150 AF GB10 AF GB25 JLC5 Sundown SD310.


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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    If doing a slot port is a challenge in building then a round port would be the way to go, a hole saw would take care of that. If need be cut it close with a jig saw and sand it to get it circular. Then you can always use silicone on the back and front of it to make sure the seal is there if it isn't 100%. I use www.mobileinformationlabs.com to figure out my port length, especially if you need two of them for the length to fit depending on the size you want to make it. I'm cheap so I use pvc and paint it black inside. You can use flared ports, however from what I've found either they only have one length or are stackable in some cases if you need them to change in length. But the one thing I did not see were elbows. The box I'm building now isn't deep enough so I needed 90* elbows to make the length right. I also spaced them in such a way the I had them firing on both side walls and kept the space between the wall and the end of the port the same size as the diameter of the port. I didn't know about this till I did some research and talked to a few folks and apparently it's a "thing" when your doing something like this. But you can ask those questions when you narrow it down how you're going to build it. I do know the placement, orientation, and which way it's facing (ports) I believe from what I've learned out here is important for performance of what you hear and how the overall performance will be effected. These guys are no joke..serious information overload, in a god way though as you can already tell...lol

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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    Well if you want to keep it below two cu ft but want really nice low end extension then I would recommend a ported 10 which in most cases will only need about 1 to 1.2 cu ft of net volume. Here is a ported Alpine SWS 10 compared to a sealed SD410 and sealed Dayton RSS210HO-4 in .6 cu ft. I have experience with the Alpine SWS 10 and like its low distortion underhung coil design. For relatively little money its a hidden gem and its also a relatively shallow design much like the Sundown making it a good choice for shallow truck installations.

    I have several Harmon/JBL design amplifiers such as the JBL GTX500 and JBL Club that are really great sounding and don't break the bank either. There are a lot of 500-600 watt amplifiers in that catigory that will be more than adequate for the job.

    SWS10 ported (orange) SWS10 (green)SD410 (red) Dayton HO10 (yellow).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is that IDQ 12 sealed @ 1 cu ft vs ported at 1.3 cu ft compared to that same Alpine SWS 10 ported. SWS10 ported (orange) vs IDQ 12 sealed (green) and ported (blue).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sienna SB29 Focal PS165V Alpine SWS10 Mazda CX5 AF GB15 AF GB60 AF GB12 Ford F150 AF GB10 AF GB25 JLC5 Sundown SD310.


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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    Also, as mentioned above if you go ported tune low like 32 Hz and use a Precision Port round port from Parts Express. It will give you the best SQ with the most SPL over any other port type due to its extreme efficiency. I had a nice post written up about this but thanks to a computer freeze, I lost it all and didnt feel like retyping all that again.
    Sienna SB29 Focal PS165V Alpine SWS10 Mazda CX5 AF GB15 AF GB60 AF GB12 Ford F150 AF GB10 AF GB25 JLC5 Sundown SD310.


  8. Back To Top    #28

    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    Personally I'm a fan of budget amps but not cheap amps. I hope that makes sense.
    If your aspirations aren't IASCA competition and aren't particularly unusual, then pretty much any midgrade amp will do.
    I'm a sucker for Williston and Barevids and "budget gem or budget bust" vids... although they really pretty much simply focus on the power, they do touch on features - and Sam of Barevids is a great amp engineer who can point out why some amps are overpriced, underpriced, budget gems "...but sometimes this component burns out... still good for the price", etc.

    Buying a Brax amp won't necessarily get you anything more than even a budget Pioneer or Alpine, or those NVX mentioned above - if you don't have a MECA SQ judge criticizing that you are only at 9/10ths of your competitors. Especially if you have all the tweakability options of a Dayton DSP. If you are tight for space, there's some unbelievably compact amps. I'm personally looking extremely hard at the new Rockford Power amps (though I wouldn't pay for their subs).

    Subs - different story. There's a massive differences between subs, and the spec sheet unfortunately is like a foreign language to most people, even though it tells you a ton about the sub (provided it's a brand you can trust to actually report accurately measured specs that conform to standards). You might invest in a shallow sub, only to find out when you model it up that it needs a huge box. Yes, I'm also scratching my head as to why anyone would engineer a shallow sub that needs a big box- but most do!
    And don't forget Hoffman's Iron Law... these three things are mutually exclusive in a single sub/box combination:
    1) small enclosure size
    2) high efficiency
    3) low frequency extension
    So - if you want a sub that works in a small box and plays low - you're going to need to feed it plenty of power. So it's good to plan these things together.

    Download WinISD or really any enclosure design app - they aren't that complex. All you really need is Vas, Qts, and Fs off the spec sheets. You should figure out what size/type of box you want to fit in your truck, whatever space you are dedicating for a sub - and model up all the subs you are thinking about, in THAT box. IMO, that is the right order of operations.
    Want a vented box? You'll want to find a sub with a Qts that's lower than 0.5.
    Want a sealed box? You'll want to find a sub with a higher Qts, a low Fs, and a long-throw Xmax - because "how loud it gets" will depend on it.
    Shop and play. Expensive subs don't always mean better, either.

    If you want to buy product with warranty support, you'll have to shop at local dealerships - most/all will have "good/better/best" brands. You should search out MSRP on products. If a dealership is charging you MSRP, they think you have sucker written on your forehead. Go to your other local dealer.

    Hope that helps.

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    Smile Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    Thanks everyone for all the help, I do appreciate it! I've seen bits of a lot of this information in various places while I've been researching more, but it's been helpful getting more clarity on what I need to be looking at to make my system sound good.

    Took a measuring tape out to the truck to get an idea of what size enclosure I can fit back there with what I have in mind. I'm comfortable fitting up to a 3 ft^3 box behind my driver's seat, so that should open up some more possibilities.

    I'll have to mess around more with WinISD, I downloaded it but didn't really read up on how to make it work. I definitely want to figure it out, so I'll have to dive into that more to start mocking up enclosures at various sizes with different subs to see what will perform best with my space requirements.

    That Alpine SWS does look like it is a great sub for the cost! I have been mainly looking at new parts, so I hadn't really looked at that model before. I'll have to keep it in mind. Any opinions on the new Type S that replaced it if I wanted something new?

    And I've spent some time watching "Budget Gem or Bust", that's how I had settled on the Zapco ST-4X SQ originally. But I saw Skizer I think was saying he stopped recommending them as often due to some poor support from the factory and some poor QC on a few recently that he'd installed. He's the one who recommended to look at the Helix M Four instead, then I saw the compatibility with auto stop-start vehicles. Though I am not going to worry about that anymore, found too easy of a fix and will install a toggle switch or jumper when I pull apart the dash to wire everything up. Which means I might need to take a look at some other amps again...I know the Wolframs were doing really well on Budget Gem or Bust vids. I do agree with you though, I don't necessarily want to pay for an expensive amps, but I don't want a crappy amp either.

    Guess I should mention the Kicker came up because I got a gift certificate to Crutchfield for my birthday, would have been more useful before I bought my Morel's! lol but I gotta figure out what to buy from there still.

    As far as space goes, I'm not super limited on amp space with the rack that's going on the back wall, the enclosure is the only thing I'm somewhat limited on space for.

    Thanks again everyone for all the help, plenty to look at once I've got some more free time to do it!

  10. Back To Top    #30
    Noob JCsAudio's Avatar
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    Re: Need help deciding on amplifer setup

    The SWS and Type S are basically the same from what I can tell. Both are underhung coil design and both use the same cone and basket so whatever the differences are, I’m guessing they are small and insignificant. TS Parameters also look about the same between the two.

    One Type S 10 in about 1.2 cu ft tuned to 31.5 Hz will slam on 600 watts and sound real good doing it too. Again, I own the Sundown SD3 10 and AudioFrog GB12 to compare to and also JL W3V3 and many others. For the money the Alpine Type S is a good sounding subwoofer for sure. I’m not sure there is anything else that sounds as good for that price point.

    I tested the Zapco ST SQ 2X in my amplifier shootout. It was ok but didn’t impress me considering all the hype this amplifier gets and I think it’s more the Zapco name and the SQ acronym that leads people to believe it sounds better than it does. My class AB DLS cci44 sounded noticeably better in the blind tests I did. My Pioneer D8604 was surprisingly one of the best sounding amplifiers and it’s a class D too. I’m guessing Pioneers extensive experience with amplifier design is why. They have been known to have issues with noise though. I own three, A D9500F, a PRS D4200, and a D8604 and so far all sound excellent.

    I don’t have any experience with Helix amplifiers, just their DSP. I don’t think SkizeR would steer you wrong there. I tested a real cheap micro class D Kicker and it did surprisingly well, as good or better than another much more expensive brand I won’t say here or I’ll get called a liar, lol.

    If you want something different that will sound very good with modest power then consider this. https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.co...-10-subwoofer/
    Sienna SB29 Focal PS165V Alpine SWS10 Mazda CX5 AF GB15 AF GB60 AF GB12 Ford F150 AF GB10 AF GB25 JLC5 Sundown SD310.


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