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Discussion Starter #21
Question:

Is is possible to run one wire from battery to trunk, where amps will be located, and have a power block back there to run power to each amp? This would save a buncha wire running the entire length of the car for powering each amp (there will likely be 3 amplifiers).

Thanks for your help.

Also, can someone tell me the best use of an Audio Control electronic crossover? Which model works best for a four-six speaker + one sub woofer system (multiple amps)?
It is not only possible, but is quite a common practice to do so. The only thing you have to remember is the amp rating on the wire you are using. For example... if the wire is rated at 100 amps, you need to make sure you don't have enough of a draw from the amplifiers to max this. otherwise the wire will catch on fire.

Use a circuit breaker up front. Make sure it is rated for more than your amps will produce, but don't overshoot too much. For example, if the amplifiers will draw 100 amps combined, use a 150 amp breaker. Use individual breakers for each amp in the back, too. Follow the same rule. If your amp draws less than 80 amps, I would probably stick to a 100amp breaker.

Your safest bet would be to add a battery in the back. When you stretch power wire out for great distances, the resistance on the wire will usually do a decent job at hindering the ability for the wire to carry constant power. If you go this route, make sure you have a breaker after your front battery and another in front of your rear battery. (Both breakers on the wire between the batteries.) You definitely don't want your car catching on fire. If you do this, usually the internal fuses on the amps will be good enough for the 1' to 1.5' worth of run from your rear battery to the amplifiers. Its safer to put fuses or breakers inline with that power wire as well, but its not required. I almost never bother.

You will notice I am putting a considerable bit of emphasis on breakers over the use of fuses. There are two big reasons for this. First is cost. In relation to fuse blocks and fuses, they are cheaper. Second is the added benefits of being able to manually control the power from one source to another with the flip of a small lever. Not to mention the fact that if you ever get a power surge, you won't have to go scrambling for more fuses at your local store. They can be had for anywhere from $15 to $30 for a descent 150-200 amp breaker. You cant touch blade fuses and holders for that cost.



As for the crossover... if your amps and headunit are worth anything at all, they will have ample ability to tune your system. The use of an external control shouldn't be needed. If you still feel the need, though, you will never hear me recommend an AC crossover. They are, in my experience (5 times over), complete junk.



No need to post on any other forums... I got you covered. ;) But if you feel the need for a second opinion, I recommend Car Audio Forum. They will only repeat what I have already said, though.


I try to be here as much as I can, so feel free to post any additional questions and I will try to answer them.
 

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Do I have to use a second battery? Trunk space is already at a premium if I put a sub woofer in there.

Is there a mathematical/algebraic formula for calculating what gauge wire to use for the current draw of the amplifier(s) versus the length of wire you are running? I know the resistance goes up with length and that requires a larger diameter wire after so many feet, but not sure how to calculate the diameter of wire for a given current draw.

I read on a car audio technical web site that breakers take more time to trip than fuses and so for some cases they are not recommended to use, such as "for audio equipment". However, my truck stereo is set up with a breaker at the battery and personally I like it.

I have had Audio Control crossovers used in two systems of other cars and they worked great. They were installed by a places that only do high end stuff. Why do you feel they are junk?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Do I have to use a second battery? Trunk space is already at a premium if I put a sub woofer in there.

Is there a mathematical/algebraic formula for calculating what gauge wire to use for the current draw of the amplifier(s) versus the length of wire you are running? I know the resistance goes up with length and that requires a larger diameter wire after so many feet, but not sure how to calculate the diameter of wire for a given current draw.

I read on a car audio technical web site that breakers take more time to trip than fuses and so for some cases they are not recommended to use, such as "for audio equipment". However, my truck stereo is set up with a breaker at the battery and personally I like it.

I have had Audio Control crossovers used in two systems of other cars and they worked great. They were installed by a places that only do high end stuff. Why do you feel they are junk?

Math? Sure. It's probably easier just to tell me how many watts RMS your amps run and get an answer, though.

The battery is not required, but it helps in a big way. For every foot of wire you run, your voltage will be dropping a certain amount per power drop. The more power they try to draw, the less they receive through the wire. The same holds true every time you add something such as a dist block in line. This will be robbing power from your system at the very least. You also have to remember that when you are talking about 12v (or 110v probably, for that matter...) the resistance robs power when it travels through the wire, and that power is dissipated in the form of heat. The more power you draw, the more resistance there is, the more the wire will heat up. This is why cars not set up correctly will catch fire.

Some people prefer fuses because they snap faster than the breaker can trip, but that also makes them prone to false trips. That's why I don't really like them.

As for the crossovers... I have gone through 5 AC pieces. The first one introduced too much line noise. The next two were fluctuating in voltage constantly. The last two had a life span of about 1 month each. I finally gave up. I won't try again, either.


"high end stuff" is all in the eyes and ears of the people who work there. Around here, JL and RF are considered "the best", and I won't touch either with a ten foot pole, so be careful how you use that term. ;) And just because they install it and sell it doesn't make it good, anyway. I have gone to some shops that sell some of the nicest shit and watched installers run power wire too close to the RCAs, put screwdrivers down through foam surround, or generally screw up the math while building a sub box. Just because they work there doesn't mean they are the best, too. It just means they were lucky enough to get a job there.

If you want honest opinions about what works, go to some stereo comps. Watch for the ones who are doing outstanding in them, then ask them if they did the work themselves. If they say yes, Talk to them.

If they say no... run.


Car audio is just one of those things in life where most times you will find the best work in the hands of the owner and hobbiest. Professionals lose interest after a short time of installing, and get lax. Believe me... I used to be one. I absolutely LOVED car audio. Then I started installing. After a year I had stopped competing. I didn't even have a system in my car, and I could give a shit less. I did that for almost a year before quitting. It took another 7 before I came back around to it. I won't make that mistake again, either. Finding an installer that doesn't get sick of it is possible, but they are rare.
 

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I am not sure you understand how you come across with how you said that about high end car audio. I understand what quality audio is. You don't know me so don't assume.

Car audio installation I do not know. I want something that is not a buncha subwoofers taking up the spare tire compartment or the entire useable storage space of an otherwise good car. I am not interested in the scorched earth philosophy of competition builders who build to show what they can fabricate and displace OEM panels or interior components. A car that has carved up or replaced panels is worthless to me. Spending more than the resale value of the car is not something I admire. No matter how pretty the stuff is. Great for shows like "Pimp My Car", not for me. The fabrication part of it is great to admire, but for my own use I want it in my car so it does not look like the car was altered at all unless you open the trunk and find stuff neatly tucked away. That is not competition audio. So maybe you feel that is what is "high end". Fine, I don't. That does not mean what I like is not high end, it just is not designed to rattle the windows of all the homes in the neighborhood.

So... what is that formula for calculating the gauge of the power wire?
 

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What happened to those power blocks/cells you could add to the trunk space inline from the battery supply wire? The ones that would have a 12v charge and make sure your amps and trunk shit always had constant power? Are they still used? I used to have one back in 1997.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I am not sure you understand how you come across with how you said that about high end car audio. I understand what quality audio is.

Car audio installation I do not know.


The two go hand in hand.

I know how I came across. It was said as it was meant, and if you are inferring, then there is really nothing I can say to make you feel any better.


and just to let you know... you cannot tell people that they don't know you and to not assume anything, then go on to rant and rave about what you assume they are thinking. It makes you a hypocrite.


And just for your information, nearly every car audio person out there would NEVER class SPL products as "high end". the term high end is reserved for SQ components and VERY clean installs. 90% of the time, these installs are 100% hidden from the eye and you'd never know they were there until you turned them on.

But then, you obviously are just not into listening to any advice, so go back to the shop that sells your high end components and let them overcharge you for stuff they tell you you need. I don't feel like playing with people who ask for answers and then argue to the very end.


Hope it works out for you, though. If you are happy, that's all that counts.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
What happened to those power blocks/cells you could add to the trunk space inline from the battery supply wire? The ones that would have a 12v charge and make sure your amps and trunk shit always had constant power? Are they still used? I used to have one back in 1997.


Capacitors are still used, but generally frowned upon. They are a poor band aid for a bad install. Audio shops used to push them insanely hard, and they had a really good sounding sales pitch for anyone who didn't actually have an understanding of 12v systems. As people started using the internet more and more, and relying on the audio shops less and less, the sales of caps dropped off rather violently. I still see them from time to time, though.
 

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Hey, figured I’d post my truck, and its weak system compared to the other stuff in this thread, lol. It’s a 93 Toyota pickup 4wd with extended cab. This got started about two years ago, I’d had this truck for about a year already and was getting tired of the broken speakers in the back, so I took it to a place and talked myself out of too much money and got a new set of speakers and a 10” subwoofer, but foolishly didn’t get a new headunit at the time because the truck already had an aftermarket one from a previous owner. I got 4” low end Alpine speakers in the front, 6½” low end Kenwood speakers in the back, a Pioneer GM-5300T amp hooked to a Rockford Fosgate P2 10” and a crappy headunit.

A few months later I replaced the headunit with an Alpine CDA-9883 which make a world of difference, and a few months after that I replaced the sub with an Alpine SWR 10” 2-ohm DVC when I figured out I was pushing 380W into a sub rated for 250W. Go install place! I also put in a capacitor when the headlights started to dim during big bass hits, but that problem turned out to be a bad battery as I figured out about two weeks later when the truck wouldn’t start.

What I’d like to do now is put in a different amp that can put out the 500W the sub is rated for, and put in some high end stuff for the surrounds. I’m looking at Infinity Kappa 60.9cs all the way around, probably have to put in aftermarket kick panels or mod the hell out of the dash to get them in the front Mod the door maybe, but I don't think the door would be deep enough. Put in an Alpine MRP-F300 to push the surrounds and an Alpine MRP-M500 for the sub.

Just for reference, I ordered most of my stuff from Crutchfield, and that’s where I sourced all these things. Thoughts?
 

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Crutchfield started out as a small company back in the 70's that advertised in small ads in the back of magazines like Cycle World. They were very DIY and consumer oriented back then and they still are. They have become bigger as a result of success. I have bought many car and home audio items from them. Their support is excellent.

I like buying on eBay for car audio these days because there is more available there and the pricing is very competitive. I have been buying mostly old school amplifiers and some spare head units for ones I have in some of my cars, just for spare parts. Sometimes you can pick up NOS items that are very high quality, for a great price, because someone bought a bunch of the stuff before it went off the market. Some of the used high end amplifiers can be had for a good price if you are careful on how you bid.

There is a seller on eBay who makes some excellent instructional videos on car audio, including some great fabrication DVDs. You might be interested in his stuff if you are going to be doing kick panel or other interior panel fabrication yourself. If you are interested I can probably find his information.

I have had Infinity Kappa speakers. I like a real high end prescence and their tweeters are more a smooth sound that does not have enough high end for my ears. Depends on what you like to hear. My preference is for something different (MB Quart), but that does not mean what you have is any lesser quality.
 

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Crutchfield started out as a small company back in the 70's that advertised in small ads in the back of magazines like Cycle World. They were very DIY and consumer oriented back then and they still are.
Didn't know that, cool.

I'd purchased more than a few things at Crutchfield to get a feel for what I was in for and don't regret that. The other reason, as noted in this thread, was my belief you needed an Authorized Dealer for warranty reasons.

Now that I've messed with stuff I'll be more widely searching. As with fuster I picked up my CDT speakers, on ZX's advice, from woofers etc. on Ebay at a discount since they were being discontinued. Install will be wrapped up tonight.

As fuster points out, this stuff really is limited by your budget and extent of interest which varies so widely its hard to say there's a right and wrong in selection. For instance, ZX was pushing the mats for sound deadening but my budeget wouldn't allow it. I ended up with a sludge and its worked well enough in the trunk. The doors are the next testing ground.

MB Quarts have gotten pretty good reviews on the car forum I visit. The Alpine 9883 is one I have in a car and I like it for giving me somewhat decent iPod menus, though the iDA's can't be beat for that. Haven't pulled my Alpine amp out for use yet so no thoughts there. Alpine speakers haven't gotten the best reviews from folks who've put them in f body cars, though I haven't seen specifics of what they don't like about them.

VTS, post up about the Alpine sub, I'd be interested in how that works out.
 

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If you can afford to buy a 3 foot wide roll of Dynamat Original or Extreme to have around, it is a good idea IMO, so when you have an interior panel off, you can try to clean the sheet metal, heat it and the Dynamat up, and slap some on that interior compartment for sound deadening. I just put some in the rear portion of my extended cab full size Chevy truck (I was replacing the rear speakers with some Rockford Fosgates, bought on eBay).

To heat the Dynamat, I am using a waterbed mattress heater, which works excellent for that.
 

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VTS, post up about the Alpine sub, I'd be interested in how that works out.

I like it better than the fosgate I had before it, but I don't really have much to compare it to. It sounds great to me. It's quite capable of making the mirrors in my truck useless if I turn the volume up enough.

As for the other stuff, I'm definitely open to suggestions, all I really know about car audio at this point is that alpine is generally good, and that Crutchfield has really good instructions :D
 

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Thanks.

The only part about Alpine I'm convinced of is that their iPod menus and connectivity are the best available. Beyond that things are up for grabs.
 

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If you can afford to buy a 3 foot wide roll of Dynamat Original or Extreme to have around, it is a good idea IMO, so when you have an interior panel off, you can try to clean the sheet metal, heat it and the Dynamat up, and slap some on that interior compartment for sound deadening. I just put some in the rear portion of my extended cab full size Chevy truck (I was replacing the rear speakers with some Rockford Fosgates, bought on eBay).

To heat the Dynamat, I am using a waterbed mattress heater, which works excellent for that.
It cost me $50 to do the trunk and the doors to manu spec. I couldn't do a single door with that stuff. Like I said, the trade-off of cost and performance is something everyone has to make the call on themselves.

That said, as soon as I get a new car, I'm going to try to put some matting in instead since it will be a long-distance vehicle and I've read the lack of engine, road, and wind noise will make it much less exhausting to drive for long periods.
 

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