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Amp clipping indicators ???


60 replies to this topic

#1
Fish Chris

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This is another one of those things which will be very important for me at some point in the future...

My current amp, the RF Power 1000, 5ch (my baby ;)) has an LED clipping indicator for each of its 5ch's located on the front (top) panel. And where I have it mounted (on the back, false wall, of my Supercab F150) I can, and always do, look over my right shoulder, to monitor my power output, often trying to adjust all 5 ch to where they are just below the slightest red flicker > Or in other words, max output, with minimum distortion.

Now, I know at some point down the road, I will have to do away with my Power 1000, for a bigger amp. But I really don't know of another amp, which has such a cool clipping indicator, located in such a perfect spot for my uses ? :(

So, the $10K question is > Is their a way to have some sort of inline indicators, for each of your amp channels, maybe which could even be located on your dash ??? Oh, and if so, "in what lines" ? Speakers outputs ?

Geeez, I'm just so spoiled with being able to so closely monitor my power outputs, that I'd be freaking completely screwed up without it !

Peace,
Fish

PS, It might be a little rigged / funky, but most amps do at least have a single little red clipping indicator on one ond, or the other. Could that be tapped off of, straight from the amp, to some very light gage wire, then ran to an LED in the dash ???

Edited by Fish Chris, 03 September 2011 - 10:09 AM.


#2
727Designs

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AQ amps, as well as a few others have a clipping light on the bass knob. Not sure how accurate it is, then again I'm not sure how accurate the one on your amp is either. A scope or DD-1 is really the best way, do it once and not worry about it.

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#3
ChevyBoy95

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the clip lights are generally accurate iirc, not true clipping though. Oscope or dd1 is your best bet.

#4
Fish Chris

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Thanks guys, but I think we might be on kind of a different page.

The scope or DD1 would probably be a great idea for setting my gains and such. {In fact, I'd love to have one of the pros here do mine}

But I'm talking about clipping for individual songs, and volume / bass control levels. No matter how perfect your gains and everything else is set up, you can still clip your music, by pushing it too hard.

I just like the visual indicator that I'm so spoiled with on my RF Power 1000. Have you guys seen these ? Its like 5 columns of blue LED's, and the very top one is red. So, you get this little light show going on, which lets you see how close to clipping your getting to clipping, before you get there....

Fish

#5
Maticus

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I've worked with one of these 25 to life amps before, and I must say the light show is pretty sweet!

#6
Stephen

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the clip lights are generally accurate iirc, not true clipping though. Oscope or dd1 is your best bet.

do you know how the dd1 works? or are you just hoping on the train?

I really have no idea how it works, would like to know the circuitry.

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not hatin, but am i wrong here it looks as if the amp is not grounded its hooked directly to the battery. it that the way it should be.



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#7
Torres

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the LED in the amp is most likely just soldered to two points on the board, so theoretically you could just solder two wires in those spots and run them to an LED anywhere you'd like
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#8
BJD3

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the clip lights are generally accurate iirc, not true clipping though. Oscope or dd1 is your best bet.

do you know how the dd1 works? or are you just hoping on the train?

I really have no idea how it works, would like to know the circuitry.

Not certain, but I think the DD1 "listens" for anything that isn't 40hz/1khz. So when you clip and develop harmonics, it "hears" that and throws the light.

Edited by BJD3, 04 September 2011 - 01:27 PM.

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#9
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I have the same amp, ray scoped it and its dead on
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#10
Stephen

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the clip lights are generally accurate iirc, not true clipping though. Oscope or dd1 is your best bet.

do you know how the dd1 works? or are you just hoping on the train?

I really have no idea how it works, would like to know the circuitry.

Not certain, but I think the DD1 "listens" for anything that isn't 40hz/1khz. So when you clip and develop harmonics, it "hears" that and throws the light.


i have a feeling its much more simple. ill stick to my o-scope.

maybe steve will fill us in :peepwall:

you can cook bacon shirtless if you're not a pussy...lol


not hatin, but am i wrong here it looks as if the amp is not grounded its hooked directly to the battery. it that the way it should be.



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#11
Bluliner

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The problem with clipping indicators on an amp is that while they're generally accurate, they don't tell you what is clipping.

For instance, you can be amplifying a clipped signal from a HU or processor. So while the lights on the amp will go out b/c the amplifier isn't clipping...you're still clipping.

To do things right you have to have some sort of indicator for every component upstream or test every component upstream to see where/if it clips and then rely on the lights of the amp. Generally, most higher end HU's will not clip their outputs. The sine wave might look slightly different at MAX, but 1 tick down on the volume and it's a perfect wave. Start messing with the EQ, bass boosts, and whatnot and that wave may change into a clipped signal. Same goes with an EQ. If you adjust your EQ for +3dB at a certain freq, you're are effectively asking the amplifier to double its power at that freq. See where I'm going with this?

It'd be nice to have some sort of "idiot light" to tell people they've gone too far. This would have saved thousands of speakers & subwoofers from the landfill. But it's not the end-all-be-all nor is it a suitable replacement for using an o-scope to set up your system.

Now if you asking for two indicators, one for clipped input signal and clipped output signal, now we're talking. I do not know of any amp that has that and I think that would be a great feature for DIY'rs and lazy installers.

#12
Bacy2k

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But I'm talking about clipping for individual songs, and volume / bass control levels. No matter how perfect your gains and everything else is set up, you can still clip your music, by pushing it too hard.

if you have the DD1, you find out what the max volume you can play at before 1% distortion and while you do that, you can play around with the bass levels to find out the highest you can go with those as well. and no, if your gains are set perfect you cant "clip your music by pushing it too hard" the only way you will clip by this point is if your voltage drops too much, or youre playing dirty music. so really, if you set your gains with the dd1, dont play above the volume and bass levels you have figured your system starts to clip at, have good voltage and dont play clipped music, youll never have to worry about it.

now if youre worried that your music isnt clean, then i understand what your saying. but its not because youre "pushing it too hard"

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#13
Bacy2k

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@ Bluliner

if you have a clipped input, your amp will be clipping no matter what. so the clip indicator will come on.

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#14
BJD3

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But I'm talking about clipping for individual songs, and volume / bass control levels. No matter how perfect your gains and everything else is set up, you can still clip your music, by pushing it too hard.

if you have the DD1, you find out what the max volume you can play at before 1% distortion and while you do that, you can play around with the bass levels to find out the highest you can go with those as well. and no, if your gains are set perfect you cant "clip your music by pushing it too hard" the only way you will clip by this point is if your voltage drops too much, or youre playing dirty music. so really, if you set your gains with the dd1, dont play above the volume and bass levels you have figured your system starts to clip at, have good voltage and dont play clipped music, youll never have to worry about it.

now if youre worried that your music isnt clean, then i understand what your saying. but its not because youre "pushing it too hard"

You're wrong for the same reason you don't set your gain with a -15db tone and then go listen to Decaf.

@ Bluliner

if you have a clipped input, your amp will be clipping no matter what. so the clip indicator will come on.

Wrong. All the amplifier is looking at is whether or not the amp is being overdriven. It doesn't "see" the waveform.

Go put 'swing my door' on at low volume. Bet you it won't tell you its outputting a clipped signal. But the waveform is still flat.

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#15
Stephen

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But I'm talking about clipping for individual songs, and volume / bass control levels. No matter how perfect your gains and everything else is set up, you can still clip your music, by pushing it too hard.

if you have the DD1, you find out what the max volume you can play at before 1% distortion and while you do that, you can play around with the bass levels to find out the highest you can go with those as well. and no, if your gains are set perfect you cant "clip your music by pushing it too hard" the only way you will clip by this point is if your voltage drops too much, or youre playing dirty music. so really, if you set your gains with the dd1, dont play above the volume and bass levels you have figured your system starts to clip at, have good voltage and dont play clipped music, youll never have to worry about it.

now if youre worried that your music isnt clean, then i understand what your saying. but its not because youre "pushing it too hard"

You're wrong for the same reason you don't set your gain with a -15db tone and then go listen to Decaf.

@ Bluliner

if you have a clipped input, your amp will be clipping no matter what. so the clip indicator will come on.

Wrong. All the amplifier is looking at is whether or not the amp is being overdriven. It doesn't "see" the waveform.

Go put 'swing my door' on at low volume. Bet you it won't tell you its outputting a clipped signal. But the waveform is still flat.


quoted for future use lol

you can cook bacon shirtless if you're not a pussy...lol


not hatin, but am i wrong here it looks as if the amp is not grounded its hooked directly to the battery. it that the way it should be.



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#16
Bacy2k

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You're wrong for the same reason you don't set your gain with a -15db tone and then go listen to Decaf.

how am i "wrong for the same reason i dont set my gain with a -15db tone and go listen to decaf"? im sorry, but what you said doesnt even make sense to me, please explain. what i said is wrong because when you play a track recorded at -5 db when your gains are set with -15 db, youll clip? thats the reason what i said is wrong?? how? what did i say that was wrong? i set my system with the 0 db tracks. so when i do listen to decaf, where will i have problems??

Edited by Bacy2k, 04 September 2011 - 08:35 PM.

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#17
Fish Chris

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Hmmmm.

Interesting thread. I dunno', but all I can say is, if I push all 5 ch's on my RF P1000 to "right before" any of them start to show the red flicker, it sounds freaking great (not that their isn't some small amount of distortion already happening... in fact, of course their is) but once I get into strong red flickering, the system starts to get a little harsh, and that's when I get nervous about damaging equipment.

BTW, Maticus or anyone, do those Kicker amps (like the one in your avatar) have a clipping indicator similar to my P1000 ? > Are those 8 little leafy shaped things on the front center LED clipping indicators ? Love my RF amp.... but would not hesitate to buy a Kicker.... or Sundown... or Soundstream... or any other reputable amp the next time around, if it fit the bill, and the price was right.....

Peace,
Fish

#18
Fish Chris

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So, you take a sweet a$$, reputable, expensive amp like this > http://www.sonicelec...10ZX1500.1.html

.....and it doesn't even have a single, stupid little clipping indicator light on one end of it ??? WTF ?!?!?

Am I like the only guy on the planet for whom clipping matters ?

This is effing killing me !

An amp without a good (preferably up front) clipping indicator, just flat out won't work for me. It's just a total deal breaker.

I guess the manufacturers don't want you to know when your clipping, so you will blow more $#!+ up, and come back to them to buy more. I just won't buy it in the first place.

Yea', this kind of pisses me off.

Fish

#19
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#20
Autruche

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As was already said, the clipping indicator on amps are a part of the output rail. When you push the amp past it's max clean output, it will light up. There is one MAJOR problem with relying on this method; It doesn't go off if the input signal is clipped, only if output rail voltage limit is exceeded!

Chances are you won't have a clue where to set your peak volume on your head unit at all, so there is hardly a point to have a clipping indicator that doesn't show you when your preamp stuff clips.

What everyone is trying to tell you is that you can never be sure your whole system is clip free unless you can check every piece of your equipment. Be it with a scope or a DD-1, you need to check your head unit for max volume, and check out anything in the line before your amp (such as EQs, processors, crossovers etc. Anything that goes in between the head unit and the amp) before you can accurately rely on your amp's clipping indicator. That being said, if you possessed a scope or a DD-1 to tune your head unit and amp with, then you wouldn't need a clipping light.

Clipping indicators are neat, but they are practically useless.

Edited by Autruche, 06 September 2011 - 08:40 AM.

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