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I got into Car Audio in the 1980s, long before the Internet. Obviously, the Internet is the largest free exchange of knowledge our world has ever seen. However, with fact also comes fiction. The following, are all Myths - no matter how much you'd like to believe in them. Inconveniences such as the Laws of Physics prevent a myth from ever becoming a fact.

1. "Clamping" is an acceptable way to measure the power output of an amplifier.

By far and away, this has to be the biggest myth ever purported in the history of car audio. Quite simple really - the laws of Physics don't permit it. As others have said countless times, one cannot measure the output of a power amplifier in this fashion as the current and voltage are out of phase with one another, unless of course, you've got the amplifier connected to a large resistor and not a loudspeaker. Now, before you argue that "it's good enough for . . . " realize that incorrect data isn't good enough for anything. Any data obtained via incorrect analysis is flawed and therefore useless.

2. "Oversize" cable exists.

It doesn't. No more than an oversize inch, an oversize gallon, or an oversize decibel exists. Long ago, standards were put into place to ensure that cable was manufactured to an agreed upon specification. These specifications are outlined fully by the American Wire Gauge (AWG) standards. They are intended to be used to quickly determine how large a cable is required for the task given the current and length of the circuit. Now, this doesn't prevent the terminology "oversize" to be used in product marketing. But, marketing is just that - marketing. Most of it is designed to confuse you into believing that one company has something special that another doesn't. Cable does certainly exist today that is specified to be one "gauge" when it really is the next gauge larger. This doesn't mean it's better. It's simply mis-labeled.

3. CCA is just as good.

CCA, or Copper Clad Aluminum, was intended to be a deception from the word GO. Companies entered the cable market with an intent to take a slice of the pie owned by the main cable suppliers. The easiest way to do this is to come to the market with a lower price. As copper is a commodity, its costs are clearly defined by the market. Larger companies that have greater buying power have the ability to purchase cable (copper / jacket / mfg) at a lower price than smaller companies with less buying power due to economies of scale. So . . . if you want to enter the cable business, offer product at a lower price than the big guys, and don't have the buying power they do, the way to accomplish this is to purchase lower quality goods and then market it as a lower priced alternative. So, yes that's exactly what CCA is - a lower priced alternative to standard copper cable. That would make OFC a higher priced alternative and tinned OFC an ever higher priced alternative. So, what's wrong with the below line of thinking?

- CCA - lower priced alternative

- Copper - the reference

- OFC - better alternative

- tinned OFC - best alternative

The answer is simple. CCA isn't copper, it's a copper alternative. Copper, OFC, and tinned OFC all offer the same conductivity while CCA has 30 - 40% greater resistance than copper cable. OFC is a process done during the annealing of the copper to remove the oxygen in an effort to prevent it from turning black when it's exposed to oxygen. Tinning the copper strands adds an additional layer of protection against corrosion and oxidation. Some industries - the marine industry for example - mandate the use of tinned copper cable in the construction of vessels. On average, tinning copper cable adds 7% to the raw materials cost of the cable - not insignificant by any measure.

The rule of thumb when running CCA has been to use two AWG sizes larger than what the AWG charts specify for copper cable. So, then really, you're comparing 1/0 AWG CCA to 2 AWG (standard) copper cable - is the cost savings really there? Now, comparing 1/0 AWG CCA to 1/0 AWG tinned OFC and they saying - Holy Cow! Look how much money I'm saving by running CCA . . . well, that's just being naive.

The other "marketing" benefit has been weight. No doubt, copper cable is heavy. If I were building a race car and wanted to go faster, one of the best ways is to reduce weight. So - using lightweight cable is a good alternative, right? Not really. The only time this would be acceptable would be if there was indeed a weight savings when comparing two cables of identical conductivity and this isn't as cut and dry as you may think given the different ratios of aluminum and copper used in different offerings of CCA.

Many reputable companies have entered the CCA business out of necessity as this is the way the market has gone. I don't see that changing anytime soon. When shopping for CCA, you definitely should consider the ratio of copper to aluminum that the cable consists of as this affects conductivity.

4. Science has no place in Car Audio

Every amplifier, subwoofer, enclosure, speaker, cable, etc. operates based on the Laws of Physics. If you consider yourself a die-hard car audio dude (or dudette for that matter), then you pride yourself in your strength in science, physics, and mathematics. Science permits you to form a hypothesis and then prove or disprove it. We all learned this in 7th grade physical science (likely earlier now).

Every single thing that you read on the 'net can be proven as fact or disproven as fiction. For example, let's say that your buddy tells you that his system is louder than yours. Easily proven / disproven with the assistance of an SPL meter. Now, let's say that the same buddy tells you that his woofers handle 5,000 Watts. Well, this isn't so easy but with the correct equipment and procedures, the exact power handling of these woofers can be ascertained. Most mis-information on the 'net spreads by folks repeating stuff others have said without doing any research.

Study hard. Arm yourself with knowledge. Speak less and listen more. Recognize that your opinion is just that - an opinion. We all have them. Rarely are they the basis of fact.


If you desire to have the best performing system, then you owe it to yourself to set out on a path of success that is based within the laws of physics. Otherwise, you'll spin your wheels and spend triple the money redoing things along the way that didn't work. Some of you here are capable of turning your passion into a career within the Car Audio Industry.

The Car Audio Industry is always looking for that next great mind. Whether it be an installer at your local shop, a salesman on the floor at said shop, an engineer with a manufacturer, etc., educated people are in demand. The Car Audio Industry is and always has been a function of the many great minds and personalities within it.

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Tony Candela - SMD Sales & Marketing
Email me at [email protected] to learn about becoming an SMD Partner!


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#4 is the one that peaks my interest the most. I know of a person who had all the gear in his truck transplanted into another truck (first truck got wrecked)

So batteries, alternator, amps, subs and box were the exact same. He ended up putting new sound deadener into his new truck and he lost almost 2db with all same equipment in the new truck (same year and trim package)

In a perfect world (not audio) he wouldn't have lost anything

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Seen SOOOO many youtube vids with comments from the home-taught electrical experts.

"V x I = P, Ohms Law, Bruh..." "Clamped with my harbor freight meter and I'm doing 10kW Watts Bruh."

Makes me cringe.

You cant even reason with them either or they get irate and start insulting you.


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This post sent with 100% recycled electrons.
2004 BMW M3
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2 - XS Power XP3000

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500F of Maxwell SuperCaps (soon to be 1000F)

Dash mounted O-scope
Audison bitOne (Remote DRC MP)
Highs Amp - PPI Art A404
Hertz HSK130 (HSK165 waiting...)
DC Audio DC9.0K
2- DC Audio XL12m2

LEGAL             - 147.3dB @ 41Hz
OUTLAW         - 150.2dB @ 45Hz

OUTLAW         - 145.7dB @ 30Hz




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So, out of curiosity, why is it that we "clamp" in competitions and what not to obtain our power. Also, what is the proper way to measure power output from an amp to a sub?

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So, out of curiosity, why is it that we "clamp" in competitions and what not to obtain our power. Also, what is the proper way to measure power output from an amp to a sub?

I can't answer the first one as I don't compete but the amm-1 is the proper tool to measure output from an amp to the sub.

An oscope with multiple channels would also help you determine actual power to the sub.

That being said a lot of people's definition of "music" is a clipped 30 hz sine wave with some 80 IQ knuckle head grunting about committing crimes and his genitals.

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How much does it usually or can it different from clamping? I.e. how much are people lying to themselves?

So . . . let's say that you wanted to buy a gallon of gas. You go to the gas station with a gallon gas container and fill it up to the 1 GAL mark. Done. On the other hand, you could bring a 20 gallon coolor with you, start filing it when you see a Toyota, and then stop filling after you've counted to 35 by two.

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Tony Candela - SMD Sales & Marketing
Email me at [email protected] to learn about becoming an SMD Partner!


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