Most modern sound systems make use of a powerful monoblock amplifier and subwoofers to create a good-sounding low-end. You can have single or multiple subwoofers being powered by your amp, dedicated to bass. The key is to make the bass more felt than heard.
Buying the right amplifier and speakers will be the first step to getting the sound you want. However, even after that, it can still go wrong. Setting up the components of an automobile sound system is as important as the quality of the components themselves.
Tuning your amplifier correctly is part of this setup and can be the difference between good and bad-sounding bass in your ride. So, let’s take a look at how to tune a monoblock amp.
Priority Number 1 – Get Rid of Distortion/Clipping
No matter what kind of setup you’re going to be tuning, the one thing you will never want is distortion caused by clipping. When the gain on the output of the amplifier is set too high, it will send a clipped signal to the speakers. This will cause distortion and will damage the voice coils of the speakers. This must be kept in mind during every step of the process.
How you tune the amplifier will depend on how you’re amplifier is being used. Usually, there are two kinds of car audio setups:
- The car stereo remains stock; an amplifier is used only to amplify the bass.
- All the speakers get upgraded and or amplified; the amp provides power to more than just the bass.
Setting EQ’s and Other Custom Options
You may have an aftermarket head panel installed in your car. This will probably provide you with access to an EQ and other sound modification options. It is best to decide whether you will be utilizing these functions in your setup early on.
If you decide to leave them off, leave them off. However, if you decide to use them, then set them up the way you like them BEFORE you start setting the gain on the amp.
Some stock panels will provide basic bass, and treble controls, and the same goes for them. This is simply to avoid clipping at a later stage. If you initially decide to leave them off, and then later change your mind, you will have to re-tune the amplifier from scratch to avoid damage to your system.
1 – Tuning for Stock Front Stage with Amplified Subwoofers
If you want to know how to tune a monoblock amp, start by turning the volume knob on the front panel up until you get to max volume without hearing any distortion. This will typically be close to as far as the system will allow you to go. Once you have this level, it will become your max tuning volume. You will never turn the system louder than this.
Most aftermarket car amplifiers will come with a remote bass knob for controlling the volume of the bass. If yours doesn’t, you can use the built-in control on the amplifier itself, but the remote control just makes it that much easier when you’re tuning.
Start by turning the bass knob up…
Leave the gain on the amplifier itself all the way down. Next, start playing some music you would typically be listening to and set it at the MAX tuning volume you established earlier. Depending on your setup and the size of your vehicle, you will need someone to help you with this next part.
As you are listening to the music in the cabin of the car, ask whoever is helping you to start slowly turning up the gain on the amplifier. Make sure the two of you can see one another so that you can signal to them when the bass reaches a good level. Again it’s important to turn the gain up slowly; you’ll want to listen very carefully.
The sound should start to sort of fill up from the bottom up as the bass will bleed into the sound, filling up the spaces between the mids and highs. You’ll want to stop it before it spills over the rest of the music and ruins the definition.
Many users notice…
They will reach an acceptable level long before they come close to the maximum of what the speakers can handle. If this is the case, you can simply leave it there, and that’s it, you’re done.
If you plan on going for maximum output, you’ll need to determine the threshold. Keep turning up the gain until you start to hear the very faintest of distortion coming from the speakers. That is the threshold; from there, you just back it off enough to make the distortion go away. This way, you’ll be keeping that level as close to the line as possible at all times.
2 – Tuning for Amplified Front Stage
If you have amplification running through not only the subwoofers but the tweeters and mid speakers and so on, the tuning process is slightly different.
Different here simply means twice…
You’ll be going through the same process for tuning a car bass amplifier. Just make sure you do your Front Stage first and get someone to help you. Get your Tuning Maximum and slowly bleed in the gain until the mids and highs are crisp and loud sounding without distorting. Now repeat the process for the bass amplifier, and you’re done!
Want Your Ride Sounding Sweet?
We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Monoblock Car Amplifiers, the Best Car Amplifiers, the Best 6.5 Speakers, the Best Car Subwoofers, and the Best Under Seat Subwoofers you can buy in 2023.
How To Tune a Monoblock AMP – Conclusion
Whether you’re doing a basic setup or you’ve got a state-of-the-art aftermarket system, tuning a car amplifier and speakers will make all the difference in how good your ride sounds. It doesn’t take fancy tools or a college degree, just a good ear, and a helping hand. The rule is balance in all things.
Until next time, happy listening!