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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday: I had a CD with 2 sine waves I was trying to use to tune my system. I turned up the head unit volume to full, and it sounded fine. Then started cranking the gains on the Alpine slowly until they were at max as well. I never heard the "change" in the sine wave that means your gains are too high. So, I turned the gains back down, turned the head unit volume down, and decided I'd tune using a song with a good amount of bass. I start the song, turn up the volume to around 24 out of 40 max on the head unit, and my components are cutting out. It's not THAT loud to be honest. Shouldn't be cutting out if everything's working properly. So I try a few more things and can't get it to work. I chalk it up to overheating since the truck had been out 90 degree heat for 18 hours, and decided I'd try again the next day.

Today: I'd had the truck in the garage all night, so heat shouldn't be a factor. The components are cutting out at just 18 volume on the head unit where they've been playing fine all week (gains were returned to what I'd had them on all week as well). I put my ear to the woofer on the driver's side, and there is barely any sound coming out of it. The driver's side tweeter is playing though I think softer than normal. I unplugged the driver's side RCAs from the amp, turn up the volume, and the passenger side speaker is playing fine.

I'm thinking it's the amp that has the issue because blown speakers are usually noticeable, and as I said the driver's side woofer is making very little sound.

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Switched the power wires on the amp, and I got the same result, so it's either the driver side woofer or the crossover. What I don't understand is why do both sides cut out when I turn the volume up when both RCAs are connected to the amp, but if I remove the RCAs for the side with the messed up woofer/crossover, the other side doesn't cut out at all when I turn up the volume?
 

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When I have weird problems like this, I pull out an old cheap rockford fosgate amp to just change the amp completely to reduce the variables. It has saved me some serious time on at least two occasions.

Luther
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
When I have weird problems like this, I pull out an old cheap rockford fosgate amp to just change the amp completely to reduce the variables. It has saved me some serious time on at least two occasions.

Luther
That would be a great idea if I had a 2nd functional amp that I could use. The only other amp I have is my JL Audio which...I don't think giving the components 500wrms (250 a piece) would be a good idea. Although I suppose I could just turn the gain all the way down.
 

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I'm guessing thermal damage from the sinewaves. Playing sinewaves through speakers is generally a no-no for tuning. These are extremely powerful signals that stress a speaker WAY worse than normal music. Think of it this way: During the playing of normal music the speaker is really never placed under any one particular level of stress for more than an instant. The strength of the signals rises and falls continuously with the music.

The amount of signal and excess heat generated by a sinewave is tremendous, taxing the speaker to the max pretty much continuously and generating lots and lots of heat. If you crank the test tune near max volume it can kill a speaker in a minute or two, and letting it cool off overnight won't fix the burned voicecoil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm guessing thermal damage from the sinewaves. Playing sinewaves through speakers is generally a no-no for tuning. These are extremely powerful signals that stress a speaker WAY worse than normal music. Think of it this way: During the playing of normal music the speaker is really never placed under any one particular level of stress for more than an instant. The strength of the signals rises and falls continuously with the music.

The amount of signal and excess heat generated by a sinewave is tremendous, taxing the speaker to the max pretty much continuously and generating lots and lots of heat. If you crank the test tune near max volume it can kill a speaker in a minute or two, and letting it cool off overnight won't fix the burned voicecoil.
Well, multiple site said to use sine waves to tune, so I don't really know what to say to that. Anyway after much testing, everything seems to be okay minus the driver's side woofer. Going to send it back tomorrow. When I asked the company what the turnaround time would be the guy said "It depends. We need to look at it." These are one week old, $600 speakers that were played at max volume for all of 30 seconds, so I'm expecting a new woofer pronto.
 

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It's OK to use tones to tune. However, you said you turned your HU to max volume and then eased the gains up.
You should set your gains at 75-80% of max volume. Most HU's will clip like mad @ max volume, even with a clean, 0 db sine wave.
That is more than like what fried your driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's OK to use tones to tune. However, you said you turned your HU to max volume and then eased the gains up.
You should set your gains at 75-80% of max volume. Most HU's will clip like mad @ max volume, even with a clean, 0 db sine wave.
That is more than like what fried your driver.
Some tuning write-ups I read said use 75-80% of head unit volume, but others said in order to find your head unit's max clean volume output, you turn the gains all the way down on the amps, and turn the head unit up until the sine wave changes, and that's how you know what your head unit's max clean volume level is. Then you use that point to start turning the gains on the amps up. That made more sense to me than assuming all head units maxed at the same percentage. If it was wrong, well that sucks, but I've never tuned a system before so I was just following directions.
 

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Easy test is to flip the speaker wires at the amp and see if the defect flips sides too... if it does, it's an amp problem or an RCA problem... if it doesn't, it's a speaker problem.
 

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When setting the gains on my amps with sine waves and a digital multimeter, I unplug the speaker wires at the amp so there is no signal to the speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When setting the gains on my amps with sine waves and a digital multimeter, I unplug the speaker wires at the amp so there is no signal to the speakers.
Lesson learned. When I get the woofer back (sent it off today), I'll just leave the gains on nominal. They sound fine that way before but I just haaaaad to try and tune it because that's what you're supposed to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Easy test is to flip the speaker wires at the amp and see if the defect flips sides too... if it does, it's an amp problem or an RCA problem... if it doesn't, it's a speaker problem.
Yep tried that. Thanks for the tip though.
 

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It is not just running the tones through speakers during tuning that is the problem. I've done this before when I didn't know better. As long as I worked quick and turned everything off soon as I got it right I was fine. The one time I played with dials for a few seconds too long I started to smell something burning. It's when you're at or near the clipped-signal stage for too long and the speaker doesn't get a break and a chance to keep cooling off like with regular music that you run into trouble. And I do not know of any mainstream head unit that produces a clear signal up to max volume so you probably started burning up those drivers soon as the tones came on and you cranked the gains.

If you started out at max volume you may not have heard the tone change because it was clipping and continued clipping from the get-go. When I tuned my mid/high amp there was a very audible, noticable change in the pitch of the test tone when I hit about 29 of 35 on my Alpine head unit, which put my volume ceiling at about 27 or 28. Then again when i kept the volume there and started craking the gains there was a very noticable change in the tone when the amp started clipping. It went from high pitched to shrill, piercing shrieking at a very distinct point. The sub amp was a very different story and no matter what i did I couldn't detect when THAT distorted by ear, so i used a DMM as my starting point for that. But the mid/high amp was pretty obvious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It is not just running the tones through speakers during tuning that is the problem. I've done this before when I didn't know better. As long as I worked quick and turned everything off soon as I got it right I was fine. The one time I played with dials for a few seconds too long I started to smell something burning. It's when you're at or near the clipped-signal stage for too long and the speaker doesn't get a break and a chance to keep cooling off like with regular music that you run into trouble. And I do not know of any mainstream head unit that produces a clear signal up to max volume so you probably started burning up those drivers soon as the tones came on and you cranked the gains.

If you started out at max volume you may not have heard the tone change because it was clipping and continued clipping from the get-go. When I tuned my mid/high amp there was a very audible, noticable change in the pitch of the test tone when I hit about 29 of 35 on my Alpine head unit, which put my volume ceiling at about 27 or 28. Then again when i kept the volume there and started craking the gains there was a very noticable change in the tone when the amp started clipping. It went from high pitched to shrill, piercing shrieking at a very distinct point. The sub amp was a very different story and no matter what i did I couldn't detect when THAT distorted by ear, so i used a DMM as my starting point for that. But the mid/high amp was pretty obvious.
Yeah I'd read there should have been a change. I didn't hear it though at any point. I know that sounds crazy. Maybe it happened at the point I decided to put on my hearing protection lol.

The woofer was supposed to be delivered the company I bought it from today, but UPS tried to deliver it before the business opened...really weird opening time of 9:35AM. I called UPS today to inform them of the company's hours so the same thing doesn't happen again tomorrow, and they said if the company's hours were posted on the building, the driver would try during those hours tomorrow. We'll see. This whole process makes buying from best buy and getting their extended warranty look like a brilliant idea. I could have had a new speaker same day. Sure they're not the same quality and usually overpriced, but I'd have functional speakers by now.
 

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When buying speakers like Germaniums, it's always worth a few extra bucks buying them from an authorized Rainbow dealer. I hope this all gets worked out for you..... as painless as possible too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
When buying speakers like Germaniums, it's always worth a few extra bucks buying them from an authorized Rainbow dealer. I hope this all gets worked out for you..... as painless as possible too.
As far as I understand, WoofersEtc is authorized as they come with a two year warranty.

Btw, that authorized rainbow guy you told me to call, he never did call me back. I have the worst luck with people calling me back.

Woofer was delivered today. I'll give them a call Monday to see what's up.
 

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Woofersetc. has their own in house warranty, its not thru Rainbow. I know of a guy who had to send something back to them a few months ago and it all worked out fine.

Don is a busy guy, I had to call him a couple of times to actually get a hold of him too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Woofersetc. has their own in house warranty, its not thru Rainbow. I know of a guy who had to send something back to them a few months ago and it all worked out fine.
That's good to hear. They've been very helpful thus far. I'm just eager to get this finished. Mono sound isn't so great.
 

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I've used woofers for buying Focal speakers and they seemed perfect and I have not ever had a problem. I did buy a set of cdt tweeters from them that were clearly an opened box item and accessories were traded for other sets etc.

I've also ordered stuff from Sonic Electronix with great savings and success, but they are another discount place that offer only their own warranty, and are not authorized dealers.

I got several bogus amps from Sonic Electronix, that failed, and when serviced were discovered to not have original parts.

So my personal rule is if it's speakers, head units, etc., I'll risk buying from these outfits. But high quality amps I'll only buy from real authorized dealers - it costs a little more, but you are guaranteed to get the real deal, and replacement when something goes wrong is easy and reliable.

Luther
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've used woofers for buying Focal speakers and they seemed perfect and I have not ever had a problem. I did buy a set of cdt tweeters from them that were clearly an opened box item and accessories were traded for other sets etc.

I've also ordered stuff from Sonic Electronix with great savings and success, but they are another discount place that offer only their own warranty, and are not authorized dealers.

I got several bogus amps from Sonic Electronix, that failed, and when serviced were discovered to not have original parts.

So my personal rule is if it's speakers, head units, etc., I'll risk buying from these outfits. But high quality amps I'll only buy from real authorized dealers - it costs a little more, but you are guaranteed to get the real deal, and replacement when something goes wrong is easy and reliable.

Luther
Good advice. I'd never heard of Woofers before the past couple of months, but their name kept coming up, and when I called them they were very helpful. I'm sure they'll make this right.
 
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