Help please... how do I set the gains on my amp?
My system is CD player-->EQ-->Preamp-->Amp
So how do I set the gains on my amp?
I’m really confused here. I recently heard from a few knowledgable folks here that I should probably have the gains wide open on my amp, and then let my preamp handle the volume control.
Obviously I’m letting my preamp handle the volume control… unless I’ve completely lost it, that’s what a preamp is for.
But what is absolutely bananas to me is the notion that the amp gains should be wide open.
From years of doing car audio, (which I assume has at least vaguely similar principles to home audio) I always assumed the following approach… many experts over on diymobileaudio.com (serious SQ guys, not silly SPL nuts) taught me this process:
1. Set the volume control of the source (dvd player, head unit in your car, etc) to approximately ¾ of it’s maximum output, in order to get a nice strong signal, but not so high in volume that it’s clipping… this of course will vary from unit to unit, but it’s a good starting point.
2. Now I assumed a similar approach with the preamp in my home system… set to approximately ¾ volume…
3. Then set the gains on the amp such that it’s about as loud as you’ll ever want to hear it.
The theory behind the above approach being that you’re starting with a nice strong signal, and then the amp isn’t working very hard to reach a given volume… thereby any distortion introduced by the amp is not amplified very much. It also means that the volume control on my preamp isn’t overly sensitive.
The notion that you would crank the gains on the amp is obviously completely backwards to this, as to reach the same given volume, you’d have the volume control on the preamp MUCH lower… so the amp would be taking a low signal, then working much harder to reach a given volume, therefore amplifying more of the amp’s distortion… also, the volume control on the preamp would be incredibly sensitive… a slight turn of the knob would result in a huge change in volume.
Am I correct in my approach? If not, then what little I thought I understood about how amps work goes right out the window.
Do the gains on car audio amps work differently than the gains on home audio amps?
What am I missing here?
What is the correct way to set the amp gains in a home stereo?
(Will I EVER learn even the SIMPLEST basics of this insane hobby? )
Form does not follow function
Form is simultaneous to function
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