In this article, I’ll teach you how to tune your car amp for mids and highs in a few minutes.
Sound distortion occurs if the gain control frequency is set too high. As a big stereo system buff who has worked in a car stereo shop, I have experience tuning amplifiers to enhance sound quality. You can eliminate distortions in your stereo system by meticulously fine-tuning the mids and highs via the High Pass Frequency and Low Pass Frequency settings. You will also avoid sound distortion that ruins speakers and other components of the stereo system, you won’t incur losses and additional expenses to renovate your sound system.
Quick Summary: The below-mentioned steps tune your car amp for mids and highs properly:
- Play your favorite audio or music
- Locate the Gain control knob behind the amplifier and rotate close to the midway
- Adjust the volume to about 75 percent
- Revert to gain the control knob and gradually increase the frequency until the first signs of distortions manifest
- You may also use a multimeter to set the gain control
- Flip the HPF switch on the amp and tune HPF to 80Hz to set the highs
- Tune the mids frequency to between 59Hz and 60Hz for a better sound experience
- Eliminate sharp peaks and dips via the EQ control on the amp
I will go deeper into this below.
Tuning the Mids & Highs
Adjusting the amplifier also depends on the type of amplifier in your car’s stereo. Beginners should ensure that there are no low frequencies close to their speakers.
Also, you need an appropriate Gain setting to obtain the right ipf and hpf for the mods and highs. Do not tolerate distortion while it can be easily minimized or eliminated. Distortion can wreak indescribable damage to your speakers and ears. Distortion occurs when you tune your Gain control too high, and then the amplifier transmits clipped audio signals to the speakers. Playing loud music worsens the situation because the speakers are already overpowered.
How to Set the Gain Control
To do that:
Step 1. Play a song you are familiar with – because you know how it sounds.
On the amplifier, locate the Gain knob and rotate it close to midway – don’t have it set to full swing.
Step 2. Turn the volume to 75 percent – distortion kicks in at a very high-volume setting, so don’t hit the maximum volume.
Step 3. Listen to the music play and deduce whether it’s good.
Step 4. Revert to the gain control knob at the back of the amplifier and adjust it (increasingly) until distortion kicks in. Stop increasing the volume immediately after you notice traces of distortion.
Alternatively, you can use a multimeter to tune your Gain control.
Tuning the Highs
If you want only high frequencies in your speakers, then the high pass filter, HPF, is your go-to zone. HPF blocks low-frequency signals that cannot be played well by the speakers and tweeters. Low-frequency signals can fry your speakers, so HPF helps prevent that.
The steps below will help you to tune your highs:
Step 1: Flip the Hpf Switch on The Amp or Use a Screwdriver to Adjust It if It Doesn’t Have a Switch
To activate the settings, flip the high pass filter switch on your amplifier. Most amplifiers have the switch, but it depends on OEM.
Step 2: Turn High Pass Filter to 80Hz
HPFs realize their best performance when handling about 80Hz to around 200Hz, but the former is the best.
Any frequency lower than 80Hz needs to be channeled to the sub and bass speakers. After turning the HPF to 80Hz, tune the low pass filter LPF to capture frequencies below 80Hz. That way, you are eliminating the gaps when playing your audio – no frequency is left out.
Tuning the Mids
Most people ask me which frequency value is the best for the mids. Here you go!
Step 1: Tune the Mids Frequency Range to Between 50Hz and 60Hz
It’s imperative to beware that the mid-range frequency for the car’s main speaker ranges from 50Hz to 60Hz. However, some audiophiles use equalizers for a finer taste. So, locate the mids knob on the amp and set it to 50Hz, or 60 Hz.
Step 2: Eliminate Sharp Peaks and Dips
To do that, use the EQ modulation or settings. Sharp peaks and dips produce harsh sounds, so ensure you eliminate them via the amp’s EQ settings. (1)
The EQ settings also split the audio into low, mid, and high frequencies. That permits you to tune them as you wish; however, some prefer to use an amplifier tuning app. But in general, you need to set the treble slightly higher than the mid-range frequency for a better sound experience.
Lastly, when adjusting the amp settings, ensure you suit your needs. People have varying tastes in sound, and what sounds good to you might be lousy to another person. There are no bad or good sound or amp settings; the bottom line is to eliminate distortion.
Basic Terms and Amp Settings
Understanding the basic terms and how to set a car amp before adjusting the mids and highs is necessary. Variables like the music being played, the speaker, or the entire system influence mids and high adjustments.
Additionally, the amplifier has several buttons or settings at the back that require a good grasp of amp knowledge. Otherwise, you may get confused or distort the setup. I will discuss the basic concepts in detail below.
Frequency is the number of vibrations per second, measured in Hertz, HZ. [1 Hertz == 1 cycle per second]
At high frequencies, the audio signals generate high-pitched sounds. So, frequency is a key element of mids and highs in audio or music.
Low frequencies are associated with bass, and you must have bass speakers to listen to low frequencies. Otherwise, low-frequency radio waves can damage other speakers.
Contrastingly, high frequency is produced by instruments such as cymbals and other high-pitched equipment. However, we cannot hear all frequencies – the frequency range for the ear is 20Hz to 20kHz.
Other units of frequency in car amplifiers
Some manufacturers label frequency in Decibels (dB)LPF, HPF, super bass, et cetera.
Gain (Input Sensitivity)
Gain explains the amp’s sensitivity. You can steer your stereo system clear of sound distortions with an appropriate gain setting. So, by adjusting the gain, you achieve either higher or lower loudness at the amplifier’s input. On the other hand, the volume only affects the speaker output.
Higher gain settings drive the sound output closer to distortion. In that vein, you should tune the Gain settings finely and accurately to clear off distortion from the speaker output. You will ensure that the speaker handles only enough power to eliminate distorted sound.
Crossovers ensure the correct signal reaches its rightful driver. It is an electronic device embedded in a car’s audio circuitry to divide the sound frequency into various ranges. Each frequency range is channeled to an appropriate speaker – Tweeters, subs, and woofers. Tweeters get the high frequency while subs and woofers receive the lowest frequencies.
High Pass Filters
They restrict frequencies that get into the speakers to only high frequencies – up to a certain cutoff. Accordingly, low frequencies are blocked. So, high-pass filters won’t function with tweeters or small speakers that can be ruined when low-frequency signals pass through the filter.
Low Pass Filters
Low pass filters are the opposites of high pass filters. They permit lower frequencies (up to a certain cutoff) to transmit into the subs and woofers – bass speakers. Additionally, they filter out noise from the audio signals while leaving behind smooth bass signals.
Tuning a car’s amplifier for mids and tones is not complicated. However, you should understand the basic components or elements of sound adjustment – frequency, crossovers, gain control and pass filters. With your favorite music and proper knowledge, you can achieve breathtaking sound effects in your stereo system. (2)
Take a look at some of our related articles below.
- How to wire component speakers
- What is the pink wire on car stereo
- How many watts can 16-gauge speaker wire handle
(1) EQ modulation – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/modulation
(2) music – https://www.britannica.com/art/music