Tech Tip: Clipping

Posted by SoundQubed - on 11/19/2013 to Tech Articles
Tech Tip: Clipping
Clipping. What is it you may ask?

In this instance, clipping is the act of over-driving a piece of audio equipment's outputs. This usually happens by turning the gain settings too high in an attempt to maximize the amp's output potential. When the gain is set too high for the application, the amp will produce a squared or clipped sound wave. When an amp's outputs are being over-driven, both the amp and the speakers attached to it will generate a large amount of heat trying to reproduce the clipped signal.


This can result in catastrophic damage to both the amp and/or the speaker. In fact, the majority of amp and subwoofer failures we see come through our service department are the direct result of amplifier clipping.

Steps to help remedy the situation:


  1. Set LPF to 100-125
  2. Set Subsonic to 30-35
  3. Set Master/Slave switch to Master
  4. Set the gain on the amp to minimum (all the way to the left)
  5. Install the remote gain knob and turn it 1/2 way up (the midpoint on the dial)
  6. Set all headunit EQ settings and bass controls to 0
  7. While playing one of your favorite tunes via the source you use most commonly, turn the headunit volume to 3/4. At this time, you will have no output because the gain on the amp is turned down.
  8. Slowly turn the gain on the amp until the clipping indicator on the remote starts to flicker as the frequencies in the music change. Do not allow the clipping indicator to glow solid or flicker continuously on constant music or stay red on transients. This is clipping and we know what happens to those who clip.
Note: If you set your gains with an o-scope it's all good until some factor in your system changes. This change could be in headunit volume, charging system voltage, source recording level, etc.

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22 Comments

jose moya
Date: 12/15/2013
also on some amps you can hear the amp when its clipping itll make a weird noise youll know when you hear it, it doesnt sound good.
Adrian Sanchez
Date: 1/6/2014
Didn't install the remote gain knob last year and blew a sub....big mistake. Will be using it this time around. Thanks for the tip! Keep up the good work SQ.
TAEAETUA John
Date: 2/10/2014
Hello Soundqubed TEAM, I reading your article and I would like to know how do you install the amps or my audio system an a o-Scop? Thank you very much and have a nice day...
Trinity
Date: 2/19/2014
Wouldn't giving the amp more battery power help wit this too?
SoundQubed
Date: 2/20/2014
Having clean, sufficient power will help tremendously.
Trinity
Date: 4/19/2014
So if it blinks when the bass hits it's ok just as long as it's not solid for a extended amount of time?
the bro
Date: 2/16/2015
Trinity, that's the impression I am under, though, if it's blinking steadily, i would probably back off a tad. just me though.
icycrash
Date: 4/1/2015
I set all my gains the the dd-1 so I should be all good but awesome tip for people that don't have dedicated tools.
damon faulkner
Date: 4/5/2015
So does sound qubed sell the sensor? I feel i overlooked something....it is 7:37am though and entirely possible.
jeff hess
Date: 7/25/2015
does the bass knob/clip lite work with other brand amps?
jose enriquez
Date: 12/9/2015
Does the sound qubed bass knob work for other amps ???
Old truck guy
Date: 1/10/2016
So....DOES the sound quebed bass knob work on other amps?
kyle olson
Date: 5/17/2016
It will work for SQ and AQ amps only. Im wondering if different brand subs affect the effectiveness of the indicator.
David Valentine
Date: 7/17/2016
My Bass Nob only glows blue....will it change color if clipping occurs?
Reza
Date: 8/22/2016
I need to optimize the output of my 2 HDC4's. Can you send some specs for a box build that will allow it to play as it was designed to and perform at levels unheard of. I am getting all sorts of varying advice from different installers. While I am not an installer myself I would like to make an informed decision. I have the SQ 22.2 amps - one on each sub, but think this may be too little. I believe that sound engineering went into these amps and they are of impeccable quality, I just think they may be a bit too little for these HDC beasts...btw they tend to separate at the point the cone is attached to the coil. Both of mine tore around there.. I see the 7k is out can I trade up?? ....had to ask..I Thanks again guys for all your support over the last year +..
ross
Date: 9/26/2016
will the remote clip signal work on other amps with remote inputs?
Brandon Cooper
Date: 10/24/2016
Question, in a every day installation...what's the max rms would you suggest or ate you running on 2 of these HDS...?
Bryan burton
Date: 12/11/2016
What is the best way to break in a new subwoofer and how long does it take?
JoJo Narvaiz
Date: 3/29/2017
If a box is tuned to High, can this be a result for this clipping light to strike? Also, when I raise the bass nob only 4.5k, My subs go crazy and make a deep bass sound as well as the clipping sound strikes RED. Curious, and wanna fix this problem.
Kyle
Date: 4/4/2017
I gain so much output on my zv4 15 when the clipping light goes solid and you cant hear the clipping at all sub gets hot and smelly after playing about 5-7 songs fill tilt playing the whole song clipping or no clipping so
Mr. Bruh
Date: 9/7/2017
People, Kyle here is an idiot. He absolutely doesn't deserve a zv4. He would do best with a Boss Phantom woofer lol
Snakesmith Surkov
Date: 12/2/2017
I think *maybe* what 'Kyle' here was trying to say is that many woofers/amps can be clipped without failing assuming they can handle the thermal extremes that clipping creates and dissipate that heat quickly enough. THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT CLIPPING IS OKAY; IN MOST CASES IT IS AN EXTREME NO-NO. Only VERY EXPERIENCED COMPETITORS should even ATTEMPT to clip a signal on purpose! You may see a slight db gain by doing this but unless you aren't afraid to pay to replace a piece of your equipment CLIPPING SHOULD BE AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS. You never know when your equipment may decide to tap out, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ABUSE IT LIKE THIS FREQUENTLY. In a daily driven setup we should all learn to fear that horrid buzzing noise.

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