Rock The Boat Audio

Video: How To Optimize Input Levels On Your Marine Amplifier

By Matt Champneys

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Optimizing input level, or gain on your marine amplifier is a critical installation step that you don't want to miss. If you aren't getting the performance you were expecting from your new amplifier, the problem often has to do with an incorrectly set gain control.

Incoming audio signals from different head units will vary in power and volume so it's important to have a method for adjusting that signal to get it just right. Also, if your amp puts out more power than your speaker can handle, you need a way to make sure the speaker doesn't get overwhelmed and blown out.

The input level control on the amp is not meant to be a volume control that you will adjust frequently. Rather, it is something that you usually set once and leave as it is. The following instructions explain how.

Typically, each set of stereo channels on an amplifier has a gain control. This is a 4 channel amplifier and it has two level controls. To adjust them you will want to use a screwdriver. Turn all of your gain controls all the way down. Generally that is a turn counter clockwise until it won't turn any more.

Play some music that represents the loudest stuff you will listen to. If you like bass, use the song with the most bass you can find. Turn the volume on your stereo head unit up to what you want to be the highest point. Some prefer 3/4 of the way up to avoid any possible distortion, but 100% will prevent any chance your amp will blow out your speakers.

Now, in small increments begin turning the gain controls on the amp up clockwise. You want to do this relatively slowly. Eventually the music will be very loud. You probably don't want to do this when there is a possibility of disturbing your neighbors! Turn the level controls up until you start to hear some distortion. Then turn it back counterclockwise just until the distortion disappears. That is your optimal setting.

Thanks for watching! Check out our other videos for more information about setting up your marine amplifier.