thanks for the tip on measuring the output. i installed winisdpro and used the tone generator. when you said set it to 60hz i wasn't sure if i was supposed to put in 60 or 60,000, but i tried 60,000 and it seemed to work so i measured it and came up with 1.28V on the left rca and 1.32V on the right.
i messed around with the damaged line driver last night. it works somewhat but even at very a very low gain the sound is distorted. i found that if i turned up the volume to 100% on the computer and then started increasing the gain on the line driver, when i got to a certain level, the led on the line driver would flash and the audio would cut out. i'm assuming if it weren't already smoked, it would have started smoking at that point. to get it to work again i'd have to pull the power plug out and plug it back in.
i will be sending the phoenix gold units back for replacements since the place i purchased from charges a 15% restocking fee for returns for refunds. should i just install the line driver and turn the gain up very slightly? i'm concerned that it might still burn up under the dash if a song with a lot of base comes on. maybe i'd be better off either taking the 15% restocking fee or selling them on ebay.