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Voltage from sound card not high enough for amplifier?

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  • Voltage from sound card not high enough for amplifier?

    I went to my local audio dealer and told them that I am interested in connecting RCA's to my sound card and excluding a deck from my car.

    The guy at the store said it would work but warned me that a limited amount of voltage would be sent through the RCA's to the amplifier and it won't go very loud.

    He told me that most decent deck's are rated at about 5V which is sufficient power through the preouts.

    What exactly is he on about and what is the best way to hook up my components, coaxials and my single subwoofer from a 5.1 sound card and ditching my deck all-together?

    - Don

    Should probably mention my components:

    - Opus DCX6.360 PSU (360W)
    - Creative X-Fi Fatality Series Sound Card
    - Auxiliary battery in back (Kinetik HC800)
    - Hertz EP4X 4-channel amplifier
    - J2 360.2 2-channel amplifier
    - Focal 25A1 Subwoofer
    - Focal Access 165A1 Component Speakers
    - Focal Access 165CA1 Coaxial Speakers
    Last edited by doncarbone; 07-22-2011, 09:58 PM.
    2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CarPC Build Thread

  • #2
    he is partially correct.


    yes, the voltage is not going to be as high as some decks, but at the same time, many decks are well above what they need to be(in high school, some friends claimed to have used Eclipse HU's with 18v preouts..)


    the beginning reason for '5v preouts' is to attempt to keep the signal strong, and the noise floor low--relative to the strong signal.

    with a lower level audio signal the noise floor is comparatively higher, which can cause a poorer quality audio signal to the amps..

    but overall, that noise might never be audible.

    i would recommend connecting the carpc to the amps just as you planned, and if you have problems--either from noise, or from too low of a input, worry about it at that time.
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided

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    • #3
      Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
      i would recommend connecting the carpc to the amps just as you planned, and if you have problems--either from noise, or from too low of a input, worry about it at that time.
      thank you for clearing that up. i'll install possibly this weekend and see how things go.

      one other quick question if you don't mind. how might i connect all 4 of my speakers (front components, rear coaxials) to my sound card? won't both sets of RCA to AUX cables need to plug into the same input?
      2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CarPC Build Thread

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      • #4
        Originally posted by doncarbone View Post
        one other quick question if you don't mind. how might i connect all 4 of my speakers (front components, rear coaxials) to my sound card? won't both sets of RCA to AUX cables need to plug into the same input?
        You use either a splitter, to split your audio cables before connecting to the amp, adapter cables (basically, splitter built into the wire) or use an amp that can accept stereo input and split the signal itself (this option should give best volume as splitters lower the voltage even more)

        -Zack
        via Droid Charge

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        • #5
          "He told me that most decent deck's are rated at about 5V ".

          I guess it depends on what his term "decent" means, but most decks including "brand name" decks are around the 2V range, some decks are in the 5V+ range but not "most".
          Besides, you can add line drivers if your not satisfied with the results.
          My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

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          • #6
            it really sounds like he was just trying to sell you something..


            Originally posted by Ryven View Post
            or use an amp that can accept stereo input and split the signal itself (this option should give best volume as splitters lower the voltage even more)
            in my experience(tearing apart amps that i blow up) many amps--at least old models-- the "passthrough" rca connections are usually wired directly to the input connections, so these have zero benefit over a external y-adapter. there is some benefit if the amps are right next to each other when it comes to wire management though.

            the newer higher end amps that have some freq control over the rca output on the amp might be better-- those might actually boost the signal because it needs to go through the amps dsp anyways.
            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


            next project? subaru brz
            carpc undecided

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            • #7
              My eclipse setup has 8V preouts. It was top of the line 10 years ago, and cost a lot

              I'm still using it now, because it's still damn good, but you don't need 5 or 8 volt preouts to play these days. Processors like the ms8, bitone, 3sixty.2, etc all allow you to connect nearly any source and output wonderful clean sound.

              It's too bad that the local car audio store didn't think to lead you towards one of those, instead of sending you away never to return because of his lies.

              Oh well, that's why shops die.

              You should be fine, the gain on the amp is not to turn the volume up, it's to allow you to set input voltage at a good level from a variety of sources, from .5v to 8v and beyond.
              Old School MP3CAR.com member!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dscustoms View Post
                My eclipse setup has 8V preouts. It was top of the line 10 years ago, and cost a lot

                I'm still using it now, because it's still damn good, but you don't need 5 or 8 volt preouts to play these days. Processors like the ms8, bitone, 3sixty.2, etc all allow you to connect nearly any source and output wonderful clean sound.

                It's too bad that the local car audio store didn't think to lead you towards one of those, instead of sending you away never to return because of his lies.

                Oh well, that's why shops die.

                You should be fine, the gain on the amp is not to turn the volume up, it's to allow you to set input voltage at a good level from a variety of sources, from .5v to 8v and beyond.
                funny u mention processors...the guy at the store actually did try to sell me the bitone, but I'm not willing to spend that kind of cash ($600) just to increase the voltage going through my RCA cables to amp.

                bit off-topic now, but do any of you guys know how i might hook up my rear coaxial speakers to my PC without an amp? i am only able to power my sub and component speakers and originally i had planned to power my rear speakers directly off my head unit which i don't have anymore.....
                2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CarPC Build Thread

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                • #9
                  Bridge your amp and run all the speakers from it.
                  Old School MP3CAR.com member!

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                  • #10
                    how can i do that?

                    its a 4-channel amplifier, i am already bridging 2-channels for my single subwoofer, then the remaining 2 channels are for the 2 components..? am i missing something here??
                    2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CarPC Build Thread

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                    • #11
                      bridging a amp without knowing the specs is like driving blind near a parade route.. just asking for a disaster..

                      what amp do you have?

                      i can guarantee that connecting the pairs of speakers in series will work(positive to amp, negative to positive of next speaker, and negative connected back to amp), but the overall volume will be decreased, and you will loose fade control.

                      if that is unacceptable, i then recommend to not connect the rear speakers..

                      i don't run rear speakers, and my setup sounds better because of it.
                      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                      next project? subaru brz
                      carpc undecided

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                        what amp do you have?
                        Hertz EP4X
                        2003 Mitsubishi Lancer CarPC Build Thread

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                        • #13
                          ok, it is 2ohm stable, so you could bridge the front and rear channels across output 'a'. but just like the series config. you loose fader capabilities.
                          My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                          "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                          next project? subaru brz
                          carpc undecided

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