Does the distorted sound from your subwoofer annoy you? Even if it doesn’t last long, it will ruin your experience and damage the stereo system long-term.
This problem happens due to the subwoofer clipping. To solve it, you should discover the causes. But don’t worry if you have no idea about it. We will get you covered. Let’s follow this guide!
- 1. What is Subwoofer Clipping?
- 2. What Causes Your Car Subwoofer Is Clipped?
- 3. How To Fix My Car Subwoofer Clipping?
What is Subwoofer Clipping?
Subwoofer clipping, or audio clipping, is a form of distorted sound. It often occurs as a result of an overpowered amplifier.
The amp can only deliver audio signals to a certain degree. You may see this capacity by looking at the specifications’ RMS rating.
However, when the signal it receives is larger than that rating, the amp will suffer from overload, leading to sound distortion.
This clipping phase is uncommon in sound systems and only happens when your amp receives a sequence of input signals simultaneously at its peak.
Many people ignore this problem. Yet, it may harm your overall sound quality, especially in the bass frequencies. Moreover, it can damage the audio equipment finally.
What Causes Your Car Subwoofer Is Clipped?
To understand how subwoofer clipping works, we will first go through a subwoofer’s components before addressing what explicitly causes it to clip.
- Voice coil gap: The voice coil goes in and out of this tiny gap without touching the magnet’s edges.
- Voice coil: The voice coil has a wire wrapped around it and is attached to a cylinder.
- Voice former: The voice former is the cylinder to which you attach the voice coil.
- Spider: This flexible ring supports the voice coil and maintains its alignment. Also, it is responsible for supporting the back of the cone as it approaches the frame.
- Surround: When producing deep bass tones, this black rubber ring holds the cone to the chassis while enabling it to travel forward and backward.
Now, let’s jump into the causes that make your subwoofer clip.
One of the prime reasons for a clipped signal is overpowering the subwoofer. The issue of too much power happens when a sound system with a high-performance amp and a poor subwoofer can’t get along with each other.
This form of misalignment will pose stress on your devices. The amp now feeds the subwoofer with more power than it can handle.
The voice coil gets overloaded, causing it to smash against the magnet’s backplate. Feeding the subwoofer with much more power than needed will also result in a cracked voice coil, a torn spider, and a blown cone. The surround may break down too.
Underpowering a subwoofer doesn’t seem to be a big concern because, after all, poor music only results from inadequate power.
However, using an overworked amp that delivers a clipped signal to the subwoofer might be dangerous.
The amplifier may make the audio signal unusual, such as creating squares in the sine output signal when you attempt to increase the sound volume, but the amplifier can’t give enough voltage.
If it does, a bad audio signal will travel to your subwoofer. The voice coil will rapidly vibrate. This issue might cause the voice coil to get overheated, twisted, and eventually break down.
Melting voice coil
The voice coil’s wires may melt under excessive intensity. Please remember that those wires are fragile and vulnerable to breaking.
If you expose the coil to extreme temperatures, it will melt. What’s worse, the cables may burn out. It means that your speaker has been damaged and you need a replacement.
Insufficient boost and gain control
The boost and gain settings have a big influence on your automobile subwoofer. They face thermal and mechanical failure if you set them higher than the subwoofer’s capability. Your subwoofer may clip as a result.
If you notice sound distortion in your speaker, we suggest adjusting the gain, bass, and volume settings to avoid permanent harm.
Incorrect cabinet size
If you install your subwoofer in the wrong-sized cabinet, expect the consequences. At louder volumes, it causes the subwoofer to clip.
For example, imagine that the cabinet is larger than the speaker, so the audio equipment won’t make any contact with the cabinet walls. In this case, you will sacrifice the suspension system. Consequently, there will be a clipped sound.
The solution to this problem is to take careful measurements so the components of your audio system can work together properly.
How To Fix My Car Subwoofer Clipping?
Audio clipping is one of the digital audio processing methods that may really cause damage. Please follow the instructions below to resolve the distortion in your subwoofer and repair it.
Step 1: Check the specifications of your device
You need to identify how much power your devices can carry. Consider using a 500-watt subwoofer and a 1000-watt car amplifier for your stereo system. The voice coil and some soft mechanical parts can’t carry too much power.
Therefore, to ensure you don’t overload the subwoofer and make it clip, you should check the maximum power rating of your subwoofer and amp. Then, give you enough power.
Step 2: Set up the amp gain
Some people assume that the amp gain controls directly impact the bass volume level. So, increasing the volume creates a clipped sound coming from the subwoofer.
But in fact, gain settings help you fine-tune the amp’s input signal. If you turn the volume up too high, there will be an awful distortion.
The best solution is to adjust the receiver’s volume to halfway or three-quarters. Then, gradually raise the amplifier power until distortion vanishes.
The automotive amplifiers deliver excellent music at low and high levels without subwoofer clipping, thanks to your quick action.
Step 3: Use a signal converter
Maintaining the audio signal levels of each part of your sound system is the best approach to ensuring that none of these errors arise. You can employ a signal converter that measures each level.
Besides, it is essential to monitor and do tests if you install components in your current audio system to ensure the settings are working as you had expected.
Step 4: Install equalizers
If the steps don’t help to eliminate the clipping sound completely, consider installing equalizers in your audio system.
This method doesn’t aim to fix the internal problem of the subwoofer. Instead, it focuses on how to improve the overall quality, which is the ultimate goal of fixing the clipped subwoofer.
You need to modify your automobile’s interior for the best sound effect. While glass and plastic materials are good at reflecting sound, seat coverings and carpets absorb them. Those absorbents will reduce the sound quality when played at high volumes.
Your car receivers have bass, midrange, and treble settings. These settings can only tackle some issues, not the underlying ones.
You may want to install equalizers on the dashboard or the receiver to get rid of the annoying peaks in the sound waves.
You should install equalizers to solve this problem. The equalizers should have at least 13 equalization bands.
When the sound waves are so intense, they conflict with other frequencies, which is known as a clipped subwoofer. Fortunately, the information in this guide will ensure you’ll never need to worry about making the same mistake.
You can learn more tips to deal with this problem from the video below:
To fix your clipped subwoofer, please follow these steps:
- Check that the specifications of your devices match
- Set the amp gain properly
- Use a signal converter to check the signal levels
- Install equalizers
When an amplifier creates a signal that is too much for its capacity, the sound coming from the subwoofer will become distorted.
Once you increase the volume of the sound on either the speaker or amplifier, it turns harsh and muddy.
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