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Discussion Starter #1
I am a firm believer in following the mentality of the ABC's of car audio in power supply stabilization, (high output Alternator, gel cell Batteries and Caps). I also like using caps for even the high pass amp. If a dual output externally isolated, internally regulated 200AMP alternator is used with a 850CCA yellow top Optima for the SUV and a second deep cycle gel cell battery used for the audio system (feed to two of the biggest RF " POWER series" amps) is this pointless and just another load to the electrical system, or will it supply more clean juice to the power supplies to the amps? In English, do I need a battery for each amp for clean sound?
 

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Extra batteries are only handy for longer vehicle off listening times. They do nothing to help a stereo system when the vehicle is on and yes will be a load on the system if they were discharged any. They are chemically limited to charge to 12.6 volts which is lower than the 13.6 volts your electrical system should be running at. So if the voltage is dropping down to battery voltage, then you have larger issues.


Capacitors IMO are just a band aid. The problem is that you may not have enough current available from the alternator to run all the electronics in your vehicle. The correct solution is to increase the amount of available current by getting a larger alternator. A capacitor is helpful for very minor voltage fluctuations, but keep in mind that as soon as it is discharged it becomes a load on your system. That is why I think it is best to spend your money on the beefier alternator.


One other thing that is good to do for your electrical system is to beef up "the big three". Basically this means increasing the size of the wires running between the battery to chassis (ground), alternator to battery (power), and battery to engine (ground). Here's a great detailed instructions on how to do it: http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/...TID~73496~PN~1
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the knowledge Steve. Some follow up Q&A. Why do manufactures’ and IASCA competition vehicles use a battery for the vehicle and a second, or more for the audio system? If the high output alternator is isolated to one car battery and one audio system battery it is still a load? I know in WCES shows, WAC, etc. they have chargers connected to big batteries to run the systems while alternators are not re-charging everything.


With my amp(s) brand, (Rockford Fosgate) a high-output alternator and large capacitor are recommended, (per their website). RTTI is and always has been fanatical about batteries, but I just want to get it clean. My "Power Series" amps use 1/0 Gauge power/ground connectors with ANL fusing, so I agree with you in upgrading the battery to chassis (ground), alternator to battery (power), and battery to engine (ground) cables to 1/0AWG. I like the cap mentality and have used them in several of my systems in the past for a notice improvement in not only results in cleaner mids, highs and tighter bass, but stablizing the headlights. Most manufactures seem to be positive on using a cap for their amps. Lightening Audio suggest on their site that "Looking for crushing, world-destroying bass but getting dimmed headlights instead? Car batteries are slow to deliver the kind of power your amps need to give you tight, powerful bass hits. These massive capacitors eliminate that problem by storing reserve power and then delivering it lightning-fast just when your amps need it most. That's why you see external capacitors in just about every stereo competition vehicle. Lightning Audio's Strike Caps act as a buffer zone between your amp and your battery, getting the juice to your bass for maximum performance."


It is not a money thing I just believe you can never get enough capacitance.


My SUV is a 96 Bronco, (5.0L) and I am going to install the HO 180AMP alternator myself and all the 1/0 upgraded cabling. Guy Filipi, from www.soundwerks.com will do the majority of the installation. I will do all the Dynamatting. The HO alternator ( www.highoutputalternator.com ) will directly replace the stock alternator, and interface directly to my Bronco's car’s computer. I have no need for brackets or messing with the wire harness. The only change I will make is the output from the alternator to the battery (and ground cabling, per your advice). They also recommend 4 gauge or larger cable for the upgrade. Have you heard positive reviews about HO beefed up alternators? I can only get 180 amperes, not 200


as for the batteries; I have yellow top Optima for the starting battery. I am looking at HO's 7200amp short circuit discharge (12v) deep cycle to run the audio system. It is truly a beast. It seems to make sense that this alternator will run both batteries, or am I still thinking too much is just right like RTTI's mentality? I could connect the cap amps of both HP and LP amplifiers to this beast with a 200A circuit breaker?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14363020


Why do manufacters and IASCA competition vehicles use a battery for the vehicle and a second, or more for the audio system?

A second battery in both cases will allow you to run electronics with the vehicle off for longer, and have a starting specific battery to make sure you are never stranded.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14363020


If the high output alternator is isolated to one car battey and one audio system battery it is still a load?

If it was discharged any then yes it would be a load until it is fully charged again. However if you aren't at the limits of your alternators abilities then it won't be an issue. It's only when the total current requirement for all the accessories running exceed the alternators output current does the voltage start to drop reducing the current demand of the electronics. This is what happens when you see the dimming lights.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14363020


With my amp(s) brand, (Rockford Fosgate) a high-output alternator and large capacitor are recommended, (per their website).......... Most manufacturs seem to be positive on using a cap for their amps. Lightening Audio suggest on their site that "Looking for crushing, world-destroying bass but getting dimmed headlights instead? Car batteries are slow to deliver the kind of power your amps need to give you tight, powerful bass hits. These massive capacitors eliminate that problem by storing reserve power and then delivering it lightning-fast just when your amps need it most. That's why you see external capacitors in just about every stereo competition vehicle.Lightning Audio's Strike Caps act as a buffer zone between your amp and your battery, getting the juice to your bass for maximum performance."

Keep in mind that both Rockford Fosgate and Lightning Audio sell their own capacitors. Instead of buffer zone, I think of it more as a band aid. Instead of letting the voltage drop any, why not instead have a sufficient supply in the first place? After all, once a capacitor is discharged, it now needs to be recharged which will take away from the available current of the alternator (become a load).


So what is the better scenario; run your alternator at it's limits and add a small storage device for when the limits are reached; or run a sufficient sized alternator to begin with so that the limits are never reached and the system voltage remains stable. Now can you see why I think of it as a band-aid?



When I worked at Adire Audio, I discussed this topic with Dan Wiggins. He of course agreed that they aren't as helpful as people think. As he mentioned, it would be better to be able to add a large capacitor to the rail side of the amplifiers power supply where it would make the most difference. However this would require a much more expensive capacitor as it would have to handle a much higher voltage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14363020


I like the cap mentality and have used them in several of my systems in the past for a notice improvement in not only results in cleaner mids, highs and tighter bass, but stabizing the headlights.

No offense, but I think the "cleaner mids, highs and tighter bass" is more psycho-acoustic than anything. Because a capacitor won't have any effect on the distortion levels of the amplifier. In fact it's arguable whether it will have any audible effect at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14363020


As for the batteries, I have a yellow top Optima for the starting battery. I am looking at HO's 7200amp short circuit discharge (12v) deep cycle to run the audio system. It is truly a beast. It seems to make sense that this alternator will run both batteries, or am I still thinking too much is just right like RTTI's mentality? I could connect the cap amps of both HP and LP amplifiers to this beast with a 200A circuit breaker?

Dual batteries are still very handy in my opinion. You can listen to the audio system with the vehicle off for as long as you want and won't have to worry about not being able to start the vehicle. The size of the circuit breaker required will depend on the requirements of your amplifiers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again Steve for your helpful, wise advice and time.


So, it is OK to use a starter and a stereo system battery simultaneously when using a high output (dual isolated) alternator. I am definitely going with a HO alternator. I know stranded in the Arizona heat in the desert, good advice indeed. And I have learned it is a waste to use a battery for EACH amplifier.


True, RF, Lightening, and it seem all amp manufacturers’ use, or at least suggest the benefits of capacitance with caps. It seems more hype and a band-aid as you say, since it only stores energy instead of generating it. Still, accessory companies like Stinger, (AAMP of America) etc. sell caps for not only storage, but also to filter potential noise from the system, so I do not know. But you are right about the limitations of a capacitor and I found this on Wikpedia: "Capacitors are used to store extra energy for the amplifier to draw on demand. Capacitors are useful because they can reduce the voltage loss (small margin) on the other electrical components in the car. These large capacitors may not cure headlight and/or interior light dimming as this is a sign of too little amperage from the alternator. A capacitor is only good so far as the audio system isn't trying to pull too much from the electrical system. A capacitor doesn't provide more power, it's designed to 'stiffen' the voltage to the amp, nothing else. If the current isn't there, a cap won't help. The alternator must have at least 20% more amperage power than the entire vehicle and sound system combined for a capacitor to be of benefit which is ironically the same requirements for an amp to be efficient. A rule of thumb is that 0.5 farad of capacitance is needed for every 500 watts of power in your audio system. A capacitor does not affect sound in any way. It is strictly for power conditioning." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_audio#Capacitors


"When I worked at Adire Audio, I discussed this topic with Dan Wiggins. He of course agreed that they aren't as helpful as people think. As he mentioned, it would be better to be able to add a large capacitor to the rail side of the amplifiers power supply where it would make the most difference. However this would require a much more expensive capacitor as it would have to handle a much higher voltage."


How to you get the value for such a cap? Can I build a cap bank? Do you have to take the heat sink off the amp and wire it to the Mosfet rails?



I will add a 200AMP circuit breaker for each battery to trip instead of have a fire if the truck is ever struck and cut the 1/0 power wire.


Do I need a 1/0 ground wire connected from the starter battery to the distribution block and stereo system battery for current, or will this cause a ground loop in your opinion?


Thanks in advance again for your knowledge.


Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhunter139 /forum/post/14382560


Caps are complete waste of money don’t bother with them.


What amps are you using and what are they eached fused at?

Darkhunter, ( I am not at all worried if I waste money, I just want it right). This is the system:


Alpine DA-X001 digital media iPOD controller


Audio Control DQL-8 competition 1/3 octave EQ (trunk mounted digital processor beast).I felt graphic is the best way to do the bulk of any tuning. I will have Sound Werks reserve parametric EQ tuning for the "laser surgery" I might need for troublesome freqs. If I don't need them, I won't use them. This beast of a digital processor has 30 bands of graphic EQ for the front, 19 for the rear, 13 for the sub, and 2 bands of parametric EQ per channel so it should be great and the EQT is out.


Rockford Fosgate T8004 Power Series high pass amp for the high end with 1/0 gauge power and ground connectors and an ANL fused at the amp. This HP amp will be run 2-channel bridged stereo mode into 4-OHMS @ 200W X 2. RF suggest that a "capacitor is recommended", of course, more money, LOL.


Rockford Fosgate T2001bd low pass amp mono amp @ 1500W X1 into 3 OHMS. It also has 1/0 gauge power and ground connectors with ANL fusing at the amp. I will have a 200AMP circuit breaker at the starter and audio system battery as well. Again Rockford throws in that "a high output alternator and large cap are recommended." I do not know the exact current demands for each of these amps. I think they come with 100A fuses.


Highs: Dynaudio System 362 (Esotec drivers, a 3-way setup). Soft dome mids in the dash, tweets and 8's in custom kick panel pods.


Sub: A single JL 13", the CLS113RG-W7, (Pro Wedge sealed JL made enclosure), up front in a custom center console enclosure.


The goals with this system are:


Sound quality: (competition type sound, loud, but not harsh, not bright, not too much).


I want just one solid, clean sounding sub, up front. (Tight, articulate bass, just not space shuttle sounding).


Tons of juice to the amps


7 speakers, HP/LP, (bi-amped)


No rear fill with no car theater crap.


All this thrown in an white 96 OJ Bronco and it is basically the Audio Controls 2-channel system called: "Great Sound You Can See" -which has thunderous bass and stunning clarity are characteristic of a 3-way system with an Epic-160 and DQX. The DDC and Epic-160 put the control at the touch of your fingers, and the rumble deep in your gut. Plus, the SPL display on the Epic-160. The DDC is a remote-mountable control that connects to AudioControl digital processors via a 20’ cable. This allows a user to control all functions of their AudioControl processor from another location either inside or outside the vehicle. It also comes with the DR-1 which is a remote control that controls the functions of the DDC via IR (infrared). It will be IASCA worthy, but for personal use.


As for the cap being either subjective, or really doing anything for systems Steve of RTTI believes capacitors do help keep the voltage stable, the only time they are not beneficial is when you are really exceeding the amperage of the alternator. He recommends picking up the biggest capacitor I can get your hands on, and said you can never have too much. Others say the rule of thumb is at least a 1 farad cap per 1000 watts, but ultimately the more capacitance you have the better off you will be.


Have you heard of rumblings of a cap like the "Power Cap" from HO I am referring to? Unfortunately I have not had any personal experiences with this beast. If the specifications HO http://www.highoutputalternator.com/ provided are correct then it would definitely be a huge help. I am sure AVS has had many threads on the usefulness, or waste of using caps.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14374307



How to you get the value for such a cap? Can I build a cap bank? Do you have to take the heat sink off the amp and wire it to the Mosfet rails?

I'd probably only suggest this upgrade for people who know how to work on electronics because you would have to know exactly where to atttach these capacitors on the circuit board. They would also need to be a much higher voltage than the 16-20 volt caps usually used, so they would cost quite a bit more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14374307


Do I need a 1/0 ground wire connected from the starter battery to the distribution block and stereo system battery for current, or will this cause a ground loop in your opinion?

This is a bit more controversial question. I know many very knowledgable people who swear by running the ground on the amplifiers directly to the battery. But I have had great luck just grounding the amplifiers to the chassis. Plus it will save you money on all that extra 1/0 awg wire.
Of course on BMW's where the battery is in the truck near the amplifier, we always ground directly to it.


One thing my boss likes to do on 4 channel amplifiers is run a reference ground along with the RCA's that way the head unit and amplifier share the same ground reducing the risk of ground loops.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14385911


Darkhunter, ( I am not at all worried if I waste money, I just want it right). This is the system:


Alpine DA-X001 digital media iPOD controller


Audio Control DQL-8 competition 1/3 octave EQ (trunk mounted digital processor beast).I felt graphic is the best way to do the bulk of any tuning. I will have Sound Werks reserve parametric EQ tuning for the "laser surgery" I might need for troublesome freqs. If I don't need them, I won't use them. This beast of a digital processor has 30 bands of graphic EQ for the front, 19 for the rear, 13 for the sub, and 2 bands of parametric EQ per channel so it should be great and the EQT is out.


Rockford Fosgate T8004 Power Series high pass amp for the high end with 1/0 gauge power and ground connectors and an ANL fused at the amp. This HP amp will be run 2-channel bridged stereo mode into 4-OHMS @ 200W X 2. RF suggest that a "capacitor is recommended", of course, more money, LOL.


Rockford Fosgate T2001bd low pass amp mono amp @ 1500W X1 into 3 OHMS. It also has 1/0 gauge power and ground connectors with ANL fusing at the amp. I will have a 200AMP circuit breaker at the starter and audio system battery as well. Again Rockford throws in that "a high output alternator and large cap are recommended." I do not know the exact current demands for each of these amps. I think they come with 100A fuses.


Highs: Dynaudio System 362 (Esotec drivers, a 3-way setup). Soft dome mids in the dash, tweets and 8's in custom kick panel pods.


Sub: A single JL 13", the CLS113RG-W7, (Pro Wedge sealed JL made enclosure), up front in a custom center console enclosure.


The goals with this system are:


Sound quality: (competition type sound, loud, but not harsh, not bright, not too much).


I want just one solid, clean sounding sub, up front. (Tight, articulate bass, just not space shuttle sounding).


Tons of juice to the amps


7 speakers, HP/LP, (bi-amped)


No rear fill with no car theater crap.


All this thrown in an white 96 OJ Bronco and it is basically the Audio Controls 2-channel system called: "Great Sound You Can See" -which has thunderous bass and stunning clarity are characteristic of a 3-way system with an Epic-160 and DQX. The DDC and Epic-160 put the control at the touch of your fingers, and the rumble deep in your gut. Plus, the SPL display on the Epic-160. The DDC is a remote-mountable control that connects to AudioControl digital processors via a 20' cable. This allows a user to control all functions of their AudioControl processor from another location either inside or outside the vehicle. It also comes with the DR-1 which is a remote control that controls the functions of the DDC via IR (infrared). It will be IASCA worthy, but for personal use.


As for the cap being either subjective, or really doing anything for systems Steve of RTTI believes capacitors do help keep the voltage stable, the only time they are not beneficial is when you are really exceeding the amperage of the alternator. He recommends picking up the biggest capacitor I can get your hands on, and said you can never have too much. Others say the rule of thumb is at least a 1 farad cap per 1000 watts, but ultimately the more capacitance you have the better off you will be.


Have you heard of rumblings of a cap like the "Power Cap" from HO I am referring to? Unfortunately I have not had any personal experiences with this beast. If the specifications HO ( www.highoutputalternators.com ) provided are correct then it would definitely be a huge help. I am sure AVS has had many threads on the usefulness, or waste of using caps.


Wow, that sounds like an incredible system. Dynaudio speakers are one brand I have never had the pleasure to audition and would love to. Is it possible to move the midrange down closer to the midbass and tweeter? Mounting them so far apart may create issues with lobing and isn't something that can be equalized out. I'd probably suggest instead the midrange/tweeter in the lower doors if possible and the 8's in the kickpannels.


I wrote some technical threads on another forum with some information that should help you with setting up your system. The first describes the differences of using available speakers and building your own set including 3-way speakers and on page 2 I discuss advanced topics on mounting your speakers. Here's the link to that one: http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/...TID~61864~PN~1 The second one expands on these ideas and takes it to a more personal level: http://www.the12volt.com/installbay/...TID~61864~PN~1 I think both should provide you with great insight on setting up your system.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
What's up Steve? Well I auditioned the home Dyn's @ WCES in 1995 I was impressed with the "Evidence" set, but @ 80 G's it did not come with the home. They even accepted credit cards. I believe it was the "Audience", or "Statement" cabinets I heard and demo'd some my music with them. Two of my songs, (Bach Dicota in D Minor and Aldo Nova's Fantasy) sounded horrible on them. They sounded so clipped. I do not think they were using good amps. Sade's studio uses Dynaudio.


As far as the car Dyn's I listened to a PPI demo BMW that had this 3-way system. The sound was phenomenal. It had the placement you suggest, (no dash, or A-Pillar tweets, or mids), but custom FLOOR pods made of aircraft metal and fiberglass where holes were cut from the floorboard for the 8 drivers and then the soft domes and tweets were in the kicks. The imaging and sound staging was so real and accurate. Dynaudio has had the rep of being problematic in the past, (mostly their tweeter diaphragms), and price for dollar, but I like them because they sound more on the neutral, natural side. They do handle lots of power as well. I just wanted some vocals in the dash, but you know good kick enclosures can bring this effect out as if they were in the dash, or the hood outside and up front like on a concert hall stage. I like Dyn' s better them Morel and Focal. I have also seen 8" mid bass drivers mounted in custom fender enclosures.
 

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I suggest the "Big 3"


1) Alternator Positive to Battery Positive (optional fuse)



2) Battery Negative to Chassis



3) Chassis to Engine Block
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I really want to stay with the kick panel location for the soft mid's and tweets and custom floor pods enclosures for the Dyn 8's for several reasons. I disagree with dash, (stereo) tweets in the A=pillars, or dash treble because they were too bright.I did not like the mid's and tweets in the doors as they played into my ankles. Kick panel locations are not really a subjective idea as most pro users, (demo vehicles, IASCA, WAC, etc.) use that location, Q-logic, Crutchfield, RF, almost all to get the highs and upper bass near equal i path length distances, better imaging and a more real soundstage. The bottom line is car audio is horrible in sonic's collectively because of bad definition, unequal path lengths, bad phase and bad acoustics compared to home so you have to compensate with kick panel pods


see www.carstereo.com and find the Bronco in installs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by hometheaterguy /forum/post/14454059


Kick panel locations are not really a subjective idea as most pro users, (demo vehicles, IASCA, WAC, etc.) use that location, Q-logic, Crutchfield, RF, almost all to get the highs and upper bass near equal i path length distances, better imaging and a more real soundstage. The bottom line is car audio is horrible in sonic's collectively because of bad definition, unequal path lengths, bad phase and bad acoustics compared to home so you have to compensate with kick panel pods

I'll bet you that 95% of the people running speakers in kick panels don't fully understand how it effects the final sound heard at the listening position. Sure equalizing the path-length differences sounds like a good idea. What I question is whether it makes an audible improvement and is it worth the disadvantages of using this location. I go into detail in those links I posted earlier on my reasoning, but I thought I would expound on it here a little bit.


The idea behind using this location is to lessen the timing differences. So how sensitive are our ears to timing cues? Well two 1 kHz tones played within 3 milliseconds of each other will be heard as one tone. Our ears are most sensitive to 1kHz so it gets even worse as we move away from that frequency. So keeping this in mind, how much of a timing difference was created by moving the speaker from the lower door location to the kick panel location? Well sound travels 1087 feet per second or 1.087 feet per millisecond. So you would have to move the speaker 3.261 feet to make an audible timing difference. That's quite a bit more than the 6" difference you probably made. Now this movement will create an effect in the frequency domain, the question is whether it will be beneficial. This is especially true since you moved the speaker into a deeper hole with more reflective surfaces to effect the sound.


So as you can see the audible benefits are questionable. And you have to deal with a large pod taking up foot room, the extra cost of building the enclosure, and probably an enclosure that is way too small for the speaker. I agree with you that car audio is a very poor environment for getting high quality sound. But I think there are much better more effective ways to go about improving the sound than using kick panel locations.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Steve, did you ever demo Earl Z's red BMW? He was in Car Audio and Electronics and Car Stereo Review magizines and we did a show for Kustom Kar Sound in Phoenix in 1995 where he showed us his system. He had all B&W drivers, just 6. He had custom front fender enclosures with the 13" B&W subs. Then what was so trick was that his mids had tweets that acuated upward from the dash and the tweeters were co-axially mounted in front of the mids. It was righteous sounding. It sounded like the music was playing up front and high and as if the instruments were on the hood (outside). The imaging and soundstaging was so real (due to his dash co-axilally mounted drivers). The timbre was awesome, (due to the quality of the materials that made up the B&W drivers). That was an rare installation.
 
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