When setting the gain levels on our line converters (LC2i, LC7i, LCQ-1 etc…) our goal is to match the gain output, with the gain input sensitivity of your aftermarket amplifier.
The idea is to send the hottest signal possible out of the converter, without distorting the output of the converter, and also not going over the max input gain of the amp. This helps ensure you get the cleanest signal to your amp as possible.
For example, if the max input gain sensitivity of your amplifier is 5 volts, we will want to make sure the output of the converter does not go over 5 volts.
To do this, we need to properly set the gains on the converter.
Before you begin, do not connect the RCA outputs of the converter to the aftermarket amp yet. Only have the speaker level inputs from the factory system connected to your converter, plus 12volt and ground. If you are not using signal sense, you will also need a “remote in” connection to the converter in order for it to turn on.
- Set the level on the factory head unit.
You will want to set the level on the factory head unit to about 75%. For example, if the head unit goes to 40, bring the volume up to about 35.
2. Bring the gains up on the converter
Slowly bring up each channel gain until the maximized light begins to flicker, and then back off until it stops.
The maximized light lets you know you are getting to distorting the output of the converter.
***THE MAXIMIZED LIGHT ENSURES YOU DO NOT DISTORT THE OUTPUT OF THE CONVERTER, IT DOES NOT ENSURE THAT YOU WILL NOT DISTORT THE INPUT OF YOUR AMPLIFIER*** The maximized light is a handy tool if you do not have a volt meter handy. It serves as a guide in helping you not distort the input of the amplifier (see below for more info).
After you bring up the gains on each channel, it’s time to connect the converter outputs to the aftermarket amplifier.
3. Connect RCAs from the converter to your amp
It is crucial to makes sure the input gain/sensitivity knobs on the amp are turned all the way down. This will ensure the amp will be able to accept the highest level signal that it is rated for. We do this because most amplifiers can accept between 4 and 6 volts. Our converters have 12 db of gain and have the potential to output up to 8.5 volts.
4. Send signal thru the system
Once you have made all of your connections from the converter to your aftermarket amps, it’s time to turn on the head unit and send some audio thru the system.
If you bring the volume all the way up and you think it’s not loud enough, you could then go the input gains on the amp and bring them up a bit. Typically, you shouldn’t have to bring the input gains up more than 25% or so.