In any audio system, the goal is to reach maximum input and output levels without distortion or clipping. Sometimes, without expensive or complicated equipment like an oscilloscope, this can be a daunting task for a would-be-audiophile install.

Thankfully, the engineers at KICKER have taken the guesswork, and hassle, out of matching the output voltage of your source unit to the amplifier. To begin, you’ll need to download the KICKER test tones here:

These test tones are sine waves meant to provide a consistent signal for the KX amplifier to reference. 0dBFS uses all headroom. -10dBFS doesn’t. Depending on the nature of your setup you may wish to use the files with less amplitude. 0dBFS are audiophile, while -10dBFS can be considered general use.

Afterwards, use the following procedure to accurately Gain Match your amplifier(s):

  1. Disconnect the speakers from the KX amplifier.
  2. Set all EQ and crossover settings to flat on your source unit.
  3. Play the downloaded file from above.
  4. Turn the source unit up to 3/4 volume.
  5. Increase the gain of the amplifier until the Gain LED turns on. GAIN MATCH
  6. Decrease the gain of the amplifier until the Gain LED turns off.

All level matching circuitry in the KX amplifiers is at the beginning of the signal chain. If you are going to use features like bass boost, SHOCwave or EQ settings, it may be necessary to readjust the gain to a lower setting to compensate for increased output at those frequencies.

Once the amp and source unit are level matched, you will want to make certain you are not overdriving your speakers. Use the following procedure:

  1. Set the source until volume to 0.
  2. Reconnect the speakers to the KX amplifier.
  3. Slowly increase the volume level of the source unit as you listen for audible clipping and distortion.
  4. If you can hear clipping, decrease the gain of the amplifier until it is gone.

Likewise, you can use the CLIP indicator feature of the KXARC remote to easily identify which amplifier’s output is clipping and when.

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