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      07-14-2014, 06:18 PM   #1
SpdRcer43
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Help: Right tweeter alternator whine after upgrade

I've upgraded my entire base audio system. I'm essentially done and the system sounds great, although the bridged Solid 4 cuts out when I play too much bass/volume, so I turned down the subwoofer setting on the MS8 which seems to have helped. I'm supplying 200W to the 150W subs so I'm guessing that's the issue there. I've used just about every tip on this forum for the install and one day, when I have enough time, I may post my own DIY. Thanks to everyone who already have done this, couldn't have completed this project without you!

The biggest complaint I have is that alternator whine exists in only the right tweeter. It also gets fuzzy on certain frequencies. I've checked and rechecked all my connections, can't find anything wrong, I've also searched forums and it doesn't seem this is common. I did find I had the +/- wire switched in the crossover but I fixed that and the problem still exists. What ideas do you have to troubleshoot?

Possibility: Only on the right door where the tweeter is, I had to add another foot or two of speaker cable so the stock wire could reach the crossover. Is it possible a poor solder job can cause the noise? I've pulled on the connection and it seems pretty solid.

Synopsis of install: BMW professional HU, technic harness, focal k2 power 100KRS in front doors, added center speaker, ms8, earthquakes under seats, focal solid 4 bridged for subs, focal solid 2 for doors, ms8 powers center and rears, all amps use ground pt above left-rear wheel well.
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      07-14-2014, 06:58 PM   #2
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I used a ground point near the battery (right rear) and I don't have alternator whine. Make sure everything's tightened up correctly. Also try to lower your input gain to your amp.

My system is Helix DSP -> Arc XDI 600.4 > Jenhert XE200 (underseats) > Morel Virtus (front) and stock rears.
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      07-14-2014, 07:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marc0 View Post
I used a ground point near the battery (right rear) and I don't have alternator whine. Make sure everything's tightened up correctly. Also try to lower your input gain to your amp.

My system is Helix DSP -> Arc XDI 600.4 > Jenhert XE200 (underseats) > Morel Virtus (front) and stock rears.
Thanks for your input. I have checked gains and they are all about 2V which is recommended throughout the forum. And the fact that it's only affect the right speaker is odd.

I have considered grounding directly to the battery; however, that seems troublesome as it will add much more wire to the trunk (my amps are on the left) and it would be over 3' which I read is not good. The ground I've used is apparently the best ground location to use. I don't think it's a grounding issue--but I do appreciate your response.
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      07-14-2014, 08:23 PM   #4
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Try unplugging the rca's from the amp. Make sure you do it while the car is asleep. May take a few minutes. Wrap the bare ends of the rca's in electrical tape to protect them. Turn on the car and rev up the engine. Still getting alternator whine?
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      07-14-2014, 10:41 PM   #5
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The MS-8 can pick up noise from the speaker wires being to close to the power wires. Doesn't have to be the speaker wire for the side that whines either. It can be any speaker wire. Then it will send the noise through the RCA on only on channel. It doesn't make sense and it took me forever to trouble shoot. Also, as suggested, turn the gains down. Only turn them high enough such that at -6db ms8 volume it gets as loud as you'd ever want it.
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      07-14-2014, 11:24 PM   #6
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You could try reversing the left and right channels

You could try reversing the left and right channels
starting at the amp and working your way back to see which module
it tracks with, if it does.
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      07-20-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses, Fellas!
tdgesq: I will try this, I tried something similar with no success, but the car wasn't "asleep"
kaigoss69: when you say don't let speaker wire get to close to the power, does that mean they can't cross at all? They do cross right at the amp but they don't run any length together. I believe last year when I was troubleshooting, I tried avoiding the crossing altogether but it didn't help.
ctuna: I've tried reversing the RCAs, the whine stays on the right side--leading me to believe it's something in the door that's causing it. Could it be a poor solder job? How do you know if it's bad or not? I also don't understand this, "starting at the amp and working your way back to see which module it tracks with"

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      07-20-2014, 02:17 PM   #8
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No RCAs, no speaker wires crossing the power wires! Run them in opposite directions if at all possible.
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      07-20-2014, 11:45 PM   #9
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Don't you have Head Unit , Processor and AMPs.

Don't you have Head Unit , Processor and AMPs.
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      07-25-2014, 02:46 PM   #10
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If you unplugged the rca's from the amplifier running to the tweeters, and you still get alternator whine from the tweeter, then you've eliminated as a cause everything "upstream" from the amplifier. This would mean that it isn't the headunit, the processor, or any of the wiring prior to the amplifier.

That's why I suggested unplugging the rcas from the amp, turning on the car and revving up the engine. Assuming after you do this you still get whine from the tweeter, then we need to do more isolation and testing.

The next step will be to switch the tweeter speaker wires at the amp. Switch left channel to right channel and vice versa. If it switches the whine to the left tweeter, you know it's the amplifier itself or the ground to the amplifier (most likely the ground). If the whine stays on the right channel, then it's most likely a speaker wire issue to the right tweeter.
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      07-29-2014, 01:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdgesq View Post
If you unplugged the rca's from the amplifier running to the tweeters, and you still get alternator whine from the tweeter, then you've eliminated as a cause everything "upstream" from the amplifier. This would mean that it isn't the headunit, the processor, or any of the wiring prior to the amplifier.

That's why I suggested unplugging the rcas from the amp, turning on the car and revving up the engine. Assuming after you do this you still get whine from the tweeter, then we need to do more isolation and testing.

The next step will be to switch the tweeter speaker wires at the amp. Switch left channel to right channel and vice versa. If it switches the whine to the left tweeter, you know it's the amplifier itself or the ground to the amplifier (most likely the ground). If the whine stays on the right channel, then it's most likely a speaker wire issue to the right tweeter.
This is the most helpful response I've received (no discredit to anyone else). Once I get around to doing this, I will post and update. Thanks again.
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      07-29-2014, 09:35 PM   #12
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Also crossovers can be a magnet for EM, where is yours?
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      08-01-2014, 02:33 PM   #13
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tdgesq Okay, so I switched the actual speaker wires on the focal 2, and the whine went from the right, to the left speaker.

So is it worth trying to get the amp looked at? Or just move the ground for the amp? I used the same grounding point for both amps and the processor, which was recommended on this site to use the location right above the left wheel well.
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      08-01-2014, 02:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taibanl View Post
Also crossovers can be a magnet for EM, where is yours?
The crossovers are in the doors at the bottom and to the front. That seems to be where everyone recommends to have put them.
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      08-01-2014, 07:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpdRcer43 View Post
tdgesq Okay, so I switched the actual speaker wires on the focal 2, and the whine went from the right, to the left speaker.

So is it worth trying to get the amp looked at? Or just move the ground for the amp? I used the same grounding point for both amps and the processor, which was recommended on this site to use the location right above the left wheel well.
I assume you did this test with the rca's still unplugged from the amp? If so, then it is probably the ground. Move the ground directly to the negative terminal of the battery. It doesn't have to be pretty, just be sure to use the correct gauge and have a good connection to the negative terminal. Check the ground connection at the amp for good measure.

If you still have noise, time to get the amp checked.
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      08-04-2014, 08:47 PM   #16
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Ok thanks. It'll be a while before I rip my truck apart again.
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      08-25-2014, 11:17 AM   #17
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I just wired the negative directly to the battery and I still have whine. I guess now I'm looking for advice on how to check the amp.
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      08-25-2014, 11:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpdRcer43 View Post
I just wired the negative directly to the battery and I still have whine. I guess now I'm looking for advice on how to check the amp.
Any chance that it's the ms8? Or is for sure the right channel of the Solid 2?
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      08-25-2014, 11:39 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpdRcer43 View Post
Any chance that it's the ms8? Or is for sure the right channel of the Solid 2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdgesq View Post
The next step will be to switch the tweeter speaker wires at the amp. Switch left channel to right channel and vice versa. If it switches the whine to the left tweeter, you know it's the amplifier itself or the ground to the amplifier (most likely the ground). If the whine stays on the right channel, then it's most likely a speaker wire issue to the right tweeter.
based on that statement there, I kinda figure your amp is bad. (or badly grounded)

You can always disconnect the MS8 to test for yourself, but my money is on the amp.


edit:
This is a review I saw about Focal amps as of last year...
Quote:
Don't knock it. Honestly all the stuff comes from China anyways and whose to say that just because a boutique seller slaps their name on an amp and charges triple what it's worth that's what makes a good amplifier. Looking at the guts of various brands of amps I know for a fact that previously good amps with good components have cheaped a bunch.

A recent example is Focal. The FP used to be very good metal knobbed pots, good solid RCA only inputs, and looking at maxdat.eu for the FP 4.75 internal componentry looks pretty nice. But if you take a look at the newer FPP line you'll see features that look an awful lot like they cheaped out. The metal pots are gone replaced with cheap China obvious plastic pointer pots, it has the ubiquitous generic plastic speaker level inputs, remote volume control, and cheap specs to boot. It can't even output double its rated power when impedance is halved from 4 ohm to 2 ohm. Putting those specs out there without referencing the brand most people would swear you're describing a cheap China amp, but this is Focal.

That's a $400 amplifier for specs that a $100 amps like a Crunch or Boss can easily outperform. 4x90 watts at 4 ohm and 4x140 watts at 2 ohm. I mean if you look a budget brand like Hifonics is CEA rated and they easily double their power output when impedance is halved. What exactly does this mean? It means somewhere inside that Focal the power supply can't provide enough power, that to me means they cheaped out on the components necessary to build a good power supply section. It's a clue the rest of the amplifier wasn't built with all that much care to quality either.
Not sure if your amp is one of those affected, but it's definitely worth swapping out to check.

Last edited by Wongway; 08-25-2014 at 11:45 AM.
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      08-25-2014, 03:53 PM   #20
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I agree with Wongway. If the MS-8 isn't connected to the amp, and it still causes the tweeter to whine, then I can't see how it could be the MS-8.

Switching out the amp is a real pain, I know; yet that seems the most likely candidate. The only other possibility I see is that your power wire to the amp is the incorrect gauge (too small), but I'm assuming you did all that correctly. Time to test a different amp.
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      08-25-2014, 04:27 PM   #21
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The more I look at the original post, the more I'm thinking it's either

a) Your focal amps are overrated. Because you're saying the subs were cutting out when bridged? It gets fuzzy on certain frequencies?

or

b) You've got some bad wiring in there.

I might be off base, but the amps seem very suspect to me...
Bad internals on the amp could be the source of all your problems. (Of which, I'm sorry to say) But I'd seriously consider trying two different amps. For both the subs and the doors.
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      08-25-2014, 06:09 PM   #22
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Thanks you two for the comments. I will see about getting the amp checked out...not exactly sure how to do that and it's out of warranty technically but I will send some emails and maybe take it to the local audio shop.

Notes/Questions:
-8-guage wire was used for all power and grounds (Solid 2, Solid 4, MS8)
-I will restate that I'm supplying 200W RMS to the 150W RMS subs. Could this extra 50W be doing that much harm?
-I am not using the infamous JT Sherri spacers. But this wouldn't cause the speaker to stop working if it happened to hit the grill from time to time. Right?

EXTRA NOTE:
I just read on this link that 4-gauge wire is recommended for my Solid 4. I'm using 8 because that's what my calculations say to use...but my calculations were also based on RMS. Could this be causing the whine in the tweeter in just one speaker?! I don't see how but surely it's a possibility.
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-SreiwYc...lid-4-Red.html


Last edited by SpdRcer43; 08-26-2014 at 09:28 AM.
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