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Old 01-30-2012, 10:39 AM
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WS420 Ground Loop

I am getting a lot of noise from my speakers, and it seems I have a ground loop problem. To elminate a lot of variables, I've unplugged a couple of amps and my 2nd battery bank, but I still have the problem.

I'm running a wetsounds ws420 as my source, and I have it wired directly to the battery with 16 gauge wire. I have a kicker zx350.4 wired with 4 gauge to a distribution block and the distribution block is connected to the battery with 0gauge. The negative of the battery is grounded to the engine with 2gauge from the factory. Whenever I plug both rcas into the amp, I get noise out of the speakers. If I only plug one rca in, there is no noise.

As a test, I ran rcas from the head unit directly to the amp, and I did not get the noise. It seems to me that the problem is the ws420, but I'm not sure how to fix it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:46 PM
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I am assuming u have some WS speakers? Can u give a description of your speakers? What kind of noise is it.....like a white noise? Does it stay constant or increase with engine rpm?

It is not uncommon to get a little white noise/ hiss from the huge HLCD speakers. They are powerful and the horn picks up some noise. I chased this issue for a week re wiring my stuff. The 420 has a built in line driver so adds to the signal. If you are running a 2volt out pre amp head unit it amplifies this issue due to the fact the gains on your amp will be a bit high. The best solution for me was upgrading to a 4v out head unit per WS and my local stereo shop to ease the white noise factor. The other thing to check is where your gains are set on the ws420 for the towers. Its usually the mid that give the most noise when incorrectly adjusted. Also make sure the mic is turned all the way to zero. Again this is all assuming you have a constqnt white noise situation which is normally attributed to gain and level issues than a ground loop.
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Last edited by swatguy; 01-30-2012 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 12:54 PM
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The noise is on the factory clarion in boat speakers. It's a hiss. I have not turned the engine on.

I am not using my head unit at all. I am running sound directly into the aux port on the ws420. I will check the gains when I get home. I am not sure where they are set.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:35 PM
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I can almost bet for certain its the gain levels on the 420's for your cabins. The fact the amp is powered for them and then you introduce the built line driver from the Ws420 which I think is (6 or 8 volts again off top of my head I don't recall the voltage,but its around there and will for sure give you that hiss thru you cabins if not adjusted properly). Try the mid level adjustment first. Also how old is your 420? Just trying to fog out if u have the newer version no dials on top of unit or original version with addition adjustments on the top of the unit

Btw had a feeling it was your interiors because if u were powering hlcds with that 350 it would be a waste of speakers.


To dial in your system turn the gain on you amp down. Turn volume on your head unit to 3/4 and make sure you 420 cabin volume isturned up as well Adjust gain on the amp until the sound starts to distort and then back it down a touch. Make sure all your head unit treble and bass are flat ie O. Fades are flat. And the equal controls are flat. In the center and the adjust eq according to your style.
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Last edited by swatguy; 01-30-2012 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:46 PM
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The eq is one of the newer ones without the dials on top. It is less than a year old. I will check the gains on the ws420 when I get home from work.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:49 PM
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Cool. Makes it way easier to do the adjustments to get it dialed in. It sounds more like a gain issue than an electrical ground loop one.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:58 PM
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I hope so...
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Old 01-30-2012, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRW160 View Post
I am getting a lot of noise from my speakers, and it seems I have a ground loop problem. To elminate a lot of variables, I've unplugged a couple of amps and my 2nd battery bank, but I still have the problem.

I'm running a wetsounds ws420 as my source, and I have it wired directly to the battery with 16 gauge wire. I have a kicker zx350.4 wired with 4 gauge to a distribution block and the distribution block is connected to the battery with 0gauge. The negative of the battery is grounded to the engine with 2gauge from the factory. Whenever I plug both rcas into the amp, I get noise out of the speakers. If I only plug one rca in, there is no noise.

As a test, I ran rcas from the head unit directly to the amp, and I did not get the noise. It seems to me that the problem is the ws420, but I'm not sure how to fix it.
Is it hissing, or whining? If it's hissing, it's not a ground loop- it just needs to have the levels set correctly (and WIDE OPEN doesn't equal 'correctly').
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:14 PM
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Is it hissing, or whining? If it's hissing, it's not a ground loop- it just needs to have the levels set correctly (and WIDE OPEN doesn't equal 'correctly').
It's hissing
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JRW160 View Post
It's hissing
That's a gain issue if you hear hiss without any frequency shift with RPM.

Turn the amp's input control(s) down so you barely hear anything when the head unit is close to maximum. If you have an equalizer between the head unit and amp(s), turn that down close to minimum, too. If you use the bass control a lot, leave it in a typical position, then turn the volume up until you hear it distort- this is usually around 3/4 up the dial. With the head unit at the point of distortion, make note of the setting (usually, they show it numerically) and raise the input control for the next device in line- if it's an equalizer or amp- until you start to hear distortion while wearing hearing protection. I mention hearing protection because at high SPL, human hearing isn't as sensitive to distortion and it will be much easier to hear. Don't expect it to sound like a fuzzed out guitar- listen for it to sound gritty and edgy with more treble. Once it reaches the point of distortion, back it off a bit and mark the position of the control with a pencil, then back it off so you can repeat for each remaining channel.

Once the head unit's distortion point has been established, you can also increase the EQ/amp input controls until the hiss is barely audible. If you always head hissing, it's possible that an amp has faulty resistors or something like that.
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