How to Set the Frequency on a Car Amplifier

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For a car amplifier to be truly effective in its role, it must amplify a specific range of frequencies for the speakers it is powering. Amplifiers employ special circuits known as filters to accomplish this. Filters designed to strip out the low frequencies are known as High Pass Filters, while those that remove high frequencies are called Low Pass Filters. Amplifiers utilize both fixed and variable filters, depending on the brand and model.

How to Set the Frequency on a Car Amplifier
(Darius Puckorius/Demand Media)
Step 1

Find the high- and low-pass frequency filters on your amplifier. If you have it available, consult the amplifier's manual. If you have no instruction manual, look on the ends of the amplifier or near the input and output connections, for switches or small knobs marked "HPF" or "LPF." HPF stands for "High Pass Filter," and LPF for "Low Pass Filter."

Darius Puckorius/Demand Media
Step 2

Set the High Pass Filter to control the output of the amplifier when the amplifier is connected to smaller speakers designed to reproduce the mids and highs of your music.

If the High Pass Filter is a single switch, set it to "On." This filters out the lowest frequencies and passes a select range of frequencies to the speakers. If the High Pass Filter is a variable control knob, put a CD in and test several settings to see what position of the knob gives you the sound you like best. The further the knob is set to the left, the more lows are sent to the speakers. Start with the knob in the center of the dial and adjust according to your listening taste.

Darius Puckorius/Demand Media
Step 3

Set the Low Pass Filter to control the output of the amplifier when the amp is being used to power a subwoofer. With the Low Pass Filter engaged, the subwoofer will only receive the low frequencies it is designed to handle.

If the Low Pass Filter is a single switch, set it to "On." This filters out the higher frequencies and passes a select range of frequencies to the subwoofer. If the Low Pass Filter is a variable control knob, put a CD in and test several settings to see what position of the knob gives you the sound you like best. The further the knob is set to the left, the more highs are kept away from the subwoofer. Start with the knob in the center of the dial and adjust according to your listening taste.

Darius Puckorius/Demand Media
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