I've been installing stereo systems for 18yrs now, although it'* never been my profession, and the one thing that I always wish for a better way of doing was setting the gain. That process has so many variables, varies from one person to the next, and includes some luck and some guessing. Not very comforting when this setting plays such a huge role in the clarity and well being of your system....until now! Steve Meade, he of YouTube fame, got together with Tony D'Amore and Juan Rodriguez of D'Amore Engineering to create and produce the DD-1 Distortion Detector. But before we get to the product, let me give you a little background on it'* creators. Steve Meade is mainly known for his ground pounding Tahoe showcased on YouTube which sports 4 18" Ascendant Audio SMD subs and over 30,000 watts of Rockford Fosgate power via an assortment of their Power series amplifiers and an assortment of Rockford Fosgate mid-bass/mids/highs throught. He'* been in the car audio scene for around 20yrs now and is a decorated former SPL competitor. Tony D'Amore is an Electrical Engineer who used to work at Rockford Fosgate as such is is the creator of the massive T15k amplifier. Juan Rodriguez is also an Electrical Engineer and is well versed in the many facets of the 12v industry and like Tony, used to work for Rockford Fosgate as well.
Enough about them, let'* get to the product! Roughly the size of a high end DMM, the DD-1 detects distortion in the signal > 1% not only on your amplifier but also on your head unit. As a result, you know how high you can turn you deck before it starts to send a distorted signal to the amp or speakers which along with clipping is the #1 killer of speakers. Included with each DD-1 is a pair of test leads, and owners manual and an audio disc containing the test tones in varying levels that you need to dial in your equipment. Not included is the 9v battery that'* needed to power this thing up. Using the DD-1 is very simple, i'm not going to run through the details of the process but I'll sum it up by saying this, anyone who can read and has even minimal familiarity with an amplifier can complete the process in 5-10 minutes, it'* that easy! But not only is it easy to do, it'* as accurate as an Oscilliscope so once you get it set you can be assured it'* spot on.
I just got mine last weekend and was amazed by how easy it made the task. I didn't experience any drastic improvements in clarity, but did in loudness due to finding the point at which my deck distorts so now I can rest assured that there will be no distortion in my signal up to that point. The volume on my deck goes up to 35, before setting my amps with the DD-1 I would turn it no higher than 24 (which was very loud, and only used for those short periods of time when I want to show out) for fear of clipping/distorting my speakers. Now I know my deck distorts at 34 so I know I can safely turn it up to 33 with no problems, as long as my speakers can handle the power.
So to anyone that installs stereo systems or has one, I highly suggest you get this device, it will have you setting gains like a pro the first time you touch it!