TA81001 Owner’s Manual
Introduction
Thank you for choosing MTX to help reach the ultimate goal with your vehicle. Adding MTX amplifiers and
matching MTX speakers and subwoofers with StreetWires connections will put you in a better position to
hear, feel, and experience all of the music the artist intended.
Specifications
Primary Ratings:
Power Output: 500 watts RMS x 1-channel at 4 ohm and ≤ 1% THD+N Signal-to-Noise Ratio (1 watt): 68dB Secondary Ratings:
Power Output: 1,000 watts RMS x 1-channel at 2 ohm and ≤ 1% THD+N
Power Output: 1,500 watts RMS x 1-channel at 1 ohm and ≤ 1% THD+N
Power Output: 2,000 watts RMS x 1/2-channel** at 4 ohm and ≤ 1% THD+N
Power Output: 3,000 watts RMS x 1/2-channel** at 2 ohm and ≤ 1% THD+N
** Two Amplifiers Strapped
THD+Noise (Distortion) (1 watt): ≤ .5%
Frequency Response (-3dB): 20Hz-200Hz
Maximum Input Signal: 10V
Maximum Sensitivity: 100mV
Dimensions: 9-5/8” x 20-11/16” x 2-1/2” (245mm x 525mm x 65mm)
Patented Smart Engage™ Auto-Turn-On (Patent No: US06556683)
Patented Adaptive Class D Technology (Patent No: US06753729)
Patented Power Supply (US05598325)
Input Sensitivity Switch: 100mV-1V/1V-10V
Crossover: Low @ 40Hz-200Hz, 24dB
Subsonic @ 20-50Hz, 12dB/oct
Parametric EQ: Boost/Cut +/-12dB, Freq. 30Hz-80Hz, Q 0.5-4.0
Remote Subwoofer Level Control
Selectable Phase: 0 or 180 degrees
Features
1. Prizm EFX – All MTX amplifiers include backlit adjustment controls on the top surface of the product.
• Color – The backlit controls offer unlimited colors on the display -- from RED, GREEN, and BLUE to any color
in between.
• EFX – You can switch Prizm EFX lighting to “pulsate” with the beat of the music.
2. Xtant Technology Cooling (XTC) – A thermal-regulated turbo-charged intercooler supplies fan forced cool air
evenly and constantly through tightly packed bonded fins. Fan speed is continuously variable and controlled
by the amplifier’s output, temperature of the heatsink, and transformers. Exhaust from the internal heatsink is
strategically positioned to cool the transformers to maintain maximum performance at all volumes.
3. Bi-Level Inputs with Smart Engage™ – All MTX amplifiers feature RCA type input connections. All MTX
amplifiers allow both high level and line level input into the RCA type input connections.
• Low Level Input – Source units with an output signal level of 100mV–10V may be used. See “Input
Sensitivity” for proper voltage level setting.
• High Level Inputs with Smart Engage™ – All MTX amplifiers allow high level inputs through RCA type input
connections using provided high level adapters. Source units with an output signal level of 100mV–10V may
be used. See “Input Sensitivity” for proper voltage level setting.
• Smart-Engage™ Auto-Turn-On - An auto-turn-on circuit is included within the amplifier. A remote turn-on
wire is not necessary when connecting the amplifier’s high-level input to a high-powered source unit (car
stereo). The amplifier will automatically turn on when music is received through this type of connection.
Note: Smart Engage™ is only active on the left input.
4. Input Sensitivity – The Input Sensitivity switch is used to set the proper input voltage range:
X1 POSITION: 100mV–1V (Typically for RCA Input)
X10 POSITION: 1V–10V (Typically for Speaker Level Input)
5. Gain Control – This feature is used to fine-tune the input sensitivity of the amplifier to the source unit’s output
level.
6. Low-Pass X-over Frequency Control with 24dB per octave Slope – This control allows the user to choose the
exact low pass frequency range the amplifier will play for the best possible performance. The upper end of
the crossover frequency point can be selected from 40Hz–200Hz at 24dB per octave.
7. Variable Subsonic Filter – This feature limits the lower end of the frequencies sent to the subwoofers. The
subsonic feature includes a control knob used to adjust subsonic setting from 15Hz-60Hz at 12dB per octave.
8. Parametric Equalizer – This one band parametric equalizer provides individual frequency, Q/bandwidth, and
+/-12dB gain adjustment controls. Any frequency from 30Hz to 80Hz can be chosen and boosted or cut up to
12dB. The “Q” ranges from 0.5 to 4.0 in value to allow a wide variety of bandwidth adjustment and address
the subtle tuning requirements common to mobile audio systems.
9. Remote Subwoofer Level Control (Remote Gain) – This port allows the use of the optional “remote level
control”. The Remote Subwoofer Level Control is a bass control module that can be installed in any location
within the vehicle for remote adjustments.
10. Phase Switch – The phase select switch allows you to invert the amplifier’s output phase by 180 degrees to
ensure the frequency interaction between the speakers is consistent within the vehicle. This also enables the
advanced bridging operation when using two amplifiers on one speaker.
11. StreetWires Connectors – All MTX amplifiers include StreetWires connectors for efficient current and
maximum voltage transfer.
12. Speaker Connection – Two sets of speaker terminals are provided for dual woofer applications. When
connecting a single woofer, use only one set of speaker terminals. (8 and 9 series are Bridgeable with a Phase
Switch)
13. Power Terminals – This is the main power connection for the amplifier. The power and ground wire size
should be the same gauge.
• GND – The ground wire from this connection must be attached to bare metal on the vehicle. The distance to
the ground should be as short as possible and no more than 18”.
• REM – To turn the amplifier on/off, this terminal must be connected to the source unit’s “remote or electric
antenna” wire.
• +12V – The power wire from this connection must be attached to the positive side of the vehicle’s battery.
• CAP+ - Capacitor Positive Input – The ideal connection point for the positive sides of the capacitor to increase
the amplifier’s performance.
• CAP- - Capacitor Negative Input – The ideal connection point for the negative side of the capacitor to increase
the amplifier’s performance.
Before Starting
MTX recommends that you have your new Thunder amplifiers installed by an authorized MTX retailer, preferably
MECP certified. If you do decide to do it yourself, make sure you have read the instructions carefully and have
the following tools:
• Electric drill
• Phillips bit or screwdriver
• 1/8” bit
• Wire cutters/crimpers
• Safety glasses
• X-Acto knife
Disconnect the vehicle’s negative battery connection. Any deviation from the recommended connection
procedures may cause serious damage to the amplifier, speakers, and/or vehicle electrical system. Please
double check the connections before turning the system on.
Installation
Mounting
Place your Thunder amplifier at the predetermined mounting location. Use a felt pen to mark the exact position
of the mounting holes on the mounting surface. Set the amplifier aside. With a sharp, precise blade cut small
circles in the carpet and padding around the four marks denoting your mounting holes to expose the metal
underneath. Use a center punch to make an indentation in the metal to ensure that you drill the exact position
for the screws.
Note: Please use common sense and make sure that all vehicle wires, gas lines, brake lines, etc. are clear and will
not interfere with the installation. ALWAYS WEAR PROPER SAFETY GLASSES.
Connections
1. Bi-Level Inputs (Low/High Level Input) with Smart Engage™ – Both a low and high level signal can be used.
Be sure to lay the signal wire away from all power cables and vehicle computers. Use high quality twisted pair
interconnect cables to decrease the possibility of radiated noise entering the system.
• Using RCA Connections: If the source unit has RCA outputs, simply attach a signal cable from the source unit
to the amp’s RCA input. This will provide signal to the amp.
• Using Speaker Level Connections: If the source unit does not have RCA outputs, a high level signal can be
used instead by taking the supplied high level RCA adapter cables and connecting the bare wire ends to the
vehicle’s rear speaker wiring. Connect the left negative speaker wire to the green with black stripe wire on the
supplied high level RCA adapter. Connect the left positive speaker wire to the solid green wire. Do the same
for the right speaker connection using the purple wire. Now plug the RCA connectors into the amp’s inputs.
2. Speaker Wire Connections – When installing the speaker wires, please take proper measures to protect them.
For example, when connecting the door speakers, the speaker wire should run from the amplifier’s output
terminals, under the carpet, and through the factory rubber boot (loom) that protects the wires in the inner
door jam. If the factory boot cannot be used, take other measures to protect these wires. Sometimes the door
has to be completely removed to use the factory boot. If this is something that you do not feel comfortable
doing, please ask a professional to help you.
When connecting the speaker wires to the amplifier please observe the printed polarity markings on the
amplifier’s StreetWires connector. Failing to wire the speakers in proper phase could result in a loss of bass
response or poor overall sound quality.
These amps will have two PARALLEL speaker terminals, a positive and negative for a single woofer and an
OPTIONAL second set of positive and negative terminals for a two woofer configuration. These amps can
drive a minimum of a 1 ohm load.
• Strapping Two Amps: Strapping two Thunder TA81001 amplifiers together has never been easier. When
two Thunder TA81001 amplifiers are strapped, you can expect power output in excess of 3,000 watts and a
maximum current draw of around 300 amps. Please see “Power Terminals” for suggested electrical system
upgrades.
Insert Table here to show 2 amps strapped, Power Output, Current Draw
To successfully link the two amplifiers together you will have to follow the steps below carefully. The following
information will explain how to configure each amplifier so one becomes the “positive” (Push) amplifier and
the other becomes the “negative” (Pull) amplifier. Just follow the steps below and you will be on your way to
massive amounts of power.
1) Label the first amplifier as the Positive amp. Then set the phase switch on this amp to the 0 degree setting.
Label the second amplifier as the Negative and set the phase switch on that amplifier to the 180 degree
setting.
2) The interconnects coming from the source unit need to be split into each of these two amplifiers. Using a “Y”
connector, split the “Left” side of the interconnect from the source so that it can go into the “Left” RCA input
receptacles on each amplifier. Using another “Y” connector, split the “Right” side of the interconnect into the
“Right” RCA input receptacles on the amplifiers in the same way.
3) Only the positive speaker terminals on each amplifier will be used as the connection points for the speaker. Connect
the positive side of the speaker wire to the positive terminal of the amplifier labeled Positive. Connect the negative
side of the speaker wire to the positive terminal of the amplifier labeled Negative. Make sure that the impedance of
the subwoofer is no lower than a 2 ohm load, this is important in order to avoid possible damage to the amplifier.
Running two amplifiers strapped will require “gain matching.” This will require source material that includes test
tones and volt ohm/multi meter. Please see “Adjusting the Gain Controls”
Note: Please pay attention and make sure the speakers or woofers are the correct IMPEDANCE (OHMS) BEFORE
attaching to the amplifier.
3. Power Terminals – Please take proper measures during installation to protect the power wires as best you
can. For example, when running the power cable from the vehicle’s battery through the firewall, use a firewall
bushing for protection. Run the power wire through the interior of the vehicle, under the carpet, and to the
amplifier. If this is something that you do not feel comfortable doing, please ask a professional to help you. Be
sure to lay the power wire away from all signal cables.
When connecting the power wires to the amplifier please observe the printed markings on the amplifier’s
StreetWires power connector. Failing to wire the power cables properly could result in amplifier damage.
• +12V: This is the main power input for the amplifier and must be connected directly to the positive terminal
of the car battery for the amplifier to operate properly. It is important that a main fuse is installed a maximum
of 18” from the battery.
• GND: This is the ground connection for the amplifier and must be connected directly to the metal chassis
of the vehicle for the amplifier to operate properly. A properly grounded amplifier can be run harder and
longer than a poorly grounded amplifier. The ground on the amplifier should be as short as possible and
be connected directly to the vehicle’s metal chassis. Do not connect to factory bolts of ANY kind. When
attaching the ground to the chassis, sand all the paint away from the contact point. A grounding block like the
StreetWires GT4 should be used whenever possible as this piece of equipment has 5 times the surface area of
a normal screw.
The gauge of the power and ground wire is often an overlooked aspect of amplifier installation. The more power
the amplifier receives, the more power it will produce. Power cables have a natural resistance, and will lose
voltage by the time the power makes its way to the amplifier. The larger gauge (diameter) wire will hold more
voltage over longer runs. Also, by having a larger diameter ground wire, the amplifier can run more efficiently.
MTX recommends using a minimum of 1/0 gauge power and ground cables to get the best performance.
• REM: This connection turns the amplifier on and off and needs to be connected to a remote turn-on wire
from your source unit if you are using a low level input connection.
Note: When numerous amplifiers are used in the same system, look into using a relay with a separate power wire
connected to an alternative power source to take the strain off the source unit. Normal source units can only
keep a constant 12 volts to 2 or possibly 3 amps. This wire should also be run away from the RCA cables.
• CAP+: This 8 gauge terminal is internally wired in parallel with the +12V on the StreetWires Power connector.
It is the ideal connection point for the positive side of a capacitor to increase the amplifier’s performance.
• CAP-: This 8 gauge terminal is internally wired in parallel with the GND on the StreetWires Power connector.
It is the ideal connection point for the negative side of the capacitor to increase the amplifier’s performance.
Note: When strapping two of these amplifiers, it is important to remember that in order to get the desired power
out of them, you have to supply them with the power they need. With the current draw these amplifiers are
capable of pulling, we at MTX highly suggest upgrading to a high output alternator rated at 300 amps- or a
dual alternator set up. At the same time, you must upgrade the stock battery and add a couple more batteries
to the system. We recommend a minimum of three batteries with a cold cranking amp (CCA) rating of 725 or
more. Please remember to install a minimum of 1/0 AWG power and ground cable for the electrical system
upgrades and the amps. Just adding extra batteries will not solve the need for power; it will actually put more
of a load on the alternator, in turn yielding less power to the audio system.
Double check all the previous connection installation steps, in particular the speaker and power wiring. Securely
mount the amplifier. If everything is in order, reconnect the vehicle’s negative battery connection and begin
following the Feature Setup and Adjustments steps.
Feature Setup and Adjustments
1. Selecting the Input Sensitivity Range – Before you turn on your system, you must select the proper input
sensitivity range on your amp using the button labeled INPUT SENS located in the GAIN CONTROL section of
the control panel.
• Setting for Aftermarket Source Units: Refer to your aftermarket owner’s manual for line level output
specification. If the specification is not available, please follow the instructions listed below.
X1 POSITION: 100mV–1V (Typically for RCA Input)
• Setting for Factory (OEM) Source Units: To check the amount of voltage that is present from the source
unit, take a multi meter, or a volt/ohm meter, on the AC setting, (range from 100mV up to 10 volts) attach the
positive and negative leads directly to any exposed speaker. It will not matter if the polarity is correct, it will
read the same amount of voltage.
X10 POSITION: 1V–10V (Typically for Speaker Level Input)
Note: It is important not to have the amp set up to receive a low voltage signal and give it a high voltage signal.
Doing this can cause damage to the amp.
2. Adjusting the Gain Control – Before you start setting your amp gains, be sure to defeat all EQs (“off” position).
You want to set the gain levels properly BEFORE applying any equalization.
Start with the source unit’s volume around ¾ of the way up, and the gain on the amp all the way down (counterclockwise). Slowly increase the gain clockwise until the speaker starts to distort. Immediately decrease gain
until the distortion goes away. This will be a good reference point on the volume control to where the signal
starts to distort. Remember every CD will be different; use common sense and constantly listen for obvious
distortion and adjust volume accordingly. The gain on the amp has nothing to do with how much power the
amp can produce, just how fast the amp puts out max power. Just like in an automobile, full throttle is very
rarely needed.
Note: When adjusting the gains for two amplifiers strapped, you must adjust each amplifier’s gain, frequency, and
EQ so you will be able to “match” the two amps and ensure both amplifiers are sending the same ac voltage
to the woofer. This will require source materials that include test tones and a volt ohm/multi meter.
a) Set the volume around half, play a flat tone (60-80 Hz) through your head unit and hit repeat. Use this same
frequency and volume for the entire process.
b) Set your multi meter on ac voltage and connect it to the Positive amplifier’s positive and negative output
terminals.
c) Switch the multi meter between the amps and make the necessary adjustments so that the flat tones
produced match. If you have access to two multi meters, simply place one on each amplifier’s terminals and
make the adjustments.
3. Adjusting the Low, 24dB @ 40Hz - 200Hz Variable Low Pass X-over Frequency Controls–
• Setting for Subwoofers: Using “X-OVER” you have control over what frequency you want your amp to start
crossing over your signal. By turning this control all the way counter-clockwise you are crossing the signal
over at 40Hz (the range is counter-clockwise 40Hz to clockwise 200Hz). This means that the amp will send
the woofers frequencies from 20Hz to 40Hz and then start to taper down as the frequencies go over 40Hz
(24dB/octave roll off). The industry standard for low pass crossover point is right around 90Hz. However, by
experimenting with the crossover point (higher or lower) you will find what sounds best in this install. The
decibel per octave roll off (dB/oct) means how fast the amplifier tapers down as the frequencies get higher.
This amp uses a 24-decibel per octave roll off, which is pretty steep, or tapers off fairly quickly from the
crossover point. This design complements both the subwoofer and the mids to provide greater musical detail.
4. Setting the 20Hz–50Hz, 12dB Variable Subsonic Filter – This feature will help remove some of the potentially
damaging low frequencies from your subwoofer system. By turning this control all the way counter-clockwise
you are limiting the signal below 20Hz. By turning this control all the way clockwise you are limiting the signal
below 50Hz. Start at 20Hz and adjust this feature until your bass response sounds smooth and detailed.
5. Adjusting the Parametric Equalizer – In some applications, the bass amplifier needs some help in boosting
or cutting certain frequencies. A parametric equalizer is distinguished from a conventional equalizer circuit
in that it allows the user to control the level of the boost or cut as well as the center frequency and the
bandwidth of the boost or cut (the range of frequencies affected).
The following steps describe what each of the three controls of the parametric Bass EQ do in isolation. It is
important to understand these behaviors, because they must all be considered when setting up the EQ.
• Setting the “Q”: The “Q” feature can be adjusted to affect a range of frequencies from as wide as 0.5 to as
narrow as 4.0. As a general rule of thumb, start tuning with a “Q” setting below “2”. Higher “Q” values are
rarely needed unless there is some truly bizarre acoustic problem in the system. Lower “Q” values give you a
broader (and usually more natural-sounding) effect. A “Q” of “1.6” (10 o’clock setting) is a good starting point.
• Setting the Frequency: Begin listening for the loudest musical spot or range within the bass range of your
sound system. Adjust the center frequency to match this point. For most systems, the best center frequency
adjustment will be between 40-50Hz. Use 45Hz (12 o’clock setting) as a starting point and adjust up or down
gradually.
• Setting the Boost/Cut: Once you determined the loudest musical spot or range within the bass range of your
sound system, start cutting until the response is smooth and even. You can also boost low spots within the
musical range, but don’t go crazy with the boost knob. There is a lot of boost available, 12dB, but begin with
a low boost setting (around 3dB) and try to stay below 6 dB whenever possible. Remember that for every 3dB
of additional boost you dial in, you are asking the amplifier to double its power output for a given signal in the
boost region.
6. Remote Subwoofer Level Control (Remote Gain) – Let’s say the amplifier’s gain is set at halfway. When the
remote subwoofer level control is plugged in, you have external control of the gain from zero to halfway. The
installation of this level control is NOT necessary to get full power from amplifier.
Note: One Remote Subwoofer Level Control can control two or more amplifiers using a mini plug Y-adapter.
7. Setting the Phase – Depress the PHASE button to ensure the subwoofer interacts correctly between the midbass, or midrange, speakers. The PHASE button is located in the PROCESSOR section of the control panel.
Whether you want the position of the phase at 0 degrees or 180 degrees will be determined once you hear
your audio system produce smooth, tight, and louder bass. You need to try both 0 and 180 degree positions to
hear the difference.
8. Prizm EFX – Now that you have completed adjusting all your amplifier settings, you can set the lighting effects
to your personal taste.
• Selecting Colors: You can change the backlit colors simply by turning the dial labeled PRIZM COLOR, located
in the MTX PRIZM EFX section of the control panel, left or right. Starting at the left most position, the colors
range from RED to GREEN, BLUE, and then RED again. You can choose any color in between making the
combinations unlimited.
• Selecting the EFX Feature: You can switch Prizm EFX lighting to “pulsate” with the beat of the music. Simply
depress the button labeled PRIZM EFX located in the in the MTX PRIZM EFX section of the control panel to
turn this feature on or off.
Troubleshooting
Read this if you want to be a do-it-yourselfer or give us a call at 800-CALLMTX.
PROBLEM CAUSE SOLUTION
No LED indication No +12V at remote connection
No +12V at Power connection Insufficient ground connection Blown power fuse Supply +12V to terminal
Supply +12V to terminal
Verify ground connection
Replace fuse
LED on, no output Volume on head unit off Speaker connections not made Gain control on amplifier off Signal processing units off All speakers blown Increase volume on head unit
Make speaker connections
Turn up gain
Apply power to signal processor
Replace speakers
Output distorted Head unit volume set too high Amplifier gain set too high Lower head unit volume
Lower amplifier gain
Balance reversed Speakers wired L + R reversed RCA inputs reversed Wire speakers with correct orientation
Reverse RCA input
Bass is weak Speakers wired out phase
Not using MTX woofers Wire with correct of phase
Buy MTX woofers
Blowing fuses Excessive output levels Amplifier defective Lower volume
Return for service