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AudioControl THREE.2

In-dash equalizer with crossover and line driver

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  • AudioControl THREE.2

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  • AudioControl THREE.2

  • AudioControl THREE.2

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Our take on the AudioControl THREE.2

by Buck Pomerantz
AudioControl

Expand your system's sound

Sometimes old school is cool. AudioControl's THREE.2 is an in-dash equalizer and a whole lot more, allowing you to control almost every aspect of your receiver's output from the driver's seat. It starts with three bands of equalization — high, midrange, and midbass — and then adds a fourth band, called Para-BASS®, that'll fine-tune the low frequencies to get the bass popping the way you like. Front and rear auxiliary inputs let you plug in a couple of outside music sources like a satellite radio receiver and your iPod®.

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System diagram

System controller

The THREE.2 offers front and rear outputs for your full-range or component speakers, maintaining front-to-rear fader capability for greater depth to the soundstage. The subwoofer channel also features a 24 dB/octave crossover and its own level control.

Get maximum punch from your amps

AudioControl knows all about noise elimination and signal level matching too, so the THREE.2's got adjustable input gains with an LED indicator to tell you when it's perfectly matched with the signal coming from your receiver. The THREE.2 also functions as a line driver/preamp — the master volume knob lets you boost the signal up to the level that your amplifiers need to play at maximum efficiency, even through long wire runs. And just for fun, you can set the knob illumination color to hot red or cool blue.


Information provided by AudioControl

Features

Highlights:

  • preamp/equalizer and subwoofer crossover
  • 3-band EQ: +/-12 dB at 125, 1,250, and 10,000 Hz
  • Para-BASS EQ: +/-12 dB at 40-80 Hz
  • 2-way Linkwitz-Riley crossover (24 dB/octave at 90 Hz)
  • line driver increases output up to 9.5 volts RMS (13 volts peak)
  • front and rear panel auxiliary inputs
  • switchable balanced/unbalanced preamp inputs help eliminate noise
  • front, rear, and subwoofer outputs
  • hot red or cool blue illumination
  • 6-13/16"W x 1-1/16"H x 6-5/8"D
  • mounting brackets included
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Pre-amp line driver/EQ/crossover
  • 2 Mounting brackets
  • 4 Mounting screws
  • Owner's manual
  • QC checklist

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Description: The THREE.2 is a combination equalizer/preamp/crossover/line driver. The 1/2 DIN chassis can be mounted in-dash, or under-dash using the included brackets.

3 Band Graphic EQ: The rotary knobs adjust the signal +/-12 dB at 125 Hz, 1.25 kHz, and 10 kHz. There's a notch at each knob's center position so it's easy to return to the flat setting.

Para-Bass: Para-Bass is a single band, parametric equalizer for the bass output. Like the three graphic EQ bands, the adjustment range is +/-12 dB; the center frequency is continuously variable from 40 Hz to 80 Hz.

Crossover: The THREE.2 has built-in high-pass and low-pass crossovers. The high-pass is applied to the front and rear line outputs. The low-pass is applied to the subwoofer output. The crossover slope is 24 dB/octave and the factory crossover point is 90 Hz; the crossover point is governed by a replaceable chip; replacement chips range from 30 Hz to 3,500 Hz. The crossover can also be bypassed if you're not using a subwoofer, sending a full range signal to the front and rear outputs.

Line Driver: To achieve the best possible signal to noise ratio and dynamic range, the built-in line driver can increase the head unit's output voltage up to 20 dB (up to 9.5 volts RMS/13 volts peak).

Volume: If you choose, you can adjust the system volume using the THREE.2's volume knob. This allows you to leave the source volume at it's maximum un-clipped level, resulting in the best signal to noise ratio and dynamic range output from the source.

Subwoofer Level Control: The relative subwoofer volume is adjusted using the rotary Sub Level control on the front panel.

Fader: Because there is only one stereo line input and both front and rear line outputs, the front panel fader knob is needed to adjust the relative front and rear volume.

Auxiliary Inputs: The THREE.2 has two auxiliary inputs, 3.5mm mini-jacks on the front and rear panels. When a cable is plugged into the front panel input, it overrides the rear panel input. The front panel Source button switches between the auxiliary inputs and the RCA line input.

Input Gain: The input gain for the left and right channels is set independently; 0 dB to +20 dB. The +20 dB gain allows you to increase the head unit's line voltage to the top of your amp's input range; up to 9.5 volts RMS/13 volts peak. A yellow Maximized LED starts to flicker as you reach the maximum unclipped voltage.

Balanced Input: Using the balanced differential input circuit may cancel noise picked up in the transmission line between the THREE.2 and the source unit.

Ground Isolation: The power supply ground is switchable, in case of ground loop noise. The factory position is fully isolated (typically the best choice), but can be changed to Ground or 200Ω.

Terminal Blocks: The power/ground/remote/illumination terminal is removable; the wiring is attached to the block, then the block is plugged into the rear panel of the THREE.2.

Illumination: The outer ring of each knob is lit whenever the illumination terminal is energized. The color is switchable between blue and red. Wiring the illumination terminal to a dimmer circuit allows you to adjust the brightness.

Inputs:

  • RCA main input; rear panel
  • Auxiliary 3.5mm mini-jack; rear panel
  • Auxiliary 3.5mm mini-jack; front panel

Outputs:

  • Front outputs; RCA; rear panel
  • Rear outputs; RCA; rear panel
  • Subwoofer outputs; RCA; rear panel
 
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AudioControl THREE.2 Reviews

Average Customer Review:

4 people say:

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2 out of 5

Solid state electronics, but not ideal

Written By cipher_nemo, State College, PA on Monday, October 22, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I really want to like the Audio Control Three.2, and in some ways I do like it. But overall it feels like it was designed around its electronics instead of around the user. It serves its purpose in my car audio build, but if another company made a unit that sounded as good, I'd try someone else over Audio Control. They were the leaders in the 90s, but now their products just feel dated and almost obsolete. With high-end head units that have their own, good built-in crossovers and lots of EQ channels to adjust, the usefulness of the Audio Control Three.2 is dwindling. I really don't need this unit, as the real reason I got it is to have knob control on-the-fly, instead of having to hunt for and change the EQ of a head unit. In comparison, that's one turn of a Audio Controls' knob vs. several presses and turns on a head-unit to do the same thing. So it was merely a convenience factor for me. And even then it's not as good as it could be. In short, although I'll be keeping it and it works fine, I'm a little disappointed in Audio Control. COMPLAINTS: The chassis is far too heavy (the electronics don't way much). Their advice is outdated, even though I followed most of it like separate power and ground. The blue power LED's leads were far too close as I had to separate them when opening up the unit. There was also a small piece of foam stuck near one of the knobs (middle EQ knob), so the knob squeaked when turned. Fortunately I was able to remove that. See my Cons for more...
Pros:
24dB crossover network, small size fits nicely below head unit in a custom install. Does a great job and sounds great. Gives you nice sweep and gain control over bass. Made in the USA, though Audio Control brags about this a little too much. Great manual that goes above and beyond the call of duty in explaining not only every function, but why you'd want to use that function. Some of the advice is outdated, though.
Cons:
Knobs have no grips. Blue power LED is WAY too bright, and worse looks bad when you set the illumination mode to red. Too many settings involve opening the unit and changing jumpers. I appreciate the control, but external dip-switches are better. RCA voltage gains requires testing/setting them before installation if you're putting it in a dash. Gains worthless for new, high-end head units with full 4v of RCA signals at 3/4 to 5/6 vol. Locked into stock 90dB crossover chip, though replaceable.
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5 out of 5

Audiophile Grade

Written By Scott T, Missouri on Friday, April 20, 2012
 
This is my second in-dash processor from Audiocontrol. While I cannot speak about a 4 channel amp installation, I do know it offers audiophile quality sound in a bi-ampled 2 channel configuration. Properly setup, you are maximizing the output of your head unit, sending a clean and powerful signal to your amps. That allows yout to turn the gain on the amps way down, so that the THREE.2 can keep the signal way above the noise floor. Once you calibrate your system, and balance the ouput of the sub, to the front stage, you will be lessed with clean, sparkling sound.
Pros:
Durable build, audiophile grade xover, line driver, para bass control, appropriate eq frequncies.
Cons:
Like anything of high end quality, it takes some knowledge, and time to calibrate the system to optimize the sound. However, the reward is greater than you can imagine.
7 out of 7 people found this helpful
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2 out of 5

OK.. but not perfect.

Written By Ken R., Greeley, Colorado on Monday, January 16, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
I had big hopes for this unit. I was not at all pleased how it sounded with the EQ engaged. The stereo spacing changed. This unit needs a left/right fader and 4 channel inputs. My dash unit has four outputs and a sub output. Going from that to two in, four out, plus sub out doesn't enhance anything! The increased voltage seemed to really clean-up the signal, making my system sound FANTASTIC...with the EQ dis-engaged. What good is an exoensive EQ if it squeezes the stereo spectrum to greatly reduced width! I pulled it out of my console and got rid of it. Yes...I am picky. NOT recomended.
Pros:
High voltage really drives an amp to clean, crisp sound.
Cons:
The EQ messes with the stereo spectrum when running a 4 channel amp. Needs 4 inputs and a left/right fader...not just front to rear.
4 out of 9 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

explain wiring diagram on crossover?

Written By promodude, lee summit,MO on Wednesday, December 28, 2011
 
As I know as a mobile dj I know good sound. not all crossovers sound the same. sometimes the cheaper versions crossover bass drops are lower than the 1's that cost alot
Pros:
I love the separtion of sound it makes it very clean
Cons:
the price
3 out of 5 people found this helpful
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