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Unread 11-30-2012, 02:38 PM   #1
BigWheel7
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Amp brands

Which are the best amp brands out there and which are the worst brands?

I have 2 12inch kicker L3 4 ohm subs and a knu concepts 1/0 gauge amp kit with a pioneer 4300dvd head unit to go in.
800 watt peak
400 watt rms

only requirement i want 1/0 gauge input for power and ground


Thanks

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Unread 11-30-2012, 03:48 PM   #2
Azalin_00
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Wow, this can be a huge and controversial list, I'll just go through some quick ones off the top of my head. U must remember some amps are built for daily use some are for competing and some are for both.

Brands to stay away from:
Sony, boss,performance teknique, volfenhag, nitro, audiobahn, bazooka, dual, fusion, interfere, Jensen, and pyramid. These are just SOME of the more popular brands I would stay away from with amps.

Brands that are ideal:
Atomic, audiopipe, DC audio, db drive, digital designs, elemental designs, image dynamics, JL audio, kicker, American bass, US amps/RE, soundstream, sundown audio, zapco, zed, incriminator audio, addictive audio, audioque, B2 audio, cactus, mmats, sound digital, and my personal favorite RD Audio.
^^^ This is just some, I'm sure I've missed some.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 03:01 AM   #3
BigWheel7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azalin_00 View Post
Wow, this can be a huge and controversial list, I'll just go through some quick ones off the top of my head. U must remember some amps are built for daily use some are for competing and some are for both.

Brands to stay away from:
Sony, boss,performance teknique, volfenhag, nitro, audiobahn, bazooka, dual, fusion, interfere, Jensen, and pyramid. These are just SOME of the more popular brands I would stay away from with amps.

Brands that are ideal:
Atomic, audiopipe, DC audio, db drive, digital designs, elemental designs, image dynamics, JL audio, kicker, American bass, US amps/RE, soundstream, sundown audio, zapco, zed, incriminator audio, addictive audio, audioque, B2 audio, cactus, mmats, sound digital, and my personal favorite RD Audio.
^^^ This is just some, I'm sure I've missed some.


I know it would be a personally preference between each person but just trying to get a general idea before i buy an amp.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 08:32 AM   #4
clutch71
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Amplifiers are great but you first need to have an idea of what you plan to power with the amplifier and how your going to power it. Making sure you select an amp that effecienttly powers your speakers and sub are first. Are you going to use the factory head unit or aftermarket?

Then need to understand what to look at when picking an amplifier. RMS rating (not peak power...1200w claims are usually bogus), damping factor, THD, input sensitivity and sound to noise ratio. Since ratings are often misrepresented by manufactures, looking for an amp that is CEA 2006 compliant is a good idea. This provides a common testing procedure and results for a given brand. For example input voltages can vary. CEA 2006 compliance tests an amplifier at 14.4 into an active load (ie speaker) and then records and published those results. There are good brands that are not CEA compliant (Rockford, JL Audio are just a few that come to mind) but it's a good start.

Next is price...what are you willing to spend? You do get what you pay for. Jensen was mentioned as a brand to avoid. The new Power series is CEA compliant and very affordable. I've listened to them first hand and they sound pretty good through relatively inexpensive speakers. So if you have a softtop that is vulnearble to theft do you want to spend $100(Jensen Power 760) or $350 (Rockford Fosgate Prime 4 channel) if you think it may get stolen?

Do plenty of research on the internet more so than just reading reviews on Amazon or Sonic Electronics. There are plenty of good sites out there. My favorite was http://www.bcae1.com/. Not only is it a wealth of information it will also help you if you plan on doing the install yourself.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #5
Azalin_00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clutch71
Amplifiers are great but you first need to have an idea of what you plan to power with the amplifier and how your going to power it. Making sure you select an amp that effecienttly powers your speakers and sub are first. Are you going to use the factory head unit or aftermarket?

Then need to understand what to look at when picking an amplifier. RMS rating (not peak power...1200w claims are usually bogus), damping factor, THD, input sensitivity and sound to noise ratio. Since ratings are often misrepresented by manufactures, looking for an amp that is CEA 2006 compliant is a good idea. This provides a common testing procedure and results for a given brand. For example input voltages can vary. CEA 2006 compliance tests an amplifier at 14.4 into an active load (ie speaker) and then records and published those results. There are good brands that are not CEA compliant (Rockford, JL Audio are just a few that come to mind) but it's a good start.

Next is price...what are you willing to spend? You do get what you pay for. Jensen was mentioned as a brand to avoid. The new Power series is CEA compliant and very affordable. I've listened to them first hand and they sound pretty good through relatively inexpensive speakers. So if you have a softtop that is vulnearble to theft do you want to spend $100(Jensen Power 760) or $350 (Rockford Fosgate Prime 4 channel) if you think it may get stolen?

Do plenty of research on the internet more so than just reading reviews on Amazon or Sonic Electronics. There are plenty of good sites out there. My favorite was http://www.bcae1.com/. Not only is it a wealth of information it will also help you if you plan on doing the install yourself.
U hit the nail on the head about doing research first and knowing how much power u require first. Rms ratings are the only wattage ratings u should be looking at, all the amps I listed in the ideal list do not advertise max wattage ratings, only RMS. Usually lower quality amps advertise max watts in order to make the product look better. Most, if not all of the brands on the ideal list meet and surpass listed ratings, which again is due to QUALITY. Some of them even do their testing on 12 volts instead of 14.4. There are some brands I purposely kept out of both lists, because there are just as much bad testimonials as there are good, basically hit or miss. For example: Rockford, alpine, mtx, planet audio, hifonics,Memphis, and others that are similar. These brands are known to be less reliable or just don't meet rated power. I've had 3 Rockford amps, and two of them had to be repaired after less than a year of use, but some people go years with them and no problem. Personally, I try to stay away from mainstream brands because quality isn't what it use to be, it's mostly about mass production and making money. At the end of the day, u get what u pay for, I'm not saying u HAVE to spend a lot of money, just saying the best deal might not be the best deal in the long run.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 11:29 AM   #6
streetglideok
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One thing also that hasn't been mentioned I believe, proper installation. The vast majority of vehicles that grace my service bays with amps are not wired properly. I would say 10% or less are correct. The rest, I am graced with an amplified pop whenever the key is turned on, alternator whine, or poor audio. You can buy the best brand equipment, but if you do not wire it properly, it will sound like a sparkomatic. Try to not run audio and power wires together. I ran mine on seperate sides of the vehicle back when I was into car audio. Also, and this is the big one, when you run power off the battery to feed your amps, you must add an equal sized wire from the negative side of the battery to the chassis to add an additional ground. Most people miss this, even car audio shops, and you end up with dimming lights, engine running issues etc. Electricity runs in a circle, what you take from the battery you must give back thru the ground. If you do not upgrade the grounding, you are now cramming the juice your amps pulled, plus every electrically driven device in the vehicle thru a 8-10ga wire. It forces your alternator to carry more of the load, and you lose the battery as a natural noise filter and slow discharge capacitor, and can cause a slew of other issues. If a car audio shop tells you otherwise, merely ask them to explain ohms law. That will tell you their grasp of electricity,lol.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 01:46 PM   #7
Azalin_00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streetglideok
One thing also that hasn't been mentioned I believe, proper installation. The vast majority of vehicles that grace my service bays with amps are not wired properly. I would say 10% or less are correct. The rest, I am graced with an amplified pop whenever the key is turned on, alternator whine, or poor audio. You can buy the best brand equipment, but if you do not wire it properly, it will sound like a sparkomatic. Try to not run audio and power wires together. I ran mine on seperate sides of the vehicle back when I was into car audio. Also, and this is the big one, when you run power off the battery to feed your amps, you must add an equal sized wire from the negative side of the battery to the chassis to add an additional ground. Most people miss this, even car audio shops, and you end up with dimming lights, engine running issues etc. Electricity runs in a circle, what you take from the battery you must give back thru the ground. If you do not upgrade the grounding, you are now cramming the juice your amps pulled, plus every electrically driven device in the vehicle thru a 8-10ga wire. It forces your alternator to carry more of the load, and you lose the battery as a natural noise filter and slow discharge capacitor, and can cause a slew of other issues. If a car audio shop tells you otherwise, merely ask them to explain ohms law. That will tell you their grasp of electricity,lol.
Good point, but either way, incorrect or correct installation, u still want quality equipment. It would surprise u the things some "installers" don't know, sometimes it's simple and common sense. One installer was trying to school me and was telling me there was a big difference between ported and vented boxes. He was also trying to impress me by telling me he did a build for a customer and he was hitting a 179 on the meter. I also had a buddy fry his amp because he was trying to push 3000 rms off his stock battery and stock alternator and then wonder why his amp went up in smoke and sparks.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 02:14 PM   #8
BigWheel7
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I bought two Kicker L3's 12 inch on a black friday deal for 179 dollars, so i couldn't pass that up. They are 4 ohm, 800 watt peak and 400 rms. I was looking at going with an amp that would do 1000 watt rms. I also have the knu concepts 0 gauge amp kit that i am waiting to install it all at one time. I have the pioneer avh-p4300dvd headunit which i will wire it all up with as well and yes i know the dash needs modification i already have the dash kit.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 02:31 PM   #9
Azalin_00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigWheel7
I bought two Kicker L3's 12 inch on a black friday deal for 179 dollars, so i couldn't pass that up. They are 4 ohm, 800 watt peak and 400 rms. I was looking at going with an amp that would do 1000 watt rms. I also have the knu concepts 0 gauge amp kit that i am waiting to install it all at one time. I have the pioneer avh-p4300dvd headunit which i will wire it all up with as well and yes i know the dash needs modification i already have the dash kit.
Well if u going with mono amp, find one that does 1000RMS@1ohm. If u go with two channel, get one that does 1000RMS@2ohms, since u got two dual 4ohm subs. Anything of good quality would do either way. That's a nice amp kit u got there too.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 04:27 PM   #10
streetglideok
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Yep, junk is junk, just dont make your Fosgate amp, etc sounds like poop.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 05:21 PM   #11
Azalin_00
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image-1243075093.jpg

^^^Those are absolute power houses and bullet proof. It lasted me 5 years, plus whatever the previous owner had it for, cause I bought it used. It went through 2 cvr 12"s, 2 cvx 12"s, 2 L7 15"s, 1 RD Heavyweight 15", and NEVER gave me any problems. My buddy has the model before mine, and it also is going strong as ever. Never said they were poop.lol
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Unread 12-02-2012, 06:02 PM   #12
BigWheel7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azalin_00 View Post
Well if u going with mono amp, find one that does 1000RMS@1ohm. If u go with two channel, get one that does 1000RMS@2ohms, since u got two dual 4ohm subs. Anything of good quality would do either way. That's a nice amp kit u got there too.
I was thinking class d monoblock amp with a 1/0 gauge insert because that is the power and ground wire i have. I was looking more for people to say which amps to stay away from or go after. I try to go best bang for my buck.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 06:14 PM   #13
Azalin_00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigWheel7

I was thinking class d monoblock amp with a 1/0 gauge insert because that is the power and ground wire i have. I was looking more for people to say which amps to stay away from or go after. I try to go best bang for my buck.
Not sure if there are many 1000 watt amps with 0 gauge inputs, but I could be wrong. If u want low budget with rated power, I'd go audiopipe apsm 1500. They are like $120 shipped brand new on eBay. Many will argue about it doin rated power, but I've seen many clamp tests that put it right around rated power.

Audiopipe mini 1500 (APSM-1500)
-.5 nominal rising to .96
-13.8 to 13.5 Volts
-1550 watts CLEAN (gains set with scope)

^^^That is actual recorded clamp test, its only 1 example though.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 09:15 PM   #14
BigWheel7
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I have never actually put subwoofers in any vehicle yet so all that lingo you just used i have no idea what it is.
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Unread 12-02-2012, 10:48 PM   #15
Azalin_00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigWheel7
I have never actually put subwoofers in any vehicle yet so all that lingo you just used i have no idea what it is.
It basically means this amp does about 1500 watts RMS@1ohm@ 13.5 volts. Which means it will do advertised power unlike a lot of low quality amps that advertised exaggerated numbers.
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