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Discussion Starter #3
Speaking of cheap amps... has anyone had any experience with this brand (Visionik)?

http://www.xscargo.com/product.php?dept=El...x=12&item=V2218

I'm not looking for something terribly amazing... just something that will work and has a hi/lo pass filter.
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Visionik makes cheap stuff. I'd say drop the extra 20 bucks for the Aura 2-channel.

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cf...tnumber=269-160

Guaranteed it pushes more power than that Visionik. That amp is probably the best power/$/quality ratio you're going to find right now. And at 70 bucks, it's a steal!
 

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So Dave...I'm curious. I've watched all the discussions regarding amps and what not for some time now. You seem to have the car audio experience that most lack.

Based on your experience, what makes one amp better than another?

What does the uneducated consumer look for when considering an amp?

Pls....teach us!
 

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Time for dave to put on his school teacher outfit and get his meter stick. Dave, I think you look kinda hott in that skirt actually :p
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Brand name recognition - Reputation
One of the first things I look for is at least a decent reputation/brand name. Yes there are no-name amps that are absolutely phenominal, however, you can usually judge those on their performance merits rather than their brand. But a good name brand is always a good place to start. That's not to say that a good name brand automatically means a good amplifier. For example, the current line of Sony amplifiers are pieces of shit. Not to say they haven't made some really nice amplifiers, but their current ones are over-rated and have very poor quality.

Real world power ratings - CEA 2006 certification
Power ratings that obey the law of physics are a plus for any amplifier. If an amp claims it can make 4000 watts and it only has a heat sink that is 8"x12" and a 35 amp fuse, that raises a flag instantly. It's physically impossible. CEA 2006 ratings are a big step towards leveling the playing field, and at least making the comparisons you can make using the specifications printed on the box an apples to apples one.

Other's experience - Expert opinions - Objective lab tests
I read the reviews from respected magazines, and from people on forums like this one that have used the products. Although the reviewer may not be an expert all the time, it gives you an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

the fact of the matter is there are a few levels of amplifiers out there, and knowing where the brands fall in those classes can be helpful. This is how I would classify most amps. A good general rule of thumb is, if you are paying under 100 bucks for more than 100 watts, it's too good to be true.

Junk, avoid at all cost: focus on looks and never perform as advertised
Pyle, Pyramid

They'll get the job done: they'll be reliable most likely, but generally don't back up their power claims
Legacy, Boss, AudioBahn, New Soundstream, Sony, Power Acoustic, Visionik

Reliable Consumer: they will be reliable, and they will perform as advertised
Kenwood, Low end Alpine, Low end Rockford, Low end MTX, Infinity, Pioneer, JBL, Low end Memphis, Low end Kicker

Nice amps: They'll exceed their ratings, and have a buttload of features
High end Alpine, High end Rockford, High end MTX, Elemental Designs, High end Memphis, High end Kicker

Hardcore amps Crazy SQ, or insane power at low impeadance.
mmats, Old soundstream, Xtant, Zapco, Mcintosh
 

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Ok, I guess I shouldn't have read this cause now I'm torn between two amps. So, I have a question for you audiophiles. Here is the scenario, I am running an Alpine CDA9851 head unit and I am about to put in an Infinity Kappa Perfect 6.1 component system upfront (100W RMS 4ohm) and some CDT CL-6EX coaxial speakers (90W RMS 4ohm) in the back. I've been doing research on 4 channel amps and up until I read this thread I was set on getting an Alpine MRP-F450 amp that’s pushing 4x75W RMS at 4ohms to all four speakers. Now, I don’t know if maybe I should give that Aura RPM4200 a shot since Aura amps seem to be underrated judging from what others have said on the soundomain forums. Would the Aura amp rated at 4x50W RMS at 4ohms be enough to push my four door speakers? Or should I just stick with the Alpine?
 

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Reliable Consumer: they will be reliable, and they will perform as advertised
Kenwood, Low end Alpine, Low end Rockford, Low end MTX, Infinity, Pioneer, JBL, Low end Memphis, Low end Kicker

Nice amps: They'll exceed their ratings, and have a buttload of features
High end Alpine, High end Rockford, High end MTX, Elemental Designs, High end Memphis, High end Kicker
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So how does one differentiate between "low end" and "high end"?

Great write-up by-the-way!

Guess it's time to dig through the garage and pull out the old MC 300 I have (soundstream).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Would the Aura amp rated at 4x50W RMS at 4ohms be enough to push my four door speakers? Or should I just stick with the Alpine?
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Personally, at half the price, I'd go with the Aura.

So how does one differentiate between "low end" and "high end"?[/b]
Their different model lines. For example, a Punch line amp is a low end Rockford Fosgate amplifier and a Power line amp is high end.
 

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Ok, took your advice and went ahead and got the Aura. Just couldnt pass up that deal seeing as how the same amp is going for $188 on ebay PLUS shipping. Thanks for the heads up on these amps. I never would have even known about them if it wasn't for this post.

Phase one of my audio upgrade is now complete. Now, its on to phase two...time to find a decent 1200-1500W mono amp to push my 10" Orion H2 10.4. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok, took your advice and went ahead and got the Aura. Just couldnt pass up that deal seeing as how the same amp is going for $188 on ebay PLUS shipping. Thanks for the heads up on these amps. I never would have even known about them if it wasn't for this post.

Phase one of my audio upgrade is now complete. Now, its on to phase two...time to find a decent 1200-1500W mono amp to push my 10" Orion H2 10.4. :cool:
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Sweet. I think you'll probably be pretty happy with it.

Too bad you don't have the 10.2, then I would recomend the Elemental Designs NINe.1
 

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I'd like to add to this and say a couple of my own opinions. I have never dealt with eD but I would most likely consider them more of a middle end amp based on some of my readings. I question there QC as I have talked to several competitors that blow their eD subs easily as compared to other subs when they switched (rated for similar power).

Also, not all really nice amplifiers do more than their power, a lot of them have highly regulated power supplies so they almost always do
+- 20 watts from their rating. Example would be Arc Audio, which i consider high end.

Just to add a few decent brands: Anything related with Directed Audio (Orion, PPI, Directed), Arc Audio, US Amps, Lunar Audio, Phoenix Gold, Diamond Audio, Nakamichi, Eclipse, just to name a few.
 

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x2 on the Directed Audio. I also like the Elemental Designs stuff. One place that hasn't been mentioned is Ikesound.com for purchasing this stuff (not the eD, though). Much cheaper than anywhere else. Don't bother trying to call their number, though, they don't ever seem to answer when I try.

Sam
 
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