Who's making the best sounding car amp today?

disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
edited April 2014 in Car Audio & Electronics
Looking for a 4 channel 50 to 100 watts amp?


Looking for the whole sounding amp and not just bass....
Post edited by disneyjoe7 on
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Comments

  • MacLeodMacLeod Posts: 14,362
    edited March 2014
    This is the car audio side Joe. We don't have better sounding amps around here. Haha! There are several great high quality amps out if you're wanting high quality. Zapco is always top of the heap. JL Audio is mainstream but their amps are still superb. Focal has some really nice amps out now that are built by Zed Audio and look really good. If I were buying new amps and were looking at the high end, those would be on the top of my list. Check them out on Crutchfield.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    Well you're right maybe missed placed a little.... What you stated is very sweet just not my price ratio.... Between Alpine and Blaupunkt what would you install under $250 or so.
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    For that kind of money look for used over at www.DIYMA.com or for a good value on new...find a Soundstream REF4.760 REF4.920 on EBay, Amazon, google shopping, etc. Great quality and sound for $200-$300 net price.
  • recoveryonerecoveryone Posts: 439
    edited March 2014
    First off Joe, just as in home audio the source/headunit of a vehicle is the first line of good sound. amps unlike a DAC will only enhance what the HU is putting out.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    I'm using a 2014 Honda Accord and don't know how or if I wish to replace the radio... Its built in with the car video screen, and its ok but needs more watts and speakers. So the amp needs to be speaker input and not RCA :sad:
  • MacLeodMacLeod Posts: 14,362
    edited March 2014
    disneyjoe7 wrote: »
    Well you're right maybe missed placed a little.... What you stated is very sweet just not my price ratio.... Between Alpine and Blaupunkt what would you install under $250 or so.

    Alpine all the way. Their V Power amps are very good quality, make their rated power and at a good price. Not sure if they have speaker level inputs though. Check out JL Audio's entry level line. They're excellent as well and at a very reasonable price.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    Thanks for the info guys.... I let you all know how it went when I do it.
  • seabeerob213seabeerob213 Posts: 1,727
    edited March 2014
    disneyjoe7 wrote: »
    I'm using a 2014 Honda Accord and don't know how or if I wish to replace the radio... Its built in with the car video screen, and its ok but needs more watts and speakers. So the amp needs to be speaker input and not RCA :sad:

    many companies make molded plastic pieces that drop right in where your current set-up is, and a double din touch screen receiver should be able to take over just fine
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    Your Accord follows the current trend of OEM systems that are difficult to replace.
    e6a7eaec0a0d028a0128647aa0480f7b.jpg

    Yeah going with a good deck is the way to go but many OEM decks put out a good signal and have good freq response: http://www.carsound.com/columns/navone/nav0007.shtml

    Also, there are several High level to low level OEM interface units that do a lot more like sum, auto eq, crossover, source switching, level control, crossover, etc..units like JL Audio Cleansweep, JBL MS8, Alpine Imprint, Audio Control, etc...that are many more.

    As far as amps, I had a couple of the REF amps (a 4 ch and a mono) and at 145 w x 4 for $200 net closeout price, they are very nice:
    http://www.amazon.com/REF4-920-Soundstream-Reference-Series-Amplifier/dp/B002BS3PNS
    http://soundstream.com/store/car-audio/amplifiers/reference.html
    http://www.pasmag.com/car-audio/reports/258-test-report-soundstream-ref4760
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    Interesting but not sure how I feel about tearing my new car about for a radio. But adding an amp may by ok with me.... Saying that I know I'm limiting myself audio wise but... It's just a car to me.
  • recoveryonerecoveryone Posts: 439
    edited March 2014
    Did not know you were referring to a new vehicle, I would leave as is
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    I plan on leaving the dash as it is.
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    disneyjoe7 wrote: »
    I plan on leaving the dash as it is.
    Then consider one of these: http://www.crutchfield.com/g_318850/Factory-System-Integration.html?tp=61671

    Can find them around the net for cheaper. Then..what are your goals? How many speakers in the car? You plan to replacement them? What about the low end?
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    The plan is to replace Front and Rear speakers and add an amp. Tie'n to factory system, keep dash the same.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    D or AB?

    And why is D is much cleaning?

    I own or still own some Nakamichi old school amps which were AB I sure and was clean noise, but today AB amps are 80db signal to noise ratio?
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    Not sure what AB amps you are looking at? Also, it can be tough to compare specs as different test methods are used. Anyway, look at the specs of the Soundstream amp I linked:

    REF4.920 class A/B
    145W x 4 @ 4 Ohms
    460 W x 2 @ 4 Ohms bridged
    THD @ 4 Ohms = 0.02%
    Signal-To-Noise @ 4 Ohms = 104dB
    Damping Factor (100Hz @ 4 Ohms) = >2000
    Fuse = 100A

    Here is one of the Best Class D amps around Specs:

    JL Audio HD600/4
    150W x 4 @ 4 Ohms
    300W x 2 @ 4 Ohms
    S/N Ratio rfferred to 1 W = >88.2 dB (A-weighted, 20 Hz - 20 kHz noise bandwidth)
    Damping Factor @ 2 Ohms = >150 / 50 Hz
    Fuse = 50 A

    Again hard to compare as testing methods are different but...both have great specs and more importantly both are great sounding amps.
  • MacLeodMacLeod Posts: 14,362
    edited March 2014
    Specs are virtually meaningless. The JL Audio is the better built amp, will exceed it's rated power and have no noise. The benefit of the class D amp is that it's much more efficient and works in a much smaller chassis. That JL Audio HD amp can be mounted under the front seat it's so small. That's why class D is popular. Lots of power, very high efficiency and very small size. Not saying the Soundstream is a bad amp just that I'd rather have the JL for those same reasons.
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    Yes, the JL Audio HD amps are the epitome of a high quality class D amp.Having good power might be more important to sound quality than the class D vs. Class A/B debate. In the car in makes SO much sense to seek efficient products if one is after big power. When I put together my next system I think I might use one of the HD amps myself... But they are not cheap! The XD line is more reasonably priced if one is looking for a better value.

    Anyway, my last system design consisted of a couple of those Soundstream amps for the low end and midbass, then I had an uber sound quality class A/B amp for the mids and tweets, a Genesis SIII 4 channel. Was going for an all out 4 channel system with dash pods, kick panel midbases, and an infinite baffle 15" sub.
    IMAG0411.jpg

    I never got the build done and may not get back to something like that for awhile. The next build will be stealth with one or two of the HD's tucked under something.
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    As far as the build quality of the Soundstreams vs. The older legendary amps or other amps....they are no joke. Here are the internals of the 1000 watt model:http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/amp-guts-modifications-custom-crossovers/120187-new-school-soundstream-gut-pics.html

    Its just not possible to make a hand made in the USA amp today with the best components at a price that the masses are willing to pay. Nor does it makes sense as automated SMT can be very accurate if done with the right quality control. Nevertheless, the prices I've seen some of these amps go for on the net can be ridulously low.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    Gee, I wish to still have hearing after a trip ride.... Not sure I could with those amps. So what you're saying AB maybe better for mid and high sounds. Or is it the quality about the amp?
  • MacLeodMacLeod Posts: 14,362
    edited March 2014
    D is just fine for mids and highs. There's no difference in the sound. The difference is in the efficiency and size. When class D first came around in car audio, they had a lot of audible distortion and weren't suitable for anything other than subs but nowadays they're as clean as any A/B amp with distortion well below the audible level.

    Of those two amps, I'd take the JL because it's slightly more powerful. If you're wanting something really small that you can hide under a seat or something, that Alpine would be perfectly fine.
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 1,950
    edited March 2014
    I'm with MacLeod on that JL makes Quality products as well as Alpine. JL's class D was so good Alpine went back and redesigned some of the issues they had with theirs. Class D in the car is not a bad choice at all and makes so much sense if you need something small. Look how small the JL Audio XD 2 ch amp is:

    JL-Audio-XD-amps-00.jpg

    As far as class A/B vs. class D, class G/H, vs. tubes, etc some treat it almost as critical as 2 ch home audio. Some SQ purist only run expensive class A/B amps because think they sound better. That Genesis I had for example, the bias was custom adjusted to a more class A at the low level, class A/B as the output increases. I was after the best and cleanest output and a little warmth I could get for critical listening for SQ events and gatherings.

    Still some of today's class D like the JL's sound just as good in a quiet home environment. Get them out in the car rolling down the street they will more than meet the need.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    That's an eye candy amp for sure....
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    Ok been thinking and talking to some local people about this amp upgrade and ....

    Thinking Alpine PDX-F4 amp with speaker converter near the radio so I can wire RCA cables back to the amp. Thinking to wire 6 RCA so if add a radio or a sub amp later. Right now there's nothing I can do with the radio, no one making anything. But feel its ok for now like the Ipod input and the Blue tooth for a cell phone.

    Polk Audio db5251 5-1/4" Component System for the front doors.

    Polk Audio db 651s 6-1/2" Slim 2-way Speakers for the rear deck.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    Hmm... no response bad choice given speaker back down on amp model? Or what?

    By Crutchfield nothing bigger speakers would work. Hope to find them wrong but....
  • MacLeodMacLeod Posts: 14,362
    edited March 2014
    No problems with the amp and I've never run a LOC off my factory head unit so I can't tell ya anything there cause I always go with an aftermarket CD player even if it means losing stuff like display, steering wheel controls and what have you.

    As for the speakers, the DB's are decent but they're more what I'd consider entry level. The DXi's would be worth a look as they're a little better model. I'd personally drop the rear speakers completely and get a set of MM's for the front.

    One thing to check is the opening in the door for the speakers. Honda is notorious for making a small hole for their crappy stock speaker that nothing aftermarket can fit in. You might have to trim some metal down even with a spacer or go with a 5.25" speaker. I don't know about the '14 Accord but that's the way it's been with the 7th and 8th gen models.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    MacLeod

    e6a7eaec0a0d028a0128647aa0480f7b.jpg

    My car being last then 2 months old has over 5k of miles on it, due to work. It a LX model a little different in that the knob in the picture shown by the shifter is in the middle of the double din on mine. I don't have that second screen either, but the knob thing is the issue. Feel yes someone will work a kit out but for now no. Without know couldn't do anything like reset maintenance schedule.

    I'm open to other speakers with some mods I look into Thanks.
  • disneyjoe7disneyjoe7 Posts: 11,520
    edited March 2014
    MacLeod wrote: »
    One thing to check is the opening in the door for the speakers. Honda is notorious for making a small hole for their crappy stock speaker that nothing aftermarket can fit in. You might have to trim some metal down even with a spacer or go with a 5.25" speaker. I don't know about the '14 Accord but that's the way it's been with the 7th and 8th gen models.


    http://www.crutchfield.com/p_107DB5251/Polk-Audio-db5251.html


    That's why crutchfield recommended these 5 1/4 speakers the big issue in this car is the tweeter protruding height.
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