Zapco ST-6X DSP amplifier review with testing - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
DIYMA 500 Club
 
keep_hope_alive's Avatar
 
Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: QC IL
Age: 41
Posts: 625

Thanks: 28
Thanked 51 Times in 36 Posts
Rep Power: 141 keep_hope_alive will become famous soon enoughkeep_hope_alive will become famous soon enoughkeep_hope_alive will become famous soon enoughkeep_hope_alive will become famous soon enoughkeep_hope_alive will become famous soon enoughkeep_hope_alive will become famous soon enough


iTrader: (2)



Post Zapco ST-6X DSP amplifier review with testing

Over the past two weeks I have both installed and uninstalled the Zapco ST-6X DSP six channel amplifier. My access to the amplifier is due to my having installed it (and a companion Zapco ST-2000xmII) in a friendís car, only to remove it six days later. Iíll try to keep this review objective, despite having wasted two days and then spending additional time testing to verity the published specifications are not accurate and this amplifier lacks any input gain adjustment. Iíll say that again because itís the most important part of this thread; this newest offering from Zapco lacks input gain adjustment and, based on my testing, can only handle a 0.5V RMS input before clipping.

Input signal voltage on left and output voltage on right (both DMM and scope).

0.741V Input

0.588V Input

0.467V Input

PC view with 0.467V Input

PC view with 0.588V Input

The review:
The cosmetics of the ST-6X DSP amplifier are really nice. The outward impression of build quality is high, which is expected of Zapco products.

Amp view

Amp ends

The input section has four pairs of RCA jacks, gold plated and well made. There are connections for fiber optic, a high-level input jack, USB, and a COM port. The output connections are typical set screw and the amplifier comes with the necessary tools. A USB cable is provided along with a fiber optic cable. You have to download the manual.

The main feature of this amplifier is the DSP, since thatís why you bought it. There are two screens; the main screen that shows all 8 channels and the input setup screen. The input screen lets you route input signals to outputs, and is flexible with summing and routing options. There is no input signal gain or sensitivity adjustment in this screen.

Software Input Screen

The main screen has all 8 DSP channels labeled, but you cannot change the labels. Youíre stuck with front L&R tweeter and woofer, rear L&R, and preout L&R.

Software Main Screen

The color coding is also fixed. Grouping companion channels is possible. There is a flexible crossover section for each channel including polarity and channel mute. **Note: if you mute a channel when tuning, that mute setting is saved when you disconnect the computer. This ended up being annoying.** You also get phase and level per channel and a master output level. Note that neither of these are input gain and I tested this by introducing a 0.58V input signal and as I adjusted either level adjustment, the signal only changed in amplitude and remain clipped.

Time alignment can be time-based or distance-based for those who donít have a calculator handy. Time-alignment is entered in the graphic of a car with front 2-way and rear speakers. The EQ section is a 15-band parametric. You can drag the gain slider and enter frequency and Q. You never really know when the software is linked to the amplifier because of the way the button is labeled (either ďLinkĒ or ďNot LinkedĒ). When we tried to save the program to the PC (Surface 4) it would crash, never letting us be confident the program saved, so weíd have to re-open and check the device. The firmware update process is akin to a beta test level of development. You have to install separate programs and run multiple windows simultaneouslyÖ and the supplied USB cable didnít work for updating firmware. After trying 3 different cables, one worked on the third tryÖ we were rewarded with a turn-on pop with the new firmware.

Firmware update process:

The Story:

My buddy bought a 2017 Malibu LT brand new, and it was immediately apparent that it needed a real sound system. The previous car was totaled by insurance and all he could keep from the vehicle was the Audison LRx5.1k and Hertz ML-2500 sub. We went with the HSK-165 speakers this time and assumed we could make the pairing work well. We started with the stock HU and a MiniDSP CDSP6x8, we didnít like the input voltage limitations, noise concerns, and then moved to the Dayton Audio DSP. Still unhappy with the stock HU, we swapped to a Kenwood eXcelon with a 5V output. Given the input limitations of both the MiniDSP and Dayton, we looked for a solution that would be a good match for the head unit and eliminate separate pieces of equipment. The newest offering from Zapco seemed to be the perfect fit Ė an amplifier with an 8-channel DSP and a published input range from .25V to 5V. The price point is really attractive, at only $600 itís a good deal for a Zapco amp, let alone a 6 channel amp with DSP. Even better, the ST-2000xmII monoblock amplifier without DSP is a perfect pairing. For $1,100 you can have a 3-way front stage fully active plus outputs to a healthy sub amp. This pairing is what many of us have been looking for, and seemed like the perfect solution for our application. After spending an afternoon removing the Audison and Dayton, we made room for the pair of Zapco amps. A few hours later we were still trying to figure out how to adjust gain and match the amp to the head unit. We couldnít figure out how to adjust input gain because the manual refers to physical dials similar to the non-DSP version yet dials donít exist. The ST-2000xmII is a perfect matching amplifier, the cosmetics are similar, and even though the amplifier came with four 25A fuses that it cannot accept, it seems like a nice amplifier. Sadly, if the ST-6X DSP isnít a suitable product, it doesnít make sense to keep its companion either (since the sub amp was only purchased to match the DSP amp). Both amplifiers are being sent back to the retailer because the buyer was sold components that did not match the specifications listed, and thus did not ship what was advertised.


keep_hope_alive is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to keep_hope_alive For This Useful Post:
Truthunter (4 Weeks Ago)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
DIYMA 500 Club
 
metanium's Avatar
 
Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 1,207

Thanks: 25
Thanked 103 Times in 82 Posts
Rep Power: 170 metanium will become famous soon enoughmetanium will become famous soon enoughmetanium will become famous soon enoughmetanium will become famous soon enoughmetanium will become famous soon enoughmetanium will become famous soon enough


iTrader: (36)



Default Re: Zapco ST-6X DSP amplifier review with testing

I've been hesitant to mention anywhere publicly, but I've been told by an extremely reliable source (and confirmed by another) that the new DSP offerings from Zapco basically don't function properly either. Something along the lines of the software not being ready for primetime.

Aside from the ST-1350XM II amp dyno debacle of last year, sounds like something stinky is going on.

í14 Tundra: Pioneer AVH2300NEX - Helix Mini - RF 2-Punch 200x2 & 1-Punch 240x4 Trans.ana - Illusion C3CX x 3, GB60 & GB12D2
metanium is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to metanium For This Useful Post:
keep_hope_alive (4 Weeks Ago)
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
 
Newbie
Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 6


Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 0 NoDestiny will become famous soon enoughNoDestiny will become famous soon enoughNoDestiny will become famous soon enoughNoDestiny will become famous soon enoughNoDestiny will become famous soon enoughNoDestiny will become famous soon enough


iTrader: (0)



Default Re: Zapco ST-6X DSP amplifier review with testing

Excellent information. I bought this amp (And the ST-1650XT II) and have found a few issues with it myself...
-All the exact things you mentioned (gain, firmware update, etc)
-Turn on pop with my subwoofer
-Subwoofer outputs sound first, ~2 seconds later, the front end plays
-Sometimes I get a weird static-like sound from my front end. Power-cycle my deck and it's fine afterwards.

Otherwise, it outputs plenty of clean power and I love most of the DSP interface. Never seems to get beyond a little warm.
NoDestiny is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to NoDestiny For This Useful Post:
keep_hope_alive (4 Weeks Ago)
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
amplifier, clipping, dsp, gain, SOUND QUALITY, zapco

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:19 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

Ad Management by RedTyger

Home | User CP | Members List | New Posts | ITrader | Faq | Post Spy