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Discussion Starter #1
In light of all of the recent amplifier threads, I felt it was time to introduce to you, the complete buying guide for amplifiers.

A. Determine your budget.
B. Determine the amount of amplifier channels you need.
C. Decide whether you want to go with multiple 1 and 2 channel amps or 1 multi-channel amp etc.
D. Determine the necessary impedance capability of the amps.
E. Make note of where you plan to install them and and measure it to determine what is the maximum size that will physically fit there.
F. Decide what features you need or don't, ie eq/crossover etc.
G. Take your cars electrical system and the amplifiers efficiency into consideration as well.

After that, narrow down what amplifiers are available that fit the above criteria from brands you have heard of or that there is at least some feedback from other users then buy the one that delivers the most amount of power and if they are all pretty close in power output, pick the one you think looks the coolest. DO NOT overly concern your self with THD, S/N ratios, damping factor and dare I say channel separation specs.



*Here's a true story, John needed 5 amplifier channels and had a budget of $400. John decided that he would use a 4 channel amp and one mono amp. He also checked out where he could mount them and decided that 16" would be the limit in length. John didn't care about processing power in the amps because his H/U was going to be the processing unit in the system.

John knew he was going to run 4 ohms on the mids and tweeters and 4 ohms on the subs, but that 2 ohms could be needed in the future. His electrical system was fairly stout, so after coming up with several possible candidates, he selected the JBL GTO 75.4 II and the GTO 600.1 II due to price, power, size and known quality of the amps. John didn't even look at the THD, S/N ratio, damping factor or channel separation specs.

John sold those JBL amps when it came time to do a new system, simply because they wouldn't physically fit the new cars install. John choose the Alpine PDX 4.150 and 1.600 only because of their rated power and small size that would fit the mounting area. John doesn't even know what the THD, S/N ratio, etc is on the PDX amps or care either.



*The names have been changed to protect the identity of 89grand.
 

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Yeah, but is it an SQ amplifier? Does it make PURE CLEAN POWER???

In all seriousness, I agree with your methodology. Amplifiers in general are WAY overrated in terms of impact to the performance of a system.
 

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You just put several amp companies out of business :)

Unless you move the "look cool" rule to the first stop in the decision tree.
 

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Amplifiers in general are WAY overrated in terms of impact to the performance of a system.
I would disagree. Even the proponents of "SQ" amplifiers admit that the differences are very minimal. I don't know a single person who would say it even comes close to rivaling the differences between drivers.
 

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I'd also factor in choice of materials and build quality for durability and consistency reasons. It is way down in the decision tree, but I'd still put it in there. Also a brand that biases the amp correctly would be nice, but that's nitpicking.

Good job keeping it simple for the rush of newbies coming to the forum though.
 

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I would disagree. Even the proponents of "SQ" amplifiers admit that the differences are very minimal. I don't know a single person who would say it even comes close to rivaling the differences between drivers.

LOL, you just agreed with me. Note I said overrated, not underrated. I completely agree with what you're saying.
 

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I'm the king of nitpicking amps. I has teh golden ears...
 

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Yeah, but is it an SQ amplifier? Does it make PURE CLEAN POWER???
Exactly! What about the eSquu? And clean! I can't heard dirty if my life depended on it but I NEED CLEAN powa! ;)

Good stuff 89Grand. May the God of clean poasts shine over you and strike Tdizzle dead if he tries to hit the reply button.
 

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Exactly! What about the eSquu? And clean! I can't heard dirty if my life depended on it but I NEED CLEAN powa! ;)

Good stuff 89Grand. May the God of clean poasts shine over you and strike Tdizzle dead if he tries to hit the reply button.
More powa! :wacko::laugh::rolleyes2::jester::z::skull:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
great criteria. i would add:

no hiss
no turn on/off pop
does not thermal unnecessarily
Those are not things you want, but you can't determine that an amp won't by reading the spec sheets or anything else.

I think I covered that sort of thing as much as you can by this statement: "...from brands you have heard of or that there is at least some feedback from other users..."

Because that's about the best you can do if you can't audition the amp in person and many people can't.
 

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89, this is a good thread, and makes perfect sense.



But can you narrow this down to the top 20 OLD school and NEW skool stuff?
 

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You forgot one thing...

they should be black

nothing sexier than a simple, clean, sexy black heatsink

Which coincides with the rule: The more bling the crappier the amp :D
 

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i like this list. its done well, but im surprised you almost left channel separation out. im having a nightmare because of this right now. i have a 4 channel amp with channels running channels 1+2 off my front rca out and 3+4 off my sub out. when i increase my sub volume my channels 1+2 get considerably louder too. i need two amps now....
 
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