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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a long time since I did a nice high end install in my car.

Crutchfield is decent for getting a handle on the mid-range to high-mid-range. But what about the top of the line stuff like Brax? If I google "best audiophile 4-channel amplifiers", I get back a bunch of crap lists with Rockford Fosgate and other consumer-level stuff.

I know the home high-end audio scene well as I've been a Stereophile/Absolute Sound subscriber for years. And there's the wonderful Stereophile Recommended Components that gets published twice a year. Anything equivalent for car?

I've figured out that Brax is the top of the heap (and way out of my price range!) Zapco, Helix, etc.

What does "Old School" mean exactly? non-digital? The only digital I want in my system is the Sony RSX-GS9 and it will be all analogue after that.

What about the older amps? Which ones could be considered audiophile grade and a good bargain? I see the Helix HXA 400 quite a bit on eBay claiming audiophile quality. Would that be better than, say, a JL Audio HD600/4?
 

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Read here. A lot.
 

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Literally the only thing that has changed in 30 years is the prevalence of dsps. Power has gotten really cheap. I mean really cheap man. A real 5000 watt amp can be had for like 300 bucks.
So most of the higher end drivers from big box companies these days are bulky not dynamic or musical really and actually requires like 200 watts to move the damn midbass. But that's about it.
Using a gs9 you will need a dsp. I suggest a jl audio twk if you are inexperienced with tuning. It has 3 set up modes. Beginner to pro. Class d amp have come a long way but you still need to up the power with them because for the laer they clip hard and fast.
So go with what you know. I'm using a pair of 12 year old jbl midbass right because I can't find anything else that I like. Haven't tried audiofrog but I think might.
 

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Hello and welcome,
Yeah, googling will only get you so far and unfortunately, UNBROKEN is correct about doing lots of reading here.
If you care to share your location, folks can chime in with the higher-end installers in your area... there are a number of really talented ones on this forum. If you want a head start, go to the Build Logs section of the forum and check out some of the installations, most people list their installers unless they are completely DIY.

Some of the popular higher end brands to consider;
Amps: Mosconi, Brax, Helix, Zapco, Sinfoni, TRU
Speakers: Audiofrog, Brax, Dynaudio, Gladen, Hertz/Audison, Audio Development, Morel, ScanSpeak
Subs: Stereo Integrity, Dynaudio, Acoustic Elegance, Brax
DSP: Helix, miniDSP, Mosconi
These are just off the top of my head, and there are many others...
If you are considering the RSX-GS9, then you are in the right area as they are still very popular.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Literally the only thing that has changed in 30 years is the prevalence of dsps. Power has gotten really cheap. I mean really cheap man. A real 5000 watt amp can be had for like 300 bucks.
Thanks for that! Yes, but good power is still sometimes hard to find. My home speakers are active-crossover with ATI AT524NC class-d amps and they are fantastic. You'd have to get Pass Alephs or something like that to do better. So, I think with the Hypex class-d modules, class-d has gotten as good as or better than class a/b. That being said, there are some real high-end bargains out there in 20-year-old class A and A/B amps. But if class-d is just as good and cheaper and less power required, then hey... why not!

I had a MiniDSP on my home speaker for 6 months. I got rid of it in favor of the ASP because I couldn't stand the treble grain that the DSP added. Just looking at the audio section after the D/A and you could see why it sounded so shrill. I've heard good things about the Helix dsp.3s, so maybe I'll go DSP if it's in the league of Ayre, Chord, PS Audio.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello and welcome,
Thanks! I'm in the Atlanta area. I heard I just missed a great show up north of Atlanta. Oh well.
For speakers, I'm most likely going with Audible Physics. I've got ATI amps, which OEM for many of the high-end audio amps, so I like getting as close to the original manufacturer as I can get. I built my home speakers with 4 Seas L26ROY bass drivers and I think I'm going to use one for a stealth box install in the back.
 

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Thanks for that! Yes, but good power is still sometimes hard to find. My home speakers are active-crossover with ATI AT524NC class-d amps and they are fantastic. You'd have to get Pass Alephs or something like that to do better. So, I think with the Hypex class-d modules, class-d has gotten as good as or better than class a/b. That being said, there are some real high-end bargains out there in 20-year-old class A and A/B amps. But if class-d is just as good and cheaper and less power required, then hey... why not!

I had a MiniDSP on my home speaker for 6 months. I got rid of it in favor of the ASP because I couldn't stand the treble grain that the DSP added. Just looking at the audio section after the D/A and you could see why it sounded so shrill. I've heard good things about the Helix dsp.3s, so maybe I'll go DSP if it's in the league of Ayre, Chord, PS Audio.
Try not to get caught up in the snake oil. Good amps are not difficult to find. Sure, there are crappy amps out there, but the majority of the good brands (Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, etc.) all make very good amps that will sound every bit as good as the luxury amps like Brax.

DSPs will be very important, FAR more important than the difference between a Kenwood Ecelon amp and a Brax amp.
 

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Closest you'll find to Hypex is BikeTronics. Originally geared towards the Harley market but are kind of in a league of their own currently. Check them out.
 
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Thanks! I'm in the Atlanta area. I heard I just missed a great show up north of Atlanta. Oh well.
For speakers, I'm most likely going with Audible Physics. I've got ATI amps, which OEM for many of the high-end audio amps, so I like getting as close to the original manufacturer as I can get. I built my home speakers with 4 Seas L26ROY bass drivers and I think I'm going to use one for a stealth box install in the back.
Nice, I'm in Atlanta as well. If you don't already have a local-ish connection, reach out to Mike Meyers, @audiophile25, in Knoxville... I believe they carry AP.
It looks like you drive a Porsche base on your Avatar. Mark (can't remember his last name) from AP used to drive a Panamera with a very nice system and I think he is in Atlanta too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
It looks like you drive a Porsche base on your Avatar.
2004 Cayenne Turbo. Sold my 996.2 Cab (third 911 over 20 years) because my son's knees were starting to hit the back of the front seats and I needed something bigger. I love this thing! It's amazing what it can do! But almost all of the bose speakers are blown and the head unit works about 70% of the time.
 

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2004 Cayenne Turbo. Sold my 996.2 Cab (third 911 over 20 years) because my son's knees were starting to hit the back of the front seats and I needed something bigger. I love this thing! It's amazing what it can do! But almost all of the bose speakers are blown and the head unit works about 70% of the time.
Regarding the earlier meet, there are two upcoming get togethers that are worth considering;
Pulaski VA, Nov. 6th
Warrior AL, Nov. 13th
Both have good groups of people and a decent number of vehicles despite what the sign-up list indicates.
 

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You might take a look at the mobridge 8.1.1 amp, it replaces the factory Bose amp and has a built in dsp. I’m getting ready to put one in my 13gts. https://mobridge.us/product/mobridge-most25-amp/
Going to run morel elate carbon 93a 3way set up up front and a JL 10tw3 in a sealed enclosure under the spare.
 

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It's been a long time since I did a nice high end install in my car.

Crutchfield is decent for getting a handle on the mid-range to high-mid-range. But what about the top of the line stuff like Brax? If I google "best audiophile 4-channel amplifiers", I get back a bunch of crap lists with Rockford Fosgate and other consumer-level stuff.

I know the home high-end audio scene well as I've been a Stereophile/Absolute Sound subscriber for years. And there's the wonderful Stereophile Recommended Components that gets published twice a year. Anything equivalent for car?

I've figured out that Brax is the top of the heap (and way out of my price range!) Zapco, Helix, etc.

What does "Old School" mean exactly? non-digital? The only digital I want in my system is the Sony RSX-GS9 and it will be all analogue after that.

What about the older amps? Which ones could be considered audiophile grade and a good bargain? I see the Helix HXA 400 quite a bit on eBay claiming audiophile quality. Would that be better than, say, a JL Audio HD600/4?
As far as I know, the JL Audio HD's are class d and no one recommends them.
 

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Try not to get caught up in the snake oil. Good amps are not difficult to find. Sure, there are crappy amps out there, but the majority of the good brands (Alpine, Kenwood, Pioneer, etc.) all make very good amps that will sound every bit as good as the luxury amps like Brax.

DSPs will be very important, FAR more important than the difference between a Kenwood Ecelon amp and a Brax amp.
Sorry but kenwood, alpine and pioneer do not make anything comparable to brax, that’s just not accurate at all, I know we disagree on various things, but if you genuinely believe what you just wrote then you know nothing about amplifier topology

Tell him he can buy a 500 dollar receiver and replace his ati hypex amplifiers as all amps sound the same as well
 

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Good call dumdum. Also OP are you planning on dropping the cash to deaden and fabricate your speaker locations it takes to get the last 10% out of your components. There are quite a few qualifiers one needs to know prior to offering an accurate solution.

OP I do like your choice in 2-channel gear. Pretty cutting edge. Have you built/bought a Roon server yet?
 

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Good call dumdum. Also OP are you planning on dropping the cash to deaden and fabricate your speaker locations it takes to get the last 10% out of your components. There are quite a few qualifiers one needs to know prior to offering an accurate solution.

OP I do like your choice in 2-channel gear. Pretty cutting edge. Have you built/bought a Roon server yet?
4 channel I think as he’s active and it’s the four channel hypex nc500 amp boards in it I believe for a quick Google, that’s why I was quick to put the ‘all amps can sound like a brax’ above, madeinBologna clearly has decent taste in very transparent amps… he doesn’t want to spend brax money, but also appreciates a good amp also

I am a little out of the loop due to being in a different country

I’d look to the likes of mosconi pro range Or maybe a zapco ap as they aren’t brax money (but again I’m just throwing names out there without knowing prices and how they compare)
 

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Sorry but kenwood, alpine and pioneer do not make anything comparable to brax, that’s just not accurate at all, I know we disagree on various things, but if you genuinely believe what you just wrote then you know nothing about amplifier topology

Tell him he can buy a 500 dollar receiver and replace his ati hypex amplifiers as all amps sound the same as well
We certainly disagree plenty. My overall point is that luxury amps aren’t necessarily any better sounding in a car. If you sit in your car, in the garage, with the door closed, and listen to music, sure maybe a Brax will out perform a nice Alpine amp, but on the road at 50mph that extra detail (if there is any to begin with) is gone. If OP has the money, why not spend it on a Brax, or Genesis amp, but I would put the budget towards good speakers, a flexible DSP, and proper sound deadening long before spending money on luxury amps. If the money is there to do all of that then go for it!
 

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all amps that are tier one like BRAX MX will cost similar or even more There are some of such manufacturers - D-Amore, Sinfony, Genesis P15 or DMA, GZ Reference, Milbert BAM, Microprecision (designed by Roberto Tognon), The End amps, Audison Thesis HV Venti and older HR100, McIntosh MCC

Also very decent amps that dont cost a fortune - Genesis DM and DMX, Audison TH Due/Quatro, Alphard Black Hydra (same board as GZ Reference), ZAPCO AP line, BRAX GX, ....some HELIX offerings (A2, A4.), DLS Ultimate A2, A3, A4, A7, A6,...TA2 tube, and many many more...

old school amps are treated the ones that are pre 2000 or so,.... big AB class amps like PPI PC series,Zapco Studio, Phoenix Gold MPS, Z,...Lanzar Opti, older RF (land mines), Audison thesis sedici/trenta/*HR100..... old amps which are not bad at all, but they need to be checked and recaped. Those amps are interesting to many since when new they werevery expensive and out of reach for many...nowadays they cost a couple of hundred bucks and are avaliable to almost anybody.

I totally agree with DumDum on lower tier stuff,...that amps are not compareable to Brax,.... The amount of details and micro details, control over cone movement, and many more are on the Brax side. I had a bunch of amps in my systems, and at the end, BRAX was the one that stayed, everything else went to closet or for sale. Also Genesis is cheap in comparision to BRAX...probably a factor of 1:2 (BRAX MX4 cost approx 3400-3700EUR, Genesis DM cost 800EUR, DMX approx 1300EUR with comperable output power to BRAX MX.
 
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