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Discussion Starter #1
I have been waiting for a while to write a review about my DS18 amplifiers. I wanted to spend time with them and form my conclusions after more than a month.

Current system consists:
Kenwood ddx393
minidsp cdsp 6X8
Si m25, M3 and TM65 V2
SI RM 12
and 2 ds18 exl sq 600.4.

Not a whole lot to say but these amps replaced an Alpine PDX V9 and the Alpine will not be going back in. Each channel is rated at 150 X 4 at 4 ohms at 14v. According to the dyno from Ds18 they actually average about 190+ which is backed up by the dyno of the larger exl sq 1000.4 amps that do much more than rated power. These are sleeper amps, to say the least. The dynamic headroom is great and the amps do not bring a signature to the music which is what an amp is not supposed to do. Just a lot of clean power. And the amps are super quiet with and extremely low noise floor. There is a low noise floor but its the DSP not the amps. The same noise floor was present with the Alpine PDX-V9.

I am running a channel to each speaker and two channels are bridged to the sub. The overall impact of the system increased when I replaced the Alpine PDX-V9. This can be the additional power or some gain change but the impact of the midbass was noticeable. The only drawback of this set up is that the amp did not come with a bass knob, (but I use the minidsp controller for this) and the bridged power is only about 560 at 14V. The system sounds great but I am in process of adding a mono amp that is 2000 watts to the sub. After talking to Nick, and kicking around some ideas, I have decided to bridge 4 channels to run the TM65's at 500+ each. I don't push the system very hard and I am looking forward to eperience what the added power can do.

I like the looks of the amplifiers and I like that the inputs and controls are on the side instead of on each end. This series is the sound quality line ds18 offers and they deliver the goods. All of this is purely subjective but I have had about every imaginable amplifier in this 4runner and I really like these for price/power ratio and the headroom a lot of power provides.

They also have the clip light indicators which come in handy setting gains and keeping an eye on things. I was causing the bridged amp to blink a lot and now realize it was simply a lack of power for the sub and I was running it to clipping because the sub was not able to keep up with the rest of the system. The RM12 is in a small sealed box.

Again, its a clean and powerful amp that does its job without drawing attention to itself. I can not speak to the rest of the ds18 line, but the exl-sq series are a keeper.

No one has really talked much about DS18 on this forum but these are nice amps that deliver a ton of clean power.
 

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Granted it's the manufacturer's YouTube account, but here's a dyno vid, pretty impressive for being a budget-oriented company!

 

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Discussion Starter #6
I don’t know that they are much “better” than the alpine, but these have more power and thus more headroom. The alpine amps do not draw attention to themselves either. Both amps do their job and do it well.

This week for some odd reason I have been listening to Alan Jackson and Vince Gill a lot. I used to be a country fan but that was in the 80s and early 90s. Anyway Vince Gill has an amazing range and my wife even commented how great the system sounded. She never did that before. And all that changed was the amps. Nothing in the time. But simply more power.

the alpine is an awesome amp. It’s in my daughters car now.
but the point of this review was simply to say these have a ton of power and they are clean without drawing attention to themselves.

Also, I saw that dyno video as well. I almost bought two of the exl sq 1000.4 but they are a bit big (chassis wise) for my application.

All that being said, these are strong, clean amps that are a great value.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought the same thing about the 5 or 6 channel. But ds18 does have a 6 channel in their small chassis pro line.

I just about bought the exl sq 1600.1 to put on the sub, but I got the opportunity to try a new version 2 Tezla 2k mono amp. I’ll try it but I will eventually come back and put a ds18 1600.1 in here.

I’ll be posting a review of the tezla amp shortly
 
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