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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Warning, this review is purely subjective. I took no measurements other than those I was capable of experiencing via my somewhat abused ears and slightly addled brain. :rimshot:

As you can tell by my post count, I am relatively new here. I am not, however, new to mid-high end audio and car audio. I've worked in home a/v shops & I got bit by car audio bug back in 1988 when I got thoroughly bored with the stereo in my Z-28...but I digress.

Today, I want to talk about my experience with my JL 10w3v2-d4 sub being powered by at first (and for the past 60 days or so) by my trusty JL 300/4. This amp has done a yoeman's job for me through 3 vehicles as the sole amplification for my high end/front and rear speakers and as of late, the power behind the 10w3v2 in my Camaro SS. Honestly, no matter where I set the gain, it seemed to overpower the 220-something watt amp in my SS's Boston Acoustic factory system. I finally found a happy medium crossed at around 80Hz and w/the gain at about 1/4 (driving both channels of the sub at 4ohms) and the bass on the stock HU turned down to -5.

This past week, my Zapco DC360.4 and DC500.1 arrived. I went to my local Zapco dealer and picked up two SLDIN cables and then wrestled w/the Zapco DPN software, installing and uninstalling until I FINALLY got it to install the USB driver directory in my virtual XP machines C:\. Once that was done, I updated the amp to 1.41 and commenced to tuning. (I will say this, figuring out how to work the ZAPCO DPN software is not for the impatient or the feeble minded, but once you get it all up and running, it's a peach!).

I re-set all of the stock HU settings back to zero and then commenced to fiddle w/the DPN software. I settled on a basic low pass 80Hz/12db crossover and bumped the VDC Sensitivity around until I stopped at 5.96. I believe I sat in my car for a good 30 minutes just jumping from song to song until I found one that I was intimately familiar with. The bass control and quality of sound coming from this amp via a sub I thought I knew was nothing less than spectacular. The distortion/edginess that I could barely handle when driven by the 300/4 was completely gone. In it's place was this smooth (when it was supposed to be) visceral bass...I liken it to the sound of one of the old school Velodyne active subs. Very precise, controlled and giving you the impression that there is quite a bit more there to be had.

Don't get me wrong, the JL 300/4 is loads better than most of the other amps I have used (w/the notable exception of the PPI AX400 that some jack-holes "relevied" me of back in 1994). I feel it is a solid amp, for what it is. And what it is doesn't hold a candle to the Zapco DC500.1

If you haven't had a chance to listen to or play with these amps, I highly encourage you to do so. You won't regret it.

If anything this has stepped up my schedule of transforming the 'maro SS's audio system. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! :rockon:
 

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Warning, this review is purely subjective. I took no measurements other than those I was capable of experiencing via my somewhat abused ears and slightly addled brain. :rimshot:

As you can tell by my post count, I am relatively new here. I am not, however, new to mid-high end audio and car audio. I've worked in home a/v shops & I got bit by car audio bug back in 1988 when I got thoroughly bored with the stereo in my Z-28...but I digress.

Today, I want to talk about my experience with my JL 10w3v2-d4 sub being powered by at first (and for the past 60 days or so) by my trusty JL 300/4. This amp has done a yoeman's job for me through 3 vehicles as the sole amplification for my high end/front and rear speakers and as of late, the power behind the 10w3v2 in my Camaro SS. Honestly, no matter where I set the gain, it seemed to overpower the 220-something watt amp in my SS's Boston Acoustic factory system. I finally found a happy medium crossed at around 80Hz and w/the gain at about 1/4 (driving both channels of the sub at 4ohms) and the bass on the stock HU turned down to -5.

This past week, my Zapco DC360.4 and DC500.1 arrived. I went to my local Zapco dealer and picked up two SLDIN cables and then wrestled w/the Zapco DPN software, installing and uninstalling until I FINALLY got it to install the USB driver directory in my virtual XP machines C:\. Once that was done, I updated the amp to 1.41 and commenced to tuning. (I will say this, figuring out how to work the ZAPCO DPN software is not for the impatient or the feeble minded, but once you get it all up and running, it's a peach!).

I re-set all of the stock HU settings back to zero and then commenced to fiddle w/the DPN software. I settled on a basic low pass 80Hz/12db crossover and bumped the VDC Sensitivity around until I stopped at 5.96. I believe I sat in my car for a good 30 minutes just jumping from song to song until I found one that I was intimately familiar with. The bass control and quality of sound coming from this amp via a sub I thought I knew was nothing less than spectacular. The distortion/edginess that I could barely handle when driven by the 300/4 was completely gone. In it's place was this smooth (when it was supposed to be) visceral bass...I liken it to the sound of one of the old school Velodyne active subs. Very precise, controlled and giving you the impression that there is quite a bit more there to be had.

Don't get me wrong, the JL 300/4 is loads better than most of the other amps I have used (w/the notable exception of the PPI AX400 that some jack-holes "relevied" me of back in 1994). I feel it is a solid amp, for what it is. And what it is doesn't hold a candle to the Zapco DC500.1

If you haven't had a chance to listen to or play with these amps, I highly encourage you to do so. You won't regret it.

If anything this has stepped up my schedule of transforming the 'maro SS's audio system. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! :rockon:
Not only zapco dc amps are great amps, but robert (national sales manager for zapco) is a member here and a GREAT guy.
 

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your comparing a 500 watt mono amp to a 4 channel full range amplififer??? The 300/4 is only like 150 bridged per channel. You gaining 350 watts more power, of course its gonna sound louder/ better.

This review does not even make sense. You not even comparing apples to apples... get a 500/1 if you want to test against the dc500.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This review does not even make sense. You not even comparing apples to apples... get a 500/1 if you want to test against the dc500.
Apparently you missed this:
Warning, this review is purely subjective. I took no measurements other than those I was capable of experiencing via my somewhat abused ears and slightly addled brain. :rimshot:
your comparing a 500 watt mono amp to a 4 channel full range amplififer??? The 300/4 is only like 150 bridged per channel. You gaining 350 watts more power...
I assume you meant "you're" and not "your"? Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong here. The 500x1 I get out of the DC500.1 when driven into a 2ohm load is in fact 200 more total watts than I could potentially get out of both channels (which were in use) of the JL 300/4. That is unless there is a new kind of math these days that makes 500-300=350 o_O

Additionally, I have been in the audio business as a professional and consumer for well over 20 years and it has been my experience (not to mention per the laws of physics) that in order to see appreciable differences in loudness with amplifiers, you must increase their output by a factor of 10. Never mind that with the exception of the JL 500/1 being a 500 watt single channel amp vs. the 300/4 being a 300 watt 4 channel amp (or 150 watt 2 channel amp), the construction of and engineering that goes into both of them are essentially the same. As such, they should share the same sonic characteristics.

Be all of that as it may, at no point did I say that the DC500.1 was louder, played louder, etc. To my ear, it just sounded better, blended in more and yes, by virtue of having more headroom seemed to do so in a more effortless fashion.

At the end of this all, I was just sharing my experience with a wonderful new amp in comparison to my experience with a still great, yet not even in the same class amp. This info is all worth what you paid for it. :D
 

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Cool.
To make it a fair comparison, please tell us how the DC500.1 sounds running front and rear coaxial speakers, or biamped to a set of components.




 

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Apparently you missed this:
Additionally, I have been in the audio business as a professional and consumer for well over 20 years and it has been my experience (not to mention per the laws of physics) that in order to see appreciable differences in loudness with amplifiers, you must increase their output by a factor of 10.
so, when i jump from a 100 watt amp, i need to go to a 1000 watt amp to hear a difference? you might want to check your physics knowledge there...

anyway, interesting comparison here. you have not only changed out a 4 channel amp, but inserted two new ones... i would imagine that your listening experience would be drastically different based on the new equipment alone. you would see that same difference in tonality and impact, as you say, if you added a jl 500.1 to your mix and left the jl 300.4 on your fronts...

if you want to advocate your feeling of Zapco's superiority to others, that's fine and they make a good product. but your comparison lacks any form of conformity that you could come to any real conclusion on, as you inserted too many variables, and not enough dependent constants.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Cool.
To make it a fair comparison, please tell us how the DC500.1 sounds running front and rear coaxial speakers, or biamped to a set of components.
I'll do you one better. When I get my new front stage and HU, I'll do a very detailed comparison between the JL 300/4 and the Zapco DC 360.4. it still won't be a fair comparison by virtue of the fact that the JL is 75x4 vs the Zapco being 50x4 at 4ohms, but I'll venture a guess that the outcome will still lean heavily towards the Zapco amp. \m/>.<\m/
 

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Discussion Starter #8
...anyway, interesting comparison here. you have not only changed out a 4 channel amp, but inserted two new ones... i would imagine that your listening experience would be drastically different based on the new equipment alone. you would see that same difference in tonality and impact, as you say, if you added a jl 500.1 to your mix and left the jl 300.4 on your fronts...
At no point did I insert any new amps. I did 1 for 1 swap. I was using the JL 300/4 bridged to two channel mode to drive my JL 10w3v2-d4 at 150x2 into 4ohms. I removed this amp and replaced it with the Zapco DC500.1 running at 500x1 into 2ohms.

Again, as I stated, this was a purely subjective review. I compared two amps, even if they are apples and oranges (and while they are both fruits, I prefer oranges infinitely over apples...unless said apples are baked in a pie)

as far as power goes, I say power schmower. I have heard 50 watt amps that have blown the doors off of much more powerful (and well regarded) amplifiers. It's in the construction, how you use it and yes, the headroom you give the amp.

For a more concise and, for most people, sensible review, stay tuned. When I purchase my components for the front stage, I'll be running them with the JL 300/4 and then comparing them to being run w/the Zapco 360.4 (still won't be fair as the JL is rated for more power at 4ohms but we shall see what shakes out...).

This is all in fun for me and if I can learn a few things along the way then so much the better.
 

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the wolf pac is loose...lol
 

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Apparently you missed this:



I assume you meant "you're" and not "your"? Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong here. The 500x1 I get out of the DC500.1 when driven into a 2ohm load is in fact 200 more total watts than I could potentially get out of both channels (which were in use) of the JL 300/4. That is unless there is a new kind of math these days that makes 500-300=350 o_O

Additionally, I have been in the audio business as a professional and consumer for well over 20 years and it has been my experience (not to mention per the laws of physics) that in order to see appreciable differences in loudness with amplifiers, you must increase their output by a factor of 10. Never mind that with the exception of the JL 500/1 being a 500 watt single channel amp vs. the 300/4 being a 300 watt 4 channel amp (or 150 watt 2 channel amp), the construction of and engineering that goes into both of them are essentially the same. As such, they should share the same sonic characteristics.

Be all of that as it may, at no point did I say that the DC500.1 was louder, played louder, etc. To my ear, it just sounded better, blended in more and yes, by virtue of having more headroom seemed to do so in a more effortless fashion.

At the end of this all, I was just sharing my experience with a wonderful new amp in comparison to my experience with a still great, yet not even in the same class amp. This info is all worth what you paid for it. :D

My math is correct assuming that you only used one bridged side of the 300/4. 150/2 so if you were only using one side of the amp thats only 150 watts.. which is where I got the 350 from. 500-150=350. if you bridged each side of the and and connected it to each coil of the sub that would be 300 watts. Your still giving up 200 watts. Thats a lot of juice for a single low power handling Transducer.

and the 500/1 is not the same as the 300/4. Where in your Brain does that add up to you??? your still giving up 200 watts of power.and an amp that made to drive Subwoofers vs a full range amplifier.

iIf you have been in this business for 20 years and can't figure this one out, id get another Job. What your talking about does not even make sense.

I am glad your happy with your new amp, but your comparison has no merit. Why would you not compare the dc360.4 vs the 300/4?? that comparison makes a bit more sense.
 

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For a more concise and, for most people, sensible review, stay tuned. When I purchase my components for the front stage, I'll be running them with the JL 300/4 and then comparing them to being run w/the Zapco 360.4

I'm sure we can find more sets of ears for this comparison.(if you want em)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'm sure we can find more sets of ears for this comparison.(if you want em)
Shouldn't be a problem at all. Once I get the front stage (whatever that my be...leaning towards Morel Hybrid Ovation IIs currently) in my hands and installed I'll put the word out the the Austin/CenTex chapter!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My math is correct assuming that you only used one bridged side of the 300/4. 150/2 so if you were only using one side of the amp thats only 150 watts.. which is where I got the 350 from. 500-150=350. if you bridged each side of the and and connected it to each coil of the sub that would be 300 watts. Your still giving up 200 watts. Thats a lot of juice for a single low power handling Transducer.
That was assumption on your part mmiller, not a statement on mine, that led to those numbers. I was merely clarifying the issue at hand.

and the 500/1 is not the same as the 300/4. Where in your Brain does that add up to you??? your still giving up 200 watts of power.and an amp that made to drive Subwoofers vs a full range amplifier.
Again, there appears to be some selective reading/assumptions going on here. I never said the 500/1 and 300/4 were the same, as a matter of fact, I went out of my way to state that w/the exception of the 500/1 delivering 500 watts into a single channel and the 300/4 delivering (in my usage case) 150x2 the construction and engineering that goes into both of these amps is essentially the same and as such they would perform and sound similar (and here it's my fault for not being specific and spelling out that I meant "when driving a similar load).

iIf you have been in this business for 20 years and can't figure this one out, id get another Job. What your talking about does not even make sense.
mmiller, I won't justify a response to the above statement other than you're bordering on/very close to crossing a line here and most definitely are being rude. I am approaching this as a fun thing and wanted to share my experience so far. Unfortunately, it appears that I have "set off" a few of the natives in doing so. For that, I apologize. This doesn't mean I won't do it again. I most assuredly will. I just now consider myself forewarned as to the character of some of the responses I can expect to receive when doing so...fair 'nuff.

I am glad your happy with your new amp, but your comparison has no merit. Why would you not compare the dc360.4 vs the 300/4?? that comparison makes a bit more sense.
I plan on doing exactly that (as seen in my posts above). Hopefully this will be more to your liking. If you have some further constructive ideas to share w/me re: this review, I'm more than happy to read them and will respond as I can, If it winds up being more of the same, well...:dead_horse:

Goodnight all and good listening!
 

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You're right about minor wattage differences being difficult to discern, all else being equal.

500 is OVER 65% MORE than 300 though. I'd expect to hear a definite difference/improvement even if it's not drastic.

The good thing is that you made a choice and in most anybody's view it'd be an upgrade for its intended application. More importantly, you're happy with said choice.
 

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Oh, God, what next? 10 times the power before you notice it? And comparing a 150 watt amp to a 500 watt model? And 20 years taught you all that?

It never ends.:rolleyes:
 
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