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Honestly, yes and no. The idea behind an amplifier is to take energy and simply transform it. That being said, the reason people use the word clean signal is simply a way of saying a clean steady power supply to the speakers. Any tiny drop or increase in power supply at any time will change the sound quality. That is the reason "high end" amps, sometimes, tend to sound better. In a perfect world, with a perfect DC current throughout the vehicle, then pretty much all amps would sound the same. High end amps usually employ better components like a lower tolerance on their capacitors, inductors, resistors, etc so when the mathematics are projected for varying power levels which every car has, the amplifiers with lower tolerance levels will do a much better job at maintaining a steady signal. Besides different options which may make an amplifier cost more to reduce incoming noise, EMF (which is pretty negligible), or ground loops, most of the cost goes into getting that power signal matched accurately while minimizing the tolerance levels of an ever changing current. That being said, if you have plenty of power to work with (upgraded alternator, batteries, big 3, etc) it may not be such an issue as the amplifier would have a massive "pool" of current which it can draw from as needed require less use of all of the "high end" components which have been added. Its the same reason that some people add external capacitors. A lot of people believe that a capacitor will help with power consumption, but in all reality those large external capacitors simply serve the purpose of maintaining that steady/ smooth signal which we are all looking for. I hope this makes some since, Ive never really tried to put it into words. Lastly, different amplifiers have different ways or steps, as well as a different amount of, ways and steps with which they attempt to maintain that smooth current which may cause a slight difference in the sound. With regards to the "$15000 contest" I am guessing that they did not use an actual automobile. In a car/truck/van, the amplifier is contesting with a multitude of different currents spread across the body, frame, and multiple ground locations. In a real life situation what if for a split second the current was taken from the amp for a temperature change in the A/C or the belt skipped a mm on the alternator; Which amp could handle the immediate change better the high end amplifier or the POS. Even when its just a battery signal changes still occur in the current of a vehicle constantly. I do believe that different amplifiers can sound differently. Ever listen to a song you've heard multiple times and then all of the sudden a note occurs that you never remembered hearing before?
 

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Back in the zenith of Class A/B amps and devices back in the mid to late 70's, with THD's as low as 0.007 to 0.003 at full rated output into the WaveTek, there were some very good reasons why this was achievable. And that is discreet transistor devices, especially in the input and driver stages. In the late 70's this began to be overshadowed by the introduction of IC's, however they could not at that time excel or even come close to meeting the vanishingly low THDs of discreet device based amps.

Burson has been on the market for some time now, selling discreet devices mounted on daughter-boards to allow it to be placed in DIP though hole designs to help overcome the poor performance delivered by technology used in the manufacturing process of op-amps, and did offer some relative relief without a ground up redesign of an amp's input stage.

With newer processes, (just as every other aspect of IC manufacturing) we are just now seeing in recent years options in the SMD arena that can start to give the same relative performance as what is yielded with discreet devices. And this truly is one of the Achilles heels of the current audio consumer over-the-counter auto market. Virtually every product out there, and that includes amps, still utilizing devices from the 70's and low cost solutions for input buffer circuits will suffer the very same issue. The automotive market historically has been the last in the electronics community to adopt and implement.

Until we as a community of consumers start demanding that manufacturers start using 21st century options in their designs for input sections, the majority of amps on the market will pretty much suffer this same problem, regardless of an amp's Class.

Amp SQ differences isn't a myth, it's just the execution from manufacturers.
 

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I am going to chime in here , as I loved DIYMobile Audio for a LONG time, but never had the urge to really post much about it till I got a SOLID good understanding of what I was doing and talking about. Its helps. :)


So on the topic of AMPS? Does an SQ amp make your music sound better then a good designed budget amp? Well as always, that is going to depend. If you using next to a radio tower? Or LOTS of RF, or noise in the line? Then the High end amp is going to win out rejecting most of that noise with the built in filters.

But CAN you make a budget or mass market or even a simple CHIP amp sound great?
100% verified cuz I DID IT! And I did it ALL on a budget.

The AMP COST should be the LAST thing you should worry about IMO.

But the INSTALLATION, THAT is where the MONEY should be spent.



Can I hear the difference between 2 amps? Yes, but again that depends.

I am going to use my CAR AUDIO ears as a reference.

The STOCK system in my Chrysler Town and country has this system in it from the factory.



The Built in AMPS sound AMAZING with Superb speakers. Actually, the CD playback on my stock system with Upgraded DASH speakers was AMAZING. And it was just replacing of the Stock Dash speakers, wiring them for full range from the Factory Deck power, and doing a GREAT install. No noise, no vibration etc.

But the Kappa 5.251x speakers let me down on the tweeters being crossed over to low, so typical break up on the Piano notes. (It was coming to the FS of the tweeter.

Now, getting more POWER, did make them sound better at High Volumes, but I could not tell the difference until the amp could not meet the musical demands placed on it. Basicly, as I dropped the knob, the aftermarket power sounded better.

But the speaker still distorted as the volume went up where the music was in the "FS" or the resonance frequency of the tweeter. No amp was going to make it sound better. I did HOURS and HOURS of detailed tests on Battery power and with the car running, and to my ears, the STOCK amps sounded better at low volume do to the built in filtering of the stock amps in the car. TRUE! Wow..


So, do some WAY higher end amps sound better? Well, they do have a Different sound signature that I can hear on Electrostatics and ribbon tweeters, and SOME Magnepans. Basically, speakers that REALLY don't hide shit, those are the ones that you can hear something.

Interesting, things like Lowthers, or Efficient speakers such as Horns, ete. You can tell the difference between things like TUBE amps, and Solid state amps at MODERATE volumes in a quiet room.

But when you add ROOM, or Environmental NOISE, the difference between the two fade away.

That's why all the rage about getting the SUPER high end amp for the Mobile environment is not such a big priority for me.

Though, there is some MAGIC to TUBE AMPS that just make you feel better having TUBES making the output.

Honestly, I wish Bob Carver would make me a set of amps for my front stage that were small enough so I could display them in the car. Almost like a Headphone amp. But I would need them to be at least 50Wpc. And that's not EASY to do with an all tube output stage in car.

There are some great tube amps for the cars like the Miller for example, but its output stage is mosfet based I think. Not sure. Will I HEAR the difference. Maybe not over the background noise. But its nice to have such high spec built gear in your ride.

The other thing is that High end amps sound better over the long term. The CAPS and Parts used and how they are built are done with such attention to detail, you just feel good knowing you got an amplifier that was MADE to PERFORM. From the Very first Watt, to the Last one.


That is why I tend to stick with what works. And for me, the stock system in my car has some GREAT advantages even though, it's only really good for about 18w Rms.

I can tell you, that if you DO match everything up right, its true you only need about 20-25 watts per speaker if you do like to listen to Moderate volumes, and can get away with about 15 SOLID watts per channel.

But there is NOTHING like Headroom. So if you DO go that route to get better amps, 100W per channel is a safe bet. Just make sure your amps can do that at 11.5v to 16v or whatever. :)

And for GODS sakes. GET rid of NOISE in your system. That ISH is going to drive you CRAZY.
 

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I am going to chime in here , as I loved DIYMobile Audio for a LONG time, but never had the urge to really post much about it till I got a SOLID good understanding of what I was doing and talking about. Its helps. :)





So on the topic of AMPS? Does an SQ amp make your music sound better then a good designed budget amp? Well as always, that is going to depend. If you using next to a radio tower? Or LOTS of RF, or noise in the line? Then the High end amp is going to win out rejecting most of that noise with the built in filters.



But CAN you make a budget or mass market or even a simple CHIP amp sound great?

100% verified cuz I DID IT! And I did it ALL on a budget.



The AMP COST should be the LAST thing you should worry about IMO.



But the INSTALLATION, THAT is where the MONEY should be spent.







Can I hear the difference between 2 amps? Yes, but again that depends.



I am going to use my CAR AUDIO ears as a reference.



The STOCK system in my Chrysler Town and country has this system in it from the factory.







The Built in AMPS sound AMAZING with Superb speakers. Actually, the CD playback on my stock system with Upgraded DASH speakers was AMAZING. And it was just replacing of the Stock Dash speakers, wiring them for full range from the Factory Deck power, and doing a GREAT install. No noise, no vibration etc.



But the Kappa 5.251x speakers let me down on the tweeters being crossed over to low, so typical break up on the Piano notes. (It was coming to the FS of the tweeter.



Now, getting more POWER, did make them sound better at High Volumes, but I could not tell the difference until the amp could not meet the musical demands placed on it. Basicly, as I dropped the knob, the aftermarket power sounded better.



But the speaker still distorted as the volume went up where the music was in the "FS" or the resonance frequency of the tweeter. No amp was going to make it sound better. I did HOURS and HOURS of detailed tests on Battery power and with the car running, and to my ears, the STOCK amps sounded better at low volume do to the built in filtering of the stock amps in the car. TRUE! Wow..





So, do some WAY higher end amps sound better? Well, they do have a Different sound signature that I can hear on Electrostatics and ribbon tweeters, and SOME Magnepans. Basically, speakers that REALLY don't hide shit, those are the ones that you can hear something.



Interesting, things like Lowthers, or Efficient speakers such as Horns, ete. You can tell the difference between things like TUBE amps, and Solid state amps at MODERATE volumes in a quiet room.



But when you add ROOM, or Environmental NOISE, the difference between the two fade away.



That's why all the rage about getting the SUPER high end amp for the Mobile environment is not such a big priority for me.



Though, there is some MAGIC to TUBE AMPS that just make you feel better having TUBES making the output.



Honestly, I wish Bob Carver would make me a set of amps for my front stage that were small enough so I could display them in the car. Almost like a Headphone amp. But I would need them to be at least 50Wpc. And that's not EASY to do with an all tube output stage in car.



There are some great tube amps for the cars like the Miller for example, but its output stage is mosfet based I think. Not sure. Will I HEAR the difference. Maybe not over the background noise. But its nice to have such high spec built gear in your ride.



The other thing is that High end amps sound better over the long term. The CAPS and Parts used and how they are built are done with such attention to detail, you just feel good knowing you got an amplifier that was MADE to PERFORM. From the Very first Watt, to the Last one.





That is why I tend to stick with what works. And for me, the stock system in my car has some GREAT advantages even though, it's only really good for about 18w Rms.



I can tell you, that if you DO match everything up right, its true you only need about 20-25 watts per speaker if you do like to listen to Moderate volumes, and can get away with about 15 SOLID watts per channel.



But there is NOTHING like Headroom. So if you DO go that route to get better amps, 100W per channel is a safe bet. Just make sure your amps can do that at 11.5v to 16v or whatever. :)



And for GODS sakes. GET rid of NOISE in your system. That ISH is going to drive you CRAZY.


Yes and no...

Yes a better amp will sound better - why because it has been beaten to death about 2000 posts ago...

Does a super duper expensive amp sound 10 times better than a 10 times cheaper amp - no but it does sound better regardless - how you place value in those little things is up to you and what results you want at the end of the day..

I’ll give you and example ....

IMG_6214.jpg
This amp is a EOS AE 980 - for those who know this amp it’s basically a GZ Ref 4 just not in the shiny copper chassis - it cost about $500 or there about... must say a really good amp... don’t be fooled by the $500 price tag

IMG_6292.jpg

Here is the exact same install except it now has a Audison HV Venti - $12k amp...

Now can I hear the difference between the 2? Yes I can - is it 24 times better? No it isn’t - is the difference in price tag worth the improvement in sonic reproduction? Well that’s subjective....

Must say the HV had a much greater advantage in a home setup compared to the EOS at home - in a car with near field listening the difference is much less but still a difference...

One thing I can say the HV is dead quiet at the same if not higher volume and the music just sounded more controlled or more calmer...

I suppose that’s why the HV costs 24 times more than the EOS...?

Any rate - I love both amps - but I do like the HV Venti more - not because of its price tag but just because the way it sounds....

Would I buy another one? Most probably... (they would eventually make very nice mono blocks for a home setup - one amp per tower...hmmm)...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I'm not going to jump into this long since beaten dead horse of a debate, but imickey503, can you clarify something for me?

On your car, did you completely bypass the factory amp when you installed the aftermarket amp?

Which aftermarket amp did you install?

Doesn't your factory Infinity amp have a built in DSP?
 

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I'm not going to jump into this long since beaten dead horse of a debate, but imickey503, can you clarify something for me?

On your car, did you completely bypass the factory amp when you installed the aftermarket amp?

Which aftermarket amp did you install?

Doesn't your factory Infinity amp have a built in DSP?
1. On your car, did you completely bypass the factory amp when you installed the aftermarket amp?

Did not bypass any of the amps. Just the wiring of it. The aftermarket amps (all 3 of them are still waiting to be hooked up, and all of the amps on the car are still active. I am also using deck power since the all the amps are built to use line level input. The only amp that is "ON" right now is the one for the Subwoofer


2. Which aftermarket amp did you install?

I installed a AURA RPM 2 channel amp to run the single sub in back.
https://www.parts-express.com/aura-rpm2300-rpm-stage-2-mobile-amplifier-2x150w--269-189


3. Doesn't your factory Infinity amp have a built in DSP?

No. The Amps themselves are just amps. All the DSP it had was a Bass boost or auto loudness circuit in the deck.


This is the system that I am talking about.
https://www.allpar.com/stereo/infinity-guide.html



I have the newer version that was installed on the Gen 3 Minivans. Full build log here:
http://forum.chryslerminivan.net/showthread.php/94985-My-450-SCORE!?highlight=450+score


The Chips amps in the speakers do about 25 watts at 2 ohms, and do a MINIMUM of 16 watts. And they are 2 ohm stable.


Link goes to Allpar talking about the CHIP used in the speakers.
https://www.allpar.com/stereo/speaker-repair.html

Data sheets and sample build with IC.
uPC1230H2 NEC upc1230 UPC1230H2(2) 20watt Audio AMP Project KA1EKS


THe ones I have have a High pass Crossover built in. The older ones are just full range. Not sure exactly whats on the new ones. but pretty sure they used the same chips with additional circuitry.


Build thread will be up in another thread. Working on it now for the site.
 

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If you want to isolate any differences, you're best served to do something like this. Don't test by removing one from the car and putting the other in. Take the amps you want to test out of the car and set them up in a quiet room on a switcher, level matched and supplied the same signal. Then you can instantaneously switch back and forth and listen for any differences, including noise floor.

Captain, do I see Xtant and Soundstream ref amps on that bench? I wanted the Soundstream Class A but went with the Xtant 2200i.
 

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I hope this is not unpopular fro me to say. I have many high end amps. And high end head units. Love the way they sound and look. But.

It took me 20 years to realize that if you are building a daily driver and listening on the road, that road noise makes all the modified high end audio specs pretty much meaningless.

That doesn't mean I will stop installing high end audio in my project cars. It just means I will do it for bragging rights, the cool way they look, and just because I like it, but NOT the specs! the specs mean nothing unless you are in SQ competition where there is no road noise. Then yeah. It matters.

Roadbird
 

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I hope this is not unpopular fro me to say. I have many high end amps. And high end head units. Love the way they sound and look. But.

It took me 20 years to realize that if you are building a daily driver and listening on the road, that road noise makes all the modified high end audio specs pretty much meaningless.

That doesn't mean I will stop installing high end audio in my project cars. It just means I will do it for bragging rights, the cool way they look, and just because I like it, but NOT the specs! the specs mean nothing unless you are in SQ competition where there is no road noise. Then yeah. It matters.

Roadbird
Agreed.
 

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I hope this is not unpopular fro me to say. I have many high end amps. And high end head units. Love the way they sound and look. But.



It took me 20 years to realize that if you are building a daily driver and listening on the road, that road noise makes all the modified high end audio specs pretty much meaningless.



That doesn't mean I will stop installing high end audio in my project cars. It just means I will do it for bragging rights, the cool way they look, and just because I like it, but NOT the specs! the specs mean nothing unless you are in SQ competition where there is no road noise. Then yeah. It matters.



Roadbird


Well .... yes and no

Higher end amps usually deliver more power more cleanly and therefore whilst driving you turn up the volume - as your volume knob is also a tuning device of sorts. Unless you have a terribly load car in terms of exhaust and road noise you should be able to cancel that noise out and be in a similar position to stationary

If I look at my car for example - I measured the road noise at 85dbs at 120kmh and that is pretty quiet a few clicks on the volume knob and it’s the same as stationary to be honest...

That being said nobody says you “must” get a high end amp and you can get away with a mid level decent amp as well..


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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So I have a question... this may have been brought up in this 144 page thread, but it's a bit much to read.

I think most people are on the same page that high end amps are not worth it. The other thread with blind amp testing (admittedly a small scale) is also showing cheap amps are more than capable. So what do you consider the sweet spot? What is the best bang for the buck?

For 4 channels, it seems like Pioneer's line has insane specs for the price. But your options start to get limited for 6. 8 channel there's pretty much only high end stuff.
 

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If I have to choose I will definitely choose 10 out of 10 picks high end amp for my system....Got a few such amps and it is always a struggle for me to decide which one to use in given situation :D
 

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So I have a question... this may have been brought up in this 144 page thread, but it's a bit much to read.

I think most people are on the same page that high end amps are not worth it. The other thread with blind amp testing (admittedly a small scale) is also showing cheap amps are more than capable. So what do you consider the sweet spot? What is the best bang for the buck?

For 4 channels, it seems like Pioneer's line has insane specs for the price. But your options start to get limited for 6. 8 channel there's pretty much only high end stuff.
How do you like your Pioneer amp? I ordered the D9705 for my build I am planning. They dyno at rated power or slightly above. Not expecting miracles out of it, but seems like a solid deal on a 5-channel amp for <$250.
 

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So I have a question... this may have been brought up in this 144 page thread, but it's a bit much to read.

I think most people are on the same page that high end amps are not worth it. The other thread with blind amp testing (admittedly a small scale) is also showing cheap amps are more than capable. So what do you consider the sweet spot? What is the best bang for the buck?

For 4 channels, it seems like Pioneer's line has insane specs for the price. But your options start to get limited for 6. 8 channel there's pretty much only high end stuff.
As long as you stick with amps that are proven performers you'll be fine. An amp doesn't have to cost your first born to be a great amp. I think the Zapco ST series a/b amps sound incredible and at their price point are unbeatable. However, at that price point they had to cut corners somewhere so longevity of them is anyone's guess. I still have one in my system but it's just on midbass duty now. I think my Helix G-Five is a brilliant amp that's built like a tank. Plenty of clean power with good headroom for transients from what I can tell. Got a good deal on it barely used from a trusted member here.
 

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How do you like your Pioneer amp? I ordered the D9705 for my build I am planning. They dyno at rated power or slightly above. Not expecting miracles out of it, but seems like a solid deal on a 5-channel amp for <$250.
I like my Pioneer amp, but I haven't ever heard anything else. I'm a noob in this world. The prices are insane, and I don't know if I've ever seen a bad review of a Pioneer amp.
 

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I think I might have changed my mind on this. I can hear a difference between Class AB and Class D amplifiers. On modern recorded songs, I cannot. On songs with lots of headroom, live recordings, and unprocessed songs, you REALLY can tell a difference.
 
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