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As the title states, I am looking at options for an inexpensive 2 channel amp to power some HAT Imagine tweeters. Initially I will try and see how they do off of HU power, but I’d like to have a back up strategy ready to go.

Power for the rest of the system will come via an ARC Audio KS900.6. Ideally, I would just pick up a KS125.2 for the tweeters, but the cost is more than I would be looking to spend. Figured another amp from the same KS line would match best sonically to the 900. All processing will be taken care of by the head unit, so crossover capabilities are not a concern, but independent L/R gains would be nice.

I’d like to keep it under $100, but could push it to $150+/- if there was true value in the additional cost. So far I have a couple options that seem pretty attractive. I’m also keeping my eye on used, but there is no guarantee on what will be available when I am ready to buy.

Aura RPM2150 RPM Stage 2 - $80
2x75 @ 4 Ohms RMS
THD: 0.5%
S/N: >85 dB
Channel Separation: Unknown
Size: 9-1/8” x 2-1/4” x 9-3/16”
Selling Point: Fairly compact, CHEAP!

Cadence Xah125.2 - $92
2x80 @ 4 Ohms RMS
THD: 0.1%
S/N: >97 dB
Channel Separation: >50 dB
Size: 10.4” x 2.6” x 10.5”
Selling Point: S/N ratio, Price.

Clarion APX 2181 - $130
2x90 @ 4 Ohms RMS
THD: 0.05%
S/N: >86 dB CEA-2006
Channel Separation: 70 dB
Size: 10” x 2-3/8” x 10-1/8”
Selling Point: Zeff/UBuy similar to ARC, cheaper and smaller than current model

Clarion XH5210 - $143
2x90 @ 4 Ohms RMS
THD: 0.05%
S/N: >86 dB CEA-2006
Channel Separation: 70 dB
Size: 12-7/16” x 2-5/8” x 9”
Selling Point: Zeff/UBuy similar to ARC

Soundstream STL2.350 - $143
2x100 # 4 Ohms RMS
THD: 0.03%
S/N: 91 dB
Channel Separation: 54 dB
Size: 9 5/8” x 2 1/8” x 6 ½”
Selling Point: S/N ratio, COMPACT!

Vibe Litebox Stereo 2 - $185
2x90 @ 4 Ohms RMS
THD: 0.01%
S/N: 111 dB
Channel Separation: 61 dB
Size: 8 ¼” x 2” x 5 ¼”
Selling Point: ARC KS125.2 Clone, Zeff/Ubuy, Independent Gain for L/R Channels, COMPACT!

Do any of these look like a standout choice above the others? Or am I just wasting my time trying to find a decent tweeter amp at this price point? Should I be looking to run my mids and tweeters off of the KS900.6 with a spare channel for (future?) rear fill and buy a separate amp to power my I10SW?
 

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You may laugh and even call me crazy, but Trebor on here bought a Dual 50x2 amp at Wally World for around $50 iirc. He swapped it for a PDX amp that was a little noisy and sonically there was no difference and the noise went away...........
 

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I would not even consider any of those new amps.
I would use something used of higher quality.
 

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Create a WTB thread and I'm sure you will receive many offers for awesome amps. I'm thinking an old school 25-50Wx2 class A/B would work great.
 

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You may laugh and even call me crazy, but Trebor on here bought a Dual 50x2 amp at Wally World for around $50 iirc. He swapped it for a PDX amp that was a little noisy and sonically there was no difference and the noise went away...........
Absolutely nothing to laugh at in terms of audible quality in any car, but there are other factors you get for paying a little more.
 

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Higher quality op amps not JRC4558 junk.
Metal film resistors,poly caps in signal path.
18db/oct filtering in PS.
Good amount of capacitance for actual power ratings.
Regulated power supply's.
Real power output ratings.
Spec that are real,not something stated just to look good.
Enough output transistors per channel to stay in the SOA.
ETC......
I have been inside over 3000 amps and I am more and more disappointed at the newer stuff that I would rather run something like a Orion xtr 250, MTX thunder 240 or anything comparable then one of the above mentioned new amps.
 

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Yes.Thats another good choice.
Im not saying that all new amps are junk and all older ones are better.There are a lot of old amps I would not use.Some of the first generations were junk.The Alpines come to mind.
A PPI a100 or 200 would be a nice choice to run tweeters also.These can be bought in that price range.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You may laugh and even call me crazy, but Trebor on here bought a Dual 50x2 amp at Wally World for around $50 iirc. He swapped it for a PDX amp that was a little noisy and sonically there was no difference and the noise went away...........
Ha ha ha… you’re crazy! Just kidding. I’m not all that surprised to hear this if it was on a set of tweeters. They shouldn’t need all that much power, so as long as the dual was providing ~10 watts of clean power, I am sure it sounded fine.

I would not even consider any of those new amps.
I would use something used of higher quality.
Thanks for the input, though I am not sure how helpful it is. Care to expand on this, or suggest some models to keep my eye out for? I don’t want to go “overkill” on the tweeter amp in comparison to the KS900.6 running everything else. According to ARC, the S/N is either 77dB or 107 dB. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 77 dB was a CEA-2006 rating and the 107 dB was an “A-weighted” rating.

Create a WTB thread and I'm sure you will receive many offers for awesome amps. I'm thinking an old school 25-50Wx2 class A/B would work great.
I was thinking of doing this whenever I was ready to buy, but it is definitely too early at this point.

Higher quality op amps not JRC4558 junk.
Metal film resistors,poly caps in signal path.
18db/oct filtering in PS.
Good amount of capacitance for actual power ratings.
Regulated power supply's.
Real power output ratings.
Spec that are real,not something stated just to look good.
Enough output transistors per channel to stay in the SOA.
ETC......
I have been inside over 3000 amps and I am more and more disappointed at the newer stuff that I would rather run something like a Orion xtr 250, MTX thunder 240 or anything comparable then one of the above mentioned new amps.
Much of this was a bit over my head… considering I haven’t been inside 3,000 amps. Care to consolidate this into something I could actually use as a laymen in selecting an amp? I would love to just be able to go “old school” but availability is a crap shoot as is the reliability and quality of goods up for grabs.

Old school SS d-60 or d100 gen 1.

End of discussion.

LOL

~JH
Not the first time I have seen the D-60 mentioned. I’ll be keeping an eye out for old SS gear if/when the time comes.

Yes.Thats another good choice.
Im not saying that all new amps are junk and all older ones are better.There are a lot of old amps I would not use.Some of the first generations were junk.The Alpines come to mind.
A PPI a100 or 200 would be a nice choice to run tweeters also.These can be bought in that price range.
Another series of amps I’ll keep an eye out for. I was always a fan of the Art amps back when I first got into car audio in the 90s.
What I am gathering is there isn’t really any recommendations for current amps within my price range.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have a couple Soundstream Reference 200's and a Zapco Reference 200 if interested.

JT
I should be down your way on the 11th for the get together. I was planning to talk to you about my options then. Maybe I can check those out if you still have them then.
 

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Wow thats mouth full.
Its just my personal opinion. But I guess what Im trying to say is that if I $150 just to spend on a tweeter amp I would get an amp known to be good rather than gamble on one Im not sure of.
Used Amps I would look for.
Alpine V12's,MRV-F307
Rockford 150a2
Phoenix Gold MS-250,M50
Soundstream
JL like the E2150
Older kicker ZR like the 120
Old Orion's XTR or XTREME
Older PPI
HiFonics series VII or VIII Vulcan,Odin
Zapco
Old Autotek.
MTX.
Anything like these can be bought in your price range.
Some for less than $50.
I just sold a Kicker ZR 120 on Ebay tonight for $49.99.And an MTX 280 for $50 yesterday.They both were in excellent shape.The kicker even had the badge.
 

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I am using the 4-channel MB Quart REF4.80 (rated for 4x80watts) to power HAT Imagine woofers and tweeters. It's quite a nice 'stealth' SQ amp. A Russian web site did a test of budget 4-channel amplifiers and this one came out on top in that test group as one of cleanest amplifiers in terms of noise, channel separation, etc. It also measured 4x110watts into 4ohm, and 4x180watts into 2ohms. SNR 95dB. Channel separation >70dB. Frequency response: 8,0 — 37700. This line got discontinued recently, but I managed to snatch one for only $120 online. Amazing value, and unlike the other amplifiers, this one has all of its specs confirmed by third party test. The REF4.80 is pretty difficult to find nowadays, but the less powerful REF4.50 are still floating on the web for very affordable price. I just googled and found some specimens for under $100. They should have more than enough power for tweeters as well as other speakers.
 

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Old school Soundstream D60 is a great tweeter amp, 2"x7.5"x4". Sounds great and is plenty of power for tweeters. I used one for my tweeters for a year before trying a D100. They are both great tweeter amps.

You should be able to pick one up a D60 on ebay for $80 or so with shipping, maybe less.
 

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On that note while I prefer the build of the SS D-60/100 sonically the A/d/s/ PQ8 or PQ10 would also be a good choice for tweets. Classy amps....very low floor noise and smooth (*made in Japan).

A/D/S PQ8 Car Amplifier | eBay

(*note; I would be a little concerned about THIS amp, for whatever reason the fuse in not in the amp in the pics, mades ya say hummmmm).


~JH
 

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I have a nice little Rodek RA230e 30x2 @ 4 ohm made by Zed long ago. Works great, sounds better. I just have no need for it in my plans unfortunately. Tiny footprint of 4x7.5 or so. I'm asking $100 including shipping.
 

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I enjoyed the dls a2 I used on my tweeters before I got my new amps. It put out [email protected] ohms and is in your price range. Small foot print as well
 
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