DiyMobileAudio.com Car Stereo Forum banner

61 - 80 of 138 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #61
Just saw the reviews on the Pioneer. Don't feel as obligated to upgrade my Pioneer anymore! That Mosconi Pico in the classifieds is calling my name though to add 2 more channels and make my tweeters go active.
To bad you are not close because we could put that thing to the test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
To bad you are not close because we could put that thing to the test.
Hah, well luckily someone else snatched it up before I could impulse buy it! I am thinking of making a move to a simple 6 channel amp and then giving my dad my Pioneer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #63
Well, finally got my wife to finish the listening test between the Zapco ST 2X SQ and the DLS CCI-44 and she pretty much easily picked out the DLS over the Zapco after going back and forth three times as the better sounding amplifier.

For the Zapco (amplifier #1) she said the vocals seemed brighter but not as crisp. She said things got a little muddy when the singer was singing and all the instruments were playing all at once. The song was Believer by Imagine Dragons in lossless file format.

She said about the DLS (amplifier #2) that she liked the separation of sound when everything was playing at once. She said everything in the song is very definite and well defined and that there is more detail in the small differences when everything is playing together. She explained it in many different ways but basically kept saying how well the music was well defined, that she could hear all the little tiny details especially when everything was playing together during demanding passages within the song.

Honestly I thought the Zapco would have been closer but she pretty much zeroed in on it pretty quickly. I think the Pioneer D8604 class D was more of a challenge than anything else in this testing.

I also noticed how much hotter than DLS gets than the Zapco or any other class A/B in this test. I think its more class A biased maybe. It was 99 degrees within 20 minutes of standing by when the Zapco was 79 degrees and the air temperature was 69 degrees.

I will hook up the Alpine MRP F240, which was the class A/B that had the worst sound in the first test and see how well that does this time. If it loses horribly like it did before than I'll know the tests are repeatable. If it becomes a situation where its hard to tell than I have some explaining to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #65
This test consisted of an Alpine MRP F240 bridged for 100 wpc (amplifier #1) vs DLS CCi-44 (amplifier #2) using two channels at 85 wpc.

Well, the Alpine MRP lost big time to the DLS so much so that I even noticed it from standing behind the speakers. It was a noticeable difference. I even bridged the MRP F240 so that it was giving 100 watts per channel so that the power would be in the Alpines favor but that obviously didn’t help and the Alpine is a class A/B so no blaming class D on this test. My wife told me to turn it off after just one play on each one and said amplifier #1 was garbage, which was again the Alpine MRP F240. She stuck her tongue out and said she didn’t even want to listen to it again, it was so bad by comparison to the DLS (amplifier # 2).

So that concludes this testing. I’m out of amplifiers and money that I want to spend on this testing. Is there a difference in sound between amplifiers, yes but with newer modern amplifiers the differences are very small when played within their limits. Does class A/B sound noticeably better than class D; I don’t think so at this price point. All my class D amplifiers actually did very well in this testing. What makes one amplifier sound better than another; too many things to say. Differences in sound could be attributable to phase differences, power differences, or the quality of the power supply within the amplifier itself. I think today’s amplifier technology, whether class A/B or class D, is very good and it really depends on the design of the amplifier more than the class itself. I also am starting to think the Zapco SQ series is a bit over rated myself. It must be that SQ marketing thing they played up bid time. It’s not bad by any means but it’s not up there with the less known DLS as far as I’m concerned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,224 Posts
Nice interesting post. Im doing something very similar and Ive been through about 25 amps or so comparisons, except for using the on axis bookshelves full range, I also try each amp on a sub.

I will say that I also grabbed the Zapco Studio 2x SQ from world wide for $65 as well. I was also somewhat underwhelmed by this amp as well. The amp I was comparing to a/b was a zapco studio 100 from 93 so it was very similar power. It was fine, but no where as clear and detailed as the older zapco, or the new full range class d amps from zapco. It was very easy to swap my into my car playing tweeters from 2.5 up and it was not as nice as the old zapco studio 100 so I am not using it and put the old studio back in.

The 4 channel st-402 sq class d sounds as good as my favorite amps and superior to the a/b sq amplifier to me and the others Ive tried. However, its not a bad amp, just not outstanding.

I will eventually get back to posting and write down all the notes on the various amps Ive tried. I will briefly share my favorite amps I have a/b tested on full range high end booksheves and the JL cp108 micro sub which is my testing sub I also listen to in tests. So typically 2.1 but if the amp is a 2 channel, I run it full range for a few work days, then move it to the sub and put another 2 channel on the full range bookshelves.

Overall the amps that have impressed us most are:

Zapco studio 100 and 300x from 92-94
Current Zapco ST-204 SQ class d(in car now)
Mosconi Zero series
Sony ES 2100g (90s)
Alpine PDR v75 (5 channel)
Kenwood xr400-4 class d
Kenwood KAC-X4r class d (dsp turned off)
Audio Art 200.2
Rockford P400-2
Audio Designs 60.4
Sony xm-gs4
MTE Audio MGS2500.4 micro class d (malaysian brand)



The amplifiers that no one really liked were
Kenwood Ps200t (90s)
Soundstream TN4.900D (first version with fuses)
Soundmangus sk600.4 (both the above are Epsilon)
Arc Audio Mini 4.150 class g/h
Phoenix Gold rx400.4

All the above had noise floor issues.

The pioneer d8604 was a fine amplifier as well and great deals. Most amps dont sound significantly different and if theres nothing remarkable, I didnt mention it. I have lots of amps around and tried many over the past 3 years I have been testing these while working.

I think now the Full range class d's from Both Kenwood and Pioneer are great budget choices and sound very similar to amps costing lots more. The pioneer, kenwood, and polk audio PA20002 all got the same score on full range. Same score as the Arc XDI.

I prefer Kenwood to pioneer regarding full range class D (treble response) but I would say they are very similar in "SQ" to the Zapco Studio SQ a/b series. Just 60 watts can run ut of steam fast if not on mid/tweeters. Zapcos F/R class d's sound much more enjoyable to me than the less expensive a/b SQs.

My personal preference is class a/b on the tweeters as I get an "airy" type feeling with good ones.

On the sub, the highest rated amps was the

Rockford p300-1 and p400-2
Alpine MRD-M500
Alpine PDR-m65
Zapco Studio 300x
Zapco st 204d sq

In general, sub cone control and overall sound was tested mainly subjectively. On a sub, the ones that didnt sound good full range (ex. epsilon) worked fine on subs but not standouts. However, Im listening indoors with vifa ring radiators on axis so home vs car may be different, but thats more power related.

Overall, Id say all amps do sound different but it is very small differences between them. I agree with major differences are the pots used, rcas used and cosmetics when dealing with respectable companies.

But to me the biggest differences is the on board dsp on the RFs, Kenwood and alpines that make the biggest difference. With an external DSP, the differences are much smaller. Brand preference comes into play mostly. The Current excelon and pioneer full range class Ds are excellent values.

Id love to see what you think about comparing the current Kenwoods class d f/r to the Pioneer.

The fact that you can get 1000+ watts 5 channels from both companies under 200 now is unreal.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
515 Posts
I think now the Full range class d's from Both Kenwood and Pioneer are great budget choices and sound very similar to amps costing lots more.

The Current excelon and pioneer full range class Ds are excellent values.
Hey Tyrone.. I have to agree with you with the Kenwood Excelon class D's .. they sound incredible and if not better than the JL HD or Arc XDi amps I had prior.

I actually took your advice on these a few years back and didn't expect them to sound so good because they were first off a "Kenwood" .. and their lower price mark just seemed like another low grade amp that would either blow or sound crappy overall . That wasn't the case at all. The XR400-4 sounded a bit sharper and stronger than it's predecessor - the XR-4S .. it was a bit more cleaner and ballz-ier.

I would have stayed with that setup but Gordon was building my Compact Four Class A at the time and I could't wait to install and hear it. My JL HD just never sounded right and was very frustrating trying to dial it in correctly. The Arc Xdi did sound better .. but lacked some depth and instrumentals that I know were there but seemed to fade out in the distance.

The Excelon was right up there though.. I was even contemplating getting the XR401-4 just for shitz & giggles to check out the new Hi-Res features and compare it ot my Genesis sytem setup and see if it was all worth it by upgrading my alternator, batteries, etc.

Do you believe that the Zapco ST-204D SQ would be the best Class D F/R on the market today.. given your listening experience?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
393 Posts
I recently replaced 2 vintage Rockford amps with 2 pioneer 8604 amps. The new pioneer amps seem very sensitive to elctronic noise from my mobile phone. If I don't enable flight mode my speakers plays weird unpleasant sounds whenever my phone's connection changes from one mast to another.
Am I the only one noticing this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
I recently replaced 2 vintage Rockford amps with 2 pioneer 8604 amps. The new pioneer amps seem very sensitive to elctronic noise from my mobile phone. If I don't enable flight mode my speakers plays weird unpleasant sounds whenever my phone's connection changes from one mast to another.
Am I the only one noticing this?
Uhhh. That shouldn't happen. I'd think something is up with the installs. Probably the grounds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #71 (Edited)
I recently replaced 2 vintage Rockford amps with 2 pioneer 8604 amps. The new pioneer amps seem very sensitive to elctronic noise from my mobile phone. If I don't enable flight mode my speakers plays weird unpleasant sounds whenever my phone's connection changes from one mast to another.
Am I the only one noticing this?
Win,

Amplifiers only amplify what they are given for an input signal, whether it is noise or music, the amplifier cannot tell the difference. If the amplifier is being fed a weak signal and the gain on the amplifier is turned up to compensate for that than the amplifier will have a higher noise floor and amplify any small interference or background noise that otherwise might not be noticed. Best thing is to have the signal set as a strong signal and the gain on the amplifier set lower to meet the demand of the speaker in relation to the other speaker it is crossed with. This will be especially noticeable on drivers like the tweeter. I see the industry plagued with misinformed people who are setting amplifier gains for speakers in active systems such as for tweeters to max power before distortion sets in with a DD1 or O-scope and then have to turn down the gain within the DSP to -10 db to compensate for that massive gain in power. All that does is put your tweeter at risk of blowing up if you get a speaker pop (without cap), raise the noise floor of the amplified signal, and overall raise the chance of amplifying interference in the signal path. A DD1 is great for setting the gain for a subwoofer but not for amplifying the signal for tweeters or even midbass drivers. Most automotive amplifiers are designed to accept a signal from an aftermarket HU which typically puts out ~ 4 volts. The less you give it for an input, the more you have to turn up the amplifier gain to match that input, and the more low level noise it will also amplify if present in an analog signal.

I’m not saying you are doing this but trying to make a point that setting the amplifier gains (setting up the tune) is very important for noise rejection and that it should be carefully looked at when having noise issues with a very powerful amplifier pushing a speaker that may only need 5 watts to keep up with a 1000 watt subwoofer. It could also be a whole host of other things like ground loops, a bad amplifier itself (it is a budget amp) or crappy input cables or loose connection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,203 Posts
I recently replaced 2 vintage Rockford amps with 2 pioneer 8604 amps. The new pioneer amps seem very sensitive to elctronic noise from my mobile phone. If I don't enable flight mode my speakers plays weird unpleasant sounds whenever my phone's connection changes from one mast to another.
Am I the only one noticing this?

The Pioneers are Full-range Class D with a high frequency switch rate, so they could very well be picking up the same noises you can get when you put a phone near some early-release bluetooth headsets, like some of the older ones used in call centers.



Distance from the phone seems to be the solution for those headsets, not sure how you're going to get around that in a car though.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,129 Posts
There have also been quite a few reports of that generation of Pioneer GM-Ds having noise issues. I'm not sure how common it is. It seems the amps either work great, or they don't. I don't recall seeing anyone who had a noise issue successfully trouble shoot and eliminate the problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
393 Posts
Sorry for highjacking this thread...
I also have noise from my midwoofers (powered by one of my Pio 8604) It sounds kind of like faint pink noise. I generally only hear it when playback is paused and my engine is off. It started when I installed my Dayton dsp so I think the dsp is causing it. It irritates me, so tried new rca cables, rerouting the cables and grounding dsp and headunit, relocating the dsp -but it didn't help ?
The Dayton dsp is known to cause noise when the bass remote is connected, but I don't have the remote. Maybe I should check if the pio amp powering my midwoofers is the one making the mobile phone noises...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,711 Posts
Discussion Starter #76
Nice interesting post. Im doing something very similar and Ive been through about 25 amps or so comparisons, except for using the on axis bookshelves full range, I also try each amp on a sub.

I will say that I also grabbed the Zapco Studio 2x SQ from world wide for $65 as well. I was also somewhat underwhelmed by this amp as well. The amp I was comparing to a/b was a zapco studio 100 from 93 so it was very similar power. It was fine, but no where as clear and detailed as the older zapco, or the new full range class d amps from zapco. It was very easy to swap my into my car playing tweeters from 2.5 up and it was not as nice as the old zapco studio 100 so I am not using it and put the old studio back in.

The 4 channel st-402 sq class d sounds as good as my favorite amps and superior to the a/b sq amplifier to me and the others Ive tried. However, its not a bad amp, just not outstanding.

I will eventually get back to posting and write down all the notes on the various amps Ive tried. I will briefly share my favorite amps I have a/b tested on full range high end booksheves and the JL cp108 micro sub which is my testing sub I also listen to in tests. So typically 2.1 but if the amp is a 2 channel, I run it full range for a few work days, then move it to the sub and put another 2 channel on the full range bookshelves.

The pioneer d8604 was a fine amplifier as well and great deals. Most amps dont sound significantly different and if theres nothing remarkable, I didnt mention it. I have lots of amps around and tried many over the past 3 years I have been testing these while working.

I think now the Full range class d's from Both Kenwood and Pioneer are great budget choices and sound very similar to amps costing lots more. The pioneer, kenwood, and polk audio PA20002 all got the same score on full range. Same score as the Arc XDI.

I prefer Kenwood to pioneer regarding full range class D (treble response) but I would say they are very similar in "SQ" to the Zapco Studio SQ a/b series. Just 60 watts can run ut of steam fast if not on mid/tweeters. Zapcos F/R class d's sound much more enjoyable to me than the less expensive a/b SQs.

My personal preference is class a/b on the tweeters as I get an "airy" type feeling with good ones.

Overall, Id say all amps do sound different but it is very small differences between them. I agree with major differences are the pots used, rcas used and cosmetics when dealing with respectable companies.

Id love to see what you think about comparing the current Kenwoods class d f/r to the Pioneer.

The fact that you can get 1000+ watts 5 channels from both companies under 200 now is unreal.
tyroneshoes,

I’m sorry I did read your post and then completely forgot to reply. :huh2: Thank you for sharing your commentary and it’s interesting to read about your findings on those Zapco and Kenwood amplifiers. I remember I had a real cheap 2 channel Kenwood back in the day and swapped it for that Alpine 3548 I used in my tests and was struck by the improvement in sound running a two way front stage. I then tried the same test but this time bridged driving a JL Audio microsub and the Alpine was noticeably more powerful sounding. I guess Kenwood has come a long way since those days.

I kind of want to do this again but this time get some DIYMA members involved and post their commentary. That might be interesting and of course it would have to be a blind test.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Sorry for highjacking this thread...
I also have noise from my midwoofers (powered by one of my Pio 8604) It sounds kind of like faint pink noise. I generally only hear it when playback is paused and my engine is off. It started when I installed my Dayton dsp so I think the dsp is causing it. It irritates me, so tried new rca cables, rerouting the cables and grounding dsp and headunit, relocating the dsp -but it didn't help ?
The Dayton dsp is known to cause noise when the bass remote is connected, but I don't have the remote. Maybe I should check if the pio amp powering my midwoofers is the one making the mobile phone noises...
Are you talking about the bluetooth noise floor? Does that pink noise remain when you aren't connected via bluetooth?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,224 Posts
tyroneshoes,

I’m sorry I did read your post and then completely forgot to reply. :huh2: Thank you for sharing your commentary and it’s interesting to read about your findings on those Zapco and Kenwood amplifiers. I remember I had a real cheap 2 channel Kenwood back in the day and swapped it for that Alpine 3548 I used in my tests and was struck by the improvement in sound running a two way front stage. I then tried the same test but this time bridged driving a JL Audio microsub and the Alpine was noticeably more powerful sounding. I guess Kenwood has come a long way since those days.

I kind of want to do this again but this time get some DIYMA members involved and post their commentary. That might be interesting and of course it would have to be a blind test.
Yes, the current excelon full range class d amps are a far reach from the inexpensive kenwoods with the "1000" watts on it. Kenwood made in japan amps were amazing, then they fell off with the PS line. I swapped alpine pdx gen1 amps for the kenwood kac-x4r and x1r and it was like my a/b amps were back but with built in dsp. That x4r I will never sell. Still works perfect 10 years later.

Since then, Kenwood seems to be some of the best sounding class d's, on par with my zapco st-204d sq, Matts digital fr, Focal/Zed class ds, malaysian and Indonesian high end amps. and they managed to lessen the size and efficiency while using Nichon caps in some. And these amps are super under rated. The 5 channel kenwood prior to the "high res" snake oil was rated at 50x4 and 300x1 and give a constant 100x4 and 500x1. They also have an interesting dual sigma negative feedback circuit that seems to just make everything sound better. And you can get these amps for under $250. Well worth the extra 30 or so or less than the pioneer. The design shows lots of thought and fantastic build quality. Like you would expect from an Italian manufacturer or a very high end esoteric name.

I suggest giving an excelon a try from the past 5 years. You will be impressed. The xr801-5 and the xr901-5 are fantastic 5 channel amps. Unfortunately, they did not add a bass knob untill recently but I always just use an inline rca potentiator. And the Marine version of xr801-5 is going for 225 new. Id take them over the pioneers any day. Theres a big d wiz comparing the kenwood and pioneers on the dyno. Its the full range channels that are actually more powerful than the pioneers on the kenwood and what make them superior, to me. The 4 channels are fantastic too but the 5 channels are some of the best high end class d 5 channels and incorporated the exact same 4 channels with a mono in same 11" chassis.

Two of these kenwood 5 channels can be bridged to a 3 channel for mid bass/midwoofers and a sub, and the second 5 channel can power tweeters /midrange or rear fill and a second sub, if needed (100x4+300x2+500x2) That is the best deal out now if you ask me. Plus they look slick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,224 Posts
Hey Tyrone.. I have to agree with you with the Kenwood Excelon class D's .. they sound incredible and if not better than the JL HD or Arc XDi amps I had prior.

I actually took your advice on these a few years back and didn't expect them to sound so good because they were first off a "Kenwood" .. and their lower price mark just seemed like another low grade amp that would either blow or sound crappy overall . That wasn't the case at all. The XR400-4 sounded a bit sharper and stronger than it's predecessor - the XR-4S .. it was a bit more cleaner and ballz-ier.

I would have stayed with that setup but Gordon was building my Compact Four Class A at the time and I could't wait to install and hear it. My JL HD just never sounded right and was very frustrating trying to dial it in correctly. The Arc Xdi did sound better .. but lacked some depth and instrumentals that I know were there but seemed to fade out in the distance.

The Excelon was right up there though.. I was even contemplating getting the XR401-4 just for shitz & giggles to check out the new Hi-Res features and compare it ot my Genesis sytem setup and see if it was all worth it by upgrading my alternator, batteries, etc.

Do you believe that the Zapco ST-204D SQ would be the best Class D F/R on the market today.. given your listening experience?
Glad to hear. Also dont like JL HD or the pdxs (PDR>PDX) and have had issues with arc since the class g/h and xdi (first gen). I think the jl xds are better personally but no better the excelons. I am a big fan of the JL slash amps however. Didnt try the rd yet.

The zapco st204d sq is a very nice amp, but I bypassed my typical listening process and put it right in my car. It sounds great but since I assess using full range bookshelves with tweeters, I couldnt give a fair assessment in my listening room/office. I do know they have TONS of clean power and power my 7" woofers and 10" without breaking a sweat with minimal gain, so I recommend them.

However, I bought it from WWS for 250 new as they listed it as a 2 channel. Now its $500. So you can get 100x8 + 500x2 using the excelons for the same price. So, I dont know if Id say its worth 500, but I dont think any car amp is unless your compete and have sponsors or it has built in dsp.

I did not try the other zapco micro digital line, this amp is 13" long but 1200 watts rms. Low ESR caps, and hardly any difference on my mids from my old studio 300x. Overall, 105 amps of fusing and 90% efficiency and audio caps..Its the most powerful reasonably sized zapco 4 channel ever and I have no complaints. Its mounted under seats so the only issue with the kenwoods in same location under seats was fan noise. No fan on the zapco. Great build quality and heavy. I put a gut pic of it in the hot deals WWS post.

I def recommend them. The only one I would swap for is the Focal Zed made 5 channel as I am very impressed by them too, love the cosmetics and pwer rating is perfect for my setup and see them going for under 300 on ebay at times. However, zeds have some reliability issues and both my previous zapcos were purchased by me and used for 25 years and my zapco studio 100 is still powering my tweeters. So I just have a brand preference for zapco. Im even using zapco/esb speakers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
Glad to hear. Also dont like JL HD or the pdxs (PDR>PDX) and have had issues with arc since the class g/h and xdi (first gen). I think the jl xds are better personally but no better the excelons. I am a big fan of the JL slash amps however. Didnt try the rd yet.

The zapco st204d sq is a very nice amp, but I bypassed my typical listening process and put it right in my car. It sounds great but since I assess using full range bookshelves with tweeters, I couldnt give a fair assessment in my listening room/office. I do know they have TONS of clean power and power my 7" woofers and 10" without breaking a sweat with minimal gain, so I recommend them.

However, I bought it from WWS for 250 new as they listed it as a 2 channel. Now its $500. So you can get 100x8 + 500x2 using the excelons for the same price. So, I dont know if Id say its worth 500, but I dont think any car amp is unless your compete and have sponsors or it has built in dsp.

I did not try the other zapco micro digital line, this amp is 13" long but 1200 watts rms. Low ESR caps, and hardly any difference on my mids from my old studio 300x. Overall, 105 amps of fusing and 90% efficiency and audio caps..Its the most powerful reasonably sized zapco 4 channel ever and I have no complaints. Its mounted under seats so the only issue with the kenwoods in same location under seats was fan noise. No fan on the zapco. Great build quality and heavy. I put a gut pic of it in the hot deals WWS post.

I def recommend them. The only one I would swap for is the Focal Zed made 5 channel as I am very impressed by them too, love the cosmetics and pwer rating is perfect for my setup and see them going for under 300 on ebay at times. However, zeds have some reliability issues and both my previous zapcos were purchased by me and used for 25 years and my zapco studio 100 is still powering my tweeters. So I just have a brand preference for zapco. Im even using zapco/esb speakers.
Which sub/amp combo do you like better; your Subaru or jeep setup?
 
61 - 80 of 138 Posts
Top