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What amplifier(s) should I go with?

  • Zapco Z150.6LX (THE NEW RAGE!!!!)

    Votes: 8 80.0%
  • 2x Phoenix Gold MS-275 + Another amp for 6.5" (OLD SCHOOL!!!!)

    Votes: 2 20.0%

  • Total voters
    10
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey folks! I'm really interested in your opinions.

I just got my dream car and I'm working on getting my dream audio setup in it.

I'm a music producer and I worked my way up to Focal Twin6BE monitors in my studio. I love these monitors, and since I spend a lot of time on my commute to work, I wanted to get something of comparable quality in my car, so I purchased a set of Focal Utopia BE 7 speakers (for an incredibly amazing price $1500 brand new).

The Focal Utopia BE 7 comes with 1" BE Tweeter [email protected] filtered, 3" Midrange speaker [email protected], 6.5" Midbass speaker [email protected]

I've also recently purchased a Zapco Z150.6LX which was my initial thought to power the component set.

Yesterday I saw cueball981's selling 2x Phoenix Gold MS-275s and it got me on reading on the old school amps and I just got off the phone with him! Such a great guy, and he told me how awesome these amps are.

Money isn't an issue in the sense that I would get my money back that I spent on the Zapco if I decided to resell it. If I go with cueball981's MS-275s, I need to find a 3rd amp to power the 6.5" Midbass speakers, and that's fine.

Another consideration is space. The 3 amps that would be replacing the Zapco would most likely be bigger than the Zapco and that's already a pretty big amp. However, I'd be interested in your opinion if space wasn't an issue either - purely from a soundquality / audiophile standpoint.

Thanks for your time :) Really curious to hear what you guys think I should do!

****
EDIT to address Lycancatt's reply:

The system is going into a convertible 2013 BMW M6 with MOST output from the headunit. The fiber optic MOST is going into a mObridge DA3 which I also plan on using as a DSP. From the DA3 I will have 6 channels going into amp(s) for the 3 way front stage, and 2 channels going into a JL1200/1v3 that is currently powering 2x JL 13TW5 shallow subs. (As a secondary thought, I'm also considering replacing the subs, but with what, I do not know yet).
 

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you would need more than three amps if you chose to go oldskool, you haven't mensioned a sub, and you will definitely want one. even if you don't use one in the studio (I use big quested monitors usually without a sub) the road noise and engine of the vehicle will do a lot of cancelation and a sub becomes necessary to make the music real again.

I'd personally keep the zapco for simplicity and reliability's sake, and coming from someone who still has a soundcraft mh3 console and crest amps for his studio, that's a hard thing to say. but car audio is much more of a compromise than pro audio/recording is.

I would also suggest a dsp processor such as the alpine h800 or Rockford 360.3 to control and tune all of this wonderful gear. the car is not a treated room and lots of nulls and mostly peaks exist to ruin the musical experience.

all in all, have fun and keep us posted as to what you use, great gear choices so far.

p.s what kind of car is this going in?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Lycancatt, I update the OP at the bottom with more details!

As for the reliability of these amps, cueball981 has assured me that they've been reconditioned and I can expect at least 10 years of life out of them (probably longer than I will keep my car).

Thanks for the encouragement :D I can't wait to get all of this stuff in the car.

you would need more than three amps if you chose to go oldskool, you haven't mensioned a sub, and you will definitely want one. even if you don't use one in the studio (I use big quested monitors usually without a sub) the road noise and engine of the vehicle will do a lot of cancelation and a sub becomes necessary to make the music real again.

I'd personally keep the zapco for simplicity and reliability's sake, and coming from someone who still has a soundcraft mh3 console and crest amps for his studio, that's a hard thing to say. but car audio is much more of a compromise than pro audio/recording is.

I would also suggest a dsp processor such as the alpine h800 or Rockford 360.3 to control and tune all of this wonderful gear. the car is not a treated room and lots of nulls and mostly peaks exist to ruin the musical experience.

all in all, have fun and keep us posted as to what you use, great gear choices so far.

p.s what kind of car is this going in?
 

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the reliability is way less of an issue than I think my post may have put across, I'm one to run all the old heavy cool stuff, that's for sure! it is a consideration, but a very small one.
 

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p.s your sub stage is absolutely fine, though I bet the engine/wind outruns it pretty quick with the top down..oh well, time vor everything.
 

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Personally, if money is no object, I would go with Sinfoni.

In the case presented, I would do the Zapco.

From my experience the Zapco and the PG MS series are in the same ballpark.

The only real difference is the Zapco is regulated and the PG MS is unregulated.

When I used the PG MS series amps (MS2250, and 2x MS2125) the system would suck batteries (6) dry.

The regulated amps I replaced then with (4x Xtant 2200ix) did not suck batteries (3) dry.

Unregulated can be more dynamic than regulated.
However, in the case presented, 150 watts per channel with proper gain structure should provide great dynamics, regulated or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
p.s your sub stage is absolutely fine, though I bet the engine/wind outruns it pretty quick with the top down..oh well, time vor everything.
Right now the sub stage is in my 3 series coupe and it easily overwhelms everything in that car. I don't think I have it running above 40%, so it could potentially be a lot louder. But those subs are nowhere in the same vicinity quality wise as the front stage.

Personally, if money is no object, I would go with Sinfoni.

In the case presented, I would do the Zapco.

From my experience the Zapco and the PG MS series are in the same ballpark.

The only real difference is the Zapco is regulated and the PG MS is unregulated.

When I used the PG MS series amps (MS2250, and 2x MS2125) the system would suck batteries (6) dry.

The regulated amps I replaced then with (4x Xtant 2200ix) did not suck batteries (3) dry.

Unregulated can be more dynamic than regulated.
However, in the case presented, 150 watts per channel with proper gain structure should provide great dynamics, regulated or not.
Money is definitely an object lol. I really can't afford Sinfoni. The thing is, those MS275s would be a lot closer to the ratings of the high/midrange.

I didn't consider installing a second battery though. I had the sub stage running in my 3 series without any issues on the single battery in the trunk. Do you think adding another amp that puts out MAX 350RMS (otherwise the front stage will start burning) would overwhelm the electrical on that car??
 

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i have a large PG MS collection that i used in my bmw X5. sounded pretty good.ran 2 way front with sub. the sub amp was a class d, and the charging system didn't have problems keeping up with it.
 

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I'd say the Zapco. It uses Sanken Epitaxial output stages like the current PG Elite amps. Also it removes any additional processing to have a more direct signal path. Internal parts are also top notch.
 

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I'm a big PG fan, but I'm also a Zapco fan. Teldzc1 nailed it on the head... for this application, the Zapco wins in my opinion.
 

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The thing is, those MS275s would be a lot closer to the ratings of the high/midrange.

I didn't consider installing a second battery though. I had the sub stage running in my 3 series without any issues on the single battery in the trunk. Do you think adding another amp that puts out MAX 350RMS (otherwise the front stage will start burning) would overwhelm the electrical on that car??
IMO, no need to match the power rating of the Be7.
I ran the W3Be and TBe on 125 watts per speaker with no issues.
Because the TBe is 6 ohm, 125 watts is only about 67 watts. Still well above the 15 watt rating.

Set your gains properly and you'll get the watts and not blow the speakers.

On batteries I would look at the systems current draw and what my batteries and/or alternator can support and how much engine off listening you plan to do. More current draw and more engine off listening require more batteries.
 

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I'm not familiar with any of these "old school" amplifiers tones as I haven't ever got a chance to hear any of them given where I live and lack of audio enthusiasts with those old amps. However, I can comment on the Zapco. I was supposed to be buying a DSP but I got a great offer on a Brand New Zapco that was too good too resist so I went with the amplifier for now.
I own the Zapco Z-150.4LX which is the same as yours except it's a 4 Channel and not a 6 Channel. I've only owned this for a very short while and I can say that in this short time, without even proper final tune done, It's impressed me greatly. The most noticeable difference was in the highs where the separation is incredible, vocals seem very crisp and clear. Clean Zapco power.
 
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