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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This will be a part-by-part review of the Phoenix Gold RSd series amplifiers. I picked these after a long deliberation between the Kenwood eXcelon X1R / X4R's, PG Xenons, Cadence offerings, US Amps Merlin series, Pioneer Premier PRS series, and Alpine PDX lineup.

One thing that I try to do anytime I have a tough decision to make is to draft up a pros / cons list of each choice, and try to whittle candidates down to an ever smaller and smaller list. Picking an amp set was no different! Lots of eBay deals popped up here and there on some eclectic choices (like used Zapco's), but nothing really said "shut up and buy me!", so I followed my plan. The PG RSd's kept on the list because of their low cost, good looks (to me, we're all different), and good reputation. I think what sealed the deal was the knowledge that the RSd lineup is built by the same guys that have built the old-school PG's most of us would say are EXCEPTIONAL in sound quality and durability. I guess I'll find out for myself once and for all, soon enough!

First, some close-up shots of the 1200.1 that came in











And, since she stole the show while I was trying to take pics, here's my "kitteh", Bristol.





In case people are wondering what this thing is made of, it appears to be almost 100% aluminum. Some cast parts that have been machined, and some look extruded. The end plates are metal though they look like plastic, and the top plate is metal too. In fact, there is a plexi-plate under that mesh-looking structure, the whole length of the amp. Pretty sweet, if you ask me. I also like the way that some of the connections are at an angle. This seems smart to me, because I hate jamming lots of connections into one side of an amp.

The 500.4 is still on its way in the mail, but it is the same structural size. I'll post results of how they look installed, and of course we'll be talking about how they sound.
 

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what made you pick the rsd over the xenon ? curious...although I have never personally ran an rsd amp...I really thought the xenons were better...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
what made you pick the rsd over the xenon ? curious...although I have never personally ran an rsd amp...I really thought the xenons were better...
From what I researched, they Xenons (while excellent) exhibit the same sound quality as the RSd's. For me, the sheer newness of the model and the sleek look (again, in my eyes) made them a better choice. Then there is the issue of power, of course. A 600.1 Xenon costs about what the 1200.1 RSd does. The 100.4 Xenon runs about what the 500.4 RSd does, so those are pretty much a wash. The final deciding factor was that when I was ready to pull the trigger, no Xenons were out there on eBay at a good price. There was only the 100.4 for $237, and no 600.1.
 

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I never really cared for the looks of the Xenons unless you were talking about the limited black xenons.....the xenons were from what I remembered a tad more overbuilt but that was the last good amps from PG before they ditched trying to make high end stuff before the buyout..

Xenons can be found cheap but not on a regular basis so that is a drawback. you can once in a while find a 200.4 for less than $300 but the supply is gone...so ....that means you had to find a solution that was readily available ...

good luck with them.....
 

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were these off the net? if so no warranty or yes? if not pop off the bottom and lets she whats in there....
 

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ok thanks for the pics!
I am waiting for your review.
It is not really a beautiful amp (in MY opinion :) ), but I may buy one soon because of its very good price, and its availability.
 

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I like the cat! He seems to be quite spunky.
 

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I ran the 1200.1 for a while about a year ago. It was a decent amp but nothing real special about it. I might even have gut pics on my home computer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Phoenix Gold RSd500.4
Phoenix Gold RSd1200.1

I would have chose the the x series, from what I have read and heard, these RSD have a pretty high failure rate

LOL must have beat me to the punch on pics by a minute.

I haven't heard about the failures, and when I asked around everyone seemed to agree that they have the same build quality as the original MS series. Same guy built them. Though I agree oldschool is often the most well-built.
 

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LOL must have beat me to the punch on pics by a minute.

I haven't heard about the failures, and when I asked around everyone seemed to agree that they have the same build quality as the original MS series. Same guy built them. Though I agree oldschool is often the most well-built.
When I read the failure rate thing it was shortly after they came out, maybe they worked out the problem, but I remember there were abounch of refurbs on Ebay, I havent seen any lately tho, so who knows
 

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Sorry about calling Bristol a he. A closer look and she has the obvious female face. Pretty cat. Yes, I'm a cat lover and no, I'm not gay! Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I ran the PG RSd 1200.1 for a short time. It worked fine for me and look better than the Xenon's (I hate the blue lights and bling) but I think the Xenon's are a little better performance-wise. I could get the RSd into protection easier than the Xenon's. I've beat the crap outta a 600.1 and 1200.1 for a few months now and those things just keep on truckin' and stay cool doing it.

With that said, you'll probably be fine with the RSd series.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I sold my PPI DCX 300.4 and 500.1 to my bro-in-law and installed them in his car for a fair price, so I wanted a slight step up from those. I wonder if I should have gone for the Merlins from US Amps instead sometimes, but I think its a crap-shoot on eBay anyway. I have never killed an amp before or had one die on me personally (but have as an installer), so I guess I'm just not privvy to failure issues.
 

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what made you pick the rsd over the xenon ? curious...although I have never personally ran an rsd amp...I really thought the xenons were better...
From what I researched, they Xenons (while excellent) exhibit the same sound quality as the RSd's.
the xenons were from what I remembered a tad more overbuilt but that was the last good amps from PG before they ditched trying to make high end stuff before the buyout.
I would have chose the the x series, from what I have read and heard, these RSD have a pretty high failure rate
I haven't heard about the failures, and when I asked around everyone seemed to agree that they have the same build quality as the original MS series. Same guy built them. Though I agree oldschool is often the most well-built.
When I read the failure rate thing it was shortly after they came out, maybe they worked out the problem, but I remember there were abounch of refurbs on Ebay, I havent seen any lately tho, so who knows
Well, from reading all of those quotes one can figure out why Phoenix Gold dropped off the radar....No one knows for sure who they are and what they do!

Anyway, before I bought Zenons and then later considered the RSd amps I did a lot of research and much of the info is the same as what was posted here but differers with the rest of it.

XENON
1.) The XENON amps are over built and have extra's like the Xe circuitry built in. The design is triple Darlington like many of the classic PG lines.
2.) There was a high failure rate with the very first production products but was resolved with later products.

RSd
1.) The amps are similar to the XENON amps in terms of the design but are less overbuilt and don't have as many features. The design is still Triple Darlington like many of the classic PG lines and has dual power supplies.
2.) Supposable the designer of the M and MS series amps worked on these and the sound is supposed to be as good or better than the Xenon amps. One ex PG engineer stated that the RSd's were superior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, from reading all of those quotes one can figure out why Phoenix Gold dropped off the radar....No one knows for sure who they are and what they do!

Anyway, before I bought Zenons and then later considered the RSd amps I did a lot of research and much of the info is the same as what was posted here but differers with the rest of it.

XENON
1.) The XENON amps are over built and have extra's like the Xe circuitry built in. The design is triple Darlington like many of the classic PG lines.
2.) There was a high failure rate with the very first production products but was resolved with later products.

RSd
1.) The amps are similar to the XENON amps in terms of the design but are less overbuilt and don't have as many features. The design is still Triple Darlington like many of the classic PG lines and has dual power supplies.
2.) Supposable the designer of the M and MS series amps worked on these and the sound is supposed to be as good or better than the Xenon amps. One ex PG engineer stated that the RSd's were superior.
That was the data I picked up on too. IMO, I doubt they are superior enough to actually hear a difference, but it was reassuring to know they were designed by the same guy. That's a good thing, we all know.


The 500.4 is still WAY out there in the midwest on a truck or a train somewhere, but is supposed to be on my doorstep tomorrow. We'll see.

The install will come shortly thereafter, and I will do my best to document it. I'm bad with that because I tend to just rush through things and not take pics along the way. Mostly because I don't want to ruin my camera with stuff on my hands.
 

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I dont know if they are superior but I really dont care as I am not buying the rsd anyhow...

do the RSD have the same internal parts? not just quantity but quality? there were high end parts in the Xenons....sanken outputs and more stuff I cant remember...

I really should ask my PG engineer and see what he thinks of it...

but anyhow...........

if PG wanted to sell any RSD stuff I wouldnt expect them to say anything less than "the RSD is superior to the Xenon" ....

is the RSD stable to the same loads as the Xenons?

anyway...if your happy that is all that matters....

being a die hard PG fan I spent lots of time on the PG forums until recently

but I am now back in the saddle and will be running a mint MS275 with Burr Brown upgrades.....

oh and by the way...

if you look at any MS or ZPA amp then there is no way an RSD is going to sound better...I just dont see it....but thats just me
 

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Any updates? I'm curious to see what you think of the RSD's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Love 'em! I can't reach their clipping limits w/ my system currently (my speakers distort first) and the RF processor puts out enough volts for the pre-amp input stage on the RSd's, so I'm pretty pleased.

I wish they were quite a bit smaller, but that's really the only disadvantage I can see.
 

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So, would you say that the PG buy over in "Hot Deals" should be something I should jump on? I'm still wavering on final system design, but looking at those prices, I might not be able to resist...

And maybe it's my poor reading skills not seeing this already, but did you mention what you'll be running with these amps?

I'm considering quite a few amps (including several you were looking at) but the price might just do it. That, and other positive reviews, of course.
 
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