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Discussion Starter #1
All,

Long time reader, first time poster.
First of all, allow me to thank everyone for providing an outstanding forum for learning and research.

I bought my latest project, a 2013 Scion FR-S, and as usual, the factory audio was sorely lacking. I was impressed with the factory use of 3 way components however, and chose to remain 3 way with aftermarket components. I had my heart set on the new Focal Flax components, but couldn't justify the $1000 price tag. After much research, I decided to go with the PPI Power Class PC3.65C 3-way components, linked here PC3.65C - Power Class Components - Speakers - Products

The factory system has a small amplifier (20-30 watts each is my guess) for the 6.5s in the door, so I am going to continue using that until I can save up for a solid 6 channel amp. I do plan on going 3 way active eventually.
I did buy the PPI BK340.4 ( BK340.4 - Black Ice - Amplifiers - Products ) which states 55w x 4 RMS @ 4 ohms to power the mids and tweets, as it has bandpass crossovers. That should hold me over until I get a deck such as the Pioneer DEH-80PRS or even the DEX-P99RS. Finding an amp with bandpass xovers was a feat itself, and for the price point, I couldn't turn down the PPI.

All that being said, my gear should ship tomorrow and I will post my review when it's all installed. I also plan to bench the amp as well and see if the power claim is accurate.

My review will include the following:
Mounting/Install ease
Heat dissipation
Background noise/hiss/pops etc
Overall SQ vs stock (to my ears of course, wish I had an analyser)
Performance vs price
Drawbacks/limitations if any

My most current comparision is an RF Prime 50w x 4 RMS to Alpine Type-R 2 way components. Definitely not apples to apples, but the price is about the same.

If anyone has any input or suggestions I will happily take them into consideration.

Thanks again,
Brandon

TL;DR - Review coming soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Unfortunately the website had not taken down their products, so neither the amp nor the components were in stock. They did upgrade my order to the newer version of the components, the P.65C3 here - P.65C3 - Power Class Components - Speakers - Products

The amp is now the PC400.4, here PC400.4 - Power Class - Amplifiers - Products

So, unless new charges show up on my credit card, I'd say I got a pretty decent free upgrade, though I really was wanting the older components.

Anyways, a review will still be coming, but I apologize for getting anyones hopes up who was looking for info on the Black Ice amps.
 

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I think you did alright on the upgrade. Those PC amps are tanks with plenty of good clean power. Wish I could find the missing plug for my PC1000.1. Plenty of clean power for most sub setups. Bought a Phantom 1000.1 as an "eff it" purchase to drop in until I find the plug AGAIN and decide what to do with the amp.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
PPI ART, it was a thread between you and Grizz that made me want the old set as well, but unfortunately the seller no longer had them in stock. I still may keep looking, but so far I am happy with the newer components. I've only used them on my test bench so far, but for the price they are fantastic. I have turned into a PPI believer, lol. The power class amp is a little bigger than I'd hoped since I had originally bought the black ice series, but **** happens and I'll work with what they sent me (which, by the way, did not include mounting feet for the amp. if anybody has some available, let me know). PPI is definitely not a common brand here in the southeast, I worked in a pawn shop for 2 years and don't think I ever saw one. I can't wait to complete the install, but have been busy with work and my other project, replacing a voice coil and spider on a 2004 L7, which also has went pretty well. Big shout out to Springfield Speaker, fast shipping, right parts, and excellent how-to video. It was my first rebuild ever and so far, I am pleased with the results. We'll see how it handles real power after 48 hrs.

Regards,
Brandon
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well so far I've installed the mids and highs into my FR-S, in the stock locations. I am extremely pleased with the clarity, and the off axis performance of the AMT tweeters is incredible. I used to could never hear the highs from the passenger tweeter, now they are loud and clear. I have not mounted the 6.5s yet, I am making custom mdf baffles for them.

Now for my analysis:

Components
Mounting/Install - The tweeters are relatively large at 1.75" or so, and finding a suitable location for them in my FR-S was difficult. I actually wound up placing them under the factory grill in the dash. Even in this subpar location, they still sound fantastic, and clarity has definitely increased. The spin nut would come in handy if flush mounting to a trim piece. Wiring for the tweeter should be clearer, mine was silver and copper, I assumed silver was +.


Overall SQ vs stock - Superb. That is the only word I can think of. Improvements in both staging and clarity. The tweeters are very slightly harsh if running active and bypassing the supplied crossover. I just knocked down the treble 1 notch and it was perfect. I did use the crossover on my test bench and did not have any harshness. The crossover points sounded really good on my bench.

Performance vs price - 10/10 - Perfection. In the sub-600 dollar range, these are probably the best 3 ways on the market. They may be overshadowed by their predecessors, but I have not had the pleasure of hearing them. I'm sure you can't go wrong getting either set.

Drawbacks/limitations if any - The mid is not a 3.5" so expect to custom mount pretty much the entire set.

Amplifier

Mounting/Install ease - Ok, mine was missing its mounting feet. I was able to fab a bracket and get it mounted. The plugs for speakers and power made the install 1000 times easier than any other amp I've used. I wish everybody would do that. However I did lose a setscrew somewhere between the bench and my car, so... don't do that, lol. The xover settings took some getting used to as well, but nothing show stopping.

Heat dissipation - I feel no heat, but I'm probably pushing 60w - 80w at any given moment seeing as how it's running my mids and highs.

Background noise/hiss/pops etc - I hear background hiss when my gain was at 3/4 and my ear was on the tweeter. Under normal conditions, the only noise you'll hear will be in your source material, e.g. poor quality mp3s.

Overall SQ vs stock (to my ears of course, wish I had an analyser) - Overall it's great. I can play my stereo with some authority now without distortion. Well worth the time and money.

Performance vs price - 9/10 - On my bench, I played a 60hz tone into a fostgate 6x9 until I first heard the speaker start to distort. I was able to measure an estimated output of 22w. At 1kHz, I got 40w. I know a speaker's impedance changes with frequency, therefore my ratings could be way off. But you may not realize how unbearable it is to hear a 100+ decibel sine wave from 6 ft away. Also, the amp never even got warm, so it clearly had more headroom. I do wish I had a scope to see if the amp was ever clipping, but they are soooo expensive.

Drawbacks/limitations if any - Size I guess. It was much larger than my 500w class d amp, but that's to be expected with A/B amps.

So far, I'm super happy, and I haven't even installed my 6.5s yet. I highly recommend both these products, unless you just want a small class d full range amp. There are good class d's, but I'm hardheaded and must have A/B for my fullrange.

Thanks for reading!

Brandon
 

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Nice review. I'm the same way about wanting a/b for fullrange. I'm not sure how the newer fullrange d amps are but I can hear a big difference between a good a/b amp and a first generation pdx5. There's an even bigger difference when you throw a super small fullrange d amp in the mix (ppi atom).
 
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