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Discussion Starter #1
What are the pros/cons of each?

regulated
unregulated
 

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regulated will supply a constant voltage to the amp, no matter what the input is (within reason) so say your car is jumping between 13 and 14 volts. the regulated PS will convert that into a constant 14v (or whatever the power supply is rated to put out) as a result the output will not fluctuate as much as a non regulated unit.

unregulated just takes whatever it is given. so if your car only puts out 13v then thats what the amp will run at. and as a result it will put out less power than it would at 14.4v

hope that makes sense
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It did, I just thought there was more to it than that. Thanks
 

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i think the main advantages for reg ps is simply making rated power 10-14 v input ,the drawback is the lower input volt is the more current drawn and power supply effic. drops as well , between 12 and 14 v their can be a diff of 15-20 more amps drawn to increase pulse with and keep it regulated in a 500w clas a-b, typically reg amps are more exp. to manuf. due to more hi quality parts needed to make it reliable ,expls. ppi art, almost any zed audio design ,arc audio ,zapco,s jl audios,etc are all stiffly regulated but doesnt always mean better sq, my adcom 4404 is unregulated and the best amp ive ever listened to old or new
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I understand that at different input voltages (12-14v) you will see a difference in power produced. Hopefully the 2006 regulations help control that. I was just wondering if there is a difference in sound quality produced, not just power produced. The USA TU600 I am looking at is unregulated whereas my DLS is a regulated supply. I happen to think that the TU600 is a better amp than my current A3.
 

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i wish i new the answer to that q for myself,basically its down to design itself-us amps have emplyed unregulated ps since the beginning they are reliable and sound good, ive owned 1 older us amps , it used the same transistors -tip 35-36-as regulated zapco , zed audio designs and i thought it sounded good comparable to both,i have listened to an dls a 2 and it sounded better than i thought it would, for a new amp surprising,i have never listened to the tu600, my fav. reg ps amp has been my old harman kardon tc 400q- but my unregulated adcom pruduces a wider and hifher soundstage and is my fav to date, maybe some others can compare from wich they have had in the past
 

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Back from the dead!:p

Does anyone have anymore to add to this subject? I am looking at some old school amps that have regulated and unregulated power.

Will unregulated power draw more on an electrical system?

Has anyone compared the two?

Any other thoughts?
 

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all car audio amps have a form of a regulated power supply. It switches DC to AC back to DC and is called a switch-mode-power-supply.;)

The other regulation built into all amps is the reserve capacitance on the input side of the PS and the rail capacitance on the output side.

The only thing that stiffer regulation might do is prevent sagging voltage rails used for the output stage...which affects output power.

Regulation can take on many forms of meaning, but the simplest answer is that it only affects power output, power supplys have no "SQ".
 

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:edit double post
 

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all car audio amps have a form of a regulated power supply. It switches DC to AC back to DC and is called a switch-mode-power-supply.;)

The other regulation built into all amps is the reserve capacitance on the input side of the PS and the rail capacitance on the output side.

The only thing that stiffer regulation might do is prevent sagging voltage rails used for the output stage...which affects output power.

Regulation can take on many forms of meaning, but the simplest answer is that it only affects power output, power supplys have no "SQ".
Thanks for the reply Durwood.

So if I understand this correctly if it is unregulated then the output power is not consistent?

If this is so then when you have an unregulated amp running with all your accessories you will not be getting full power from your amp? Of course this is vehicle/electrical system specific right? Or am I not grasping this?
 

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Thanks for the reply Durwood.

So if I understand this correctly if it is unregulated then the output power is not consistent?

If this is so then when you have an unregulated amp running with all your accessories you will not be getting full power from your amp? Of course this is vehicle/electrical system specific right? Or am I not grasping this?
If it's regulated then the maximum power output of the amp will remain constant regardless of voltage the input voltage fluctuation... GIVE OR TAKE!

Un regulated designs fall in output as input supply voltage drops and can gain in max output as input supply voltage raises. Some would run higher supply voltage to "cheater" amps to gain more output.

One important thing to remember... the specified amount of voltage gain will remain consistent regardless of input voltage, in unregulated designs it's just the rail voltage that increases/decreases thus dictating at which point the amp clips.
 

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Thanks for the reply Durwood.

So if I understand this correctly if it is unregulated then the output power is not consistent?

If this is so then when you have an unregulated amp running with all your accessories you will not be getting full power from your amp? Of course this is vehicle/electrical system specific right? Or am I not grasping this?

I'd have to go find Thylanter's posts and then do some digging to find the old Richard Clark posts, but RC did some tests back in the day with supposed "regulated" amps vs non-regulated and found that if the input voltage sagged (12V in), the output suffered as well. Sagging = less voltage. So what are they "regulating"?

What does this mean? Test your amps to find out. Are there any amps out there that rate the power output the same regardless of battery input voltage?

"Regulation" is such a broad term. It can mean anything when it coems from marketing. What's it regulating? Input voltage? Rail voltage? Power output in regards to speaker loading? Who knows?

Test your amps to find out. Sorry not one blanket statement that is the end all be all answer.
 

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I think this topic is very confusing and manufacturers who
make product don't help to explain this. You have to dig
deep into electronics to understand the roots.

This a decent explaination.
http://www.bcae1.com/regunreg.htm

They explain the generic idea behind un-regulated and
regulated. Regulated monitors the output and makes
adjustments to try to hold the output the same. The key
word is 'tries'. The un-regulated may be also regulated,
but without monitoring so it would be a loosely regulated
power supply.

In the link above, they explain stiffly regulated, tightly
regulated, moderately regulated. This is not the electronics
explaination, but rather a basic explaination that helps people understand.

This might give you a deeper understanding of how this
really works. It's the best link I can find right now.

http://www.rantec.com/L2A_Prod/LowVoltage/LVAN/LVAN_HDMA105.pdf

It will explain line and load regulation and there is
a formula. When you design a power supply, this is
the thought process. Car audio amplifiers have DC-DC
converters aka switch mode power supplies [SMPS] and
the article is actually for a certain brand of converter.

The electronics answer is a power supply will have a
certain % Line regulation and a % Load regulation vs.
marketing jingle.
 

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One important thing to remember... the specified amount of voltage gain will remain consistent regardless of input voltage, in unregulated designs it's just the rail voltage that increases/decreases thus dictating at which point the amp clips.
Thanks for the replies guys.:)

So according to what your saying Chad is if the voltage increases on a non regulated amp the likelihood of clipping is increased?

I am asking all of this because I am looking into some old school amps. Some have regulated power some do not. I am just trying to figure out what the differences are in quality.

For example - Back in the day PP had the Art series which I was told are regulated and they also had the sedonna series which were non-regulated. I was told that was basically the only difference between the two. Does the regulated power source make that much difference?
 

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So according to what your saying Chad is if the voltage increases on a non regulated amp the likelihood of clipping is increased?
The opposite, the more voltage you have available at the rails the LESS likelyhood you have at clipping at a given input level, think of it as a "headroom increase"
 

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The opposite, the more voltage you have available at the rails the LESS likelyhood you have at clipping at a given input level, think of it as a "headroom increase"
Gotcha! Thanks!
 

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Zapco from the early mid 90s were touted as Unregulated, maybe they were just less regulated that others..

One of the Things Unregulated was supposed to do is give you more dynamic headroom.. Old Zapco amps were said to have 6db dynamic headroom..

I am not sure how much is real or marketing, but i do know we tried hard to get 14v at the amps in the trunk, of course this would make more power on loosely regulated/unregulated power supplies..
 

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The amplifier headroom is limited to it's rail voltage [lets ignore losses].

The old Zapco's I used were +/- 40v rails, the rails could
sag down to +/- 30v under stress, lets say a nasty bass
burp.

Dynamic headroom: What does this word mean? Dynamic
to me means that the headroom is changing.

With no load, the headroom on any amplifier has to be
rail voltage. I usually just call this clipping headroom to
be specific.

You can caculate the theoretic power if you know the
rail voltage and load.

+/- 40v rails [peak];

I usually subtract 5v for losses. The net is +/- 35V [peak]

The rms of 35v is;

35v * 0.707 = 24.7v rms

A 4 ohm load ?

24.7^2 / 4 ohms = 152 watts rms, 304 watts peak.

That is the amplifiers upper limit.

But there is loading effects caused by the amplifier design
and the amount of loading is a variable.

That Zapco under load if measured +/- 30v, then
for that moment in time, you can calculate some stuff.

You probably have 17.6v rms and 77 watts @ 4ohms.

If you did a sine wave test under load and measured
this voltage across a 4 ohm load, then you know it's
77 watts. A burst test superimposed on this has potential to
give you ~150w peak.

This amplifier has potential to do a few things.

1. Potential to do 150w rms which is 300w peak.
2. Potential to do 75w rms under heavy stress.

How do you market this amplifier?

If you market the amplifeir as 150w/ch with 3dB of dynamic headroom, then it's normal.

If you market the amplifier as 150w/ch with 6dB of
headroom, then the amplifier is a lie.

If you market the amplifier as 75w rms with 6dB of
headroom, then the amplifier looks awesome.

It's the same stupid amplifier, the way it's marketed
can make it look lame, normal, or sweet.
 
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