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XR-5S vs. HD900/5

4302 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Chaos
I've heard great things about both of these amps (Kenwood eXcelon XR-5S and JL Audio HD900/5) and am considering both.

Either way I'd be bridging the main four channels to stereo to power my components (possibly going active in the future) and running the sub channel at 2 ohms to a 10W3v3.

I think the XR-5S will be a touch more powerful on the main channels (though to a questionable extent) and the HD900/5 would clearly provide more power to the sub, but is it worth the significant price difference?

The small size of these amps appeals to me greatly, not to mention the fact that they're all-in-one solutions. I know that there are pros to running separate amps, but I just can't do that right now in this vehicle.

I'm hoping some of you here have heard/used both of these amps and can make a recommendation. The HD is nice, but it's a good bit more you think it's worth that much more?
Will one of these amps be cleaner than the other?

Help is appreciated!
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They should both have a low noise floor.
Power is 150w less on XR sub channel.

If you want the best sound for your money, buy the XR for half of the JL and put that money into DSP and/or better speakers or into a better install.
XR-5s...80x4, 350x1, avg Ebay pricing of around $375 shipped...about $.56/W

Hd900/5...100x4, 500x1, avg Ebay pricing of around $850...about $.94/W

Both units were new. Didn't check to see if they were authrorized.
Probably not, since most manufacturers don't like their dealers selling on Ebay....which means no warranty unless you pay extra for one.

Looks like you could probably do (2!) XR-5s for less money and bridge them for more power....but they'd take up more space.

In order for a 900/5 to be competitive (value wise) it would need to be about $504 shipped.

I doubt you'd find a new one for that, tho.

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So, I'm getting the feeling that the JL just isn't worth the extra cash. Having the extra power on-hand for my sub sounds really appealing, but if that's the only benefit to the JL then I'd have to agree that it's not worth it.

I've just heard so many people raving about the JL HD amps. I figured I'd ask if they were really that great.

I guess people are just happy to have lots of power in a compact chassis that sounds better than the original PDX?
The JL has a reputation for being extremely reliable and versatile. JL can charge that price because the brand name is respected because of those factors. Check out the Zed Leviathan.

Supposedly the new Alpine PDX amps are much better than the last gen.
Check out the Zed Leviathan.
I'll second that. Unless space is a HUGE issue, I wouldn't ever consider the HD900/5 when you can pick up the Leviathan for under $600. You get 175x6/600x3 bridged in a footprint that's basically 9.5" x 16". Plus, you could use it to go active and still have more power per channel than either of the other two. Basically, if space is a huge issue, go with the Kenwood. If you're considering spending JL money, find a way to fit the Leviathan instead. ;) FWIW, you won't notice much of a difference on the sub channel with 150 extra watts. You're talking about maybe a 1db difference, which is hardly a perceived increase in output. You could get more from putting the sub in a vented enclosure vs. sealed, etc.
The Leviathan looks tasty, however it would end up being a mess right now. My sub (which I took great care to find a space for that wouldn't render my cargo space unusable, so it stays) is a single 2 ohm. I just see a lot of channels going unused. Might have to pick one up for a future install though! Thanks for that suggestion.

I guess I'm limiting myself a good bit, but I'll probably be sticking with small-ish 5-channel amps. I like having the option to go active in the future...perhaps the near future.

Are there others that are even worth considering? I looked at the JL XD 5-channel, and I don't see many other options out there that aren't surfboards. I haven't seen amps as big as some of these 5-channels (excluding the WarHorse) since the old PPI's and Orions. That alone makes me wish I had more room!
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Ok, I'm kind of switching gears slightly, with things. Still looking for a solid 5-channel that I can bridge and eventually run active components with as well as a decent sub channel. I was initially looking at these tiny amps because my mounting area is limited in a single dimension (what will ultimately be width) and because, well...such tiny amps are a really cool concept to me.

After thinking it over and measuring a bit (thanks to you guys suggesting the Leviathan), I think some of the larger 5-channels will fit just fine. And believe me, I'd love to get the Leviathan and bridge two channels to the sub, but running the bridged channels at 2-ohms is a no-go from what I've been reading, so the 6-channel configuration is somewhat problematic.

So, given the width constraints, I've looked at the Kicker ZX700.5 because I can get it brand new with 2-year warranty from an authorized dealer for $330. I've also been intrigued by the Image Dynamics i5800. I don't think I can get anything wider than the Kicker, and I don't think anything much longer than either of these amps will fit either. I know Kicker makes dependable amps, but wasn't sure about the ID. I know their drivers are outstanding, but I've never used their amps and there isn't a lot out there on this one, though I gather that it's a lower-end model compared to their Q series.

So, I guess I'm asking more about the ID than anything. Didn't want to start a new thread for the question. I'm somewhat open to recommendations on other 5-channels that will give me at least 150x2 bridged for the components and 350+ for a sub. I'm following a couple of other threads regarding 5-channels amps for suggestions. I'm not totally against two amps but I am leaning considerably towards a single-amp solution.

So what are your thoughts, folks?

Thanks again for your input.
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FWIW, I recently asked myself the same question about the 900/5 vs. XR-5S, and determined that the amount of extra power offered by the JL was not worth the price premium.

Regardless, if you can fit the Kicker 5ch, that sounds like the best value, and they are solid amps.
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