from A(udiobahn) to Z(apco) amps, what makes it so good or bad? - diyAudio
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Old 11th February 2006, 01:57 PM   #1
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Default from A(udiobahn) to Z(apco) amps, what makes it so good or bad?

from amp makers from A to Z, what makes them so good or high quality?

yall guys here are pretty well into the architecture of the amp design, what makes one amp better than another?

either good or bad, but some amps i can think of are like: Audiobahn, JL-audio, MTX, RFosgate, Phoenix Gold.

what are some of the things that amp today are better than 5-10yrs ago?
what are some of the stuff(circuit or whatever) thats on the amp of a competitor offer that no other competitor offered?
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Old 12th February 2006, 01:21 AM   #2
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From my experience, most (not all) of the budget amplifiers use the cheapest components/circuits possible. Exxamples:

Circuit boards:
Virtually all of the cheaper class AB amps use single-sided boards which can have serious problems with broken solder connections. This doesn't happen with double sided boards used in the higher quality amps. To use plated feedthroughs, you have to use fiberglass boards. Cheaper amps use CEM boards. CEM can't be used with plated feedthroughs. If the manufacturer uses a double-sided CEM board, they have to use wire jumpers to connect the top of the board to the bottom of the board. If the wire jumpers are not properly designed, they will cause problems.

Output transistors:
Many of the budget amps use the absolute minimum quantity of output transistors possible. Even if they have the same number of outputs as a better/higher quality amp, the current rating is often much lower. For example, one audiobahn amp I repaired used outputs rated at 12 amps each. An older autotek rated similarly woud have used the same quantity of outputs but the outputs were rated for 25 amps of current.

Often, the cheaper amps use regulators that are inexpensive but overheat and, in time, will cause problems.

Cheap amps have significantly more problems with shorted transformars than higher quality amps. In 20 years, I've seen no more than 3 or 4 bad transformers in the better amps (Rockford, MTX...). I see at least one shorted transformer a week in cheaper amps. The insulation on the enamel is very thin and the windings are wound in a way that causes them to grind into each other when the amp is subjected to vibration.

Poor mechanical design:
There are some class D amps that have virtually no support for the circuit boards. Due to the high mass of the on-board components, the amplifiers simply tear themselves apart when subjected to vibration.

Shortcuts on circuits:
Higher quality amplifiers will use a few extra components (for current mirrors and such) if it will make the amplifier marginally better. That's rare in cheap amplifiers.

In the cheaper amps, you can almost be guaranteed intermittant switch contacts after about a year. Better amps use better switches.

From my experience, the amps made by the higher end manufacturers are good for 10 years of service before they fail or start to have problems (unless abused). Cheaper amplifiers are typically good for about a year before they begin having problems.

One thing that most people don't realize is that there are not that many unique amplifiers. Most all of the budget amps are made by one or two manufacturers. The schematic for one brand will work for many other brands. Amps from Rockford, MTX, JL... are, for the most part unique. Many of the budget amp companies are nothing more than marketing companies and have no hand in the design of the amp other than the outer appearance.
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Old 14th February 2006, 01:46 PM   #3
profuse is offline profuse  United States
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Join Date: Feb 2006
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my original sn is being sorted out by an admin, i think. i hope itll be sorted out soon.

thanks for ur expertise, got more sense of it now.
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