why are old school amps worth so much?

I see broken old school amps on ebay and even blown they are worth so much. I wonder why are amps from 80s and 90s so special?
I know most of them are made in USA but that should just not be the main factor. I worked for precision power here in phoenix until they got sold to MTX and ultimatly outsourced to China. When I worked for PPI most of people that assabled amps were from east asia working for minimum wage. The craftsmanship should not differ that much in this case.

So why are broken olds school amps worth more than brand new ones that are working in same power rating???
They come from a time when companies cared.
They cared about build quality, reliability, sound.

Much easier to repair, no pissy ceramic daughter cards.
No surface mount with 'leached' end caps.

They (usually) looked like an amplifier.

If the spec's said it did 100wrms, that's what it did.

Of the amps I have owned and worked on, I have kept the older ones.

Simple amps without flashing leds and neons everywhere.

Most of the new stuff is chinese/tiawanese cheap junk that fails when pushed.
Off shore made amps aren't that cheap, except on e-bay maybe with no warranty.
You go to a brick and mortar store and check see what those cheap offshore amps sell for with dealer mark up and salesman over pricing, and it becomes apparent why American made products are is much demand.
Even in Europe PG old school amps go for bank. They used to cost three to four times what they did here in America anyway. <mostly due to import tariff's> Something we no longer have here in the good old USA.

Plus last I saw there was a slight issue of all the unemployed American's Thanks to offshore manufacturing just ask around.

Then there is the highly questionable quality issue of the final product. Only certain companies actually make offshore builders follow American standards on build quality.

A large number of companies no longer even employ a in house engineer, just sales people. So why believe in their Name, when thats all it is a name.
Following a name brand nowadays is foolish, mostly due to international manufacturing.

When you want a quality car you think German and Japanese, well there all made here in the US nowadays. Several industry's including the electronics industry have abandoned the US entirely for manufacturing, so there is a certain amount of backlash to be expected from that. IMO

I can keep all my old school amps running just fine, so why spend money in China. Why buy new amps every three years or less with some brands out there.
Any industry will tend to promote and pump business, and the easiest way is to build lifespan limited products. And IMO that whats coming out of China. Short lived products via reduced manufacturing standards.

Remember car makers could build you a car that lasts a lifetime Bentley does and so does Rolls Royce, but look at what they cost. Now apply these facts to Chinese built car audio products...DUH... it does not fit , not at all....

Plus you wanted cheap electronics in your life so you got your wish, and middle men kept their percentages, all at the expense of the product lifespan. IMO

I would rather buy and rebuild a US Made product that I can keep running on my own. I have never had a factory replace anything electronic I ever bought, so why start now just because they have margins so large they can afford to replace your blown Chinese made amp 2 or 3 times without question, and still make million doing that...

Sorry you got me started, its hard to see a great American industry get bush whacked like this one has been...
I think a lot of it has to do with nostalgia. There were a lot of people who couldn't afford the amp they wanted when they were younger. Now that they have a bit of disposable income and still need a good amp for their vehicle, they are buying the old school suff.

It's a shame that the younger generations know nothing about quality. Virtually everything they buy is disposable. They expect to buy a new amp every couple of years. Much of the older equipment was good for 10+ years of reliable service. I regularly see old Punch, Autotek and Orion amps that have been in use since the 80s and have never needed to be repaired. Many times, when they fail the failure is from random component failure due to age, not poor design. $30 worth of parts and the amp is good for another 10 years.
Back then, I was more into US Amps, ESX, Orion and such. The best old school amps I have ever used were US AMPS. If I still owned a few, I would run them today.

Today I use DLS Ultimate series. I consider them to be the best of what is available today in the mid-high end car amplifier section.
MadMutt said:
They come from a time when companies cared.
They cared about build quality, reliability, sound.

Much easier to repair, no pissy ceramic daughter cards.
No surface mount with 'leached' end caps.

They (usually) looked like an amplifier.

If the spec's said it did 100wrms, that's what it did.


I still have a Technics SU-Z1 amplifier from long long ago, used almost every day on the TV system. The thing is built like a tank, only plastic parts are the switches and VU meters. There was a time long ago where as a kid I used to power home made speaker experiments off of it, let's just say these were VERY low impedance lol.

To this day the only problems I've had with that amp are burnt out light bulbs (replaced them with LEDs) and worn out potentiometers.

Edit: woops, just realized this was in the car audio section. Oh well, the facts are still valid.
*LOL* You mean all the fets individually bolted to the chassie with 2x more thermal paste than needed? hahaha. I used them in competition for years. I actually never killed a US amps and I drove them hard enough to fry eggs on daily. I will never forget CES in like 98 when US amps used a VLX400 as a welder, made a nice bead hahaha! Now that is harcore build quality right there.
US Amps would also do a pencil demo where they would sharpen a pencil at both ends, clip the outputs to the pencil and run a sine wave into the input. The wood on the pencil would explode off and leave a glowing carbon rod.

(other high current amps will do this also along with weld pop cans)

I wonder what would happen if this was done with a new audiobahn.
hakentt said:
whats the oldest amp ever? What company started making amps for Car Audio?

A/D/S was first, followed by a little company by the name of Fosgate without the Rockford back then.

A/D/S started back in mid to late 70's with the A/D/S 2001 bi-amped two way speaker system. 20 watts to a tweeter, and 30 or 40 watts to a 51/4 mid-bass driver. Price was over $600.00 (Circa 1976 of there abouts) It was a power plate type amp If my memory is working right tonight.

I ran Kenwood home amp powered by 12 volt inverter into three way book shelf speaker at that time.

Push Pull transformer coupled amps mounted on the back of Kraco 6X9's were king back then and 8 track tapes were all the rage. Cassette tapes were just a babe in the woods for cars anyway lol lol lol

I was fresh out of high school...:)
VT67 said:
Hmmm, I still have two unused REFERENCE CLASS A 10.0 from Soundstream.


I have never, ever seen a real true class A production amp for a car. Something to do with the 10 to 11% maximum efficiency possible on these types of amps, I.E. 30 watts out has to have 300 watts in while being able to fry bacon on the sinks at the same time also....No matter how you try you can't break the laws of physic's and that includes SoundStream and PPI...

They were all class AB with either elaborate bias drive circuits that kept them in class A for the first ten watts or so ( reference early Alphasonic amps) then switched back to AB. Or they were just plain AB amps biased so high that you could cook eggs on them at low volumes, with big film caps inside the amp to get tube like sound characteristics by using tube like components to do so ( SoundStream Class A and PPI has these large film caps)

Most car amp makers knew from the out set that somethings were unachievable in a car amp, but that never kept them from Bull Shecking the market place though lol lol lol Plus there have never ever been any real federal statutes that made the car amp industry tell the truth about real power, and true design disclosure to the public.
The Home and Commercial and Industrial Sound people had IHF < Institute of High Fidelity" and the Fed regulating what a Watt was and how it should be delivered and tested, and assured in compliance with the Fair Trade Commission < FTC> rulings way back when foreign imports threatened the audio industry... Ahh if they could only see the foreign import issue now LOL LOL LOL Amazing how things change.. But back then a true American Industry was trying to protect its market now who knows...:whazzat: