Amplifier Help!

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Amplifier Help!

Postby Johnny Chopsticks on Jan Fri 22, 2010 1:14 am

Okay, so I've decided to upgrade my speakers in my car and need some advice from the audiophiles on this forum. I'm in dire need of some opinions on which amplifier I should select. I have a budget set, so I've listed the 3 main amps I'm extremely pulled toward. I know that there are better amps out there, like JL, but I just don't have the budget for it. The speakers I've already intended on using and have purchased are:

Infinity Kappa 462.9cfp 4x6 plate speakers.
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_13966_Infinity+Kappa+462.9cfp.html
Specs:
RMS: 60W each speaker
MAX: 180W each speaker
Impedance is either 2 or 4 ohms (websites list them differently, so I'm not sure)

Also, I know that all 3 amplifiers are Kenwoods, but I currently use two Kenwood mono blocks for my subs and am now totally biased into using Kenwood again. Besides, I've read some scary reviews on other comparable amps that tends to lead me back to these 3... (P.S. class-D does NOT mean Digital!)

Kenwood KAC-X4R
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_12053_Kenwood+eXcelon+KAC-X4R.html
Basically, a 4-channel class-D digital amplifier. Getting harder to find, since this was a 2008 model. However, many customers stand by this amp 110%.

Kenwood eXcelon XR-4S
http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Car_Entertainment/eXcelon/Amplifiers/XR-4S
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_18457_Kenwood+eXcelon+XR-4S.html
A more compact 4-channel class-D digital amplifier. In the end, it might have to be this amp due to its small size. I don't have much room in my car for bigger amps. However, I have heard (very few) complaints on this amp when attempting to reproduce higher frequencies.

Kenwood eXcelon X600F
http://www.kenwoodusa.com/Car_Entertainment/eXcelon/Amplifiers/X600F
http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_18610_Kenwood+eXcelon+X600F.html
A 4-channel class-A/B amplifier. A little big, but I'm currently measuring if it will fit in my left hatch pocket.


I read that typically, A/B amps are better for reproducing higher frequencies, but are not nearly as efficient or compact as class D amps, and tend to get hot. However, class D's tend to have difficulties with higher frequencies, but this is supposedly dated information. I read that now many class D amps can be compared to A/B amps in music reproduction quality. But I would tend to believe that that would be in higher quality amps. Remember, the amp would only be used for the Infinity's, so bass would not ever be the issue. I want to choose the best amp for the job, given that I can fit it, and that it doesn't overheat. My current order of preference is:

#1: X600F - Pros: easy to find online for good price, class A/B. Cons: Large, can overheat being A/B, larger current draw

#2: KAC-X4R - Pros: Class D (efficient, inexpensive), Digital amp. Cons: Class D (SQ), large, harder to find online now.

#3: XR-4S - Pros: Compact, Class D (effic., inexp), Digital amp. Cons: Class D (SQ), few customer issues.


I'm not intending for my car to be a comp audio vehicle, but would like to be able to turn up the volume once in a while and not have the speakers beg for more juice. They're currently being powered by the deck (50Wx5, for 5.1 surround), and distort when I start pushing the speakers past 30 (the volume control on the deck ranges from 0 to 40) when the car is turned off, and distort at about 35+ when the car is running. I know one issue I need to perform is the Big 3.

Thanks in advance for your input guys.
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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Checkers on Jan Fri 22, 2010 3:52 pm

Talk to Rennwagens.
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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Mikewire on Jan Fri 22, 2010 5:17 pm

Mind.blown.

I have insufficient input on this, but I would also say talk to Aeron (Rennwagen1)

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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby bmx_a4 on Jan Fri 22, 2010 10:42 pm

My car has speakers and the radio works and it plays CDs (sometimes, haha) and my cassette adapter plays my iPod really well. :)


I prefer hearing the motor more than the music. haha

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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Rennwagen1 on Jan Sat 23, 2010 11:19 am

Hello!

Your limiting factor here is oging to be that you are using 4x6 speakers, that, even though they are the plate style, are not going to reproduce sound very well at large volumes, either amp's or not. I think you are difintiely going the right way by amping them, so that you can make sure that they are getting cleam power and they are crossed over correctly. I would suggest the amp that is best going to work for your available space, budget, and sound preferences. I would say that unless you were in a very quiet room(not a car) and were able to compare the A/B to the -D just by switching inputs, you would have a hard time telling them apart. Personally I would suggest an A/B amp, but that is just me. I have used some -D 4 channel amps and have had problems with them occasionally. Also, you are never going to overheat an amp that is putting out 1/2 power to a set of 4x6 plates. I have competed in car audio for years, and I have never seen any amp that was installed correctly and tuned correctly overheat. And we are talking SPL sub amps here too. I would count out overheating altogether. If one of the models has built-in fans, then that would be a plus, but that is about it.n I would be more worried about those other kenwoods that are right underneath the backglass of your car overheating on a hot day(If I leave our sound-Q C5 Corvette with the rear racing the sun, I can get the sub amp to get really hot and protect itself, but I have to be really trying at it!)then I would about your 4ch amp.

BTW I am still using the original Kenwood eXcelon X501F AND X401M amps, and the KDC-X911 deck. I bought those in '98, and they are still going strong. Would I change them if I had a bunch of extra cash lying around, probably. Would I really need to, absolutely not. I am probably the only career stereo installer that has never changed his equipment! Wait I take that back, I have had 4 differents subs, and I have changed the install a few times, but the rest is the same! You can see pics of the install in my member thread.

LMK if you have any other questions,
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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Johnny Chopsticks on Jan Sat 23, 2010 11:48 am

Thanks a bunch Aeron, your input has helped drastically. I'm going to measure my hatch space today and determine if the X600F fits where I'm planning on installing it. I know that 4x6 is not an ideal speaker to be using, but that's really the only option I have unless I decide to modify my door panels (maybe one day...). Also, speaker depth is an issue in the fronts because the window rail track runs directly behind the door speakers, restricting mounting depth. I do plan on installing either 6" or 8" in the hatch someday to help with mid-bass. Also, would 16ga speaker wire be sufficient? I've read on other forums and help sites that either 14ga or 12ga is preferable, but I think that is just overkill.

I do know what you mean about my subwoofer amps getting hot when exposed to the sun. When this is the case, I always make sure that my audio system is not running (at least at even half power) to prevent any damage to either my amps or subs. I actually use a blanket to drape over the back of the sub box when I park my car to protect the amps and wiring from the sun, and prevent prying eyes from seeing it through the tint. I wouldn't want to come back to a car with a smashed hatch glass and missing stereo...

I love the pictures of your install, it looks very meticulous and clean. Do the amps have any issue with dissipating heat, being enclosed behind your rear seats?

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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Rennwagen1 on Jan Sun 24, 2010 4:59 pm

yeah I know where you are coming from with the porsche holes, I have tried to find ways to get bigger speakers in them, but it is just not in the cards, ya know? Also, you won't want to put a smaller sub in the rear for mid-bass, it will sound like crap. If you must to somethiing, you will want to built some custom kick panels in the front and use some well-powered well-crossedover 6.6" midbass drivers. to be perfectly honest, a good set of 4x6 plates is about the best sound you are going to get without any major modifications, and with the infinity speakers you have, you are about at the top of the list. Just make sure you have them crossed over correctly, and don't over power them, regardless of what thier "peak" power handling is. 16 or even 18 awg speaker wire will be just fine. Any bigger than that, and you are wasting money.

I have never had my amps overheat in 12 years. Now I did have a rockford amp catch on fire(literally, flames out the cooling slots in the side! In my trunk!!) once in early '98, though, and then I vowed never to use thier product again. GOt the amp warrantied, and sold the RF amp and sub I had, and moved on.....My kenwooods both have built in cooling fams, and they come on automatically when they turn on, so that might have something to do with it.
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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Johnny Chopsticks on Jan Tue 26, 2010 5:51 pm

Well my patience paid off on deciding what amp to buy. I ended up bidding on a Kenwood X600F amp on Ebay (New open box) in the last 5 seconds (I know I'm a jerk) and won it for half of what Crutchfield charges for one. Biggest dilemma now is that it won't fit where I was planning on installing it, in one of the rear quarter panel pockets. So now I'll be taking out my spare tire...

Regardless, the X600F was the amp I actually wanted, so I'm not complaining. Besides, now I'll have room for when/if I install another battery. My speakers came in earlier this week, and I just ordered all the wiring and other installation components from Darvex.com on Monday (they shipped it all within 20 mins of me placing my order!). So by Friday I'll have everything arrive in the mail, except the amp. Also, my gf will be gone this weekend, so it looks like I'll be spending quite some time in the garage...

I'll be sure to take some pics of my progress, but I think it'll be maybe a month before it's all done (going to school for Mechanical Engineering = No Life).
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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Johnny Chopsticks on Jan Sun 31, 2010 12:46 am

Damn, I just spent 12 hours straight in the garage. But I finished everything that I could do, without going to the hardware store for parts. I even re-installed my Pioneer deck and decided to solder all the connections...

Since I was lucky enough to have nearly no homework this weekend, my original guess of one month for the completion is now looking more like 2 weekends. I just have to put some dielectric grease on some fittings, then wait for the amp to arrive Monday.

By the way, 1/0 gauge power wire is a BITCH to run through a 944. I even got special Stinger oval wire to help in flexibility, but I still think I threw out my back...
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Re: Amplifier Help!

Postby Johnny Chopsticks on Feb Fri 05, 2010 3:07 am

It's about 2am Thursday night (Friday morning?) because I decided to finish up my new amp install...

So I finish the final bits of wiring to the battery, and pray that everything works. I attempt to start my car (I replaced the wires that go from the negative battery post to the chassis and the engine block with 1/0 wire)... It starts! But what's that I hear?

GODDAMN ALTERNATOR NOISE!!! How did this happen? I didn't have any issues with alternator noise with my previous two amp installs. I hear it whether the stereo is on or off.

So then I kill the engine. Yay, no more alternator noise! And the radio sounds pretty good too! Until... I choose the multi-cd changer. And now I'm hearing the damn LASER through my speakers as it is reading the discs! AGH!

Aeron, please tell me what I might be doing wrong. I grounded my new amp to the same location as my other amps (which never had issues before). One possibility for hearing my multi-cd is that the the passenger side speaker wires do come across the power wire and deck receiver wire of the multi-cd changer. I'll try to re-route the two cd changer wires and see if that fixes it.

But what can I do about the alternator noise? Would a ground loop isolator help? Or do I have to wire all my amp grounds back to the negative battery terminal? Cuz that would be a b*tch...

Thanks for your help in advance Aeron (and anyone else with any ideas!), and I apologize for any lack of clarity, it is 2am... :retard:
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