Ample room for a car amplfier

Ample room for a car amplifier

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Amplification in a car is not only desirable, it is a must if like us you want to be engaged by what you are listening to.

The “go to” upgrade for any car is usually speakers and for good reason. Car speakers require specific attributes to be designed into their fabric and construction in order to optimise them for off-axis listening and other, frankly, challenging mounting positions offered by vehicle manufacturers’ arbitrary approach to good sound.

However, in order for a speaker to function correctly, power needs to be matched properly. Running a new pair of speakers from an existing head unit in a car or even a factory fitted on board amplifier will definitely improve things however for the more discerning, it is important to have plenty of clean power in order to get the best out of your music. Most head units will run into significant distortion at around half volume and this distortion increases to ear damaging levels very quickly after this. This can be a major contributing factor to driver fatigue.

A well thought out and executed system install will bypass all opportunities for sound to be degraded in this way.  There are many different amplifiers available so how do you know which one will work best with your speakers? A good starting point is to look to your specialist installer for a recommendation. There is a trend toward smaller amplifiers which take up less space and can be hidden from view. This has become less of a challenge with the advent of class D technology. This technology has led to the almost miniaturisation of car amplifiers. An extremely efficient way to amplify signals,  class D was initially thought to be inferior to other amplifier topologies due to the lack of a feedback loop in the circuit’s design. Its use was therefore initially restricted to running subwoofers where raw power was felt  to be more important than sonic purity (not by me). However, this was very quickly rectified and class D now works well even for full bandwidth audio (Read all about it here: http://www.drivingsounds.co.uk/articles/driving-sounds-issue-4/class-system/).

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Hertz HDP amplifiers are fine examples of high power, low distortion designs and are perfect for driving matching speaker ranges such as Hertz Mille Pro and even Hertz Mille Legend. However, Mille Legend’s audiophile capability extends beyond the performance of HDP and would only be recommended where space is at an absolute premium. A better choice here would be the class AB attributes of Audison Voce amplifiers and in particular the stunningly accurate and flexible Voce AV 5.1K which offers three amplifying technologies in one box (class A, class AB and class D). It does need space however, but the sonic benefits are worthy of the extra effort your specialist would have to invest to find an out of the way place for it.

Apart from the topology or amplifying technology on board there is power of course. Once again, your specialist installer is the best person to advise on this. Purchasers of audio systems need to be very careful when matching power as it can be measured and expressed in many different ways and each will give a different number. There are also many other factors to be considered when assessing claimed specifications on paper (Read all about it here: http://www.drivingsounds.co.uk/articles/driving-sounds-issue-4/whats-watt/). The right amplifier is one that is capable of delivering power up to the maximum that your speakers will handle before running into audible distortion. To exceed the maximum power handling capability of a speaker will lead to intense heat (and ultimately light!) being generated which will almost certainly cause damage that is unlikely to be covered by warranty.

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High power does not necessarily indicate high quality. One of the best systems I have heard recently consists of Rainbow Germanium amplifiers driving Rainbow Profi speakers. This reproduces the most stunning performance I have heard in a car and is rarely played above half way. To put lesser amplifiers with such a stunning set of speakers would be to under value their ability. The trade off once again is size but a sacrifice well worth making in my opinion.

All of the amplifiers featured here are available for you to see first hand at your local FOUR MASTER. Famous for offering expert advice and installation services without a high pressure sell, FOUR MASTERS are happy to demonstrate different levels of amplification to the serious enquirer.

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