Old School Early 1990's Amp Guy


CRANK-IT

CarAudio.com Newbie
Nov 19, 2019
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0
USA
Hello! Thanks for having me in your amazing Forum! I'm very excited to meet some new friends and discuss car audio. It seems it's been a while since I was able to discuss this passion of mine with my friends since they all are now married with children and have long given up the passion / hobby / addiction.

I'm interested in learning more about the new school car audio systems as well but my passion remains and will always remain with the old school US made amplifiers that powered the systems from the early to mid 1990's.

Thanks again for having me in this amazing Forum! Very excited to learn more!
 

gunz4me2

Bat Country
10+ year member
Aug 12, 2009
1,666
33
Louisiana
I just want to point out that technology has come a LONG way since the 90s as someone who used to only run old school amplifiers. Power and efficiency are major pluses now compared to yesteryear. Plus, many amps from yesteryear also colored the sound with equalization or even order harmonic distortion and even a combination of the two.

Regardless, we have the luxury if freedom of choice so if 90s is what you want, by all means seek them out and run them! I'd still rock Zapco or Phoenix Gold amplifiers from that era on my mids and highs. Provided they were recapped because electrolytic capacitors do dry out over time.
 
OP
CRANK-IT

CRANK-IT

CarAudio.com Newbie
Nov 19, 2019
8
0
USA
Hi there, thanks for your reply and I do know that. I have heard that the old school amps are only good for the older cars as they draw to much on the newer cars.

I still like the old school amps as I heard they deliver a better sound than the digital amps but I can't speak from experience as I have never had the new school amps.
 

gunz4me2

Bat Country
10+ year member
Aug 12, 2009
1,666
33
Louisiana
Sound is relative since we are talking about the absolute worst reproduction environment for audio, i.e. the car itself. These days I go for power in a given footprint and efficiency. With enough power and equalization channels, I can get just about any sound that I want with a MMATS HIFI-6150D. I also ran a JL Audio HD 900/5 with good results. In all honesty, I tend to gain better sound quality from changing speakers and tuning than I ever did from an amplifier swap, unless the amplifier happened to be garbage to begin with.

My favorites prior to embracing full-range class d were Lunar and I actually became friends with the manufacurer/designer of those amplifiers. It's kind of sad that he no longer does car audio. :(

Then there is Linear Power... The mere mention of that name brings back PTSD... As in the absolute worst decision I ever made in car audio was to seek out old school Linear Power, which often required repair, then still didn't perform as expected after being repaired, no matter who repaired them... One of them had a power transformer that squealed like a pig, literally! One of the repair tech's solutions was to RTV the ever living p!ss out of it, and it still squealed... But hey, if you want a high voltage amplifier that barely has enough capacitance to maintain said voltage with the volume cranked and love a coloring of the sound, then by all means run them. They are NOT FOR ME!

As I stated, if I were to get all nostalgic again, 90s era Zapco or Phoenix Gold would be my choice as I always had good luck with them in the past and I preferred their clean sound compared to Rockford Fosgate, Orion, Autotek, Soundstream, and even some Precision Power (the Power Class speed bump looking amplifiers). Granted, the Precision Power black arts would be my third choice because I did like that particular series too back in the day. Another amp that I wanted to run back in the day was the Hifonics Zeus VII. Unfortunately mine was stolen before I ever had a chance to install it. :(
 
OP
CRANK-IT

CRANK-IT

CarAudio.com Newbie
Nov 19, 2019
8
0
USA
Wow great reply and very helpful! Thanks! I would like to ask you if you had the choice to run a Phoenix Gold Route 66 Amp or two Precision Power ProMos 425 (White Art Series) which would you choose? Sounds like you are not that much a fan of Precision Power (PPI). I really liked them both and did have them both and found them to be both great power plants.

Thanks again very insightful and helpful. Will really help myself and others wondering about the old school vs new school amp decision.
 

Bobbytwonames

CarAudio.com Elite
Aug 28, 2018
1,064
-183
I bought my first real system in 1989. I still remember the amps of those days. People really wanted Rockford (Power 300, 650, and 1,000), Nakamichi (PA400m and PA200), Orion High Current amps, ADS Power Plates, PPI Art Series, Hifonics, and of course Alpine. It might be hard to believe, but I paid $550 (not even installed) for a Sony Am/Fm. If you want to see something really old school cool, look up a Sony XK-8D. It's a half din powered slide out cassette player. MB quart mids and highs is what everybody wanted to run.
 
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gunz4me2

Bat Country
10+ year member
Aug 12, 2009
1,666
33
Louisiana
Wow great reply and very helpful! Thanks! I would like to ask you if you had the choice to run a Phoenix Gold Route 66 Amp or two Precision Power ProMos 425 (White Art Series) which would you choose? Sounds like you are not that much a fan of Precision Power (PPI). I really liked them both and did have them both and found them to be both great power plants.

Thanks again very insightful and helpful. Will really help myself and others wondering about the old school vs new school amp decision.
I have nothing against the ProMos, it's just the Power Class speedbump amps that I didn't like due to an install that I ran them in where they overheated. I blamed the compact design because nothing else ever overheated in that particular location whereas the audio shop blamed the amps being in the trunk. Forget the fact that the amps had many feet of nothing around them so they had plenty of room to breathe.

I'd only pick the Route 66 IF I could find one for a decent price. The last time I checked, people wanted a mint for a Route 66 in good condition. Barring not finding the Route 66 at a decent price, I'd rock the ProMos amplifiers. At one time I could get PPI amplifiers used at a decent price so if I could reapeat that, I'd have a repair tech run through and replace the electrolytic capacitors at a minimum and possibly upgrade the opamps and re-bias the amplifier so I could get a lot of life out of it.
 
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Louisiana_CRX

dem shoes......
10+ year member
Aug 22, 2006
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Piney Hills of Louisiana
I bought my first real system in 1989. I still remember the amps of those days. People really wanted Rockford (Power 300, 650, and 1,000), Nakamichi (PA400m and PA200), Orion High Current amps, ADS Power Plates, PPI Art Series, Hifonics, and of course Alpine. It might be hard to believe, but I paid $550 (not even installed) for a Sony Am/Fm. If you want to see something really old school cool, look up a Sony XK-8D. It's a half din powered slide out cassette player. MB quart mids and highs is what everybody wanted to run.
I have a couple of those XK-8Ds I ran one with a Sony CD player I believe the deck was a model CDX R88 in my 87 5.0 t top mustang back in the late 80s ..the only problem was getting the trey to open when I was in the upper gears it would hit the gear shift knob . The tape deck running lights were cool back then .
 
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OP
CRANK-IT

CRANK-IT

CarAudio.com Newbie
Nov 19, 2019
8
0
USA
I have nothing against the ProMos, it's just the Power Class speedbump amps that I didn't like due to an install that I ran them in where they overheated. I blamed the compact design because nothing else ever overheated in that particular location whereas the audio shop blamed the amps being in the trunk. Forget the fact that the amps had many feet of nothing around them so they had plenty of room to breathe.

I'd only pick the Route 66 IF I could find one for a decent price. The last time I checked, people wanted a mint for a Route 66 in good condition. Barring not finding the Route 66 at a decent price, I'd rock the ProMos amplifiers. At one time I could get PPI amplifiers used at a decent price so if I could reapeat that, I'd have a repair tech run through and replace the electrolytic capacitors at a minimum and possibly upgrade the opamps and re-bias the amplifier so I could get a lot of life out of it.
Thanks for the reply so if you had your choice of Route 66 vs. Two ProMos amps you'd go Route 66 then?
 

Louisiana_CRX

dem shoes......
10+ year member
Aug 22, 2006
38,905
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Piney Hills of Louisiana
Thanks for the reply so if you had your choice of Route 66 vs. Two ProMos amps you'd go Route 66 then?
Both would be good choices .. I use to have a lot of the Pro MOs amps .. I think 20 at one time .. but I think if it was me I’d run the promos ..I’ve never had a Route 66 but I did have a big Outlaw PG I think it was a similar amp but with two 425s I’d use one for subs the other for an active component set ..I still have PPI 1/2 din Crossover and EQ and some mid stinger accumatch so you can get more power to the midbass
 

NSTALN

Dismember
10+ year member
Mar 22, 2008
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Manchester, NH
I really liked the '90s single heatsink look for mutiple amps. Rockfords George Foreman-grille style, the Kicker ZR series, PPI Sedonas. With endcaps etc...I always thought it looked clean just seeing amp and no wiring.
 
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Slo_Ride

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10+ year member
Oct 15, 2005
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I really liked the '90s single heatsink look for mutiple amps. Rockfords George Foreman-grille style, the Kicker ZR series, PPI Sedonas. With endcaps etc...I always thought it looked clean just seeing amp and no wiring.
Lulz, yep agree.
 

Louisiana_CRX

dem shoes......
10+ year member
Aug 22, 2006
38,905
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Piney Hills of Louisiana
I really liked the '90s single heatsink look for mutiple amps. Rockfords George Foreman-grille style, the Kicker ZR series, PPI Sedonas. With endcaps etc...I always thought it looked clean just seeing amp and no wiring.
I still have about 15 of the Kicker ZR style amps including 3 DX750s .. those were some of my favorite amps I set the 0-300 world spl record with a single Kicker XS100 on two DD 9515s in 2004
 
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