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Please vote

  • Rockford Fosgate PBR300x4 because all your friends are doing it!

    Votes: 4 20.0%
  • SoundStream PN4.520 for best bang for the buck

    Votes: 3 15.0%
  • JL Audio M400/4 because you have $$$ and date Homecoming Queens

    Votes: 4 20.0%
  • Something else (explain what and why in your posts please)

    Votes: 9 45.0%

  • Total voters
    20
  • Poll closed .
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
POLL: What is the best AMP for mounting in XC/XCT fairing?

There appear to be a LOT of "speaker" upgrade threads here but none SOLELY dedicated to amp choices. This is for Cross Country models only (Vision bikes have alternative mounting locations that could be used for larger amps so lets leave those out of this discussion). I am open to all arguments for any amp including the usual suspects like: Clarion, Kicker, Alpine, Kenwood, MB Quart, etc.
Thanks to all who contribute in advance!

Here are the requirements (in order of priority):
  1. The unit will be placed under the fairing of a 2011 XC/XCT so it must be compact
  2. MUST have low power drain (Willing to sacrifice volume so that battery doesn't die)
  3. Should be capable of running four 4 Ohm 100watt RMS speakers (2 in fairing, 2 in trunk)
  4. Cool running unit (100-105 degree temps in summer)
  5. Should not interfere with FM radio (rumors that all Class D amps might)
  6. Waterproof if possible (or tell me why WP not necessary)
Here are the (current) contenders but I am open to all alternatives.
  • Rockford Fosgate PBR300x4 (~$150) - Only 75w/channel but most on here swear by these even though they are not waterproof. Why not use the PBR600/4 that achieves 10w/channel? Is it too big? Does it use different electronics that prevents it from performing as well? (Default)
  • SoundStream PN4.520 (~$110) - True 100w/channel but this and the PN4.1000 appear to also have a number of adopters here. Less expensive, smaller runs cooler than the RF (above)
  • JL Audio M400/4 or other ($325+) - Waterproof but still only 75w/channel. This seems to be THE one that everyone wishes they could have if only they had the cash (the Homecoming Queen of amps). Question is, why not step up to a slightly more powerful version that CAN do 100w/channel? Is there a space issue that prevents doing that in these XC fairings?
Related Concerns
  • Are there any issues with running only the front speakers without the rears installed? Does the amp "auto-sense" and simply shut off the rear 2 channels as they aren't in use?
  • I like the OEM "quick connect" for the rear trunk and therefore would want to continue using those wires in that harness for the rear speakers. In fact if I HAD to use dedicated wires for the trunk, I would simply skip those and leave those 2 channels connected directly to the OEM head which could change my ENTIRE approach (e.g. as I would then be seeking ONLY 2 channel amps). LOL-ish
Reference articles read
This one looks rather outdated as many of these are discontinued..
http://www.ebay.com/gds/Top-5-Marine-Audio-Amplifiers-/10000000177659244/g.html

This guy liked the Arc Audio KS125.2 but 2 channels @ 2 Ohms does not meet the requirements but a good review none the less
http://americanhardbag.com/blogs/installation-bay/10696757-a-better-amplifier-solution-for-harley-davidson-motorcycles
 

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I like the Soundstream... Only because I have buddies using them in marine applications and they are durable. My old truck system was Rockford and I have ate up 2 amps on warranty already. I currently run a Clarion 4 channel amp. Smallest marine amp on the market. 55 watts rms @ 4ohms per channel and with 5000km on the system I have no complaints.
 

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I currently run a Clarion 4 channel amp. Smallest marine amp on the market. 55 watts rms @ 4ohms per channel and with 5000km on the system I have no complaints.
How do you like that one? I think I bought the same one as you. I just have to install it now
 

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How do you like that one? I think I bought the same one as you. I just have to install it now

It seems to work flawlessly. I rode for 8hrs in temps of 100f and it never even blinked an eye. I listen to my music loud. The clarion speakers are ok too... Now keep in mind none of the clarion stuff is great audio equipment as far as sound quality goes. When your rolling down the highway at 70mph what does it matter?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I like the Soundstream... Only because I have buddies using them in marine applications and they are durable. My old truck system was Rockford and I have ate up 2 amps on warranty already. I currently run a Clarion 4 channel amp. Smallest marine amp on the market. 55 watts rms @ 4ohms per channel and with 5000km on the system I have no complaints.
So you are running all 4 channels on your bike at only 55watts RMS @ 4 ohms and finding that enough power? If that's the case then the JL Audio MX280/4 may be a solid alternative as it will delivery 50w RMS to all four channels at the same time. While we are on the subject of fronts & rears... did you have to re-wire your rear speakers separately from the factory wiring harness or were you able to use it as is? I could see running thicker gauge wires to the existing rear speaker connections on the harness if needed I guess.
 

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So you are running all 4 channels on your bike at only 55watts RMS @ 4 ohms and finding that enough power? If that's the case then the JL Audio MX280/4 may be a solid alternative as it will delivery 50w RMS to all four channels at the same time. While we are on the subject of fronts & rears... did you have to re-wire your rear speakers separately from the factory wiring harness or were you able to use it as is? I could see running thicker gauge wires to the existing rear speaker connections on the harness if needed I guess.

I am not currently running any rear speakers... I am only using 2 channels of my Clarion amp at the moment.
 

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I'm running JL Audio XL400/4 V2 with 4 Hertz HCX 165's. Sounds fanfuckintastic. Clarity to full volume. It could use maybe just a little more bass. I previously had the Rockford Fosgate 300/4 compact amp with 2 JL Audio 5.5's in the front and 2 JL Audio 6.5's in the lids. It sounded good and actually had a little bit of base hitting but as volume increased it got fuzzy and lacked clarity. I'm very happy with what I have now. If you do the JL Audio XL 400/4 make sure you get the V2. The original version needs a line out converter from your bike into the amp and loses something in the transition. Lacks clarity again.

Now for those on a budget the Sound Stream Picassa series are pretty good amps but you'll interfere with your radio input signal if you rely on your radio at all for tunes. I ran a Sound Stream 320 (if I remember correctly) on my Road King using 4 JL Audio 5.5's. It sounded pretty damn good. In my opinion way better than the RF amps.

As another aside save your money if you're going to use one of those hidden antennas, powered or not. Thay all suck. Get your soldering iron out and a solder a 3-4 foot piece of wire onto an antenna plug and you're done. Plug it in to your radio and drape it around the out portion of your fairing. Best antenna you'll have.

I'm not an audiophile by any means. What I've learned I've picked up over on choppedbaggers dot com. There are better systems and countless dollars you can throw ate this stuff. Only you can make the judgement call as to how much you want for how much buck. But then again it's only money.
 

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Dan
Isn't the JL the same RMS as ten kicker 300.4 or the Rockford? Both seem to be rated at 75w rms.

Also, if you had a speaker rated 125w RMS would you just put 75w to it?
 

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The JL is rated at 100 per channel in 4 channel mode. Blows the Rockford away and will stand up to the test of time. i dont think the rockford will.
 

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From JL's website,

This tiny amplifier packs a serious full-range punch, delivering a staggering 100 watts to each of its four channels into 2 ohms (14.4V, 1% THD). The breakthrough that makes this much power possible in such a small chassis is our NexD™ ultra-high-speed switching design, which allows for full bandwidth Class D operation with extremely low distortion and outstanding efficiency.


4-Channel Class D Full-Range Amplifier, 100 W x 4 @ 2 Ω / 75 W x 4 @ 4 Ω - 14.4V
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks for the guidance!

I'm running JL Audio XL400/4 V2 with 4 Hertz HCX 165's. Sounds fanfuckintastic. Clarity to full volume. It could use maybe just a little more bass. I previously had the Rockford Fosgate 300/4 compact amp with 2 JL Audio 5.5's in the front and 2 JL Audio 6.5's in the lids. It sounded good and actually had a little bit of base hitting but as volume increased it got fuzzy and lacked clarity. I'm very happy with what I have now. If you do the JL Audio XL 400/4 make sure you get the V2. The original version needs a line out converter from your bike into the amp and loses something in the transition. Lacks clarity again.

Now for those on a budget the Sound Stream Picassa series are pretty good amps but you'll interfere with your radio input signal if you rely on your radio at all for tunes. I ran a Sound Stream 320 (if I remember correctly) on my Road King using 4 JL Audio 5.5's. It sounded pretty damn good. In my opinion way better than the RF amps....
Thanks for the guidance. I had NO IDEA that there was a v2 version of the JLs so that has likely already saved me some coin as I was considering a local old-stock, new in box XD400/4 that is likely the older version (as it's been sitting in his garage for about 2 years waiting for an application before he decided to sell it).

It sounds as though that older model only has the low-level RCA inputs requiring that LOC to go from the OEM "line level" wires to the amp. I was thinking that was a preferred method but I did see (last night) that the WitchDoctor RF application also uses the line level inputs so it looks like RCAs on the amps may be pointless in this application.

Based on the above guidance it looks like we can toss out the Soundstream as 100% of my tunes come from my FM radio. As to the antenna, I use one of the stubbys from a local Autozone so no issue under the fairing on that for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Dan
Isn't the JL the same RMS as ten kicker 300.4 or the Rockford? Both seem to be rated at 75w rms.

Also, if you had a speaker rated 125w RMS would you just put 75w to it?
Dustin - As you will noticed in my original post starting this thread I did capture that the JL 400/4s amp options run at 75w RMS when installed as a four-channel, 4 ohms solution so this should not have been a surprise. I originally had similar concerns on the power needs but remember that the speakers I am using are the exact same that DirtyDan is using, the Hertz HCX 165s, so his experience is directly related to my request.

Just having the same power stats don't make these devices equivalent. They all have different internal components (capacitors, transistors, etc) which is one of the reasons we are both seeking the details on other's experiences.

The Hertz HCX 165's specified in this thread are not 125w RMS
http://www.hertzaudiovideo.com/car-audio-coaxial-hienergy-hcx165/
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I am not currently running any rear speakers... I am only using 2 channels of my Clarion amp at the moment.
What is the model number of that Clarion amp & does it take RCA only or can it also use line level inputs?
 
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