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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, after searching with Google and other means for small amplifiers, I realized I'd get more relevant hits if I searched for "Mini Amplifiers" and I found there are actually quite a few. In fact, I read in one of the links that a lot of the manufacturers plan on building small amps in the future.

I decided to look for this, because I'd still like to put a small amp in the stock location, and an aftermarket driver in the stock sub cabinet too, and there used to not be many amps that would fit in the 1/4 panel. Thes best ones I could find in terms of footprint and power ratings, are the KS Mini and XXD series of Amps from ARC Audio. They are as small, or smaller, than the OEM amp, but they deliver a LOT more power, even at their RMS levels.

http://www.arcaudio.com/

I am thinking about buying either a XXD1500, or a KS500.1mini ... both of which are small enough to fit into the stock location, and both of which are more than capable of safely driving a single subwoofer with ease.

Take a look, those of you interested in amps or other products that would work well in your stock locations or other small hideaways.

L8tz!
 

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Arc as you mentioned

Cerwin Vega Stealth (also made by Arc's guys, Nikola Engineering / Zeff)

Kenwood XR4S (very nice, better than Kenwood should be)

ELF (another Zeff mini)

JL Audio's newest amps are tiny

Memphis's new amps are tiny

Soundstream's Stealth series are tiny, also their D-Tower amps are mounted in unique ways and they may fit fine too (and they are POWERFUL)

TREO's RSX amps are relatively small

Massive Audio's NANO amps are tiny

Etc
 

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I've been seriously considering Massive Audio's NX5. I actually got to see a few of the Nx series at a local shop and was amazed at how small they were. The owner of the shop had them in his system and it sounded really good. He had the NX4 and the N3 paired up and I was seriously impressed. the NX5 isn't as powerful, but would probably suit me fine. Just don't know if I can justify spending the $$
 

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YouKnowMyName said:
I've been seriously considering Massive Audio's NX5. I actually got to see a few of the Nx series at a local shop and was amazed at how small they were. The owner of the shop had them in his system and it sounded really good. He had the NX4 and the N3 paired up and I was seriously impressed. the NX5 isn't as powerful, but would probably suit me fine. Just don't know if I can justify spending the $$
Well the DIYMA community found out that the Massive amps are based of Magnusen amps, which is a standard Chinese build house.

I would roll the Cerwin Stealth amps if it was my money on a tiny amp. Its an ARC by another name.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey thanks for the other choices/options you listed! I appreciate it!
 

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To add, I would for sure stay clear of the Massive Audio amplifiers. Reliability took a huge hit few years ago and I would not risk it, nor would the quality be anywhere near the Arc/Zeff made amplifiers. Go with the Arc's and you will be happy 100%.
 

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These photos are from my 2005 Escape Hybrid and details the "space" available where the subwoofer is located. There is a customized mounting bracket in this space and I don't know if it would work with an aftermarket amplifier. I ended up placing my subwoofer amplifier under the driver's seat due to this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the heads-up on the mounting for the amp in the stock location. More than likely, I'm going to design/fab something out of flat bar (maybe even the "noodle" type that gets used to strap the back of HU's to the firewall/dash), so that I can mount the aftermarket amp right in there.

I was curious, did you notice an improvement over stock with just replacing the OEM driver with the Kicker Comp? I would imagine that you'd get deeper extension, and a little bit tighter and smoother response, all in one. I'm just glad that there are a lot more choices on 8" drivers again like there used to be, but hasn't been in several years.

Oh yeah, I was wondering if Jpark or fourthmeal can provide me some insight on how/if people use the stock wiring interface to run the aftermarket amp (if this is done/or is possible).

Thanks for the info!
 

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Davis137 said:
Thanks for the heads-up on the mounting for the amp in the stock location. More than likely, I'm going to design/fab something out of flat bar (maybe even the "noodle" type that gets used to strap the back of HU's to the firewall/dash), so that I can mount the aftermarket amp right in there.

I was curious, did you notice an improvement over stock with just replacing the OEM driver with the Kicker Comp? I would imagine that you'd get deeper extension, and a little bit tighter and smoother response, all in one. I'm just glad that there are a lot more choices on 8" drivers again like there used to be, but hasn't been in several years.

Oh yeah, I was wondering if Jpark or fourthmeal can provide me some insight on how/if people use the stock wiring interface to run the aftermarket amp (if this is done/or is possible).

Thanks for the info!
Hi there,

when I used the stock HU, I used the 3sixty.2 processor to provide the interface and remote turn-on signals. You can do it without a processor, but the stock HU contours the sound output so you should consider a processor that is capable of fixing that back to semi-flat. That's why I went w/ the 3sixty.2 myself.
 

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Actually I am a newer Massive dealer in OK and I would put up that nano amp against any Arc mini anyday. ya really need to hear these things to believe them..
 

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dannystown said:
Actually I am a newer Massive dealer in OK and I would put up that nano amp against any Arc mini anyday. ya really need to hear these things to believe them..
It all boils down to the buildhouse. ARC uses Zeff/Nikola, we know exactly where they are made, and exactly who designed them. Massive uses who? Who is their engineer? From what I understand, it is Sound Magus, which I have no idea who makes them but is considered cookie-cutter.
http://www.soundmagus.com/product.html

I promise you this though, send me an amp and I will evaluate it in a system and share my results with everyone. Its the same thing I'm doing right now with Soundstream's finest amp, a Human Reign. Its going in my Acura TL and will be tested extensively.
 

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Davis137 said:
Thanks for the heads-up on the mounting for the amp in the stock location. More than likely, I'm going to design/fab something out of flat bar (maybe even the "noodle" type that gets used to strap the back of HU's to the firewall/dash), so that I can mount the aftermarket amp right in there.

I was curious, did you notice an improvement over stock with just replacing the OEM driver with the Kicker Comp? I would imagine that you'd get deeper extension, and a little bit tighter and smoother response, all in one. I'm just glad that there are a lot more choices on 8" drivers again like there used to be, but hasn't been in several years.

Oh yeah, I was wondering if Jpark or fourthmeal can provide me some insight on how/if people use the stock wiring interface to run the aftermarket amp (if this is done/or is possible).

Thanks for the info!
Yes the Kicker Subwoofer is an improvement over the stock model.
 

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dannystown said:
Actually I am a newer Massive dealer in OK and I would put up that nano amp against any Arc mini anyday. ya really need to hear these things to believe them..
It all revolves around PCB layout. Asian companies do not know how to properly lay a board. Trust me, you do not want to put a Massive amp against an Arc Zeff design. I use to deal with Massive as well until the bad batch of P series amps few years ago.

Linear Power is coming back as well :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes the Kicker Subwoofer is an improvement over the stock model.
That's really good to know! Maybe I'll invest in an aftermarket subwoofer, and see how it is off the stock amp first, and then see how it is off an aftermarket mini amp...
 
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