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  Ya know, i remember back in 1981 when having high quality in a car meant using home speakers and a self-powered equalizer! Signal processors??? For your car??? Well, in 1981 there were very few of those... except for the graphametric paralyzer, er, um, parametric equalizers. Hell, there wasn't even a CD player available for your car back then. Well, it's 1997 and man-o-man have things changed for the better! Come check out a few of the cool new amps at the MES.

         Xtant 302a amplifier

Xtant has just released two new amplifiers. Their model 302a (above) and model 301a are competition ready and include forced air cooling so it won't melt down during those long listening sessions. The 301a is a mono amplifier with 300 watts of bass thumpin' power whereas the 302a is a 75 watt, two channel unit. These amplifiers can be used with Xtant's new module CM 12H/L for internal crossover duties. These new modules, CM-12H or CM-12L, are either12db high pass or 12db low pass respectively. Actually both amplifiers have three accessory ports for better flexibility! Prices of the 301a start at $549 and the 302a starts at $499. Looks like Xtant is at it again my fiends.


For those looking for big power, Fultron introduced their amplifier called the Memphis Bell. This amplifier is huge! Measuring in at 9" x 2 1/4" x 26 1/2" it'll definitely take up that empty space in the rear of your car. With six channel and 600 watts this baby may be all the amplifier you'll ever need. Six gold RCA inputs, six channels of amplification, and three separate variable high/low pass crossovers are included. Each pair of channels are bridgeable to make this a three channel amp. Four channels are generally for mids/highs with 75 watts per channel. The other two channels are for b-b-b-bass at 150 watts each channel. This huge amp is colored in custom polished aluminum, so it'll surely get peoples attention! Why not call 'em at 1-800-476-2400 for more info.



MMATS has now introduced a new 'Class D' subwoofer amplifier. With two 100 watts channels at 4ohms, this baby can put out 1200 watts at 1.3ohms!!! As you probably know, 'Class D' is highly efficient and therefore this amplifier boasts a90% efficiency of power going to it. Also included are 4AWG batter inputs, 24db low pass Linkwitz-Riley crossover, and comes in either glass back or white power coat. Priced at $999 this baby is definitely competition, 'cheater amp' ready. To check out more about this amp and all the other amps and speakers by MMATS simply by going to MMATS www site.


Some of the biggest news for me was from USAMPS. Instead of introducing a more expensive amplifier at the show, they did just the opposite! For those looking for great 'boom for the buck', they just introduced their Merlin line of amplifiers. i dunno about you, but i like those flea market prices but hate the way that stuff may sound... let alone it's reliability. Well, ya should check out the Merlin line then. The model M2130, M4260, and M5300 priced at $199, $249, and $379 respectively may be just what the doctor ordered! The M2130 is a two channel unit with 130 watts with flexibility. You either have a low-pass crossover and a high-pass preamp out, or a high-pass with a low-pass preamp out. The model M4260 is 65 watts by four channel. The built in crossover this time can be configured for either four full-range channels, front channels high-pass with the rear channels low-pass, or low-pass on all four channels. Their third amp, the M5300 is a five channel unit where four channels are 65 watts per channel high-pass and the fifth channel is a 100 watt low-pass. What's really cool is that the low-pass channel can be remotely volume changed for more base in your place! These amps were so new there wasn't even a demo model to take a picture of! To learn more about the new Merlin line by USAMPS, check out their www site. Now only if they released that tube amp i know they have a prototype of.


                         Phaze Audio 1500

Speaking of tubes, how could we forget the awesome Tube Driver model 1500 by Phaze Audio. Priced at $899 this baby uses two of the classic 6L6C tubes in triode mode for preamp duty while the output is solid state via TO-3 MOSFETs with a rated output of 225 watts per channel when 14.4 volts are applied. Included in this baby is Variable Tube Enhancement (VTE). This allows ya to 'tune' the tube characteristics to your liking. Also included are gold RCA jacks, or fully balanced inputs via XLR jacks. A variable speed fan keeps things cool while the music is hot. Finished in gorgeous brushed gold-tone with a black heavy gauge steel laser cut chassis this one not only one great sounding amplifier, but also great looking too! If ya wanna learn more about the full line of their cool stuff check out Phaze Audio's www site.


      Planet Audio HVT754

New to the scene, yet ret-ta-go is Planet Audio. Their new model HVT754 priced at $599.95 also has tubes! Though their representative wasn't sure about the exact tube, it looked to me to be of the 12A___ family of tubes (maybe the 6922?). Ok, so i love tubes... i plead guilty. This unit has four channels with 50 watts output each. Like the Phaze Audio unit, the tubes are are used for the preamplifier input and solid state MOSFET for the output. One ohm stability means you can get 100 watts by two from this amplifier. With built in high pass and low pass crossovers, variable subwoofer boost, tri-mode and bridged mono mode, this is one very flexible unit. Inputs are via gold RCAs and the unit comes in either gray or white. No www site but you can call them toll free at 1-888-990-1236 for more information.


Maybe not tubed, but one hell of an amplifier and preamplifier is Orion's new Concept line. The amplifier, model number Concept 97 1, has four channels with two very high-current channels featuring 'only' 25 watts each yet is capable of 400 watts at .5ohms. The other two channels are high voltage and rated at 75 x 2 at 4 ohms, yet can handle 2ohm loads! Obviously this unit is optimized as a 'cheater amp' for competition usage. The 97 1 also includes two DVX-2 crossover modules which can be configured foe either high-pass or low-pass, 12db or 24 db per octave crossover duties. Priced at $899 we'll probably see many of these used by competitors this coming year.

                  Concept 97 2

Paired with the new Orion amplifier could be their new Concept 97 2 pure digital equalizer. This is the very first 1/3 octave, 30 band equalizer specifically made for the 12 volt market. It features internal D/A and A/D 24 bit processing, balanced or standard RCA inputs, and digital inputs via Toslink or RCA coax. What's more, it also has an RS-232 link for all you computer dudes. Multiple presets are available which means you can have one eq curve for sound quality (SQ) and another for sound pressure level (SPL) competitions! Not sure of it's pricing at this time.


         MTX B.T. Pro 1602

The new news with MTX is the rebirth of sorts to their Blue Thunder line. Specifically, new amplifiers under the Blue Thunder name will be available soon. No literature yet, not much information on it yet, but hey it's so new your dealer doesn't even have it! Maybe it'll be on MTX's www site soon?












































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