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Down4Sound JP95 Car Amplifier Review

Rate this car amplifier:

  • 1. Waste of money (piggy bank panther)

    Votes: 40 25.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 81 50.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 31 19.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 5.0%

  • Total voters
    160

dtaylo1066

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A lot of votes for 'waste of money' and 'not terrible'. I'm really curious if folks who voted that way have any actual experience with car audio.

Personally I'd rather use slightly smaller amps that fit very easily under more various car seats but it will fit under my CRV seats. This still seems like a very decent option to me for low money. I have installed many car audio systems including several very excellent sounding fully custom hifi set-ups. The environment is very different from a living or listening room at home.


Weather? Roll those windows down and rock out friend.
Sure, it has challenges, yet one can get very good sound in a car.
Also with DSP you can have several tunings saved for things like windows up vs down. 2 front passenger vs just the driver.
If tuning for solo driver focused, DSP and time alignment can make it sound exactly like being in the middle of two monitors.
Even some higher oem options are pretty stellar ones.
I'd like to hear what KEF came up with for the new Lotus cars. Harmon via Revel, Mark Levinson and also AKG have done a few oem systems as well that I'm curious about.

You can and some do this. The car only outputs 12-14volts so that can be an issue as any car(or other type of amp) amp needs to draw very high amperage to make high power in 12volt systems, not all amps can do this.
Yes, I realize battery operation can be an issue, though I was mostly speaking of a separate battery pack for a Class D amplifier, though certainly one could rig one from the car battery, but obvious power supply creation is needed in doing so, so for many not worth it. MiniDSP has a nice car DSP unit.

I just crank up my car stereo that came with my Forester and leave the critical listening session to home audio. But I realize many want good sound in their cars.
 

Multicore

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Where would you install it in my car? When I read the review I thought: That's a neat amp for $250. Then I saw the photo of it that dudes arms. Where would you put it in my Mazda3 or Honda Civic 5-door? Get rid of the spare wheel?
 

Doodski

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Where would you install it in my car? When I read the review I thought: That's a neat amp for $250. Then I saw the photo of it that dudes arms. Where would you put it in my Mazda3 or Honda Civic 5-door? Get rid of the spare wheel?
In the back under the cover with the cabinets! :D
 

kelesh

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The noise level in a car depends on the speed and also on engine speed, wind, tires and ground conditions.
The amplifier doesn't have to be better, but it does have to be louder, depending on the above.
The ambient noise was significantly more overpowering the music signal than the amplifier's poor noise levels. But if you are stationary and the ignition is off, then it can make a difference.

Maybe in cooler climates that would be possible. In the southern US states and many other places, if the ignition/engine is off, then the air conditioning would also be off, and you would be fried in five minutes ;)
 

pseudoid

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A lot of votes for 'waste of money' and 'not terrible'. I'm really curious if folks who voted that way have any actual experience with car audio.
The only reason I up-voted it to a happy-panther was because of its low-price... or performance per weight... although, I am not quite sure which.;)
Possibly 'good enough' for many but just the fact of knowing sub-bar results is 'good enough' reason for other ASR lurkers -- even unexperienced ones-- to down-vote it.
 

JDS

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You can't use single number SPL numbers to determine audibility. You have to have its spectrum. Directional noise from a tweeter will be more audible than diffused noise. And speaker noise multiplies with number of speakers you have.
Agreed. But by the same token, if you are looking at the audibility of amplifier-generated noise, don't you need to take into account the spectrum of all the other sources of noise as well? And then there's the whole other psychoacoustic rat's nest of auditory masking (which underlies lossy compression). I have zero data to support this, but I'd guess that tire and wind noise completely mask all but the most egregious amplifier misbehavior.

Forty years ago, car audio was a joke, and upgrading my car stereo was essential. Because factory car audio has improved so much (and because my old ears and brain now tend to favor situational awareness over musical transcendence at 70mph), the whole concept no longer makes much sense to me. I get it that others see it differently. I just think the priorities for my living room differ from those in my car, and so (personally) I wouldn't chase these numbers in a car amp.
 

Bob101

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Forty years ago, car audio was a joke, and upgrading my car stereo was essential. Because factory car audio has improved so much (and because my old ears and brain now tend to favor situational awareness over musical transcendence at 70mph), the whole concept no longer makes much sense to me.
With my first car I used to go driving on the highway at night, alone , music full blast on the loudest car stereo I could afford. THD? Likely ~ 15% :) Glorious.
Nowadays I rarely put on any music any more when I drive.
 
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jayapple

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This thing is huge! Amazing value for the price.
View attachment 358374
Specs.>
View attachment 358375
The AMP is really bulky for the limited space in the car, but the amplifier seems to be very powerful. Car AMPs use only 12V power supply, so it's difficult to produce a satisfactory sound. I've consulted many HIFI manufacturers and they are not interested in car DSP or AMP. But it's hard to say whether car audio will usher in a new development with the increasing number of EVs.
 

Doodski

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Car AMPs use only 12V power supply, so it's difficult to produce a satisfactory sound.
I know a lot about car amps. I specialized in high end car audio component level repairs as a mechatronics tech specialist. So if you had MD, DAT, CD, cassette and anything car electronics for a car audio system I was your man. Car amps are generally spec'd at 13.4 V DC. I've serviced ~several thousands of car amps and MOD'd ~maybe 3500 for Coustic and SoundStream. The PWM (Pulse width modulation.) operation and SMPS (Switch mode power supply.) function is similar to what you have in a desktop PC power supply and even a class D home audio amp using a SMPS for operation. As we know home audio class D amps using SMPS PWM are incredibly clean in the power output. There are car amps that have good specs, they cost more but in a car environment that cleaner sound is a bit wasted and so power output is where it's at for most users.
But it's hard to say whether car audio will usher in a new development with the increasing number of EVs.
With the reduced noise in a EV it might be as or more popular. Hard to say although the factory dashboard audio systems equipment has put a major damper on high end car audio stuff.
The AMP is really bulky for the limited space in the car
It's not the most compact but it does offer value for the dollar.
 

jayapple

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我对汽车放大器了解很多。作为机电一体化技术专家,我专门从事高端汽车音频组件级维修。因此,如果您有 MD、DAT、CD、盒式磁带和任何用于汽车音响系统的汽车电子产品,我就是您的人选。汽车放大器的规格通常为 13.4 V DC。我已经维修过大约数千个汽车放大器,并为 Coustic 和 SoundStream 改装了大约 3500 个。PWM(脉冲宽度调制)操作和 SMPS(开关模式电源)功能类似于台式电脑电源,甚至使用 SMPS 进行操作的 D 类家庭音频放大器。正如我们所知,使用 SMPS PWM 的家庭音频 D 类放大器的功率输出非常干净。有些汽车放大器具有良好的规格,它们的成本更高,但在汽车环境中,更干净的声音有点浪费,因此功率输出是大多数用户的水平。

随着电动汽车噪音的降低,它可能会更受欢迎或更受欢迎。很难说,尽管工厂仪表板音频系统设备对高端汽车音响产品产生了重大阻碍。

它不是最紧凑的,但确实物有所值。

I know a lot about car amps. I specialized in high end car audio component level repairs as a mechatronics tech specialist. So if you had MD, DAT, CD, cassette and anything car electronics for a car audio system I was your man. Car amps are generally spec'd at 13.4 V DC. I've serviced ~several thousands of car amps and MOD'd ~maybe 3500 for Coustic and SoundStream. The PWM (Pulse width modulation.) operation and SMPS (Switch mode power supply.) function is similar to what you have in a desktop PC power supply and even a class D home audio amp using a SMPS for operation. As we know home audio class D amps using SMPS PWM are incredibly clean in the power output. There are car amps that have good specs, they cost more but in a car environment that cleaner sound is a bit wasted and so power output is where it's at for most users.

With the reduced noise in a EV it might be as or more popular. Hard to say although the factory dashboard audio systems equipment has put a major damper on high end car audio stuff.

It's not the most compact but it does offer value for the dollar.
That's exactly what happened. The original audio function of the car is very important for the safe driving of the car. The audio system of a modern car is more than just a radio, there are many functions.
But it seems that it is difficult to improve the sound quality of the car without destroying the audio system of the original car. Therefore, the power of AMP can only be increased, and other places cannot be improved.
 

Doodski

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That's exactly what happened. The original audio function of the car is very important for the safe driving of the car. The audio system of a modern car is more than just a radio, there are many functions.
But it seems that it is difficult to improve the sound quality of the car without destroying the audio system of the original car. Therefore, the power of AMP can only be increased, and other places cannot be improved.
Oh cool! You speak simplified traditional Chinese. I wish I could... So many opportunities if I could.
Car audio is a very big subject. :D
It was bigger before the factory car audio equipment became the normal equipment.
 

virtua

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The average install for this amplifier will be someone running a 1ohm sub (900w) and probably either 4x 4 ohm speakers (120w each) or 2x 4 ohm bridged (400w each), in any case when listening at lower volume on the road I think amplifier noise will be a non issue, but the kind of people (car audio enthusiasts, particularly bass heads) running Down 4 Sound amplifiers are probably listening loud enough that it all becomes a moot point anyway lol, due to auditory masking and ear canal effects at loud volumes. The point of this amplifier isn't to provide the best noise performance, but to provide the most power for a total car audio system at as low price as possible in a reliable package, I think it's pretty successful at that.
 

Paweł L

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$250 for 100Wx4 +1 it's a great deal. Let's be honest most in cases car amps, even McIntosh amps, are not the equivalent of home hi-end audio. Foremost they are designed to survive the tough life of audio amp in varying temperature and humidity, user abuse, never ending vibrations. The audio performance is secondary and at this price and performance level most potential owners won't care if the distortions are super low and resolution is better than the measured 13 bit. For most people the thing can't fail in California sun and withstand the abuse.
Yes, it would be nice if the audio performance was on par with hi-end Hypex, but the Hypex cost $250 for 2 ch amp board without the chassis and connectors.
To be fair we should test other car amps, including the best amps available, new D-class and old school AB-class like Phoenix Gold, Orion, Soundstream, Rockford, Mosconi, Helix, Audison.
BTW, does any of you remember Earl Zausman with his red Beemer from mid 1990's- the B&W taken from 801s driven by Milbert tube amp and Sony DSP. It was a WOW - so clean, when sitting in the driver sit.
 

Groove01

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My experience with a modern car class D mono bass amp vs my older 90’s gear was somewhat disappointing.

(Subjective trigger warning). Couple years ago I installed a system in a project car and got a modern Class D sub amp (Audio Control 800w x 1) driving two 10’s in a sealed box. Back in the day I ran that set up with a RF punch 60ix. I was expecting more from the new amp and was very disappointed. No quarters bouncing on the roof - lol.

I pulled out my old Rockford Punch 60DSM and it was a HUGE difference, the punch 100 was no comparison. My objective measure is gain 1/2 point on punch 60 (1/4 on the punch 100) vs Modern AudioControl 800w sub amp, gain 3/4 (and even max) - not even close. This was a case where you could literally “feel” and see the difference. Zero chest hit vs chest hit, rear view mirror bouncing around vs not, etc.

Gotta say, I went back to my 90’s JL and Rockford amps. (Downside is they do run HOT)


IMG_1512.jpeg


I’d be super interested to get one of these old RF’s tested! Amir, let me know if you’d be game..? (I need make sure they all still work though - lol)
 

DVDdoug

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Car AMPs use only 12V power supply, so it's difficult to produce a satisfactory sound.
Wattage is calculated as Voltage x Current and car batteries & electrical systems can provide a few hundred amps. You've got LOTS of available power.

High-power car amplifiers have a built-in DC-DC converter that boosts the internal voltage. Of course, you can't create energy so you have to pull more amperage into the DC-DC converter that comes out but they are very efficient, and you don't need full-power full-time, only on the peaks.

...The people involved in car audio SPL competition ("SPL drag racing") often use multiple batteries.
 
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