25 November 2010|
|Hifonics ZXi60.4 Amplifier|
One of the most common challenges we face when installing a high performance system is where to mount the amplifiers. We have to run the wiring, deal with power distribution, make sure the RCA’s are kept away from noisy conductors, find locations with enough air space to keep everything cool… The task can be daunting even for a seasoned pro. Or, you can simplify the whole process by choosing an amplifier like the $999.00 Hifonics ZXi60.4+1K. As the moniker implies, the Hifonics amp is a five channel design, incorporating a four channel Class AB amp, rated at 60x4 into 4 ohms, or 75x4 at 2 ohms, plus a high power Class D subwoofer amplifier, rated at 350 watts into 4 ohms, 600 watts at 2 ohms and a kilowatt at 1 ohm. Think about it, all these channels and power in one chassis. This means only one power cable and one ground cable, and only one good mounting location has to be found, saving you space, time and money!
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The ZXi60.4+1K is a moderately large amp, measuring about 23.6” long, 9.25” wide, and 2.4” tall. Each side of the amplifier has a rugged black anodized aluminum heatsink with vertical fins for increased heat dissipation and better reliability. The top of the amplifier is finished in good looking silver brushed aluminum, and the Zeus name and model are engraved into the body of the amp. An edge lit Hifonics badge adorns the center of the amp, and casts a blue glow when the amp’s turned on. Controls and input signal connections are made on one end, and all the power and speaker connections are found on the opposite end. The amplifier has crossover filters for high pass, low pass and bandpass functionality, so regardless of the system design, the ZXi60.4+1K will fit the bill. Channels 3&4 have both high and low pass filtering, and channels 1&2 use high pass only. The low pass filters are adjustable from 30-150Hz, and the high pass filters are adjustable from 10Hz to 1.5kHz. An input signal steering switch allows you to provide signal to the five channels individually, or with traditional front and rear inputs, or even with just a single pair of RCA’s driving everything. Green and Red LED’s provide power and protection mode indication, a remote level control for the subwoofer channel allows you to adjust your bass level from the driver’s seat, and is included in the box. On the opposite end, beefy power and speaker terminals will accept 2 gauge and 10 gauge wires respectively. An external 150A fuse is recommended, but not included. Inside the ZXi60.4+1K I found a solidly built amplifier with high quality circuit boards and extensive use of tight tolerance surface mount parts. The two different amplifiers inside each have their own power supply section, with a total of 30,800µF of capacitance. Secondary capacitance totals 24,800µF. Diodes are used to prevent accidental damage from some piehead connecting the B+ and Ground cables backwards, and there are also protection circuits for shorted speaker leads, over current, and overheating.
In the listening room, the big Hifonics amp was used to drive both my components and subs, and handled things with ease. The subwoofer channel had plenty of authority driving my 2 ohm sub load, and because of the separate power supplies, the output to the main speakers was never noticeably affected by the high current demand of the woofers like you’d get with many four channel designs. The amp sounded clean and natural, with good woofer control and crisp detailed mid/high frequencies. The remote level control made it easy to adjust the subwoofer volume as I changed music types, and during very quiet passages, there was no audible noise at all from the amp. The ZXi60.4+1K proved to have plenty of power even for really loud listening levels, and considering it was like having two or three separate amps all in one, it was also reasonably efficient, and didn’t get more than slightly warm after several hours of playing. I also liked the way it turned on and off with nary a tick.
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On the bench, the ZXi60.4+1K performed well, and came away with very good specs. It’s difficult to control the noise from the Class D amp in a design like this, but the ZXi60.4+1K measured a very respectable -85dBA at 1 watt, which is better than some other amps even without combining a Class D! Frequency response was quite wide and very flat, and the crossover filters operated correctly. The amplifier also developed more than rated power at any impedance, and when I did ugly things to it like dead shorting the outputs, it simply protected itself and waited for me to fix the problem and cycle the power. No drama, no sparks, and no loss of the special magic smoke that is responsible for making all electronics work.
A five channel amplifier makes a lot of sense when you look at the problem logically. Why bother with several power wire runs, distribution blocks, and finding space to mount multiple amps when you can get it all in one convenient package? And when the solution sounds good, costs less than multiple amps, has a front end flexible enough to work with almost any system design, and it’s dead reliable, it’s the kind of logic I can live with.
For more visit www.maxxsonics.com
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