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Kicker PXi50.2 iPod/iPhone Amplified Controller Review

So, you've got a good stereo system in your house and a good aftermarket audio system in your daily driver, but what about tunes for your other toys? With the ever-growing popularity of motorcycles, UTVs and ATVs, many people are looking for a way to take their tunes with them absolutely everywhere.

Well, the folks at Kicker have come up with a brilliant solution to the problem of putting music on any of the above types of vehicles ans well as boats, riding mowers, snowmobiles, farm tractors and golf carts to list just a few.

The solution lies in the Kicker's Powersports series of products. In this case, the PXi50.2 amplified controller for iPods and iPhones. Rated at 25 watts per channel into two ohms and selling for around $250 bucks, the PXi50.2 is a complete solution for connecting your music player and providing signal to your speakers without needing a head unit.

FEATURES

The main unit or “brain” of the system has a small footprint that can be easily installed in various nooks and crannies of almost any vehicle. Weather-resistant construction means it can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at it.

Installation is simple and easy thanks to a single wiring harness that provides connections for power, ground, turn-on, remote out trigger and RCA outputs to drive a second amplifier. The iPod connection is made on a separate six foot-long cable with the volume, track and playlist controls on a separate, easy-to-connect cable.

With the PXi50.2 installed, you simply connect your iPod or iPhone to the Apple-certified dock and, using the handlebar or roll cage-mounted controls, you have complete control over your music. The unit will also provide the correct output current to keep your iPod or iPhone fully charged as well. Though you won't have the ability to control via the system's buttons if you use a different type of music player, the PXi50.2 will still work for you via the 3.5 mm auxiliary input.

The system is very easy to use and requires almost no learning time. Track, playlist and volume adjustments are done with large glove-friendly and clearly-marked buttons that illuminate in a soft blue when the unit is powered on.

For maximum performance, Kicker suggests connecting the PXi50.2 to a pair of its two-ohm PS5250 coaxial speakers or to two pairs of the four-ohm version of the same speaker. Current draw is always a concern on any type of powersports vehicle; so, I'm pleased to learn the PXi50.2 is designed to draw less than 10 amps at full power into two ohms, which makes it compatible with virtually any decent charging system.Kicker PXi50.2 iPod/iPhone Amplified Controller Review

LISTENING

For my listening session, I connect the PXi50.2 to my iPod and two pairs of high-quality four-ohm component speakers. Considering the diminutive size and low cost of the amp/controller, I'm very impressed with the audio performance. The PXi50.2 has great frequency response with rich, deep bass and smooth, detailed high-frequency output. The audio performance of this system is only really limited by the quality of the recordings on your music player and the PXi50.2 is easily good enough for you to hear the difference between average and excellent quality rips.

PERFORMANCE / BENCH MEASUREMENTS

On the test bench, output power exceeds the published specs as is typical with Kicker gear and, the rest of the audio measurements prove this is indeed a quality amplifier. Even less critical specs like crosstalk and common mode rejection provide evidence that no shortcuts were taken in the sound quality engineering of this amp. The amp's thermal performance is great as well – barely warm to the touch after a couple of hours of enthusiastic use at two ohms per channel. The max current draw at two ohms with a one kHz sine wave is only 6.6 amps, which calculates to a full power efficiency rating of 54.7 percent.

Kicker PXi50.2 iPod/iPhone Amplified Controller Review Kicker PXi50.2 iPod/iPhone Amplified Controller Review
Kicker PXi50.2 iPod/iPhone Amplified Controller Review Kicker PXi50.2 iPod/iPhone Amplified Controller Review

CONCLUSION

If you are looking for a simple, economical, yet rugged way to add music to your UTV, bike, boat, lawnmower or whatever, the PXi50.2 should be high on your list of products to consider. It's affordable, well-made, easy to use and sounds terrific. What more can you really ask for?

TECHNICAL DATA

The following power measurements have been obtained using industry standard methods (1 kHz @ 1.0% THD+N - Battery voltages shown +/- 0.2 V).

MEASURED PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturers Rated Power

Actual Measured Power

@  1.0% THD+N

@ 12.6 V Battery

Actual Measured Power

@  1.0% THD+N

@ 14.4 V Battery

15 W x 2 @ 4 ?

14 W x 2 @ 4 ?

19 W x 2 @ 4 ?

25 W x 2 @ 2 ?

20 W x 2 @ 2 ?

26 W x 2 @ 2 ?

Signal to Noise Ratio referenced to 2 V output

(CEA-2006A) (1 W @ 4 ?)

-83.5 dBA

Signal to Noise Ratio referenced to full output

-96.3 dBA

Distortion at rated power

0.07%

CEA-2006A rated 4 ? power (minimum power per ch. developed over the entire intended audio bandwidth)

19 W

Maximum Efficiency at full 2 ? power per ch.

54.7%

Idle Current (warm)

0.2 A

Maximum Current at full power 2 ? per ch.

6.6 A

Frequency Response (-3 dB)

<10 Hz – >20 kHz

Stereo Separation (Crosstalk)

-63.6 dB @ 5 kHz

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