If you’re looking for dependable and affordable audio power, you should consider the Element series of amplifiers from O2 Audio. With four different models to choose from, you can select between 2 channel, 4 channel and mono models to suit your needs. Just recently, they sent us a Class D mono amp, the EL.A18001. According to the owner’s manual, the amp is rated for 700 watts at 4 ohms, 1,000 watts at 2 ohms, and 1,400 watts into 1 ohm.
This was my first close look at an O2 amplifier, so I was curious to see what was what.
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The amp is nicely finished in a gunmetal-colored, brushed aluminum heatsink. The top of the amp is fitted with a contrasting satin black trim panel, with the O2 logo emblazoned on it, and each end is fitted with sturdy molded ABS end caps that incorporate the mounting feet. One end of the amp is home to the power and speaker connections, which are sturdy, set-screw type connectors with Phillips-head set screws. The power and ground connections will accept 4 gauge cables and the dual paralleled speaker terminals will handle 10 gauge speaker wire. On the opposite end of the amp you’ll find all the signal and control functions as well as RCA inputs and RCA outputs for slave or auxiliary amplifiers.
Among the features included with this unit are a 45-250Hz -12dB/Oct low pass filter, an adjustable 15-50Hz subsonic filter, and a bass boost control with up to 12dB of boost. There’s also a 0-180° phase switch, and a Master/Slave switch so for even more power, you could connect two EL.A18001’s to a single load. To provide remote level adjustments from the driver’s seat, the EL.A18001 comes with a remote level control that can be easily mounted in a convenient under-dash location.
A look inside the O2 amplifier revealed a pretty standard Class D layout, but the amp appears to be made well and it’s obvious there is attention to detail being paid during the manufacturing process. The PCB is a high quality double-sided affair, and surface mount parts are used extensively. The power supply and output devices are TO-247 and TO-220 MOSFET devices respectively and with 8000µF of capacitance for the output section, the amp should have good dynamics too.
There are built-in protection circuits for short circuits and thermal overload, with a green LED indicating all systems go and a red LED to let you know something’s amiss.
All in all, the Element amp from O2 Audio seems to be a pretty decent piece of gear. It looks good and appears to be well made, so maybe we’ll have to put one through
a full technical review in the near future. You can check out the EL.A18001 and all the rest of the O2 gear at www.O2audio.com