06 October 2010|
|Clarion XH7110 Amplifier|
In the listening room the Clarion proved to be a solid performer. The amplifier had no problem at driving a 2 ohm subwoofer load, and it was able to drive the subwoofers to loud levels without breaking a sweat. The bass produced was clean, tight and had excellent definition. Bass drum beats sounded real and natural with the right amount of attack and decay, just like a real drumhead sounds. Plucked bass down low also proved to be very well defined and details like augmented chords could be heard plainly. The amplifiers fan was not audible when listening to music, and throughout my testing the amp barely got warm, which is a good indicator of high efficiency at fractional power levels, a characteristic of Class GH (and some of the better Class D) amps. The Clarion amplifier also turned on and off silently, without the annoying pops of some other subwoofer amps.
On the deadly accurate Cogent test bench the XH7110 met or exceeded all of its published power specifications. Power output at 4 ohms was over 460 watts, even with a battery voltage of 12.6 volts. Signal to noise was exemplary as was output impedance. The filter frequency limits were a bit off the advertised numbers, but nothing to cause any real concern. The lower limit was 13Hz instead of 10Hz, and on the other end of the range was an upper frequency -3dB point of 190Hz rather than the advertised 230Hz. Efficiency at full power wasn’t as good as some competitive Class D amplifiers, but fractional power efficiency (where we do the vast majority of our listening) was very competitive. The bench testing went off without a hitch. I did the usual tortuous things like shorting the outputs at high power and trying to overheat it, but it simply protected itself when I did something stupid, and kept playing when I fixed the cause of the problem.
At $599 the Clarion XH7110 is a good performing subwoofer amplifier. As it is, the amp sounds great on a good subwoofer system, has plenty of power and with the very effective fan cooling system coupled with the large heatsink, the Clarion amp doesn’t have to resort to power reduction or shutting off to keep cool. I still wish I could use it in a full range application, but until someone comes up with some truly high power handling components, I suppose almost 500 watts per channel is too much power for the average enthusiast to use with responsibility and decorum.
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