Out of the box: This JBL Power amp comes in a wider VHS/DVD size box with the emblazened orange JBL colors throughout the graphics. The amps easy enough to pull out with only two sytrofoam holders. The amp looks impressive just like in the pics. Sleek and light weighted. Even my wife thought it was nice looking.
Hooking it up: Hook up was a cinch since this new amp is using the compression style screws typical of JBL amps. One gripe that I had right away was the inability to switch the amp to a mode that will allow you to bring in one set of RCA's and still play out all 4 channels. Fortunently the JBL has a output RCA set that I hooked up to the front channel input VIA 1 foot RCA cable so no need for a power robbing Y-Adapter.
Initial Listen: I'm replacing an aged MTX 4603 that works fine. It would push around 105 db on my 2 sets of JBL P650c components. When I first turned it on the input gain was set to 6V (this is the low side). I didn't follow the instructions to turn up the source to 100% then set the gain. Too lazy and tired to disconnect the speakers. I just treated the input gain as a normal gain and slowly brought it up with the source at 70%. However, I did check the I/E OPT light for peaking. Reaching 250mv (the max) the light never came on. Even though my gain was at 100% I felt like it was quieter than the MTX. So I brought the source up to 80%, then 90%, finally at 95% the I/E OPT light started blinking but the music was distorted. I never normally get above 80% on the source because of the source noise but with the JBL amp I'm able to squeeze it up to 83% cleanly. The JBL still sounded not as load as the MTX so I brought my meter out and to my surprise I was peaking 111dB with an average of 107dB, so its actually a touch louder.
Final call: The JBL amp is clean sounding. At first I was worried that I wasted my money for, what I throught was, a less loud amp but found my self mistaken. The sonic clarity that its producing from my JBL power components is show worthy, releasing me from the MTX's doldrum mids and lacking details. I would have liked to seen better controls like a normal bass boost for full range, this amp features a nice boost for Low pass applications only but in a true audio world those things must be handled by a separate processor thereby freeing the JBL amp from unneccessary coloring of sounds.
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