Kenwood XR-5S Five Channel Digital Amplifier

Going along with my previous articles about improving sound and using amplifiers, I thought I’d take a look at this 5 channel class-D amplifier. This is a nice cool (as in temperature) running amp in a very compact chassis considering its power range.

In general class D isn’t known to perform well in relation to sound quality or for highs in particular, but it seems these new amps from Kenwood’s Excelon range perform quite well, regardless of the topology of the power supply. This appears true at least for modest systems, while higher end systems will still require a better class of amp.

When coupled with the aforementioned modest system, this unit provides minimal distortion at listening levels (ie. not competition, blow our eyeballs out levels) without causing excessive clipping or overheating.

If you went and did a full on test it might show that it’s not as good as a traditional class A/B amp, but in real it is difficult to hear the difference. And considering the price (and savings) of this unit and the size and power you get from it, it’s awesome value.

Something to keep in mind is that others have found that if the source has weak outputs then the signal to noise ratio will suffer and is only partially solved by increasing the input sensitivity on the amp.

Overall this amp is a great way to improve the sound quality of a system without having to go all the way to a class A/B amp (with the associated higher costs). At the time of writing Amazon have this amp for $200 off retail price, check it out here.

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