- Do not focus only on the cosmetic details. Sometimes cosmetic enhancements are added to the amplifier to attract attention and hide the potential poor quality and reliability; fancy colors, translucent panels, chromed parts and flashing LED’s do not improve sound. Find a balance between performance and cosmetics. Don’t let these things, which are of no use and can be a distraction, attract you.
- Ask the store if you can look at the product owner’s and installation manual. A reliable brand wants the ability for anyone to understand how the product works, and will provide a useful, clear and complete manual. When reading the manual, if you can’t understand how the controls work, you’d better look at a different product!
- Observe the professionalism of the management and staff of the store you are visiting. Also, ask if you can listen to the audio system they have installed in a demonstration vehicles or their personal vehicle. This will give you an idea on their personal choice of product and on the results you can achieve for your system.
These final suggestions will help you make a sure, correct choice of the products according to their overall performances. The product engineering and the electronic components used in the amplifiers are directly responsible for the reliability and performance of the product. Multi-layered, thick printed circuit boards; symmetrical and optimized layout of the internal components; oversized traces to handle the high currents requirements of the amplifier; these are only some key aspects of a reliable, top quality product.
Unfortunately these aspects are hard to detect and recognize in a product. Big-box, mass- merchant retailers are not qualified to offer their customers this kind of information.
Read product reviews in the specialty magazines. When a magazine reviews a product, it examines it thoroughly, especially from an engineering standpoint. Read the whole review. If you can’t find on the exact amplifier you are interested in, look for a report on an amplifier within the same range. The way it was built will certainly be the same.
With a little bit of attention and some educational researches, you are sure to purchase the amplifier you paid for.