If you are used with older amplifier models you will love the reduced size and how lightweight this device is. It’s impressive how well the manufacturers have been able to fit so much circuitry in such a small amp. With the glowing light on top that indicates the device is on, this small product will be a pleasure to use.
There are many Class D amplifiers out there today, and most of them are compact enough. However, their main problem is that they are not well designed, and they don’t deliver an acceptable sound. Good sound quality appears when bigger circuit boards are present, and more parts involved in the process.
This most of the time means a bigger amplifier. However, Alpine has been able to design compact devices for several decades now. Using surface-mount component technology (SMT) they are able to reduce the size of their products and can make their amps smaller.
Fitting in innovative spaces, this device is so small – it only measures 7 ⅞ inches wide by 6.5 inches deep by 2 3/16 inches in height. You could put one of these under each seat, and this will ensure a multiple system device.
The device only offers a bass boost on the 3rd and 4th channels. Bass boost happens when the amplifier enhances the low-frequency sounds in recordings. Improving the bass response of an amplifier, this boost improves audio reproduction, especially if you don’t have expensive equipment used to blast the sound.
This means that you can’t connect all the 4 channels if you want to have a balanced experience. You either have to listen to all of them with reduced low-frequency sounds, or you have to compromise on 2 of them. You could choose to only have bass in your front two seats.
Main features explained
Class D amplifier
Sometimes misunderstood, people believe that a class D amplifier means a digital amplifier. Whilst there are some class D amps that are digitally operated and use digital circuits or signal processing parts, that is not where the classification comes from. However, it is not recommended for these amplifiers to make use of digital technology.
This is because they have to deal with precise voltages and currents, and the smallest noise or missed timings, or voltage ripple, can result in an uncontrollable and irreversible change in the output signal. A digital system will give incorrect results that escalate so quickly that the end sound might be one that is unrecognizable.
Digital signals depend on both amplitude and wavelength, while analog signals only depend on one, or neither of them. This means analog devices offer more versatility and are better suited for this job. Now that we found out why class D amplifiers are not digital devices, and why that is the case, let’s see what these amplifiers really are.
They are a recent development in the audio world, and they have been created to replace the classic A/B amplifiers. Most cars nowadays still use A/B designs, and those are around 50% efficient most of the time when it comes to the energy they require versus the sound they produce. Thanks to ultra-fast switching technology, class D amplifiers are able to up their efficiency to about 90%.
With an amplifier like this, you will be wasting less energy (that would otherwise turn into heat), and that means the manufacturers are able to reduce the size of such a device to a fraction of what it used to be, as it doesn’t need a huge internal power source. One downside of the reduced space, however, is a higher noise floor which basically means more hiss when not in use.
There isn’t much to say about the sound of this device, as it’s what you would expect from a company like Alpine. It comes with great sound quality, especially taking into account how small the amplifier is. The music you can hear should be clear and full, with bright highs and crisp mids. The bass and lower frequencies should feel solid and drive the speakers without bleeding noise.
It’s a great compact amplifier, and if you had issues with several other class D car amps in the past, don’t worry as this one won’t cause you problems when it comes to sound. You can feel the bass hitting hard and blasting you, and that feels good especially if you have been used with conventional large amplifiers.
This device can also work well with subwoofers if you plan on driving them. They need to be moderate in power and volume and make sure they don’t exceed 150W each. Listening to a system like this won’t disappoint you. There are, however, other amplifiers from Alpine that would do a better job in the low frequencies if you are looking for an emphasis on that.
This is a little powerhouse that also comes with a low pass or high pass crossover setting. You also get a 50-400Hz adjustable cutoff, and bass EQ boost available on two channels. If you have been used to older amplifiers you will be surprised with how this one works at such low temperatures.
On the other hand, the bass boost is not adjustable, and you only have two options for it – it’s either off, or boosted with 12dB, which is a lot for some people that want to find the perfect middle spot. You also don’t have EQ adjustments for the mid frequencies.
Controls and functions
Given how small this device is, finding all of its controls shouldn’t be a tough job. Its crossover functions will prove easy to use and the switches and controls will have a solid and good feel to them. The components of this device won’t feel flimsy when making adjustments to the amp, and even if you tinker with them the device won’t vibrate for no reason.
Although the bass EQ boost only works on the ¾ channel pair when activated, it’s still sufficient to satisfy most people’s needs. Of course, it would have been nice for it to be present on the ½ pair as well. This is a class D amplifier and by nature, it could have a higher noise level, especially if the gain is turned up higher.
For this reason, you will want to carefully adjust the gain to a lower level that will still give you good volume for the times when the stereo setting is turned up high. Although Alpine has done a great job with designing this amplifier, this is a trade-off that needed to happen in an amplifier as small as this one. Noise levels are, however, almost imperceptible when listening to high music volumes.
You will also be pleased with how easy to install this device is, and of course, this is another benefit of small design. Much like the case is with other car amps, you can use screw mountings to attach tabs to each side of the amplifier, one pair of tabs on the control end, and another one on the speaker connection side.
Working with speaker level inputs, this device is also a good fit for factory stereos. You can install it under your seat or inside the dashboard as you will probably be able to find a spot for it.
Despite looking heavier than you might expect, this amplifier has a sleek look and it’s lightweight and strong at the same time. Class D amplifiers aren’t always well-assembled, but this one represents the class really well, being well put together, and it doesn’t come with the usual construction flaws.
The outer casing is made of a good-looking dark brushed metal. The end result is an amplifier that feels solid, although weighing less than five pounds. To make sure that you have connected every wire to the right spot make sure the blue light on top lights up when you power the amp up.
Using Surface-Mount Technology, Alpine is able to create a design that makes uses of a low-profile aesthetic. This allows them to encase more circuitry and technology in a smaller package. The end result is a device that is more compact and lightweight, making it a good competitor against other small class D amps.
The amp measures just under 8 inches by 6.5 inches by about 2 inches, which means it’s really small, weighing under 5 pounds. This means it’s small enough to fit under one’s seat, or you could attach it to a separate amp board in the back of your vehicle if you simply can’t find a place for it.
Thankfully, all of the connectors come with clear labels and they all use star screws to keep the wires in place so you won’t have to worry about the installation process. It’s recommended that you get an 8-gauge power wire that fits nicely inside the power connectors. Another nice feature that the mrv-f300 amplifier has is that the end caps are easy to take off and put back on if you want to protect the connections. This will help you place the amp in more ingenious places.