Wednesday, November 30, 2011

500 Watts in Your Pocket? Kinter MA-150 Mini Amp

Kinter MA-150 vs. CD: Size Comparison

The promise of 500 Watts in a palm-sized amplifier is appealing to many people. The Kinter MA-150 is another contender in my Chinese Mini Amp Invasion shootout and is the smallest amp in the bunch. Although technology such as "Boosted Rail" has enabled Rockford Fosgate to make the PBR300x1 just slightly larger, it "only" promises 300 Watts of power at 1 ohm. Not to mention, the PBR300x1 costs around 10x as much as the Kinter MA-150...

I picked up the Kinter MA-150 from an eBay seller for around $15 US shipped from China. Now, logic will tell us we shouldn't expect much from an amp only costing a few dollars, right? Yes, this is a rational thought. "You get what you pay for" comes to mind. So, what does the $15 get you? Continue reading...

The Kinter MA-150 has a slightly different design than the other amps in this shootout as it requires molex-style plugs for the speakers and power. The other amps in this comparison have spring-loaded speaker terminals and a 5.5mm x 2.1mm center positive power plug.

Kinter MA-150 Speaker Output and Power Inputs

The opposite side of the MA-150 has a USB port for charging external devices, RCA L/R jacks, Volume knob and crossover switch. See picture below:

Kinter MA-150's USB, RCA, X-over and Volume adjustments

For more details on the technical specifications, please see the Chinese Mini Amp Invasion article for a spreadsheet comparing each amplifier in the shootout.

The Kinter MA-150 is heavily marketed on eBay as a motorcycle or scooter amplifier. Obviously, the main reason is the small size, low power consumption and "rated" high-power output. Now, logic and science will tell us, based on the MA-150's 12v 0.5A power requirement, you can use the equation Watts = Volts x Amps to get 12 x 0.5 = 6. Taking into account 100% efficiency, the amp should put out 6 watts, based on the power going in. Well, unfortunately, the amp is NOT 100% efficient, so even the 6 watts may be a stretch.

Power ratings vs. actual output aside, I decided to run the sound quality test first. I tested several tracks, including one of my favorite "Chelsea's Day" by Sam Cardon. It was readily appearant to me the MA-150 didn't have the power, clarity or dynamics of the Lepai LP-2020A+ . My reference speakers, the Athena Point 5 MKII bookshelf speakers are extremely transparent and it was obvious the MA-150 was struggling to push them to room-filling level. Again, based on the output I was expecting, this wasn't a surprise to me. After a few minutes demoing my reference tracks, I decided to put the MA-150 on the OldSchoolStereo.com test bench and get some actual numbers.

Results? Not impressive and not even close to the 500 Watt rating. Using a 12V 35Ah Sealed Lead-Acid battery showing 13.0V of charge, I was able to obtain:

Output Test Results:

  • 4.56V RMS of Unloaded Output at the speaker terminals
  • 2.1 Watts RMS / channel at 8 ohms
  • 3.4 Watts RMS / channel at 4 ohms
  • 5.3 Watts RMS / channel at 2 ohms
  • 15.6 Watts MAX / channel at 2 ohms

(tests above were conducted using a 1kHz 0dB Sine Wave Test Tone from the SMD DD-1 test disk and output was verified by the DD-1, which detects distortion at 1%. The resistive loads of 8, 4 and 2 were conducted with BOTH channels loaded)

Stay tuned for more tests of these mini amps and see which one (if any) you should buy. Check out my video review of the Kinter MA-150 below. Make sure to Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to stay updated of my latest videos. You can also follow me on Twitter @oldschoolstereo.

See my video review / bench test of the Kinter MA-150 and decide for yourself if this is the amp for you...


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2 comments:

allen78j20 said...

I bought one of these on ebay after seeing the review on you tube. Thank you for all the work you do to bring these reviews to us!

I built a garage stereo with no aux input so this amp was the ticket so I could play music off my phone. The amp says .5amp for power you need 5 amps, its a misprint. I dont think it could be an amp for a radio, more like a aux add on for your mp3 player etc. I cant see it boosting power for a radio. I also had to add a separate switch to turn it off and on, it doesnt play nice with my radio when they are both on.

When I tested my setup( 2005 Ford Radio with 2 Sony Xplode 3-way 6.5's) it had a low volume at first, I figured out the ground needs to go to chassis ground and that fixed the problem. Now it will crank up the tunes really well and Im happy with that. If you are looking for 500 watts, this of course is not the amp for you. But for 15 bucks and decent output, im happy.

Andy Conto said...

I want to add a bluetooth receiver to this amp using the usb slot to power it.. any suggestions?

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