Saturday, July 21, 2012

Possibly the Ultimate 50 Watt Cheater Amp from the 90's?

Yes, I know, if you guys watch my YouTube videos, then you've probably seen the Lanzar Opti 50c. But wait, is it possible another "50 watt" amp may give the Lanzar a challenge for king of the 25x2 amps? Well, yes, specifically the U.S. Amps VLX-50. I recently came across a near MINT 1996 model in the "Mirror Polish" finish which looks nearly chrome. See the pics below:


1996-1998 U.S. Amps VLX-50 Ultra-High Current Cheater Amp


The VLX-50 has the following ratings:


2 x 25W at 4 ohms (12V)
2 x 31W at 4 ohms (14.4V)
2 x 62W at 2 ohms (14.4V)
2 x 125W at 1 ohm (14.4V)
2 x 250W at 0.5ohm (14.4V)
2 x 500W at 0.25ohm (14.4V)
1 x 1000W at 0.5 ohm bridged (14.4V)
THD: less than 0.006%
External 120A Fuse Required


VLX-50 Inputs and "Vari-Loud" controls




The U.S. Amps logo is laser etched on the heatsink and it surprisingly took me several days to prove this was actually a VLX-50. For some reason, U.S. Amps didn't put any markings on the end plates or even on the circuit board indicating the model of some of their amps (this one included). I was able to get confirmation from U.S. Amps this was indeed a VLX-50, based on the serial number. I even posted a thread over on DIYMA to get some info and got some great info in the archaeological dig.


So, the best part about having an amp rated at 50 watts total put out 1000 watts is the "cheater" factor. Back in the 90's, you could have two of these and still compete in the 100 watt and under competition class (as they rated amps by their 4 ohm output power). Thus the "cheater" status as you could have up to 2000 watts if these amps were properly loaded down. Orion really started the cheater amp category with the 225 HCCA, which was introduced in the late 1980's. Also, as a response to ultra-cheater amps like the VLX-25 and VLX-50, Orion developed the "1-watt" Concept 97.3 back around 1997. The cheater amp era basically ended around the early 2000's as most manufacturers were competing to see how high they could rate their amps (by using MAX power) instead of underrating amps. Another reason why I prefer the car amplifiers from the 80's and 90's...


VLX-50 Power / Ground / Speaker Terminals




Get ready for the long awaited 25x2 cheater amp shootout. As soon as the temps cool and I complete my additional resistor loads, we'll see how the VLX-50 competes against the monster Lanzar 50c. I don't believe the Orion 225 HCCA, Rockford Power 50x2, MTA 225HO or Audio Art 50HC have a chance against the VLX-50 or 50c, but who knows? We all may be surprised!




See my video overview of the U.S. Amps VLX-50 below.




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Watch the video on YouTube in 1080P or embedded below:








2 comments:

Danny said...

Can't wait to see the outcome. My bet's on the Orions but you never know!

John Walker said...

People always side with Orion because they are ignorant to other equipment. Its that word "Orion" that wins. But I'm a collector of old school amps and have been in the game since 1984, and I'll tell you this U.S. Amps!!! They controlled the competition car audio game from like 91 to 95. No other company could beat they're amps. Actually it was us amps that set the bar for other companies to keep up. THE GOD HAS SPOKEN.

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