Saturday, April 6, 2013

Old School HiFonics Earthquake and Orion Installs - Jason's Review

Submitted article by Jason R

I'll show you a few different iterations of the MINI as well as the final install. I'm not as well versed or as tech savvy as some, so my reviews of the equipment might not be as in depth as one would like.

First we have the Hifonics Series VIII Zeus and Olympus. The Zeus powered a number of 10" subs until I settled on the Treo SSi 10.22. The Olympus ran a set of Genesis Profile 16's (2-way comps).

HiFonics Olympus and Zeus VIII Ampliifiers

Pics of the amps in the Mini

I have better pictures, I just can't find them. 

I had never run Hifonics before, so I didn't know what to expect. I am an Orion person, but my Orion amps are all too big for this car without having a rack of some sort. A plan for an Orion system was in the works, but until then I used the MINI as a rolling test bench. Normally, when I was impressed with something it would stay in for a month or so. Such as my smaller Orions or a few of the PPI's I had. There were others, but we'd be here all day. Anyways, I picked the Zeus up from a friend of mine in Houston, and as soon as I hooked it up (4 ohms bridged) I was taken aback by the brute force of this amp. I'd run other 2x300 amps before, but not like this. Whatever I was running to my comps at the time was made negligible. And being a sucker for sets like I am, I bought an Olympus. This amp reminded me of my Orion 2150 SX. I only used two channels of this four channel amp. 110+ watts per channel was more than sufficient for my 80 to 100 rms mids. Bridging was out of the question. Anyhow, I ran these two amps for close to a year. I was thoroughly impressed with the control and detail provided. I ran no outboard processors, other than a crossover, although I wish I had a Hifonics Vesta to control the Zeus. Also bear in mind that I never turn my gains up. They are not volume knobs. I'm a firm believer in big amps and high voltage head units. And yes, I understand the concept of level matching.

Zeus VIII, Olympus VIII, Treo SSi 10.22

HiFonics Olympus VIII power and speaker connections

HiFonics Olympus VIII inputs and level controls

HiFonics Zeus VIII power and speaker connectors

HiFonics Zeus VIII inputs and gain control

How about some guts?

HiFonics VIII Amps - Zeus and Olympus

Olympus VIII Internals

Olympus VIII Internals alternate angle

Olympus VIII Transformer

Zeus VIII Internals

Another angle of the Zeus VIII's Internals

The Zeus VIII's Transformer

I need to make this shorter or I'll be here all day. So I listened to the Hifonics and myself and everyone else who heard it was duly impressed. But I got bitten by a Mantz bug and started buying Earthquake amps. But Mantz didn't make Earthquake, you say? I was actually in the middle of paying one off when I learned that. The seller even thought I would change my mind about buying it. I didn't. Mostly because I don't back out of stuff, and also because I had just spoken with someone who spoke very highly of them. 

So onto the next phase; Earthquake MINI. I left all of the rest of the equipment untouched and switched out my Zeus for a PA-2300, and my Olympus for a PA-4050. However, I did one thing different. I bridged the 4050 into two channels.

Earthquake PA-2300 in immaculate condition

This gut shot was taken before the amp was overhauled.

Earthquake PA-2300 Guts

Earthquake PA-4050c Exterior

Earthquake PA-4050c Internals

 Sadly, the only pictures of the install (if you want to call it that) were on my old phone. I can give a quick review though. The difference between the Earthquakes and the Hifonics was negligible. The front amps shouldn't be a very fair comparison because they are two different class ratings. And I will say that even bridged, the Earthquake however marvelous, still did not quite keep up with the Hifonics Olympus. Normal folks wouldn't be able to tell. And the only real difference I noted between the 2300's was that the Earthquake didn't come with the same violent tendencies as the Zeus. But it did offer wonderful control over my sub and all four amps were simply amazing. I use the word "amazing" a lot when I talk about some of this stuff.

Current install: Orion MINI. This is what I've been working on over the last few months. You will note that the amps are mounted to the box. Please pay this no mind as every precaution has been taken with both enclosure and mounting procedure. Normally I wouldn't do this, but for this install, my amps are very well protected.

Custom Enclosure by Solid Sounds Designs also chrome Orion XTR-2250 and "the" Orion NT 200 

Front door speakers CDT ES-620 Golds and PPI EPX-205

Pioneer DEH-P80RS head unit and PPI EPX-205 Crossover

I'm still building. So this is where it's "supposed" to go. And the reason I chose to run this crossover is because I needed control over my 2250, and I wanted to supply the correct voltage to my Orions. Not just 5 volts sometimes. And anybody that has one of these Pioneers knows what I mean when I say the menus are nonsense. The configuration now is my 2250 bridged to my Treo SSi 10.22. I changed my comps out to CDT ES-620 Golds. I had to do a bit of fabbing and cutting to get these in. I was going to go active, but 1; I didn't have the time to mess with it, and 2; I like the 4th order elliptical passives just fine. I think CDT did a wonderful job on these comps. They sound darn good with no tuning and in stock speaker location. I have the Upstage kit for them. Maybe one day I'll add them.

CDT ES-620's in the door

Here are the amps:

Orion XTR-2250 (chrome plated) and Orion NT 200

Rear view of the MINI with the Orion amps

Orion NT 200 Internals

Orion NT 200 and NT 200 BIX

I didn't use my NT crossover because it requires XLR cables which I don't have. Maybe in a future install. And since I can't seem to find a picture of my chrome 2250's guts, I'll post something similar.

Orion Concept 97.3 and 2100 HCCA Competition Internals

^^Seen one, seen em' all!

So far the sound is truly breathtaking. I'll give a more in depth review once I get it dialed in and have listened to it for awhile. Thanks for looking!



And yes, if you were wondering, the Orion NT 200 you see in Jason's pictures is the one you may have seen before on this website and in my YouTube videos. Thanks to Jason for taking the time to do the review! If you'd like to write and article or make a video of your old school install, contact me through Facebook and let me know.

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