Tuesday, June 21, 2011

HiFonics Vulcan and Thor VII - Old School Classics!

I'm SO glad there are other people out there who take good care of their old school amps! I recently ran across a local Craigslist ad where a person was selling a couple of classic early 90's HiFonics amps...the Vulcan and Thor (both VII series). I met the seller and ended up buying the amps...simply amazing to see these amps in such great condition to be 20 years old!

Early 90's HiFonics Thor VII and Vulcan VII in near MINT condition!

A friend of mine back around 1991 had a Thor VII, exactly like the one I picked up, and I always recall the amp being very powerful. Back then, his Thor powered (2) 15" subwoofers from a local speaker manufacturing shop. The speakers were 8ohm each wired in parallel and the amp was bridged mono putting out a rated 400 watts. This was a BIG power back then and to my ears still plenty of power for the right subs.

I recall each local stereo shop trying to best each other by saying how underrated the particular brand of amp they sold was. It was pretty evident to me, Autotek, Orion and Rockford Fosgate were underrated, but what about HiFonics? These amps were well regarded and were actually priced reasonable versus their power output ratings. For comparison, the Rockford Fosgate Punch 45 retailed for $275 US and was rated to deliver 22.5x2 or 70x1 at 4ohms. The HiFonics Vulcan VII was priced at $330 US and was rated 50x2 or 180x1 at 4ohms. A feature missing on the Vulcan causing me to decide on the Punch 45? Built-in Bass and Treble EQ's. I know it seems silly to think this would be a deciding factor, but it actually swayed my decision. The only "remote" bass controls we had back then was something like the Audio Control Epicenter (and they were pricey around $180 US).

With that said, let's work forward to 2011 and seeing how the 1991'ish HiFonics amps perform on the OldSchoolStereo.com test bench. Since I have the privilege of previously testing Zed Audio built amps, I had a preconceived expectation of the results....and I was pretty spot on!

Here are the results:

Vulcan VII
RMS Output Power:
4ohms stereo = (rated): 50w/ch / (actual): 59.44w/ch
2ohms stereo = (rated): 90w/ch / (actual): 104.4w/ch
4ohms bridged = (rated): 180w / (actual): 208.8w

***Max Output Power:
Max Output (hard clip) = (actual) 370.5w/ bridged at 4ohms

1991 HiFonics Vulcan VII

Thor VII
RMS Output Power:
4ohms stereo = (rated) 125w/ch / (actual) 157.0w/ch
2ohms stereo = (rated) 200w/ch / (actual) 252.6w/ch
4ohms bridged = (rated) 400w / (actual) 462.2w

***Max Output Power:
Max Output (hard clip) = 475.5w/ x 2 at 2ohms!!! (over 950w total!!)

***This MAX number is what most of the mfg's use today when rating amps

1991 HiFonics Thor VII

I did some basic SQ testing with some separates and a 10" Kicker Solobaric S10c sub and was VERY impressed by the power, clarity and control both amps offered up. I'm even considering using these two amps in my Old School Stealth Install until my RF Power 650 gets it's facelift.

Stay tuned in for more updates...



PQmodean said...

i love my old vulcan.. ive had it in every instal in my vehicles since 1992.

picked it up used from a friends sister that had it running an 8in bazooka tube. it powered that with ease.

currently running mixed st/mono. 2 infinity 4''s front dash ST, and two polk db6x9s rear side panels @8 ohm mono rear fill.

Unknown said...

I will never part with my Thor from back on the early 90's, it can run a set of 15's and a set of 12's parallel down to 2 ohms per channel and nothing can touch it as far as clarity and power, they just don't make them like that it anymore. run it through a Cleo eq. to tweak it a bit between the head end and the amp, and a home made bank or stiffening capacitors, I think about 75000 microfarads worth of caps if I remember right. even though I'm 40 now and it sits idle now wrapped up in the basement ill never get rid of it. I would have to be offered something pretty good to ever come off it.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I had the Thor too. It was very underrated. The epicenter was a bass restoration processor and not a knob that controlled the volume of the bass. The more you turned it up the bass began to drop down to lower octaves. This would make the bass sound much lower and make more of a low rumble. Its was felt more than heard. From a distance it sounded literally like thunder. It's sounded terrible on 808 hip-hop bass but it was a beast on solid kick drums and synth bass. Subs usually only push forward but with the epicenter, subs would push forward and pull backwards really hard. It would destroy cheap subs. I had it on a set up with two 15s and two 18s crunch subs with a Crunch 600 amp bridged at 900 watts. In 1993 that was a lot of power. The Thor was on the highs and mids.

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