Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rockford Fosgate Punch 150HD vs. Phoenix Gold MS-275 - Old School Amp Shootout!

Let's take a trip back in time, 20 years to be exact. You are in the market for a new amplifier for your system and you've narrowed the decision to two popular choices...The Rockford Fosgate Punch 150HD or Phoenix Gold MS-275. Both can be had for about $500 US (remember, 1991 folks) so you grab your Car Audio & Electronics April 1991 "Buyer's Guide" issue and review the specs. Both amps appear to be rated the same in 4ohms stereo at 75 watts/ch at 4 ohms bridged at 180 watts. How can you decide between the two? You really like the Phoenix Gold's 24 carat gold plated circuit board and terminal strip connectors. You are also intrigued by Rockford's reputation of overbuilding and underrating their amps. Again, a tough decision, but how do you choose only one?

Step forward to 2011...

Although in 1991, I could not afford either of these amps, I thought it would be a great way to relive those days as if I could choose between them. Now with the capability to bench test each amp in addition to some real-world tests with speakers, this could be a better experience than the car stereo shops of days past.

Rockford Fosgate Punch 150HD , Phoenix Gold MS-275 propped up by a Kicker Solobaric S10c

I've been fortunate in finding near MINT examples of each amplifier. My MS-275 is the rare gray color (most are the white color which are later models), while the Punch 150HD is the classic black. The original MSRP of the MS-275 was $479 US, while the Punch 150HD was a little higher at $515. See my video overview below as I'll go into further details of each amplifier. Power output and subwoofer tests coming soon in another video, so stay tuned...



Edit: 6/25/11 

Unfortunately, it may be some time before the power output test is complete for the Phoenix Gold MS-275 as the output capacitors are showing signs of leaking (common problem for most 90's PG amps). The capacitor swap is a relatively complex task, at least one I don't want to chance with such a nice amp. I'll send the amp off in a few months to have the caps changed out, so it may be a while before I post another video in this series. I may, however, go ahead and show a video testing the Punch 150HD and its output test...we'll see.



Post a Comment