Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amps that Rumble...Earthquake PA-2040c and PA-2300

Earthquake PA-2040c and PA-2300 Amplifiers from 1995. Photo (c)

One of the "sleeper" Car Audio brands back in the mid-90's was Earthquake. Competing against established brands such as Rockford Fosgate, Orion, Precision Power, Soundstream, etc. proved to be a difficult task. Everyone had a favorite brand, but how did the lesser known brands survive? Well, building quality products was one way and another was to test well in the Car Audio magazines. Earthquake accomplished both of these tasks and although never became as popular as the brands listed above, they did create a place for themselves in old school car audio history!

I recently acquired two Earthquake amplifiers and will briefly overview them below.

First up is the Earthquake PA-2040c. The PA-2040c is a two-channel amplifier with a built-in crossover. The crossover is non-adjustable and either 80Hz low-pass or 200Hz high-pass at 12dB/octave. You could also bypass the crossover to use the amp full range. In addition, the amp also included rotary bass and treble controls at 45Hz and 12kHz. Going by the model number, one might assume the amp is rated at 40w x 2, however specs in the included manual state 52w x 2 @ 4 ohms. I'm still unsure of the "250 watts at 2 ohms" silk-screened on the amp. I don't see any specs referring to this power at 2 ohms? Maybe Earthquake was following lesser brands with "max" output claims? Well, only the bench test for RMS output power will tell us....

Earthquake PA-2040c Amplifier Controls

Earthquake PA-2040c Amplifier Top View

Earthquake PA-2040c Amplifier Speaker Outputs and Power Connections

Earthquake also produced larger amplifiers, such as the PA-2300. Again, going by the model number, one might assume 2 x 300 watts, right? According to the manual, 2 x 380 watts RMS at 4 ohms and a mind-boggling 1150 watts RMS at 4 ohms bridged. In the mid-90's there were few car audio amplifiers claiming 1000 watts plus. The PA-2300 had no internal crossover, but had a counterpart, the PA-2300c, which did. A rather unusual feature of the PA-2300 was the dual bass controls. One centered at 30Hz and the other at 45Hz. Why two bass controls? I'm not certain, but maybe a tuning choice for those using sealed vs. ported subwoofer enclosures?

Earthquake PA-2300 Amplifier

Earthquake PA-2300 Bass Controls and Inputs

Although these amplifiers look very similar to amps made by Zed Audio (HiFonics VII, VII, Autotek BTS series, Crunch CR series, etc.), Earthquake amps were NOT made by Zed Audio. Although this is the case, rest assured the Earthquake PA series amps were built like a tank. The amps you see above were originally purchased in 1995 and variants of the PA series went back to the early 1990's.

Stay tuned for upcoming power output tests of these amps. Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel to stay notified of my latest video uploads.

See the mystery "unboxing" of these Old School Gems below:

Video in 720p HD

or embedded below:



BIG P said...

the wrms power rating on the pa-2300 is at 2ohm mono. in the instruction manual there rated at 4ohm mono.

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