Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Some Really Powerful Mini Amps? The Rockford Fosgate Punch Boosted Rail Amplifiers PBR300x1 PBR300x2 PBR300x4

Rockford Fosgate Punch "Boosted Rail Amps" - From left to right; PBR300x1, PBR300x2 and PBR300x4

I get questioned all the time as to why I do tests and reviews of new amps on OldSchoolStereo.com. Isn't this website for stereo gear from the 80's and 90's? Well, yes, but I also like to test new products that stand out from the rest. As you may have seen on my YouTube channel, I like to make portable boomboxes and tiny amps such as the Rockford Fosgate PBR series intrigue me. Also, let me make it clear...these Punch PBR series amps pack a big power "punch" and are not to be confused with the other Chinese Mini Amps I've tested in the past. Those amps from Lepai, Kinter and others will brag about "500 Watts" or more and must have misplaced the decimal point when converting from Chinese to English or something...

The Rockford PBR series I'm talking about here are the 300 watt versions; Specifically the monoblock PBR300x1, stereo PBR300x2 and four-channel PBR300x4. Each amp is identical in size, but vastly different in output configuration.

  • The Punch PBR300x1 is a mono block amp, designed for subwoofer duty only. It is rated at 75x1 at 4 ohms, 150x1 at 2 ohms and 300x1 at 1 ohm. The PBR300x1 is also unique in that it relies on the three 15,000uf 25V caps to keep the rail boosted during high power operation. The PBR300x1 has no switching power supply toroid, whereas both the PBR300x2 and PBR300x4 do
  • The Punch PBR300x2 is the most flexible amp in this series as it is suitable for stereo, mono or tri-mode operation and has built in low-pass and high-pass crossovers. The PBR300x2 is rated at 100x2 at 4 ohms, 150x2 at 2 ohms or 300x1 at 4 ohms bridged mono. Before I purchased the amp, I contacted Rockford Fosgate to find out if the amp could be used in "tri-mode" operation (stereo and mono simultaneously) and the answer was yes. This intrigued me as it would allow me to test the amp using an old school tri-mode crossover, and possibly a good candidate for a boombox project.
  • Lastly, the Punch PBR300x4 is a four channel model rated only to handle 4 ohm loads at 75x4. You can choose Low Pass, High Pass or bypass for crossover duties. Unfortunately, no Punch Bass port is provided and the PBR300x4 is not bridgeable. This amp seems well suited for powering front and rear full range speakers.
  • All of the PBR300 series measure  6-15/16"W x 1-9/16"H x 4-5/16"D
  • Street price for the PBR300 series is around $250 US each
Not mentioned above is the recently introduced Punch PBR500x1. The 500x1 is not only larger in size, but also much larger in power output delivering 500 watts at 1 ohm. We may get one of these amps soon to run through the test bench, so stay tuned.

PBR300 series internal components, left to right; PBR300x1, PBR300x2 & PBR300x4

Over the past few months, we've had a chance to put two of the PBR300 amps on the OldSchoolStereo test bench and also run through some real world tests with speakers and subwoofers.

First to test was the original "Boosted Rail" amp offered by Rockford Fosgate, the PBR300x1. After seeing Steve Meade's video about this amp at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, I was eager to get my hands on one. PASNATION also has an excellent video explaining the technology in these amps. I also created a couple of videos showing off the PBR300x1. See them below:

Part 1: Unboxing and Overview - See on YouTube in 1080P HD or embedded below

Part 2: RMS Power Output Test - See on YouTube in 1080P HD or embedded below

After the apparent success of the PBR300x1, Rockford expanded the line of "boosted rail" amps with the PBR300x4 and most recently the PBR300x2. I purchased both amps, most recently the PBR300x2. With this amp's ability to work in stereo, mono, or both (using passive crossovers), I decided this might be the perfect amp for a high powered portable boombox. Also, to add some flair of old school, I decided to test the amp using a Phoenix Gold XVR4 tri-mode crossover network. The XVR4 provides 80Hz low-pass filtering at 12dB/octave and 120Hz high-pass at 6dB/octave. I thought this would be a perfect match for my recently created Rockford Fosgate AUDIOphile Bookshelf Speakers and a trio of old school JL Audio 8W6 subwoofers. It turned out to be a great combination indeed! See the full test and demo below:

Rockford Fosgate PBR300x2 Bench Tested and Demo'd - on YouTube in 1080P HD or embedded below

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Unknown said...

Well to change gears a ill bit .it's 2016 and I just got my hands on a 1998 model of fosgate it's a 55.2 punch .I am so blown away by the power it put out when I hooked it up.let's keep in mind It replaced a 3,000 watt mono block lanzar.lanzar should be ashamed of them self's.to make this story short.I am now a fully committed fan of fosgate. Again just shocked by this punch 55.2....thanks Rockford grate job

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