Saturday, August 11, 2012

Old School Soundstream MC500 Car Audio Amplifier

You guys know I like the old school "monster" amps, and I recently came across a rare beast indeed...a Soundstream MC500 from the late 1980's. The MC500 was part of the original "monster amp test" held by Car Stereo Review back in 1989. Here are the specs of the MC500:

  • Four Channel Amp rated at 125 watts x 4 channels
  • Bridgeable for 2 or 3 channel operation delivering up to 250 watts x 2 channels
  • LSE - Linear Subwoofer Extension with adjustable frequency for added low end impact
  • No built-in crossovers
  • 2 ohm stereo / 4 ohm mono stable
  • Dual 30A fuses for power
  • Up to 70A current draw at maximum output

1989 Soundstream MC500 Amplifier

The MC500 was one of the few amps in 1989 to have integrated terminal connectors. The power, ground and speaker terminals can accept up to 8GA wire. The RCA jacks are gold plated and very high quality. The dual 30A fuses are inserted just beside the power terminals.

Soundstream MC500 Amplifier
Soundstream MC500 Amplifier - Power Connectors

The Soundstream MC500 was available for a short period of time around the 1989/1990 time frame. From what I've been told by Soundstream experts, this amp was one of the few Soundstream powder coated. Most of their other amps at this time (D series and Class A) were anodized aluminum. Many of the first batch of MC500's had extreme paint flaking issues and had to be recalled. The next run of amps had a better coating, but based on the U.S. MSRP of $1295, not many of these amps were sold. 

Unlike many of the other Soundstream high-end amps at the time, this one was not touted as "Class A". That said, the MC series (MC500, MC300, MC245 and MC140) were well regarded for their sound quality and flexibility. Yes, at the time, 500 watts was considered BIG power! 

Soundstream MC500 Guts
Soundstream MC500 guts - Nice!

Amp output tests coming soon...just waiting for the NC weather to cool a little. Maybe one day my labs will be climate controlled! Enjoy the video overview below. Output test coming in the future.

See my video overview of the Soundstream MC500 below.

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Watch the video on YouTube in 1080P or embedded below: