Am­pli­fier­fier Re­view w

Pasmag (Canada) - - Front Page -

Over the last 30 years, the Orion brand of car au­dio has gar­nered a high level of re­spect from folks who in­sist on high qual­ity, high per­for­mance prod­ucts. The mar­que has a proven track record for per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity that only a hand­ful of brands can match. Over the years, their flag­ship prod­uct se­ries has been the HCCA se­ries, and in this re­view we are go­ing to take a look at a very pow­er­ful ex­am­ple: the new HCCA5000.1DSPL.


One look at the out­side of the box tells you this is a se­ri­ous piece of kit. A large warn­ing sticker lets you know this is a high power am­pli­fier that de­mands proper care and feed­ing when it comes to cur­rent and volt­age sup­plies. The HCCA5000.1DSPL is a large, heavy am­pli­fier, which makes per­fect sense when you un­der­stand that this am­pli­fier ac­tu­ally de­liv­ers the ad­ver­tised power, un­like many oth­ers in to­day's mar­ket­place.

The amp mea­sures about two feet long, a foot wide, three-anda-quar­ter inches tall, and tips the scales at al­most 26 pounds. Like all its fa­mous an­ces­tors, the heatsink is a rich red an­odized fin­ish with laser-etched graph­ics that mimic the old CNC-ma­chined style. The ends are fin­ished with molded black caps that add to the all-busi­ness look.

All of the con­trols and con­nec­tions are made on the ends of the am­pli­fier. On one side of the amp are the power and speaker con­nec­tions, and to make sure there is no doubt about the cur­rent re­quire­ments, an­other warn­ing sticker is placed over the con­nec­tions, forc­ing the in­staller to pay at­ten­tion. The power ter­mi­nals are un­like any other amp, with three nega­tive con­nec­tions and three pos­i­tive con­nec­tions. These are large, heavy-duty ter­mi­nals, and each will ac­cept 1/0-gauge wire. Yeah, I think six 1/0 ter­mi­nals ought to do it!

The speaker ter­mi­nals are sim­i­larly heavy duty, ac­cept­ing huge four-gauge speaker ca­bles.

On the other end of the am­pli­fier are all the sig­nal in­put and con­trol func­tions. Panel­mount-style RCAs are pro­vided for sig­nal in­put and out­put. The HCCA5000.1DSPL is de­signed to be able to run in Mas­ter/Slave con­fig­u­ra­tions - when 5,000 watts just isn't enough!

Con­trols are pro­vided for gain, low-pass cross­over (40 Hz to 300 Hz) vari­able phase con­trol, and a bass boost ad­just­ment for up to 18 dB of boost at 45 Hz. For vented sub­woofer ap­pli­ca­tions, a switch­able sub­sonic fil­ter can (and should) be en­gaged. Also in­cluded is a wired re­mote level con­trol, so you can ad­just the rel­a­tive vol­ume of the bass right from the driver's seat.

A look in­side the am­pli­fier ex­plains why it weighs 26 pounds. The amp is clearly de­signed for high-cur­rent op­er­a­tion and will eas­ily drive one-ohm loads all day long. This amp has four high-cur­rent toroids in the power sup­ply! There are 12 high-cur­rent MOSFETs in the out­put stage and 16 more in the power sup­ply. Power sup­ply en­ergy stor­age is han­dled


by 16 2,200-μF ca­pac­i­tors, and the rails use 12 1500-μF 200-volt caps. That, folks, is a lot of ca­pac­i­tance.

The PCB is mil­i­tary spec “FR4,” which means a glass epoxy sub­strate that is dou­ble sided, and the vias are plated through for max­i­mum cur­rent flow, less in­ter­nal heat­ing, and greater re­li­a­bil­ity. Speak­ing of cool­ing, the heatsink is built with a spe­cial tun­nel vent­ing sys­tem un­der the top, and a three­inch, nine-bladed fan forces the hot air out each end of the amp. Pro­tec­tion cir­cuitry is built in for over and un­der volt­age, ther­mal over temp, and short cir­cuits.


Even though I sel­dom lis­ten at re­ally high vol­ume, I never get tired of hav­ing a lot of power in my lis­ten­ing sys­tem. When you have enough power to get all the vol­ume you want with­out ever get­ting near the am­pli­fier's (or speak­ers') lim­its, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic can be a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. This am­pli­fier de­liv­ers the sort of power that re­ally needs to be ex­pe­ri­enced to be un­der­stood.

I con­nected the HCCA5000.1DSPL to a pair of high-power-han­dling 15-inch woofers in a sealed en­clo­sure. The re­sult­ing bot­tom end was ridicu­lous. I have been in movie the­atres that didn't have this kind of author­ity. Lis­ten­ing to this amp on a pair of high qual­ity woofers proves once again the old adage that there's no such thing as too much power. The bass is tight, well-de­fined and gen­er­ally sounds great with any mu­sic, at any vol­ume. Kick drum beats have the sort of im­pact you ex­pect at a con­cert, and with what seems like an unlimited sup­ply of clean power avail­able, the lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is sim­ply a lot of fun.


Af­ter my lis­ten­ing ses­sion was over, I moved the big Orion amp to the test bench to have a look at the num­bers it could turn out. Not sur­pris­ingly, it made gobs of power, but it also man­aged to have im­pres­sively low dis­tor­tion and re­spectable spec­i­fi­ca­tions in gen­eral for such a pow­er­house. As long as the ve­hi­cle is ca­pa­ble of sup­ply­ing the re­quired cur­rent, this am­pli­fier could def­i­nitely be the cor­ner­stone of a re­ally good sound qual­ity sys­tem, so it's not just for the SPL crowd. If you run it into four ohms, you could likely get away with just a very good bat­tery and a high-out­put al­ter­na­tor, but if you are go­ing for ev­ery watt pos­si­ble and in­sist on a one-ohm load, you are go­ing to need at least two ded­i­cated bat­ter­ies to power the beast.


Once again, the Orion amp ex­ceeded even my ex­pec­ta­tions of it, and I've been mea­sur­ing and test­ing Orion am­pli­fiers for al­most 20 years. If you are think­ing about a new sub­woofer am­pli­fier, and you're will­ing to step up to mak­ing the re­quired cur­rent avail­able, this amp could be the per­fect choice. Just be pre­pared to match the big power to ap­pro­pri­ate woofers, or you'll be in trou­ble. The power is ad­dict­ing, it's rich with his­tory and her­itage, and it sounds great. For the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple, it may be the last sub­woofer am­pli­fier you'd need for a long time.

A heavy duty amp that pro­vides se­ri­ously heavy duty power.

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