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|JL Audio HD900/5 versus JL Audio XD700/5 Amplifier|
Today, most amplifier power is rated at a 14.4-volt supply at 1% distortion and at 1000- hertz. None of these qualifiers are particularly relevant to how you actually use your amplifier. With a resting battery voltage of 12.7 volts, and while running your air conditioning and headlights, it is unlikely that you will have anything close to a 14.4-volt supply. You may also have a 15% power roll-off at 50 hertz, as compared to an easier to produce 1000-hertz test tone. There is virtually no headroom above the rated distortion, as most amplifiers have hit the wall at this point.
An unregulated amplifier gives you a premium of power with a 14.4-volt supply but may lose 30% of its rated power as the supply sags to 12 volts, for instance.
There are many types of regulated amplifiers, but in a strictly regulated amplifier example for this discussion the amplifier will maintain its full 14.4-volt rated output power even with an 11-volt supply. And, the amplifier will produce the same power with any stereo output load from 1.5 to 4-ohms. A strictly regulated amplifier will definitely need a more robust internal power supply. However, the intention of a strictly regulated amplifier is not just to deliver more power at lower supply voltages, although it is a nice byproduct, but the primary objective is to build an amplifier with higher stability and better sound quality.
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