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Dayton HPSA500 500 Watt Home Theater Subwoofer Amplifier Review

If you are looking for a quality subwoofer plate amplifier for your next home theater subwoofer project, the Dayton HPS500 may be just what you may be looking for. This amplifier delivers 273 watts RMS @ 8 ohms and 540 watts RMS @ 4 ohms so it has enough for just about any 12″ and 15″ sub. Features include a variable 30 – 200 Hz, 24 dB/octave cross over , full parametric Bass EQ, high power class AB output stage, soft clip circuitry and auto on/off to name a few. While Dayton also offers a 1000 watt model, I feel this is the best compromise between price and power.

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Build Quality

Dayton is known for putting out some great priced high quality products, the HPSA500 is no different. The face of the amp features a quality nicely labeled control panel with high quality knobs, RCA inputs and power switch. Unlike cheaper plate units, this amp has a very nice weight to it. The back of the amplifier features a black plastic protective cover that protects the amplifier’s internals. Removing the cover reveals a heavy duty power supply and excellent quality circuit boards. The output speaker wires are heavy duty with silicone jackets. Every thing about this amplifier screams quality there is not a single characteristic that I can point out as being “cheap”.

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Specs

The specs on this amplifier are pretty nice considering it’s relatively low price tag for an amplifier delivering over 500 watts. In addition to a 24 db/octave variable crossover and parametric EQ, the amplifier has some convenient features like auto on/off, master on/off switch and L/R/LFE inputs. I should not that I did not find much use for the the parametric EQ which allows you to adjust specific frequencies in the playback spectrum. I personally don’t see much use for it in the range this amplifier is expected to operate in. Never the less, its a nice little feature that some may find useful.

-High power class AB output stage
-Patented tracking downconverter power supply
-Full parametric bass EQ
-Phase reversal switch
-Advanced soft clip circuitry
-Toroidal power supply transformer
-Auto On/Off
-Power output: 273 watts RMS @ 8 ohms, 540 watts RMS @ 4 ohms
-S/N ratio: 98 dB (A weighted)
-Crossover: 30 – 200 Hz, 24 dB/octave
-Dimensions: 11-15/16″ W x 11-15/16″ H x 5-1/4″ D

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Setup and Installation

Installation on this amp is pretty basic, as is usually the case with most subwoofer amplifiers. Simply cut your opening , connect + and – leads, screw it in and you’re done. I used mine on my own enclosure design which had the amplifier location and size in mind. You should be aware that this is a good size unit so installing it in an existing retail enclosure may be a challenge as they usually tend to be compact, undersized and use small amplifiers. This will definitely not fit anything less than a 12″ retail sub enclosure. Click Here for exact Amplifier measurements.

Setup is a breeze, simply set your crossover at your desired level, usually picking a frequency that slightly overlaps your front main speaker’s frequency range. On my receiver, I can fine tune my main’s crossover frequency so I can set the subwoofer amplifier’s frequency rather easily. If you are not sure, then 100hz cross over frequency is a good place to start, then fine tune from there. As mentioned previously, I found the parametric EQ to be of little use to me, not because it doesn’t work but simply because I don’t see a need for it. Luckily, the EQ is defeatable to that is where I left it.

Sound Quality and Performance

The sound quality of the Dayton HPS500 is quite impressive. My HPS500 is being used to power a 4 ohm Dayton Reference 15″ sub in a ported enclosure tuned to 18hz. My amplifier is primarily used to power the low end of my home theater. It has absolutely no trouble delivering sub 20hz wall rattling bass without so much as breaking a sweat all the while still maintaining excellent clarity. I was previously using a weaker off brand amp to power a 12 and it would heat up quite a bit, this one is still very cool to the touch after pounding out bass for 2 or 3 consecutive movies. Music is delivered with the same clarity and depth. It should be noted that mine did heat up a lot more when playing music vs home theater mode. To prevent overheating, I highly recommend adjusting the amps gain a few notches down when playing music. My Sony receiver seems to up the bass output when in 2 channel mode vs home theater mode. All in all sound quality and performance is top notch.

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Overall Impressions

Overall, this amp is nothing short of perfect for 12″ and 15″ home theater or music subwoofer applications. It’s built great, has plenty of power and the sound quality is awesome. About the only downside for some may be in sizing it to an existing retail enclosure as this is definitely not your run of the mill “Best Buy” unit . Then again, if you have a small retail sub, then this is probably too much power and would be better suited with some of Dayton’s smaller offerings from Parts Express. Other than the unnecessary Prametric EQ, I have absolutely no complaints with this unit. Best of all, the amp is very affordable! If you are in the market for an affordable high power subwoofer amplifier, then this is it. Did I mention Parts Express has a 1 year no questions asked replacement warranty on it!

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