Audison Forza amplifiers are a new range of class-D amplifiers that revolutionise the way class-D amplifier technology is viewed. Here we look at the design ethos of this revolutionary new range and some of its key features.
When Audison released its Prima range of amplifiers, everyone was impressed by the sound quality and flexibility of such a compact design. It seemed unfeasible that all resident bit technology and amplifier channels could co-exist in such a small space.
After a short time, installers began matching Prima amplifiers to speakers outside the matching Prima range, which exposed a perceived lack of power. Although channels could be bridged to double the output, some less efficient speakers became "channel greedy".
The correlation between output power and power consumption became an increasing worry with the proliferation of EVs (electric vehicles). Owners were worried that high power-consuming amplifiers would reduce range. Although true, the added drain is minimal and unlikely to cost many miles. However, the design team at Audison was determined to increase power output while keeping additional current draw to a minimum.
Sound quality has always been at the forefront of Audison product design, so no compromise was available. In fact, Audison's latest revisions to its class-D technology have increased sound quality across all new ranges of class-D products. The uplift in quality is primarily due to the quality of components Audison has chosen. Increased switching frequency and redesigned filtering have also contributed to the performance uplift. Clever power supply design has also led to far greater efficiency.
It is difficult to find easily digestible information on the new technologies within such a sophisticated product. In any case, most installers and their customers are focused on the result rather than the journey. Audison engineers are also reluctant to give much detail when discussing the techniques and innovations used.
Another aspect of Audison's Forza design is DSP (Digital Signal Processing. Rather than being on the wish list for new installs, it has become a "must-have". Audison has years of experience to draw on now as they were among the first to market with their bit ONE and bit 10 DSP products. Without a doubt, Audison is top of the tree for sophistication, function and facility in its DSP products. Forza introduces us to a new era of DSP. The new features in this latest offering have made your installer's job far more straightforward. Forza amplifier channel allocation and configuration can be changed in software, as can phase. Each channel also has an impressive suite of set-up tools, including RTA (Real Time Analyser). These all go a long way to helping identify and correct any wiring anomalies. Other features such as de Equalisation, phase correction, and time alignment resetting further help to untangle any strange phenomena emanating from the standard factory system. Furthermore, designed around a 24bit 98kHz platform, the DSP function has gained the amplifiers the coveted Hi-Res certification by the Japan Audio Society. A new bit Drive PC software package has been developed for installers to make set-up more manageable and allow quicker results.
The new Forza range includes five DSP-equipped amplifiers and four non-DSP power horses. These are to be released in stages.
Already available in the UK are four DSP-equipped models and one non-DSP product.
The top-of-the-range Audison Forza AF M12.14 bit offers 12 channels of amplification and 14 channels of DSP. The additional two channels of DSP are output to a pair of pre-outs so that the signal can be sent to a separate amplifier, such as a monoblock. Each of the 12 amplified channels is rated at 60watts RMS into 4ohms. Power output increases to 90watts RMS into 2ohms. When bridged, two channels will produce 180watts RMS. From a power-per-speaker point of view, the amplifier gives the system designer lots of flexibility.
In today's world, many factory-standard audio systems use multiple speakers. The AF M12.14 can handle highly complex systems with eight high or low-level inputs. Your installer can increase the number of inputs to 12 by adding the optional F4IN interface.
Many vehicle manufacturers use proprietary DSP systems. These are all about offering a compromise between sound quality and preventing the poor, underpowered standard speakers from being overloaded and damaged when the volume is turned up at speed.
The Forza DSP can unscramble such false curves and present a clean audio signal to the final amplifying stages. Your installer can then adjust time alignment and equalisation and correct phase discrepancies.
There are currently four DSP-equipped Forza amplifiers in the range. With almost all the same functionality, these have fewer channels for less complex systems. Currently, these are available in 8, 5, and 4-channel varieties, all with additional channels of DSP. All DSP amplifiers in the Forza range can receive a 24bit 192kHz digital input via a built-in Toslink connector. An optional F20 expansion interface can be added, including extra coaxial digital input.
Alongside the DSP amplifiers is the AF M4D. Audison describes this as an AF companion amplifier. This four-channel amplifier provides up to 260 Watts per channel at 2ohms. This amplifier can be plugged straight into any AF amplifier to add additional high-power channels. The AF M4D could be used as a standalone amplifier and connected to a separate DSP, such as the Audison bit ONE. As with all Forza amplifiers, it can accept 24bit 192kHz hi-res audio signals. It is also built to the highest quality class-D performance levels.
There are other products in the pipeline at the time of writing, and we look forward to seeing the range completed over the following months.
Having heard a demonstration vehicle fitted with the AF M12.14bit, we can report that they deliver the highest quality class-D audio we have ever heard.
Visit your local dealer for a demonstration or to find out more about how your car could be made to sound as good as your home hi-fi system.
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