Diamond Audio Technology D61500.1 Monoblock Amplifier
Jul 13, 2007
Review by prowler573
Rated a Very Helpful Review
For various reasons I recently upgraded my cars substage amplification from a much beloved Kenwood eXcelon KAC-X401M to a DAT D61500.1. While still using the same single Diamond Audio M6mkII12D4 subwoofer the audible difference from the Kenwood amp to this Diamond unit is actually quite surprising. For anyone in the market for a monoblock amplifier capable of making 1.5kW (or more) when presented with a 1-Ohm resistance load then I highly suggest seriously looking into this DAT powerhouse.
Recommend this product?
A quick breakdown of the setup in which this unit is a part of:
Headunit ~ Kenwood eXcelon 25th Anniversary XXV-01D
Mids/Highs ~ Diamond Audio Motorsport M6 6.5 2-way components (x2
one set front, one set rear)
Mids/Highs amp: Kenwood Performance Standard (the earliest examples of the upmarket eXcelon line from Kenwood) KAC-PS500F four-channel amp
Sub ~ Diamond Audio M6mkII12D4
Sub amp ~ (naturally) Diamond Audio D61500.1
Wiring and related accessories: A mixture of gear from Stinger, StreetWires, and Rockford Fosgate
Put simply, the DAT D61500.1 suggests class when considering it from a purely cosmetic perspective. Youll find no output claims of wattage the amp could never possibly reach splashed garishly across the amps chassis in some DayGlo hue. (can we say Sony Xplod, anyone??) Youll see no multicolor paint schemes that may or may not blend well with the space in which you intend to install it. There is no myriad of essentially useless LED decoration to be found here.
Looking at the Diamond Audio D6 Reference Series 1500.1 monoblock all youll find is a plain brushed aluminum chassis with integrated heatsink fins. A minor nod towards the origin of the amp is found with DATs trademark crescent moon logo accompanied by the simple placement of the word Diamond across the middle of the amps topside somewhat biased towards the left-hand edge. The only lighting to be found on the amplifier is simple, single hyperbright blue LED that indicates power and a second single red LED that indicates the amplifier being in protection mode. As I have never seen the red protection LED status light lit up, thankfully, I cannot comment on how bright it is or isnt.
There are many aftermarket car audio enthusiasts who are not familiar with Diamond Audio Technology in the least so quite frequently a user of their equipment might find themselves being asked, What sort of flea-market, generic gear is that? Well, the proof really is in the listening.
In my particular setup installation was a pretty cut and dried affair. Because the DAT amp is physically larger than the eXcelon unit it replaced I was forced to make another mounting board as the one being used with the KAC-X401M simply wasnt big enough to support the DAT unit. Outside of that the wiring for the amp was already in place from the previous amps installation so all I had to do was cut the board, paint it, drill the holes for the cabling to come through from the back of the board, and secure everything properly.
As this is an amp capable of making over 1.5kW worth of output when properly configured it stands to reason that it is going to require a considerable amount of input current to create the output it is designed to make. Any potential users of this unit are going to want to ensure that they have both an adequate vehicle charging system to support the energy demands from this much aftermarket electrical accessory plus sufficient cabling to supply that energy to the amp. Diamond recommends 4awg cable for both positive power and negative ground connections and has included input terminals that directly accept that size cable expressly for that purpose.
When looking at the amplifier from the top with the embossed logo and wording facing the proper direction to be read from that point of view the power, ground, and remote activation input terminals are found on the left-hand end of the unit. Additionally the amps protection fuses (160 amperes of fusing total by way of four 40a fuses) are also found on this side of the unit. The RCA preamp input, RCA pass-through output, and speaker output terminals are on the opposite end of the amp. The various controls associated with this unit as well as the aforementioned status LEDs are also found on the right-hand end.
The various terminals on this amp which are meant to accept wiring for different purposes (power, ground, remote activation, & speaker output) are worth mentioning on their own. Unlike many amplifiers available in the aftermarket mobile audio arena you'll not find easily-stripped Phillips-head screw-type terminals. Consequently with the DAT D61500.1 you'll not encounter the need for fumbling with some crimped on or soldered on wire terminal just to ensure solid contact between the wire and the terminal into which it connects.
Instead you'll find hex-head ('Allen' key) set screws for all of the aforementioned connections. Another plus in my opinion. Simply remove a small length of the insulation off of the wire you're wanting to insert into the terminal in question, slip the bared conductors into the proper space, and then tighten the hex-head bolt until it's snug. Viola! Easy as pie...
Be certain prior to installation that you have adequate room for this amp to be included in your install. It has a somewhat large footprint measuring 17 long X 12 wide X 2.5 tall so be sure that you have enough real estate in your vehicle for the amp to reside within. Furthermore this amp does not include fan-forced cooling so it will need adequate ventilation to keep the internals operating coolly while powering whatever subwoofer or subwoofers that comprise your audio setups substage.
Now to more of the meat of the discussion What kind of power does it output? Well, Diamond Audios amplifiers typically exceed their factory-rated output somewhat. So you neednt worry about looking at the claim of 1,500 watts of output when shown a 1-Ohm load and wondering will it actually give you the full 1.5kW like so many other amplifiers available today that dont even begin to actually create rated wattage. The DAT D61500.1 is rated to output 375w X 1 at 4 Ohms mono, 750w X 1 at 2 Ohms mono, and 1.5kW X 1 at 1 Ohm mono. Again, Diamonds amps typically exceed their rated output and my specific example of this model has been benchtested to produce 1,834 watts into a 1 Ohm reactive load when given 14.2 DC volts input. Thats more than 300 watts beyond rated output in that configuration or more than 20% above factory-given specs! Bear in mind that this isnt a guarantee that youll see this much bonus wattage should you decide that this is the right model amplifier for your needs. Rather it is a single example to illustrate that you will get at least rated output instead of almost rated output or somewhere close to rated output as is the case with many other amplifier options. You can reasonably expect actual output from this unit to be between 400-500 watts into a 4 Ohm load, 800-900 watts into a 2 Ohm load, and between 1,600 and 1,800 watts into a 1 Ohm load easily.
Other specifications include a continuously variable 4th order 24db/octave Butterworth lowpass filter fully adjustable from 50Hz to 250Hz. Also featured is 2nd order 12dB/octave Butterworth subsonic filter fully adjustable from 15Hz to 40Hz. If you're running your sub(s) in a sealed enclosure this will be an extraneous function as it is intended more for use with a 'vented' (ported) subwoofer enclosure. The subsonic filter essentially acts as a highpass filter enabled on the lowest of frequencies to keep tones that are too far below your sub enclosures tuning frequency from reaching your subwoofer(s). This is to prevent overexcursion at high volume levels.
Included with the D61500.1 is a remote gain control knob with a supplied cord intended on running from the amps mounting location to wherever the remote gain control is to be mounted. This control acts as a convenient mechanism for adjusting the amps input sensitivity without the need for physically accessing the amplifier to do so. The max setting (fully clockwise) on the remote gain control will be the same setting as the actual input sensitivity setting on the amp itself. Anything less than that (any amount counter-clockwise on the remote gain control) will naturally be somewhat lower than the setting on the amp itself.
The D61500.1, when used in conjunction with another D6-series monoblock amplifier, can be used as a slave amplifier bypassing the gain circuitry altogether and accepting the specific gain setting from whatever amp is set to be the master amplifier in the chain. This allows for a multiple subwoofer/amplifier setup to be used while exact gain matching one amplifier to the next for optimum overall system synchronization.
Last, but certainly not least, is the ability to switch the output phase of the amplifier by 180 degrees for phase-matching the output to the rest of your audio layout if necessary.
Actual Real World Use:
enough of the techno-babble. Hows the durned thing sound?? Well, after reading all of the above ramblings I would assume you, kind reader, want to know how well it works for me as far as listening to it. Please remember, as previously stated, that this amp for me was an upgrade from an eXcelon KAC-X401M which is rated for 600w X 1 into a 2 Ohm load. I use a single Diamond M6mkII 12 DVC 4 Ohm driver with the coils wired in parallel for a nominal 2-Ohm resistance to be shown to the amp. So in my particular case I didnt do it specifically for the wattage increase, which is minor in my example. The main reason, for me, was for both adequate power for my subwoofer when shown a 2 Ohm load and the ability to upgrade to something a little beefier down the road and sufficient power to drive said upgrade if I should ever go that route.
To put it plainly this amp sounds outstanding. It has plenty of output in all configurations to adequately drive whatever substage setup might be to your liking or needs. It has more than enough internal processing to make the most of whatever it is powering even if your signal processing prior to the amp leaves something to be desired. My Diamond M6mkII 12 subwoofer has more presence than it ever had when being powered by the Kenwood amp I recently retired (then sold). Thats not to say that the eXcelon unit was lacking, per se, but this DAT amp is, simply put, better. The low lows are more in your face than before, the transients are considerably more clear, and when requesting a rapid-fire response such as from a kick drum on anything from the Metal musical genre it steps up to the plate and supplies everything that is asked of it and then more. Very, very accurate might be the best way to describe it. No sloppiness, no muddiness, just loud, clean, and clear bass frequency amplification.
Possible cons to go along with the long list of pros:
To my mind there are only two possible negatives associated with this amplifier. The first is size. It isnt particularly a small unit so those users who are squeezed for space might have to look elsewhere for their substage amplification needs. This amp takes up some room, ladies and gentlemen, and if you do not give it adequate space so that it is properly ventilated youre likely going to heat the unit up repeatedly and consequently eventually cause real damage to the internals. Please review the above size specifications to ensure your intended mounting location will work.
The other is price. If I recall correctly this amp retails in the neighborhood of $800 or $900 from an authorized DAT reseller so yes, its pricy. However if the purchase is made from an authorized retailer and you additionally have them do the installation this D61500.1 offers a lifetime warranty in its original installation. Yes, you read that right lifetime warranty. As long as you have it installed in whatever vehicle the authorized DAT agent put it in youll never have to worry about another monoblock amplifier expenditure. If the amp fails they fix it or replace it free - forever. I purchased mine as a pre-owned unit so sadly I wont ever enjoy the protection of said warranty. However, knowing the level of quality Diamond Audio Technology builds into all their products, regardless of what series it is from, buying a used amp from a trusted source isnt near the gamble that it could potentially be when considering other manufacturers' offerings. With that in mind and then add the fact that I am in no way truly taxing the amp (since I am currently utilizing only half of its real potential) I envision many years of trouble-free service from this rock-solid piece of electronics.
If this amp (its somewhat foreboding retail pricetag notwithstanding) seems to be a good match for your audio needs then I highly suggest looking into picking one up. You will not be disappointed.
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Amount Paid (US$): 350
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