Test & measurement
Yes, as the name might suggest, a plate amplifier is a power amplifier attached to a plate mostly made out of steel or aluminium, ready to be installed inside of a speaker. It works the same way as an ordinary amplifier, just without a chassis. Here at SoundImports, you can order plate amplifiers from well-known quality brands such as Dayton Audio, Hypex, Lepai, MiniDSP and Monacor!
Just as the ordinary power amplifier takes the plate amplifier, the line-level signals and rises their capacity level to be able to drive a speaker; moreover, a plate amplifier is equipped with in- and outputs, a power connection and numerous controls. In contrast to a standard melodic amplifier, multiple plate amplifiers have restricted frequency response, befitting their typical use as a subwoofer amplifier. However, there are plate amplifiers on the market, like the Hypex Fusion plate amplifiers that are equipped with 3-channels, which can also be used for mid-range woofers and tweeters. The chosen channel for a tweeter might then be less powerful but provides more than enough power than most DIY enthusiasts need for their mid-range woofers or tweeters.
The watts per channel (WPC) vary greatly under plate amplifiers, although most of them are pretty powerful because of the vast amounts of power being used to operate a subwoofer. SoundImports offers plate amplifiers with watts per channel (WPC) from 20 WPC over to 250 WPC, up to 1000WPC and even 1200 WPC! One unifying characteristic is that although musical amplifiers aim to replicate a frequency spectrum from 20 to 20,000 hertz such that the full range of human hearing and musical tones can be covered, plate amplifiers usually roll off their response at frequencies above 200 hertz. This restricts their use with subwoofers, as frequencies above 100 to 150 hertz do not usually replicate them.
Several inputs and controls that are more elaborate than a standard power amplifier are often used with most plate amplifiers. They have digital crossovers that allow the end-users to adjust the active point of their crossover by eliminating higher frequencies from the signals they amplify. Usually, plate amps can accept both line and speaker signals and then retrieve those signals into a speaker. Many plate amplifiers contain phase or delay controls to accommodate a given speaker system better to adjust the bass signal. They also have volume controls that make it easy to adjust their output to suit best with the response of the sound system.
However, installing a DSP module kit with a plate amplifier is highly recommended if one wants to get the maximum performance out of an active speaker. Even though a place amplifier allows some adjustments and controls regarding crossovers, delays and co, a DSP module is essential to adjust further details such as digital filters and phase shifting. A typical combination under DIY enthusiasts is a MiniDSP. It is known and loved for its User Interface DSP with a Hypex Fusion plate amplifier that counts as one of the best hardware amplifiers.
A 2-channel plate amplifier module provides separate low and high output sections to power matching woofers and tweeters. In contrast, a 3-channel plate amplifier is set up to control a full-range speaker pair and subwoofer. For computer workstations, small home cinema setups, and studio monitors and DJ workstations, this makes it the ideal element!