Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pioneer GM-D9500F Class-FD Car Amplifier Review

When it comes to car audio, louder is traditionally considered better. Loud tunes also tend to be a result of large amplifiers. This no longer needs to be the case. Enter Class–D digital amplifiers. They are designed with improved efficiencies that allow them to have the same output of amplifiers much larger.

The Pioneer GM-D9500F is just one of those amplifiers. It features a balanced and dynamic sound with high output in a small footprint, and is actually a Class-FD for full range sound. They achieve the small size by being 80-90% more efficient than a traditional A/B design. The GM-D9500F looks great as well. It sports a simple modern design to look good in custom installs. For cooling they use black aluminum die-cast heat sinks and a hairline silver aluminum top plate for good heat dissipation for its 4 channels of 75 watts output to each channel.

The amp also has a lot of usable features and configurations. Bridgeable, the amp allows for 4/3/2 configurations. This means you can run it as a 4 channel, bridge it as a 3 channel, combining 2 of the channels together, or as a 2 channel combining the 4 channels into 2. These possible configurations allow you to run 4 door speakers into 4 channel mode, 2 door speakers and a sub in 3 channel mode, or 2 subs or 1 dual voice coil sub in 2 channel mode. There are also built in crossovers, with both high pass and low pass filters for using door speakers or subwoofers, selectable from 40Hz to 500Hz at -12 dB/Oct.

I have to admit I was impressed from such a small package. While this amp seemed to lack a little…oomph, kind of like a high output engine with limited torque, it did play loud and clean. And I know that is being a bit knit picky, especially at this price point. Comparing to my reference Rockford Fosgate Class A/B 4 channel amp rated around 60 watts a channel, the Fosgate provided that extra oomph and played a bit louder. It was not, however, quite as clean, and not as much definition as the Pioneer. And it is also over twice the size. I heard resolution and details in my music I had not heard before in the Fosgate.

Again I must say I was impressed. At only 8-7/8” x 2-1/4” x 7-7/8” it packs a lot of power. For those of you in the market for an amp and have the room for a larger Class A/B amp, the Pioneer GM-D9500F is still worth checking out. But some of you may be limited on space. The good news is with this little amp, it could fit the bill and actually not leave you wanting more. Reference gear used was Kenwood Excelon KDC-X991 receiver, Kenwood Excelon XR-S17P front components and Rockford Fosgate Fanatic HPC1206U coaxials in the rear. For complete specs and more info, check out Pioneer’s website at