In times when digital amplifiers are becoming even smaller, the traditional car audio brand EMPHASER has brought out three power amps on the market that are consistently positioned against the mainstream, and offer customers a huge amount of power and outstanding performance. The amplifier series is called Monolith – and the name says it all. In issue 05/2019 Car & HiFi magazine has taken a close look at these ‚heavy-caliber‘ units. The two four-channel models EA-M4 and EA-M4x were put through their paces in a thorough test. The EA-M1 was then checked out in a separate comparative test – with great success. Car & HiFi rated the EA-M4x as „Best Product“, the EA-M1 as „Performance Tip“, and awarded the EA-M4 the „price/performance: very good“ accolade.
The very appearance of the monolith series with their sandblasted surfaces and engraved logo can be enough to impress testers. In the judgment of the tech journalists, „They are not amplifiers to hide away but to show off“. „The fat massive heat sinks have a nice heavy feel in the hand, the amps are very solidly built, and are blessed with large connection terminals and firmly attached RCA sockets. They are like amplifiers from another age“.
Yet in spite of the retro style the Monoliths shine „with modern digital class D technology“, say the tech journalists. „On the PCBs of the amps everything is generously arranged. The boards use modern two-layer construction and are populated with SMDs.“ Whereas the smaller EA-M4 come up with a solid power transformer and four discrete amplifier channels, everything is at least a size bigger on the M4x. „The transformer is as big as a child’s fist“, the testers enthuse. „Four fat electrolytic capacitor buffers are available, and the four class D coils are wound from such thick wire that you can push through a huge amount of power.“
The fact that both EMPHASER amps are trimmed for „Top-class performance“ is also evident in the test lab. „Even the ‚little‘ M4 pushes out 106 and 180 watts into the 4 and 2-ohm impedances respectively. The M4x has even considerably more power with 214 watts per channel into 4 ohms and a whopping 354 watts into 2 ohms. That makes the M4x the most powerful four-channel power amp in the top class and, except for very few amps on the market, even the more expensive competition must watch out. However, this awesome power is not bought at the expense of a poorer lab performance, as our other measurements were all absolutely in the Goldilocks zone.“
As regards of sound the power amps were impressive here too: „The EMPHASER units set to work with dedication and above all great gusto. They particularly seem to like fat bass sounds, where they really go to town.“ But the tech journalists were not just impressed by the level and dynamic performance of both amps: the „little subtle tones“ were also convincing.
For those that enjoy „real fat“ car hi-fi systems the new EMPHASER models are the right amplifiers for them conclude the testers. „For most people the M4 will easily be enough; but if you need the ultimate performance boost, go for the M4x. (…) The M1 is the right power amp for bassheads and power freaks.“
Keywords:Emphaser, Monolith, EA-M4, EA-M4x, EA-M1, amplifier, amp, power, mono, 4 channel, test, class D, digital, bass, sound
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