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Old 04-22-2004, 07:41 AM   #1
catalyst_007

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The Rockford Fosgate History, how have they changed over the years???

Well,

One day i was sitting and asking myself this question: why is there so many different types of amps now on the market, specificly, fosgate. I mean, here's fosgate "a dollar a watt" amp but then i hear many storys such as, "Oh, fosgate isn't what they used to be" and i question myself, wat happened? and why?

From what i've been told by several people was this:

Originally it was "Fosgate" and they made kick-*** amps, they were top of top, then "Rockwood" (correct me if im wrong) started selling amps, but no one gave a rats *** about them, and then they partnered with "fosgate" and "Rockford Fosgate" was born, and "Rockwood" started rolling around naked in cash and glory.

I was told that amps that were built prior to 1996 were Fosgates top of the line amps, that nothing will ever compare to them. I also hear that all "square" fosgates are the ones that were built in co-operation with Kenwood, and that they are not as great, but still worth the money

SO! my question is this: Rockford Fosgate, how have their amplifiers declind over the years, and how has it affected car audio enthusiasts in their hunt for the "ample" amount of SPL?

Thanks a lot,
Luis, a car audio enthusiast like everyone else
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Old 04-22-2004, 08:31 AM   #2
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I think rockford amps went down hill because they forgot to put on the teflon non stick coating.
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:31 AM   #3
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they still have good amps... Just dont get the best buy ones.
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Old 04-22-2004, 09:33 AM   #4
catalyst_007

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well, i mean i have a fosgate 800a2 and i was just curious about all the other fosgate amps, years made, and stuff like that

the fosgate history esentially, i can't really find anywhere online that has it
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Old 04-22-2004, 12:19 PM   #5
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RF is covering a wide spectrum of buyers... making something for everyone...
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Old 04-22-2004, 12:40 PM   #6
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as was said.. when you cater towards a single consumer you will make a top notch product... look at specialty beers.. beer pro's will love them, but the general public wont... shoot, look at say.. tru tech.. they make amps for car audio nuts.. the average consumer will laugh at them and buy an explode amp.. RF has grown and had the desire to grow beyond the realm of car audio nuts... therefore they have had to make a Budweiser series of amps.. but if you look, you will see the type RF amps, which cost about what their old amps did, and perform even better... but the average consumer will not pay this.. people tend to think that rf quality has gone down... their top end amps are light years beyond what their old stuff was, but their best buy amps of course cant do what the old amps did.. but also cost 1/3 what their old amps did...
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:09 PM   #7
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i have owned a total of about 12 Rf amps and I have only had 1 that had a problem. It was a power 250m2. The left channel died. I send it back to rf they replaced the entire board for 100.00 plus shipping! I used a 800a2 and a 4004a now and love them. I am selling them (actually they are already sold waiting for a money order to come throught the snail mail) and will probably just go back to a 5 or 6 channel amp. Rf made some but they are hard to find and are not rated that high in watts. I hate to switch brands after RF has been so good to be but I really want to run a system that I can fit on the back of my accords seat.

looks like I will be getting another kicker 700.5 or a soundstream dartagnan

I have owned amps,mids,tweeters, and subwoofers.
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Old 04-22-2004, 08:40 PM   #8
Lee

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Quote:
Originally Posted by catalyst_007
From what i've been told by several people was this:

Originally it was "Fosgate" and they made kick-*** amps, they were top of top ... I was told that amps that were built prior to 1996 were Fosgates top of the line amps, that nothing will ever compare to them.
Actually Fosgate was the original name and its products were designed and distributed by Jim Fosgate. Jim actually used to come by our store (the one I worked at in 1980) in a white van with boxes of Fosgate amps, and would sell them right out of the van. Fosgate, his company, was in financial trouble in the early '80s and was sold to the Rockford Corp. which put big money behind the product in the forms of marketing and development of the line.

In the old days, late '80s through early '90's competitions were categorized by power ratings -- if you had an amp that was rated at 100w, you competed with others that also had amps rated at 100w. As you can imagine, those manufacturers with amps that over-rated their potential did not fair as well as those that under-rated theirs. The amp manufacturers that were winning shows in those days earned good reputations for building strong amps. Rockford Fosgate's strategy was to under-rate their amps to give them an edge against the rest of the field. The old Punch 45 was rated at 45w -- but actually produced about 300w. So with two Punch 45s you could compete with people that had a total of 100w while you were actually running 600w. This is where the myth that Fosgate Watts were more powerful that other manufacturers -- all part of Rockford's Master marketing plan. Now if you consider that a Punch 45 sold for about $300 and an average 100w amp by other manufacturers sold for about $100, you can also see how Fosgate got a reputation for being kind of expensive.

As the car audio industry matured, and names did not live and die by their performance in the car audio competition circuit, the benefit of amps being under-rated was no longer real, and in fact had a negative side effect, especially when being sold through the so-called "discount" channels (Best Buy, Circuit City, et al) -- it created the appearance that the amps were way over priced and a bad value (enter the dollar-to-watt rule).

Products sold through the "discount" channels sell better if they have the appearance of value, not necessarily are a good value -- which is often the case.

When Rockford started selling through Best Buy, they threw out the accurate or conservative ratings and joined the masses in the over rating of the Punch equipment (see the 900w amps selling for $230) -- actually what they did was strip out some of their better technology, some of the nicer features and market the Punch amps the same way as every other cheese company. They continued to market the Power series much like they had before, including the better technologies. The next year they expanded the strategy a bit by offering both the new "cheap" series (Punch) and the old school amps (Power) with a promise of a new high-end series (RF) which is only now becoming available.

Currently they offer something for just about everyone; cheese with over inflated ratings (which makes the best buy shoppers feel like their getting a good deal), old school Fosgates under the name of Power and the High-End shopper the under-rated and over priced RF series.

They have some of the best product they have ever produced available now, but they also have some of the worse.



Quote:
Originally Posted by catalyst_007
From what i've been told by several people was this:
Originally it was "Fosgate" and they made kick-*** amps, they were top of top, then "Rockwood" (correct me if im wrong) started selling amps, but no one gave a rats *** about them, and then they partnered with "fosgate" and "Rockford Fosgate" was born, and "Rockwood" started rolling around naked in cash and glory.
There is no connection between brands "Rockwood" and Rockford Fosagate or Kenwood -- this is a story told by those selling that cheese to convince you to purchase their product. "Rockwood" and "Kenford" are the true cheese manufacturers that market their products mostly through Pawn shops, flea markets, Internet and Liquidation Blow-out sales.

As far as I know, Kenwood and Rockford have never collaborated in the design and/or construction of any audio gear.



-lh
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:31 AM   #9
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A masterful post by Lee....
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Old 04-23-2004, 08:01 AM   #10
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Early 80's all I remember seeing was Zapco model 150 or
200's, expensive amplifiers, but top of the line at the time.
Not a perfect design, the power supply and amplfier were
seperate and the power supply lacked heatsinks essentially
'limiting' the amplifiers true potential. Other choices were
Linear Power 2002 I believe. Build quality was weak, but
it was ok to operate your components speakers, and that
amplifier had a worse reliablity record than Zapco. Then
a friend brought over a Fosgate amp, single chassis, large
amplifier, seemed impressive, but it kept blowing up. Fuse
was 20A rated and the power supply fets kept smoking.
I repaired it three times but when the amplifier was pressed
hard to the point of blowing a fuse, the amplifier smoked.
I ended up upgrading the transistors and it worked well
and never blew up with a 20A fuse. Then my friend installed a 30A fuse because he kept pushing the amplifier
harder, eventually smoking the power supply transistors
again. I told him to get rid of that crappy amp --> hehe

Precision power and Orion came and those skateboards
were nice, better RF amplifier came but they didn't seem
to offer anything special other than a much higher price
tag for the same build quality as Zapco, PPI, Orion.

Hifonics series 5 "Zeus" was the most popular 'thumping'
amplifier but it was the worse build quality I'd ever seen
in any amplifier. I believe it was an all bipolar design with
power transistors all around the chassis with point to point
wiring (like Linear Power). Lots of power, but is sounded bad.

I pretty much ignored Hifonics products for years due to
this trauma, but as it turned out Zed Audio cleaned up it's
act and they seemed to offer a much cleaner design with
series 6 then it seemed 'perfect' with series 7. These amplifiers are great.

Zapco was kicking around with their Z220 amplifier. It appears to be a repackaged model 200 in a one piece design
with heatsinks (this is how it shoulda been in the first place!!), the fuse was upgraded from 20A to 35A internally,
but the solder inside the amplifier would melt when you
pushed this amplifier to it's limit. A 'solder mod' fix that
gremlin and it's still a great amplifier, but they were still
using a bipolar power supply whereas the others were using
fets. It goes to show you that good amplifier design is
a product of good engineering -- not what parts they use.

Bascially, all car amplifier manufacturers had problems
with their amplifier design, eventually the products matured
into the late 80's and their power output and reliability
increased.

From what people say, some manufacturers then turned
for the worse, taking the great design and canabalizing it
to shave costs and increase profits.
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Old 04-26-2004, 03:00 AM   #11
catalyst_007

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so i guess wat everyones trying to say about fosgate is that it doesn't really matter when/where fosgate was built, they all had their good parts and are still one of the top ranked amps by far? (i'm not talking about best buy amps, i try 2 stay away from big stores such as those)

i guess i was just curious because i keep hearing different stories about fosgate and how their "circular amps" (w/ the end caps) are much better than their "square'd amps" (w/ the endcaps)

Thanks for the clarification
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Old 04-26-2004, 03:23 AM   #12
Lee

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".. i keep hearing different stories .."

Typical rumors and street knowledge. The street is no place to learn anything about equipment -- and for that matter, neither is about half the car audio shops in this country.

People are always trying to reduce something complicated into a simple rule -- bigger woofers go lower -- brand X is great -- this can't be done because there are many more factors involved in whether a woofer plays well at lower frequencies or one piece of equipment is great because of the name on it.

I tell my customers the only rule I know is, there are no good rules to simplify a complex issue.
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Old 04-26-2004, 03:27 AM   #13
Krelkor

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type RF stuff is damn nice

DAMN NICE
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Old 04-26-2004, 03:46 AM   #14
Lee

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Yes it is, but for that kind of money I can buy some really nice Diamond Audio D7 amps with TDX and Hex speakers and a couple of hookers to boot.
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Old 04-26-2004, 05:29 AM   #15
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There is almost an art to "interpreting" how good audio equipment is based on what's said in the streets and shops. One of my local shops sells mostly Memphis gear. They think my truck would sound best with an all Memphis setup. Another shop, which specializes in Kicker...ya' know A good rule of thumb, for me anyway, is to stay away from amps/speakers that display their max power ratings (and hiding the rms ratings) on the dustcap or top of the amp. Unfortunately, RF's punch line falls in this category. Type RF is nice, but it looks like something out of a cartoon.


Lee, tell me more about these cheap hookers...

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