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Extron XTRA Series - Class Leading Amplifiers by Design
By Marc Booth, RGB Integration
Extron's new range of power amplifiers are now shipping. The XPA 2002-70V, XPA 2003C-70V and XPA 2004 expand the range to provide a more comprehensive choice for your next Integration Project.
You may be asking why should I buy an amplifier from Extron? Don't they specialise in video products? Well last time we checked the name was "Extron Electronics" and by their very nature amplifiers fall under the electronic category. Extron has a passion for creating innovative products and innovation has no boundaries. If you must judge, look first very carefully at the product and then at the expertise behind that product. Let's do that now.
As a self confessed believer of a Greener AV Industry there is no denying the fact that the more traditional classes of amplifier consume a lot more power. More power equals higher current draw plus more heat and results in spending more money. With the rising cost of power all over Australia isn't a well designed Class D amplifier worth consideration? The XPA series significantly solves this problem. Consuming less power and using energy more effectively affords the XPA's a convection cooled design, with no fans adding to the entire heat load of your rack. If you have ever spent time within the confines of a traditional amplifier rack environment you would be familiar with burning dust fumes, air being drawn through the chassis of the amp by high speed fans, mixed with dust and dissipated heat. This increased heat and dust not only shortens the life of your amp but also the other components within the rack. Extron's Class D amplifier gives you a smaller size giving you more space, it also provides the flexibility to locate the amplifier in numerous places as it is lighter and less restricted to ventilation requirements.
What is happening when the room is not being used? A typical amp will still use quite a bit of power when it is sitting idle compared to Class D. Extron's XPA Series will also power down after 25 minutes of inactivity and resume to full power in under a second. Even with multiple numbers of these amplifiers set-up power sequencing becomes superfluous, the Ultra low inrush current design eliminates the possibility of tripping circuits when multiple units power-on compared to traditionally designed amplifiers. How many facilities actually power down their amplifiers anyway? I suspect this number would currently be quite low. Read "The Truth About Powering Off" by Christopher Maione and draw your own conclusions.
Class D Amplifiers are by no means exclusive domain of the Extron XPA, they have been around for a number years. By the very nature of their design for low power usage applications they are always going to be the winners of economical performance. Typically their use has been quite limited in the Professional Audio Visual Integrators domain but improvements in the design of power semiconductors has elevated their favour again. The Class D amplifier market is expected to be worth $347 million dollars (USD) this year. Hit Google and you will find there is no shortage of information available on Class D product. The primary challenge is finding a good one since quality always has two key ingredients, design and money. A poorly designed Class D can result in Electro-magnetic Interference (EMI) that may not be evident initially until connected to long cable runs which perform as antennae broadcasting a noise problem throughout the system. Extron developed and patented Class D Ripple Suppression (CDRS)to address this. In fact if you follow the links on this page you will find that many of the performance concerns of the past have been overcome through the innovative development of the XPA series.
So what about the expertise behind the XPA Series of amplifiers? Extron have been developing and delivering high quality products to the AV Industry world-wide for over 25 years, the core values of service, support and solutions are the very foundation upon which the company was built. Eric Mendenhall, Director of Audio and Power Systems has over 20 years of experience designing power circuits and amplifiers. His passion for design and development has lead to significant involvement in products for well known audio brand names such as QSC,BGW, Alesis, Gibson, JBL and Line 6. These credentials alone make the XPA series of amplifiers or any audio product from Extron's range worth your every consideration when specifying professional audio solutions for you next project.