Banda Audioparts isn't a new company by any means, but it's just recently surfaced here in the states. Seemingly riding the coattails of Taramps' success here. But as with any "new" product, many claims have been/are being made about them so I figured I'd get my hands on a couple and see for myself.
This is the "ICE" 4000. Most of the talk is about the "Viking" 7000, but to keep things accessible and budget friendly, I decided on some smaller ones (more on that later). At the time of writing this, I do not know the exact differences between the ICE and Viking lines, but I'll try to track down that info.
Banda Audioparts ICE 4000
Price - $650 (bandaaudiopartsusa.com)
1,150w - 4 ohm
2,300w - 2 ohm
4,000w - 1 ohm
The US site doesn't list rated voltage. The Brazil site says 2,[email protected]
and 4,[email protected]
at 12.6v. So... I dunno. Brazil also claims 4.5k @ 1 and 14.4v but no mention of this on the US site. Also interesting that the US site makes sure to denote "nominal" next to "1 ohm stable". As in... "This is a 1 ohm amp, but it won't run 1 ohm"? Okie dokie.
Anyway... this is the only overview pic of it I took for some reason. From left to right... MMATS 4k, Taramps HD4k and the Banda ICE 4k. (Twisted Sounds 3.5 on top).
Very simple here. Single RCA input. Which seems odd to us even though it's a damn mono. Like... what are you gonna do with the other one? And by the way... it's not usually a good idea to use a 'Y' splitter to *combine* the signal. I know it's almost impossible to read, but the two controls here are labeled "sub" and "cross" but have zero indication as to what they actually do or their ranges. I reckon that info might be in the manual if I took the time to peruse it. Big, fat speaker outputs, which I like. They're also separated from one another (no chance of arcing)- which I also like. But there is only one set- which can be a pain.
Power input side. These are a bit anemic as I had to shave freshly cut "CA" 1/0 to fit, but they're deep so it's easier to twist a lot of it in there. The + and - are also well separated here- which I LOVE. I friggin hate playing "Operation" with my power leads when they're so close together. Other manufacturers could take a cue from this layout.
Gain pot is on the top of the amp near the clip light. That's handy when setting it up. Gain is also super sensitive. My test deck is 5v and I had to keep the gain at the minimum position. Like... "0". Would be nice if these indication LED had a dash mount remote like the Taramps' since that's kinda where you need this information, but hopefully you have a "low batt" or "clip" situation sorted out before you try to run a 4,000w amp.
Setting it up unloaded. That's some pretty serious rail. Fuzzy wuzzy.
One click up got the clip light going but seems to have left a little room on the scope. I took the amp's word for it and set it up at 92v.
I went right for alt charging levels. I will revisit low voltage performance.
5 ohm resistive.
1,480w @ 5 ohms and 14.8v
. In a rare moment of noobness... I had the DC clamp on AC so I can't give you efficiency here. My bad.
2.5 ohms resistive.
2,700w @ 2.5ohms and 14.6v with ~ 77% efficiency
. You can see here the amp starting to struggle to keep things clean. This is the same volume position as max clean unloaded. Not a great sign since 2.5 ohms is a pretty darned realistic reactive at 1 ohm nominal. And this is well above rated DC voltage.
Hold on to your nipples. I'm told that Banda can handle 1 ohm resistive- where I happened to have burned up a couple Taramps.
I have a rather dramatic video of that fuse popping violently. The amp might be able to handle 1 ohm, but Banda doesn't seem to want it to.
The suggestion from Banda USA? Put in a buss bar. Lol. Really?
As you can see, it's a pair of 50A fuses doubled up. So, really... 2.5 ohms was pushing the limits on what Banda seems to think is safe to run to this amp.
From what I'm hearing through the grapevine, Banda underfuses them due to the way they're used outside of the US. Umm... ok. Send me a new fuse and a new warranty card with that fuse rating and I'll install it. Until then... This is an overrated 2 ohm 2k.
The amp is fine, by the way. I did install larger fuses into it to check the functionality but I decided not to press the issue any further at the time.
So, let see...
- Rated 1,150 @ 4 and 12.6v ---- Did 1,480 @ 5 and 14.8v.
- Rated 2,300 (or 2,600) @ 2 ohms 12.6v ---- Did 2,700 @ 2.5 and 14.6v.
- Outrageous efficiency claims are busted for now. 77% @ 2.5 ohms is very Korean-like but still good.
- More robust than Taramps? Jury is still out. The amp survived, but would it have? I guess we're going to have to find out eventually.
I kinda like this amp. It feels beefy, I like the layout and it's doing power up top. But as with most things that are too good to be true... it doesn't appear to be magical or exhibit paradigm shifting performance. Can't give it a pass just yet... but I'm not done with it.
I replaced the dual 50A fuses that came in the amp to dual 100A and tried it at 1.25 ohms. Still popped them.
I then just bussed the damn thing. It survived and made 4k.
So... 4,000w @ 1.25 ohms resistive and 14v with 73% efficiency
. That's not quite rated power at rated voltage. But at least it made the number on the box.