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I'm just beginning to sink my teeth into the world of hi-fi and have a few questions regarding sub amplification.

In my setup I have a basic sealed sub using a Dayton Audio SD270A-88 10" DVC sub with a Dayton SA100 100W plate amp in about a 1.5ft^3 box.

Now I am trying to plan out my next series of upgrades and am wondering.....does the term "plate amp" refer to the form-factor alone? Is it simply an amp meant to be bolted directly to a subwoofer enclosure and also provide basic frequency and gain control? Are these amps specially tailored to powering the low end of the spectrum somehow, perhaps more efficient in that arena? Please excuse my shallow understanding of basic ee...I am hoping one of you fine gents can sort me out.

I ask because I am thinking about getting a Emotiva USP-1. Using the USP-1, I would be able to pre-filter the subwoofer signal before sending to any amp, enabling me to use any amp for my sub, right? I am somewhat tempted to try amping this sub with a nice mono-block amp, hopefully investing in a great power source for my next sub upgrade. Right now I have an HK3490 powering my speakers and sending the signal to the sub, so I'm wondering if even that basic "sub-out" signal would be fine to pass to mono-block hooked up to a sub?

Basically I am asking if there are amps out there specifically designed to power subs, or can you use any hi-fi amp gear, so long as you ensure you pass it the appropriate frequency spectrum through a pre or a sub-out or something? Are the large hi-fi subs you see in pictures hooked up to massive monoblocks, just like the monster tower speakers? Do people tend to use the same type of amp for their sub and towers?

I'm so curious about the special considerations of the low end, I am hoping you can help clear the fog!
 

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does the term "plate amp" refer to the form-factor alone? Is it simply an amp meant to be bolted directly to a subwoofer enclosure and also provide basic frequency and gain control? Are these amps specially tailored to powering the low end of the spectrum somehow, perhaps more efficient in that arena? Please excuse my shallow understanding of basic ee...I am hoping one of you fine gents can sort me out.
Yup, and don't forget phase control for proper hand-off from the mains to the sub. Phase adjustment ability is a key feature of plate amps compared to PA and hi-fi amps when used for subwoofers. About 99% of the time a the LPF is controlled by an AVR and not the amp itself, leaving only gain and phase to be adjusted.

Yeah the problem with plate amps is that there are only so many out there. Depending on your needs, you might need more power or channels for multiple subs. Many people around here use PA (pro audio) amplifiers to get the job done, like the Behringer EP2000.

The amp is the easy part. Beyond that you need to coordinate an HPF to protect the subwoofer driver (not necessary for sealed subs), a LPF (usually by the AVR), and EQ for room compensation (optional).
 
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