Xforce Magnaforce 350 Amplifier Review
Normally I would never give you the verdict first, but in this case I'm so impressed with the product that I'll tell you right now that the Magnaforce 350 is an excellent amplifier and everyone would be lucky to own one.
How's that for the beginning of a review?
The Magnaforce 350 I bought and tested was already a couple of years old when it came into my hands, but the way that these amplifiers are built, it still looked and worked like new.
The first thing that really caught my eye with the Magnaforce line of amplifiers was the built in fan system that turns on whenever the amplifier is on to keep it nice and cool. I love this feature and it's something that immediately sets it apart from any of the cheaper amplifiers such as the Palomar or RM line. Heat is a big killer in amplifiers and when you pay more money for higher quality you should expect a cooling system.
The second thing I noticed with these amplifiers is their solid construction. They have a very simple yet sturdy case and the switches are high quality and very durable. Did I mention the switches light up? Another simple touch that really makes it nice to use at night.
The 350 model comes with on/off switch - a SSB Delay switch and a hi/lo switch to adjust the amount of power the amplifier is putting out. I believe the hi/lo switch lowers the amount of input into the amplifier circuit which results in a lower output. On HI I would assume all of the input to the amplifier is transferred to the output circuit.
On the rear of the amplifier you will find the input and output so-239 connectors for your coax as well as some very nice heavy duty power wire connections for powering the amplifier. This amp runs on 12VDC and the heavy duty power wires ensure it will get enough amps - make sure when installing to use wire that is the same or larger as the stock 10 gauge wire.
Also on the back you'll find an input for a remote switch control. This is a nice feature if you intend to mount the amplifier in a difficult to reach location. Xforce sells a remote to use with this amplifier.
Inside the amplifier you'll find a pair of 2SC2879 transistors that can give you output as high as 400 watts as listed on the Xforce website.
In reality most people will see output between 250-325 watts. I'm sure the higher output values are possible but you'd be pushing the amp to it's limits and nobody drives their car at 100MPH all the time :)
I tested this amp with a Cobra 146 GTL, Magnum S9 and a Ranger SS-158EDX. The amplifier likes an input of around 2.5-3 watts for best deadkey results (80-100 watts - the amplifier will swing upwards from there. With the Cobra 146 GTL swinging 15 watts I saw over 200 watts on AM and SSB with the Magnaforce 350. The Magnum S9 and Ranger SS-158EDX both had swing in the 30-35 watt range and the output of the amplifier was around 300 watts.
With these numbers you'll need to make sure your setup can handle the amperage draw - 29 amps maximum. A low SWR and proper antenna system is also necessary when running this type of amplifier.
This amplifier is excellent for talking DX both on AM and SSB. The power output is more than enough to make sure you get heard in DXland whether you are talking on channel 6 or channel 38 LSB.
A lot of people who talk on SSB might be concerned by the amps B biasing, but have no fear - in my experiences with this amp I was told by numerous people that on SSB the resulting signal was very clear with no distortion.
At a retail price of $209.99 it perhaps is one of the best deals in the industry. Although you can buy cheaper amplifiers that can deliver the same output numbers I doubt that any would compare to the quality of this amplifier. These amplifier are well built and if run properly should offer years of care free use.
I've used the Magnaforce 100, 200 and 350 and have been impressed by all three.
This product gets my approval 100%.
Please note: This amplifier is illegal for use on the 11 meter CB band - and we do not condone or endorse the use of amplifiers on the CB band.