When Rockford Fosgate announced the launch of their latest processor, the 3Sixty.3, it created a lot of excitement in the industry. For those who don't know, the RF 3Sixty.3 is a digital signal processor that functions either as an OEM integration unit or as a complete surround sound DSP.
The unit takes high-level, low-level and optical inputs. Both the high-level and low-level inputs have up to 8 different inputs and if need be, the unit is able to sum up all of these inputs to create the full audio spectrum, including signal sense turn-on and remote turn-on in/out function with adjustable turn-on delay (when used with high-level input).
Other features include 31 bands of equalization on each of the eight channels, full phase control, time delay, auxiliary RCA inputs, programmable dual function remote (Master Volume, Sub Volume or Sub EQ), up to four programmable EQ presets, Bluetooth connectivity with A2DP wireless audio streaming, selectable balanced/unbalanced output, auxiliary RCA and optical inputs, up to 12dB of output gain (up to 8V out), multiple slope and class independent crossovers, interactive graphic user interface controlled via laptop (Windows PC).
The installation of the unit is really quick and easy. Before I received the unit, I downloaded the user manual and software off the internet. The installation was quick and effortless and the best part was that it allowed me to play around with the software without even owning the unit. As far as the actual hardware installation went, that too was a walk in the park. Zoltan Nemeth from Rockford Fosgate [South Africa] practically did the installation in about five minutes flat (all the wiring was in place already) and with the software already installed, all that was left to do was to configure the system.
The software has a built-in distortion detector and it tells you the input voltage of each channel that goes into the unit. With that said, I saw that one of my high-end RCA cables were faulty, as it had a 5dB drop compared to all the other RCAs. I also realised [sic] that my Alpine 117IR was clipping at volume 29 with everything set flat, later to be confirmed with my Steve Mede [sic] distortion detector, which proved to be spot on using the 3Sixty.3's built-in detector.
The time alignment (TA) is pretty straight forward and in case you're a noobie, they also have an explanation of how to set it up in the user manual. You'll pick up a lot of functions that the unit has by looking at the screen shots on the next page.
On the EQ side, there are 31 bands of EQ per channel (there are 8-channels) and you're able to adjust the frequency as and how you want to. If you're looking to bump or drop 38Hz, type in closest to the electronic slider and you're done. There's also an Adjustable Q which allows you to change the curves and center frequency as you wish.
Aside from the nifty software, there's also a great looking dual function remote. This remote links to the 3Sixty.3 via a network cable and comes with a multitude of mounting options, which is something that I've always admired about RF products. If you're ever planning on flush mounting the remote onto a custom panel or dash, the manual further explains how the casing should be stripped or just mount the included bracket to slide the unit into place.
Another option is mounting the remote upside down without having to worry about the controls being the wrong way around. The not-so-cool part is that depending on the level the woofer is set on, turning the knob all the way down does not mute the subwoofer. I also think a digital screen would've looked way classier.
I did notice a few things which may have made my life a tad easier such as an integration to smart phones platforms, including Tablets and iPads. Let's face it, laptops are bulky and Tablets/iPads are the new thing. The other irritating feature was the pop sound when the unit was turned off, but that's really a small price to pay for the gains you receive in every other department.
Overall, the unit is really amazing and I do believe that it will make any sound system sound like a million bucks, irrespective of what the listener enjoys. In fact, the unit impressed me so much that I purchased a unit for myself. The new 3sixty.3 is simply amazing.
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About Rockford Corporation
Setting the standard for excellence in the audio industry, the Rockford Corporation markets and distributes high-performance audio systems for the mobile audio aftermarket and OEM market. Headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., Rockford Corporation is a publicly traded company and manufactures its products under six brands: Rockford Fosgate(R), Rockford Acoustic Design(TM), Lightning Audio(R) and Brax, Helix and Renegade. For more information, please visit: www.rockfordfosgate.com, www.rockfordacousticdesign.com, www.lightningaudio.com, www.braxhifi.com, www.helixhifi.com and www.renegadecaraudio.com