Home Music & Audio Best Car Amplifiers [Buying Guide] in 2020

Best Car Amplifiers [Buying Guide] in 2020

by Kellen Greene
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Pioneer GM-D9701 2400 Watts Class-D Mono Amplifier with Wired Bass Boost Remote + Wire Kit
FPS 2.160 - Focal 105W x 2 RMS 2-Channel Class AB Symmetric Amplifier
XD500/3v2: 3 Ch. Class D System Amplifier, 500 W
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Pioneer GM-D9701 2400 Watts
FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS
JL AUDIO XD500/3v2
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Pioneer GM-D9701 2400 Watts Class-D Mono Amplifier with Wired Bass Boost Remote + Wire Kit
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Pioneer GM-D9701 2400 Watts
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FPS 2.160 - Focal 105W x 2 RMS 2-Channel Class AB Symmetric Amplifier
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FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS
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XD500/3v2: 3 Ch. Class D System Amplifier, 500 W
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JL AUDIO XD500/3v2
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Modern cars are expected to do more than just taking drivers and passengers from point A to point B. For most car users, the multimedia experience the car can deliver is as important as how smoothly it can navigate the road. While videos are not expected to be on the menu, the audio system is considered the most important aspect of car entertainment.

The audio system (also called sound or stereo system) consists of different parts that are specifically designed to provide premium audio experience in a car. From amplifiers to speakers and woofers, it is important that you pick the best individual parts for your system. Among the individual parts that constitute the car sound system, car amplifiers are considered the centerpiece. So what exactly is a car amplifier?

To put it in simpler terms, a car amplifier is a device that boosts a weak audio signal from a sound source or antenna in a car. Your car amplifier will take a weak signal from your car radio or multimedia system, adds voltage to the signal without corrupting it, and deliver an improved signal through your speakers and woofers. With the right car amplifiers, you will not only get louder audio signals but richer sound in your car.

While there is an abundance of car amplifiers on the market, picking one at random will not give you what you truly need. Unless you don’t care so much about the quality of sound you will get from your car sound system, it is important that you approach the market carefully and get all the information you need before picking from the many available options.

It is understandable that many car owners do not know how to shop for the best car amplifiers. If you are in this category, there is nothing to worry about as we are here to help. We have researched extensively to identify the best car amplifiers in different categories. Here, Surf’n’Buy will review five different models of the best modern car amplifiers (one in each class), so that you can pick the perfect one for your car. Also, we will provide other information that will help you build the perfect car sound system.

Are you ready to get the best car amplifier for your vehicle? Here are five of the very best options to consider right now!

Top 5 Car Amplifiers

1. Pioneer GM-D9701 2400 Watts – Best Class-D Mono Amplifier

Pioneer GM-D9701 2400 Watts Class-D Mono Amplifier with Wired Bass Boost Remote + Wire Kit
  • 2,400 Watts Max Power At 4 Ohms
  • Class-D Amplifier Design
  • Compact Design For Versatile Installation Options
  • Wired Bass Boost Remote And Variable Bass Control
  • Include a 0 gauge amplifier kit + Phone Magnet Holder

FEATURES

This is a new and highly improved Class-D digital car amplifiers from one of the industry heavyweights. It is a mono amplifier that has a compact design and a number of impressive features that will certainly enhance the multimedia experience in your car. It supports versatile installation options.

One of the most impressive things about this Pioneer car amplifier is its power output capability: it can deliver 2,400 Watts Maximum Power at 4 Ohms. This is despite the fact that it is about 50% smaller than the current GM-Series Class-AB amplifiers. It has been deservedly described as a special ‘Big Power, Small Size’ amplifier. Another impressive feature is the high quality textured flat panel and a tough frame.

When it comes to all-round performance, this amplifier is a very reliable model. Asides from delivering awesome audio experience, all components are well-designed to stand the test of time. It features an improved circuit design that can prevent circuit shutdown. Pioneer’s digital amplifier circuit ‘Protection Control System’ can sense internal temperature and automatically moderate input level to protect the circuit. The stable circuitry achieved by this improved design minimizes the risk of high input power and enhances the flexibility of the amp. You will be able to connect different subwoofers to your car audio system without any compromise to the quality of sound you will get.

This extra-efficient Class-D car amplifier also features a variable low-pass filter that offers extra flexibility. According to your listening pressure and the characteristics of your subwoofers, you can adjust the device’s LPF from 40 Hz to 240 Hz. This will allow you to enjoy all kinds of music the way you like them and according to your mood. 

Like other Pioneer Class-D amplifier, the GM-D9701 comes with a wired bass boost remote control to improve user experience. You can make optimal bass level adjustments (0 dB to 18 dB) according to music characteristics and listening preferences.

Other notable features of the GM-D9701 include preamp RCA outputs to connect multiple amps; MOSFET power supply for large output; 3-way circuitry; dual speaker terminals to simplify the hookup of multiple speakers; heavy-duty aluminum alloy heat sink; nickel-plated screw terminals; Signal-to-Noise (SN) Ratio of > 100 dB; and Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of > 0.5% (100 Hz).

PROS

  • The power output capability of this amplifier is simply amazing, placing it on top of the list of the most-effective Class-D amplifiers.
  • The Pioneer GM-D9701 has an impressive compact design for versatile installation options.
  • This is one of the most reliable car amplifiers as the 3-way protection circuitry offers thermal, overload, and speaker short protection.
  • The wired bass boost remote and variable bass control will greatly improve your car sound system and enhance user experience significantly.
  • The Pioneer GM-D9701 comes with a 0 gauge amplifier kit + phone magnet holder.

CONS

  • Though most buyers are very impressed by this device there are few complaints that it can start going into protection loops at any volume. This may be due to a factory issue.
  • The Pioneer GM-D9701 can detect the slightest signals, turn on automatically and will drain the battery if a car sits for a few days between uses. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

With this device, there is no doubt that you can improve your car sound system massively. With its compact design, it is a great and versatile amplifier that will fit in most cars that need Class-D mono amplifiers. The ‘Big Power, Small Size’ amplifier is an excellent choice for most car owners. If you are looking for a reliable mono amplifier, the Pioneer GM-D9701 is a great device to consider.

2. FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS – Best Dual Channel Car Amplifier

FPS 2.160 - Focal 105W x 2 RMS 2-Channel Class AB Symmetric Amplifier
  • 2-channel car amplifier | 105 watts RMS x 2 at 4 ohms | 180 watts RMS x 2 at 2 ohms | 360 watts RMS x 1 bridged output at 4 ohms | 4-ohm stable in bridged mode
  • CEA-2006 compliant | Variable high- and low-pass filters (50-500 Hz or 500-5K Hz) | Variable band-pass filter (50-500 Hz, 500-5K Hz)
  • Class-AB amplifier design | Thermostat-controlled, progressive-speed cooling fan | Dynamic soft clipping protects speakers from distortion
  • Remote level control | Optional High Cap outboard capacitor modules increase power efficiency | Frequency response: 10-25,000 Hz
  • 4-gauge power and ground leads recommended | Fuse rating: 30A x 2 | Dimensions: 13-15/16" W x 2-3/8" H x 10-3/4" D

FEATURES

This is the top product to consider if you want a 2 channel amplifier that will completely turn things around for your car audio system. It has a class-AB amplifier design with so many impressive features. Like other amplifiers in the Focal Power Symmetric family, this dual-channel amplifier is dedicated to music lovers who want to transform their car sound system.

In terms of design, this is a well-built car amplifier. It is CEA-2006 compliant and has several features that improve durability. The thermostat-controlled, progressive-speed cooling fan ensures that the amp and the rest of the sound system are protected from thermal issues. There is added protection against distortion for the speakers as the dynamic soft clipping works efficiently.

When it comes to handling power, the FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS car amplifier is the right device to go for. It can provide 105 watts RMS x 2 at 4 ohms; 180 watts RMS x 2 at 2 ohms; 360 watts RMS x 1 bridged output at 4 ohms (4-ohm stable in bridged mode). Once it is properly set up, the amplifier will provide clear, rich sound that will fill your vehicle to your listening pleasure. There is also an optional High Cap outboard capacitor modules that can increase power efficiency.

For extra-flexibility and improved user experience, this amplifier has a variable band-pass filter (50-500 Hz, 500 – 5K Hz). Depending on the music characteristics and listening preferences, you can make necessary adjustments. It also features remote level control to improve user experience. Frequency response is 10 – 52,000 Hz.

Another wonderful thing about the FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS dual-channel car amplifier is that it comes with a number of accessories including 2 x 30A ATO fuses inserted in chassis; 2 x spare 30A ATO fuses; 4 mounting screws; 4 flat-washers; 4 lock-washers; Hex-key, and user manual in English/French.

PROS

  • This is one of the best performing car amplifiers when it comes to handling power and delivering top-quality audio experience. Thanks to the higher RMS wattage, this amplifier will bring real power and top-level clarity out of your car sound system.
  • The FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS can bridge easily right out of the box to give you exactly what you want in any instance.
  • The automated thermostat-controlled cooling fan is another important feature of this wonderful amp. The feature will help to keep the device and other parts of your car audio system protected at all times.
  • The FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS dual-channel car amplifier also comes with all the accessories you need to get it working. It is ready for usage right out of the box.

CONS

  • There is a good chance that this amplifier will be underpowered for some subwoofer setups. You may have to buy two of them for front and rear speakers or door speakers and a sub kit.
  • Considering that you may need two of these to complete your audio setup, it is a little overpriced.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS will rank among the very best dual-channel car amplifiers of all time. It is a well-built device that handles power in the most flexible manner for the best audio experience in a car. The built-in automatic cooling feature is very impressive and improves the reliability of this amp significantly. It is an excellent choice, especially if you can afford two for a high-powered car amplifier setup.

3. JL AUDIO XD500/3v2 – Best 3 Channel Class-D System Amplifier

XD500/3v2: 3 Ch. Class D System Amplifier, 500 W
  • 3-Channel Class D System Amplifier, 75 W x 2 @ 4 Ω + 300 W x 1 @ 2 Ω - 14.4V
  • Rated Continuous (RMS) Power @ 14.4 V
  • Main Channels @ 4Ω 75 W RMS x2, Main Channels @ 2Ω 100W RMS x2, Main Channels-Bridged @ 4Ω 200W RMS x1,Subwoofer Channel @ 4Ω 180W RMS x1, Subwoofer Channel @ 3Ω 240W RMS x1, Subwoofer Channel @ 2Ω 300W RMS x1, Subwoofer Channel @ 1.5Ω N/A
  • Rated Continuous (RMS) Power @ 12.5 V
  • Main Channels @ 4 Ω 60 W RMS x 2 Main Channels @ 2 Ω 90 W RMS x 2 Main Channels - Bridged @ 4Ω 180 W RMS x 1 Subwoofer Channel @ 4 Ω 180 W RMS x 1 Subwoofer Channel @ 3 Ω 240 W RMS x 1 Subwoofer Channel @ 2Ω 300W RMS x1,Subwoofer Channel @ 1.5Ω N/A

FEATURES

This is a top-of-the-class 3-Channel car amplifier that will bring life into your car audio system. It is a compact but powerful device that will play your music with true fidelity and enhance the multimedia experience your car offers. Thanks to JL Audio’s proprietary NexD™ amplifier technology, this product is super-reliable.

From the internal to the external components of this amp, everything is well-built to offer excellent signal amplification without straining your car’s electrical system. There is a cast alloy heat sink that works with an advanced cooling system to keep the amplifier working for hours without any risk of thermal shutdowns or damages. The amp also features a black powder-coat finish and a gasketed, brushed aluminum cover for the controls. There is no doubt that it is built to last.

When it comes to performance, there are few amplifiers you can compare to this little monster. It is a versatile device that can deliver up to 75 watts RMS to each of your quality component speaker and also deliver a stout 300 watts to your subwoofer system. You also have the option of switching to 2-Channel mode so that you can power one high-performance speaker with 200 watts and drive a subwoofer with 300 watts.

To deliver premium sound in your vehicle, the JL Audio XD500/3v2 uses a 12 dB/ octave high-pass filter for its main channels and a variable slope low-pass filter for the subwoofer channel. Both filters offer continuously variable cutoff frequency selection (20 to 500 Hz) for optimum performance.

Another impressive feature of this 3-channel car amplifier is the ‘differential-balanced’ inputs that eliminates outside noise from the signal. This is the major reason this amp will connect seamlessly with most in-dash stereo.

PROS

  • In spite of its compact Class-D design, the XD500/3v2 is a very powerful car amplifier. The NexD™ switching amp technology has been perfected in this model and the result is simply incredible.
  • Even without RCA connections or a remote turn-on lead, you can incorporate this amplifier into a factory system with no stress at all. The two auto turn-on modes featured in the speaker-level inputs make this possible.
  • This 3-Channel amplifier is one of the most versatile in its category. You can decide to switch to a 2-channel mode if you want to use a very powerful single speaker and a subwoofer. Even when you use a pair of quality component speaker system, it supplies plenty of clean power to all.
  • Thanks to the ‘differential-balanced’ input, even the slightest of noise from your vehicle’s electrical system will be filtered out from the signal.
  • The JL Audio’s signature Advanced Thermal Rollback protection system eliminates thermal shutdown events, which most people find annoying. Even under the most demanding conditions, the music will keep playing even as amp cools down to a safe operating temperature.

CONS

  • The HD-RLC remote level control is sold separately: it should have been included in the package to make it more valuable.
  • One of the commonest complaints people make about the XD500/3v2 is the fact that it doesn’t have a subsonic filter.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

If you are looking for a 3-channel car amplifier, there is no need to look any further as this product is perfect. In terms of all-round performance, it ranks among the most advanced car amplifiers. From the build quality to the way it handles power, this is an excellent little device. The 2-year manufacturer’s warranty is a clear indication of the quality. The JL AUDIO XD500/3v2 is also a very flexible amp that will work in different car audio setups.

4. Rockford Fosgate P600X4 – Best 4 Channel Car Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 600 Watt 4 Channel Amplifier
  • The Punch P600X4 600 watt 4-channel amplifier (2.38” x 7.76” x 13.28") is perfect for a 4-way full-range system or a 3-way system having a front stage with subwoofers on the rear channels
  • Versatile multi-channel design can power just about any audio system configuration (RMS Power Output: 75 Watts x 4 @ 4-Ohm OR 150 Watts x 4 @ 2-Ohm OR 300 Watts x 2 @ 4-Ohm Bridged)
  • RCA inputs can accept both Hi and Low level audio signals without the need of a signal converter
  • Featuring Class A/B topology, RCA pass-thru outputs, on-board Punch EQ with +18dB boost @ 45Hz, variable 12 dB/Oct Butterworth crossovers, and C.L.E.A.N. Set-up
  • Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality with a full 1-year warranty when purchased from an authorized Rockford Fosgate reseller

FEATURES

This is one wonderful 4-Channel car amplifier you can buy at a very reasonable price. With lots of incredible features, the amp will deliver clean music even at high levels. It is also one of the most versatile multi-channel amplifiers. You can modify it as desired to run as a high power 2-Channel amp when you bridge both channels. It can also run in a 3-Channel mode when you run stereo speakers on the front and subwoofers on the rear.

This amplifier is well designed to provide the best sonic experience in your vehicle when used the right way. It is CEA-2006 compliant. The Ultra-efficient Class BD circuitry maximizes the amplifier’s power efficiency. There is a cast aluminum heatsink that works with Dynamic Thermal Management to ensure that heat is evenly distributed and the device maintains a low temperature during prolong usage. The special Discreet Surface Mounted Components also improves the efficiency of the circuit and lowers the operating temperature of the amplifier. 

When it comes to performance, the Rockford Fosgate P600XA is a monster. It can provide 75 watts RMS to each of your front and rear speakers. When you switch to modes other than 4-Channels, the amp can drive 150 or 300 watts RMS to a couple of subwoofers. Depending on the type of music you are listening to, the Punch EQ2 allows for precise tuning of bass frequencies. The low-pass filter is another important feature that improves sound quality as it improves the sub/enclosure combination.

Another impressive feature of the Rockford Fosgate P600X4is the built-in NOMAD, a real-time analog computer that protects the device from shorting speaker wires and dangerously low speaker impendence. The C.L.E.A.N. technology (Calibrated Level Eliminates Audible Noise) is another outstanding feature that makes this car amplifier an excellent choice.

PROS

  • Though this is a powerful multi-channel car amplifier, it is very affordable. Considering the specifications and the performance you will get from this amplifier, it is nothing short of a lucky steal.
  • The Dynamic Thermal Management and MEHSA MOSFET cooling systems work smoothly to ensure that you have no issue of heat even when you subject the amplifier to prolong usage.
  • The variable HP/LP crossover and built-in Punch EQ improve the sound greatly, especially when there is a need to add some boom and sizzle back into the mix.
  • Even at quiet listening level, background noise from your car electrical components and other sources will be eliminated. The unique C.L.E.A.N. is super-effective.
  • The built-in computer is another big thumb-up for the Rockford Fosgate P600X4as it ensures that nothing is ever damaged as a result of plunging speaker impedances or short circuit.

CONS

  • There are genuine concerns about the durability of this amp. Several people have complained about the device not lasting as desired.
  • Some buyers have also complained about the amp not having enough juice to power their sound system. It is simply difficult to crack the volume up in some systems without distortion.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The Rockford Fosgate P600X4 is an excellent 4-Channel car amplifier. It is a flexible device that will let you set up your car audio system in different ways for an exceptional multimedia experience. It is also an affordable device that delivers true quality. While there are complaints about durability, using the device the right way will see it last for you. It also comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. 

5. Rockford Fosgate R600X5 – Best 5 Channel Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate R600X5 Prime 5-Channel Amplifier
  • 50 Watts x 4 + 200 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohm / 75 Watt x 4 + 300 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohm
  • Accepts High Level & RCA Level Input; Remote PLC (Punch Level Control) - Sub Channel
  • Cast aluminum heatsink with Top Mount Controls
  • 12dB/octave crossover. MOSFET power supply
  • 4 Gauge power/ground connectors. The R600X5 produces up to 75 Watts into each of its four channels with a dedicated subwoofer channel capable of producing 300 Watts into 2-Ohms.

FEATURES

This is an excellent 5-Channel amplifier that is specially designed to run an entire car audio system. Coming from one of the most celebrated industry heavyweights, this model is an excellent option for different kinds of audio setups. You can hook it up to any system including factory stereo. It belongs to the Prime series, a family of excellent Rockford Fosgate amplifiers that sell at a great price. It is CEA-2006 compliant.

As a powerful 5-Channel amplifier, the Rockford Fosgate R600X5 can drive up to 75 watts into each of its 4-Channels and also power a 5th dedicated subwoofer with 300 watts RMS. Like other multi-channel amplifiers, this device is also flexible. You can bridge it to a 2-Channel mode when you just want to drive a pair of high-performance component speakers: it will deliver 150 watts RMS to each speaker while still sending 300 watts to the subwoofer.

To get maximum performance from your speakers and subwoofers, this amplifier uses high and low pass filters, as well as the famous Rockford Fosgate Punch boost. While delivering an exceptional audio experience in your car, the amp stays cool for reliable long term play. It features inbuilt sensors that keep track of the output current and power supply temperature. It is so efficient that the device is completely protected from plunging impedances and short circuit. 

There are several other impressive features that make the Rockford Fosgate R600X5 the best 5 Channel car amplifier you will find on the market. The heavy-duty cast aluminum alloy heatsink is just one of many. Others like the 12Db/octave crossover MOSFET power supply, Soft Start Turn-on, and wired remote bass level control all contribute to make the device an excellent car amplifier.

PROS

  • Though this is among the very best multi-channel car amplifiers on the market, it is also among the most affordable options you will find. Rockford is well known for their range of top-quality affordable amplifiers, and this is just one of the very best ones out there.
  • The Rockford Fosgate R600X5features a heavy-duty cast aluminum alloy heatsink. This is quite efficient at extreme heat dissipation, ensuring that the amp remains cool during usage.
  • The built-in real-time output and power supply thermal sensors play very important roles when it comes to protecting the amp and other parts of your sound system from plunging impedances and short circuit.
  • This bridgeable 5-channel car amplifier is compatible with different car sound systems and setups. It is the amplifier you need when you want to run it all.
  • The Rockford Fosgate R600X5 is also very easy to mount. You can set it up with ease when you follow the instructions in the user manual.

CONS

  • There are genuine concerns about the durability of this amplifier. You need to handle it with extra care to prolong the lifespan.
  • There are complaints about the supplied mounting screws being too short. You may have to buy longer ones with a bolt and washer.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

One of the most remarkable things about this amp is the price. The device is one of the most affordable 5-channel car amplifiers on the market. It has an impressive modern design and delivers incredible sound quality. The amp is also easy to mount and will stay cool even when you use it for an extended period. There are concerns about durability but when you handle it the right way, the Rockford Fosgate R600X5 can work for years.

What Exactly Does Car Amplifier Do?

As we stressed in the introductory part of this buying guide, the car amplifier is the little device that will bring out the best from your car sound system. While the sounds come out from the speaker, they are made the way they sound by the amplifier. The relationship can be illustrated with the relationship between pumps and engines. While the speaker can be considered as the pump that fills your car with top quality sound, the amplifier is the engine that drives it.

To put it in simple terms, the major function of the car amplifier is to provide power amplification from the head unit to your car speakers. They pick up weak signals from sound sources and antennas in your radio and add voltage to them without corrupting them. The power of the amp you are using will determine how loud and distortion-free the sound from your car speakers will be.

While every device that produces sound have some form of inbuilt amplification technology, amplifiers are specifically built for sound amplification. Car amplifiers work in different ways and different speaker setups work with different types of amplifiers. Depending on their quality and how they are connected, car amplifiers can bring out the best from speakers or destroy them.


What Does Number of Channels Mean and How Do You Know Which One You Need?

Setting up your car sound system can be very tricky, especially if this is your first time. When it comes to picking the right amplifier, knowing the right number of channels you need is one of the most important things. Sound channels are individual signals and the amp you buy will determine how many of these signals can be amplified.

The number of channels you need primarily depends on the number of speakers and subwoofers you have in your car sound system setup. The more the speakers you have, the more channels you need. Typically, car amplifiers types include Mono, 2-Channels/dual, 3-Channels, 4-Channels, 5-Channels, and 6-Channels. We will briefly discuss each type to give you an idea of how they work and the one you need:

Mono Channel

This is a type of amplifier that will provide power to a solitary item, usually a subwoofer. When you hook your sub to an amplifier, it will receive more juice for improved sound quality. Your component speakers will still work fine even without the power from the amplifier.

2-Channels

Also called dual-channel amplifiers, these are amps that can provide juice for two sound signals. These type of amplifiers is ideal when you want to power a pair of component speakers or a high-performance speaker with a sub. For a full range 2-way or 3-way class speaker, dual-channel amplifiers are the minimum requirement.

3-Channels

These are car amplifiers that can provide added juice for three different sound signals. They are used to boost speakers and subwoofers at the same time. You can power a pair of component speakers and a subwoofer with this type of amp.

4-Channels

This is the ultimate in multichannel car amplifiers. It can provide enough power for up to four different audio signals. With a four-channel car amplifier, you can support a full speaker system in the sound system of almost any car. You can power two sets of speakers, not just subwoofers. You can also bridge your 4-Channels amplifier accordingly to support your current speaker setup until an upgrade.

5-Channels

5-Channels amplifiers are needed when you want to support four major channels and a subwoofer. Before buying a 5-Channels amp, make sure it is something you really need as setting it up can be tasking.

6-Channels

Six channels amplifiers are not very common. They can be used to amplify six different sound signals. They are mostly found in large SUVs and Humvees with relatively large sound system setup. They can also be bridged accordingly to support fewer speakers.


How Should Amplifier Power Influence Your Choice?

Using car amplifiers is all about magnifying sound signals in your car. Obviously, the ability of the device to function efficiently will depend on the power it can output. The bigger the power, the more amplification you can get. The power of car amplifiers is measured in wattage. Information about how many wattages an amplifier can deliver to each of your speakers is always given. It is important that you take this information seriously so that you will get the best out of your speakers without the risk of ruining them.

In most applications, 50 to 75 watts RMS to a single speaker is enough to produce great volume without distortion. It is also normal for amplifiers to send up to 300 watts to a subwoofer to bring out the best sound from your sound system. While getting adequate wattage from an amplifier will be great, it is also important that you understand how much power your speakers can handle. You should consult your speakers to understand the maximum wattage they can tolerate and compare with the power rating of the car amplifiers you are considering.

Installing a very powerful amplifier can be great when you have the right quality of speakers. If, on the other hand, your speaker is providing more power than the speakers can tolerate, there is a good chance that the sound will be distorted or the speakers will be damaged with time. Getting it right with power, therefore, will not only give you the best multimedia experience but protect your sound system at the same time.


What is the Difference Between 2 and 4 Ohms?

Another thing buyers find confusing is the difference between 2 and 4 ohms power ratings in their sound systems. Since this has significant implication on the experience you will get from using a car amplifier, it is important we talk about it a little.

Ohms are the measure of resistance to the flow of electricity in a circuit. The higher the number of Ohms, the more difficult it is for current to flow through the circuit. This means that the major difference between 2 and 4 ohms is simply their different degree of resistance to the flow of electric current.

Current can be pushed faster through a 2 Ohm speaker than a 4 Ohm speaker. A car amplifier that provides 100 watts of power through a 4-ohm speaker will produce 200 watts through a 2-ohm speaker since resistance is lower. Though this seems just like an electrical issue, it has slight implication on the quality of sound you will get from your sound system. It will also affect the durability of the different parts of your sound system, especially speakers and subwoofers.

Resistance/ohms/ impedance is more of a technical aspect of building a sound system. While it may not have a huge impact on your setup, there is a need to create synergy. Check your amplifier’s different output ratings and compare with your speakers’ power handling. High impedance speakers can handle whatever you throw at them. Avoid hooking low impedance speakers with amplifiers that specify high minimum impedance requirement (up to 8 ohms).


Why is There Peak and RMS Power?

When you are shopping for car amplifiers, you will also notice that there are two power ratings: Peak and RMS. To clear the confusion most people are thrown into because of this, we will briefly discuss them individually.

  • RMS: RMS Power stands for Root Mean Square Power. This is primarily the amount of continuous power your car amplifier will produce at a time, measured in watts. This is the power rating that is most ideal to identify and manage your most frequent wattage usage. Ideally, the higher the RMS rating, the louder and cleaner the sound your car audio system will produce. It is also important to ensure that the RMS power rating of the amp you intend to buy matches the RMS power rating on your subwoofer and speakers.
  • Peak Power: Also referred to as Max Peak, this is the total of how much power your speaker can handle in bursts, expressed in wattage. It is normal for your speaker to output different electrical levels at different times, peaking at sharper points in your audio. The peak power of your amplifier must be enough to handle this peak power. The peak power is normally higher than the RMS power rating.

The two power ratings discussed above are important. It is necessary that you check the RMS number on the car amplifier you want to buy to ensure that it matches the rating on your speakers. If there is a mismatch, the implication is that your speakers could be underpowered or overpowered. In any case, you may not get the best from the sound system and the chances of your speaker overheating and getting damaged are increased.


Tips on How to Mount Your Car Amplifier

Most car amplifiers come with user manuals. These manuals normally have detailed instructions on how to mount the specific amplifier. You can also find written contents online as well as instructional videos on YouTube on how to mount your car amplifier.

The Surf’n’Buy will not going to provide a step-to-step guide on how to mount the amplifier as there are many places you can find that. Here, however, we will discuss a few tips that will help you get the process done seamlessly. Here are important tips to follow to mount your car amplifier:

Make sure you have the right amplifier for your car sound system. Consider all the factors we have discussed here to ensure that you are setting things up the right way.

  • Ensure that you have all the accessories needed for the installation before starting the mounting process. Most car amplifiers come with the accessories you need. If for any reason your amp didn’t come with the complete mounting kit, you will need power supply cables, an in-line fuse, speaker wires, RCA cables, an earth wire, turn-on switch/wire, as well as connector plugs.
  • Find the perfect place to mount the amplifier (in most instances, it will fit in the car’s luggage department; if not you can consider underneath, between or behind the seats due to space limitation).
  • Ensure that the amplifier is mounted at least three feet away from the car’s stereo as having it too close can cause interference with the AM/FM receiver.
  • Ensure that the amplifier is mounted where there is an adequate supply of fresh air.
  • Consider the position of the battery while mounting so that you run wires directly to it.
  • Run the cables neatly underneath the floor, under the dashboard, kick panels, or door scuff plate.
  • Route RCA cables far from the power supplying cables to avoid interferences.
  • Approach the mounting process carefully for your safety and also to protect your car’s sound equipment.
  • Do not mount the car amplifier in an inverted position for any reason.
  • Drill holes carefully in the firewall and only when necessary.
  • Cables should be slightly slack instead of being too tight so be careful while cutting.

Conclusion

With so many models of car amplifiers available on the market, picking one will always be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider before picking any car amplifier and we have tried to explain the most important ones in this buying guide. We have also reviewed the five best car amplifiers you can buy straight away and hope you find the perfect product right here.

If you need the best Class D Mono Amplifier, the Pioneer GM-D97012400 Watts is the perfect car amplifier to grab straight away. If your car will work better with a dual-channel amplifier, the FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS is the perfect device to buy. If you want a multi-channel car amplifier at the best deal, you should consider the Rockford Fosgate P600X4, which is among the best and most affordable 4-Channel car amplifiers on the market.

At Surf n’ Buy, we don’t believe that online shopping should be too difficult. You shouldn’t sweat too much or spend hours trying to figure out the right car amplifier to buy. This is basically why we have reviewed the five top options to consider right now. We also believe that you should get it right at the first attempt. This is why we have spent time to create this comprehensive guide that will help you get the perfect amp for your car sound system. We have also provided tips to follow for seamless mounting of your car amp. We sincerely hope you find this buying guide helpful in setting up your perfect car sound system.


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