A car amplifier is designed to boost the electrical signal from the car’s stereo system
to deliver more power to the speakers. The amp does not only provide power, but also makes the sound clearer and allows you to connect additional speakers. Most car radios come with a factory amplifier, meant to produce just enough power for the modest sound system.
As a music lover, the factory sound system just can’t produce the thump you desire. You may, therefore, choose to upgrade the car speakers
, which requires stereo amplifiers to be installed. To add more bass to the sound, consider a single-channel car amp and a subwoofer. Ensure that you seek the help of a professional to avoid damage to the equipment through wrong wiring.
Note that a car amplifier can make or break your sound system, and choosing the right amplifier is paramount. Avoid any costly replacement of your audio components by getting it right the first time. Whether you’re purchasing an amp to power the entire speaker system or looking for something to power your subwoofer, we’ve done our homework right, so you don’t have to.
Some amplifiers are excellent for subwoofers, and usually designed as one-channel or mono-block car amplifiers. Some are designed as two-channel or more, and work great with component speakers. Aim for an amplifier with the highest number of channels if you’re looking to get high-quality sounds for your entire car speaker system. Some models even allow wireless integration with your Bluetooth car headset
, so you don’t need to worry about going hands-free.
Now, let’s go through some features to look for in a car amplifier before you jump to our top picks.
Adding a car amplifier to your car audio system is a cost-effective way of improving sound quality. The amp works to enhance the sound quality without the need for extra speakers or subwoofers, though you can add them at your discretion. A good-quality car amplifier costs between around $70 and $230. Most aftermarket speakers perform better with more amp power, and the available head units with built-in amplifiers don’t offer enough power to enhance your music experience. The price of car amplifiers will vary depending on the power output, the number of channels, and the brand. Though you can still find cheaper car amplifiers out there, we don’t recommend them to our clients for obvious quality concerns. You don’t want to be the laughingstock of the block when your speakers start producing loud but fuzzy music, do you?
Most vehicles come with built-in car amplifiers, but if you want a better music experience, adding an amp will give you the required power. The amplifier you choose must be compatible with your music system. The amount of power and the number of channels also matter. If you love thumping sounds, you may consider models with added bass response.
Here are the features in more detail:
- Number of Channels – Car amplifiers are designed with a specific number of channels. The number of channels typically represents the number of audio outputs, or in simple terms, the number of speakers that can be hooked up to the amp. A monolog car amplifier has one-output audio channel and is generally preferred for an extra subwoofer. A stereo amp or two-channel amp can hook one left and one right speaker. Multichannel models can accommodate a range of speakers, from two to six.
- Maximum Power – The root mean square (RMS) power is the highest power output per speaker. Check the RMS value of your car speaker and find an amplifier that can power at least 75 percent of that power. For instance, if you have a 150-watt speaker, your amplifier must produce between 125 to 175 watts per speaker. Anything less will most likely produce inferior sound.
- Warranty – Should anything go wrong with your car amplifier, the warranty should kick in and protect you from the loss. Depending on the warranty terms and conditions, you may even be protected from speaker damage that may happen as a result of the amplifier power. Be sure to buy your amp from the manufacturer’s authorized dealers only to ensure that the warranty will be honored.
Construction and Design
Car amplifiers fall into four classes: Class A, Class B, Class AB, and Class D. The classes represent the general architecture and the amplifiers electronic circuitry. Each class exhibits some special energy efficiency, power dissipation, and sound performance.
Class A – Class A amplifiers are recognized for their high-quality sound output. Their high operating temperatures make them undesirable since they are energy inefficient.
Class B – Class B amplifiers come as enhanced versions of Class A amplifiers. Their transistors are turned off for half the operating cycle, making them more efficient. However, they tend to distort at higher frequencies.
Class AB – This class of amplifiers is quite similar to class B amplifiers, but these models allow the current to flow through the output transistors at a much lower rate when there is no audio signal. This a good compromise between audio quality and heat dissipation.
Class D – Class D amplifiers take a whole different approach in their design. They use output transistors as switches to effectively control power distribution. Their transistors switch on and off rapidly, but they still tend to produce more distortion than class AB models.
Overall, Class AB amplifiers tend to be most desirable, since they offer both class A and class B benefits with minimal compromise on the sound quality.
Performance and Ease of Use
The primary goal of a car amplifier is to ensure that all the car’s speakers and subwoofers are adequately powered to improve the sound quality of the audio system. However, there are several other benefits of car amplifiers, aside from boosting sound.
Underpowered subwoofers won’t give out useful sound, but if you don’t power your car speakers the right way, you risk causing them premature damage. So, choosing the right amp will ensure that your speakers produce the desired sound quality, while protecting them from unnecessary wear.
Whether you’re using an OEM stereo or an aftermarket stereo, you should ensure that the amplifier correctly matches the speaker components. Even the highest-performing speakers or subwoofers can sound inferior without the right matching amplifier. On the other hand, a powerful amplifier will just blow up your expensive speakers if the output power ratings don’t match. If you’re not a technical person, it’s a good idea to let the professionals do the installation on your behalf.
From the music professional who notices every sound detail to the regular Joe who just loves to be heard from a block away, we know that your requirements will differ in terms of car amplifiers. Whichever side of the spectrum you fall on, or if you’re just floating somewhere in the middle, the brands and products reviewed below will surely give you the information you need to buy the amplifier that will match your taste. Now that you understand what to look for in a car amplifier, it’s time to pick a model that suits your needs.
It’s great that you’ve done your part by reading our reviews, and we hope you are full of confidence that you found the best car amplifier for your needs. Now, you can listen to your favorite music in premium delivery. Head over to Amazon and purchase your preferred choice now. If you didn’t like our picks, feel free to browse through these same brands for more options.