Amplifier location – Make sure to take proper measurements of the location in which you plan to place your amplifier before you finalize your purchase. Whether your amplifier will be placed under the passenger seat, under the driver’s seat, or in the trunk you want to make sure, first and foremost, that it will fit comfortably in your desired location.
Car Amplifier Buyers Guide:
There are a few factors to consider before you buy a car amplifier so to assist you in your search for a suitable speaker amp we have answered some of your top questions.
What Does A Car Amplifier Do?
In simple terms, a car amplifier provides power amplification from your head unit to your car speakers.
Different speakers set-up will require different output connection options as well as different power outputs. Generally speaking, the most typical amplifier types are Mono, 2-channel (or dual) and 4-channel
Mono- Will provide power to a solitary item and is best hooked up to a subwoofer.
2-channels are the minimum requirement for a full range 2-way or 3-way class speaker they are ideal for a sub and satellite set up (left and right, and bass).
4- channel offers up the most flexibility because it gives users the opportunity to use 2 pairs of speakers in conjunction with your subwoofer for a more dynamic and full range sound.
If you opt to buy a 4-channel but only have a 2-channel set up requirement you can bridge it, and still have the opportunity to add a secondary set of speakers if it takes your fancy in the future.
How Does A Car Amplifier Work?
An amplifier is an electronic transistor circuit which employs capacitors and resistors to adjust the flow of electrons. It takes a small voltage signal and uses it to control a much larger voltage signal effectively boosting an inaudible line-level signal from your head unit (car stereo) until it is able to power the drivers of your speakers to move their cones. Most head units aren’t capable of driving a loudspeaker, so if you want a full-range sound to enjoy on a long road trip with decent quality free of buzzing and less synthetic an amplifier is the only way to go. This is especially true for those of you who like your bass booming a subwoofer takes a fair amount of power to pump and a standard car stereo just isn’t fit for function in this case.
You have probably seen that the majority of those we have reviewed state that they have a MOSFET power supply. This is an acronym for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistors. It is a type of field-effect transistor which features a gate separated from the body with an insulating layer so that the conductivity of the device can be set by gauging the voltage requirements. When the voltage is below the threshold, it generates very little or no conduction at all between the terminal and the drain source.
This means they can change the voltage to amplify and switch electronic signals smoothly and safely.
Having a MOSFET power supply means that your system will run efficiently there is no waste energy, and you can’t overpower your speakers- resulting in distortion, overheating, shorting and long term damage.
How To Install an Amplifier In Car?
The time it was, you would have to seek a professional for amplifier installations and whilst it is always recommended and indeed advisable if you are a novice or ill-equipped for the task, fortunately, modern models aren’t too difficult to install in your car.
Many of those we have reviewed come with detailed instructions and there are a host of instructional videos on YouTube to help you like this DIY how to install a car amplifier video from Crutchfield;
or this how to install a mono-block amplifier to power a subwoofer video from AnthonyJ350’s channel.
Best Car Amplifier Brands
The three brands that dominate the market are; Kenwood, Rockford Fosgate, and Boss Audio. We think Kicker is also worth special mention, their speakers are hugely popular both for home audio and car audio. Their amplifiers are actually great and hold their own against their stiff competition, but it is difficult to compete with companies like Kenwood who have so many years behind their success.
Budget amplifiers needn’t cost the earth in fact in most set-ups they are usually one of the cheaper pieces, typically a subwoofer will set you back a lot more than the donkey that’s gotta do all the leg work. Thanks to the constantly evolving industry, you can find a reasonable amplifier for around the $100 mark, though it might not adequately suit a more grandiose set-up.
The key factor to consider is your channel requirements, which can be a little tricky but we hope our buyers guide break-down will have helped shed some light. We recommend you sit and plan in advance and then shop with your idea in mind. If you just fancy a quick upgrade check out the set-up you already have and match it may be adding a few more watts to the punch or at the very least an upgraded L/R speaker with a new modern tweeter for better audio clarity, dynamics, and definition.
We also advise going for an amplifier with a variable low pass filter adjustment to give better control over the workload delegation of your system for better performance and to allow you to shape your equalization.
In the interest of a smooth set-up, with pristine communication it is often a good idea to power your car speakers with the same brand amplifier, though this is not imperative in any way, it can make performance better.
Did you Know
If you are still thirsty for more juice, the BOSS Audio Armor line has a fantastic 4000 watt option, which is well worth a look.