8 Best Subwoofer Amps in 2022

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Utility – Are you using your subwoofer as an attachment to your computer, as an auxiliary to a home theater setup, or as a supplement to your car stereo system? The receiver of each stereo system might not accommodate a subwoofer output, a problem that can be easily solved with the purchase of a set of speaker cables.

Scott Etan Feiner

Scott Etan Feiner FOR MUSIC CRITIC

Subwoofer Amp Buyers Guide

Amplifiers can be difficult to source because many of us are unsure when it comes to configurations and impedance. Add to that a whole bunch of confusing jargon and you quickly find yourself in way over your head.

To clear things up, we are diving into speaker amplifier terminology. This should help you read through the marketing spiel and find exactly what you need.

What Does Mosfet Power Supply Mean?

Mosfet is an acronym for Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor which is what a Mosfet power supply utilizes to perform. This gives it the ability to cope with the wavering between full-conduction and non-conduction, giving it an ultimately better output power and efficiency.

The power construction resembles a ‘V’ shape and is also sometimes referred to as a V-set or V-Mosfet. They first came into commercial use during the 1970s and have a few advantages.

They are faster working, with more power, and their transit frequency is better. This means they require a simpler form of short-circuit protection and are less likely to breakdown or fall prey to secondary problems.

They handle higher transient currents better, without Beta droop (the biggest cause of distortion from current draining) and rely on much smaller sized driver transistors to function. This means they can be used within smaller applications. They also switch devices off more rapidly which eliminates crossover distortion.

What Does RMS Mean?

RMS stands for route mean square, a mathematical calculation of the mean (the average found by dividing the sum of numbers by the total number of terms) of a set of square numbers.

Simply put, this describes the maximum peak level of output power that an amplifier can produce in a single split-second, for the loudest part of a song. This doesn’t refer to the maximum constant output power which will typically be much lower.

Amplifier Classes

You may have noticed that amplifiers are classified with one or 2 letters but you might be surprised to know that this doesn’t define them best to worst or vice-versa in alphabetical order.

This is because they aren’t actually a grading system. The letters instead are a reference to how efficient their wave functionality is.

All amplifiers conduct through wave-forms. A class A amplifier conducts throughout 360 degrees of a wave-form. This means in a single-ended design they are less likely to have a background hum as distortion levels are reduced. They function in a push/pull manner, with 2 outputs sharing the positive and negative portions of a wave cycle.

An A-class amplifier essentially requires a high-level current flowing continually even when there’s no output power in the process. This gives you quality audio, which is why they’re often raved about by those with an appreciation for audio quality, but this unfortunately means that they have to conduct at all-times.

Conducting continually leads to high amounts of wasted energy which is converted into heat. The build-up can cause over-heating issues. The circuitry for an A-class amplifier also requires a much larger chassis comparatively.

A B class amp has the same single-ended push/pull functionality but it makes sure that only half the devices are working at any given time each covering one 180-degree portion of the 360-degree wave.

This is more efficient with less wastage but it does create a nominal delay between the two amplifiers.

This is why we see more class A/B models on the market, which essentially provide a combination of both methods and boost the efficiency a little more.

There are also G and H class speakers which we will skip-over as they are irrelevant to this particular article.

D-Class amplifiers are the most efficient on the market and therefore arguably the best. This is because they can rapidly fluctuate the devices connected between an on and off state. Having the ability to idle allows power consumption to be fully utilized optimally.

They can provide much higher-outputs because of their design specs and are also less susceptible to over-heating issues. They are also able to be contained in a much smaller enclosure, making them a compact option and giving you more choice and freedom over where to install them in your car.

Conclusion

You can’t install a subwoofer without the correct amplifier for the job, a mono-block single-channel addition is a sensible solution and fortunately, there is an abundance of capable models to choose from.

Finding the right amplifier for your subwoofer can be tricky if you aren’t down with the lingo, we hope our guide, though heavily technical, will have shed some light on the subject. And hopefully, you’ll find the right audio system for you.

If you are unsure you can check the web for some DIY installation guide videos and if needs be, enlist a professional to do it for you, ensuring you get the best audio system.

We’ve gathered a decent variety of options to suit a range of needs and trust that we will have covered all of our bases with our wide selection. We are confident we’ve chosen some of the best available and wish you luck sourcing the perfect power-head for the job.

Expert Tip

Never judge an amplifier by its brand spanking new subwoofer. A subwoofer actually requires a breaking-in period of 3-4 hours use. If you are shopping for a subwoofer too then you can check out our car subwoofer articles for inspiration.

Did you Know

Some people believe the D in D Class amplifiers stand for digital but this is nothing more than a misnomer, in fact, it was just logically the next available letter because C class was already taken and used by amplifiers which aren’t constructed for audio use.

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