Car Amplifiers: Do You Really Need Them? And 5 Best Car Amplifiers

High-end automotive audio is frequently associated with amplifiers. However, whether it’s a low-powered, built-in component or a separate, high-powered unit, every automobile audio system needs an amplifier.

In fact, without one, a car stereo wouldn’t function. The majority of automobile audio systems and straightforward upgrades don’t come with a separate amplifier, however many do have one specifically designed to power a subwoofer.

Car Amplifiers

What does a car amplifier exactly do and what is it used for?

An amplifier is a specialized device that receives a weak audio signal and enhances it, whether it be in a home audio system or a car audio system. That’s all there is to it.

Without amplification, audio signals are too faint to be audible, making an amplifier an essential component of any audio system. An amplifier is incorporated into the head unit of even the most affordable automobile stereos. Built-in amplifiers have the drawback of being unable to provide enough power to give your music the sound quality it deserves, especially at higher volume levels where you will start to notice distortion and a loss of sound quality.

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Do You Really Need a Car Audio Amp?

Car Amplifiers
4 channel amplifier in its installed below the seat

You must spend money on a specialized amplifier if you are serious about the sound quality of your system. We’ll get to it later. There are so many options available that it might be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the game. Let’s break down the advantages of including an amplifier in your automobile audio system for the time being.

Undistorted Louder Sound

Cars make a lot of noise. Until you try to listen to the radio with ordinary speakers, you might not realize how loud they are. Just a few instances of the outside noise that can seriously drown out the music you are attempting to listen to include the engine, the tires on the road, the traffic, and the air conditioning system.

This issue will be resolved by adding an amplifier, which will essentially increase the volume of your music without distorting it. This will allow you to hear only the music through your car speakers.

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They Significantly Enhance Sound Quality

Enhancing sound quality is one of the key factors that influence people’s decisions to add amplifiers to their automobile audio system. As the volume is increased, factory speakers have a tendency to crackle and stutter, while speakers that are supplied by an amplifier don’t. Adding an amplifier will make music clearer, louder, bassier, and distortion-free, regardless of how small or inexpensive it is.

When listening to your favorite music, installing an amplifier is the best course of action if you want to hear the vocals clearly and the individual sounds of each instrument.

They Offer More Features and Flexibility

Access to personalization tools like equalizers and signal processing is a need for the more dedicated audiophiles among us. Many of the more outdated car radio systems, however, lack the functions you desire. Without needing to buy a new stereo player, you may manage your sound by adding an amplifier.

Additionally, an amplifier will provide you the freedom to adjust the system of your car whenever you choose by allowing you to add and delete various channels. This is excellent for car enthusiasts who prefer to maintain their vehicles frequently or for those who must always buy the most up-to-date tools.

Best Car Amplifiers

1. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D

Key Features
  • Remote control for bass
  • Power supply thermal sensing
  • Onboard 12.0-dB LP/HP/AP crossover

As the best overall vehicle amplifier available, the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is our review team’s pick. With 500.0 watts for one channel at 2.0 ohms RMS rating, this strong amplifier will significantly improve the sound quality of your car radio. This vehicle amplifier includes high-level inputs, a Mosfet power supply, a cast aluminum heatsink, overcurrent protection, an RCA pass-through output, and overcurrent detection.

This automobile amplifier incorporates power supply thermal detection, which guards against overheating, as well as short circuit and overcurrent protection, which safeguard the circuitry. Additionally, it has an internal 12.0-dB LP/HP/AP crossover as well as an infrasonic filter. Low-pass, high-pass, and all-pass filters are referred to as LP, HP, and AP, respectively. Your power amplifier’s remote control variable bass boost can be used to control your car speakers.

91EPzMDh74L. AC SL1500
  • 300 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohms, 500 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohms, Frequency 20Hz to 250Hz +/-1dB
  • Onboard 12dB/octave LP/HP/AP crossover & Infrasonic filter. Power Wire Gauge- 4 AWG
  • On-board Punch EQ with +18dB boost at 45Hz. Input Sensitivity: 150 mV to 4 V
  • Cast Aluminum Heatsink with Stealth top-mounted control panel
  • Includes wired remote

2. Alpine S-A60M

Key Features
  • Enhanced Shutdown Performance Technology
  • Low-pass filter
  • Adjustable bass boost

The Alpine S-A60M has a selectable bass boost and is rated at 330.0 watts RMS. This amplifier can fit in the majority of tiny automobiles thanks to its small size. Your amplifier can lower its high power output to avoid overheating thanks to Enhanced Shutdown Performance Technology without completely turning off.

With this automobile amplifier, you may have complete control over the entire spectrum of frequencies that are sent to your subwoofers. It also has an adjustable bass boost. The amp has a preamp and speaker-level inputs, so you can install it in practically any car, even one with a factory radio. Speaker level inputs enable your amp to recognize incoming signals and turn it on by itself, doing away with the need to run a turn-on wire to the fuse or receiver in your car.

91OOtqsPLvL. AC SL1500
  • 330 watts RMS x 14 ohms
  • preamp and speaker-level inputs
  • variable bass boost
  • The amp includes preamp- and speaker-level inputs

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3. Kicker 46CXA8001

Key Features
  • Kicker’s FIT+ technology
  • KickEQ 6.0-dB bass boost
  • 24.0-dB subsonic filter

The Kicker 46CXA8001 is a productive Class D amplifier that has a maximum power output of 1600.0 watts. One of the greatest car amplifiers available, this amp has a KickEQ 6.0-dB bass boost that lets you access more low frequencies and a 12.0-dB variable crossover that lets you tune in superb sound.

The automobile amp includes a 24.0-dB subsonic filter to shield users from potentially harmful frequencies. The Fail-Safe Integration Technology Plus (FIT+) technology from Kicker provides exceptional noise rejection even with stock audio systems. You have the option to expand your car audio system by adding more subwoofers because the car amp is stable down to 1.0 ohm. It should be mentioned that this amplifier includes mounting hardware for both horizontal and vertical installation.

91uO8M9oP9L. AC SL1500
  • Efficient Class-D amplifier
  • Variable 12dB crossovers provide control to dial in perfect sound
  • KickEQ 6dB variable bass boost for those additional low frequencies
  • 24dB subsonic filter for protection from potentially damaging frequencies

4. Kenwood X8025

Key Features
  • CEA-2006 compliant
  • Output coil with a magnetic shield
  • Speaker level input harness included

The Kenwood X8025 has a detachable sliding terminal for a stylish look and simple installation. You may enhance your sound with the help of the high-pass and low-pass crossover filters on this five-channel amplifier. For connecting speaker wires from receivers that came installed at the factory, it should be mentioned that a speaker-level input harness is provided in the box.

The amp’s output can be set to 500.0 watts RMS for your subwoofer and 50.0 watts RMS for each front and rear speaker. However, you can also utilize the amplifier in three-channel mode, which provides 500.0 watts RMS of power for your sub and 150.0 watts RMS to high-powered speakers. The amplifier also complies with CEA-2006 and has an output coil with a magnetic shield to stop magnetic flux, lessen noise, and improve sound quality.

81HlXj7SdEL. AC SL1500
  • High-Resolution Audio is high-quality sound that exceeds CD standards.
  • Output Coil with Magnetic Shield prevents magnetic flux from radiating from the subwoofer’s coil, resulting in reduced noise and enhanced sound quality.
  • The detachable sliding terminal cover offers a sleek design and easier installation.
  • All terminals and connections are on one side for easier installation and a cleaner look.
  • Speaker Level Input Harness is included to connect to speaker wires from factory-installed receivers

5. Boss Audio Systems R1004

Key Features
  • Class A/B topology
  • Switchable input sensitivity
  • Variable gain control

The Riot Series R1004 by Boss Audio Systems is a four-channel amplifier. This automobile amplifier has two different power output options: 50.0 watts maximum per four at 4.0 ohms or 100.0 watts maximum per four at 2.0 ohms. You may change the amount of signal coming from your receiver using the variable gain control that is a part of this automobile amplifier. You have the ability to power both your speakers and your subwoofer with this four-channel amp’s Class A/B architecture.

Short Protection, a feature of the vehicle amplifier, automatically turns off the amp when it becomes too hot or if the speakers malfunction and generate a short circuit, safeguarding the car amplifier. In order to achieve a certain balance between power and sound quality, the amp also has switchable input sensitivity, which allows flexible control over the input signal from the head unit. It should be noted that this is the only Riot Series amp from Boss Audio that cannot be bridged.

  • Power – 100 Watts Max X 4 @2-Ohms, 50 Watts Max X 4 @4-Ohms
  • Class A/B Topology – Class ‘A’ Amplifiers Have Enormous Amount Of Current Flowing Through Its Output Transistors With No Audio Signal.
  • Full Range – With A Full Range Amplifier You Not Only Have The Option To Run Your Speakers, But Also Your Subwoofers
  • Variable Gain Control – The Gain Control Is Not For Adjusting Volume.

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What to Think About When Purchasing a Car Audio Amplifier

Dimensions of the Amplifier

Verify that the amp will fit. Don’t get a large amplifier and anticipate it fitting under your seat. The past ten years have seen great advancements in technology, and today there are numerous little amps that can provide large amounts of good, clean electricity. Do not be misled by a modest amplifier. Good amplifiers often come in compact forms. Verify that it will fit in the desired location.

Hertz’s HDP4 amp is the one on the right. Even though it is little 6.73 inches by 11.18 inches by 1.83 inches, it has four channels that can each handle 150 watts of power. An amp like this may easily fit under most car seats and power the majority of systems.

Amplifier Wiring

Buy quality wire for your amplifier. Deals on amp wire kits that seem “too good to be true” should not be trusted. The best copper is oxygen-free copper (OFC)! A premium amp kit’s price has increased in tandem with the skyrocketing price of copper.

CCA (Copper Clad Aluminum) kits should be avoided. These kits consist of a copper outer ring and an aluminum central conductor. Aluminum is a much worse conductor of electricity than copper. In some circumstances, an 8 gauge OFC kit will be able to carry more current than a 4 gauge CCA cable.

Finally, the “size” of the wire varies significantly. 10 to 15 years ago, 4 gauge was just 4 gauge. Its covering had a uniform thickness and was just a hair thicker than a sharpie. You have to be careful right now. Many Chinese-made kits are now available, but they have very little wire and very thick coatings. There are situations when a 4 gauge kit has less wire than a “genuine” 8 gauge kit. Customer beware!

One of the better films I’ve found illustrating the distinction between CCA and OFC kits is this one.

Features of an Amplifier

Make sure your amplifier can perform the function for which you need it. For direct connection to your factory deck, does it offer high-level inputs? For use with ported subwoofers, does it contain a subsonic filter? Is it stable at the ohm load you want? A specialized business can provide answers to all of these queries and many more. Every day of their life, they engage in this.

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What will be powered by this amplifier?

This has major significance. Check to see if the amp will work with the ohm load you’re planning to connect it to. Your amp will shut down if you overload it. Verify that the monoblok (1-channel) amplifier you are purchasing is not intended for a 2 or 4-channel application. It occurs, Verify that the amplifier has crossovers that work with the task at hand.

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