A car amplifier boosts the electrical signals that come from your car's radio to deliver more power to your speakers. Not only does the amp produce more power, but it also makes the sound clearer and can make it possible for you to hook up more speakers. All car radios are installed with a factory amplifier that usually generates enough power for a factory sound system. Common car amplifier models include the Planet Audio AC1800.5, the Kenwood KAC-M1804 and the Alpine MRV-F300.
Car stereo amplifiers are usually installed when you upgrade your car speakers. If you want to add more bass to the sound in your vehicle, you can use a single-channel car amplifier to add a subwoofer. Professional installation of an amplifier is recommended to ensure you don't damage your equipment through improper wiring. Improper installation can also cause injury.
Car Amplifiers: What to Look For
Most vehicles are equipped with built-in amplifiers, but adding an amp usually refers to adding an external amplifier. It must be compatible with your system, and you need to consider the number of channels and the amount of power. If you love a thumping sound, you will want to choose one with added bass. Knowing what to look for can help you get the sound you are looking for.
Number of Channels
Car stereo amplifiers are equipped with a specific number of channels. These channels refer to the number of audio outputs or the number of speakers you can hook up to the unit. Each channel includes one positive and one negative speaker terminal. A mono amplifier has one output channel and is usually used for the addition of a subwoofer. A 2-channel amp – also referred to as a stereo amp – is used to connect one left and one right speaker. Multichannel car amplifiers can have anywhere from two to six channels, so you can hook up an entire stereo system. They are also the largest amps and require a lot of space for installation.
The highest amount of power for your car amplifier refers to the root mean square (RMS), or the total power output per speaker. It's important to find out the RMS value of your speakers and then choose an amp that can put out at least 75 percent of that number. If you have a 150-watt speaker, you will want an amp that can generate between 125 and 175 watts per speaker. Otherwise, you won't get the most sound from your car's radio.
Your car amplifier warranty protects you if something should go wrong with your amplifier once it has been installed in your vehicle. Depending on how good the warranty is, you may even be protected against speaker damage, provided the installation was done professionally. Be very careful who you purchase the amplifier from. Many car amplifier manufacturers require you buy your amp from an authorized dealer before they honor the warranty.
Even though factory car amplifiers are better than they once were, purchasing an external amp can help you get the most out of your car's audio system. By knowing what to look for, you can evaluate the systems to ensure you will get the sound you are looking for.
The Alpine MRV-F300 4-Channel Car Amplifier features a built-in temperature monitoring system to prevent overheating and a bass equalizer. This car amplifier is built to withstand extreme power demands.
The four channel inputs allow you to connect this car amplifier to any head unit without needing to install any additional converters. For this reason, you can connect this amplifier to a variety of after-market systems or use it to simply upgrade your factory system. Each channel can deliver up to 50 watts to each of your speakers, and you can switch the amplifier to a two-channel or a three-channel configuration, depending on what you intend to add to your car's audio system. The mounts for this car amplifier are flush and are designed to make installation simple.
The maximum power for this car amplifier is 300 watts or a total root mean square (RMS) power of 150 watts for two channels with a bridged output at 4 ohms. The amplifier provides deep bass even when faced with large power demands. It is designed to resist overheating, and it won't drain your car battery. The bass equalizer switch doesn't offer much of an advantage over the standard sound output the amplifier produces.
The Alpine one-year warranty on this car amplifier only covers products that were purchased from an authorized dealer. This is because oftentimes products that are sold by private dealers are produced in other countries or on a gray market and don't pass the same standards set by Alpine. One positive outcome of this policy is when you purchase from an authorized dealer, you may pay more, but you are assured the dealer was chosen based on their commitment to the customer service and quality.
This four-channel car amplifier is equipped with snap-on terminal covers, so you don't have to do any soldering, the Alpine car amplifier is also small enough that it can fit underneath most seats or inside a dash for quick installation. It delivers strong power to both aftermarket and factory speakers, and you can customize your setup, depending on what type of speakers you want to install. The amplifier is also bridgeable if you want to add additional power to a subwoofer.
The Boss Audio R1100M car stereo amplifier delivers a remote subwoofer level control in a one-channel configuration. The amp has a variable bass boost, a special technology to eliminate distortion and ample power to enhance any car audio system.
With a small and lightweight design, this car amplifier comes in a one-channel layout, which allows you to connect your favorite subwoofer to your car's audio system. The amp comes with everything you need for installation. The amp delivers plenty of sound without overheating because it's equipped with a built-in heat protection system.
Car amplifiers traditionally don't give out their total maximum wattage. The Boss Audio car amplifier delivers 1100 watts of power to your speakers without fail. Because not every song sounds good at the same level, the amp features a remote level control. Instead of pushing buttons and scrolling through menus on your head unit, you can turn one control knob on the amp to get the best sound level for every song you play. The amplifier can receive both low-level and high-level inputs, and the bass features a variable bass boost, which provides you with maximum control over how much bass you want to come out of your subwoofer.
The Boss Audio R1100M car amplifier comes with a standard one-year warranty that covers the parts and labor on your device. The warranty is good, provided you purchase your Boss amp from an authorized dealer. The company also offers extended warranties. In some cases, these guarantees are offered for free if you buy your amp from an authorized dealer and have it professionally installed in your vehicle. The company provides warranties up to six years for amplifiers, and coverage only applies to the original consumer. The company requires an original or a copy of the date of purchase and a copy of the receipt where the unit was installed before they will honor the warranty.
This car amplifier from Boss offers a small and lightweight design with plenty of power to generate intense bass and quality sound in your subwoofer. If you are looking for a one-channel car amplifier, the Boss Audio R1100M is worth considering.
The Crunch GPA1000 is also referred to as the Ground Pounder amplifier. This large amp offers low distortion even on high frequencies, and you can use it as a two- or a four-channel amp with 1000 watts of total power.
You can configure this car amplifier as a two-channel or a four-channel amplifier. When configured as a two-channel amp, you can power a set of speakers, or you can bridge the amp with an additional amp and power a subwoofer with the other channel. As a two-channel amp, the device has a left and right output, which can offer a stereo sound in your vehicle. As a four-channel car stereo amplifier, you receive a full range of power. The amp can power two sets of speakers, and the device is still bridgeable in this setup. Four-channel amps are also popular in powering a complete set of aftermarket door speakers. You can choose between a high-pass or a low-pass crossover adjustment, which provides your stereo with a cutoff frequency for greater energy efficiency.
Delivering a total of 1000 watts of power, this car amplifier is capable of handling a 2 ohms speaker. The amp features oversized speaker terminals, which allow you to connect to nearly any type of car speaker. System diagnostics are included to help guard against amperage overload, which can cause overheating and damage your stereo and speakers. The amp also has a remote bass control, which allows you to set the level of the bass that comes from your speaker.
All Crunch amplifiers and stereo equipment comes with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer. You can also purchase an extended warranty directly from Crunch. You can sign up for an extended warranty through the company website, and should you ever need any repairs, you simply take you amplifier to an authorized dealer for repairs or replacements. In most cases, your warranty can be extended up to six months free of charge when you sign up through the website.
The Crunch GPA1000 car amplifier delivers pumping base and a setup of two to four channels. You can bridge another amp to the device and set up a full range of speakers without overpowering a single amp or running down your car battery. The 1000-watt amp provides enough power without distorting the sound in your speakers. The company offers full warranty protection for the first year with the option to extend the warranty.
Harman Infinity KAPPA FOUR
The Infinity Kappa Four delivers an efficient amplifier that fits into tight spaces. It has a built-in crossover and input sector, as well as a bass booster and balanced speaker levels. The four-channel amplifier is designed with advanced Infinity technologies that ensure you get a quality amplifier that will enhance both your factory and after-market speakers.
With four channels, the Infinity Kappa Four class-D amplifier delivers high output power and a full 125 watts root mean square (RMS) at 4 ohms for creating full stereo sound, or you can bridge the amp to a two-channel mode if you want to hook up two subs at 300 watts each. Regardless of your setup, this car amplifier is designed to generate less heat with its thermal protection circuitry. This will adjust your amp's output power, so it will run cool no matter how loud you turn up your speakers. With preamp level inputs, this car amplifier won't transmit engine noise or other sounds from your car's electrical system. This car amplifier is equipped with a patented bass filter from Infinity that allows you to adjust the bass depending on your personal preferences.
This amplifier is less than two inches thick, which allows you to install the device in tight places where other amplifiers won't fit. The Kappa Four offers the technology that lets you adjust the amplifier settings based on the type of enclosure of your speakers, the location of your speakers and what type of subwoofer you have. You can connect nearly any line-level device to the Kappa amplifier using the attached RCA connectors, and the circuitry protection prevents short circuits in the event your battery loses power.
A standard three-year warranty is included with this Infinity Kappa Four car amplifier. You must purchase the speaker from an authorized Infinity dealer, and you must have the amp registered with Infinity. For the warranty to be valid, you must also have the amplifier installed professionally at an Infinity service center. The warranty covers replacement or repair of the device.
The Infinity Kappa Four car amplifier delivers intense bass, ample power and RCA connectors for fast installation. The amp guards against overheating, which not only protects the amplifier, but your car battery, your speakers and your entire stereo system. The extended warranty ensures your device is protected from damage up to three years, as long as it is installed and purchased from an authorized dealer.
The Kenmore KAC-M1804 car amplifier delivers four channels for a stereo hookup. The circuit board is coated, which guards against moisture and makes this amp also suited for marine applications. It has a standard RCA inputs and an output wiring harness, which makes connecting your speakers simple and fast, and a compact design that fits in most car dashes and other limited spaces.
Equipped with four separate channels, the Kenwood car audio amplifier allows you to set up four speakers without adding extra impedance (output) to the amp. By using a separate channel for each speaker, you lessen the risk of the amp overheating or getting sound distortion in the speakers. This car amplifier comes with the output wiring harness, which has four pairs of 18-inch wires for connecting the four channels. The four wires are bare and do not have any connectors, but the same harness has a ground wire and power wire that plugs into the end of the car amplifier.
The maximum power output on this Kenmore KAC-M1804 4-channel car amplifier is 400 watts. The car amplifier can deliver approximately 180 watts of power at 4 ohms or 45 watts for each channel. It also offers a signal to noise ratio of 82 decibels, which is simply another way of measuring the quality of the sound coming from your speakers. The higher the signal to noise ratio, the better the sound quality will be. Because this car amplifier delivers 82 db, you will achieve a much clearer sound than the one from your factory stereo.
The Kenmore KAC-M1804 comes with a one-year factory warranty. Should your car amplifier ever need repairs during the one-year period, you would take the amplifier to any authorized Kenwood service center and provide them with a copy of your purchase receipt. You can also purchase an extended warranty at the time you register your product. Once your device has passed the warranty coverage, you can still take the car amplifier to an authorized Kenwood service center for diagnostics. The service center can assist you with any repairs that need to be made.
This car amplifier is ideal if you need a small audio device to power aftermarket speakers. It features four separate channels that can deliver the maximum amount of power. The warranty covers most repairs and the amp comes with all wires needed for installation.
The Pioneer GMD8604 amplifies your car audio and provides the power to appreciate your music, even when you are rolling down noisy roads. It also enables you to customize your audio output with features such as variable bass boost, speaker level inputs, adjustable gain control and more. It does all this at an affordable price. Pioneer has a long, 67-year history of providing popular car audio products, so it comes from a well-established company.
The GMD8604 is a full-range car speaker amplifier with 1,200 watts max power. This 4-channel Class D amplifier provides 100 watts RMS to your front and rear speakers. The signal to noise ratio is more than 95dB, which makes the sound quality much better than your factory stereo provides in terms of clarity.
This car audio amplifier has gain control that can be adjusted to balance the output level with distortion control. It also has a low-pass filter and high-pass filter selection. Low-pass is used to output low-range frequency from the subwoofer, and high-pass outputs high-range frequency to full-range speakers. The GMD8604 car stereo amplifier has a bass boost feature that allows you to set the bass from 0 dB to 18 dB.
Pioneer’s circuit provides a three-way Protection Control System that modifies the input level when the temperature gets too high, when the speaker output terminal has DC voltage applied or when there is a short-circuit. A red indicator lights up if any of these three scenarios occur.
The GMD8604 provides a huge sound without taking up much space. It can be a challenge to find a place to install car amplifier, so size is important. This unit is small enough to fit compact cars and other types of vehicles with limited space options. The unit dimensions are 10 inches x 2 inches x 8 inches, so it should be able to fit under a car seat. This is a very small size considering it delivers 1,200 watts of power.
You can use your car’s RCA outputs to connect this amp. If you do not have those, then Pioneer provides speaker-level inputs to hook up this amp. Whichever connections you use, the amp will detect them and adjusts automatically. Since this amp is bridgeable, if you want to add extra bass, you can use it to run a powerful subwoofer in addition to a pair of speakers.
The Pioneer GMD8604 is a powerful amp that is much smaller than previous Pioneer versions. Its customization features, including the ability to bridge channels, low-pass and high-pass filters, and bass boost, all help you create the car audio profile that’s best suited for what you play.
The Planet Audio AC1800.5 provides powerful amplification in a slim design. It uses class A/B topology, and it has a bridgeable tri-mode operation, input sensitivity selector, variable bass boost and switchable phase shift. This 5-channel amplifier boosts your car audio with lots of power and features.
The AC1800.5 car amplifier uses A/B topology that combines class B’s efficiency with class A’s low-distortion sound quality. This combination is much more efficient than Class A, without the potential distortion of class B. It is the best of both worlds. You can bridge the amp to increase the power output to the subwoofer by connecting two amplifier channels to a single subwoofer. This is a benefit over mono amps.
You can use the AC1800.5 car speaker amplifier in tri-mode to run a pair of speakers and a subwoofer. This creates a powerful 2-channel car stereo system for budget-conscious audiophiles. This also has the benefit of requiring less amperage from the vehicle's charging system and less space required since it only uses one amplifier. This feature lets you minimize distortion and maintain an adequate frequency ratio.
The AC1800.5 car stereo amplifier allows you to set the specific sound specifications for bass frequency reproduction on your subwoofer by using the variable low-pass crossover. This unit also has a variable high-pass crossover. This is meant for highs in all sizes of speakers, midranges and tweeters, just like the low-pass crossover to set bass, midrange and high-frequency reproduction.
Many car audio amplifiers have bass boost. Standard bass boost is either on or off. The AC1800.5 has variable bass boost. This lets you decide how much bass you want to come out of your subwoofer. You do not have to worry about having either weak bass or bass that’s too powerful. You control your bass output.
The AC1800.5 comes with a 30-days service policy to cover your product if it fails within 30 days of purchase. Planet Audio will pay for shipping and repair or replace your unit at no cost. There is also a one-year free parts and labor warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship.
Featuring a heavy-duty aluminum heatsink exterior, this car amplifier features four channels for a complete stereo hookup. You can use it for other auto and marine applications, and it has dual-input level controls, RCA connector jacks and built-in overload protection.
The Pyle PLMRA400 is ideal if you are looking for an upgrade over your standard factory stereo system. It offers four channels so you can hook up four separate speakers for a stereo sound or combine the two back speakers and add a subwoofer. The amplifier is lightweight and has a slim design, so it fits nearly anywhere you have room. It also has built-in, gold-plated speaker terminals for a solid connection. For added protection, this Pyle car amplifier features a built-in fuse system that shuts the unit down if it begins to overheat. The unit comes with all mounting hardware, which is ideal if you are planning on installing the device on your own.
With 400 watts of power, you can configure this car amplifier for a maximum of 100 watts on four separate speakers. You can adjust to a high or low impedance input level, depending on what types of audio units you will be connecting to the device. With a high impedance input, you can connect a larger number of speakers. The amplifier will also work at maximum voltage and run slightly hotter than if you set up using a low impedance level.
This four-channel car amplifier matches perfectly with 4-8 ohms speakers. The amplifier has a bright LED on indicator, and you can turn the device on and off using the remote control. During installation, you can also adjust the line level input to match your external audio devices. This will reduce any distortion you might encounter when you turn the volume up on your stereo.
This car amplifier unit comes with a one-year warranty that guards against manufacturer's defects. Like most car amplifiers, you have to purchase the amp from an authorized dealer for the warranty to be effective.
You can use the Pyle PLMRA400 to hook up at least four speakers to your existing stereo system. While it doesn't deliver much wattage, it packs enough power to increase the sound of most factory car stereos. The device has added protection against overheating, and it is small in size, so it can fit in places where space is an issue.
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime car amplifier features compact housing and user-friendly controls. The amplifier has an infrasonic filter, an onboard equalizer and a wired remote.
The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is a mono block amplifier, so it delivers maximum power to a single output device – such as a subwoofer. The single power signal is well suited for low frequencies, which is why a mono amp is usually hooked to the sub. Because this is a mono amp, it doesn't feature many of the technology advancements that multichannel amps provide, but because it delivers sound to only a single source, the audio that comes out of the speaker is often richer and less distorted than a multichannel amplifier. This car amplifier is quite small, which makes installation under a car seat ideal.
Delivering 500 watts of total power, you can configure the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D to 300 watts at 4 ohms or 500 watts and 2 ohms. The device has a bass boost at around 45 Hertz, which allows you to adjust the bass. This car stereo amplifier has a top-mounted control panel, so if you install the amp under a car seat, you can reach the controls by sliding the amp out. A built-in phase switch also allows you to bridge this amp with the rest of your stereo system. The amp has a thermal sensing exterior, so it won't overheat and cause damage to the remainder of your system.
Available with a one-year standard warranty, this car amplifier is only covered if the product was purchased from an authorized dealer. The warranty only covers the original purchaser, and you must have proof of purchase for the warranty to still be in effect. The warranty does not cover accidental damage, service that was completed anywhere but a certified Rockford Fosgate service center, and any damage to other components as a result of the installation of this amp. You can contact the company directly to find a local service center, or you can pay to have the device shipped back to the manufacturer for repairs.
The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D car amplifier offers a single channel to hook up your favorite subwoofer. The amp comes with a built-in remote for quick controls, and the device features a one-year warranty against defects.
The Sony XMN1004 is designed to add a clear and powerful sound to your car stereo system. This compact car amplifier has four separate channels, preamp inputs and comes with all connectors for fast and convenient setup.
Manufactured with four distinct channels, you can configure the Sony XMN1004 as a four-, three- or two-channel car amplifier. As a four-channel amp, you have the ability to hook a full set of after-market car stereo speakers in your automobile. Typically, with this type of configuration, the amp is designed to power a complete set of door speakers. In some cases, you will need to match your amp to your existing equipment. By configuring the amp to run on two or three channels instead of four, you can accomplish this without compromising your system. When you use this device as a two-channel amp, you can bridge two subwoofers for extreme bass.
A four-channel car amplifier delivers 1000 watts of total power to your audio system. This allows for 70 watts per channel at 4 ohms. The amp has a high signal-to-noise ratio, which cuts down on the amount of distortion that goes through the speakers – even at low frequencies. You can choose between high- and low-pass filters to deliver premium sound out of your speakers. To protect the amp from overheating, damaging your system and shutting down in the middle of your music, the amp offers an automatic thermal control system that makes the amp run cooler even when it has been worked hard.
The Sony XMN1004 is covered by a one-year warranty that includes parts and labor. The type of coverage may vary, but you can contact the company to see if your repair is covered. You must purchase the amp at a location that's authorized to sell Sony audio equipment, and you must have the unit professionally installed in your vehicle.
You can configure the Sony XMN1004 four-channel car amplifier to fit your car audio system. You can use the amp to power two subwoofers, or connect a whole set of after-market speakers. The amp is also protected from overheating, regardless of how loud and how long you like to play your music. Added bass controls let you adjust the sound that comes from your speakers, and the amp is covered by a one-year warranty that protects you from manufacturer's defects.