Why Buy a Car Amplifier?
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.