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Looking for the best car amplifier? What a coincidence, we’re just about to reveal our picks!
In addition to our picks we will dig into amplifiers in a bit more detail, enabling you to make the decision by yourself.
If you are upgrading your car audio remember to read our article about the best car speakers also to complement your amp!
|Photo||Car Amplifier||Details||Check on Amazon|
|Rockford Fosgate R500X1D||300 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohms ✅|
500 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohms ✅
Frequency 20Hz to 250Hz +/-1dB ✅
|JBL MA6004||160 watts @ 2 ohms ✅|
60W RMS x 2 channels @ 4 ohms ✅
Marinized circuit board ✅
Variable bass boost ✅
|Pioneer GM-D8604||4x 150 Watts Max ✅|
4 Channel D-Class Amplifer ✅
1-Ohm stable circuit ✅
|Kenwood KAC-8406 900||RMS: 70W x 4 @ 4 ohms ✅|
RMS: 100W x 4 @ 2 ohms ✅
Total Peak Power: 900W ✅
|Rockford Fosgate T2500-1bdCP||1500 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohm ✅|
2500 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohm ✅
2500 Watts x 1 @ 1-Ohm ✅
|Orion XTR4000.1D||RMS Power Watts: 8000 Watts ✅|
Frequency Response: 20Hz~250KHz ✅
Signal Noise Ratio: 90dB ✅
Hi Pass Freq: 30Hz-250Hz ✅
Low Pass Freq: 30Hz-250Hz ✅
|Rockford Fosgate M400-4D Prime Marine 400||400 Watts of RMS power ✅|
75 W x 4 @ 4-Ohm ✅
100 W x 4 @ 2-Ohm ✅
200 W x 2 @ 4-Ohm ✅
|Planet Audio AC15001M||Max Power Output|
1500 W x 1 @ 2-Ohm ✅
750 W x 1 @ 4-Ohms ✅
|Lanzar HTG157||1 x 650w rms @ 4 ohms ✅|
1 x 1250w peak @ 4 ohms ✅
1 x 1500w rms @ 2 ohms ✅
1 x 3000w max @ 2 ohms ✅
Best Car Amplifiers of 2020
We have three categories terms of quality and price. Premium is the cream of the crop, value is where mid-range price and best quality intertwine, and budget is last but not least and many times it is more than enough.
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
- 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. Power Input Connector-Screw Terminal. Suggested Alternator-75 A
- 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 (Punch Level Control). High efficiency amplifier design that reduces current consumption from the charging system
This is a high quality mono D amplifier with 500-Watts, with 1 channel operating on 2 ohms impedance. This Rockford Fosgate will give your car stereo what it needs in terms of power and quality. The amp is MOSFET power supply. It has muted turn on, short circuit protected, and it comes with remote operated bass level. This unit’s thermal sensitive power supply is made of high durable cast aluminum. Rockford comes with a 1 year guarantee.
JBL surely knows how to build quality to last – and this marine amp is a testament to that (yes, it is actually designed to be used on boats).
This is a 320-watt class D amplifier, with 4 channels that provide 2 ohms impedance throughout all channels simultaneously. It also has MOSFET like its competitor mentioned above.
This amp has RCA outputs and high sensitive inputs. JBL made this amp out of a strong and durable aluminum that will offer good protection to the circuit from outside forces. JBL made sure that this amplifier has an excellent level of protection including speaker protection, thermal protection, and circuit overloading protection. Truly an excellent amp for a decent price.
- 1,200 Watts Max Power
- Class FD 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier
- High Quality Textured Flat Panel and Tough Frame
- Bass Boost Remote included
- Include a 4 channels 4 gauge amplifier kit + Phone Magnet Holder
This is an extra efficient Class FD 4-Channel amplifier with significantly improved power output capability.
Besides this, Pioneer made this model 50% smaller than the regular GM-series. They also improved circuit design, which will sense the internal temperature that will help automatically moderate the input level accordingly, preventing abrupt circuit shutdown.
This new digital system is called Protection Control System, which operates on 1200 watts max power. The amplifier is made in a way that will protect your subwoofers and speakers for a long time.
This is one of the top amplifiers if you are looking for bang for your buck.
Kenwood KAC-8406 900
- Part Manufacturer: Kenwood Audio; Part Number: KAC-8406; UPC: 019048206152; Boat Manufacturer: Tracker; Part Number: 185301
- Power Output: Max Power: 900 Watt; 70 Watt RMS x 4 at 4 ohms; 100 Watt RMS x 4 at 2 ohms
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 100 dB; Bass Boost: 40 Hz; Speaker Level Input with Signal Sensing Turn On
- Overall Dimensions: 13 3/16" W x 2 3/16" H x 7 9/16" D; Mounts: (4) 1/4" Dia. mounting holes
- Sold as seen in pictures; Note every computer shows colors differently; All measurements are approximate; Hardware and instruction/installation manual not included
Kenwood again hits the jackpot with this excellent KAC series, with maximum power of 900 watts.
Interestingly enough, it is made of heavy duty aluminum alloy to protect this amp from intensive heat dissipation.
Kenwood KAC-8406 will deliver RMS power @ 4 ohms 70 Watts x 4 channel; RMS power @ 2 ohms will give 100 watts x 4 channels and when bridged @ 4 ohms will deliver 200 watts on 2 channels. This amplifier will offer triple protection … overload, thermal, and short circuit protection.
MOSFET switching power supply and soft turn on are also present in this model.
No doubt the KAC-8406 is another proud example of Kenwood’s excellent knowledge of how to give you everything that you need in a single 4-channel amplifier.
Rockford Fosgate T2500-1bdCP
- The Power T2500-1bdCP mono amplifier featuring Constant Power, is truly the best of the best and delivers 2500 Watts of massive POWER
- Proprietary Constant Power amps are the most powerful on the market, delivering up to 25% more power across all impedance loads (1500 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohm or 2500 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohm or 2500 Watts x 1 @ 1-Ohm)
- Our highly efficient Class bd amp (2.14” x 8.14” x 21.875”) can easily drive any array of woofers wired to a 1-ohm load or use two amps in Power-Sync mode for a whopping 5,000 watts of power
- Balanced differential RCA pass-thru outputs, On-board Punch EQ with +18dB boost @ 45Hz and 24dB/octave Butterworth crossover make the T2500-1bdCP an impressive POWER house
- Famous Rockford Fosgate build quality insures that the T2500-1bdCP will handle everything you throw at it! Full 2-year parts and labor warranty when purchased from an authorized Rockford Fosgate reseller
Basically this is the best of the best mono channel amp.
It is based on the legendary T2500-1bd (the added CP mark stands for Constant Power). This basically means that CP will deliver up to 25% more power through all impedance loads.
Your music will sound crystal clear, louder and will enable you to listen to the highest quality recordings, no sweat. What you need from a mono amp in terms of power:
- 1500 W x 1 @ 4-Ohms
- 2500 W x 1 @ 2-Ohms
- 2500 W x 1 @ 1-Ohms
Rockford Fosgate is the best of the best and is not impressive just in quality. This one of a kind beast does come with a hefty price tag.
- RMS Watts @ 4 Ohm Stereo 12.6V: 1750 Watts X 1 Channel / RMS Watts @ 2 Ohm Stereo 12.6V: 2800 Watts X 1 Channel / RMS Watts @ 1 Ohm Stereo 12.6V: 4000 Watts X 1 Channel
- RMS Power Watts: 8000 Watts
- Frequency Response 20Hz~250KHz
- Signal Noise Ratio: 90dB
- Hi Pass Freq. 30Hz-250Hz / Low Pass Freq. 30Hz-250Hz
If you are one of those hardcore SPL enthusiasts, then Orion will not just deliver the ultimate power, but also the purity of that untamed power is amazing and well noticed upon first listening.
Rockford Fosgate M400-4D Prime Marine 400
Best quality signed by the respectable Rockford Fosgate.
This amp is optimized for front and rear. Tri-stage protection is present in this model, 12dB octave Butterworth crossover.
RCA system that is made with pass-through output. This means that you can add one more amplifier.
Durability affirmed with cast aluminum heatsink. This unit also has 2/4 channel option. You can add to this one a monoblock amp just for the subwoofer and you will have a dream ride every time you turn on the music.
Planet Audio AC15001M
- POWER: Max Power Output of 1500 Watts at 2 Ohms into one channel. Maximum Power output of 750 Watts at 4 Ohms into one Channel. This amplifier is designed to run your subwoofer(s) giving them the power that they need to perform as they were meant to
- HIGH LEVEL INPUTS: Speaker level inputs are commonly referred to as high-level inputs. This input will be used to connect the AC1500.1M to your factory radio or aftermarket radio that does not have low-level (RCA) inputs
- LOW LEVEL INPUTS: Line level inputs, also known as RCA inputs or low-level inputs, use RCA interconnect cables to link the AC1500.1M with the source unit. Most aftermarket radios have multiple pairs of RCA outputs that can connect to multiple amplifiers
- LOW-PASS CROSSOVER: A low-pass filter is an electronic circuit that removes all the notes below the filter's frequency setting. A low-pass filter will primarily keep high notes out of your subwoofer(s)
- VARIABLE BASS BOOST: Variable Bass Boost allows you to adjust the low bass within the boost range to just the way you like it
In terms of modest price meeting more than fair quality, the choice fell on Planet Audio AC1500.1M.
This is an A/B class monoblock with the lowest impedance of 2 ohms that can deliver 1125 watts of power to your subwoofer. To switch or amplify the signal, there is MOSFET.
Overall it is a decent amplifier and will do its part in saving you money.
- AUDIO EVOLUTION: This amplifier car audio features excellent frequency response rates and crossover network that place these amps in a class of their own
- SOUND SPECIALIZATION: This high-powered Power Amplifier is cutting edge technology at its finest Nickel-plated RCA connectors and speaker screw-down terminals ensure a secure connection between amplifier and speakers that allow distortion-free sound
- INTELLIGENT DESIGN: The amplifier monoblock features include power and protection LED indicators; soft turn-on/off; and 1 channel amp design
- RCA JACKS: The Line-Out jacks allow you to build multiple amplifier systems without having to use splitter cords to distribute the signal This makes it easier to bring one set into the first amp, then use the line out jack as the feed to the next amp
- GREAT DEAL: Often a monoblock amp comes with a high price tag Yet the Lanzar mono amplifier is budget friendly with all the features, reducing crosstalk between channels
If you want an inexpensive long term solution for amplifying your car stereo system, the HTG157 may be the perfect candidate for that purpose.
Lanzar offers soft turn, which will protect the power circuits. This model has excellent bass and a MOSFET power system. Lanzar’s THD is an amazing 0.01%. It operates on 3000 watts maximum @ 2 ohms.
The Lanzar HTG157 is surely a recommendable piece of equipment if you are on a budget and yet looking for high quality.
What Is an Amplifier?
An amplifier is a device that is used to boost the power of an electric signal or wave, typically used for boosting the power of subwoofers and speakers.
Amplifiers are categorised by the number of channels there are, like single channel amps, also called monoblock. These amplifiers are usually used to power the woofers.
Beside monoblocks there are multi-channeled amps, which depending on the number of channels, can “feed” 2, 3, 4, or more speakers.
Amplifiers are also separated by class. The classes are A, B, A/B, D. There are also G & H classes, but they are not officially recognised.
There are also other types of custom made amplifiers. Classes from A to D are in common use. These are the classes to consider when buying a car amp.
The function of amplifiers serves the amplification boosting of both power and quality.
Car Amp Buyers Quick Cheat Sheet
If you want to upgrade an existing amp or to install a brand new one, there are a few different factors that you should pay special attention to. It is like when making the perfect meal, all the ingredients must be carefully picked and measured. These are the three most important categories that you need to consider when buying an amplifier:
- Number of Channels
- Power of your choosing
- Quality of the powerful sound
If you want all that is listed in these 3 categories, then this next category is unavoidable:
- Compatibility with the audio system you have in your car (not just anything goes well with everything)
Besides the above mentioned, if you really want to avoid replacing some very expensive audio parts or components, you really need to learn your “stuff” about what to look for in terms of quality, class, and category.
Then you need to implement this into the audio amplifier that has exactly the power you need, number of channels, and of course compatibility with the rest of your car’s sound system. It doesn’t matter if you want to add power or quality or both to your stereos or subwoofer, you have to take into account all the important factors.
Be sure to match the output of the amplifier to the needed power of your speakers. Without enough power, you’ll get a distorted weak sound. In the case of an over-powered amp, you will “kill” or blowout your speakers.
Whether your speakers are factory built-in or you obtained new ones, you must know their Root Mean Square (RMS). The RMS of an amp has to be able to provide power from 75-150% of the speakers’ RMS. This way, you will cover that peak power the amp needs to provide to the speakers in short burst intervals.
Make sure to have all input/output cables, power equipment, all hardware, and cords.
The Story On All Channels
If you are the kind of driver that focuses his music in the cockpit without even turning on the backseat speakers, then you will be satisfied with a 2 channel amplifier or a 3-channel amp, one channel for the car subwoofer and the other two for the speakers.
You could keep your options open and take a 4-channel amp, two for each speaker and two channels bridged together for powering the sub. You can then use the amp for 4-speakers in the future.
There are 5-channel amps that will give your car the full treatment powering all four speakers and a subwoofer, if that is to your liking.
There are also amps with 6- or 8- channels, which is the best option yet. With this kind of an amp, you can also have a multiple active system for every speaker or double bridged car subwoofer or all that together.
The Full Power Mode
Usually the speakers that come with your new and beautiful car are powered by an amplifier that is good enough.
“Why then would I need another amp?” you might ask.
If you want more serious sound with greater performance, you will feel the need to add power and quality to the sound! Another thing is, if you are a driver who installed a subwoofer, in most cases you will need an external car audio amplifier.
The factory integrated amps have advanced over time, but still they usually offer smaller amplifiers that will offer you only 10 watts of power per channel. This is really not enough if we’re being honest. Due to the limited space on the dashboard, factory settings are not so bad, all things considered.
Again: if you install aftermarket speakers, you will need an external amplifier. Besides power, the quality of the bass depends on a good amp-woofer-speaker combo.
With Great Power Comes Great Quality
Many drivers today want exceptional quality in addition to power, so the need for an external amplifier comes with the means to have high power and quality of sound.
A good amplifier can provide you with clean sound free of background noise, which can occur from other components. It will also dial down the interference and distortion that can disturb pure sound.
An amplifier is the powerhouse that can create great sound quality on all volume levels while you tune into your favorite radio frequency. You don’t exactly need to be an audiophile to appreciate the crystal clear tweeters and a kicking bass.
Car Amplifier 101 - Terminology
You don’t want to play poker face with the seller when you go to buy that amplifier. Here are a few things you need to know for the best and complete approach when combining the elements:
Impedance is a measurement of resistance of an electric circuit, which it provides to a current when it is being applied. The amplifier always has the power and impedance specified on the back side.
Why is impedance important?
This measures the capability of the amplifier to deliver the specified power to the speaker.
For example, if you have a specification of 100 watts and 8 ohms, your amp is adequately equipped to safely deliver 100 watts of power to the speakers with a suitable transformer, power supply, and output. Many of the amps are projected to work with speakers from 4 to 8 ohms.
In case that the lowest impedance is not specified, which can be the case with cheaper devices, it is not safe to use and you should stay away.
RMS (Root Mean Square)
RMS simply is used to explain the power handling capability of speakers or an amplifier. Be sure to buy an amplifier that can provide from 75% to 150% total RMS of the sub system.
Decibel is actually the real measurement of loudness.
It is the logarithmic measurement unit that implies the ratio of two amounts of acoustic or electric signal, that power equals 10 times of the common logarithm ratio.
Deci is 10, bel is the unit of sound, these two equal one tenth of sound. This means that 2 times the power output equals +3 dB(decibel) increase, 10 times the power output equals +10 dB increase, which is twice as loud.
THD (Total Harmonic Distortion)
Total harmonic distortion (THD) is the measurement of deviation from the desired signal that the amplifier produces. This is of great importance for the quality of sound.
Final Words Of Wisdom
Monoblock, or one channel amp, is typically used for powering a subwoofer. With a great monoblock, you can have complete “magic of sound”.
Due to the fact that sometimes an excellent monoblock is all that you will need, don’t rush into buying the best 5-channel amplifier before. Check your well-planned strategy.
The secret to that great bass is in evenly matching the amplifier and subwoofer and making sure they work together properly.
Impedance and power matching are of outmost importance.
Educate yourself about the amplifier installation (and car audio installation in general), proper wiring (circuitry), voltage, car subwoofers and about audio systems in general before you buy your car audio system.
Are you planning on using an iPod, do you need bluetooth for wireless usage or are you happy with just an AUX input?
Last update on 2020-01-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API