Best Car Amplifier 2018 [January]- Don’t Buy Any Before Reading This!
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Why do you need the best car amplifier? Many people have the opinion that amplifiers in car audio systems are only for enthusiasts who want to show off their bass to the entire world. However, that’s not true because amplifiers are a necessity for anyone who cares about the quality of their audio system and music.
Not only does the an amplifier provide a cleaner sound, but also improved performance alongside more power. This means you cannot only show off the level of bass in your music system but the music itself and how much you care about listening to good audio.
Car amplifiers are a must-have product that should be on your list if you care about music at all.
Now that is one bold statement to make! Here are the products we’re going to review in our guide.
How does the best car amplifier function?
The amplifier of the car’s stereo system plays a vital role as it boost the signal received from the CD player, radio, or other inputs, and powers of the vehicle’s speakers. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why do I need to buy an amplifier when my car already has one?”
Well, you may need to buy an external amplifier simply because of the reason that stock or factory installed amplifiers are often just not enough.
Sure, the quality of factory installed amplifiers has turned towards the better, but they are no match for an external amplifier or power amp that’s been built for your needs. Since the headspace in dashboards of vehicles often tend to be limited, so naturally, the stock amp that comes with the car stereo happens to be small, offering only 10 W per channel.
If you want to upgrade your sound system by installing additional speakers or a subwoofer, there are also you’ll need to install an external amp to support these upgrades.
An aftermarket amp doesn’t necessarily have to be very expensive; they can be highly affordable as well as function by improving sound quality through a clean power source.
How to choose the best amplifier for car?
Amplifiers are built in different ways and are often designed for distinguishing purposes. Many amps are built to power just one speaker or an entire set of speakers. As a buyer, you must also look into the power levels of these amps to determine how they will function and what type of volume level they might bring to the speakers.
Another factor that you must consider is regarding filters, which type is used to determine the kind of frequencies the speaker is likely to play. Different amplifiers can be combined to channel more power to speakers or for customizing different features. Apart from these features, some of the things you must look for in a car amp are the following:
1. The kind of speakers you plan to use
It’s obvious that different speakers have their own power requirements, and failing to keep this in mind may cause you to blow them due to insufficient power. An attempt to forcefully boost a speaker’s power without using an external amplifier will lead to keeping, which is pretty bad for the speakers. So, remember always to use a bit more power than what your speakers require. By the way, click on best car speakers if you need speakers as well.
2. Determine the kind of space the amplifier is to fill
Because car amplifier varieties come in different shapes and sizes, it is necessary that you determine how much space is available before buying it. Is it so happens, the space it is supposed to fill is rather small to fit the amplifier, let alone accommodate the bulk that comes with cooling fans or water cooling systems that are supposed to dissipate heat.
Miss placing an amplifier in a smaller area of the vehicle that leaves no place for the heat to go can cause damage to the components.
3. Examine the amplifier’s class
You can find the four different classes of amps, ranging from A to D. It is because like all electronic devices, amps too have different circuit layouts. This makes a huge difference in how much power will be lost as it enters the amplifier and leaves it for the speaker.
The loss of power usually takes the form of heat, which may be a concern if the equipment has been placed deep inside of a stereo or speaker setup. The best car amp will generate minimum amount of heat.
4. Determine how many amplifier channels are suitable
The number of speakers an amplifier can power depends on how many channels it has. But this doesn’t imply every amp will work with every speaker because these devices are designed to function with a specific set of speakers. There is also a process known as “bridging the amplifier,” which involves combining the power of multiple channels into a single one.
This would increase the power available for each speaker.
5. Determining the kind of amplifier filters needed
This piece of equipment is designed to stop distinguishing types of signals from reaching the speaker. Filters offer greater clarity of sound that would otherwise get disturbed. The three types of filters are:
- Low-pass filters whose purpose is to prevent signals of high frequency from reaching the speaker.
- High-pass filters designed to work with tweeters in order to stop the speakers from reproducing lower number of notes.
- The crossover filtered is generally built into an amplifier and comprises of both high-pass filter and low-pass filter, which can be adjusted to work with varieties of speakers.
Kenwood KAC-9106D 2000 Watt Monoblock Class D Car Audio Power Amplifier Amp Review
In the world of car audio, the Kenwood brand is a behemoth. Not only are they known for producing high-quality car audio equipment, but they are also incredibly reliable and have great customer support.
The Kenwood KAC-9106D 2000 Watt Monoblock Class D Car Audio Power Amplifier is no exception, which is why we decided to include it on our best car amplifier list.
Before we delve into the features of this product, let us talk a bit about its dimensions. The Kenwood KAC-9106D Monoblock Amplifier measures in at (W) 13.2 inches x (H) 2.2 inches x (D) 7.6 inches and weighs about 6.2 lbs. Hence, when you factor in its power output, it is quite compact and should easily fit inside any vehicle.
The Kenwood KAC-9106D has a peak power output of 2000 Watts and is able to power a speaker of 1000 W RMS at 2 ohms impedance. Moreover, it can also drive a speaker of 500 W at 4 ohm impedance.
As its name suggests, this is a Class D amplifier. In case you are under the impression that Class D is inferior to Class A, B, AB amplifiers, then you are highly mistaken. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Class D amplifiers have the highest efficiency and are generally more expensive than amplifiers from other classes.
If you are in the market for a reliable and capable amplifier which offers good value for your money, then you should surely consider purchasing this product. We highly recommend the Kenwood KAC-9106D Amplifier.
- It offers decent value for your money.
- Kenwood products are known to be reliable.
- This product might not appeal to every audiophile.
Other Top Car Amplifiers of 2018
1. Pioneer GM-D8601 Class D Mono Amplifier
When it comes to the best affordable Mono amplifiers, very few products can match up to this powerhouse by Pioneer. Offering state-of-the-art technology at a pocket friendly price, this company has made a name for itself in the car audio circuit for being a highly reliable brand.
This car amplifier is just another example of Pioneer’s prowess and their grip in the car audio market.
- This simple yet elegant model packs 1600 Watts Max Power
- The build quality is compact to give you versatile installation options
- Variable bass control feature and wired bass boost remote add value to the purchase
- 1 ohms stable
Why should you buy this?
This extra efficient Class-D Digital amplifier is a highly versatile in terms of performance and installation, yet shows a drastic improvement in power output capability. To prevent circuit shutdown, the company’s “Protection Control System” monitors the internal temperature and adjusts the input level accordingly.
Thanks to the durable circuitry, the risk of high input power is drastically lessened. Every product in this lineup comes with a wired bass boost remote control to give you optimal bass level adjustment to match your music preferences.
Overall, it’s very safe to say that this model packs a very big punch in a considerably tiny package.
- It is highly versatile in design and can even fit the tiniest of spaces
- It is a significantly improved version of the Class A-B amp models
- Unbeatable value for money makes it the one of the best
- Best suited for small to medium size cars only
Interested in this product? Read the full review here: http://www.carsymphony.com/pioneer-gm-d8601-amplifier-review/
2. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier
We, at CarSymphony.com, only believe in bringing you the news and reviews of the best car amplifier brands, and that is why this product by Rockford comes second on our list. Apart from the fact that this model is extremely affordable, it also provides a whole bunch of features that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. So let’s take a look, shall we?
- Comes with on-board 12 dB/octave LB/HP/AP crossover and infrasonic filter
- 300 W x 1 @ 4-Ohms; 500 W x 1 @ 2-Ohms, frequency 20 Hz to 250 Hz
- Cast aluminum heatsink alongside still top mounted panel
- On-board punch EQ offering +dB boost at 45 Hz
- Comes with a wired remote functioning on Punch Level Control
Why should you buy this?
This model is a quality mono D amplifier that is rated at 500 W x 1 Channel @ 2 Ohms RMS. Among the most coveted features, it includes a cast aluminum heatsink, short circuit protection, muted turn on, over current protection, RCA pass thru outputs, power supply thermal sensing, real-time output, and much more.
Measuring at only 8.50 x 6.80 x 2.00 in length with and height respectively, this model is one of most compact there is in the market.
- Offers outstanding value for money
- Easy to install and fit in small places
- Reliable performance and high audio power output
- Large vehicle owners might be disappointed
Interested in this product? Read the full review here: http://www.carsymphony.com/fosgate-r500x-1d-amplifier-review/
3. Planet Audio AC1800.5 ANARCHY 1800-Watt Full Range Class A/B 2 to 8 Ohm Stable 5-Channel Amplifier
Next in our lineup of quality car amplifiers, comes a product that offers 6 years of dealer warranty and all the goodness of the quality product. This devised by Planet Audio is widely recognized for being the go-to choice for small and medium car owners owing to its compact build and more than noticeable power output. But wait, there’s lot more to this product.
- This is a full range class A/B amplifier with MOSFET power supply
- Some notable features are high and low level inputs, variable low pass, variable high pass crossover, and variable bass boost
- Every package comes with a remote subwoofer control
- The blue illuminated Anarchy logo looks fabulous in lowlight
Interested in this product? Read the full review here: http://www.carsymphony.com/planet-audio-anarchy-amplifier-review/
Why should you buy this?
This 1800 W Max Power product can effectively power more than four speakers in addition to your subwoofer(s). It offers you a great degree of customizability with features like bass boost and high pass crossover. The Bridge Channels not only lend a greater degree of flexibility but also increased power.
This 5 Channel amplifier has been designed to give you total control of your sound so that you can enjoy your music loud and clear.
- Offers a wide range of features to suit every audiophile’s needs
- 1800 W power package is a steal deal at the price
- Remote subwoofer control lets you take control from afar
- Can be bridged for additional applications
- Good for speakers; not so much for subwoofers
- The warranty deal can be a hassle to claim
4. Pioneer GM-A6604 4 Channel 760 Watts Peak/360 Watts RMS Bridgeable Car Amplifier
Pioneer makes a comeback with yet another product that is as portable as the one we reviewed above. As far as the power to price point ratio is concerned, this model performs wonderfully well given that it is a 760 Watts Max Power product. It can be the ideal amp for a small vehicle and occasionally, for mid-size trucks as well.
- Simplistic design and compact size is this model’s USP
- 760 Watts Max Power can push some serious sound
- Variable speaker level inputs
- Bass boost for additional flexibility
Why should you buy this?
In the company’s own words, this product has been inspired by excellence and field tested to offer maximum performance. This 4-channel GM edition model has plenty of juice to power all you speakers along with built-in high/ low-pass crossovers. Thanks to the speaker level inputs, connection to oversized power terminals and OEM head unit is very easy.
When the road is noisy and music difficult to hear, these amplifiers will come to your rescue and provide clean and loud noise in which every note and word is audible. Pioneer once again hands back the control to the users, as their rightful owners.
- This is a competition grade amp that offers great value for money
- 760 Watts Max Power is enough to power multiple speakers and subwoofers
- An additional layer of protection to prevent damage
- Field tested to be durable
- Damage due to improper gain control adjustments can be fatal
5. Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 4 Channel Digital Amplifier
This 4-channel compact car amplifier packs enough juice to power up your vehicle is audio with 50 W RMS/ channel. This power output is enough to hear everything clearly, even though it may be slightly above the noise of the road or waterway along your destination. Thanks to the compactness, you can expect it to fit everywhere regardless of available space.
- Capable of producing 600 W of peak power
- 50 W RMS x 4 @ 4 ohms
- 150 W x 2 bridged at 4 ohms
- Variable high and low pass filters
- Class D amp technology that is CEA 2006 compliant
Why should you buy this?
Unlike many other compact amplifiers that promise to be versatile in design and performance, this product actually walks the walk and talks the talk. Meaning, this is a true compact model that can fit inside the dash of your vehicle. As far as performance is concerned, clear and loud audio is guaranteed.
Whether you install it in your car or inside of your board, the power of this product will keep producing sound that overrides the environmental noise. However, interference from radio station channels is still an issue that remains to be fixed.
- Excellent value for money when power to price ration is compared of other best car amplifier brands
- The package contains a complete set of tools for easy installation
- Get 60 day money back guarantee from the date of purchase and one year warranty
- Not found
Get the full review here: http://www.carsymphony.com/kenwood-kac-m3004-compact-4-channel-digital-amplifier-review/
6. Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX1350.1D Car Audio 1300 Watts RMS Mono Block Amp
Another favorite of ours comes from a relatively lesser known brand going by the name of Hifonics. This product packs a power of 1200 W and is a class D subwoofer amplifier that can truly refine your music experience. Featuring small in shape and sleek to look at, this product is also available at a very low price.
- It is a 1300 W amplifier belonging to the class of Mono Block D
- Features a militarily great PCB and illuminated Hifonics logo
- Simpatico coil design prevents damage from external causes
- Hedonics heatsink offers greater heat dissipation
- Comes with MOSFET PWM power supply for maximum levels of current
Why should you buy this?
For those who are budget conscious, investing couple hundreds of dollars in an external car audio component may seem to be a lot. This is why Hifonics largely concentrates on manufacturing products for the masses. The Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX1350.1D Car Audio 1300 Watts RMS Mono Block Amp r is another perfect example of best amp for subs and the company’s ingenuity.
Get ready to listen to amazing music while you cut through the windy countryside with this car amplifier set. But remember, you may be tempted to upgrade your subwoofers to accommodate the raw power of this amplifier.
- Amazing power that can make multiple subwoofers function in time
- Clean and crystal sound that is an absolute treat to audiophiles
- Convenient pricing with a great focus on value for money
- Easy installation and storage options available
- Some problems with installation as reported by people
7. Lanzar VCT2610 6,000-Watt 2-Channel High-Power Mosfet Amplifier
Our list would remain complete if we didn’t mention the 6000 Watt product by Lanzar. Keeping in trend with our affordable choices, we believe this amplifier would be a perfect fit for anyone who is conscious of design and space. The slim design, the durable build, and excellent power output makes this product and irresistible purchase.
- 3000 watt x 2 output at 4 ohms
- 6000 watt x 1 bridged output at 2 ohms
- Signal-to-noise ratio less than 95 dB
- Increased production to overload, thermal, and short circuit incidences
- Sub Sonic switch; Soft Turn On/Off
- Power and Protection LED indicator to ensure improved safety
Read the full review of this product here.
Why should you buy this?
This is the best car amplifier for those who want to hook it up with their speakers or subwoofers and have a space crunch that’s hard to ignore. This 2-Channel amplifier has average frequency response of 15 Hz to 30 kHz to be one of the best in the industry at this price range. Because of the advanced sort circuit protection system, you can put your safety worries to rest.
The Lanzar VCT2610 amplifier is easy to install out of the box and should fit in perfectly under your dashboard.
- Great customizing features to fine-tune your audio
- Very versatile in design and application
- Pumps great power to make audio loud and clear
- Safety features are a welcome bonus
- Some customers have reported overheating
8. CT Sounds AT-60.4 Class AB 4 Channel Car Amplifier
Compact amplifiers are quickly gaining popularity due to their convenience and reliability when it comes to long-term usage. However, quality amps are not always easy to find among the plethora of mediocre ones. CT Sounds AT-60.4 Class AB 4 Channel Car Amplifier just so happens to be a product that shines through the rest of the underwhelming heaps of junk.
- Extremely compact in size, measuring 9.8 x 14.2 x 1.1 inches in dimensions
- Clean design that reflects the company’s motto
- 2 ohm at 12.8v stereo, 160 watt max x 4 channels
- 4 ohm at 12.8v stereo, 120 watt max x 4 channels
- 4 ohm 12.8v bridged, 320 watt max x 2 channels
- Carries class AB amplifier technology
Why should you buy this?
Offering remarkable value for money, easy installation options, and outstanding performance, this audio device is something that is still quite underrated. Sure, it has its own fair share of competitors, but we believe that CT Sounds is a brand that deserves way more exposure than it currently gets.
This 4-channel amplifier gives you the freedom to connect more number of speaker sets while class AB operation works in eliminating almost all sorts of distortion gaps in the output frequency. Be prepared to be amazed the very first time you hear the sweet tunes of music thanks to this amp for cars.
- Very compact size and powerful output
- Almost no issues with overheating
- Almost no distortion at all produced
- Only suitable for small to mid-size vehicles
Interested in this product? Read the full best car amp review now.
Before you install the amp
If you’re a person who has limited knowledge on car audio, choosing the right car amplifier may not be particularly easy. These products are available in many configurations, beginning from mono channel amps that are suitable for a single-speaker or sub, to larger five-channel amps that are ideal for powering complex vehicle audio systems.
One can purchase amps from a lot of places; they can purchase online, head off to the general electronic stores, a specialized car audio shop, or even audio supply stores. But because these equipment is technical in nature and highly accurate in configuration, sorting through the terminology and specifications can be confusing to the uninitiated.
Moreover, failing to install the amplifiers properly can lead to damage of certain parts of the car or cause overloading of the existing power systems. So you must ensure utmost care while installing an external amp so as to not leave behind any chance of improper connection or inadequate wiring.
Why should I add an external amplifier?
Like I mentioned earlier, an amplifier functions by posting electric signals, thus increase the overall power of your existing audio system. As far as basic car audio is concerned, external and is to be a lot more powerful than the ones that are offered by the factory. Moreover, you get a lot of choices in aftermarket amps that best fit your budget and needs.
To keep it short, we can cite two reasons why you might want to install an external car amp:
- To power more or larger variety of speakers
- To improve the overall sound quality of your car audio system
Some of the reasons why anyone would want to install the power amp may include, replacing a malfunctioning or broken stock amplifier or for adding features like an auxiliary input or an equalizer into an existing stereo system. Amps are available in many types, but the most popular ones are four-channel and five-channel amplifiers.
So coming back to the question, you need to install external amplifier because
Power upgraded speakers: Frankly speaking, the built-in amps are almost always adequate for the speakers that come in stock. But, if you consider yourself to be a serious audiophile, we can say for certain that the speakers will not be enough. Aftermarket speakers are not only more loud and powerful but also produce better sound quality than their factory counterparts.
So, if you intend to install aftermarket speakers that it’s only natural to complement it by connecting the car amp externally . Another upgrade to factory sound systems can be done by installing a subwoofer, which increases low-frequency clarity and bass output.
But this too requires an external amp as subwoofers need more power than the average factory head unit amp can provide.
Enhanced sound quality: Sure, you’ll hear lots of people saying they installed an external amplifier to drive more power. But, you can also install this equipment to improve the overall sound quality with a much better response and sensitivity.
An external amp should give you a clean power without noise or interference from other electric components.
How to install a car amplifier
While it would be wrong to say that installing a car amplifier is easy, it can be done by someone who is a dedicated hobbyist. Then there is always the option of hiring a professional to do the job of installing the best car amplifier. Be sure to follow all safety precautions as working with electrical systems is always dangerous.
In the tools, you need to get started are the following: wire cutters, screwdrivers, sandpaper, a utility knife, o-ring and crimp-on electrical connectors, and the masking tape. Depending on your system, you may need to acquire additional tools.
Be sure you have the car manual in hand as it describes how to access wiring, remove the head, deal with the speakers, and other electronic components. Before getting to work on the wiring, don’t forget to disconnect the battery is failing to do so will cause injury to your equipment as well as yourself.
If you think you do not have the skills needed to install an amplifier by yourself, never hesitate to call in a professional to do the job. If you want to do the job by yourself, then keep on following this guide.
1. Prepare: The very first thing you must decide is whether you want to place the amplifier. Most people prefer positioning their hands in the rear, next to the subwoofer enclosure while others prefer the bottom of the front passenger seat. The key here is to pick a location that is secure and minimizes wire runs.
Obtain a thick-gauge wire (preferably red) with an in-line fuse the effectively reaches from the battery to a 3 foot wire for the ground that is equally thick as the red wire. You’ll also need RCA cables in order to carry the left and right signal from the head unit to the “remote on” wire, as well as our speaker wire to reach the subwoofer and each speaker from the amplifier.
You can consider buying an amplifier kits bundle that contains all the required wiring in the package. This can significantly simplify the process of installation.
2. Connect the amplifier: Once you disconnected the battery, attach the power wire end with the fuse to the red (+) terminal of the battery by making use of an o-ring connector. Run this cable through the car’s firewall, by either using any convenient port or by drilling a hole to let the wire pass through.
If your amplifier is located in the vehicle’s back end, you can run the cables through the plastic molding that’s situated at the base of the car. The power cord should be effectively placed away from electrical components such as the speaker wire to eliminate the chance of electrical interference.
Next, connect the ground wire to an appropriate screw or metal bolt that is attached to your car’s body. You can ensure that the connection has been grounded by testing the continuity between your chosen bolt and the battery’s negative post.
The bolt should essentially be as close to the amp as possible, and never farther than 3 feet. He was a sandpaper to clean the board, and attach the ground using the o-ring connector that should ensure that the bolt is fixed tightly.
Next, proceed to remove the head unit and carefully attach the RCA cables and the wires of remote-on to the back. Take these wires and run them to the amplifier while carefully avoiding any other power cables.
Connect the power, RCA, ground, and remote-on wires to the amp. Only strip off as much installation is needed and avoid any bare wire showing.
Connect the speakers: For this, you’ll need gauge speaker wires of appropriate sizes, usually 12-gauge to 16-gauge is enough for covering each speaker and subwoofer. User masking tape to label every wire while making a note of the placement of speakers. Also, attach each speaker wire to the amps, to make sure the positive (+/+) massive the negative (-/-) connections.
Separate speakers might require distinguishing spade connectors, bare wire to attach, and it RCA plugs. You must take care to ensure these connectors are crimped on accurately.
In the last step, secure the car amplifier by either bolting it to the body of the vehicle or to the sub enclosure. You may also try using straps or any other securing method as you please. The purpose of securing the amp is to prevent it from becoming loose or disconnected in the event of a collision. Finally, reconnect the battery and put your new system to the test!
Buying best car amplifiers for your car
The price point for amps is the one thing that confuses many people, and rightly so because they are sold at highly varying prices. While we can say for certain that everybody loves a bargain, it’s important that you understand buying a low-quality amplifier can tarnish even the most outstanding audio system.
Different brands sell their products at different prices, which mean that 2 amps that have the same channels and wattage might be sold at drastically different prices. Choosing the right amplifier that is highly durable and can withstand a lot of shock and vibration does indeed pay off in the long run.
While we believe that you should always purchase the highest grade product, it’s understandable that spending thousands of dollars on car equipment is not always possible. This is why our review of top car amps focuses on affordable products made by reliable brands like Pioneer, Rockford, Planet Audio, etc.
External amplifiers for cars can take the audio system from being mediocre to spectacular that is capable of producing sparkling highs and booming bass at exceptional clarity. Whether you are upgrading the stock speakers or adding a subwoofer, including the power amp in the mix will help you tremendously in getting fine audio quality.
But what’s the point of buying car amplifiers at all if you do not have the appropriate speakers in the first place? Don’t worry; choose a model that’s just the right fit from this list of 6.5 inch speakers. Why 6.5 speakers? Because these models combine the best of affordability and ease-of-use both.
Buying and installing the correct amp is not always easy, but little research on your part can go a long way to help you buy the right equipment. Knowing the required wattage is also crucial along with paying attention to features like speaker level input or filters.
From a mono channel amplifier driving a sample to a fully featured four channel amp powering the entire car audio system, this piece of equipment is the heart of any sound system. The best place to buy amps is undoubtedly online as there is no chance of getting ripped off by purchasing fake, counterfeit products.
The purpose of our guide and car amplifier reviews was to give you a thorough rundown of the qualities of the best ones in the market and the things you must keep in mind to put them to good use. Don’t hesitate to check out the products mentioned in our review because they are indeed some of the best available in the market right now.
We take our suggestions job very seriously and aim to bring you the reviews of only the best car amplifiers that have been tried and tested by thousands of people. Happy shopping!