Best Car Amplifier

7 Best Car Amplifiers: The Ultimate Guide for 2019

Last Updated: 19 Feb 2019

The amplifier is one of the main nodes in a car audio system. With the help of the best car amplifier, you can make speakers work much more productively. For all who are not indifferent to high-quality sound, the choice of best car amplifier should be taken very responsibly.

There are various types of these devices. You can also assemble an amplifier with your own hands. Let's learn how to choose a device so that it really pleases your ears. Most car stereos already have a built-in multi-channel amplifier. And for many drivers, this system is completely suitable. Some people do not change the regular sound in a vehicle. But there are those who love music in a car to sound high quality and loud. Without the best car amplifier, it is impossible. A car subwoofer without this device will not give the desired effect. Such equipment can improve the performance of acoustics, regardless of the quality of the head unit.

A distinctive feature of best car amplifier lies in the absence of strict restrictions on tuning. Favorite music tracks will always sound good – at minimum volume levels and even at maximum.

Best amp for subs, included into a speaker system, has several significant advantages. With it, you can increase not only sound power but also its quality. Very often, auto acoustics are acquired after installing the head unit. If selected speakers, as well as a subwoofer, are of high quality, then they will need more energy at peak performance. The standard audio system cannot provide this. So, if you are not indifferent to high-quality sounding in your car and want to enjoy it, then you should be able to choose the best car amplifier with responsibility. Our reviews will help you with this.

Car speaker amplifier is not a cheap pleasure. Sometimes such a device can be more expensive than the speaker itself. So, it is advisable to pick the best car amplifier and spend money on a really effective, reliable thing. Our rating of TOP 10 car amplifiers will make this task easier for you.

Where to Install Car Amplifier?

After you choose the car audio amplifier, it needs to be installed in a car, which turns out to be a daunting task, requiring a number of skills. Before you connect the amplifier, you need to equip a separate place for the device. There are few such places in the car – this is a space under the glove box or trunk. Installation of an additional shelf behind passenger seat is preferred only by owners of large jeeps or audio tuning enthusiasts, who are ready to sacrifice a rear view for good sound.

Which Car Amplifier to Buy?

When buying a car speaker amplifier, it is extremely important to pay attention to the brand. If you buy a device by the unknown manufacturer, you can hardly count on good sound quality. It is best to turn to crazy brands that have long been on the market and have already gained respect and value reputation. For example, such companies as Hertz, Alpine, DLS, Focal. From more budget options, you might want to pay attention to such brands as Rockford Fosgate, Alpine, JL Audio, etc. We recommend Rockford Fosgate Ultra-Compact Amp.

How to Set a Car Amplifier?

Proper setup of the best car amplifier is a key to its high-quality work. Without special knowledge, it is not an easy task. If you have little experience in setting up the music system in a vehicle, or you started it for the first time, then the step-by-step guide will be useful. So, before you turn on the amp, it is important to pre-configure it. This can be done on a non-installed device, knowing the set of audio system components:

  • Gain or Level control should be at the minimum;
  • LP filter for a subwoofer channel must be turned on 80 Hz in advance;
  • HP filter is pre-set to Full for door speakers or in the rear shelf. If your amp is connected to small speakers in a dashboard, then turn on HPF at 120 Hz;
  • When using the amplifier in channel-by-channel mode, HP filter for tweeters and LP for midbass should be switched on at 4 kHz;
  • High Low-Level switch must match the type of connection. If the amplifier receives a signal from speaker wires, then you need to set the regulator to the Hi-Level position. If the signal is taken from linear outputs audio system, then the regulator is set to Low-Level position;
  • Bass and equalizers should be turned off during the pre-adjustment stage.

On amplifiers equipped with an input selector, you can do without Y-splitters. For example, by switching an input selector to a 2CH position, you can connect a 5-channel amplifier to an audio system that has only one pair of line outputs. But when using all linear RCA inputs, you need to remember to turn off selector. Otherwise, the ability to adjust the sound from the stationary audio system will disappear.

TOP 7 Best Car Amplifiers Compared and Reviewed

1. Best Overall: Rockford Fosgate Ultra-Compact Amp

1. Best Overall: Rockford Fosgate Ultra-Compact Amp

PBR300X4 is a 4-channel mini car amplifier from the popular brand Rockford Fosgate. Due to its small size, this model will not take up much space in your car and can be installed almost anywhere. It was designed for stereo front or rear systems that do not need a lot of space. Thanks to Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4, you will open up new horizons for the quality of sound reproduction in your vehicle. Be sure that this fantastic amp will run four powerful speakers or two speakers and one subwoofer bridge connection, or a pair of subs. Sound quality is excellent, and reliability is almost legendary.

Pros
  • Compact size
  • Generates 300 watts of power
  • Easy installation
  • Powerful sound
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Could be a problem with overheating

2. Best Budget: Alpine 4-Channel Car Amplifiers

2. Best Budget: Alpine 4-Channel Car Amplifiers

If you want to expand capabilities of a car audio system by means of cheap car amps, it’s high time to consider Alpine MRV-F300. This is a four-channel digital amplifier from V-Power series. Despite the fact that the dimensions of this auto amplifier are 40% smaller than those of previous models its power is greater. Thanks to such ultra-compactness, this amplifier can be easily installed even in the most limited places of your car. This device will help to provide excellent sound quality, as well as a low level of distortion, a high noise/signal ratio, and a high damping coefficient. Its design ensures that heat generation never reaches a peak level, which means that even with long-term listening to music at high power this device will not turn off.

Pros
  • Small and compact size
  • Best among cheap car amplifiers
  • Excellent quality of sound
  • Protected from overheating
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Poor S/N ratio

3. Best Amplifier for Car Subwoofer: Rockford Fosgate Prime 1

3. Best Amplifier for Car Subwoofer: Rockford Fosgate Prime 1

This is another amazing product by Rockford Fosgate in our rating. It is almost as good as the previously described model, but still, there are some differences between them. Prime 1,200 Watt can boast with unique tri-stage cover protection, which is able to save from possible short circuits. The interface of this model is very simple, so even a beginner will have no problems using it. One more feature of this best car amplifier is punch equalization with 18dB at 45Hz, which can be operated by means of a remote. Overall product and sounding are reliable and fantastic

Pros
  • High-quality protective cover
  • Infrasonic filter
  • Compact size
  • Top-level bass boost
  • Punch equalizer
Cons
  • Suspicious work of safe mode

4. Best High Power Car Amplifier: Alpine 5-Channel Extreme Power

4. Best High Power Car Amplifier: Alpine 5-Channel Extreme Power

PDX-V9 by Alpine is a high-quality PDX power amplifier, which has great design, high performance, excellent sound quality, and perfect reliability. The decorative frame of these good car amplifiers can be easily removed. In case if you want to give a special style to your installation, you can paint it. Keep in mind that this model is for true audio enthusiasts. Also, it will pleasantly surprise every connoisseur of high-quality sound who does not believe in the digital technology of D-class amplifiers. Thanks to its compact size, this model gives the user a wider range of imagination and increases the number of variations for hidden installation.

Pros
  • Compact design
  • Easy to install
  • High power of sound
  • Offers a crisp sound
  • Easy to control
Cons
  • Is a bit pricey

5. Best Audio Quality: MTX Audio Thunder

5. Best Audio Quality: MTX Audio Thunder

MTX car amplifiers have already earned a great reputation thanks to their high and accurate performance, highest reliability and excellent sound. The model under review confirms the leadership of this brand. It features exceptional RMS power and the possibility to mount it on the surface. The unique subsonic filter provides optimal quality of sound. In addition, this model of top car amplifiers is safe from vibration. So, if you are fond of rich and high-quality sound, this device is recommended.

Pros
  • Perfect for limited spaces
  • Compact size
  • Excellent durability
  • Great sound
  • Reasonable price
Cons
  • May be a bit difficult to set up

6. Best Value: XD700 JL Audio 5-Channel

6. Best Value: XD700 JL Audio 5-Channel

If you need some extra channels to connect additional speakers, have a look at JL Audio XD700. This model of best car amplifier is lightweight and compact in size. At the same time, these characteristics do not influence sound quality as it is absolutely perfect. Moreover, this device features a great variety of different settings, which are able to improve quality. In case if you choose this product, you can be sure that even if you connect multiple speakers, the overall quality of sound won’t be lost. This is not a cheap variant, but car amplifier reviews prove that the price is reasonable.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to install
  • Great choice of settings
  • The high quality of sound
  • 2-Year warranty
Cons
  • May seem a bit overpriced

7. Best Mono Subwoofer Amplifier: JL Audio Slash Mono

7. Best Mono Subwoofer Amplifier: JL Audio Slash Mono

JL Audio car amplifiers have long earned a great reputation for their performance due to their very high and accurate execution, the highest reliability and very good sound. Stylish and small car amplifier JL Audio 600/1v3 has a good power reserve. Developed crossover allows you to cut off extra frequencies for subwoofer from the top, as well as to enhance bass at vibrating frequency. All connections and power amplifier settings JL Audio 600/1v3 made on the one hand, which is convenient when installing in the car.

Pros
  • Excellent performance
  • Compact and portable
  • Super-powerful
  • Accurate controls
  • Great variety of interesting and useful features
Cons
  • Is a bit expensive


Types of Best Car Amplifiers

Automotive amplifiers can be divided into two types: single-channel amplifiers or multichannel amplifiers with up to 6 channels. Let’s see what the main differences between them are.

Single Channel

Single channel models are high power bass amps. Typically, this type of devices is used exclusively for subwoofers. Single channel car amps for sale are designed to work with subwoofers with a low impedance load. If you can load a subwoofer up to 8 ohms, then taking a single-channel purely under it does not make sense. It will be quite enough to purchase a two channel device and connect it with a bridge circuit.

Two Channel and Three Channel

These are designed to connect two speakers or a subwoofer. This type of amplifier maintains a low-impedance load and is able to work in a bridge arrangement. Such models are quite versatile and are able to maintain adjustment combinations that are necessary for the high-quality operation of a subwoofer. For example, you can bring evenly bass and filtering infra-low frequencies.

Four Channel

If to approach four channel TOP car amplifiers from a technical side, then their purpose is similar to the previous category. They look like a single package with a common power supply for two dual-channel amplifiers. The main difference between these types of amplifiers is the ability to connect three speakers to one stereo amp output, which is called tri-mode. And there is also a possibility of using the second pair of linear output using the output of the first one.

Five Channel

This type of amplifier is built based on the previous one, and the fifth channel is designed to connect a subwoofer.

Six Channel

These devices are not widely distributed and in demand. Sound systems that need such amps are rare.

Best Car Amplifier Buying Guide – What to Look At?

It is necessary to choose an amplifier seriously, having thought over everything and having weighed all their pros and cons. Only after you do this, you will be ready to decide whether you need to buy this particular model or not. So, it is recommended to pay more attention to the following parameters:

Power

Power is one of the most important criteria, and there are two types of it:

Maximum or RMRO. In fact, you should not pay attention to the numerical value of maximum power, since this parameter has no direct relation to sound quality. Though, manufacturers often focus attention on it, actively misleading buyers;

Nominal or RMS. Nominal power shows what will be a future sound and allows you to assess the characteristics of a car amplifier for sale. The main problem is that manufacturers resort to a little trick indicating the value of power at a supply voltage at the level of 13.8 to 14.4 V. In practice, the voltage in vehicle electrical system is no more than 12-13 V, which is up to 20% lower than indicated. Therefore, to obtain high-quality sound at a high volume level, it is desirable to stop at choosing an amplifier with a power reserve of up to 30% when coordinating with a speaker.

Frequency Range

It is a frequency range of sound that an amplifier is capable of handling. The standard range for human ear is 16-2000 Hz, but for some people, these limits can be much wider. In addition, low-frequency vibrations, already inaudible by the ear, are perceived by the entire surface of the body, which gives an impression of most saturated sound.

In general, the wider is the frequency range of car amps for sale – the richer is sound that they can provide. However, this is not an unambiguous guarantee of high sound quality – much also depends on signal-to-noise ratio and other features.

Signal to Noise Ratio

It is one of the main parameters determining sound quality of best amp for subs as a whole. It describes the ratio of the useful signal (pure sound) and various extraneous noises. This takes into account almost all noise – both due to external causes, and those created by the device itself. Accordingly, the higher the signal-to-noise ratio is, the less is audibility of various interferences and clearer is sound. 95-100 dB is considered an average for car audio, but in advanced models, this value can be significantly higher.

Remote Control

It is an ability to connect a remote control to car amps for sale. Note that the functionality of remote controls for amplifiers significantly differs from other types of electronics. First, the connection is most often carried out by wire. Secondly, console itself provides a minimum of adjustments – most often it controls only the Bass Boost function, allowing you to quickly adjust bass level depending on the track being played. However, control from the console is still significantly more convenient than changing settings from the panel.

Backlight

Presence of illumination in the design of a car subwoofer amplifier can play a purely decorative role and provide additional convenience. For example, it makes it easier to control if a device is installed in a dimly lit place like a boot niche.

Best Car Amplifier – Final Advice

The audio system in a car is as necessary as a refrigerator in the kitchen. Without music, any trip will be boring and tedious. For many, music is a kind of passion, so owners install professional audio systems in cars. But none of them can work without the best car amplifier. Taking into account our professional review, it is possible to state for sure that choosing the best amp for subs is not an easy task. Rockford Fosgate Ultra-Compact Amp is on top of our rating and is considered to be the best car amplifier for today. It has a super-compact size and was developed with an emphasis on the maximum output power of 300 W.

This best car amplifier is equipped with a built-in crossover, which makes it possible to trim unnecessary frequencies. When a signal is applied to acoustics, it filters part of low frequencies that are not reproduced by a speaker. With exceptional ability to recognize input signal, this best car amplifier by Rockford Fosgate can be connected to non-standard audio systems. Moreover, it will be the best choice for systems, which are limited in space. So, if you want to be an owner of the best car amplifier, this model should be the first in your list.

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