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Best Car Amplifiers For Sound Quality (Reviews & Guide)

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Finding a good car amplifier can be difficult. There are so many different brands and models that it is hard to know which one will provide the best quality for your car.

The amplifier takes sound from your speakers and makes them louder, so you can enjoy a great music experience. Amplifiers are perfect for fixing up an old system or upgrading to make the best possible one!

You can still experience the hard pumping beats without compromising a clear, efficient, and good audio system setup powered by an amplifier. We have compiled a list of ten of our favorite options on the market in order to help you find that they will produce crisp sound with minimal distortion from low-quality speakers.

The overall quality of the sound should be your end goal when setting the car system. This article will help you add one of the best amplifiers for sound quality to your sound system setup, whether you are putting together a decent setup or a hard-knocking competition-grade setup.

What to look for in a car amplifier?

If you are looking for a car amplifier that produces excellent sound quality, there are some things to consider. First off, determine what the average power output that you are going to need in order to achieve a great sounding system is.

The higher the wattage, generally speaking, the better your sound quality. A car amp with maximum power ratings of 400 watts or more should produce good sound volumes for most applications.

But besides power, what other features should you look for to identify the car amps that produce the best sound quality? When you are perusing the different car amplifiers for sound quality, there are some things to look out for to help identify which ones produce better sound:

Number of channels

Different amplifiers can have different outputs. Some will have 1, 2, or 4 channels, whereas others may not be as powerful and only offer a single channel to power your speakers in an sound system. Before purchasing an amp, you should know the amount of amplifier channels it has and what your needs are.

This is important when it comes to finding the best car amplifier because all of them are going to vary in their output capabilities which determine what type of speaker setup they’re compatible with!

The most popular amplifier is the 4 channel amp, which you’ll need if you have 4 standard car stereo speakers. Nevertheless, a five or six-channel car amp provides a greater option. Now, if all you want is to pump up a subwoofer, a one-channel compact amp provides the best value for you.

Users typically feed all their car speakers (usually 4, 2 in the front and 2 in the back) and a subwoofer. If you relate to this, it means that you need an amplifier with at least five channels to provide the power source to the 4 speakers and the sub.

Soft starting

Any modern amplifier brings a built-in soft starting module. Its purpose is to limit the start-up current of large power amplifiers. Without it, the start-up current can blow fuses easily.

The soft starting main goal is to limit the destructive inrush currents by momentarily introducing a resistance, usually of about three seconds, between the power transformer’s primary current and the mains supply. This brief delay is enough to charge the filter caps and stop the huge initial current.

Mosfet power supply

It is defined as a metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), and its mission are to handle power levels of your amplifier by switching efficiency and speed at low volts.

The MOSFET power supply is the most common power semiconductor in the market because of its paralleling capabilities, wide bandwidth, ease of application, and its fast switching speed. It is mostly used in power supplies, motor controllers (low voltage), and DC to DC converters.

MOSFETs go on and off quickly based on a signal from an integrated circuit, which allows high current to flow through in short bursts while controlling the voltage sent to other components on the amplifier.

RCA inputs

RCA inputs, also known as phono plug, come in handy with amplifiers because, without them, there is no way you can connect an amplifier to a subwoofer or speakers and are labeled as an input.

The RCA output sends the sound from one device to another while the input receives audio from a third party. These connectors are colored red for the right channel and white for the left channel. The cables you connect to these RCA inputs match the color of the connector you plug them into.

If, for any reason, you don’t come across a red and white cable, just make sure that they are still marked as left and right so you’ll know where to connect.

Total harmonic distortion

Nobody likes to hear a distorted sound after spending time and money assembling a stereo set. That can be a total frustration for a user. With that said, lowering the distortions is a must to reproduce accurate sound from your components like the amplifier, speaker, subwoofer, or even a microphone.

The total harmonic distortions, known by its two acronyms THD or THDi, is simply the measurement that tells you how much of the harmonic distortions are present in the signal. According to the Japan Industrial Standards, they define the THD ” as the ratio of the harmonic component to the fundamental component”.

The distortions factor, used as a synonym for THD, is a key aspect in communications, power systems, and of course, audio and users should consistently keep this as low as they can. If you have low THD values, the less distortion you’ll get from the system.

Top 10 Best Car Amplifiers for Sound Quality

RankingsNamePrice and More Details
#1
Rockford Fosgate PBR 400x4 Powerful AmplifierClick Here
#2
Alpine MRVF300 4-Channel Digital Signal ProcessorClick Here
#3
MTX Audio Jackhammer Mono Car AmplifiersClick Here
#4
Pioneer GMD8601 Class Car Amp Speaker SystemClick Here
#5
JL Audio JX10001D 4-Channel Amp For Your CarsClick Here

Here you will find an array of amplifiers that are recognized in the car audio industry and have the best features at reasonable costs. Feel free to browse the ones you find fit for your goals.

1. Rockford Fosgate PBR 400×4 Amplifier for Sound Quality

Rockford Fosgate pbr400x4 Powerful Amplifier

These Rockford Fosgate amplifiers are designed for stereo front/rear systems and hold power with an impressive 400W of RMS in a small case that is ideal for cars, motorcycles, UTV’s, hybrid-electric vehicles, and mobile installs.

The company improved the flexibility of installment by adding dual, selectable high pass crossovers pointing at 60Hz and 80Hz. A full-range 4-channel car amp hosts the Boosted Rail Technology, or BRT, that provides power on demand and circuitry that allows RCA and speaker level signals, which makes it fairly easy for OEM integration.

Its integrated CLEAN technology helps users to set up the amp output controls quickly and eliminates distorted sounds. The Punch PBR400X4D is a versatile, powerful, lightweight amplifier that does not compromise much from your electrical system.

Users can pump this amp in either 2 or 4 channel mode to pump a couple of speakers or car subwoofers at a max of 200 watts RMS per unit. The amp is encased in an aluminum heat sink that features Rockford Fosgate’s heat management technology for non-stop playing time.

Pros
  • 400 Watts of Power
  • 2 or 4 channel amp configuration
  • Butterworth Crossovers
  • Power supply thermal sensing
Cons
  • Not the cheapest car amp

2. Alpine MRVF300 4-channel Car Amplifier For Sound Quality

alpine mrvf300 4-channel bridgeable amplifier

The Alpine MRVF300 is a synonym for amplifier versatility. It has 50 watts of RMS at 4 ohms and 75 watts RMS of peak at 2 ohms, both to 4 speakers outputs. When connected at 4-ohm in bridged mode, the amp pumps 150 watts RMS.

The power is delivered no matter the option, and the rest is a matter of personal choice. This Class D amp holds the same power in a 40% smaller chassis when compared to previous models. Its new snap-on terminals allow a fairly straightforward process when installing multiple amplifiers.

Users can also run the amp in a 3-channel mode and feed a pair of speakers at 50 watts and a subwoofer at 150 watts. Heavy users find the Alpine MRVF300 4-channel amp very efficient and convenient because of its Enhanced Shutdown Performance technology.

This prevents the amp from shutting down by signaling the amp to roll back the output and continue playing your music until it cools down to return to max power. The best part about this amplifier’s design is its Thermal Management System which provides constant cooling for optimal performance even under extreme conditions.

Pros
  • 4 channel amp design
  • MOSFET power supply
  • Current & thermal protection
Cons
  • Not enough power
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

3. Pioneer GMD9705 5 Channel Amplifier for Sound Quality

Pioneer GMD9705 5 Channel Amplifier for Sound Quality

Users love the Pioneer GM-D9705 GM Series because it can feed all your speakers and your subwoofer at the same time, thanks to its 5-channels. This class D amp is enclosed in a durable, rugged frame design and a textured flat panel that offers a strong yet simple amp.

This powerful model rates at 2,000 watts max with a subwoofer output of 500 watts at 2ohms. Pioneer improved the user’s control and flexibility of the amp with its variable crossover networks and easiness of installment for an all-in-one solution specifically engineered for power and convenience.

The amplifier has a variable low-pass filter that allows the audio frequency to adjust to the subwoofer features and the user’s taste. User’s feedback highlights this amplifier for the sound clarity it projects, its lack of noise when operating, convenient small chassis, and the ability to power up a whole car stereo system while boasting lots of power.

Pros
  • Powerful 2000 Watts max RMS
  • 5 channel amp feeds speakers and a subwoofer
  • Textured flat panel and durable frame
  • Automatic signal sensing and turn-on
Cons
  • Small power supply
  • No hi-level inputs

4. Alpine PDXV9 5-channel Amp for Sound Quality

Alpine PDX-V9, 5-Channel Bass Amp

The Alpine PDX-V9 class D mono amplifier received the Consumer Electronics Show Innovation Honors Award because of its top-notch technology and user feedback. It brings a stackable installation feature with front-panel controls for maximum convenience and usability.

The CEA-2006 compliant amplifier has an optional RUX-KNOB and a wired remote level control for the sub-channel. The extremely powerful amp packs 1600 watts max was designed to provide users a higher level of sound quality while keeping performance and the unit’s reliability over long periods of usage thanks to its thermal management control.

One of the best features of this amp is the ultra-wide frequency response, offering listeners unmatched sound detail and resolution when playing any music genre. Alpine’s PDX series is among the top 5 best performing digital amplifiers in the market because it is capable of producing clean power without distortions or static.

In other words, the PDX-V9 provides impeccable performance, clear output, tight bass, and maximum sound efficiency. The improved power management processor monitor’s the amp’s voltage and temperature, so you can listen to your favorite tracks non-stop.

Pros
  • Versatile multi-channel amp
  • Quick connect terminals and speakers
  • Variable subsonic filter
  • 6-layer glass epoxy PC board
Cons
  • Wired remote level control

5. MTX Audio Jackhammer Series Monoblock Amplifier

MTX Audio JH10001 Jackhammer Series

The MTX Audio Jackhammer offers loud pumps and various setups versatilities with its 1,100 watts at 1ohm, 775 watts at 2ohms, and 450 watts RMS at 4ohms. Users find this convenient because it allows them to integrate the amplifier with a built-in or custom car stereo set.

It is engineered for easy access to the control panel, which shows a remote bass knob for the management of low frequencies. The amp has low-pass and subsonic filters that make the best out of the sound input to a subwoofer.

This Jackhammer series monoblock amplifier is a great performer when it comes to blasting 10″ and 12″ subwoofers. The RMS power holds to what the company promises, and its patented MTX technologies are capable of process and amplify the audio signal without wasting precious energy or overheating.

Pros
  • 1,100 watts RMS peak power
  • Class D modern amps
  • Allows speaker level inputs
  • Speaker-level input auto turn-on switch
  • High-quality low pass filters
Cons
  • Some users say the amplifier does overheat
  • Not a fully digital amp

6. JL Audio RD400/4 NexD 4-Channel Amp

JL Audio RD400/4 NexD 4 Channel Class D Car Audio Amplifier

Efficiency and reliability that is what the JL Audio RD400/4 is about. The amp pushes 200 watts RMS x 2 at 4 Ohm, for a total of 400 watts of RMS audio power that is loud yet clean. This amp simplifies the connection with multi-speakers from its dual terminals.

The JL Audio NexD Technology of the RD400/4 is one of the best technologies in the market when it comes to delivering outstanding sound fidelity. The heavy-duty aluminum alloy heatsink brings another layer of safety when compared to other amplifiers, thanks to the 3-way protection circuitry that covers overload, thermal, and short speaker protection.

The unit is ultra-compact and can feed your car’s front and rear speakers with 75 watts RMS of clear low distortion sound. The RD400/4 features a dual-color LED light that shows the overall status of the amplifier. Overall, the amp offers a clean and powerful sound at a reasonable price.

Pros
  • 400 watts RMS peak power
  • Class D 4-channel amplifier
  • NexD™ switching amp technology
  • LED accent lighting
Cons
  • No cons at all for this car amp

7. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Car Amplifier for Sound Quality

Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier

The Rockford Fosgate Punch R500X1D is one of the best quality amplifiers in the market, featuring a short circuit and over current protection, a phase switch, real-time output, and power supply thermal sensing, remote bass control, and great pumps while remaining CEA-2006 compliant.

Any audio enthusiast finds the amp as a perfect match to either a car or an SUV, powering subwoofers with ease and allowing to daisy chain another amplifier with its pass-thru jacks. One of the best features is the Rockford Fosgate’s Punch boost, so you can maximize the bass from the subwoofer and its enclosure.

The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D A integrates well with any factory system and supports long-term play efficiently as it draws away heat from its core components. The amp includes a wired remote so you can control the volume level, and its built-in sensors protect the unit from short circuits.

If you plan to install multiple amps in a system, it is recommended to add a 50-amp in-line fuse between the distribution block and this amplifier. It is the best car amplifier in the mobile electronics industry that is easy to use and that can integrate with most of the factory systems.

Pros
  • 500 watts RMS
  • Crossover and infrasonic filter
  • Stealth top-mounted control panel
  • On-board punch equalizer
Cons
  • Limited wiring options

8. Kenwood KAC-M3004 4-channel Car Amplifier

Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 4 Channel Digital Amplifier

The Kenwood KAC-M3004 amplifier is a great choice for those who want to power up a complete system. It provides 50 watts RMS x 4 at 4-Ohms and 75 watts RMS x 4 at 2-Ohm, which is enough for most users. An option of 150 watts x 2 is available when bridged, mostly used to power two subs.

Power sports, ATV, motorcycle, and boat owners find this amp a must because it has a coated circuit board that protects the unit against moisture, dust, chemicals, and high temperatures. The amp picks signals from all sources, whether it’s from RCA cables or a stock stereo, and turns itself on when it senses the signal from the coaxial speaker level inputs.

The amp provides a clean and dynamic sound. It can double the output from your head unit while still producing great pumps at a minimum distortion rate. In essence, the KAC-M3004 is one of the most compact amplifiers in the market, greatly enhances the output of your system audio, and is probably the best fit for ground and water vehicles.

Pros
  • 300 watts RMS at 2-Ohms
  • Coated circuit board
  • Signal sensing and low distortion rate
  • 4 channel amp with different power outputs
Cons
  • Slight “hiss” of background noise
  • No external remote control

9. Skar Audio SKv2-15001D Car Amplifier

Skar Audio SKv2-1500.1D Monoblock Class D MOSFET

Skar audio SKV2-15001D is an extremely powerful amplifier that pumps 1,800 watts RMS at 1-Ohm, 930 watts at 2-Ohm, and 500 watts at 4-Ohm, and a towering 3,600 watts RMS at 2-ohms when strapped, for maximum user flexibility.

The company states that this amplifier “represents the pinnacle of innovation and engineering”. If we judge by the amount of power and features, it holds to its promise.

The heavy-duty aluminum heat sink and the built-in 4-way internal circuitry protection design (thermal, voltage, DC, and speaker) allows the unit to operate at its best while keeping the amp cool, easily outperforming other amplifiers in its class.

The SKv2-1500.1D model was built for extreme sound output levels and long-term usage. Moreover, the control panel features everything a user needs for proper management and customize the amps bass boost, gain levels, and phase control.

Furthermore, it features both RCA inputs and outputs for an easy daisy chain if you want to include multiple amplifiers. If you are looking for a deep, clean, and efficient amplifier, this is the one.

Pros
  • 1,800 watts of Power in RMS
  • Class D mono amplifier
  • Versatile control panel and bass EQ
  • Built-in 4-way circuitry protection
  • Includes a remote level control knob
Cons
  • Fairly expensive

10. BOSS Audio Systems Elite BE4000D Car Amplifier

BOSS Audio Systems Elite BE4000D Class D Car Amplifier

The BOSS audio systems Elite BE4000D pumps are like any other amplifier in the game with its 4,00 watts. Amazing when compared to other amps in the market. Speaking about versatility, the model offers 2,000 watts of max power at 2-Ohm and 4,000 watts of max power at 1-Ohm and holds a variable low pass crossover and a subsonic filter.

When strapped bridged, the amp delivers very stable and consistent power. Watch out if passing nearby this monster! These Class D amplifiers are efficient and generate more power thanks to their compact design and state-of-the-art metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors.

As one of the Elite series, the BOSS Audio BE4000D is an eye-catching amp develop for a clean sound and maximum performance. If you are hardcore using, you should know that the amp features an automatic shut-off that protects the amplifier if it gets may be too hot or because of speaker fail shortage.

Pros
  • Super powerful 4,000 watts of power
  • Monoblock Class D amplifiers
  • Subwoofer remote control
  • Strapping capability
  • RCA pre-amp outputs
Cons
  • Hard to fine-tune

Best Car Amplifier Buying guide

We have put together this car audio amplifier buying guide to help you make a better decision when choosing the right car amp for your sound system. Speaker wiring is also really important when putting together your sound system.

Successful people are always focused on how to improve their skills and performance. When it comes to speakers and car amps, there should be minimal noise compared to an adequate sound volume.

The signal-to-noise ratio is one of the best ways of comparing the amount of audio signal compared with noise in an amplifier system, usually rated in decibels (dB). Ideally, you want less than a 5 dB difference between your sound level and any background noise that may be present.

An good amplifier wiring kit also helps you reproduce a clear and efficient sound. They usually come with a capacitor, the ground wire, the fuses and their holders for the connections, and a 4-gauge power wire. They are all needed when you try to assemble a complete car audio system.

Make sure to look for those who offer heat-resistant jackets for the long-term operational expectancy of the wires. Also, an 18-gauge positive wire and ideally a 16 feet long RCA cable. Users get more value from copper wires as they provide a higher quality of strength and conductivity.

Here are some other factors to consider when buying amps for sound quality:

RMS power ratings

Users notice that the RMS power ratings are always present in speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers. Not only do they tell us how much continuous power an amplifier or speaker can handle without harm but also what type of music it’s really best for – depending on whether a heavy bass sound or lighter treble sounds are desired.

The root mean square (RMS) rating tells us about both long-term sustained output as well as a transient response which most users will be looking for when making their purchase decision based upon the kind of audio experience that suits them better: heavier bass with less clarity in vocals? Or crisp highs and mids with lower volume capabilities?

Other measures like peak power handling do not give you a clear picture of how many watts your car amplifier and speakers can handle for a long.

If tried, these measurements could cause several damages to the car amplifier and reduce its lifetime considerably. These peaks in sound should be avoided as they are short-lived, while RMS is more indicative of what’s really being played out by the speaker or amp – so don’t forget about it!

The Amplifier Rule of the Federal Trade Commission has been in place for decades now to counter deceptive power claims by manufacturers. In fact, every speaker and amplifier must state their peak and RMS power handling so that customers can be suitably informed about how much amplification they’ll need.

Audio experts recommend a ratio of 1.5-2 times as many amps needed to match a car amp with its speakers or subwoofers – this ensures you have enough juice without blasting your ears off! Amplifier installations can be complicated, so choose a company with plenty of experience.

Watts per channel

Besides the number of channels on an amplifier, the amount of watts per channel is what most users should look upon when purchasing one. Watts per channel, also known as WPC, is always present on the product specifications of amplifiers and stereos.

While you may believe or perceive that more watts equal more volume, it’s not always the case. If your amplifier wattage rating per channel is 100 watts a 1Khz, a realistic wattage output if all 4 channels are operating simultaneously, all frequencies will be lower as much at 40 percent.

Consult with an audio expert to match your speakers and subwoofers to the proper measurement of the watts per channel of your amplifier. The idea is that you match your whole system with the amplifier so you can get pumping highs and lows with high quality and a clear sound you can enjoy.

Class AB Amplifier vs. Class D Amplifiers

Class A\B is a hybrid amplifier composed of Class A and B that uses a DC bias current to prevent distortion and optimize sound quality. These types of amps have major power dissipation because the output voltages are usually far from the positive or negative supply rails.

By far, the Class D amps are the most popular in the market. Also known as switching amplifiers, these type of devices operate their amplifier devices as electronic switches. In Class D, the input signal passes through a simple low-pass filter to the loudspeaker while the high-frequency is countered.

The efficiency of a Class D amps surpasses 90% because the output transistors are not conducting simultaneously. Manufacturers pay close attention that these pairs of transistors stay apart from conducting at the same time because otherwise, it can cause a short circuit between the supply rails.

Users can use a separate amplifier for the subwoofer system, but it’s all going to depend on the equipment you have already installed or plan to install. The Class A\B circuitry in the multichannel amplifiers and a wide variety of power ranges make it so you can’t go wrong.

Where are car amplifiers mounted?

One of the main benefits of modern amplifiers is that they now come in small, compact sizes that give the users much more flexibility when it comes to installation.

While these are not intended for the under-seat, some have a size that allows them to fit such small places. However, the design is usually made to fit well on a vehicle’s trunk.

For those who have another type of vehicle, like an SUV, these also fit on the back. Before you purchase, make sure that you check the dimensions of the unit and make a realistic decision of where it can fit in your car.

Should I get 2 Ohm or 4 Ohm amplifiers?

The amplifier impedance of your car is measured in Ohms and has an output tone that should be Engaging.

This answer depends on your goal as a user. Nevertheless, amps come in either 2 or 4-ohms, making it easier to choose.

The 2ohm amplifiers deliver a louder sound when compared to 4ohm. However, they may reproduce a lesser quality sound against the 4ohm amps.

A 4ohm amplifier delivers much more electrical resistance, consumes less power, and is known to have a longer equipment life than 2ohm.

Users are more inclined to purchase the 4ohm model because the sound tends to be more compact and with higher quality.

Since ohms measure the resistance, you can maximize the power that the amp sends to a subwoofer if it holds a 2 ohm. For example, if an amp sends 300 watts to a 4ohm speaker or sub, the same amplifier reproduces 600 watts on a 2ohm speaker.

Should I get a bridgeable car amplifier?

You will see a left positive and right positive speaker connection on bridgeable amplifiers.

They hold two channels, a common ground for these channels, and floating isolated output sections that you can easily put in a series using a switchable inverter or connecting two minus terminals.

Bridgeable amplifiers are attractive to users who want a higher output power as they use those two channels to push a common mono speaker load.

What is a variable bass boost?

This feature is a big one for low-frequency aficionados.

A variable bass boost increases the low frequency fed from the amplifier to the subs or speakers.

When the amp pumps these low frequencies, the bass setting remains flat, so it doesn’t affect the reproduction of the low frequency of the speakers/subs.

Most amplifiers have a custom bass boost output that can either be a physical knob or a parametric equalizer with multiple adjustment options.

If you have a bass boost, try carefully turning it up to hear what the bass drum sounds like when you do. Applying just a little bass boost will bring up the kick a lot.

Be careful with the bass boost if you choose to use it — this is where distortion is often introduced into a system. If you hear distortion, lower the sub amp’s gain until it goes away. Use the bass boost to feel the beat in the air your sub moves.

Tips When Choosing a Car Amplifier

  • Understand the difference between a five-channel and a 4-channel car amplifier.
  • A mono or class d amp would work best for one or two subwoofers.
  • Choosing a high-quality single din or double din radio can also boost the sound quality of your sound system.
  • A marine audio amp is recommended for vehicles like the Jeep that tend to have no roof.
  • A five-channel amp typically comes with four channels for the speakers with an amplifier channel separately.
  • DVD players and satellite radios will have different volumes when tuning your output levels.

Summary

A high-quality amplifier makes a big difference in the overall car sound experience. The amount of power and clean beats delivered by any of the ones listed in this article is no brainier for any serious car audio user. Remember that not all amplifiers are engineered the same.

It is important to determine if you’re subwoofer and speakers can handle the input and variables like Ohm, bass boosting, number of channels, so the amp is up to par with your entire system audio and car stereo for top performance. Also, always combine the car amplifier with a good double din head unit.

A broad frequency range is something to look for. Each amplifier on this list has been proven to deliver powerful outputs and a crisp sound over the basis of innovation and high-end designs. If you are planning to replace the factory amplifiers with lower quality amps, you are not going to the maximum power output.

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