Car amplifier best buy: Car Amplifiers: Mono, 2-Channel, 4-Channel & More

Best 4-channel car amplifiers for 2023

by Crutchfield’s
Buck Pomerantz

In this article, we present eight of our best-selling 4-channel car amplifiers with mostly 5-star customer reviews:

  1. Power pack fits behind the dash — Alpine KTP-445U
  2. Super compact, marine rated — Kenwood KAC-M1814
  3. Compact amp with automatic tuning — Kicker 47KEY200.4
  4. Bargain powerhouse, integrates well — JL Audio RD400/4
  5. Clean power that fits almost anywhere — Kicker 46CXA360.4T
  6. Calibrated setup ensures perfect sound — Rockford Fosgate R2-500X4
  7. Serious power plus DSP tuning — AudioControl D-4.800
  8. Digital accuracy and signal routing — JL Audio VX400/4i

Let’s find out what makes these particular amps so popular.

If you want your music to sound and feel clear and powerful, you need an amplifier. One of the physical attributes of sound is that it takes power to produce enough of it to hear and discern all the subtleties in music: from soft to loud, from harsh to mellow.

Whichever speaker system you have, it’ll sound best with an amplifier designed to play music loudly, without distortion, and with enough power to fill your vehicle with your music sounding the way you want.

Versatility of the 4-channel amplifier

4-channel amps are the workhorses of powered music in cars. The diagram below illustrates some of the ways you can use a 4-channel amp to suit your needs:

  • A 4-channel amplifier can power front left and right speakers plus rear left and right speakers in a basic car stereo system.
  • In more complicated active setups, a 4-channel amp could be used to power front left and right tweeters and woofers.
  • You can also use a 4-channel amp to power left and right front speakers with two channels while powering a subwoofer with the amp’s rear channels bridged together.

Amplifer features to consider

Size: Compact amplifiers will fit almost anywhere in almost any vehicle. Generally speaking, the more power and tuning features an amplifier has, the larger its chassis is, and finding a location for it in your vehicle becomes more of a challenge.

Power: There are basically three power levels of amplification for you to choose between:

  1. If you just want your music to sound full and clear above your vehicle’s wind and road noises, look for an amp with 25 to 60 watts RMS per channel.
  2. If you want your music to pop and make you want to sing and dance, look for an amp with 65 to 80 watts RMS per channel.
  3. If you like it loud and bone-shaking, you’ll want an amp that can put out at least 100 watts RMS per channel.

Signal processing: The sound produced by most sources often needs to get processed — tone-adjusted to fit whatever speakers are in the system so they play without distorting. Every 4-channel amp has high-pass filters so low notes won’t buzz and pop through small speakers. Some amps feature digital signal processing (DSP) for advanced, customized tone and coherence adjustments, like multiband equalization, time-alignment, and level-balancing.

Why did we choose these amps?

These are some of our best-selling amplifiers, which also earned an average Crutchfield customer review rating of four or more stars. So, not only do our customers buy these amplifiers, they’re so pleased with their purchase they take the time to provide some feedback once they’ve spent some time with it.

You can use this collection of amplifiers as a starting point in your search for your amp. After looking them over, if you want to dive deeper into what to look for when shopping for a 4-channel amplifier, check out our Car amplifier buying guide.

[Check out all of our best-selling and top-rated 4-channel amplifiers]


Alpine KTP-445U — Compact power pack

Basics: The popular Alpine KTP-445U power pack is a simple way to crank up the power of your receiver. This little amplifier increases your receiver’s power output to 45 watts RMS by 4 channels. That’s a big jump up from the 7-20 watts per channel typically put out by a car radio, and plenty of power to drive high-performance speakers or keep up with a big subwoofer amplifier.


Alpine KTP-445U Power Pack

303 reviews


$289.95

View product

Extras:

  • Best of all, this compact amplifier is so efficient you can often run it off the same circuit that powers your receiver. You can install this compact amp behind most dashboards.
  • A universal plug lets you feed a signal via RCA outputs or speaker-level wiring. That means you can use 4-channel patch cables to connect your car stereo to the amp’s preamp inputs, or splice into the stereo’s speaker wiring to get signal to the KTP-445U.

A whole lot of sound in a tiny package. Works great and fits well hidden under the dash of my classic.

– Anonymous, Crutchfield Customer from Virginia Beach, VA

Read all of the Crutchfield Customer Reviews

Kenwood KAC-M1814 — Power on land or sea

Basics: Kenwood’s KAC-M1814 super-compact amplifier will add new clarity and impact to the basic sound system of almost any kind of vehicle on land or water, and it’ll fit in a lot of places when space is tight.

This marine-rated 4-channel amp will pump up your audio system with 45 watts RMS per channel — that’s more than twice the power of most car stereos or marine receivers. The amp uses plastic covers to protect its connections and features a conformal-coated circuit board that keeps out moisture and salt, so the party won’t stop just because of a little wetness.


Kenwood KAC-M1814

88 reviews


$169.99

View product

Extras:

  • The KAC-M1814 will accept a signal from just about any source, whether you’re using RCA cables from an aftermarket receiver or speaker wires from a factory radio.
  • When you use the speaker-level inputs, the amplifier will sense the signal and turn itself on, so you won’t need to run a separate remote turn-on lead to the receiver or fuse box.
  • Kenwood goes to great lengths to ensure good sound quality, putting the preamp and output power amp stages on separate circuit boards for better, cleaner performance.

Great product. Exactly what I needed for my truck, compact and sounds great!

– Anonymous, Crutchfield Customer from Garrettsville, OH

Read all of the Crutchfield Customer Reviews

Kicker 47KEY200.4 — Automatic DSP amp in a compact chassis

Basics: Kicker’s ultra-compact 47KEY200.4 car amplifier features automatic signal processing that tailors the sound for your specific vehicle’s interior space. This 4-channel compact power pack will send 50 watts RMS to each of your front and rear speakers — more than twice the power of a typical aftermarket receiver.

After installation, you set up the included calibration mic, start the test noise, hit the activation button, and the KEY Auto Setup software automatically sets the crossovers, 40-band EQ, and time-aligns the sound for the front seat driver.


Kicker 47KEY200.4

103 reviews


$279.99

View product

Extras:

  • You can manually enable Auto Compression, for a more consistent and safer power output. A limiter kicks in and lights up when it detects clipping, letting you know that something’s too loud.
  • A Bi-Amp mode lets you actively run tweeters and woofers without a passive crossover, by applying customized active crossover settings during the KEY Auto Setup process.
  • The KEY200.4 can also handle a vehicle’s stop/start feature by automatically engaging the limiter to prevent the amp from shutting down in these circumstances.

I couldn’t be more satisfied. The auto tuning functionality is spot on, it sounds unbelievable. A completely hidden system, that sounds unbelieveable with the factory radio.

– Anonymous, Crutchfield Customer from Springfield, OH

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

JL Audio RD400/4 — Bargain powerhouse

Basics: JL Audio’s RD400/4 4-channel amplifier will power each your car’s front and rear speakers with 75 watts RMS, so you’ll hear and feel your music clearly over the whistle of the wind and rumble of the road. For driving bass, you can switch the RD400/4 to 2-channel mode and run a couple of subwoofers with up to 200 watts RMS each.

The RD400/4 plays your music with true fidelity and impressive impact, without straining your car’s electrical system, thanks to JL Audio’s proprietary NexD™ amplifier technology.


JL Audio RD400/4

77 reviews


$379.99

View product

Extras:

  • “Differential-balanced” inputs keep the incoming signals clear of outside noise, and allow you to connect this amp to just about any radio.
  • The speaker-level inputs feature two auto turn-on modes so you can readily incorporate this amp into a factory system — no need for RCA connections or a remote turn-on lead for this setup.
  • Onboard LED clip indicators let you set the amp gain quickly and accurately with the use of a test tone.
  • A removable cover hides the amp’s controls, resulting in a handsome appearance and a tamper-resistant installation.
  • Cool blue LED accent lighting adds some charm to this amp’s rugged good looks.

For me JL is the gold standard in car audio amps. The price to quality, clarity, power, and reliability cannot be beat. This amp absolutely screams. The louder you crank it, the better it sounds.

Jeffrey, Crutchfield Customer from Indiana

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

Kicker 46CXA360.4T — Power for your music

Basics: Do you like it loud and clean? Kicker’s 46CXA360. 4T 4-channel amplifier can put out 65 watts per channel, so your music will get a big boost in volume and clarity. You could also power a couple of front speakers with 65 watts each while powering a subwoofer with 180 watts from the amp’s bridged rear channels.

Separate high- and low-pass filters on the front and rear channels help you sculpt the sound to get the most out of all your speakers. Variable bass boosts, also on both the front and rear channels, allow you to add some low-end punch when you’re running subs. An optional wired remote lets you control the bass level from the front seat.


Kicker 46CXA360.4T

96 reviews


$183.96

View product

Extras:

  • Kicker’s Fail-Safe Integration Technology (FIT™) keeps this amp’s input free from noise or interference, so you can tap into your vehicle’s speaker wiring for an input signal without a worry.
  • A 3-second turn-on/turn-off delay eliminates system pops and other noises.
  • The CXA360.4T comes with hardware that lets you mount it vertically, so you can put it in a location that takes up very little floor space and looks cool too.

What an awesome amp. I’m using 2 channels to power 6.5″ coaxials and the other 2 bridged to run a 10″ comp sub in a truck box. I also purchased the bass control knob which allows me to freely adjust the bass level.

– Anonymous, Crutchfield Customer from Sanborn, NY

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

Rockford Fosgate R2-500X4 — When you like it loud

Basics: Nothing’s louder than a Rockford Fosgate amp, right? Their Prime Series R2-500X4 amplifier can power four speakers with 75 watts RMS each, so you’ll hear your music loud and clear over the noises of the wind and road. You could also use this amp in bridged, 2-channel mode to power a couple of subwoofers with 250 watts RMS each. High- and low-pass filters help you get maximum performance from the speakers in your vehicle.


Rockford Fosgate R2-500X4

51 reviews


$329.99

View product

Extras:

  • Rockford Fosgate’s C.L.E.A.N. technology (Calibrated Level Eliminates Audible Noise) setup system ensures your music will sound as clean and powerful as possible. It’s a simple system to use — turn it up until the light shows red, then turn it down until the red light goes out.
  • Speaker-level inputs let you hook this amp up to almost any system, even a factory stereo.

Got this amp driving all 4 of of my 6.5in coaxial door speakers and it really brings out the best in them… Loving this amp so far.

– Anonymous, Crutchfield customer from Palm Coast, FL

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

AudioControl D-4.800 — Amp plus computer-controlled processing

Basics: Two keys to unlocking great sound in a car stereo system are serious power and extensive control — and this amp has them both. AudioControl’s D-4.800 4-channel amplifier generates 125 watts RMS per channel, so it’ll drive even the most demanding aftermarket speakers with plenty of headroom to spare. You won’t find any knobs on the D-4.800 — you make adjustments and save settings via your laptop (PC or Mac).

AudioControl’s Smart-User DSP software package includes 12 or 24 dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley crossovers, 30-band equalizers, parametric filters, time delay/alignment, phase correction, AccuBass™ bass correction, and real-time analyzers (RTA) for the inputs and outputs so you can visually confirm the improvements in the sound.


AudioControl D-4.800

17 reviews


$899.00

View product

Extras:

  • Six active speaker-level inputs allow you to connect this amp to almost any factory system, even ones that have separate pre-filtered, time-aligned, and amplified signals going to separate factory speakers and tweeters. The D-4.800 sums them into one smooth, unified signal for you to balance, align, and tune for your better-sounding aftermarket speakers.
  • Onboard LEDs indicate optimized signal flow for inputs and outputs, plus give you a warning when a source is too loud and causing distortion.
  • An optional Bluetooth® adapter lets you stream music and control the digital processing wirelessly from your compatible portable device.

This was my first experience working with a DSP amplifier. I installed it with my OEM factory head unit and paired it with aftermarket component sets for the front and coaxials for the rear. The sound now is amazing. The DSP is very easy to program by using the Windows or Mac program that is downloaded from AudioControl’s website. The amplifier is small with a lot of power… Great product.

Jose, Crutchfield Customer from Caguas, PR

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

JL Audio VX400/4i — Amplifier plus DSP

Basics: The JL Audio VX400/4i VXi Series 4-channel amp combines JL Audio’s latest amplifier technology with micro-device maker AKM™ software to create this customized processor-amp hybrid. They also improved the amp’s Class D performance by shortening the signal path through the amp, placing the output capacitor banks nearer the outputs, and using up-to-date DirectFET® MOSFET output devices, resulting in higher efficiency, reliability, and audio quality.

The VX400/4i 4-channel amplifier puts out 75 watts RMS per channel and features six channels of digital signal processing, so it can power the front and rear speakers in your car, and provide a processed signal for a separate subwoofer amplifier.


JL Audio VX400/4i


$1,199.99

View product

Extras:

  • The 24-bit 96 kHz processing for each channel includes signal routing and mixing, 10-band parametric EQ, time-alignment, high- and low-pass filters, and output level control with 0.1 dB precision.
  • In addition to tuning the audio signal, the processor provides a master clock signal for the Class D amplification, increasing audio accuracy.
  • You make all your settings and adjustments from your compatible device running JL Audio’s TüN™ software.

No reviews on Crutchfield’s site yet, but judging by reviews posted elsewhere, this DSP amp is the bomb — in terms of power, features, and ease of use.

– Buck P, Crutchfield Copywriter from Charlottesville, VA

Read all of the Crutchfield customer reviews

Need help deciding? Give us a call

A great way to improve the sound quality in your vehicle is to add an amp. Choosing the best 4-channel amplifier that’ll fit in your vehicle and produce the amount of power and features you want is often challenging and confusing. For help, read our car amplifier buying guide, and then contact our advisors if you have any questions or to confirm what you need to install a new 4-channel amp in your car.


Popular questions customers ask

If the sound gets muddy when you turn it up, you need the added power of an amplifier. You probably know the difference in sound between your TV speakers and a home theater system. An amplifier in your vehicle can make that kind of difference. You’ll hear a bigger, fuller sound, with more detail and greater impact, especially if you’ve installed better speakers in your vehicle.

The first consideration is how many speakers you’ll be powering and how much power each speaker will handle. Once you know that, you’ll know how many amplifier channels you’ll need and how much power you’ll want.

Yes, you can, as long as you have a basic knowledge of electronics and you’re handy with tools. You’ll have to run a power wire from your vehicle’s battery back to your amp’s location, and then a ground wire from the amp to your vehicle’s chassis. It’s important to do the job correctly so you don’t damage your vehicle. Our Tech Support people can help you if any issues come up.

Check your speakers or sub to see how much power they can handle in terms of “watts RMS.” For a subwoofer, you should select an amplifier that produces approximately that much RMS power. Speakers are more forgiving, so you don’t always have to max them out, although more power always sounds better.

The easy answer is “one speaker per channel.” You’ll need two channels to power a pair of speakers, four channels to power your front and rear speakers, or one channel to power a subwoofer. There are plenty of exceptions to this rule, so contact an Advisor to get the best advice for your situation.

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5 Best Car Amplifiers (2023 Guide)

While our review team mainly consists of experts in the automotive industry, we also employ a few audiophiles. A car amplifier can create higher-quality sound to ultimately create a more enjoyable driving experience. You shouldn’t have to settle for the factory speaker setup in your car when there are affordable options to take your car audio to the next level.

With all the different types of products that our team of experts reviews, we pride ourselves on the honest and unbiased review of car parts and car accessories. A new car amp will undoubtedly improve the quality of sound in your vehicle, helping you get that perfect speaker setup you always dreamed of.

5 Best Car Amplifiers

  1. Best Features: Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
  2. Best Class D Car Amp: Alpine S-A60M
  3. Best Power Output: Kicker 46CXA8001
  4. Most Versatile: Kenwood X8025
  5. Best Value: Boss Audio Systems R1004

Our Review Standards

To select the five best car amplifiers featured in this buyers guide, our team first combed through dozens of resources such as DIY mechanic and auto enthusiast forums, manufacturer and car audio-specific websites, instruction manuals from manufacturers, and reviews from online retailers. We pay particularly close attention to quality reviews and recommendations that highlight the quality of warranties, customer service support, build quality, materials, and overall reliability.

We also factored in the quantity and quality of online retailer reviews from websites such as Amazon, RealTruck, Advance Auto Parts, and more. We looked at factors such as standout customer reviews, prices, meaningful superlatives, and discount shipping eligibility.

Why You Can Trust Us

Since 2020, we have published over 200 auto product reviews in an effort to make shopping for auto products easier. Our team of writers, editors, researchers, and product experts collaborates to thoroughly vet top products. We try to perform in-house testing on real vehicles whenever possible before making our recommendations.

When testing is not feasible, however, our aim is to make your life easier by doing all the online research for you and presenting that research in the form of easy-to-read product comparisons and buyers guides, rather than outright recommendations. For more information on our testing methodology and how we evaluate every product, check out our methodology page here.

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Car Amplifiers Buyers Guide

In this buying guide to the best car amplifiers, we discuss the different types of crossover and what exactly CEA-2006 compliance means for amps. We think these two characteristics of an amplifier should ultimately determine what amp you buy.

Different Types Of Crossovers

There are two basic types of crossovers: active and passive. Active crossovers require power and ground connections, while passive crossovers don’t require power at all.

  • Active: This type of crossover means each driver has its own channel of amplification. Additionally, active crossovers tend to have their own level control. This crossover requires a more involved setup than its counterpart.
  • Passive: This type of crossover means it doesn’t need to be connected to a power source to work. Passive crossovers offer less fine-tuning capabilities but are easier to install than active crossovers. Passive crossovers can be broken down further into two more categories, component crossovers and in-line crossovers.

CEA-2006 Compliance

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is an independent organization that tests electronic products against manufacturer assertions for common characteristics of a specific product. CEA-2006 is a rating standard created to help consumers compare different amplifiers. A CEA logo on the side of an amplifier’s packaging means it is CEA-2006 compliant.

The two most fundamental qualities of an amplifier are its loudness and how high a quality sound it produces. Due to this, CEA-2006’s fundamental ratings for car amplifiers are Output Power and Signal-To-Noise Ratio. Without a car amplifier receiving official CEA-2006 compliance, the true quality and loudness of sound are unconfirmed and somewhat unknown for an amp.

Class AB Power Vs. Class D Power

One small thing to know about car audio systems is how they are powered. The two primary options on the market these days are Class D and Class AB. 

  • Class AB: This power class is known for having a very clean and crisp sound, but not being very energy efficient and requiring cooling fans to operate at a safe temperature. 
  • Class D: A newer alternative, Class D is incredibly efficient, but the sound quality typically isn’t as good as Class AB devices. That said, technology is always advancing to where dips in sound quality are less noticeable.

#1 Best Features: Rockford Fosgate R500X1D

Key Features

  • Remote control for bass
  • Power supply thermal sensing
  • Onboard 12.0-dB LP/HP/AP crossover

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 3,700 reviews

Customers highly recommend the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D and praise it for its sound quality. Several reviewers speak to this car amplifier’s shallow mount and terrific power output. One man claims he spent thousands of dollars trying to fix the power output problem he was having with his car’s speakers, and this car amp is the first one that fixed his issue. Another individual reviewer claims this car amplifier hasn’t overheated once.

#2 Best Class D Car Amp: Alpine S-A60M

Key Features

  • Enhanced Shutdown Performance Technology
  • Low-pass filter
  • Adjustable bass boost

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on around 300 reviews

Reviewers rave over this powerful little car amp. Customers can’t believe how great their car audio setup sounds after hooking up the Alpine S-A60M. One man claims that although this amp is rated at 600 watts, he found it produced 852 watts when he tested it. Others note that this car amplifier clearly outperforms the OEM amp installed in their car previously.

#3 Best Power Output: Kicker 46CXA8001

Key Features

  • Kicker’s FIT+ technology
  • KickEQ 6. 0-dB bass boost
  • 24.0-dB subsonic filter

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 900 reviews

Customers love the Kicker 46CXA8001 and praise it for making their car audio system sound brand new. Reviewers say this car amplifier is small, yet powerful. One man claims that if you have large subwoofers in your car, this is a great amp to use. Several reviews complain that they wish this car amp included the bass remote.

#4 Most Versatile: Kenwood X8025

Key Features

  • CEA-2006 compliant
  • Output coil with magnetic shield
  • Speaker level input harness included

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 120 reviews

The Kenwood X8025 is a great car amplifier according to customers. One man says he used this car amplifier to upgrade the sound system in his Tesla. Another individual reviewer claims to be an audio engineer, he says you can save money by buying another brand’s car amp but it won’t be worth the money like this one is.   Negative reviews are few and far between.

#5 Best Value: Boss Audio Systems R1004

Key Features

  • Class A/B topology
  • Switchable input sensitivity
  • Variable gain control

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4 out of 5 based on over 4,700 reviews

Reviewers say the Boss Audio Systems R1004 is a great car amplifier to consider if you don’t want to break the bank. Customers note that this amp isn’t designed to power anything more than a few door speakers, but it does it’s job very well. Those with negative feedback complain about a humming noise coming from an issue with grounding.

It is pretty clear that the audio system in most vehicles is an afterthought to automakers. Pairing one of the best car amplifiers, in addition to quality head units, speakers, and subwoofers, can both improve tone and add a lot of power.

Car Amplifiers At A Glance

Cost Dimensions Style
Rockford Fosgate Around $230 8. 5 x 6.7 x 1.9 inches Class D
Alpine Around $200 11.0 x 11.0 x 5.0 in. Class D
Kicker Around $330 12.0 x 4.0 x 9.0 in. Class D
Kenwood Around $350 12.0 x 9.0 x 4.0 in. Class D
Boss Audio Systems Around $85 7.8 x 9.0 x 2.0 in. Class A/B

Best Car Amplifiers: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.

rating of single-channel, two-channel, four-channel, inexpensive car audio amplifiers with reviews, prices, expert advice

Today, almost all manufactured cars are equipped with a car radio and a pair of front speakers. This is enough to listen to the news or soft background music during the trip. However, if you are a fan of “turning it up” or appreciate high-quality deep sound, such an audio system will not be enough. How to be in this situation? The first way out is to install better speakers. The problem is that the output power of the radio amplifier is usually low. In the characteristics, it is indicated the maximum, and the actual (nominal) will be an order of magnitude lower. Even by connecting more powerful speakers, you will not get good sound.

The ideal solution is to install a car audio amplifier. The device will create and amplify undistorted high-quality sound, allow you to connect additional speakers and a subwoofer.

The main fundamental difference between car amplifiers is the number of channels. They come in single-channel, two-channel, four-channel, and even five-, six-, seven-, and eight-channel. This is what determines how many sound sources you can connect to the amplifier. The most common are devices with one, two and four channels. In this article, we will talk about the most popular car audio amplifier models in 2023.

Rating of the top 3 best inexpensive car audio amplifiers according to the KP version

If you wish, you can significantly improve the sound quality of the radio already in your car. If you do not make excessive demands on sound and are not going to “pump” neighboring cars, a budget model of a car amplifier is quite suitable for you. Such an amplifier will also allow you to connect additional speakers or a subwoofer.

1. SWAT M-4.65

Photo: yandex.market.ru

The SWAT M-4.65 amplifier has class AB and four output channels. It will help improve the sound of your stock audio system without a significant investment. With a channel resistance of 4 ohms, you will get a nominal power of 4×65 W, when connected to 2 ohms – 4×100 W, and with a bridged connection, you can achieve a power of 2×200 watts. If desired, you can connect two speakers and a subwoofer to the amplifier. The amplifier cuts ultra-low frequencies from the subwoofer well, as well as all the above-average bass, which makes it possible to get clean and deep “lows”. The amplifier has protection against overheating, short circuit and overload. All frequency adjustments are displayed on the amplifier panel.

Features
9002 1 Class
Manufacturer SWAT, China
Number of channels 4
АВ
Power 4х65(4Ω) 4х100(2Ω) 2х200(bridge connection 0.1% /noise 95 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and Cons

Low cost; good power; quality assembly; the ability to adjust the frequencies per channel; many connection options; HF, LF filters; overheat protection; overloads and short circuits

Heats up when a subwoofer is connected

2. Kicx SP 4.80AB

Photo: yandex.market.ru

Budget four-channel amplifier Kicx SP 4.80AB has decent power. It is also compact and does not take up much space. Outputs 80 W and 120 W per channel when connected to 4 ohms and 2 ohms, respectively. Sounds pretty decent. The amplifier has protection against short circuit and overload, but, unfortunately, it is not immune from polarity reversal. If you do not find fault with the build quality, the amplifier has a good price-performance ratio.

Features
900 21 Class
Manufacturer Kicx, China
Number of channels 4
АВ
Power 4х80(4Ω) 4х120(2Ω) 2х240(bridge connection 0.01% signal/noise 88 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and Cons

Adequate power; with overtemperature and short circuit protection

Not with reverse polarity protection; heats up when working with a subwoofer

3. ACV LX-4.100

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ACV LX-4.100 is the most common budget amplifier. Power up to 300 watts per channel, playback frequency from 10 to 30,000 Hz and a car remote control make this model very popular. High-quality low- and high-range filters and the Bass Boost function allow you to achieve high-quality sound in your audio system. All output contacts are protected from corrosion by technical gold, the amplifier has protection against short circuit, overload and overheating.

Features
9002 1 Class
Manufacturer ACV, China
Number of channels 4
АВ
Power 4х100(4Ω) 4х150(2Ω) 2х300 (bridge connection
Playback frequency 10 – 30000 Hz
signal/noise 92 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and Cons

Adequate power; remote control; high-quality sound filters; short circuit protection; overload and overheating

Gets hot with a subwoofer

Rating of the top 3 best single-channel car audio amplifiers according to KP

Single-channel car amplifiers are used in conjunction with an already installed audio system and are designed to connect a main or additional subwoofer. If you already have a sound amplifier, but want to increase the power of the bass, the monoblock is what you need.

1. SWAT M-1.500

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The sound quality of this digital device is not very high, but it is quite sufficient for a subwoofer. Power of 500 watts (when connected into 2 ohms) and a low and infra-low pass filter give a deep and dense sound. The amplifier has protection against overheating, short circuit and overload, the remote control is included in the package.

Features
Manufacturer SWAT China
Number of channels 1
Class D
Power 300W(4Ω) 500 W(2Ω)
S/N 90 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros & Cons

High Power; low pass filters; remote control

Minimum load 2 ohms; phonite when listening to the radio

2.

MAGNUM MAM 1.2000BS

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Universal and compact amplifier MAGNUM MAM 1.2000BS is a model for those who prefer loud and powerful bass. In this case, the power does not reduce the sound quality. The Bass Boost and Subsonic modes will satisfy the pickiest connoisseurs of low frequencies. The amplifier shows stable operation at a load of 1 ohm and allows you to adjust the bass from 0 to 12 dB. The body of the device is compact, well removes heat even when paired with a multi-channel amplifier. The disadvantage is the lack of a regular fuse, and you will have to additionally install an external one.

Characteristics
90 021 Class

90 021 Bass Boost

Manufacturer MAGNUM, China
Number of channels 1
D
Power 900W(4ohm) 1400W(2ohm)
Playback frequency 10 – 20000 Hz
S/N ratio 88 dB
Bass boost mode
Pros and cons

Powerful sound quality; protection against short circuit and overheating; wired bass control; 3 year warranty

Out of stock fuse; no high-pass filter

3.

Ural DB 1.2500

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Ural DB 1.2500 is a single-channel amplifier of very high power. In the set of settings, all standard options, LPF, subsonic. To connect a paired subwoofer via a “bridge” there is a synchronization port with a master and slave role switch. A very “competent” and worthy amplifier, but intended rather for demonstration, rather than listening to music. The device has protection against overheating, overload and short circuit. Includes wired bass level control.

Characteristics
9002 1 Class 900 21 Bass boost mode
Manufacturer Ural, Russia
Number of channels 1
D
Power 1000W(4Ω) 1800W(2Ω) 2500W (1 ohm)
Playback frequency 15 – 250 Hz
Signal-to-noise ratio 100 dB
Bass Boost
Pros and cons

Powerful; works well with a load of 1 ohm; reliable assembly; low distortion

Massive

Top 3 best two-channel car audio amplifiers by KP

Two-channel amplifiers are the most popular devices. They are used for more powerful and high-quality sound reproduction through a pair of speakers or a subwoofer. More often they are called “folk” for being in demand among motorists.

1. Pioneer GM-A3702

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A very compact and well-assembled amplifier. Minimum linear distortion, ease of settings, ease of connection, sufficient power – not all the positive characteristics of a well-known brand. The built-in crossover allows you to remove unnecessary frequencies from the channels. Facilitates sound settings bass booster and channel combiner. It has standard protection: against short circuit, overheating, overload. With it, you can significantly improve the sound quality of your audio system or connect a subwoofer.

Features
900 21 Class 900 21 Signal-to-noise ratio
Manufacturer Pioneer, Vietnam
Number of channels 2
АВ
Power 2×60 W (4 Ohm) 2×95 W (2 Ohm) 1×190 W (bridged)
Playback frequency 10 – 70000 Hz
THD 0. 05%
95dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and Cons

No distortion; easy to set up; sufficient power; low pass filter; famous brand; reasonable price

Gets very hot during operation; minimum settings

2. Alpine PMX-T320

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Despite belonging to the younger model range, this amplifier deserves attention. It is assembled from high-quality high-tech components. Such a device will work soundly as part of any speaker system. The amplifier provides all standard types of protection. Low pass filters, high pass filters and a bass equalizer will help you get the best sound out of your system.

Characteristics
9002 1 Class 9002 1 Signal-to-noise ratio
Manufacturer Alpine, France
Number of channels 2
AB
Power 2x50W (4Ohm) 2x75W (2Ohm) 1x150W (bridged)
Playback frequency 10 – 60000 Hz
THD 0. 1%
90 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and cons

High build quality; bass boost

Fixed frequency switching on the equalizer

3. Blaupunkt GTA 270

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Blaupunkt GTA 270 is the most popular two-channel amplifier among motorists. It is the best in terms of price and quality. This is the most powerful device in its price range. The amplifier has filters for high, low and infra-low frequencies, bass boost mode Bass Boost. The dimensions are quite compact, installation and configuration do not cause problems. At the output of the amplifier, there is a minimum of distortion, a dense and fairly high-quality sound. The disadvantages include the fragile plastic case.

Features

9002 0

90 020

Manufacturer Blaupunkt, Korea/China
Number of channels 2
Class AB
Power 2×70 W (4 Ohm) 2x 100 W (2 Ohm) 1x200W (Bridged)
Playback Rate 10 – 60000Hz
THD 0. 04%
Signal-to-noise ratio 90dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros & Cons

Compact; good power; presence of filters

Fragile plastic case

Rating of the top 3 best four-channel car audio amplifiers according to KP version

Four-channel amplifiers are one of the most modern and sought-after devices for true connoisseurs of car audio. This amplifier can be connected to four speakers or a combination of two speakers and a subwoofer. For bass lovers, it will allow you to complement the audio system with two subwoofers and will work well with two-channel devices.

1. JBL Stage A9004

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Inexpensive 4-channel amplifier JBL Stage A9004 is compatible with all car radios. It is compact, has a durable metal case and a set of standard protections. High power, minimal output distortion, the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the speakers in the front and rear allows you to achieve the highest quality sound of your radio. High and low range filters, bass boost mode and bass boost control will help you achieve the sound you want. Of the shortcomings, one can note the lack of a separate output for a subwoofer.

Features
9002 1 Class
Manufacturer JBL, China
Number of channels 4
D
Power 4x90W(4Ω) 4x110W(2Ω) 2x220W (bridged)
Playback frequency 20 – 20000 Hz
THD 1%
From wear signal/noise 90 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and Cons

Compact; high power; compatibility; good sound quality

No sub-low pass filter; small frequency range; no separate subwoofer output

2. Hertz HCP 4

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Hertz HCP 4 is a modern compact amplifier from the new line. It is universal, allows you to connect sound sources in various combinations. Despite the low power, the amplifier gives a detailed and powerful clear sound. The device has protection against overload, short circuit and overheating. High-quality high-pass and low-pass filters significantly improve the sound of even simple regular radio tape recorders.

Characteristics
9002 1 Class 900 21 Signal-to-noise ratio
Manufacturer Hertz, USA
Number of channels 4
АВ
Power 4х55 W (4 Ohm) 4х85 W (2 Ohm) 2х170 W (bridged)
Playback frequency 20 – 20000 Hz
THD 0.01%
103 dB
Bass Boost Mode Bass Boost
Pros and Cons

Clean sound; compact; universal

Low power

3. EDGE EDA 200.

4-E7

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The amplifier has a good power reserve. High-quality high-pass and low-pass filters, confidently balance the sound, but do not work well enough at high volumes. The amplifier has high-level inputs, which allows you to adapt it to almost any radio. For its price, it produces a good sound, but it heats up a lot at high volumes. If you are not too picky about the quality and volume of sound, this budget option is well worth considering.

Features
900 21 Bass boost mode
Manufacturer Edge, China
Number of channels 4
Class AB
Power 4×150 W (4 Ohm) 4×200 W (2 Ohm) 2×400 W (bridged)
Playback frequency 20 – 20000 Hz
THD 0.01%
Bass Boost
Pros and cons

Compact; easy to install and configure; high power

Gets hot; there are not enough outputs on the case

How to choose a car audio amplifier

The choice of an amplifier depends on many factors, and it is worth approaching this issue in more detail. In order to purchase the “right” model, pay attention to the main points.

Purpose of the amplifier

Why do you need an amplifier? If you want better sound from two speakers, a two-channel amplifier will suffice. This is also suitable for connecting a subwoofer. If you have both front and rear speakers, there must be at least four amplifier outputs. This will allow you to consider connection combinations such as two speakers and a subwoofer.

Sound quality

Sound indicator will be the class of your device. Class AB amplifiers are the most optimal in this case. They produce almost undistorted sound at a moderate price of the device.

Power

The power of the amplifier does not always guarantee loudness and sound quality. Much depends on the speakers. High-quality speakers with less power will give the same volume level and minimize distortion. Conclusion – having good “sensitive” speakers, you can get by with a lower power amplifier.

Availability of inputs and outputs

In order to connect an amplifier even to a radio that does not have linear outputs, you need an amplifier with high-level inputs. If the device has “tulip” connectors, it will be much easier to assemble the speaker system.

Additional features

The wider the frequency range of the amplifier, the better the sound quality. The coefficient of non-linear distortion (THD) must be less than 1%. The optimal signal-to-noise ratio is at least 75 dB, and preferably 95 dB, as in high-quality equipment.

Protection

Pay attention to whether the amplifier has protection against overheating, short circuit and overload. Fuses are a must. Otherwise, you will have to install an external one.

Reviews of experts on car audio amplifiers

Andrey Kachura, car audio sales and installation specialist:

— Today, almost all cars are equipped with factory audio systems. By installing them, the manufacturer implies that the owner will do sound tuning. That is why such systems are low-power and the sound quality leaves much to be desired. If you do not plan to change the head unit or speakers, connecting an amplifier will be the best way out of this situation. The device will make the sound of your system louder and improve the quality of the signal. In addition, it will allow you to connect additional acoustics and a subwoofer. Which amplifier to buy depends on your wishes and requirements for sound quality.

Popular Questions and Answers

To summarize, the most frequently asked questions about car amplifiers should be answered.

What is the difference between class A, AB and D amplifiers?

Class A amplifiers will give you the purest sound, but at the cost of only 20-30% efficiency. The price of such amplifiers is much higher and they will suit the most demanding connoisseurs of sound.

Class AB is universal. Slightly losing in sound quality, such devices have a lot of power. Class D amplifiers are state-of-the-art digital sound processing devices. With high efficiency, they provide high-quality sound.

Which amplifier manufacturer should I choose?

Manufacturer’s reputation plays a big role. The most popular are Sony, Pioneer, Alpine, Hertz, Ural, Blaupunkt, Kenwood, Swat, JBL, EDGE and some others. There are many other amplifier manufacturers out there. Before buying equipment, study the reviews of motorists or contact a specialist – this will help you make the right choice.

Do you have to use the same brand of speaker and amplifier?

This is not necessary at all. When choosing an amplifier, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of your acoustics, its compatibility in terms of parameters and the total number of connected devices.

How to choose a car sound amplifier

Favorite music, radio broadcasts – that’s what helps to cope with road boredom. Most motorists pay great attention to the sound system in the cabin. Some are not satisfied with the capabilities of the head unit, others have little volume margin, others do not like the audio environment. A car audio amplifier can solve all problems. This is a separate device connected to the on-board network. Amplifiers for car acoustics are able to work with powerful subwoofers, operate with two, four or more channels.

Table of Contents

Voltage: Debunking the Myths

If we consider the average amplifier for car speakers, its supply voltage is standard 12V. But in some sources of information that are not completely honest, you can find data that this or that device works with 24V. In practice, this means the following:

  • in the voltage conversion circuit, the power amplifier has a capacitor;
  • when a small input signal is received, the system operates normally;
  • at the moments when the audio sine wave rises above the set value, the amplifier starts to be additionally powered by the capacitor;
  • the supply voltage is doubled (24 volts), which allows more power to be output.

A similar process must be considered if you want to choose a car amplifier with a low price and declared huge numbers of output watts. This means that the device is only capable of short bursts of volume . It cannot constantly produce the power indicated on advertising stickers. The honest possibilities that a compact monoblock amplifier or another model is capable of are limited by the parameters of the car’s on-board network.

How to immediately delineate the segment of acceptable devices

There are a huge number of car amplifier offers on the market today. Models are distinguished by many parameters in which the average buyer can get confused. To choose the right power amplifier, you should consider the requirements for your sound system. What do you want to get, maximum volume or excellent sound quality?

There are other parameters that you need to consider when connecting a particular speaker. The first thing to choose is the sound quality of the . It is quite simple to determine it from the documentation for the model. Today, consumers are offered amplifiers of several main categories, with different control schemes for opening transistors.

  1. Category A . Considered an acceptable choice for audiophiles. The amplifier works with an analog signal, while showing a rather weak efficiency. The output power is low, but the sound quality is beyond praise. Even an inexpensive class A mini amplifier will show an almost complete absence of signal distortion.
  2. Category B . This amplifier works with analog audio. Transistor on-opening control technology reduces quiescent currents and achieves greater efficiency and output power than class A. However, signal quality is sacrificed. Distortions are present, but for the average listener they cannot be called critical or noticeable.
  3. Category AB . It uses a hybrid control principle. Thanks to this, it is possible to obtain acceptable efficiency and power, low distortion.
  4. Category H . These are the most common systems. They will never enter the top car amplifiers, but they are massively found in head units, head units. Class H models use the system of short-term doubling of the supply voltage already described above to surge the output power. Therefore, they are often installed in circuits for an active type subwoofer.
  5. Category D . Such amplifiers are called digital. In practice, this is not the case. The signal is simply converted using pulse-width modulation technology. Transistors operate in key mode. Therefore, the amplifier has the highest possible efficiency and output power. At the same time, the level of signal distortion is high even for the average listener. The upper frequency range is also limited. Audiophile such sound quality will bring to hysterics.

There are also various modifications of certain categories. For example, AB + offers a mixed type of key opening with a transistor control technique close to class A, good sound quality, acceptable efficiency. There are also solutions for audiophiles. The Super A amplifier is a system where the transistors never turn off, even at rest. With such a control scheme, distortions of small levels of the input signal are neutralized, and non-linearities that occur during the opening of the key disappear.

Number of channels

Each driver has his own requirements for the interior audio system. For some, two rear speakers are enough. Others want to surround themselves with sound from all sides. We must not forget about lovers of powerful bass and maximum volume. It depends on such desires how many channels the amplifier will have in the car.

2 channels

Two-channel amplifier shows maximum sales. These are pretty simple devices. Two main speakers are connected to them, or a 2-channel amplifier is used as a signal source for a subwoofer. This requires a model that supports bridge switching mode to increase output power. If the parameters of the device allow you to directly connect a powerful subwoofer, a two-channel can feed a pair of low-frequency speakers at the same time.

3 channels

The popularity of this solution among consumers is steadily declining. The general scheme of connecting two loudspeakers and a subwoofer is inefficient. The system is either not able to swing the low-frequency speaker, or forces you to buy powerful speakers.

4 channels

The quad amplifier is very popular as a fairly versatile solution for car interiors. You can connect to 2 speakers and a powerful subwoofer using a bridge connection of two outputs. The 4-channel amplifier is able to enliven two woofers at once, which fans of rich bass like.

An amplifier of this class can be used classically. In this case 4 channels are used by the to connect the speakers. To power the subwoofer, a two-channel is bought, or the woofer is not used, rich bass is created by the broadband speakers of the speakers.

5 channels

The 5 channel unit is an inexpensive alternative for those who want a quad speaker and subwoofer without buying two amplifiers. The system in single device format is compact. However, installing a subwoofer with high power on a five-channel will not work.

The 6-channel amplifier is not very popular. Its possibilities are simply redundant. The only application model looks like connecting four speakers and a subwoofer in a bridge circuit. However, a 6-channel model is significantly more expensive than a combination of four and two-channel amplifiers.

Main and additional features

When choosing a car amplifier, the buyer always pays attention to the output power. There are several basic techniques that allow you to match the parameters of the acoustics and the signal source, as well as provide them with normal modes of trouble-free operation.

Important! Amplifier power is indicated in Watts, can be nominal RMS and peak PMPO. When choosing a model for your car, in no case should you focus on the latter. It means only a short burst of power and cannot be sustained for a long time. In order for the sound system to work in normal fail-safe modes, the RMS figure must appear in its calculations.

Responsible manufacturers provide actual field test data in the passports of their amplifiers. In some cases, a certificate is even attached to the device, which indicates the serial number and brand of the device with which the test was carried out. After the scope of the main parameter, power, is determined, it is worth moving on to considering the additional capabilities of the amplifier.

Crossovers

Crossovers can be called quality filters . They will allow you to adjust the sound ranges for low-frequency, conventional speakers, tweeters. Good amplifiers offer manual adjustment of the cutoff frequencies. There is also a multiplication system that allows you to make per-channel amplification and completely get rid of external crossovers. Higher-end models offer the ability to change the rolloff in dB.

Bass Boost and others

Grand Bass, Super Bass, Bast Boost mean one thing. The amplifier is able to cut off the frequency band and separately process the signal in this range. This is very good if you want to get really rich bass. Good amplifiers allow you to adjust the frequency band manually, as well as independently set the degree of signal boost.

High Input

The presence of such an input on the amplifier means that it can be connected directly to the speaker output of the head unit. This is not an ideal method for receiving a signal. The input of the amplifier will receive all the distortion and interference generated by the not always high-quality amplifier of the head unit. But if there is no other option, High Level Input can become a much needed option.

Bridge

A device that supports the bridge circuit is capable of supplying double the power from a pair of outputs to a single playback device. The presence of the Bridge option is indicated in the documentation for the amplifier. Also on the terminals there is an icon in the form of brackets. On four or more channel devices, you can determine which outputs support bridging.

Tip! This option is extremely useful if you want to use a powerful subwoofer and at the same time save on buying an amplifier.

Line Input

Almost all car amplifiers have this option. This is low power signal main input . It is to it that you need to attach a playback device to get sound with minimal distortion.

Fader

Almost all three or more channel amplifiers are equipped with a fader today. The task of this block is to balance the signal level between individual playback devices . With the help of a fader, it is easy to adjust the sound image in the cabin that is optimal for the owner, balance the front and rear speakers, tweeters.

Best value for money

It’s unreasonable to include only products that have good technical performance in the rating of car audio amplifiers. The main factor is always consumer opinion . Today, music lovers on four wheels are informed, they find information in thematic communities and actively share their experience in using certain models. The top car audio amplifiers include only those devices that show the optimal ratio of functionality, sound quality, cost and ease of installation and configuration.

5. Pioneer GM-A3602

Opens the list of the best models from a well-known and popular brand. The amplifier is capable of delivering 400 watts into a 4 ohm load and a bridged circuit. Using 2 ohm speakers, you can get 200 watts per channel. The model is equipped with built-in crossovers for manual adjustment of pass frequencies.

The GM-A3602 can connect to non-standard signal sources. The recognition system will automatically and correctly set the operating mode. The claimed dynamic range exceeds that of other brands in the same price range.

  • compact;
  • good signal-to-noise ratio;
  • crossovers;
  • The

  • supports bridging.
  • cuts frequencies;
  • signal distortion;
  • gets extremely hot when a 2 ohm load is connected;
  • power is low for today’s subwoofers.

Pioneer GM-A3602 on Yandex Market

4. Blaupunkt GTA-270

The next participant in the rating is a model for lovers of high-quality sound. This amplifier belongs to class AB and is designed to connect the main speakers. Built-in crossovers allow for fine tuning of frequency bands. In addition, there is a separate infra-low range filter.

The model will perform well even with full range speakers thanks to the Bass Boost function. When connected to a 2 ohm load, the system will provide 200 watts of power to each of the two channels.

  • quality sound;
  • acceptable power for the main speakers;
  • excellent sound picture;
  • does not overheat, is conveniently placed and connected.
  • bridging is not supported;
  • insufficient parameters for subwoofer;
  • no bass boost;
  • power 70W for each channel.

Blaupunkt GTA-270 on Yandex Market

3. ACV MX-4.80

This four-channel amplifier will appeal to people who are not interested in setting loudness records. With a harmonic coefficient of 0.15%, device provides very high quality sound. Supports channel-bridged subwoofer with output power up to 130W.

4 x 80W outputs available for loudspeakers. There is a crossover to separate the high and infra-low frequency range. bass boost function is provided. The system is protected from short circuit, overload up to 30A fuse current, overheating.

  • price;
  • sound quality;
  • convenient terminals and wiring diagram;
  • ventilation system (forced cooling).
  • not enough power for big subs;
  • no crossover for low frequencies;
  • notes on the size of the input for power wires;
  • does not have bass boost control.

ACV MX-4.80 on Yandex Market

2. Hertz HCP 4D

This class D amplifier collects a confident 5 points customer rating. Despite the sound distortion caused by the type of electronic circuits, the model satisfies the needs of many customers . With bridging support, 130 watts of power is provided for the subwoofer. The speakers can operate on four channels of 75 watts.

The system shows an excellent signal to noise ratio of 100 dB. Two crossovers for LF, HF are offered. There are Bass Boost bass boost functions. The amplifier is protected from short circuits and overloads, there is a warning indicator about a critical situation.

  • quality assembly;
  • compact, easy to install;
  • many settings;
  • does not overheat.