Amplifiers can be a great addition to your car audio system. If you’re not getting the sound quality or volume you expected, or you want to add a subwoofer or two, the right amp will make a world of difference.
As with anything else, there are always a few things to consider when shopping for an amp to add to your car audio system.
Size and Location
Where would you like the amplifier to be installed? You’ll need to be sure that it will fit. Most of the time, amps can easily be installed in the trunk of your car, where it’s hidden from prying eyes.
If you drive a truck or SUV, hiding your amp can be a little trickier. However, these days, many manufacturers make smaller footprint amps to fit in today’s tight spaces
Power is important for a solid clean sound. But, many cheap brands will show misleading power ratings to attempt to fool people into thinking an amplifier produces more than it does. Every amplifier will have a “peak power” rating, but there will also be a “RMS power” rating, typically somewhere on the box in small print. This is the actual power you can expect to continuously see from the amp.
To be safe, you’ll usually want more power from your amp than your speakers are rated for. This way you don’t overheat or clip the amp, as speakers are designed to perform best with more power available. You’re likely to damage you speakers if you don’t have enough power, due to overworking them and burning the voice coil.
For example, if you’re running your amp to a Kicker sub rated at 300 watts, then a Kicker Amp with 600 watts of power would be a good amp to use, as you can always turn the amp down, and the extra power is there if you want to add a second subwoofer.
Getting the right wiring kit is another very important part of getting an amplifier. You want to make sure to get a kit that is made of oxygen-free copper (OFC), versus copper clad aluminum (CCA),as this will provide a better flow of power from your battery to your amp.
Also, watch the wire gauge – 8 gauge is great for smaller, lower power amplifiers, but for more powerful amps, go with 4 gauge or bigger. Again, it’s about the best flow of power from battery to amp, if you’re not getting the current power properly flowing thru the wire, you aren’t getting you true available wattage. Also, the longer the wire, the more current lost, so the biggest gauge rating is always better.
Are you going to have this amplifier power subwoofers or your speaker system? If you’re looking to power a subwoofer, then a more powerful mono or two-channel amplifier like the Kenwood Excelon XR1000 would work beautifully.
But if you want to power your car’s speakers, then a Jensen Power400X4 4-Channel Amplifier can easily handle the job. Another option is a five-channel amplifier that can power your speakers and a subwoofer, like the Alpine MRV-V500.
Whatever your custom car audio needs are, stop by any of our Audio Express locations and talk to one of our trained Car Audio Professionals about the best amplifier setup for your car. We’ll get you set up with the best package and install your new amplifier with the lowest rates available.