Audio Express Amplifier Buyers Guide

Understanding Amplifiers: A Mini Buyer’s Guide for Amplifiers

If you’re not getting the sound you want out of your speakers, or you’re thinking about adding subwoofers to add some better sound to your system, you should consider adding an amplifier to your system.

What an amplifier does

An amplifier increases the power of the audio signal that travels from your receiver to your speakers or subwoofers by increasing the wattage output.

Car stereo receivers are limited as to the strength of signal they can send to your speakers, typically insufficient power resulting in poor sound. An amplifier takes that signal in, increases its power and then sends the amplified signal to your speakers, resulting in a crisper, cleaner, more powerful sound.

Types of amplifiers

Audio Express Amplifier Buyers Guide

Amplifiers come in a variety of types. Mono amps have a single channel, meaning they can only increase power to a single type of speaker, usally subwoofers. Mono amplifiers are standard in amp and sub combos, like the Kicker 11HSB Compact Amp and Sub enclosure. For your regular car speakers, a four-channel amplifier will provide power to all of your car’s speakers. A five-channel amplifier will power your car’s four speakers as well as a subwoofer.

Power and heat

Audio Express Amplifier Buyers Guide

Amplifiers should be installed by a professional for best results. They require a direct connection to your car’s battery for power, and a professional can install the power cable so it is perfectly hidden inside your vehicle. Also, some amplifiers produce an amount of heat and need to be installed in a well ventilated location in your vehicle for best performance and to keep them from shutting off in thermal protection mode.

What the ideal amplifier includes

Audio Express Amplifier Buyers Guide

The ideal amplifier should have a high enough power output (wattage) to power the speakers or subwoofers you have in your vehicle, without under or overpowering them. A gain control allows you to match the RCA signal voltage coming in from your stereo, and balance it to the output from the amplifier to your speakers. A Gain IS NOT a volume control, and not using it or setting it correctly typically results in blown woofers or severely shortened speaker life. And finally, the ideal amplifier will be small enough to easily fit in your vehicle, while still providing the output you need.

Why you should add an amplifier to your car

Audio Express Amplifier Buyers Guide

If you are thinking about adding a subwoofer, like this Alpine subwoofer, then you will need an amp because your car stereo does not have the ability to power the subwoofer on its own. Another reason to add a subwoofer is to improve the sound quality out of your current speakers, by allowing the woofer to handle the lower frequencies, letting your full range speakers play without the strain or distortion of trying to reproduce frequencies they are not meant to play.

Where Can I Find Quality Audio Components?

Audio Express Amplifier Buyers Guide

So stop by one of our convenient Audio Express and Quality Auto Sound locations and talk to one of our trained car audio professionals about which car amplifier is best for you. If you have more questions about amplifiers, feel free to contact us online. And remember, we offer the lowest rates available for professional installation. 

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