12 Best Car Amplifiers in 2017
Putting together a great audio system for your vehicle can be as simple as plugging in a new speaker or as difficult as rewiring half of your ride. Take it from us that is not an easy task. If you have installed enough audio equipment, you’ve been there. Needless to say, Amps are particularly tricky and not something you will want to tinker with unless you know what you are doing.
Finding the best car amplifier is a far easier task however as we have taken care of the tough part. We are not going to focus on how to install a car amp properly or how to keep yourself or your precious components from getting fried. Instead, we have compiled a list of 12 awesome amps for audiophiles that are guaranteed to raise your listening experience to a whole new level.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Car Amplifiers Comparison Chart
- Amplifier Buying Tips
- Speaker Style and Enclosure
- Multichannel vs. Single Channel
- Top 5 Best Car Amplifier Reviews
Top 12 Car Amplifiers Comparison Chart
|Design||Name||Crossover||Number of Channels||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier||Yes||1||4.8|
|2. Alpine PDX-V9, 5-Channel Extreme Power Density Digital Amplifier||Yes||5||4.7|
|3. CT Sounds AT-1400.1 Class D Monoblock Car Amplifier||No||1||4.7|
|4. Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch 4-Channel Amplifier||Yes||4||4.6|
|5. Pioneer GM-D8601 Class D Mono Amplifier with Wired Bass Boost Remote||Yes||1||4.5|
|6. AudioPipe APCL15001D High Power Mono 1500 Watt Max Class D Car Amplifier||LP||1||4.4|
|7. Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact 4 Channel Digital Amplifier||Yes||4||4.4|
|8. Hifonics ZRX2016.4 Zeus Car Audio Amplifier||Yes||4||4.4|
|9. Rockford R300X4 Prime 4-Channel Amplifier||Yes||4||4.4|
|10. NVX® True 1200 watt RMS Monoblock||LPF||Mono/Multi||4.3|
|11. BOSS AUDIO R2400D Riot 2400-Watt Monoblock||LPF||1||4.2|
|12. Polk Audio PA D4000.4 (PAD4000.4) 800W RMS PA D Series Class-D 4-Channel Car Amplifier||Multi||4||4.2|
Amplifier Buying Tips
You don’t have to be a hardcore audiophile to pick out the best car amplifier for your system. If you keep a few things in mind, you will have more than enough power to annoy your neighbors and impress your friends.
Before we proceed, do you already have your perfect set of speakers picked out? If so, you will need to know their wattage as that will be the deciding factor in choosing the best car amp. If you do not pick an amp with enough power, you are not going to get the most out of your system. On the other hand, too much power can create problems depending on your setup and overall quality of the amplifier itself. Whether you are powering a bass tube, box of subs or an entire range of speakers, you need to consider the wattage before anything else.
Speaker Style and Enclosure
What type of speakers do you have? Are they 15-inch dual-cone marvels or do you have a ported box built for bass? The type of enclosure you are using may play into the type of amp you want to buy. If your system takes up half your trunk, the amps may need a special compartment or rack.
Slim-line speakers are a perfect fit for folks that don not have much room to play with. These can be mounted under seats and a wide variety of positions. Bass tubes, truck boxes, and single sub setups all need power, so unless you are buying a powered sub, you will want to consider how much room actually you have left over for the amp.
Multichannel vs. Single Channel
If you are new to the world of audio equipment, the first thing you will want to do is think about those channels. Simply put, a Monoblock amp has a single channel which means you can only put out the sound to one speaker. These are perfect for systems smaller systems or a subwoofer that requires deep, heavy bass.
Multichannel Amps do what they say – provide current to multiple channels. If you want to drive an entire system, this is your best bet although you can bridge these amps to get increased output to a single channel. Again, this is a great choice for bass heads needing a boost while still wanting to power an entire system. Some amps will even have special channels built for those lows.
- Crossover – This has nothing to do with embarrassing an opponent on the court but will allow you to show them up in an audio battle. A crossover will take the signal from an amp and “split” it into different signals representing your mids, lows, and highs. Those signals can be sent to the appropriate places otherwise known as your subs, tweeters, and mids.
Some amplifiers have built-in crossovers while some of the cheaper models do not or have less than stellar ones. You can always opt for your own if you don’t dig the one that comes with the amp or if it needs an additional level of fine tuning.
- Speaker Level Inputs – Do you just love your factory head unit? Some of us do, as newer cars have some very nice setups. It is also never fun to tear into your dash unless you know what you are doing. That’s where Speaker-Level Inputs can step in to lend a hand. Basically, amps with this feature let you hook into your factory stereo system to give you a bump without popping a cone.
Top 5 Best Car Amplifier Reviews
Fosgates. That is a name that still means something in the audio world as consumers have been rocking out to the Punch lineup for over 20 years. We are going to focus on another series for the moment however with the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime.
Rockford’s Prime R500X1D amp comes in two different varieties with a Monoblock or Class D amp. The latter provides 300 watts across 1-channel at 4-Ohms or 500 watts at 2-Ohms. The Monoblock clocks in at 150 watts RMS at 4-Ohms or 250 RMS at 2-Ohms. Both have an onboard Punch EQ featuring a +18dB boost at 45Hz for a little extra thump. Not that you’ll need it with this powerful piece of tech.
While the models look the same, the Class D amp does have a few additional perks with a wired remote and Infrasonic filter for the onboard crossover. The crossover itself is of the LP/HP variety with 12dB/octave on the Mono and Class D amp. It is a great looking amp, and you will appreciate the control panel up top if you need to make quick adjustments on the fly.
While Fosgate’s amp is no slouch in the design department, it can’t hold a candle to the Alpine PDX-V9 Extreme Amp. This one does not even look like an amp at first glance as it resembles a media player that would look right at home in your living room. The backside tells a different tale, however.
On the back of the PDX-V9, you will find a wide array of inputs along with a couple of 40amp fuses and a slot for remote bass control. The side sports controls for the built-in crossover and allows you to adjust and tweak your tunes till your heart’s content. As for the power, you will get four channels of 100 watts RMS along with one 500 watt RMS channel for your sub. It is our top pick for a multi-channel amp, and if you have a large system, you will certainly appreciate its stackable nature as well as its style.
Now it is time to turn our attention to an amp that is a little more basic. The CT Sounds AT-1400.1 may look a little bland compared to our top two choices, but it is far more powerful than most amps on our list. This particular model is of the Monoblock variety, and at 1-Ohm and 12.8v it can kick out between 1400 and 2800 watts. You will cut that in half for a 2-ohms load while a 4-ohm setup is rated between 350 and 70 watts.
If you do not need that much power, you’ll be pleased to know the CT Sounds AT series is available in several configurations. The smallest model is the AT-60.4 which is a 4-channel with 160 watts max at 2-Ohms while the AT-1400.1D is their big bad Monoblock and our pick of the litter.
Rockford Fosgate is the only company to get two car amps in the upper echelons, and the Punch P600X4 carries a completely different style than Prime-based brethren. That is due in part to the fact it is a multichannel amplifier with 150 watts sent out to all four channels. It also sports a sweet 12dB/octave Butterworth crossover to go along with a Punch EQ featuring an 18dB bass boost at 45Hz.
Another perk of this car amp is the C.L.E.A.N. system. That stands for clipping calibrated level eliminated audible noise. In a nutshell, this ensures you don’t pop a cone or cause any damage as a series of LEDs will detect any clipping headed to the speakers. Still not impressed? Well, the stealth control setup or the RCA pass-thru outputs may change your mind. This model is available in 400 watts as well if you need a little less “Punch” in your system.
Rounding out our list of the best car amplifier for your vehicle is a beastly beauty from the minds at Pioneer. We say beastly as it is a little larger than some of the amps and due to its sheer power. While it is of the Monoblock variety, this Class D amp will produce a whopping 1,600 watts of max power. Continuous power is rated 800 watts at 1-Ohm, 500 watts at 2-Ohms or 300 watts at 4-Ohms.
Like most of the slicker car amplifiers on the market, the Pioneer GM-D8601 comes with a built-in crossover with a low pass filter that allows you to adjust the frequency from 40Hz to 240Hz. It is not the only element you can adjust however as there is a wired remote with bass adjustment as well. Speaker level inputs, RCA Outputs, and a nice 18dB bass boost are other functions to note.