As a car owner, you know that your music plays an important role in the driving experience. To heighten the sound quality and to escape the typical stock vehicle sound, you can set up your own custom audio system. In that case, car audio amplifiers are essential. Regardless of how you like your music — soft and mellow or booming with bass — car amplifiers are a must. They will completely alter the sound of the music by making it clearer, with instruments more distinguished, and sounds more detailed. But before you leap at ads screaming “car speakers for sale!” you need to know what they can do for you. Here’s a comprehensive guide, Car Audio Amplifiers 101, to help you understand your choices and meet them to your needs.

What is a Car Audio Amplifier?

The car amplifier is commonly referred to as an “amp.” It is an electronic device that can increase the power of a signal, voltage, or current. An amplifier works by accepting power from a source and modulating its output to match the input. However, the output has a larger amplitude. Car audio amplifiers receive a signal from your car’s main unit and produce enough output to drive your car’s woofers. You’ll also find external car speakers for sale that don’t have the space limitations of their built-into-the-dashboard counterparts. A good quality amplifier, whether internal or external, will provide you with cleaner, more defined sound and at every volume level. This makes music more vibrant and satisfying.

Types of Car Amplifiers

Car amplifiers are classified mainly by channels.

Mono Amplifiers

Mono amplifiers have only one channel and usually generate more power than the multi-channel car audio amplifiers. Mono-channel amplifiers, or Class D amplifiers, process sound differently than other amps. They use multiple transistors to create lots of crossover distortion. That signal is then filtered before reaching the speakers. Mono amplifiers suffer less power loss and generate less heat. This makes them great for car subwoofers.

Two-channel amplifiers

You’ll find these car speakers for sale with two channels, enough to power two speakers. They are typically categorized as Class A or AB and can power two subwoofers. They can also be used to bridge more power to one subwoofer.

Three-channel amplifiers

Three-channel amplifiers are equivalent to two amplifiers in one casing. Classes AB and D are built into one amp that can run on either one or two channels. Three-channel amps are an excellent option for compact cars that do not have space for another subwoofer.

Four-channel amplifiers

These are multi-channel, versatile amplifiers capable of powering your car’s entire music system. They serve as superior car audio amplifiers for vehicles that do not have a rear speaker and only subwoofers.

Factors to Consider While Selecting a Suitable Car Amplifier

A variety of factors come into play when one wants to buy car audio amplifiers online. Some of those factors follow.

Wattage and Power Rating

Car audio amplifiers are rated in different ways by their manufacturers. Some are rated by peak power, while others use Root Mean Square (RMS). It is better if you try to match your new system based on its RMS wattage power, starting with your selected amplifier. The RMS power rating should be sufficient to provide power to your car’s entire speaker system. You should also measure the impedance or resistance rate (Ohms). Car audio amplifiers are made with all kinds of different impedance measurements. The lower the Ohms, the more wattage it will receive from the amp.

Wiring and Installation Requirements

Once you have found car speakers on sale that you wish to purchase, you’ll need to know about their wiring and installation. First, when you’re ready to buy car audio amplifiers online, make sure to check whether they come with their own wiring kits or if you have to buy them from a different source. Also, know what they’re made of – for instance, copper wire is ideal because it gives the least resistance. When installing your amplifier, make sure you have the proper electrical points fitted to avoid any power shortage or build-up of excess current. The most common ways to install an amplifier are to build it into the dashboard, place it under the seats, or wire it through the trunk.

Equalizers

You cannot buy a car audio amplifier without buying an equalizer. The equalizer is required to tune the sound of car’s audio system by providing various tone options. These tones are not covered by the standard bass, mid-range or treble controls in the sound system. Car owners can choose to install their equalizer at the dashboard or, if it’s a bigger one, then with the amplifier itself.

Conclusion

A car audio amplifier is the heart of a car’s audio system. Once you have selected the correct amp and installed it correctly, your in-the-car music experience will be completely transformed. (Choose an equalizer that matches your amp by trying one with your amp before you buy it, or selecting one that is made to go with your specific amp.) After all your components are in place, your love for driving will soar because a quality music system can increase the enjoyment of being in a car tenfold.