A Complete Buying Guide for the Best Car Amplifier 2018

best car amplifier

Installing a car amplifier is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to enhance the sound quality of your car audio system. Its main goal is to boost the signal that the head unit puts out, which can significantly improve the overall listening experience in your car. Some of you might think that the only purpose of having a car amplifier is for those who want to be heard from a distance but this review will say otherwise.

In this post, we will be discussing everything you need to know before you buy your car an amplifier. We have provided you with the top 7 picks for the best car amplifier, along with each product’s pros and cons. We will also be talking about its benefits, its different types, and how to choose a good unit for your car. Read on if you want to know more about car amplifiers.

Top Picks for the Best Car Amplifier

In this section, we are going to discuss the top 7 picks for the best car amplifiers. A careful evaluation of each product’s key features, pros, and cons is recommended for you to be able to narrow down your choices into choosing the best one. Here is a summary of what you can expect in the products presented in the following reviews:

Product NameItem Weightwatts powerOur Rating
Crown Audio XLS1502 Power
Amplifier

best truck gps
8.6 pounds5254.95/5
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D
Amplifier

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6.3 pounds5004.9/5
Rockford Fosgate Prime
Amplifier

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7.12 pounds12004.8/5
JL Audio JX1000/1D Car
Amplifier

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4.41 pounds10004.6/5
Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4
Punch BRT Amplifier

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3.04 pounds3004.3/5
Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX1350.1D
Car Amplifier

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7 pounds13004.3/5
BOSS Audio R2400D Riot
Car Amplifier

best truck gps
6.3 pounds24004.3/5

1. Crown Audio XLS1502 Two-channel, 525W at 4Ω Power Amplifier

Crown Audio XLS1502 Power AmplifierWith more than 67 years of experience in providing audio amplification, Crown Audio is an industry leader in amplified sound for cinema venues, touring rigs, commercial audio, installed sites, and portable PA systems. With its offering, the XLS1502 Power Amplifier, the brand is continually raising the bar with its full packed features.

This unit is a class D amplifier that utilizes the brand’s signature ultra-efficient Drive Core technology, which has significantly higher DSP capabilities. This would mean that there is more control and band pass filter per channel. It only weighs less than 11 pounds and it has increased lighting functionality, which you can turn off in dark venues to reduce distraction.

Another great feature of the Crown Audio XLS1502 Power Amplifier is that it allows you to select input sensitivity: 1.4 VRMS and .775V RMS; thus, letting you drive the amplifier at full power. You can also put this unit on sleep mode after a predetermined time without requiring you to press any button.

Pros:

  • Utilizes the brand’s patented Drive Core technology
  • Features an LCD screen with MENU, PREVIOUS, and NEXT buttons
  • Comes with a sleep mode function

Cons:

  • Might not be suitable for home theater systems
  • Some users found an incomplete set upon arrival of the product

2. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate R500X1D AmplifierThe Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Car Amplifier is a high-quality Mono D amplifier, which is rated at 500-Watt x 1 channel @ 2 Ohms RMS. It features a MOSFET power supply, muted turn on function, short circuit and over current protection, high level inputs, cast aluminum heatsink with stealth top mounted control panel, RCA pass through outputs, and power supply thermal sensor. It is also CEA-2006 compliant and includes a remote bass control.

Another great feature of the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Car Amplifier is that it has an onboard 12dB/octave LP, HP, and AP crossover, as well as infrasonic filter. This car amplifier delivers outstanding performance in such a small package. With the features presented above, you sure will have the best listening experience in your vehicle.

Pros:

  • Comes with an onboard 12dB/octave LP, HP, and AP crossover
  • Includes a cast aluminum heatsink with stealth top mounted control panel
  • Comes with a wired remote

Cons:

  • Might overheat in a few minutes
  • Some had issues with the involuntary turning on and off of the amplifier

3. Rockford Fosgate Prime 1,200-Watt Class-D 1-Channel Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate Prime AmplifierAnother great product from Rockford Fosgate is the Prime 1,200-Watt Class D Amplifier. It is every bit as good as the previously discussed product but with very few differences. This car amplifier features a tri-stage protection cover that prevents over currents and short circuits. It also comes with an onboard PEQ or punch equalization with 18 dB of boost at 45Hz.

The Rockford Fosgate Prime 1,200-Watt Class D Amplifier also features variable crossover of 12 dB/octave slopes. As with the R500X1D, this unit also is equipped with infrasonic filter and an optional remote for punch equalization.

Pros:

  • Comes with a tri-stage protection cover
  • Features an onboard PEQ with 18dB boost
  • Equipped with an infrasonic filter

Cons:

  • Did not last long for some buyers
  • Might go to protective mode unexpectedly

4. JL Audio JX1000/1D 1000 Watt RMS Monoblock Class D Car Amplifier

JL Audio JX1000/1D Car AmplifierJL Audio is considered one of the premium brands of car audio systems and the JX series is the most popular, as it offers both great value for money, as well as superior performance in one package. This car amplifier provides 500 RMS at 4 Ohms, 750 RMS at 3 Ohms, and 1000 RMS at 2 Ohms, all with variable bass boosts rated at 45 Hz. In addition, it features a soft start turn on, which prevents the annoying clicking and popping sound.

With its dimensions, it is compact and can be mounted almost anywhere inside your vehicle. It is a monoblock amplifier, but this product comes with multiple channels if you need it. To add, it also works great with high-powered subwoofers.

Pros:

  • Works great with subwoofers
  • Provides 500 RMS at 4 Ohms, 750 RMS at 3 Ohms, and 1000 RMS at 2 Ohms
  • Features a soft start turn on

Cons:

  • May break after a few months
  • May shut off after every 5 minutes

5. Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4 Punch BRT 300-Watt Ultra Compact 4-Channel Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4 Punch BRT AmplifierAnother Rockford Fosgate product on this list of the best car amplifier is the PBR300X4 Car Amplifier. It is a full-range 4-channel amplifier that is specifically designed for stereo rear and front systems while requiring only little space. It utilizes the Boosted Rail Technology, which provides an ultra-efficient design.

It will be able to generate 300 watts of power and the amplifier features a variable hi-level DC offset turn-on circuit, which allows an easy installation into any OEM system. It also has selectable 80Hz LP, AP, and HP filter at 12dB/octave. With these features, it sure works great on motorcycles and other recreational vehicles. Lastly, the brand offers a limited 1 year warranty.

Pros:

  • Compact and only requires little space for installation
  • Can generate 300 watts of power
  • Easy to install

Cons:

  • Might drain the battery of bikes
  • Prone to overheating

6. Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX1350.1D Car Audio Amplifier

Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX1350.1D Car AmplifierThe Hifonics Zeuz Elite 1300 Watt is a Class D mono subwoofer car amplifier and features the following: Hifonics D-Class Sub Frequency Design, RMS Ratings of 425 watts x 1 channel at 4 Ohms, 650 watts x 1 channel at 2 Ohms, and 1300 watts x 1 channel at 1 Ohm, a Simpatico coil design and MOSFET power supply.

Other great features include the LED power and protect indicators, wired remote bass level control, variable bass boost of 0 to +12 dB at 45 Hz, blue illuminated Hifonics badge, soft start sound, mono channel operation, preamp RCA outputs, 4-way system protection, dual 12-gauge speaker terminals, silver nickel-plated RCA level inputs and screw terminals.

Input sensitivity is rated at 200mV-6V variable level, variable low-pass filter is at 30 to 250 Hz at 24 dB/octave, subsonic filter of 15 to 35 Hz, damping factor of less than 200, frequency response of 15 to 250 Hz, subsonic filter of 15 to 35 Hz, and frequency response of 15 to 250 Hz.

Pros:

  • Comes with a remote bass level control
  • Equipped with 4-way system protection
  • Constructed with heavy-duty aluminum alloy vented heatsink

Cons:

  • Did not last long for some buyers
  • Might blow up due to overheating

7. BOSS Audio R2400D Riot 2400 Watt, 1, 2, 4 Ohm Stable Class D Monoblock Car Amplifier

BOSS Audio R2400D Riot Car AmplifierWith the BOSS Audio R2400D Car Amplifier, you will be able to bump up your car’s bass. It has 2400 watts maximum power and MOSFET power supply. You will also be able to customize the sound with variable low-pass crossover, subsonic filter, remote subwoofer control, and bass boost.

Another great feature of the BOSS Audio R2400D Car Amplifier is that you can use it with another R2400D amplifier to double its performance. In addition, amplifiers in the Riot series is ideal for car audio beginners, who are looking to add bass and improved sound and performance to their car audio systems.

Every purchase of the Boss Audio R2400D Car Amplifier comes with a remote subwoofer control with cable, a warranty card, and a manual.

Pros:

  • Sound is customizable with the variable low-pass crossover, subsonic filter, among others
  • Comes with a remote subwoofer control
  • Maximum power is 2400 watts at 1 Ohm

Cons:

  • May stop working only after a few months
  • Poorly built according to some buyers

Why Do You Need a Car Amplifier?

best car amplifier

Amplifiers play an important role if you are looking for better sound volume and quality for your car. A powerful amplifier can significantly improve the entire audio system while allowing it to generate crystal clear and detailed sounds. With this, here are some of the benefits of adding an amplifier to your car’s audio system.

Better Sound Quality: If you are not yet aware, underpowered speakers are considered as one of the main reasons why your audio system has a low sound quality. In addition, if you have power-needy speakers combined with a factory-installed head unit is not such a great idea either. Therefore, having an amplifier built into the head unit is ideal because external amplifiers is equipped with enough power juice. This would ultimately mean that your music will have a cleaner sound and is more defined at all volume levels.

Enough Power for Speakers: A factory-produced head unit amplifier might not work well with your aftermarket speakers, as most of them are more powerful and needs more energy to obtain the maximum performance.

Powering a Subwoofer: A separate amplifier will be able to address the issue of subwoofers, which require more power than the head unit itself.

Types of Car Amplifiers

best car amplifier

Knowing how many channels are required is the first thing that you must do when choosing an amplifier. You will find in this section are the different types of amplifiers:

Mono-channel Car Amplifiers: Like the name suggests, a mono-channel car amplifier is an amplifier with a single channel. This type of amplifier is specifically designed to give power to a subwoofer. This would come in handy if you are building your own car stereo system and if the bass is high.

Two-channel Car Amplifiers: These amplifiers have two distinct channels and are generally used to power two subwoofers or speakers. This type of car amplifier is ideal for those with vehicles that come with only front door speakers.

Three-channel Car Amplifiers: These amplifiers combine two amplifiers in one. Normally, classes AB are combined with class D to produce the best sound. This type of car amplifier is perfect for vehicles with very limited space for a secondary amplifier.

Four-channel Car Amplifiers – These amplifiers can be configured in various way, which makes it flexible and versatile. For instance, this type of amplifier can be used to power 4 speakers, or a subwoofer and two speakers.

Five-channel Car Amplifiers – These amplifiers are somewhat like the three-channel car amplifiers, as they combine two amplifiers in one. Normally, a mono-channel amplifier is used to power a subwoofer, while a separately circuited four-channel amplifier will power up the front and rear deck speakers.

Six-channel Car Amplifiers – These amplifiers can power up 6 speakers at once, or four speakers and a subwoofer. This type of amplifier is not considered common and are found particularly in large SUVs.

How to Choose a Car Amplifier

best car amplifier

As mentioned in the earlier sections, choosing the best car amplifier will significantly improve your car’s audio system. Your subwoofers and speakers alone will not be able to perform up to their maximum capabilities without an ample power supply provided by the amplifiers. These are the various factors that you must take into consideration when choosing a car amplifier:

Amplifier Class; The classes refers to the internal design and electronic circuitry and they are divided into four:

Class A: Ideal for high sound quality, these amplifiers offer an outstanding high-frequency sound reproduction but is energy inefficient. To add, they normally heat up during operation.

Class B: With significant improvements from the previously discussed amplifier class, the Class B amplifiers are energy efficient and they have low operating temperatures. However, you may experience some sound distortion especially at high frequencies.

Class AB: As the name implies, class AB amplifiers combine the benefits of both A and B amplifiers. These amplifiers provide an excellent high-frequency sound reproduction and are energy efficient. They also have low operating temperatures but may have a slightly lower peak performance compared to class A car amplifiers.

Class D: Class D amplifiers offer an excellent low-frequency sound reproduction. They are also energy efficient and has low operating temperatures. However, you may experience very poor high-frequency sound reproduction. They may be a lot different from the other amplifiers, as they use output transistors to control power distribution.

Bass Boost: Bass boost increases low-frequency sound reproduction in dB increments, for example, 0 to 12 dB at 45Hz. It is a type of electronic circuitry that is built into some of the amplifiers. It should be noted, however, that if you choose to boost the bass, it is highly recommended that you readjust the amplifier’s gain to prevent the amplifier from distorting and clipping.

Car Amplifier Filters: Filters are used in amplifiers to avoid sound distortion. They usually come with two types known as low-pass and high-pass filters.

Low Pass Filters: These filters send low-frequency tones to your subwoofers and they keep them from producing highs.

High Pass Filters: These filters, on the other hand, send high-frequency tones to the tweeters, preventing them from reproducing low tones.

Car Amplifier Inputs: These transmit signal from the head unit onto the car’s amplifier. A lot of aftermarket head units come with RCA preamp outputs, which would allow you to directly connect the receiver to the amplifier. It is also noteworthy that some factory-produced head units do not come with preamp outputs, which would mean that you will not be able to directly connect the amplifier to the head unit.

RMS Power: If you are not yet familiar, RMS or root mean square, refers to the amount of continuous power that an amplifier can produce. When choosing a car amplifier, you might notice that the brand brags about the peak power ratings of their amplifiers. However, these are not accurate indicators that you should take into consideration. This information only tells you the maximum wattage the amplifier can provide.

Conclusion

Choosing the best car amplifier will significantly enhance the overall quality of your car’s stereo system. This is very important, especially if you like listening to music while you are on the road. With the reviews presented above, you should be able to narrow down your choices into choosing the best one. To add, frequently asked questions such as the benefits, the types, as well as the factors you must consider, are included for you to be able to make a better buying decision.

 

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