All car stereos contain an amplifier, which boosts the signal from the radio, CD player, or other inputs, and powers the car’s speakers. While the quality of factory-installed amplifiers has improved, there are many cases in which installing an external car amplifier, or power amp, is necessary or desirable. Drivers who upgrade their sound system by adding a subwoofer or upgrading speakers often need to install an external amp to power these improvements.
Amplifiers are available in a number of different configurations, and the right number of channels will depend on how many speakers you have in your sound system. Amps are highly specific and technical pieces of equipment, and sorting through specifications and terminology can be confusing. Installing an external amp should not be undertaken lightly, as improper or inadequate wiring can damage other parts of the car or overload existing power systems.
Units that have two, four, or six channels are more versatile. A 2-channel amp can be used to power two woofers, two coaxial speakers, or you can bridge it to run a single sub. use it to power two sets of coaxial speakers. If you just want to add a subwoofer and provide more power to your rear full range speakers, then a 4-channel amp will probably do the job.
If you want to get the best sound out of your car stereo, it’s vital that you don’t under power your speakers. That’s why a lot of people pick out speakers first and then find an amp that has enough juice to power them. If you’re just working with your factory speakers, you’ll still want to find the RMS value and then choose an amp that’s capable of putting out out at least 75 to 150 percent of that number.
Car amplifiers are sold at highly varying price points. Even two amps that, for example, have the same wattage and channels, might be sold at radically different prices. While everyone loves a bargain, a low-quality amp can tarnish an otherwise outstanding system. Cars also produce a lot of vibration and shock, so choosing durable, high-quality equipment can pay off in the long run. Choose amps from well-known brands, like those sold at Safe and Sound Systems Ltd.