Car Amplifiers

Most factory-provided car audio systems are all right for the average car user, but for the serious audiophiles, they leave a lot to be desired. A car audio system must deal with a lot of issues which normal household audio systems do not have to contend with. One of the most major problems they have to deal with is ambient noise. Aside from the noise of the engine, which may not sound like a lot for most cars, but is actually quite loud, your musical experience will also be drowned out by environmental noise when your car is moving along a busy street surrounded by other cars. Even turning up your windows will not provide you with much solace.

The car amplifiers which are supplied from the factory usually provide rather small doses of amplification, usually less than a dozen watts per channel. Certain aftermarket amplifier units come with much higher wattage, starting from twenty watts per channel or more.

What is the significance of the number of watts, you ask? Well, the more watts your car amplifier can handle, the more powerful they are, and the better your cassettes, CDs or radio stations sound over the speakers when being played over. However, this is not the entire truth. The entire truth is, an amplifier rated at, say, fifty watts may only deliver about twenty watts worth of actual clarity. Because of this, serious audiophiles who like to enjoy their music on the move swap out the factory-supplied amplifiers built into their car’s head units with significantly more powerful amplifiers from third-party manufacturers.

If you are on the lookout for a good car amplifier system, but are on a budget, you should opt for a single amplifier unit for all the individual speakers installed in your car. For this, you need to know the total number of speakers in your car, and get an amplifier which has the same number of output channels. For ideal results, each output channel should be mapped to a separate speaker. You should also see whether the amplifier you have tentatively selected contains crossover circuits. These dramatically improve music quality by isolating the frequencies of the music, causing the high and low parts of the sound to be emitted from different speakers. This may not sound like much, but the impact it has on sound quality and audio dynamics can stagger you. Even from a technical perspective, crossover systems are very much efficient, since they help to boost the power provided to individual speakers.

For easier installation, try to choose an amplifier which has rotary controls. Amplifiers with inset controls are more difficult to adjust and install, often requiring the use of a screwdriver.

However, getting amplifiers with more channels can be costly and also complex to install, so if you are on a limited budget, try to stick to ones with just one or two channels. However, it should be noted that despite the increased costs, four-channel amplifiers are still the most popular among serious audiophiles. If you listen to music which puts heavy emphasis on bass, for best results, you may want to get a subwoofer unit. Subwoofers usually need their own amplifiers, unless the amplifier you have chosen has a distinct channel specially optimized for use with subwoofers.

If your amplifier comes with a soft-start circuitry, it can help to reduce wear and tear on car speakers by eliminating the harsher aspects of the music without any audibly discernable differences. Also, if you plan to upgrade the system in the future, try to ensure that you have enough free line-level and speaker-level output and input ports on your amplifier unit.

You also need a good cooling system for your amplifier, since they are prone to generating a great deal of heat when in use.

When buying a good amplifier, it is best to buy a good brand like Pioneer or Bose rather than buying a cheap brand and regretting it later. To avoid getting ripped off through bad decisions, take along a friend or colleague who understands electronics and technology well when you go shopping for a good car amplifier.

This Car Amplifiers Review is Written/Updated on Nov 10th, 2010 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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