If you’re about to hop into the world of dynamic car audio, you’d better understand the various specifications an amplifier has. If you’ve already acquired decked-out speakers, a CD player and a subwoofer, you can exchange your typical on-board system with a brand new amp. Below, we’re covering the specifications we feel you should know.


Before the Specs: The Basics

An external car amplifier gives more power to large speakers, improves sound quality and can deliver powerful upgrades. It boosts electric signals, increasing your ride’s overall sound power. A car amp only takes low-power output signals from your car’s auxiliary connection, CD player and radio—increasing the signal strength to the point of high-end amplification.


Browsing by Channel

First, you should understand the chief categorization of amplifier quality: channels. Amps are categorized by how many speakers then can power. A mono amplifier can power one channel. Meanwhile, a two-channel amp can power two speakers. If you have a bigger ride, check out a four-channel amp.


Browsing by Sound Quality

Next, you should consider your amplifier’s sound quality. An amp’s sound quality is largely dependent on your equipment. That said, a low-quality amp can bottleneck your sound. When browsing amps, select one with a wide frequency response. Also, make sure it has low deviation. Your amplifier should list its distortion—labeled as THD—too. Amps with low THD, in general, are better.


Browsing by Power

Finally, you should determine the amplifier’s output capabilities. An amplifier’s power is measured in watts. Normally, wattage is determined on a per-channel basis. Amps can reach high wattage levels, with 500 wats being about average. That said, a multi-channel amp may include multiple 150-watt channels. Check out your amp’s RMS power rating. This rating will determine how much wattage your amplifier can provide consistently.


It’s important to browse amps based upon your vehicle’s needs. Understandably, a large truck can hold multiple channels. JVC and Audivox all pack a variety of multi-channel amps. At the end of the day, though, your system’s needs will be determined by your car’s capabilities. Get the subwoofers, speakers and CD player in check.


Then, determine which amplifier can best-combine every aspect of your ride—creating a seamless sound experience. While an amplifier mostly heightens a sound system’s overall reach, it can also be used to enhance your vehicle’s sound quality. Choose wisely.

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