Ever wonder why the price of car audio amplifiers differs so much from brand to brand or why some amplifiers output the same amount of power but are completely different on price? Amplifiers simply take a low level signal (RCAs) and “amplify” it so it can drive the physical weight of the speaker back and forth to make sound. If the signal is not amplified it’s only enough to drive a set of headphones at best.
So if an amplifier’s job is to simply add amplitude then why are the prices so vastly different from one amp to another?
We can break this down into a few benefits and see what factors influence this:
This is the most important part of a car audio amplifier. How it sounds. To make an amp sound awesome requires that you use the best components or parts to assemble the amp along with a great design which requires expensive engineers.
The crossover section in amp can also cost more depending on how steep the slope is and how nice the components are within that section.
It’s also important to note which class an amp is.
o Class A – Best sounding, most expensive/watt, least efficient, runs very hot and typically very large for their power output.
o Class A/B – Most Common, fairly priced/watt , somewhat efficient and somewhat small.
o Class D – Best used for subwoofers, least expensive/watt not the best sound but can be OK, most efficient, runs the coolest and has the smallest footprint.
There are other classes and proprietary designs from various factories but the three above are the most common.
Sometimes you need to pack a lot of power into a small amp chassis. This means you need to have a great way to dissipate heat or the amp will fry. The smaller the amps physical size the more likely you will be paying for a fancy heat dissipation system.
In marketing you have to identify price points people want to hit with their spending and then create an amp based on that price. When that happens the manufactures have to strip away features to hit the pricing goals. This can be bad for over all sound quality but great for the folks that don’t want to trade their arms and legs for a car audio system!
It costs money to look cool. Flashy lights and smooth finishes aren’t free. Sometimes a bad sounding amp gets bedazzled to look awesome. Don’t be fooled!
Some other things to consider would be brand and what you are using to hook the amp up. Look for companies with a long history of manufacturing amplifiers like JL audio or Rockford Fosgate to name a few. Brands like that have great warranties and long histories of making great products and taking care of their customers.
Don’t forget to get an amp kit that matches the quality and power consumption of the amp. If you don’t feed the amp the power it needs it won’t produce the power it says it can make. Don’t skimp on the wire and make sure to get good RCAs. Garbage in amplified garbage out!
There are quite a few factors that go into all amplifiers and a good car audio dealer (Like us) should be able to ask the right questions to find the amp that fits your needs and you budget.
Come down to our store or give us a call and see if we can help you pick out the right amp for your car audio system.
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