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Best Car Amplifier

The Best Car Amplifiers 2020

To improve the sound quality and bass from your speakers, you will require a car amplifier. They allow you to control and boost electrical audio signals to a much higher voltage, which is then used to drive the speakers inside the car.

The best car amplifier is the JL Audio JX1000/1D, which produces 1,000 watts RMS and has a variable bass boost centered at 45 Hz.

Amplifiers are categorized into various classes and feature a number of channels to power up additional speakers. This is an important factor to consider if you have a multiple speakers or simply want to power up a car subwoofer.

Car Amplifier Comparison

Car AmplifierTypeMax RMS
JL Audio JX1000Monoblock1,000 Watts
Rockford Fosgate R500X1DMonoblock500 Watts
Alpine PDR-V755 Channel350 Watts
JL Audio XD7005 Channel300 Watts
Kenwood KAC-M30044 Channel600 Watts
Pioneer GM-D9701Monoblock2,400 Watts
Kenwood KAC-9106DMonoblock2,000 Watts
Rockford Fosgate R300X44 Channel300 Watts
Skar Audio RP-1504 Channel1,000 Watts
BOSS Audio R3400DMonoblock3,400 Watts

Choosing the best car amp is dependent upon the audio system setup within your car. If you simply want to supply power to a subwoofer, a monoblock amp would be the best option. If it’s for multiple speakers, you may need a 4 or 5 channel amp.

The output of amplifiers is measured in watts, where the power is split up into channels. For example, a 500 watt, 5 channel amplifier will distribute power by 5 x 100 watts.

Below is a list of the best car amplifiers that boost the electrical audio signals for improved sound quality and bass.

The Best Car Amplifier


1. JL Audio JX1000 Monoblock Amplifier

JL Audio are a premium audio manufacturer and offer many high end car amplifiers. However, this JX1000 Class D amplifier is one of their better value units that provides superior power within a compact and stylish design.

If you are looking for amplifiers that allow your subwoofer to provide hard hitting bass, this is the car amplifier for you. It’s a monoblock amplifier (only 1 channel) but if you require more channels you can opt for the XD700/5v2 model.

Other features of the JL Audio JX1000 include:

  • 500 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 750 watts RMS @ 3-ohm
  • 1,000 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Variable bass boost to 12 dB
  • Soft start to prevent clicks or pops
  • Low profile design at 11.00 L x 7.75 W x 2.00 H

The JL Audio JX1000 is the best monoblock amplifier on the market that provides excellent performance and relatively good value for money. The low profile design and high power output makes it a great option for those with limited space.

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2. Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Class D Amplifier

The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is one of the most popular car amplifiers available and for good reason. It has a rugged aluminum heat sink construction and provides excellent performance for those that are on a tight budget.

Unlike other cheap amps, it uses the desirable MOSFET power supply and 4 gauge power/ground connections.

Other features of the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D include:

  • 300 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 500 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • MOSFET power supply
  • Remote punch level control
  • 18dB boost at 45Hz
  • LP/HP/AP crossover and infrasonic filter
  • Available as Class D or monoblock
  • Dimensions are 8.50 L x 6.80 W x 2.00 H inches

The Rockford Fosgate R500X1D  is the best cheap car amplifier for powering up a subwoofer. It also has a stylish design with a matte and gloss black finish, which adds to the aesthetics when mounting it inside of the car.

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3. Alpine PDR-V75 5 Channel Amp


Alpine are another premium audio brand and their 5 channel amp is highly rated for producing excellent sound quality. For peace of mind, all amplifiers produced by Alpine have been tested and come with a certification of their power ratings.

The brand have gone to great lengths to ensure that this amplifier looks great when mounted in the car. Features such as the sleek design to the rotatable illuminated badge, which allows you to adjust it to match the vertical or horizontal position. These are great examples that display the intuitive design of the PDR-V75 amp.

Other features of the Alpine PDR-V75 include:

  • Class D amplifier
  • 250 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 350 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Pre-amp and speaker level inputs
  • MOSFET power and output stages
  • Variable high pass, low pass and subsonic filters
  • Variable bass boost functionality
  • Dimensions are 10.75 L x 6.5 W x 2.00 H inches

The Alpine PDR-V75 is a car amplifier designed for maximum sound quality and is one of the most aesthetically pleasing to look at. It’s a 5 channel amp that will make a great OEM replacement that provides plenty of extra functionality.

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4. JL Audio XD700 5 Channel Amp

If you are looking for additional channels to power up extra speakers, then the JL Audio XD700 is ideal. It’s a 5 channel amplifier that is compact, lightweight and provides plenty of settings for tailoring your audio.

The brand have been producing this model for many years but it still continues to produce excellent sound quality.

Other features of the JL Audio XD700 include:

  • 75 watts RMS x 4 + 180 watts RMS x 1 (at 4 ohms)
  • 100 watts RMS x 4 + 300 watts RMS x 1 (at 2 ohms)
  • 200 watts RMS x 2 bridged at 4 ohms + 300 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms
  • 12 – 22,000 hZ frequency response
  • Heavy duty aluminum construction

The JL Audio XD700 is the best 5 channel amp and perfect for powering up multiple speakers without losing sound quality. It does come with a rather large price tag but it’s a worthwhile investment that’s backed by a reputable brand.

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5. Kenwood 22154656 4 Channel Amplifier


Kenwood are a car audio brand known for their reliability and durable design. The KAC-M3004 4 channel amplifier follows that great reputation and is very popular across the USA for its performance and value for money.

Unlike other bulky alternatives, this amp has a compact design at 6.7 x 5.9 x 3.1 inches, which is ideal for tight areas in the car.

Other features of the Kenwood KAC-M3004 include:

  • 50 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 75 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Peak power RMS of 600 watts
  • Signal sensing turn-on
  • Conformal coated main printed circuit board
  • Protection against moisture or dampness

Overall, the Kenwood KAC-M3004 is an amplifier that offers excellent value for money and can fit virtually anywhere in the car. The versatile amplifier can also be used in additional applications that involve moisture such as boats or ATV’s.

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6. Pioneer Gm-D9601 Amplifier For Bass


Pioneer is another big brand in the audio industry and their GM-D9601 is one of their best car amplifiers available. It’s expensive but with a compact design that is able to produce 2,400 watts peak power, its worth paying the extra.

For maximum durability, it has a heavy duty aluminum construction with nickle plated screw terminals.

Other features of the Pioneer GM-D9601 include:

  • 800 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • 1,200 watts RMS @ 1-ohm
  • Class D amplifier
  • Patented protection control system
  • Vairable low pass filter adjustable from 40 to 240 Hz
  • Bass boost control

The Pioneer GM-D9601 is a powerful amplifier that is able to provide hard hitting bass from your subwoofer. Even though it is relatively small compared to similar power amplifiers, it still out performs similar sized alternatives.

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7. Kenwood KAC-9106D Monoblock Car Amp


The Kenwood KAC-9106D is a monoblock amplifier with a class D design, which the brand state has a rugged construction. It uses aluminum cover plates to protect the connections and controls whilst providing a professional look.

It’s able to output an impressive 1,000 Watts RMS to the subwoofer with low pass and subsonic filters to perfect the sound quality.

Other features of the Kenwood KAC-9106D include:

  • 500 watts RMS @ 4-ohm
  • 1,000 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • 0 to 18 dB of bass boost
  • Monoblock with a class D design
  • Speaker level inputs with signal sensing turn on
  • Cast aluminum heat sink construction

The Kenwood KAC-9106D is a compact car amplifier that produces plenty of power for its size. This particular model works best with subwoofers but Kenwood produce many other amps with multiple channels for extra speakers.

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8. Rockford Fosgate R300X4 Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate are one of the most popular brands for producing car amplifiers and the R300X4 is another great option. It’s a 4 channel amp that has a cast aluminum heat sink construction with the desirable top mount controls.

The brand state that it’s very versatile and is the only car amplifier you will require for your audio system.

Other features of the Rockford Fosgate R300X4 include:

  • 50 watts x 4 @ 4-ohm
  • 75 watts x 4 @ 2-ohm
  • 150 watts x 2 @ 4-ohm bridged
  • 2/4 channel input switch
  • MOSFET power supply
  • 4 gauge power/ground connectors
  • On board punch EQ control

Overall, the Rockford Fosgate R300X4 is an excellent all-round car amplifier that won’t disappoint. It’s a versatile amp that is built by a reputable car audio brand that promise excellent performance at all times.

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9. Skar Audio RP-150 4 Channel Amp

The Skar Audio RP-150 is a 4 channel car amplifier that is available in multiple power options to best suit your requirements. The most powerful multi-channel amp is the 1,000 watt unit, which provides clean and crisp power.

It has a sleek finish with a thick metal outer shell and built-in heat sink that allows the amp to keep cool whilst operating at maximum power.

Other features of the Skar Audio RP-150 include:

  • 250 watts x 4 channels @ 2 Ohms
  • 125 watts x 4 channels @ 4 Ohms
  • High speed MOSFET power supply
  • Premium grade internal components
  • 4 gauge power and ground input terminals

The Skar Audio RP-150 is an excellent all-round car amplifier that combines value for money and performance. The multiple power options allow you to choose a specific amplifier that best suits your audio system.

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10. BOSS Audio R3400D Class D Amplifier


The BOSS Audio R3400D is a class D car amplifier that is available in 4 different monoblock configurations. These include a 1100, 2000, 2400 and 3400 watt setup which all come with the brands impressive 6 year warranty.

It’s a car amplifier designed for improving bass with various filters and controls to fine tune the audio.

Other features of the BOSS Audio R3400D include:

  • 3,400 watts RMS @ 1-ohm
  • 1,700 watts RMS @ 2-ohm
  • Remote subwoofer control
  • Low Level Inputs
  • RCA Pre-amp Outputs
  • Switchable Phase Control
  • 13.5 x 10.3 x 2.3 inches in size (D x W x H)

Overall, the BOSS Audio R3400D is an affordable car amplifier that provides excellent performance for heavy hitting bass setups. Most budget options have a bad name but this amplifier is an exemption that won’t disappoint.

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Car Amplifier Buying Guide

The purpose of a car amplifier is to boost the low level audio signal generated from your head unit. This then provides the power that moves the cones of your subwoofer for that hard hitting deep bass and other car audio speakers.

When running active subwoofers, you will need a powerful car amp in order to move the cone. On top of this, you should invest into a top rated double din stereo or single din stereo for more outputs and power.

You should never spend huge amounts on your speakers and subwoofer but buy the cheapest car amplifier. If you do this, what is the point?

Amplifiers are often forgotten about by many beginner audio installers. You can only take it to the next level by buying a car amplifier and installing it correctly with an amp wiring kit.

To help you make an informed buying decision, below are some important factors to consider regarding car amplifiers.

Number of Channels

An important aspect to consider when looking at car amplifiers is deciding on how many channels are required.

The power of an amplifier is split between the channels. For example, if there is 300 watts of power between 3 channels, each would have 100 watts. If you only want to power up your subwoofer, its advised that you go for a monoblock/single channel amp.

Speakers that are under powered by cheap amplifiers may sound distorted. You are always better buying a more powerful car amp that runs without stress for improved quality.

Car Amps For Bass

For those that enjoy hard hitting bass, you will want an amplifier with a low pass filter. The purpose of this filter is to deliver low frequency audio to the subwoofer.

It’s important to note that if you have set your receiver for low pass filters, bass boost or crossovers, don’t do it with the amplifier too. This will increase the distortion and the overall sound quality may reduce because of this.

Amplifying the bass with improved amplifiers that matches your speaker wattage is a great way to increase performance and bass for your car audio setup.

car amp for bass

Amplifier Type Classes

An amplifier class is the type of structure of the amplifier electronic circuit and characteristic. Different classes often have different efficiency, performance and power resources.

There are five main types of amplifier classes that are used within different amplifiers. They are A, B, A/B, G & H and D, which all have there Pro’s and Con’s.

To begin, Class A is the simplest and uses a single transistor in a linear mode. Class B use a pair of transistors in a push-pull type of application, which is more efficient than class A but crossover distortion may occur.

Class A/B is used for most low cost designs and is a mix of A and B, where there is a small continuous current when no input is present. When the input signal is high enough voltage, only one transistor will conduct but both of the transistors will conduct when the input signal has zero volts.

Class G/H is an improved Class A/B where both work on the power supply section. If the output power is high, then a higher voltage power supply is required. Class D is mostly used for low cost solutions where devices work as electronic switches as opposed to a linear gain.

Amplifier Impedance

The impedance of a car amp is the electrical resistance of the speaker, which is measured in Ohms. If your main focus is to improve the sound quality, this specification is an important factor to consider. Most JL Audio amplifiers use a low audio impedance and offer the best sound quality.

Many manufacturers claim excessive peak power ratings but the actual output may be far less. The majority of amplifiers will be using a 12 volt system and you can measure the actual output power rating by multiplying the AMPS by VOLTS.

You can also check the fuses to see what type of amps is being used for the audio system. This is usually a common car audio problem that most rookie audio installers come across when installing powerful amplifiers.

car amps for high quality music

Bridging Amplifier Channels

For audio installers wanting to use a subwoofer without using a monoblock amp, bridging is a method of increasing an amplifier channels power.

For example, 2 x 100 watts could create a 1 x 200 watt channel. The majority of 2 and 4 channel amplifiers can be bridgeable to power up a subwoofer.

Amplifiers that have 3 or 5 channels such as the JL Audio amplifier sometimes have dedicated subwoofer channel that reduces the need to bridge between channels.

For those that are new to bridging a car amplifier, we highly recommend that you check out this guide before attempting to do it yourself.

Conclusion

Upgrading the amplifier in your car can transform the audio performance. If you have upgraded other audio inside of your car, the speakers may not be able to reach its full potential without using a suitable car amp. The budget you set aside for amplifiers will make a big difference as many premium examples come with large price tags.

All of the recommended car amplifiers cover a wide range of types and budgets to best suit your requirements. The amplifier of your car is the brains to the overall sound quality and its important that you choose wisely.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always like to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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