Things you should know about car amplifiers

Perhaps you are concerned with the audio quality of your car and you think it does not meet your preference in terms of volume and sound quality. Fortunate enough, thanks to technology, amplifiers have been designed specifically to improve the quality of sound which could be coming from your audio machine.

Best Car Amplifiers come in different shapes and sizes and this usually determines were a given amplifier will be installed for optimum use. Now, you could be wondering what is an amplifier or maybe you are eager to know more about how amplifiers work. This article seeks to answer these questions and more as it explores the characteristics and different types of car audio amplifiers.

What is an amplifier

In a more technical manner, an amplifier is an electronic device which takes in very small and otherwise low-level signal from an audio source or stereo and converts its it to a much bigger and identical electrical wave form.

This device will produce audio sound that is capable of driving loud speakerswhich would be impossible in their absence. As such, amplifiers can be quite useful in cars especially where the owner is particularly concerned about the sound quality. Most car stereos rarely offer high power output which can drive speakers with high volume and clarity. If you try to turn up the volume of your car stereo without an amplifier you will quite often get an unclear sound which obviously is not the best quality anyone would prefer.

How amplifiers work

Basically, an amplifier will take in audio from the stereo and process it in its circuitry so as to boost the audio and deliver it to the speaker terminals. Sounds simple, doesn`t it?

In the process of boosting the sound signal from the stereo, there are some few basic sections which are critical in ensuring that the produced sound will meet or perhaps exceed your expectations. These sections can be classified as input,processing and output stages in the amplifying process.

Audio Input stage

This stage is responsible for creating an interface between your initial radio and the amplifier. In the input section there are features such as crossovers, bass boost and signal strumming among other such features. All of these are critical in ensuring that you get the audio quality you so much desire for your car. 

At this stage the most important feature is the RCA input jacks in which you will connect your radio with some reasonable ease. What emerges as important for this stage is that this input jack accepts speaker level signal which hasn`t gone through prior amplification. In some cases, this audio level usually has a higher voltage which it might have picked up from an initially installed radio with its own amplifier.

The balanced differential Inputs

This is a must have feature for audio amplifiers in that it works to eliminate any common from the input conductors. 

This unit of the amplifier is used to compare signal coming from the centre conductor and that from the RCA interconnect shield. Where there are common sound signals identified they will be eliminated by the Op-Amp to create a smoother sound inflow into the amplifier thusguaranteeing a good quality sound output.

Audio Signal Processing Stage

This stage is mainly concerned with the sensitivity or gain control of any given amplifier. This feature allows for the configuration of the amplifierin sync with the required voltage power to produce. The required power to be produced is matched with the requirements of the given audio system being used. This feature is one you would want to configure only once when you install the amplifier and should change it in the event that you change the entire audio system.

The Features of An Amplifier

Electronic crossovers

This is a feature common with modern amplifiers and works to limit the frequency ranges passing fromyour audio inputs to your audio outputs. A crossover can either be a high or low pass frequency and has its own set of working characteristics.

High-pass Crossover

This crossover allows frequencies surpassing the crossover point to pass to the output section. This feature works to protect your speakers from high voltage hence the high-pass crossover will be most suited for high-frequency speakers as well as those in midrange.

Low-pass Crossover

Unlike the high-cross crossover, this is well suited for woofers and subwoofers. Low-pass crossover will allow for signals way lower than the crossover pass point to pass and proceed to the output section.

However, you may want to combine the crossovers which is perfectly fine and very practical. When combined, these crossovers will create a band-pass crossover and would work perfectly with mid-range or mid-bass drivers in blocking high and low frequencies.

Bass control

This is a feature found in quite a number of amplifiers. The bass control feature works with the signal directed to the subwoofer where most of your bass comes from. This functionality is used to reinforce a possibly narrow frequency band being received by your subwoofer.

Some might not like this feature but it surely works well to serve its purpose.

Uses of an amplifier

A car amplifier is useful in many settings especially when there is the need to have good quality sound produced at various volume points. Given the fact that a typical car stereo can only produce about 15 to 18 watts of power, it can be terrible when you try to listen via speakers that need more power for improved sound. An amplifier becomes useful where one wants to listen to music via bigger speakers which often produce good quality sound.

A car amplifier is also useful in vehicles that have a weak or dead amplifier and the fitted stereo system has no woofer. There also are cases where a vehicle owner prefers heavy volumes when listening to higher quality music. IN such a scenario, an amplifier can go a long way in producing powerful and clear sound which would otherwise be impossible to get from an ordinary stereo machine operating independent of an amplifier.

An amplifier also works towards eliminating unwanted sounds in your audio which would otherwise distort the actual quality of the sound. This is elimination of unwanted sounds is achieved through the use of crossovers.

Types of amplifiers

Amplifiers are usually grouped into classes A, A/B and D. These classes often depicting the internal design also act as a stamp of the quality of sound one would expect from each.

Class A amplifier

Amplifiers are measured in terms of their power consumption and Class A amplifiersare the least efficient. Because they are not so efficient when it comes to power consumption, they tend to be quite rare to find in most cars.

However, this amplifier will produce a relatively better sound when comparing them to the other amplifier class particularly the A/B class type.

Class A/B amplifier

This is perhaps the most common type of amplifiers which is priced for its efficiency in power consumption. This amplifier is designed for optimal power conservation while producing the best possiblesound. No wonder why you are surely going to find more of this amplifier type in most cars.

Class D amplifier

This is usually reserved for subwoofer which tend to be high power consumers. This amplifier has energy efficiencies which can surpass 85% and are designed to use less currency while producing relatively less heat.


Amplifiers are indeed an important element to be incorporated into your car. However, as has been highlighted, there are a lot of technicalities which need to be considered before one goes on to select their amplifier of choice.