Car Stereo Amplifiers
Car Audio Amps. Where the power is at!
Amplifiers for car audio systems will add the power and volume you need. When you've upgraded your stock speakers, chances are they're going to require more amplification. Feeding them clean power from an external amplifier will make your speakers sing to their peak performance. Your car stereo head unit will only have a limited amount of power and separate channels available. Adding extra amps will add not only extra channels so you can power more speakers, it will significantly improve the total watts per channel you can deliver to each speaker in your system.
An amplifier's power is rated in watts per channel; the more watts, the more power that can be delivered to your speakers. There are two ways of measuring watts per channel in an amplifier: peak and root means square (RMS) or continuous. Peak is the peak wattage the amp is capable of delivering only on those special occasions the song has a jump in volume. The amp is promising to be able to deliver that peak in the soundtrack without clipping. All amps have a peak capacity that will far exceed the continuous wattage rating.
Continuous or RMS is a more honest rating of an amplifier's total power rating. This is the amount of power the amp will continuously deliver to your speakers. Many head units with a printed wattage rating of 4X50watts- 4 channels at 50 watts per channel- are citing peak power not RMS. The RMS is going to be significantly lower. That 50 watt amp might be more like 18 watts when you consider the continuous power it's able to deliver.
The head unit itself isn't designed to be a powerhouse for your speakers. It has a lot of other jobs to do and isn't suitable for large speakers to perform at high volumes. If you install aftermarket speakers, especially a sub woofer, you'll also want to consider external amplification for your power needs. An external amp is a cost efficient way to deliver the power your speakers need to operate at peak performance. Amps are the lean, mean muscle for your car audio system- any car stereo adding external amps is serious business.
Two channel amplifiers that deliver continuous 100 watts per channel are commonplace from quality manufacturers like Crunch, Kicker and Bazooka. With aggressive names like these you can bet they're delivering the kind of power you need. These amps can drive your speaker to their maximum power so they can slap you around a bit just for being in the car with them. External amps for your car are powerful hungry amps that the basic car audio head unit cannot touch. The amp can be mounted discreetly under seats and in some cases, inside the dash. The trick is always getting the wiring hidden and out of the way.
External amps are particularly necessary when you decide to add a sub to your system. Many subs are self powered, but any passive sub is going to require a separate amp. The head unit only has four outputs for four speakers; running the sub off an existing channel can lead to undesirable performance. The worst it could do is overload your system.