The purpose of a car audio amplifier is to take a low level signal from the source unit (head unit, radio, etc.) and change it into a high level signal for driving the loudspeakers. Amplifiers range in power from about twenty watts per channel to over one thousand watts per channel. The price range can be anywhere from fifty dollars to several thousand dollars depending on features, power output and quality. An amplifier may have as little as one channel of output to as many as eight channels at the time of this writing. The most common amplifiers are two and four channel models although mono subwoofer amplifiers are also very popular, especially the class D type.
Mono vs. Multi-channel
An amplifier may have as little as one channel of output to as many as eight channels at the time of this writing. The most common amplifiers are two and four channel models. Mono amplifiers are typically reserved for subwoofer amplifiers. The three amplifier classes (internal design) that are most likely to be encountered are A, A/B, and D. Class A amplifiers are the least efficient in terms of power consumption, staying on continually, but also have better sound in general than A/B amplifiers. They are very rare in car audio because of their high power drain and their low efficiency. Most amplifiers labeled “Class A” are not true class A on the output. Class A/B amplifiers are more efficient than the class A design and are the most common type. The majority of amplifiers in the car audio market are of the A/B design. Class D amplifiers are usually reserved for high power subwoofer amplifiers and can reach efficiencies in the 80%+ range. This design can therefore be smaller, uses less current and produces less heat than the other classes. Class D designs are almost to the point where they are suitable for high frequency and subwoofer use. Most do not have the fidelity (yet) needed for anything above the bass range but they’re getting there.
These are a few of our favorite Home Control products, please stop by and see what else we have to offer.
JL Audio 4-Channel Class D Full-Range Amplifier – XD400/4
This tiny amplifier packs a serious full-range punch, delivering a staggering 100 watts to each of its four channels into 2 ohms (14.4V, 1% THD). The breakthrough that makes this much power possible in such a small chassis is our NexD™ ultra-high-speed switching design, which allows for full bandwidth Class D operation with extremely low distortion and outstanding efficiency..
JL Audio 5 Ch. Class D System Amplifier, 700 W – XD700/5
The XD700/5 is ideal for a complete audiophile-grade, subwoofer + four satellite system, and it fits comfortably in just about any vehicle. With this incredible little amplifier, you can drive two pairs of quality component speaker systems with plenty of clean power (75 W x 4 @ 4 Ω), while also delivering a stout 300 W of power to a subwoofer system. The breakthrough that makes this much power possible in such a small chassis is our NexD™ switching design.