So You Want Some Power!

On a regular basis I am asked by Customers what can be done to their existing audio system to give it greater power.  Amplifiers will give any system greater abilities without having to revamp your entire system.

The purpose of a car audio amplifier is to take low level signal from the source unit (The Radio) 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 the 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 article.  The most common amplifiers are two and four channel models although mono subwoofer amplifiers are also very popular, especially the class D type.

Extra features are often built into a power amplifier.  These features include built-in active crossovers, equalizers, signal processing and speaker level inputs.  When shopping for an amplifier consider that all power ratings are not created equal.  Some of the low-quality brands will exaggerate or outright lie about the power output of their amplifiers.  This is a good reason to stick with the well known manufacturers.  The only true measure of an amplifier’s power is its continuous power rating or R.M.S. rating R.M.S. is an acronym for root mean square and refers to the amplifiers average power output.  The doubling of the amplifier power does not double the perceived sound output.

Also keep in mind quality of the amplifier.  A generally good indication of quality built and power output is the size and weight of the amplifier itself.  Better quality amplifiers will usually have a heavier and larger heatsink versus a low quality amplifier of the same power rating.  Do not accept size as a definite indication though.  I had a Customer who bought an amplifier at a yard sale for two dollars that was two feet long, eight inches wide and two inches tall that had a five inch square circuit board inside it.  This amplifier was so poorly built that I could actually hear the music I was playing coming from the circuit board itself.  However, there are many top quality amplifiers that do not follow this rule.  The ever growing Class D (and its variants) amplifier is much more efficient and therefore does not produce as much heat or use as much power.  This means a smaller power supply and a smaller heatsink.  Because of the high efficiency design of those amplifiers a heavy heatsink is not required.

If you find yourself on a budget or lack of space for many components then the economical thing to do is buy a multi-channel amplifier with the built in features and processors that you desire.  This can save a lot of room and several hundred dollars in added component and installation cost.  The quality will be a little less as compared to outboard processors but will probably not be noticed.  Also, by minimizing the number of components the chance of noise entering into the system is lessened.

ACustomCarStereoCentercan assist you to Pump up the Power of your audio system with a new Amplifier, call today 946-0010.


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