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More About Car Amplifiers
An amplifier is the best way to ensure great sound quality. For the most part, sound quality and power are directly related. The more power going to the speakers, the better they are going to sound. For your classic car, we recommend adding an external amplifier as it allows you to truly enjoy listening to your music while you are out enjoying your vehicle. Chances are you have invested significant time and money into restoring, purchasing, or paying someone to restore your classic car. Why not enjoy driving it even more while listening to your favorite songs with clean, crisp, and clear sound? Adding an amplifier will allow you to do just that. Most new cars come with optional, premium stereo systems and adding an amplifier and good aftermarket speakers will sound even better than that. We carry amplifiers from top brands in the industry including Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, JL Audio, JBL and more. If you really want to round out your stereos sound, add a subwoofer along with an amplifier to fill out the bottom end of your music.
Amplifier AccessoriesIt is important to remember all of the accessories needed for amplifier installation. We offer a nice selection of amplifier wiring kits, offering both power only, and complete kits for 0AWG up to 10AWG power wire. We recommend using 100% oxygen free copper (OFC) as it will ensure that the amplifier gets the current it needs to ensure you get the power output you want! We offer wiring kits from Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, JL Audio, Stinger, Scosche, and more. In addition to amp wiring kits, we also offer RCA cables, bass knobs, distribution blocks, and adapter cables. Be sure to pick up the accessories you will need so that you don't get hung up when doing your installation.
Frequently Asked Questions
The size of your amplifier power wire will depend on the amount of current your amplifier is drawing from the battery. Typically, you double the RMS output of each amplifier, and divide by 13.8. This will tell you the total amount of current your amplifier setup is drawing from the battery. From there, if you are running more than 1 amplifier, each amp will need power from the distribution block based on the current draw of each specific amplifier. In general if it is under 400 watts RMS, 8 AWG. If it is 400W-1200W you can use 4AWG. If it is 1200-1500W use 2 AWG. If it is over 1500 watts, use 1/0 AWG. These are general statements. Please double check your amplifier's current draw, your total system current draw, and the distance from the amplifier to the battery if you want to be very specific.
Technically you do not need a bass knob, but we definitely recommend them. When you add a bass knob to your subwoofer amplifier, you can quickly and easily control the subwoofer level to dial in the subwoofer output to your preference. No two songs are recorded exactly the same. You might be listening to some classic rock which has little to no bass in the recording. If you have a bass knob, you can turn the bass up to enhance the overall sound quality. If your have your music on shuffle, the next song could be some 80's or some hip-hop which has significantly more bass, or maybe even too much bass. The bass knob would let you turn down the subwoofer output to ensure that your music not only sounds great, but you also help minimize distortion. Adding the bass knob to your subwoofer amplifier helps extend the life of both your amplifier and subwoofer while also creating a more enjoyable listening experience.
You want to look at the RMS power out. We only sell amplifiers from high-quality, trusted brands that rate their products appropriately. The RMS power output of the amplifier tells you how much constant power you get from the amplifier. There aren't any industry-wide standards for amplifier power rating. A company can literally say, "This amplifier puts out 3000 watts," and there isn't much anyone can do about it. Brands like Rockford Fosgate, JL Audio, Kicker, and more include a "Birth Certificate" with the amplifier which tells you the actual power output that your amplifier was tested to. There is a good reason to be skeptical. A 2500 watt amp that costs $150 is not a 2500 watt amplifier. We call this a WLS rating which stands for "When Lightning Strikes." The amplifier will put out 2500 watts for the smallest amount of time that can be measured, when struck by lightning, right before it blows up.
When you see an amplifier's RMS power out, you will usually see it rated at 4 ohms, 2 ohms, and sometimes 1 ohm if it is a subwoofer amplifier. This rating tells you how much power the amplifier will put out, per channel, when it sees a 4 ohm, 2 ohm, or 1 ohm load. You can change the impedance by wiring more than 1 speaker per channel and wiring them in either series or parallel. Most car speakers have single, 4 ohm voice coils and car subwoofer range from single 1 ohm voice coils up to dual 8 ohm voice coils. There are configurations in between, but that's a whole other story. If you are looking for an amplifier to power your speakers, the 4 ohm rating is typically what you want to look at. With Ohm's law, as the Ohm's decrease, the current increases. Since voltage remains constant, the power output doubles when the resistance is cut in half. This is not always the case due to ciruit design, but 100 watts at 4 ohms, is 200 watts at 2 ohms, and 400 watts at 1 ohm. Most full-range amplifiers that are designed to power speakers are not 1 ohm stable. Most are 2 ohm stable and bridgable. Most subwoofer amplifiers are 2 ohm stable, most Kicker and Rockford Fosgate amplifiers are 1 ohm stable. Do not just assume all amplifiers are bridgeable, 2 ohm stable, or 1 ohm stable. Double check the power output at the wired impedance to make sure you don't blow your amplifier.
Most car amplifiers use a remote wire to turn on. The amplifier uses 3 wire hook up with the large power and ground cables and then typically, a blue turn-on wire. This wire usually connects to the REM or blue remote wire on the wiring harness of your head unit. This will turn the amplifier on and off when the radio turns on and off. Some amplifiers have DC offset or audio signal turn on where the amplifier does not need a remote turn on wire. This is ideal when installing an amplifier in a newer vehicle because it can be difficult to find a remote or ignition wire in modern wiring harnesses.