How to choose an amplifier for your car

How to choose an amplifier for your car

on July 09, 2024

The function of a car amplifier is to increase the electrical signal into which the digital recording of the music you prefer is transformed from the sound source. It does this by taking it from it and sending it with much greater power to the speakers, tweeters and subwoofers. Therefore, a car amplifier helps create different sound levels and improve the performance of speakers, tweeters and subwoofers, making the experience of listening to music inside your car unmatched.

Currently, you are lucky that there are many car amplifier models available on the market, with different configurations, which are based on the power they can deliver and the number of speakers you can connect to them. So how to choose the best one? The issue here is that different criteria must be analyzed to determine if what we need is a single or several power stages for your car audio system.


The elements that you must take into consideration for the selection are:


Choice according to RMS


In general, the selection that is usually made is that of a stage, for this we need to observe the power it has and how many speakers, tweeters and subwoofers will be connected to it. 


The most advisable thing for this is to choose a car amplifier in which the stage delivers greater power than that indicated in the speakers, tweeters and subwoofers, in fact, the optimal thing is that the variation is no more than 20 %. The reasons are that some of that power is lost because it is transformed into heat, while the other is that speakers, tweeters and subwoofers need a certain level of efficiency to perform better, which will help them cool and protect themselves from eventual damage.  


Speakers, tweeters and subwoofers suffer less from excess power, which guarantees a clean signal, so having a lower power will cause the distortion to increase.


Choose according to amplification and filtering

This is an efficient way to choose the car amplifier. Two configurations of speakers, tweeters and subwoofers are taken into consideration here, which are:

  • The right channel. 
  • The left channel.


Among these, there are two classes of systems, the frontal, which includes the right and left frontal; and the rear, which includes the right and left rear. However, the real key is to give priority to the fronts, because that will give us better quality in the nuances of the sound.

Choose to amplify passively


A passive car amplifier has a single stage, in which the entire range coming out of the sound source is amplified, so the function of the passive amplifier will be to distribute the frequencies that correspond to each channel, thus, the selection of the this stage will be done according to the number of channels you need. If you have a basic sound set up, what is needed is a single-stage car amplifier with two channels, and each channel will send the full range through each passive filter, resulting in the frequency to go each way.


Choose to amplify on active

Actively amplifying means that the stage will deliver the already filtered ranges to the speakers, tweeters and subwoofers, distributing them to each channel separately. This is achieved by using an active filter that is placed between the audio source and the stage, or by filtering the signal in a stage that already has a filtering system. 


To give an example, when actively amplifying a system with two separate channels, two subwoofers and tweeters, having a stage with four channels, which includes a filter that divides the range, the audio signal will arrive directly from the source of audio to the stage, but 2 channels will go to the subwoofers and 2 channels will go to the tweeters, respectively.

Choose to amplify in semi active

By choosing to amplify semi-actively, we will be combining passive amplification with active amplification at the same time. If you have a 3 separate way car audio system, made up of 2 speakers. 2 tweeters, 2 subwoofers and 2 passive filters, 2-stage filtering must be available with an integrated crossover and another 2-way stage. In the major stage, the signal will be distributed through two channels to the speakers and two channels to the active tweeters, while with the minor stage, the signal will be sent to the passive subwoofers.

Amplifying on bridge 

This means a combination in accordance with manufacturers' recommendations at the output of single-stage channels, adding power to them. Normally, they are used to amplify subwoofers, because they require more power, and also because using a monophonic stage would be more expensive. In this sense, it is convenient to read the instructions for the filtering stage to determine how the connections should be made correctly.


To amplify tri-mode

This type of amplifier allows for a combination of traditional passive amplification, using bridge mode, in case we have a passive filter and a subwoofer, but a single stage with two channels, which would seem impossible for it to work. But, if you can get each channel to feed its speakers and make a bridge between the mono channels and connect to the subwoofer, everything will work correctly. Although it will always be preferable for the subwoofer to use an independent filtering stage.

What wiring should be chosen?

The most sensitive points in each power stage are the connections and terminals. So it is advisable to cover them with some type of protection, preventing them from breaking. The way to protect them will depend on the place where they are located and the type of stage in question, which can only be assessed when we are definitely doing the installation. Ideally, each stage is in a protected location, but it must also have ventilation, and it is even likely that the installation of fans will be required to help dissipate the heat from these connections.

As for cables, a widely used solution is to place extendable covers on them, known as 'snake skin', made of intertwined nylon threads, which can narrow or enlarge their thickness, adjusting correctly to our wiring. Another protection alternative is to use what is known as corrugated pipe, quite useful especially in the engine compartment, but it is too thick and rigid to use in other places, but it will protect from any strong and direct cuts.



Without a doubt, selecting the most effective type of car amplifier is not a simple task. This choice requires us to obtain a quantity of data and specifications of the equipment that makes up your car audio system, but it is worth trying. 


Choosing the right car amplifier will ensure you enjoy ideal power and sound, without distortion, while protecting the lifespan of our components. 


Genius Audio's line of car amplifiers gives you all the options you need. If you still have questions, you can contact any authorized Genius Audio dealer or the technical support department, so you can receive the recommendations you need.


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