Planet Audio AC3000 Class D Car Amplifier
What We Liked
- The amp itself is aesthetically pleasing. The price is extremely affordable, the quality is quite high for the audio output.
What We Didn't Like
- This class D amplifier is a monoblock.
If you’re in the market for a new Class-D (or car) amp, but don’t know which one you’d like to buy, this page is here to help you. When selecting your next car amp, its important to take into account multiple things not limited to amperage, price, brand, warranty, and more. This page is created as an attempt to help you find your dream car amplifier that is not only easy to install, and use, but also provide the perfect sounds and quality bass you desire. Picking up a high-end class D amp can truly change the sound (and feeling) of music. If you’re a serious audiophile and are in the market for an upgrade, you’ve come to the right place.
Additionally, it should be noted that buying a car amp for the first time can be confusing and time-consuming. In order to help you learn about what you should look for and what to avoid, we’ve included this below video that should make your life a little easier. Please note that the video is old, so some of the mentioned models might be outdated.
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Class D Car Amp Shopping Guide
We all want our cars to feel as comfortable as possible, as an extension of our homes… or as another small home where we feel more than cozy. One of the things that make us all feel more at home is listening to the music we like the most, our favorite music, the one we enjoy with our eyes closed, open -however, they are!- because it means a lot to us.
The ear is one of the most powerful senses and through which we feel more… so driving in your car with music makes the experience unique, enchanting and dreamy. However, in order to enjoy this, you need to know a little bit about something: amplifiers. Because for being able to feel the music in a more powerful, vivid and real way inside your car you need an amplifier…
And, in case you want to buy one, if you want to take the step and improve the sound quality of your car, previously you will need to have clear basic concepts that will help you understand and plan the improvement you can make, either by yourself, or with the help of a professional installer.
What should you consider when choosing a music amplifier for your car?
The sound source
The sound source is the brain of the sound system. It reads the music, recorded digitally, on any media (CD, USB, SD cards, Bluetooth from a mobile phone, iPod, radio, etc.), and converts it into an electrical signal. This electrical signal will be the beginning of the audio chain in the sound system.
Depending on the quality with which the source makes this conversion (from recorded data to an electrical signal), this initial sound will have higher or lower quality. Hence, the quality of this component is one of the keys in a sound system.
The amplifier itself
The amplifier increases the power of the audio signal previously generated by the source. Most of the time, the serial sources that come in our vehicles already include a small internal amplifier. For this reason, they are connected directly to the loudspeakers in the standard equipment.
But of course, if you want a high-level rig, the help of an external amplifier will be indispensable to try to get closer to the degree of depth, realism, and dynamics of a live musical experience, such as a jazz concert, a pop group performance, a classical concert, or a movie soundtrack.
The most important parameter when choosing an amplifier is power. We must always look at the value, given as “RMS power”, and not rely on any comparison that is not declared in this way.
The loudspeaker is the element in charge of converting the electrical signal coming from the amplifier into the music that our ears perceive.
To achieve this, it first converts the electrical signal into a mechanical movement of the cone, and in turn, this movement of the cone against the air ends up resulting in variations in acoustic pressure, and therefore inaudible sound.
The most basic parameters to take into account when choosing a loudspeaker are:
- Power (always in RMS value, let’s not forget it).
- Sensitivity: the higher the value, the less power the loudspeaker needs to sound as loud as a less sensitive loudspeaker. This parameter does not affect the sound quality.
- The frequency range capable of reproduction: we recommend that it be as wide as possible. However, it will be limited by the type of speaker (tweeter, woofer or subwoofer).
- Impedance: typically 4 Ohms.
A single loudspeaker would not be able to reproduce all the frequencies contained in the music, with a minimum of quality and realism. So the idea is to have several “ways”, that is, several types of speakers, specialized in each range of frequencies, so that each one plays its role.
- Tweeter: small loudspeaker, designed to reproduce high-pitched sounds.
- Woofer: loudspeaker of greater diameter, destined to reproduce middle and low sounds.
- Subwoofer: large-diameter loudspeaker designed to reproduce subwoofer sounds.
When we buy some loudspeakers we will normally find ourselves, in the shop, with the possibility of choosing between the following two types of loudspeaker sets:
- Coaxial loudspeakers: are two-way or more concentrically placed loudspeakers in the same physical loudspeaker. Typically a woofer and a tweeter in the case of a two-way coax.
- Separate ways: where the tweeter and the woofer are physically separate speakers. They are intended for higher sound quality, as they allow us to install the tweeter closest to the height of the ears, to improve the perception of high sounds and recreation of the scene and sound depth. In addition, normally, the separate ways include a filter, which helps to separate and to improve the specialization of each one of the two loudspeakers, thus working of more precise and exclusive way in its range of frequencies.
Who hasn’t heard of it, or even had their own subwoofer? Famous for not missing, for example, in any tuning installation that prides itself, the subwoofer is commonly the loudspeaker chosen by novice fans as the first improvement in audio equipment, due to the great sensations that produce its impact in us.
But do not forget that if what we are really looking for is a quality reproduction, improving only the standard equipment by adding a subwoofer (with its corresponding amplifier) will give us an unbalanced sound, without improving the overall quality or power of the music played by the rest of our vehicle’s loudspeakers.
The subwoofer is a large diameter loudspeaker, which is specialized in reproducing bass and subwoofer sounds. And irremediably, it needs amplification. It cannot be connected directly to the output of a CD player.
When choosing a subwoofer, we have to assess the following aspects:
- Supported RMS power.
- Impedance, typically 4 or 2 Ohms.
- Enclosure or box recommended by the manufacturer.
Now that you have all this knowledge about car amplifiers, you can more wisely choose what you need and want to have in your own car – or in your own small home, as we mentioned earlier!
We know it can be a lot of information, but we consider important that you know the basics so that you can choose what you really like and want. Besides, we want you to be satisfied with your purchase, knowing that you spent every penny on a device that you knew exactly what it would sound like, or that you knew that you absolutely wanted.
Do you want our recommendations on which amplifiers are the best on the market, are excellent value for money, or just which ones do we think might catch your attention the most?
Before going any further, we wanted to make a point of talking about important features you should consider when purchasing a car amp (to upgrade your audio experience while driving). Here are a few important features to consider when starting to shop for your next class D car amplifier:
- Price – believe it or not, class D amp prices can vary depending on many factors. Generally, as you’d typically expect, the more money you spend, the better quality amp you’ll get. of course, this isn’t always true, but its something to think about.
- Watts Per Channel – Depending on the amount of power you’d like to push to your subwoofer(s), the amount of watts per channel is something you’ll really want to consider. the amount of watts tends to vary quite heavily across amps in the market, so be sure you take a close look at this first.
- Max Power – Similar to watts per channel, the max power is the total amount of output you can expect the amp itself to push to your subs. The generalized rule of thumb here is that if you want louder bass, you’ll want a higher max power amp. Some amps can reach extremely high max watts, so be sure that your subwoofer(s) can handle it.
- Size of Amp – Depending on the size of your car and the amount of available space, you’ll want to take a closer look at the exact dimensions of the amp itself. Additionally, some of the models offer the ability to strap and mount the amp such that it isn’t as much in the way.
- Remote Subwoofer Control – Some amps offer the ability to control the amount of power pushed to the subwoofer(s) with an integrated controller that makes adjusting your bass quite easy and effortless. typically these remotes are configured to be within an arms-length away while driving, making audible adjustments extremely simple.
Popular Class D Amp Brands
- Rockville – If you’re looking for a highly-rated amp brand that has proven its name in the car amp market, you can’t go wrong with Rockville.
- Boss – Boss offers a wide array of audio accessories to help you further enjoy music and sounds.
- Pioneer – This brand has been around for quite some time and continues to provide high-quality products to enhance the way you experience audio.
- Rockford Fosgate – Focused on performance and high-quality design, you simply cannot go wrong with any of Rockford’s proven products.