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, it’s essential to take into account multiple things, not limited to amperage, price, brand, warranty, etc. 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 genuinely 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. To help you learn about what you should look for and what to avoid, we’ve included this video below to make your life a little easier. Please note that the video is old, so some of the mentioned models might be outdated.
Top 5 Class D Amps to Consider
Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime Amplifier
For those looking for a powerful Class-D amp with a strong reputation, the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is a no-brainer. This 1-channel amp offers 300 watts of power and has some nice features many people are interested in, including an onboard Equalizer, a wired remote, and more. As of writing this recommendation, this amp has well over 1,000 positive reviews. A 1-year warranty backs this beastly amp.
Fosi Audio – TPA3116 Amp
The Fosi Audio’s TPA3116 class-d amplifier is another unit to consider, offering equal parts power with clarity. This amp offers 2x 100watt RMS and includes the necessary power supply. This class-d amp has hundreds of positive reviews and is backed with some exciting support features such as lifetime manufacturer-direct support and 18-mo warranty.
More Notable Class D Amps
Ranking Preview Product Name Our Rating 1 Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier,BLACK
View Product 2 TDA7498E 2 Channel Stereo Audio Amplifier Receiver Mini Hi-Fi Class D Integrated...
View Product 3 Planet Audio MB1200.1D Class D Car Amplifier - 1200 Watts, 1 Ohm Stable,...
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View Product 4 OSD Audio 150W x 2 Class D Stereo Amp – Dual Switch Source Switch System,...
View Product 5 SMSL SA50 50Wx2 TDA7492 Class D Amplifier + Power Adapter (Black)
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 think 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, 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 a speaker…
And, in case you want to buy one, if you’re going 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 a higher or lower class. Hence, the quality of this component is one of the keys to 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 following 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. In turn, this movement of the cone against the air ends up resulting in acoustic pressure variations and, therefore, inaudible sound.
The essential 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 the speaker’s ability 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 comprehensive 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: a small loudspeaker designed to reproduce high-pitched sounds.
- Woofer: speaker of greater diameter, destined to reproduce middle and low sounds.
- Subwoofer: a large-diameter speaker intended to reproduce subwoofer sounds.
When we buy some loudspeakers we will generally find ourselves, in the shop, choosing between the following two types of loudspeaker sets:
- Coaxial speakers are two-way or more concentrically placed speakers 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 different 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. Also, typically, the separate ways include a filter, which helps to separate and improve the specialization of each of the two loudspeakers, thus working in a more precise and exclusive way in its range of frequencies.
Who hasn’t heard of it, or even had their 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 significant sensations that produce its impact in us.
But do not forget that if what we are 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 car – or your own small home, as we mentioned earlier!
We know it can be a lot of information, but we consider it it essential to know the basics so that you can choose what you 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 wanted.
Do you want our recommendations on which amplifiers are the best on the market, are excellent value for money, or which ones do we think might catch your attention the most?
Before going any further, we wanted to discuss important features you should consider when purchasing a car amp (to upgrade your audio experience while driving). Here are a few essential elements 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 watts per channel is something you’ll want to consider. TheThe number of watts tends to vary quite heavily across amps in the market, so be sure you take a close look at it 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 incredibly 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 provide the ability to control the amount of power pushed to the subwoofer(s) with an integrated controller that makes adjusting your bass 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 Amplifier 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 cannot go wrong with any of Rockford’s proven products.
Jason is a long-standing technical analyst and writer for Ladi6.com. Jason spends a considerable amount of time reviewing products, gauging people's needs, and writing his findings. Jason enjoys crunching data, photography, and exploring the world with his Australian Shepherd, Jack.