Tips for Buying a Car Audio Amplifier

If you want to blast the speakers of your car audio system, you will need to install an amplifier. Basically, an amplifier picks up a sound signal from a source and increases it, resulting in the sound getting louder. The difficult part is amplifying the source signal without distorting it. In order to keep them functioning, amplifiers require an adequate power supply and must also have the ability to store sufficient current to be able to deliver all the fluctuations within the music being played.

A CD player or cassette radio produces about 9 real watts at the maximum into 4 speakers considering the power it is provided from the electrical system of the car. However, in case you want more than that to power the speakers you have, you will require an amplifier. Amplifiers provide the extra power resulting in your ability to play music louder. In addition, amplifiers improve the quality of the sound at every level of volume that the music is played in.

In case you are thinking of buying a car audio amplifier, you will require taking into consideration a few factors beforehand. Some of these factors are the power, the channels, and the heat.

Power
The power is one of the most important aspects that has to be taken into consideration when you buy a car audio amplifier. Basically, there are two kinds of power ratings: RMS and Peak.

The RMS rating is a measurement how much power the amplifier will be able to use in order to power the speakers. When buying your car audio amplifier, be careful to choose one to match the ratings of the speakers and subwoofers. If you do not do so, there are high chances of damaging your speakers.

The other type of power rating is the peak rating. This is a measurement how much power that the amplifier has when there are sudden amplifications of sound. This rating is not as important as the RMS rating. Car audio amplifiers usually have a lower RMS rating compared to the peak rating.

The power of amplifiers range from around 20 watts per channel to more than 1000 watts per channel, while the prices range from anything like $50 to thousands of dollars according to the quality, power output, and features.

Channels
The next thing you need to take into consideration is how many channels they have. Amplifiers range from a single output channel to up to 8 channels. The most popular models at present are 2 and 4 channel ones, although mono amplifiers are also getting quite popular. It is the number of channels that will be the determining factor of how many speakers can be connected to the amplifier. Amplifiers have a left and right signal for each of the channels they have.

Heat Generated
Another thing you need to think about is the heat factor when you buy your car audio amplifier. Always look for ones that have a heatsink designed into them. These are metal strips that are provided on the exterior of the amplifier. The heat that is generated by the car audio amplifier is absorbed by the heatsinks.

Preamp Output
In case you want to go in for multiple car audio amplifiers for your audio system, then you will require one with a preamp output, which will enable you to connect multiple amplifiers to each other. The amplifier which has the preamp output will send the signal to the other amp.

Quality
The quality of the amplifier has also got to be kept in mind when buying one. Generally, the weight and the size of the amplifier itself is a good indication of the quality of the power output as well as the build. Usually, amplifiers that are of better quality usually have a larger and heavier heatsink compared to one that is of a lower quality, although many top quality amplifiers may not always follow this prescript.

Frequency Signals
In order to produce bass tones, large car audio subwoofers require lower end frequencies. However, make sure to not to go in for frequencies that are below or above the range that is recommended. If the frequency is too high it will cause undesirable effects on the sound quality, and if it is too low, the speaker could get damaged. Most amplifiers come with a subsonic filter to prevent frequencies that are too low, and also a crossover to eliminate the higher range of frequencies. These components will help the speakers receive the correct frequencies they require for performing at their optimum level.

Buying a good quality car audio amplifier is like shopping for any other component for your car audio system. First, you need to have a good idea what you intend accomplishing with your amplifier, and then make a thorough research of the choices available accordingly. You don’t need to buy the most expensive one if you are just installing a superior quality car audio system in your vehicle. But if your goal is taking part in car audio competition, then you will need to go in for a top quality and expensive amplifier. Make informed choices by finding out all the facts before buying one.

Car Audio Troubleshooting Tips

Imagine getting a new stereo system installed in your car, but it doesn’t work properly. Car audio problems are common nowadays, the reasons for which can be varied, like loose wires, problem with the amplifier, or problem with the stereo. Such problems can also cause the speakers to produce a popping or crackling sound. However, there are some steps that can be taken to diagnose and repair these problems.

The first thing you would need to do is to find the source of the problem. There can be many things at fault, such as cables, audio amplifier, or speakers. Make sure that everything is properly connected between the speakers, stereo, and the amplifier. Disconnect the wire that connects the stereo and amplifier, but do not unplug the cable connecting the amplifier to the speakers. If the problem still persists, the amplifier might be at fault. But if the problem is solved, simply disconnect the wire from the radio. If the problem still persists, then the connecting cable probably needs a replacement.

The stereo system also won’t work if there is a loose or missing connection. Check all the cables of the stereo, amplifier, and speakers separately and ensure that they are properly connected. Torn, pinched, or exposed cables can also be a reason for the system to be defunct.

If there is not enough power supplied to the speakers, they will not produce sound. Speakers that are installed by the car company work fine with the store-fitted audio system. If different speakers are installed, they might not work due to compatibility issues, or may need more power to operate. Check their power supply by using a power meter. If they are receiving power but are still not working fine, the power provided may not be sufficient.

A blown fuse also can be a reason for the stereo to be nonfunctional. Refer to the car owner’s manual and ensure if all fuses in the fuse box are intact. If they are fine, you need to check if the car’s stereo system has its own fuses, which can be possible in case of some systems. If you find a faulty fuse, you need to replace it with a new one.

There also are chances of the speaker being faulty. You may check a blown speaker by an electric meter. Ensure that there is no power supplied to the speaker; set the electric meter to show “ohms”. Place one meter lead on every terminal point. If the speaker is fine, the meter will display 1.0 ohm, but if it is blown, the meter will read infinite ohms. A simple way to check a blown speaker is to place your hand on it and feel if there is any vibration and thump coming out at high volume. If the required thump is not felt, the speakers are blown.

If the speakers are not mounted in a correct manner, they may cause problem by producing a buzzing sound or vibrating. Such problems can be solved by simply turning the mounting screws a bit tighter. You can also place a piece of rubber between the speaker frame and the car interior.

If any of these above tips don’t seem to work, you probably need to take the help of a car stereo technician.