All too often, the factory stereo that comes even with modern vehicles just doesn’t cut it. Even if you aren’t a hard-core audiophile, the sound simply isn’t what it used to be and that is disappointing to almost every new car owner.
Of course, many car manufacturers provide an option for a high-end stereo system or state-of-the-art infotainment system with all bells and whistles attached that is able to blow the roof of a car clean off, but such luxuries come at a price. It can easily add another 4-digit number to the price of your car and not everyone is ready to shell out that kind of cash for a sound system.
Most usually, the reason for a lucky-luster sound in your new car is the lack of amplifying units. Even a mediocre 4 channel car amplifier can do wonders for the power and quality of sound, especially compared to the factory set up, with speakers connected directly to the radio, or head unit.
These units simply don’t have enough power to enable speakers to exert enough bass to give a convincing performance. No matter how much you fiddle with the settings, every time you turn it up, the sound will be bleak and shallow, lacking any depth. Let’s face it, driving a car without bass churning your intestines and rattling the windows just isn’t the same experience.
Fortunately, there are plenty of aftermarket suppliers who are more than happy to pick up the slack and at a fraction of the cost at that. The core of such systems is usually a quality 4 channel car amplifier, able to provide a quality sound all around your car. After a while, you will want new speakers as well, which are also essential for quality sound. But if you can’t afford them right away, it is better to start with an amplifier.
These 4 channel car amplifiers have several features that make them highly versatile. They provide an equal amount of power to all four channels, making it easy to set up the balance between front and rear speakers just the way you like it. They can also be run in a bridge mode, with two or even three channels tied to one speaker. This allows you to connect two channels to a subwoofer and really feel that bass in your bones. The best part is that those two channels combine to provide much more power than if they would be powering two different speakers. This synergy is what makes 4 channel car amplifiers so popular.
The bridging can be a tricky procedure. Not every amplifier has that feature and you want to make sure yours does before doing it, or you may make a very expensive mistake. The changed impedance of a channel can easily fry the speaker, or the amp, or, in the worst case, both. That is a hustle you don’t need. Fortunately, it is easy to consult a user’s manual and see if bridging is an option with your unit. If not, you can easily replace it.
The aftermarket car sound systems are probably the most competitive sector of the aftermarket car industry. That has some nice benefits, like decreasing prices and a wide selection of models to choose from. Unfortunately, that means you can easily spend a whole day looking at them and not being able to make a decision which one to buy. The choices are simply overwhelming, especially if you are not all that familiar with the topic. To make things easier for you, we have created a list of some of the best 4 channel car amplifiers on the market today, according to CarinMyDNA. Hopefully, you will be able to pick one that best suits your needs.
1. Alpine MRV-F300
If your front speakers are located in doors, this is the best model for your car. Alpine is a well-known and established manufacturer of audio systems, so the quality of this 4 channel car amplifier is top-notch. The frequency range of 50Hz to 400 Hz provides most of the lower sounds reach your subwoofer. It also has a great THD, ranging from 0.03 to 1%, depending on how you configure your system. It is a bit pricey and the S/N ratio could be a lot better, though.
2. Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch
This is a 4 channel car amplifier built for quality and all true audiophiles will enjoy it. The company itself doesn’t enjoy the same reputation as Alpine or Kenwood, but this is due to the fact that it mostly makes OEM products. It is well-known among car manufacturers and it has always been recognized for the quality of its products. P600X4 Punch is a great example of that.
With input sensitivity ranging from 150 mV to 12 V, you won’t have any issues attaching any source device to it. It clearly outpaces any other competitor in this area. Before purchasing it, check your speakers. If they have an impedance of 4 ohms, this unit isn’t for you. On 4 ohms speakers, it can only push about 75 Watts of power per channel and you will miss out on max power.
The other things we don’t like are the price and the size. It is the most expensive amp on our list and one of the biggest, meaning that the installation may be an issue on some cars that don’t have sufficient space behind the central console.
3. Kenwood KAC-M3004 Compact
Another legendary name in the audio industry, Kenwood has produced some excellent products over time. This KAC-M3004 Compact 4 channel car amplifier is not quite on par with them. Its compact size makes it ideal for motorcycles and an easy fit for any car, regardless of how small.
It is also very cheap, making it the most affordable unit on the list and it is very easy to install and wire up. However, the S/N ratio at 76 dB isn’t very good and RMS output is on the lower side, with 75 Watts at 2 ohms and just 50 W at 4 ohms.