What Car Amp Should I get?

What Car Amp Should I Get?

Emotiva XPA-1


What car amp should I get? I’m looking to put some components around the 200 watt range. 2 in the front and 2 in the back. AND a 4 channel amount or 2 smaller 2 channel amps to power them. I have a kicker zx 2500 that I’ll hook up a few 12s or 15s. My main question is what could I get for a decent price that’s good quality and putts out the wattage it say it does. I want good sound quality but I don’t want to spend a fortune and I very been out of this for so long I don’t know what’s what anymore. Between 2 sets of components and 1 or 2 amps, which is better? I’m looking to spend under somewhere under $1000 for the new car amp setup. The lower the better but I don’t want junk either. I need a car amp (or car amps) that fit sound good, but fit my car and my budget. My vehicle fits 6×8s 4 or them but I don’t necessarily need to stick with that size.


Zac, that’s an excellent question.  Getting a car amp can be an enjoyable AND confusing task.  In fact, it’s not just car amps – buying any amp can be confusing.  There are so many manufacturers, each having many different models, giving you literally hundreds of options when purchasing your new car amp.

The first awesome amps that I think about that are fairly priced are Emotiva.

Emotiva Amps
BUT, your question pertains to vehicles.  I was hoping to turn you on to Emotiva, but that won’t work for the car (technically, it could, but it wouldn’t be the best idea).

Based on your concern for the output power, what we need to look at is RMS power and not Peak power.  Most amps will advertise Peak power, which isn’t very meaningful.  RMS power is the power that the amp can maintain continuously.  And IMO, is a better measure of what the amp is.  A manufacturer can make an amp peak at just about any power just by making the reset of the amp suck more.  Sorry if I go on too long about this, but buying stuff like this is one of my favorite things to do. Here are my recommendations.  These are not necessarily in order of preference – they will ALL do at least what you are asking, they are ALL excellent, no BS amps… very capable.  They may be different in their approach, but any one of them would be a good choice.

When selecting your amp, you’ll want to match the RMS rating of the amplifier to the RMS rating of the speaker or subwoofer. The closer these two numbers are to each other, the better match you have. For example, if an amplifier has an output of 100 watts x 4 channels RMS, this will mean that you want a speaker that has a 100 watt RMS rating (or in this case 4 speakers with a 100 watt rating). The same goes for the subwoofer. The amp for the subwoofer can be a separate

monoblock amp as in the first pick, or it can be a channel of your main amp, as is the case with the five channel amps below.


JL Audio 300/4V3

JL Audio Slash Series 300/4

JL Audio makes a 4 channel amp.  Actually they make a few, but the JL Audio Slash Series 300/4 – Amplifier – 4-channel is a little powerhouse which is well within your price range and puts out 150w RMS with 4 channels. It puts out 75 watts RMS x 4 at 1.5 to 4 ohms and 50 watts RMS x 2 at 3 to 8 ohms


JL Audio Slash 600/1v3 Mono subwoofer car amplifier 600Watts RMS x 1

Slash 600/1v3 Mono Amp

That would pair nicely with their monoblock Slash 600/1v3 Mono subwoofer car amplifier 600Watts RMS x 1  for the subs.


Those are pretty high end – but still in your price range.

Rockford Fosgate R600X5 Prime 5-Channel Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate R600X5

On the lower end, but still very capable(one of the few “less expensive” brands I would use myself) is the Rockford Fosgate Prime series.  Example: The Rockford Fosgate R600X5 Prime 5-Channel Amplifier. This one amp will give you 50 Watts x 4 + 200 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohm / 75 Watt x 4 + 300 Watts x 1 @ 2-Ohm.  Not exactly what you are asking for in terms of power for the four main channels, but the ratings are RMS, it includes a fifth channel for the subwoofer, and the whole thing will only set you back around $225.

Note that this amp is only 50 Watts per channel, which is quite a bit less than you were asking for.  I’ve included it here as a less expensive and quality alternative.  But it isn’t necessarily ideal for your situation.


Kenwood X700-5 - 700W 5-Channel Amplifier

Kenwood X700-5 – 700W 5-Channel Amplifier

Another amplifier in this class worth mentioning is the Kenwood X700-5 – 700W 5-Channel Amp.

This series by Kenwood has the smallest footprint of all the amps in this class (other than their RX “Reference Design Series), so if you are tight on space, it’s a great choice. And it’s RMS Power Rating is as follows: 4 ohms: 40 watts x 4 chan. + 300 watts x 1 chan. 2 ohms: 50 watts x 4 chan. + 500 watts x 1 chan. Bridged, 4 ohms: 100 watts x 2 chan. + 500 watts x 1 chan. It’s definitely one of the best amps in this range.  It has excellent sound and no distortion. This is one of my favorite amps overall in this class.

Alpine PDXF6 / PDX-F6 / PDX-F6 4 Channel 150W Car Amplifier

Alpine PDXF6 / PDX-F6 / PDX-F6 4 Channel 150W Car Amplifier

Another amp that you should take a look at is the Alpine PDXF6 / PDX-F6 / PDX-F6 4 Channel 150W Car Amplifier. It’s a Class-D amp on a small, 2” tall frame.  It’s still very effective at heat dissipation, and the sound is superb. One thing I love about this amp is the special connectors it has – they pop out which makes installing and removing the amp EXTREMELY easy. The PDXF6 / PDX-F6 / PDX-F6 4 Channel 150W puts out 150W x 4-Chan. @ 4 ohms.  It’s one of the best amps you can get in this price range.  In fact, it’s worth looking at all of the “Power Dense” Alpine PDX line if you’re a fan of Alpine products.


There are more good choices, but I’ll stop there.  These are my favorite vehicle amps in the mid-range you need and each will come in under your $1000 budget, some of them by a lot.  Feel free to comment below if you have any amps you would recommend or if you have an questions about these amps or any others out there.