Most times, you will notice that your car’s factory stereo system does not really give you the heavy and deep sound that you relish and this is actually because it’s just a car and not a home theater system! However, getting the best 4 Channel Amp will make your dreams for always hearing pristine sounds from your car stereo come true. It will also allow you do that without needing to rob a bank!
A 4 Channel Amp is an electronic device which receives electrical audio signals and amplifies them. It sends the signal along its 4 channels to be received by the speakers, subwoofers, dedicated tweeters or 6x9s. As the name implies, it sends out equal power to all its 4 channels.
By reading this article, you will find it easier to make a confident and informed choice on the best brand for you.
Our Top Rated Products
Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch
JL Audio JX400/4D
Best 4 Channel Amp
Overall rating : 4.9 / 5
The number 1 amp on my list comes from the stables of Alpine. Using technological superiority, Alpine has been producing great designs of top-rated car audio equipment for a long time.
The Alpine MRV-F300 is the best amp designed for rear acoustics and door speakers. It is an affordable amp with a great sound and guess what? It is small enough to fit under your seat! It has a sleek design featuring a dark-brushed metal finish accentuated by the blue power button on top. It also affords for a cleaner installation due to the end caps (optional) snaps and off.
The MRV-F300 features a 50W x 4RMS@ 4 Ohms and 75W x 4 directed into two Ohm speakers. This is responsible for its pristine clean sound. You can also bridge it to 150W x 2 into 4 Ohms.
This powerful amp features a crossover frequency range between 50 and 400 Hz. This makes it able to direct lower sounds to the woofer or subwoofers than almost any other amp. However, the subwoofer power needs not more than 100W.
It also features an amazing and excellent Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) that can be as low as 0.03% depending on configuration. With a 4 channel configuration, this can be boosted to 1% which is more standard.
Rockford Fosgate P600X4 Punch
Overall rating : 4.85/ 5
This device has made my list because of its sound quality. This amp is also remarkably different from other Class A/B amps because of its trans-ANA circuitry design. This boosts its noise-reduction capacity and also produces pristine sounds. This amazing amp is also equipped with special heat management capacity that is enhanced by Rockford’s ingenious microprocessor circuitry design that allows it reduce heat without shutting the amp down.
Another great feature of this amp is its compact size. It measures a paltry 11-1/8″ x 2-7/16″ x 8-13/16 which is remarkably smaller than other amps in its range. The specifications of the P600X4 Punch are also verified and reliable given its CEA-2006 compliancy rating.
Among its features is an excellent Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) which is greater than 105dB. The sound EQ options, crossovers, and set-up features are quite accessible when the top cover is removed. Its sleek design is also enhanced by the blue-colored power-on button.
Rockford’s Fosgate P600X4 Punch also has the added advantage of being able to accept input from a wide range of sources unlike most other amps having an input sensitivity range from 150Mv to 12V. Compared to its closest competitors, It is remarkably about 50Mv lower and about 2V higher. The following specs makes it one of the Best 4 Channel Amp out there
JL Audio JX400/4D
Overall rating : 4.8 / 5
Granted that the JL Audio JX400/4D may not have as many interesting features as the amps that I have listed above, it is still a respected name when it comes to audio devices for cars. It has been said by some users to be the best amp for mids and highs. It has the remarkable feature known as pre amp outputs which makes it possible for it to be set-up as a single device in a multi-amp arrangement.
By using a 4V preamp output, the signal can be run from this device for the 4 channel 6x9 setup into another amp for your subwoofer. It is a great amp for running the more pedestrian 6x9s.
This amp has a capacity to drive power to your speakers as much as 100W RMS for 2 Ohms or 70W RMS for 4 Ohms. Its compact size also allows it to be neatly tucked in while creating adequate room for a larger amp. It comes with a pair of RCA output jacks which makes it easy for you to connect it to another amp and expand the system. Its wire terminals are of audiophile quality.
One of the downsides of this amp lies in its noise-reduction capability. With a sensibility rate of 93/73 dB it is a really noisy amp when compared to the earlier-listed ones.
Overall rating : 4.75 / 5
The Kicker CXA300.4 makes my list because it is the best amp when you are considering your budget. However, being cheap does not mean it is not an effective amp but it may not measure well with the ones listed above in terms of performance.
It is a 600W peak (300 RMS) amp. It is bridgeable and Its S/N ratio is 95 dB which means that it is a good low-budget amp. It thus will allow you listen to your favorite sounds with minimum background noise. Its input sensitivity range is put at 125Mv to 10V which is quite impressive. It is bridgeable at 4 Ohms and its bridged capacity on mono operation mode is put at 75W.
The Kicker CXA300.4 features gives out a powerful 450W to your speakers which provides impressive power for mids and highs. It also gives crisp, loud, treble and consistent midrange sounds.
It was designed using the Class A/B power plant. It features a variable bass boost system supported by KickEQ and gives up to 12 dB extra bass. It also includes a 12 dB crossover for better tuning performance. These make it one of the Best 4 Channel Amp in the market.
Overall rating : 4.7 / 5
Kenwood has been a front liner in the manufacture of different kinds of electronics including household products for decades. The Kenwood KAC-M3004 makes my list because of its compact size and its switchable, adjustable crossovers. It has this capability for either a 4 Channel or a 2 Channel configuration.
Another good thing about this amp is that it is relative cheap. Its SNR is put at a substandard 76 dB so it has got some issues with background noise. The frequency range stands at 20 Hz to 20Hz which is quite low. It also has a low RMS wattage which is 75 at 2 Ohms and 50 at 4 Ohms.
Why Do You Need An Amp?
We all love driving with music with pristine clear and loud music streaming forth from our car speakers. Well, I particularly do! An amplifier is your go-to device if you are a music enthusiast. The following are just a few of the major reasons why you need an amp:
Better sound quality:
An amp provides better sounding audio content by providing additional power to allow your speakers perform better without straining. Unlike inbuilt-stereos, external amps provide additional qualities and features to enhance your stereo experience.
Extra power for additional speakers:
Inbuilt stereo systems may not give you your money’s worth for upgraded speakers. You will definitely need an amp to provide the extra power requirement necessary for the peak performance of your additional speakers.
Extra power for subwoofers:
Subwoofers will definitely require more power than an inbuilt receiver. A separate amp provides the needed power.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best 4 Channel Amp
It is important that you make an informed decision on the type of amp that will not only provide great listening pleasure to you, is compact and easy to install, but will also not dig a hole in your pockets. I have done the job for you and after reading the tips below, you surely be in the know. Here are the most important things to consider before getting that amp:
This is a measure of the amp’s power. An amp with a higher wattage will provide more and better sound output than one with less. Most of the best-selling amps in stores today have wattage in the range of 50W to 70W Root Mean Square (RMS). You can also bridge an amp with a power rating within this range (if bridgeable) to drive your sub for better sounding bass. When considering wattage, it is important to note that an amp with wattage over 1000W RMS will usually require that you add an additional battery or replace the existing one with a stronger option.
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR)
The Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) which is expressed in decibels (dB) is an index that compares the effect of level of background noise on the audio signals transmitted by the amp. The background noise is a low hiss easily heard when the volume is high and no music is playing. It is lower than the transmitted audio signal and the range for a good 4 Channel amp will be about 90 dB and above. Depending on the rating used, the best amp will have an SNR of 100 dB. The higher the SNR ratio of the amp, the better the sound quality.
Amp size vs. space
This is another determinant of your possible choice. You must correctly install your amp in such a way that it will not give your car an awkward, very busy look. Owners of SUVs will mostly not have a problem with installation space, but you should get a compact amp if you drive a smaller car.
For peak performance of your amp, you need to look into this somewhat technical aspect. You should be able to correctly match your car speakers with the right kind of amp. You can simply create a synergy between them by checking your speaker’s power handling and the different output ratings for amps. High impedance speakers are best connected to amps with supportive impedance rating. For instance, you shouldn’t connect a speaker with an impedance of say, 4 Ohms with an amp that has a minimum impedance specification of 8 Ohms.
It goes without saying that your budget will determine that kind of amp that you will get. Simply check the carious price lists to choose your best bet.
Recommended Features of a good Amp
Among the different features that a good amp should have for it to be desirable, here are the basic ones:
Quality design and finish
The very best amps are designed with luxury and functionality in mind. It should easily blend in with the ergonomic design and interior finish of the car and not be clearly out of sync with it.
Quality terminals will securely connect the amp to the speakers. Good quality terminals will ensure uninterrupted power and smooth transmission.
Adjustable crossovers make it easier for you to customize your sound system according to your needs. They can be high and low-pass crossovers.
DIY Installation Kit
Amps do not come with the wiring that you need for connecting them to your stereo. So, to successfully connect them yourself, you will need the following basic items:
- Wiring Kits: These are the connecting wires that send power and signals to the amp.
- Speaker Wires: These wires send signals from the amp to the speakers.
- Capacitor: These device stores reserve power for your amp and delivers it when needed.
- You will also need subwoofer wires if you need to connect your subwoofers.
What is the difference between a 4 channel amp and a 2 channel amp?
Generally speaking, a 4 Channel amp provides power to either 4 speakers which are often 6x9s and the front speakers or to 2 front speakers and a subwoofer that has had 2 channels bridged. In simpler terms, a 4 Channel amp is the result of combining two 2-Channel amps in a single, compact, casing. It can be bridged to enable you use 2 or 3 Channels as you desire. It usually gives more flexibility on the number of speakers that you can connect to achieve your desired sound level and quality.
To clearly understand the difference, view a 4-Channel amp as a combination of two 2-Channel amps in a compact housing.
You can bridge the amp to use two or three channels depending on your needs. The main function of a 2 Channel amp is to increase the bass output while compared to a 2-Channel amp, a 4-Channel amp gives you more flexibility with regard to the number of speakers you can use.
Which is better between Class A/B and Class D amps?
Studies conducted by Research and Markets show that the market for Class D audio amps is expected to grow from USD 2.3 billion in 2019 to about USD 3.6 billion by the year 2024. Most Class D amps afford up to 90% efficiency while Class A/B amps afford about 50% efficiency.
How many speakers max can you connect to a 4 Channel amp?
This generally depends on how the wiring is done. If it is done accurately, the amp can safely provide about twice its RMS power specification. It is common for most external amps not to be able to power many speakers per channel but generally, a 4 Channel amp can power as many as 8 speakers, with correct wiring of course.
To connect a 4 Channel amp to multiple speakers, simply follow the following steps:
- Connect 2 pairs of your 4 Ohm speakers with the amp to provide a 2-Ohm load.
- Connect a pair of your speakers to the front of the amp (gives a 4-Ohm load) and the remaining 2 to the rear (gives a 2-Ohm load).
As the amp operates at 2 Ohms, your speakers will receive much more power and will play louder than when the amp is operating at 4 Ohms. However, extra caution should be taken in doing this because if you wire more than 2 speakers to just 1 channel of the amp, it could seriously damage your audio system.
Should you bridge a 4 Channel amp?
Yes, of course. Bridging a 4 Channel amp makes it more versatile in performance. It is easy to find a 4 Channel amp that is bridgeable either to 2 Channel or 3 Channel configurations. With a 2 Channel configuration, you can wire your amp to 2 subwoofers. You can also use the same configuration to power 1 dual-voice-coil (DVC) subwoofer. With a 3 Channel configuration, your 4 Channel amp can power 1 subwoofer and 1 pair of speakers – 2 bridged channels for subwoofer and the other 2 for speakers.
However, it is important to note that bridging will change impedance so you should seek expert help to prevent damage to your audio system.
Are 4 Channel amps usually strong enough for subwoofers?
If you need to also power a subwoofer, remember that there’s a remarkable difference between the subwoofer-to-amp connection and the speaker-to-amp connection. You will need to bridge 2 channels into 1 for a subwoofer because they require more power compared to speakers. Simply connect the positive wire from the subwoofer to the positive lead of one channel of the amp and the negative wire to the negative lead of the other channel of the amp. This means that it is possible to power 2 subwoofers with your 4 Channel amp.
If your budget is not your main priority then you are better off with the Alpine MRV-F300. You can never get it wrong with the Alpine legacy incorporated into its design and functionality. My verdict does not imply that the others aren’t worth buying but it depends on your priority and need. For me, what matters most when it comes to choosing the Best 4 Channel Amp is the seamless integration of the 4 Channel amp inside my car without any unsightly feelings. That, coupled with high performance and a good bass sound makes it for me. Well, whether your top consideration is price, functionality, design or compactness, you can make an informed and confident choice from my list.