Does my car really need a speaker amplifier?
This depends on whether or not you've just upgraded your car's sound system. If you've just installed a new stereo or speaker with high-tech features that allow you to experience music on a whole new level, you'll probably need to install an amplifier. Remember, your car radio's factory amp isn't designed to handle powerful stereo speakers.
What are the benefits of installing a speaker amplifier?
With the right amp type, you'll enjoy better sound quality from your car's sound system. Unlike your car radio's built-in amp, an external amp isn't limited by the space available. This means it's designed mainly to provide better sounds. Another benefit is more power for upgraded speakers and subwoofers. Keep in mind that the more high-tech your speakers are, the more power you'll need to fully enjoy them. So if you want to enjoy loud music without the distortion, installing an amp is a good idea.
What type of speaker amplifier is best for my vehicle?
This depends on the sound quality you'll want from the speakers, the type and number of speakers you're using, the size of your vehicle, and if you're only upgrading the speakers or building an entire sound system from scratch. If you're using multiple speakers, choose an amp with multiple channels since each speaker needs one amp channel. Now if you have a sports car or hatchback, a smaller, 50-watt amp should do. But if you have a huge ride, a 75-watt amp should be enough.
How will I know what amp wattage is best for my car's speakers?
Look for the RMS when shopping for a speaker amplifier. The RMS is basically the power ratio between the amp and the speakers. As much as possible, shoot for an RMS that's between 75% to 150% of your car's power-handling capabilities. Don't worry if the amp's RMS is more than 100% of your speaker's power. As long as it doesn't exceed the 150% limit, then the sound quality won't be affected. As a matter of fact, it's better to overpower the speakers a bit than to severely underpower them.
Is it easy to install an amp on my own? What tools do I need to install one?
With the right tools and basic knowledge on electronics, installing an amplifier for your car is an easy task. Depending on the type of car and amplifier you have, your basic tools should include the following:
- Retaining clip remover or panel tool
- Screwdrivers (flat blade and Phillips)
- Electric drill and bits
- Heat gun
- Electrical tape
- Soldering iron
- Socket and ratchet kit
- Wire stripper
- Utility knife
- Heat shrink tubing
The trickiest part is probably the wire routing. This is why you need to familiarize yourself first with your vehicle's wire diagram prior to installation.
Where inside the car should I attach the speaker amplifier?
Ideal locations include the firewall along the passenger side, under a seat, and in the hatch area or trunk. However, the firewall can only accommodate small amps; you'll have to give up cargo space if you choose the hatch or trunk, and you'll have to remove a seat if you want to place an amp under it. Because each location has its pros and cons, you'll have to determine which disadvantages are deal breakers.