Best 2 Channel Amp for Your Car
Improve the quality of your sound system with one of these amp options.
Updated October 27, 2018
Sometimes, you just can’t get the quality of sound you desire out of your car stereo. If you’ve been disappointed, you might just need a little amplification. The best 2 channel amp should fit your needs if you are looking for something basic. Many of them even offer some advanced features and configurations for maximum control. If you want a more versatile option, then we recommend the best 4 channel amp instead.
How to Pick the Best 2 Channel Amp – Buyer’s Guide
There are numerous factors involved in finding the best 2 channel amp for your car. Here are some of the criteria you want to evaluate the options on.
Thankfully, 2 channel amplifiers aren’t pricey. Of course, there are some that cost far more than others, but most people won’t need to go that high. You’ll be able to find a nice selection for around $100 or less. Considering what you might have paid for the speakers and stereo, this is probably pocket change. Determine how much cash you have to spend before looking through the reviews. Then, you’ll know which ones are in your budget.
Impedance is the resistance of a component or electric circuit in relation to an alternating circuit. It arises from the effects of ohmic reactance and resistance. You must pay attention to this when trying to match your amp to your speakers or subwoofer. If you’re upgrading the car’s factory system, then you want to find a subwoofer that offers speaker-level inputs.
Ease of Installation
Installing car amplifiers is tricky business. That’s why many people prefer to have a professional installer handle the task. If you plan to connect your amp, subwoofer, or speakers, you’ll want to carefully choose your products.
Some 2 channel amps are easier to install than others. Normally, a quick scan through the user reviews reveals how hard they were to get hooked up. If you prefer to have them professionally installed, don’t forget to factor in that additional cost as well when planning out your purchase.
What’s the Difference Between 2 Channel Amps and 4 Channel Amps?
There are other options besides a 2 channel or 4 channel amp. Let’s take a look at the differences between them all.
- Mono Channel Amp – means one amp. These are ideal for powering up a subwoofer. The speakers still work, but don’t receive the extra amp power.
- 2 Channel Amp – contains two amps. These are best for powering speakers and a sub, as long as you don’t want to power the rear pair.
- 4 Channel Amp – contains four amps. This set is best for powering two sets of speakers and a sub. You could also bridge it to power a pair of speakers and a sub and then upgrade later.
Keep in mind that the number of channels an amp has doesn’t limit the amount of speaker you can connect. Rather, it limits the frequency and impedance being sent to the speakers.
You can install as many speakers on a channel as you want as long as your impedance doesn’t fall below what your amp handles. You also can’t exceed the power handling of the sub and speaker by over 10%. Since most subs are designed for higher frequencies, they are driven by a separate amp. That’s why it’s best to use a higher-powered amp for your sub than for your speakers.
Choosing the best 2 channel amp for your car requires knowing what you plan to power up. You must evaluate your setup before anything else.
How to Bridge a 2 Channel Amp
Bridging a two channel amp refers to combining the two channels into one. This offers twice the voltage and increases your power output. Most people bridge a 2 channel amp to connect the two channels to supply power to one sub. Obviously, you can’t bridge a monoblock amp.
Amps that are bridgeable come with an inverted channel for these purposes. This inverted channel produces voltage at an opposite polarity of the unbridged channel.
Before you try to bridge an amplifier yourself, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Don’t bridge an amp that can’t handle the increased load of power. You also don’t want to bridge your amp if it will become unstable or if the speakers won’t handle the additional pressure. Check all your product paperwork to ensure you have what you need to bridge the amplifier.
All multi-channel amps provide a minimum bridged stability that is higher than the minimum impedance of one channel. For example, if you want to bridge your 2 channel amp that offers 1 ohm per channel, you would end up with a minimum impedance of 2 ohms after bridging.
Here’s how to bridge your 2 channel amp:
1 – Locate the amp’s terminals. You should see four (both a positive and negative for each channel).
2 – To bridge into a subwoofer, you must connect one piece of your speaker wire from the amp’s positive terminal of channel 1 to the speaker’s positive terminal.
3 – Now, connect another piece of speaker wire to the negative terminal of your channel 2 to your speaker’s negative terminal.
That’s the basic way to bridge a 2 channel amp, but we always recommend seeking the help of a professional if you aren’t sure what to do.
Why Should You Add an Amplifier?
If you’re still wondering what the benefits are to adding the best 2 channel amp for your car, we’ve got the answers. There’s really no way to get a high-quality, loud sound from your car stereo without an amp. Even if you don’t want your music to be loud, amplifiers should still be a part of the equation if you want quality sound.
Here are the main benefits to owning the best 2 channel amp.
Better Sound Quality
Adding a 2 channel amp to your system gives you the power you need to drive the car speakers without straining the system. Unlike the amp on your in-dash stereo, an external amp isn’t limited by space. That allows the manufacturer to produce it without making any compromises. As a result, your sound comes across cleaner and highly defined, no matter what volume you play it at.
Additional Power for Speakers
Your factory system and in-dash receiver won’t help your upgraded speakers at all. If you plan to add high-quality speakers to your vehicle, you want more power. This offers peak performance, far superior to anything the existing system can provide.
Power Your Subwoofer
If you add a subwoofer to the mix, you’ll need more power to run it properly. A separate amp is a necessity for this type of setup.
Best 2 Channel Amp for Your Car Reviews
Here are our top ten choices as the best 2 channel amp you could purchase. There’s a wide variety of options in our list, from the budget-friendly to all-out sound blasting machines. You are sure to find something that suits your needs from this list.
Rockford Fosgate R150X2 Prime 2-Channel Amplifier
If you need to boost your sound quality while sticking to a budget, this is your best 2 channel amp. You’ll find decent power controls from simple, configurable features. This compact amp outputs plenty of power for your car door speakers or you could run a small subwoofer instead.
It features a bass boost that’s built-in plus EQ so you’ll be able to dial in that sound, just the way you want it. This selection isn’t going to work well with high-powered speakers, but it’s worth the expense if you just need an extra kick. Considering the price and the fact that’s it’s an Amazon Choice product; you’ll quickly see why all the customers love this model.
FPS 2.160 – Focal 105W x 2 RMS 2-Channel Class AB Symmetric Amplifier
If you haven’t heard of Focal yet, it will only take purchasing one of their products to become familiar with the intense quality and performance of everything they make. This 2-channel amp offers multiple fail-safes which protect your audio gear and investment.
The best feature on this amp is the amount of power it handles. Aside from that, it’s also simple to bridge and provides a self-cooling system. Hook this up to your high-end front speakers to experience the clarity and power they’re capable of. Chances are, once you hook up one for the front speakers, you’ll want another for your rear speakers or subwoofer as well.
AV Due – Audison 2-Channel 900 Watt Stereo Power Car Amplifier with Crossover
On the complete high end of the price spectrum, you’ll find this 2 channel amp from Audison. Most people aren’t going to spend this on an amplifier, but if you want top-of-the-line, this won’t disappoint. You could easily bridge the signal at 4 ohms or drive a two-speaker setup as well.
The biggest thing to remember about this amplifier is that it’s not cheap. With that said, this isn’t the type of equipment you want to buy if you’re just beginning and learning. Instead, start out with a cheaper option to test out first. If you don’t connect everything on a 2 channel amp in a precise order, you’ll end up damaging the subwoofer or speakers.
Polk Audio PAD2000.2 Digital Power Amplifier – 2 Channel
The PAD system of amps is a great way to upgrade your stereo system. They provide just the right amount of power and are versatile. The 2 channel amp is bridgeable, so there’s customization available. It’s also made from stainless steel, so you don’t need to worry about corrosion from the humidity and heat.
It’s ultra-compact and minimalist which makes them ideal for any car. Clearly, you aren’t purchasing this unit on a budget, but you won’t have to worry about your sound quality being compromised if you make this investment. The impressive audio is clear and crisp; perfect for long car trips.
Infinity K2 100W x 2 Car Amplifier
Because music files are compressed to minimize storage, you want a high-end amplifier to bring out the sound you didn’t know was missing. This amplifier features Clari-Fi music restoration technology for that exact purpose. In addition, it pairs nicely with Bluetooth so you can connect your phones and stream music. If you wanted to add to your configuration, it also pairs with other Kappa amps.
Because it’s a Class D amp, it maximizes efficiency. It also features a classy design that catches eyes. With the brushed aluminum housing combined with the LED lights, you’ll find this looks sharper than most amps on the market. It also features speaker-level and preamp inputs plus it works in a vented or sealed enclosure with ease. There is, however, no variable bass boost on this amp.
JBL GTR-102 100W x 2 Car Amplifier
JBL is manufactured by the same company as Infinity, so there’s a lot you’ll find in common with this amp and the one listed above. For example, it also offers the Clari-Fi music restoration technology for crisp sound and Bluetooth pairing as well. This Class D amp features a cabin-mounted control panel and microphone for phone calls.
This is slightly bigger than the Infinity but might feature somewhat better sound. That’s why the price jumps up just a little with this option. It also comes with a variable bass boost, phase switch and accepts speaker or preamp-level inputs. Many people find that it’s just as eye-catching as the Kappa as well.
Rockville dB25 2800 Watt/1400w RMS 2 Channel Amplifier Car Stereo Amp
This 2 channel amp features an adjustable 12db/Octave crossover complete with differential circuitry. It also has an adjustable bass equalizer, subsonic filter, delay start technology and mute. It’s protected by a full IC controlled circuit plus accepts both unbalanced and balanced inputs.
It’s constructed from top-notch parts for maximum durability and surpasses the performance of many other amplifiers on the market. You’ll find that this amp is one of the highest rated on Amazon and doesn’t seem to disappoint customers. On top of that, the price is on the lower end of the scale.
BOSS Audio AR1600.2 Armor 1600 Watt
You can crank up the sound with this best 2 channel amp option. You’ll receive high-quality clean sound from a pair of speakers or your subwoofer. You have access to complete customization with this unit because of the variable low pass crossover, remote subwoofer control, fixed high pass crossover, or bass boost.
If you want more flexibility and power, it’s simple to bridge the channels with this amp. There’s even an automatic shut-off that protects your amp if the speakers cause a short or it gets too hot. It’s also one of the lowest priced options on the list, so it’s great for anyone operating with a budget in mind.
Pyramid PB3818 5,000-Watt 2-Channel Bridgeable MOSFET Amplifier
Another low-dollar option is this car amp from Pyramid. It’s reliable and boosts your sound seamlessly. It features plenty of power so you can listen to your music at any volume. The adjustable electric crossovers provide varying sound quality as well.
The soft turn on/off circuit protects the circuits from any damage. There’s also a variable bass boost for that extra kick. This unit also featured a variable gain control plus MOSFET which offers signal amplification plus switching. The aluminum alloy heatsink protects the unit and circuits from wear.
Planet Audio AC1200.2 Anarchy 1200 Watt
It’s time to crank up that sound with this amp from Planet Audio. It powers up a set of speakers or subwoofer plus bridges channels for maximum flexibility. They are built to customize sound and offer complete control over the quality.
The MOSFET allows it to quickly switch from full to high-efficiency output. It also comes with a variable low-pass and high-pass filter. Other features include subwoofer level control, bass boost, short protection, switchable input sensitivity, and Bluetooth capability. That’s not too shabby for one of the best 2 channel amps you can purchase while sticking to a budget.
Now that we’ve shown you how to find the best 2 channel amp for your needs and we’ve offered a few highly rated suggestions, the choice is yours. What amp are you planning to purchase for your vehicle? Let us know in the comments.
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