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Thread: what amp should I use?

  1. #1
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    what amp should I use?

    Hello,
    My plan is to eliminate my stock radio and drive my audio through my car pc.
    I'll be using a directed hd radio with the mjs cable for am/fm tuning.
    I want to use one amp to push the 2 front 6.5" speakers the 2 rear 6x9" speakers and a 10" sub in the trunk.

    So what requirements does my amp need?
    How many channels?
    How many inputs and outputs?
    What else am I not considering on this?

    "Bump" is not a concern but I would like to maintain factory radio quality or better with a little more base.

    Thanks for any help.
    theFALSE

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i noticed that you have posted 2 new threads recently on some commonly asked things-- next time, please try to search around, and also check out the adv.faq at the top of the page-- most new installation questions have been covered very well in the past.

    ususally, you should be able to use a 5 channel amp, but depending on the sub that you have installed, you might need more or less power than what a 5 channel amp can provide.

    otherwise, you would need 2 amps-- a 4 channel for the main speakers, and a mono amp for the sub...

    the connection of amps to a carputer is covered very well in the adv. faq...


    P.S. i don't mean to be an ***, but i prefer not to spoonfeed new members, because, as i have learned, you will learn a whole lot less if i just simply tell you exactly what you need and how to do it.

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    Sorry Soundman, it's not my intent to be spoonfed. I've been reading the faqs on and off for over a month now but I'm still confused on some small issues.

    How powerful of an amp would be recommended to maintain factoryish sound volume/quality?
    Like 500 watts?

  4. #4
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    There's no answer to your question.

    The quality of the audio is dependent on all the components used. And it depends on far more than just the power output rating.
    A "budget" 500w amp will not perform as well as a quality 500w amp.
    The power ratings of the speakers and their quality plays a part.
    The speaker wiring, wire resistance and length all play a part, as well.
    So does the input voltage from your audio source into the amplifier.

    It's an audio SYSTEM. That system is comprised of multiple components that need to work together.

    You can get "factory-ish" sound by replacing the factory headunit with aftermarket and retaining stock speakers.
    If you replace speakers, add a sub and amp, you're likely to greatly improve sound quality. Notice I said "likely to improve" and not "will improve".



    Also, you've happened onto a forum whose primary focus is installing PCs in vehicles. I don't see anything about a PC planned for your ride...
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarquePervert View Post
    There's no answer to your question.

    The quality of the audio is dependent on all the components used. And it depends on far more than just the power output rating.
    A "budget" 500w amp will not perform as well as a quality 500w amp.
    The power ratings of the speakers and their quality plays a part.
    The speaker wiring, wire resistance and length all play a part, as well.
    So does the input voltage from your audio source into the amplifier.

    It's an audio SYSTEM. That system is comprised of multiple components that need to work together.

    You can get "factory-ish" sound by replacing the factory headunit with aftermarket and retaining stock speakers.
    If you replace speakers, add a sub and amp, you're likely to greatly improve sound quality. Notice I said "likely to improve" and not "will improve".



    Also, you've happened onto a forum whose primary focus is installing PCs in vehicles. I don't see anything about a PC planned for your ride...
    Yea I of course understand that it's a system and no one component is going to make or break the audio and that there's no one solution.

    I'm honestly just clueless when it comes to car audio.
    I'm eliminating my headunit entirely and replacing it with a pc.
    I just have no idea how much amp is necessary to power all my speakers.
    I'll be pushing 2 6.5" speakers 2 6x9's and 1 10" sub.
    How much amp is necessary to push these?
    I'm just clueless on this, is 1000 watts overkill? Is 300 watts enough?

  6. #6
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Do you know the power rating of your speakers?

    A simple rule of thumb is to get the RMS power output of your amp to match the RMS power rating of the speakers.
    That gets you the most efficient use of the amplifier.


    And if you're that clueless about car audio, then do some bloody research on car audio.
    For the most part, we're geeks on these forums. Most of us are not car audio experts. I know just enough about car audio to do a reasonably acceptable install.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



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  7. #7
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    I am also not an expert.

    From my experiences, it depends also on what you want from your system. You say you want to maintain a general factory quality sound from your system, which honestly isn't a normal path but certainly a cheap one.

    Factory sound is (generally) close to the rock bottom low quality, only surpassed by el-cheapo ebay name brands and those amps that say they give you x,000 watts for less than $200. Most people tend to upgrade their speakers when they add an amp and sub, and here is a couple of what *I* think are the reasons.

    Factory speakers are (generally) cheap paper coned speakers. They are (generally) made to operate on very very small amounts of power from the already low quality deck. We're talking (generally) below 20 watts RMS (middle of the road power, as opposed to peak). Once you upgrade that power output to an amp of moderate quality with 50+ Watts of RMS power, you quickly outclass the factory speakers and can much more easily damage them, even at low volumes.

    You need to wire the speakers to the amp. In keeping with a factory sense, you could get each of those leads out of the radio harness, but then you are talking about putting more power down a wire that wasn't made to handle that load. This is an increased risk of fire, though perhaps not ridiculously prevalent. So instead you rewire the speakers with new thicker wire which means you are already pulling off panels to get to the speakers and get the wires to your amp. Why not upgrade the speakers while you're there? If it is a decent mainstream name brand, it will ALMOST surely be better quality sound, even with relatively small amount spent.



    On your wattage questions, DarquePervert said it right. "A "budget" 500w amp will not perform as well as a quality 500w amp." Don't focus on the wattage output, that number is easily skewed by manufacturers based on how they performed their test. The cheap brands simply don't perform as well as their specs say in a real world application. If you go bottom of the barrel price, you get bottom of the barrel sound, regardless of whether they have the same watt output. So don't bother asking about wattage again!

    What I would do:

    Get yourself some moderately priced Middle-of-the-road series speakers from a mainstream name brand. I think the Infinity Reference Series speakers would be appropriate, although Polk and Pioneer are just 2 more brands that certainly could work. You can find their speakers for $75 or less a pair, even perhaps $50.

    Soundman98 went over amplifiers pretty well to give you a general feel. A basic 5 channel amp would do wonders. Like in home theater, (more my forte) each speaker is a channel. The difference is where Home Theater calls the sub ".1" as in "5.1", Car audio simply considers it another channel. So with 2 speakers up front, 2 in back, and a sub, you have 5 channels you need to power. I would stay away from doing a dual amp setup just for simplicity's sake, and if you aren't spending over a hundred or so on the sub and don't simply want to bump and rattle your way down the road, you will get plenty of power from the sub channel of a 5 channel amplifier.

    I would say picking up a kicker zx700.5 used from ebay for 100-150$ would be a great deal for a cheap amp. You can go with cheaper brands like Crunch, Boss, Lanzar, but you get what you pay for. This amp is merely a suggestion, not an end-all be-all spoonfed answer. Researching your questions on forums like those stickied to the top of the car audio sub-forum is your best course of action.

    You can build a sound system for $300 or so with a cheap sub and a moderately priced 5 channel amp, but why not spend 100-150 more for speakers and better your sound quality with very little extra work?

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