A Guide to Amplifiers

What is a good amplifier?

Many people often ask what is a good amplifier, and the answer is not as simple as you would expect, when selecting an amplifier the first thing to consider is its purpose, will it be running speakers or will it be used for powering a sub woofer.   Amplifiers are a bit like cars, no two are the same, whilst this may sounds crazy they each have their own distinctive sound, most people in the industry would categorise amps as follows:

  • USA Designed – More power orientated, not so much sound quality.
  • European Designed – More Sound Quality orientated.
  • Chinese Designed – Coke a Cola product, not real powerful, not real clean but a good starting point when getting in to car audio.

It is always a good idea to use the speakers you have or are intending to buy when selecting an amplifier, the reason is simple amplifiers in most cases don’t produce a flat signal as desired in the perfect world, that is to say you may test an amp and find it produces a very bright sound on a certain speaker and yet a different amplifier may produce the opposite result, this can be because of the amplifier or because of the speakers, so put simply you have to match product (not brand match) to get the sound you are wanting, of course a good DSP can rectify many issues with tuning.

Does my amplifier need to match the power of my speakers?

Ideally if you are running for example a 100 W/RMS speaker, an amplifier of > 80 W/RMS will do nicely, however an amplifier of 150 W/RMS or even 200 W/RMS can be used IF it is installed and tuned correctly, what we are saying is you are not going to be pumping 200 W/RMS in to those 100 W/RMS speakers.