Best 4 Channel Car Amplifier 2019: Buying Guide and 12 Great Picks
For those who can’t live without high-quality car audio, building a stereo system means more than just bringing together car audio parts. It involves thoughtfully selecting each part of the awesome-to-be system and making sure the parts are well installed.
An amplifier is one of the elements of a great sounding car audio system. Finding the best amp for the car’s stereo and your listening needs can be quite time-consuming, and tricky (especially if you are building your first custom car stereo).
4 channel amplifiers are very popular among music enthusiasts. These amps have four outputs so they can power four speakers or two speakers and a powerful sub. You can easily hook up a 4-channel amp to your factory or aftermarket audio system. Some come with control features that allow you to tweak the sound just the way you like as you’ll see in the reviews below.
Planet Audio AC1200.4 [Overall best]
Alpine MRV-F300[Best for tight spaces]
How we compiled a review you can rely on
Our main objective for creating this review was to provide you with quality information on 4 channel amps. With this information, you are on the right direction to getting the amp you need, and, of course you avoid getting ripped off.
Through experience, we have known the value of collecting information from diverse sources. Our review team comprised of highly qualified sound engineers, top-notch car audio equipment installers, judicious reviewers and proud sound enthusiasts with lengthy experience using multichannel amps.
To get the best out of thousands of 4-channel amps on the market, we decided to stick to leader brands, and then to high-power models that have excellent efficiency, linearity, and versatility. The review contains amps with largely different specifications but this was intentional: we followed input from real users. As long as you are a fan of quality car audio you will find an amp that matches your listening needs.
Let’s get right onto the reviews.
1. Planet Audio AC1200.4 - Overall Best 4 Channel Amplifier
The AC1200.4 is among Planet Audio’s revolutionary Anarchy series amps. It is a Class A/B 4-channel operation amplifier that allows you to fine twitch your sound the way you like to achieve the clearest and loudest music. With its MOSFET power supply, this amp never disappoints when it comes to efficient sound magnification.
Features and Benefits of Planet Audio AC1200.4
Verdict: This Planet Audio 4 channel amp is great for you if you are looking for a low-budget amp that gives you excellent control over your music.
Check out the AC4000.1D amp on Amazon and buy for a unique listening experience.
2. Hifonics ZRX1016.4
Here’s another class A/B contender with unique features. The Hifonics ZRX1016.4 gives you decent power (1000 w) and top of the line heat dissipation. It comes with military-grade printed circuit boards that promise great sound for many years to come.
See More Features of Hifonics ZRX1016.4 Below:
Verdict: This amp is dependable and among the most powerful we’ve seen. It’s very linear and can be used as a standalone power source or as a part of a more sophisticated system.
Want to know why Hifonics is duped ‘Power from the gods’? Try the ZRX1016.4.
3. Crunch Power Drive PD1000.4
Fans of big bass find Crunch PowerDrive PD1000.4 incredibly enticing. This amplifier is big; bigger than any other Crunch amp we’ve come across. It literally turns your car into a sound machine with its 2000w MAX power. But even with such high power capabilities it remains cool as it uses QTD (Quick Thermal Dispersion) technology.
Crunch Power Drive PD1000.4 Highlights and Benefits
Verdict: With more than enough power to crank up your components and low-distortion RCA inputs Crunch Power Drive PD1000.4 is a sure bet to louder and cleaner music from your audio system.
If this powerful Crunch Power amp cannot overturn your listening experience, what else will?
4. Rockford Fosgate R400-4D: The most efficient Class D amp
Rockford Fosgate R400-4D implements its class-D circuitry to offer ultra-efficient sound amplification. It can power your full-range system, but it is also optimized for 4-channel systems so you can power midrange/tweeters in the dash and front doors and run other drivers in the deck and rear doors without a hitch.
What to expect from the R400-4D
Verdict: With the kind of 4-channel versatility offered by this amp, you can realize whatever desires you have with the car’s audio system. 75 watts for each speaker is enough to juice up any music.
Research more on this ultra-efficient Class-D Rockford Fosgate amp and make your decision.
5. Pyle PLMRA430BT – Best Budget Amplifier
What would you expect from a marine-grade, high-power, waterproof amplifier? Pyle PLMRA430BT amp places itself in a class of its own. Many of the real users in our review team gave this multi-channel bridgeable amplifier high rating for power efficiency, reliability and superior sound performance. Many of its features are captivating, like its Bluetooth connectivity abilities.
Pyle PLMRA430BT Features and Benefits
Our thoughts: There’s no other amp that offers you versatile, waterproof performance like the Pyle Elite Series Bluetooth-enabled amps. The PLMRA430BT is a definite pick if you are looking for premium sound amplification.
At its highly pocket-friendly amp this quality amp is the most inexpensive way to improve your stereo.
6. Alpine MRV-F300 - Best Amp for Tight Spaces
The MRV-F300 is a crazy small and lightweight Class-D amp with decent power, hustle-less set up and great sound amplification. When the beautiful glowing blue light comes on, you will be awed by the way it enhances your stereo’s look and performance.
Features of Alpine MRV-F300
Final Thoughts: If you are building a custom system the first time and you want a small amp that’s east to install and use, then Alpine MRV-F300 is a great option.
Don’t hesitate to pick the MRV-F300 – it will not disappoint.
7. Kenwood 22154656
Kenwood provides you with the most reliable way to get around the challenges of limited space and harsh environments for audio equipment. The 22154656 is a compact surface mount amp that’s simple to install (comes with easy hook ups). With a 600w peak power output, the amp can satisfy a wide range of car stereos with three or four speakers.
Features of Kenwood 22154656
Our view: The 22154656 may be less powerful than other 4-channel amps in this list but considering its size it is a mind blower.
Take your stereo to the next level of performance with this small Kenwood amp. Check price on Amazon.
8. Rockford R300X4 Prime
Enjoy the amazing amplification value of Rockford Fosgate in the R300X4 Prime amp. You’ve got everything well set up: speakers on the doors, tweeters strategically positioned, and subs in the back but your music is still subpar. Rock your tunes with this highly versatile R300X4 Prime amp. That’s what is missing.
Unique Features of Rockford R300X4 Prime
Our view: Grab this amplifier for an all-in-one setup. It’s very easy to set up and it packs in loads of power into your audio system for a better listening experience.
The Rockford R300X4 Prime works perfectly with any stereo system and it will definitely upgrade yours.
9. BOSS Audio R1004
The BOSS Audio R1004 400w MAX 4-channel class A/B amp is very linear and able to produce sound with minimal distortion. Though not as efficient as the class D competitors, the amp doesn’t disappoint when it comes to power output. And with its built-in thermal protection you can be sure to enjoy cool sound without worrying about amplifier overheating.
Features of BOSS Audio R1004
Verdict: With Boss Audio A1004 amplifier, there’s merely nothing to stop you from enjoying high-quality music while behind the wheel, regardless of the type of audio system your car uses.
View this moderately priced amplifier on Amazon and prepare for next-level in-car entertainment.
10. JL Audio JX400/4D – Enjoy louder and distortion-free music all the time
Add JL Audio JX400/4D to your stereo to improve the sound and feel of your music. This 4-channel amp can power each of your speakers with 75 watts for great high to mid frequencies. And for the bass, you can switch the amp to 2-channel mode to run your two subs with up to 200w RMS each.
Highlights of JL Audio JX400/4D
Verdict: Although highly priced, the JX400/4D is an attractive option for those who know the true value of quality sound amplification. Just look at the amps engineering and know what to expect.
Check out the current price of JX400/4D on Amazon today.
11. Pioneer GM-D1004 – Best Budget Pioneer Amp
The GM-D1004 amp is among Pioneer’s masterpieces that have shaken the growing micro amplifier niche. This amp delivers sound output and quality that proudly defies its small size. Loaded with features that simplify amplifier integration into aftermarket and factory systems, this amp is something a serious car audio lover should explore.
What Pioneer GM-D1004 offers
Verdict: Once again, if you are here looking for a powerful micro amplifier, the Pioneer GM – D1004 is a great pick. Don’t be fooled by its size, this amplifier can work with even the most demanding drivers.
View this budget Pioneer 4-channel amp on Amazon.
12. Clarion XC2410 – Small but strong and dependable
Not many people would really understand the value of an amplifier that is the size of their palm. We didn’t either until the Clarion XC2410 4-channel amp was put on the review table. Delivering 50 watts RMS per channel, this micro-sized amp can fit almost everywhere. See more about it below.
Features and specifications of Clarion XC2410
Our final thoughts: Clarion fits in very small spaces and is therefore a great option if you are looking for a micro amp with quality audio power. It is engineered well to deliver lots of good, clean sound.
Check the XC amp on Amazon and see for yourself why it’s among the best amps in 2019.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best 4 Channel Amp
Do you find pleasure in building great sounding car audio systems?
We do. The most enjoyable part of the task is matching good quality speakers with an amazing amplifier for a more powerful, clearer and articulate sound.
You want to do this too. But it’s critical that you first find an amplifier that will fulfill your requirements.
Here are the most important things to consider before buying a multichannel amplifier:
1. Wattage: a measure of power
Amplifiers are all about magnifying sound. It’s obvious that more wattage means more amplification and thus more sound. For the majority of applications, 50 to 75 Watts RMS will produce sufficient volume. An amp with this power rating can also be bridged (if it’s bridgeable) to drive your sub well for greater sounding bass. Generally, a higher power rating means more sound volume. But you also have to remember that any amp with over 1000 Watts RMS will normally require that you add an extra battery or replace the existing battery with a more powerful one.
Though resistance is quite a technical aspect, it may not be as confusing as you think when considering 4-channel amplifiers.
Let’s first give you a hint.
Building a great sound system is all about creating synergy. In this case, synergy is created by matching your speakers with the right amplifier.
Check your speaker’s power handling and the amplifier’s different output ratings. Here’s the hint now: It’s great to connect high impedance speakers to an amp But you don’t want to hook up low impedance speakers, say 4 ohms, with an amplifier that specifies a minimum impedance of 8 ohms.
3. Amplifier size vs the installation space available
Size is a factor everyone must consider regardless of the type of amplifier in consideration. It’s pretty simple – you need an amp that will fit into the available space. If you have big SUV, size may not be much of a limiting factor. But if you have a small, pretty Roadster offering without much space for installation of extra audio equipment, you need an amp that can fit in tight spaces. We have reviewed several compact or micro amps above so you will find the best-sized amp for your car.
The above three aspects provide a general direction toward the best 4 channel car amp for your needs. Here are a number of features that make an amplifier more desirable. When find an amp with these features, go after it.
Finally, here is one of the most frequently asked questions on selecting 4-channel amps
Class A/B or Class D amplifiers: Which is better?
We’ll give you the facts to help you decide.
- Most Class A/B amps are nearly 50 percent efficient while class D ones are nearly 90 percent efficient
- Class D amps can be designed to fit in much smaller chasses
- Class A/B amps give out slightly clearer sound than Class D amps (noise floor is a bit higher due to the way they operate, though today’s models have reduced noise levels)
We hope you are now better informed on how to choose the best amplifier and will be soon building a great system for a more enjoyable listening experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How is a 4-channel amplifier different from a 2-channel amp?
A: Many people get confused by the fact that a 4-channel amp can be used as a 2-channel amp. 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. Thus, compared to a 2-channel amp, a 4-channel amp gives you more flexibility with regard to the number of speakers you can use.
Q. What is the maximum number of speakers that I can connect to a 4-channel amp?
A: The number of speakers any amplifier can power depends on how you wire the amp. With correct wiring, an external amp can be set up safely to give as much as twice its RMS power rating. Normally, most external amps may be able to power multiple speakers per channel. A 4-channel amp can power up to eight speakers if you wire it correctly. First, check amp specifications to see that the amp is 2-ohm stable. Then, make sure that you or your chosen professional amplifier installer can safely set your 4-channel amp with more than four speakers.
Here are ways in which you can use your 4-channel amp with multiple speakers:
When the amp is operating at 2 ohms, speakers receive more power and get louder compared to when the amp operates at 4 ohms.
Note carefully: Do not attempt to wire more than two speakers to one channel of your amp as this could damage your audio system.
Q. Is a 4-channel amp strong enough for subs?
A: In case you have a subwoofer that also needs powering, keep in mind that sub-to-amp connections are different from speaker-to-amp connections. Since subs need significantly more power than speakers, you will have to bridge 2 channels into one for a sub. How do you do this?
Connect the +ve wire from the sub to the +ve lead of one channel on the amplifier and the –ve wire to the –ve lead of the other amplifier channel. This means you can power two subs only with your 4-channel amp.
Q. Are there any advantages of bridging a 4-channel amp?
A: Yes. Bridging an amplifier improves the versatility of the amp. You can easily find a 4-channel amp that can be bridged to two-channel or three-channel configurations.
The two-channel configuration allows you to wire the amp to two subs (as already discussed). You can also use the two-channel setup to power a single dual-voice-coil (DVC) sub.
The three-channel amp configuration enables the 4-channel amplifier to power one sub and a pair of speakers – two bridged channels for the sub and the remaining two channels for the speakers.
It’s important to remember that bridging changes impedance, so you should take care not to damage your speakers, amplifier, or both. It’s always a good idea to ask for help from an expert when going about the bridging process.
Q. Can I connect a HU which has only 2 channels to a 4-channel amplifier?
A: If you have a head unit that has only the left and right channels, you can connect it to a 4-channel amplifier easily. You just need two RCA Y adapter cables. Today, manufacturers design amps in such a way that they can use a Y adapter safely. Connect the HU’s left channel RCA jack to the left front and front rear amplifier inputs. Do the same for the right channel. Your amp will be receiving the same quality of signal in the front as in the rear channels. When you are done connecting the head unit to the amp, adjust the rear gain to get the appropriate/desired volume level for rear speakers.
Our Best Pick: Planet Audio AC1200.4
Planet Audio AC1200.4 ticked all the boxes to become our best 4-channel car amplifier. This amp will make your stereo thunder with its 900w RMS. It is well-built to last and utilizes the MOSFET technology to operate efficiently and with little heat production. It also comes with a variable equalizer that allows you to tweak your sound to your most pleasurable level.
The AC1200.4 also blends in well with both OEM and aftermarket systems, so in case you want to upgrade your system easily and in a less expensive way, this amp makes it happen.
The amplifier is favorably priced; there are other 4-channel amps with even more than twice its price but they can match its performance and quality.
So, in our view Planet Audio AC1200.4 is the best for cleaner, louder, and punchier music.