On an average, a typical car owner spends about one and a half hours driving every day. That, most people would agree, is a considerable amount of time. While driving may not be all that fun, filling your cabin with your favorite jams is one way of making it bearable.
Therefore, a functional audio system is an essential component of any vehicle cabin. It takes a lot to build a good car audio system; it takes even more to build a boom packed, ground shaking one. And one of the essential components is an amplifier.
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Amps come in different shapes and sizes (5-channel car amps review) as well as configurations. This write-up’s core focus is 4 channel amps; more specifically the best of their kind within different price ranges.
See our review of best Monoblock amps.
But before we get to that, a basic all things 4 channel amp related lesson will prove very helpful; especially if you are bent on getting yourself one. With that let’s get down and dirty to the nitty-gritty of this article.
What Exactly Is A 4 Channel Amp?
You may find yourself throwing the 4 channel amp phrase around. If we got down to details, would you be in a position to fully describe one? No? Well, let’s fix that.
A 4 channel amp, simply, is an amp designed to power 4 independent channels. This doesn’t mean you can only power four speakers from this kind of amp; theoretically, you can power as many speakers as possible and by bridging you even power a sub. However, in most cases, you’ll find 4 channels amps are used to with two sets of speakers.
Best 4 Channel Amps Under $100
Our Pick: Planet Audio Ac1200.4 Anarchy
Max Power Output: 1,200W
RMS: 225 W X 4 RMS @ 2 ohm
113 W X 4 RMS @ 4 ohm
450 W X 2 RMS Bridged @ 4 ohm
Amp Class: A/B
If you want to give your car’s sound system a subtle upgrade, you would be wrong not to consider the this Planet Audio 4 channel amp. PA AC1200.4 brings to the table an affordable way to elevate your musical experience through it is not only clean but surprisingly boomy output.
Its feature combination has been cleverly put together to create the pretty efficient gadget that does anything but disappoints. Let’s take a scan through its features list.
An amp’s strength is drawn from its power output capabilities. With a MOSFET power supply system, the Planet Audio AC1200.4 is rather powerful with a maximum output of an unforgiving 1200 Watts (although you have options up to 2400 Watts).
At 4 Ohms, this amp comfortably avails 113 Watts from each of its 4 channels; at 2 Ohms, the same gives off 225 Watts from each channel. You can go a step ahead and bridge this amp for a higher output of 450 W × 2 at 4 Ohms.
This full range class A/B amp comes with outstanding amplification abilities and ensures its components are well-protected while at it. It does so with a thermal and speaker short protection circuitry; it is clearly not taking any chances.
It’s black anodized outer shell acts as a heavy-duty heat sink designed for maximum and even heat dissipation. Further, it includes variable low pass and high pass filters and an additional variable bass boost filter.
Coming down to its gaining ability, the Planet Audio AC1200.4 is fast with minimum distortion at most volume levels. Its variable input gain control is also worth a mention.
Ultimately? The Planet Audio AC1200.4 is one of the most suitable 4 channel car amp choices in the $100 range. In most cases, this amp has solid, clean, thick sound output that makes its worth every penny paid for. Even with a few distortions complains when pushed a little too much, it’s a foolproof pick for a low budget.
We did a complete review of best budget car amps.
Runner-Up: Pioneer GM-D1004 Digital Series Class FD
Second on our list is the Pioneer GM-D1004. This amp is proudly miniature but nonetheless remarkably potent. Your factory sound system is nothing in the face of the Pioneer GM-D1004; there’s no denying it is off the chart performance as a first-time upgrade.
It may not be all that mind-blowing; however, this amp is bound to upsurge the overall musical vibe in your vehicle’s cabin. Now here are its key feature components.
Like I mentioned earlier, this amp makes those boring factory sound systems look like a joke. Considering its maximum power output is a good 400 Watts, the Pioneer GM-D1004 is over three times better. From each channel, you get 45 Watts at 4 Ohms or 2 Ohms. When bridged, it coughs up 90 Watts × 2 channels at a 4 Ohms impedance.
One of its top advantages is its compact design that makes an easy fit just about anywhere; you can simply mount it up behind the dash and watch the little monster grind. It’s small chassis also rids its installation process of any unnecessary hassles.
As a Class D amp, this Pioneer 4 channel amp includes switchable high pass and low pass filters and an additional front and rear independent crossovers. Its universal harness makes picking up the signal from basically any type of speaker wiring out there a piece of cake. If you think that’s incredible, it gets better.
The Pioneer GM-D1004 includes a Protection Control System which works to keep the gadget safe even under the utmost pressure. It suppresses excess current therefore preventing overheating and possible short damages. Other features include a remote control for hands-off operation and a fixed amp gain control knob.
In a nutshell, the Pioneer GM-D1004 is designed for eased use and installation without compromising its output capabilities. As they say, you should never judge a book by its cover because small has never sounded this good.
Budget 4 Channel Amp: Boss Audio R1004 Riot
In all honesty, a tight budget can be quite the buzz kill. It not only limits your options, it makes you very susceptible to making a faulty choice. However, even in the face of such predicaments, few amps stand out for their mind-blowing performance even at such a low purchase price.
The BOSS Audio R1004 Riot is one such amplifier. For just a few bucks, you can dramatically rev your sound system with this amp. Here’s why.
With a MOSFET power supply, the BOSS Audio R1004 Riot can comfortably afford a 100 Watts power output. This may not sound impressive but hey, it is significantly better than most vehicles original junky systems. From each channel, it coughs up 20 Watts. Unfortunately, this amp is unbridgeable. Its frequency response capacity falls at 12 – 220000Hz.
For a mid-level sound system, the BOSS Audio R1004 Riot is ample is many ways. It comes with a switchable input sensitivity, short and thermal protection and, well, a whole lot of potency.
In an attempt to save you installation related headaches, it comes with the needed mounting hardware.
The BOSS Audio R1004 Riot may not be the loudest amp out there, but it gets the job done rather efficiently. If you’re looking for budget 4 channel amp and a rapid upgrade to your original head unit, this Boss 4 channel amp is adequately feasible.
Also Great: Boss Audio PF1800 Phantom
Boss Audio is known for their top-notch quality products. The BOSS Audio PF1800 Phantom 1800 is yet another testimony to this long-standing reputation. If you’re looking for something simple with a reasonable amount of boom, then this Boss 4 channel amp might fit in perfectly into your plans.
Its affordability is an undeniable bonus considering its results are considered dynamic. Its impressive features are as follows.
I have to admit, it’s maximum power output is something of a wonder. 1800 Watts from an under $ 100 amp is no joke; most people would agree. The PF1800 Phantom is capable of 450 watts from an individual channel at 2 Ohms and about 225 Watts at 4 Ohms.
When bridged, it coughs up a solid 900 Watts × 2 channels at a 4 Ohms impedance. This amp is very capable of driving your entire sound system, a subwoofer included. As a Class A/B amp, it’s audio output is as seamless as it gets with minimum glitches.
It also includes variable high pass and low pass filters and an additional bass boost filter. To back its efficiency, it comes with an automatic shut off feature that prevents thermal and short related damages. Switchable sensitivity enables control of any signals from the head unit.
Maximum durability is another merit thanks to its gold coated RCA low and high-level inputs; you can cross corrosion off your list of possible future problems. And now, for that cherry on the cake, the BOSS Audio PF1800 Phantom comes with an impressive LED backlighting that gives it an overall snazzy look.
This car amp effortlessly drives the whole sound system and does it rather sumptuously so to speak. Such power is hard to come by at such a low cost. However, improper installation may render it troublesome. Nevertheless, the PF1800 Phantom is generally one of the best 4 channel car amps within its price class.
Best 4 Channel Amps Under $200
Our Pick: Rockford R300x4 Prime
Max Power Output: 300W
RMS: 50 Watts x 4 @ 4-Ohm
75 Watts x 4 @ 2-Ohm
150 Watts x 2 @ 4-Ohm Bridged
Amp Class: A/B
Rhythmic, dynamic tunes are every audiophile’s dream. The Rockford R300X4 Prime delivers just that to every cabin lucky enough to have it at work. With the promise of longevity and a done hefty delivery, this Rockford Fosgate 4 channel amp is a shoo-in for a quality yet thriving sound experience.
Still skeptical? A look at its features is bound to switch that thought in an instant.
Power, the building feature of any amp is adequately catered for with the Rockford R300X4 Prime. At 2Ohms, you can expect a solid 75 Watts from each channel and 50 Watts at 4 Ohms. You can kick up its capabilities by bridging it for a good 150 Watts × 2 channels at 4 Ohms.
It’s class A/B design and 20-20kHz frequency response only works to top up its strengths even more. Its chassis comes in for of heavy duty aluminum which is a no-brainer when it comes to proper heat dissipation. Further, it includes built-in sensors that pick up and halt thermal and power current threats.
It’s speaker level inputs make it flexible; that paired with its low and high pass filter only kicks up its performance.
The manufacturer’s of Rockford R300X4 Prime took is a step further by ensuring its conformity to industrial standards (both safety and environmental requirements). Finally, it’s selectable bass boost and car equalizer give it that wrapped with a ribbon factor.
You want loud? Or flexibility? Maybe just that perfect all rounded effect? Get yourself the Rockford R300X4 Prime 4 channel amp. The wattage may not be all that but what’s that compared to all the other benefits that this amp guarantees.
Runner-up: Alpine MRV-F300
Max Power Output: N/A
RMS: 50 watts RMS x 4 at 4 ohms
75 watts RMS x 4 at 2 ohms
150 watts RMS x 2 bridged output at 4 ohms
(4-ohm stable in bridged mode)
Amp Class: D
The Alpine MRV-F300 can only be described as a little power packed monstrosity. It’s seemingly tiny chassis does nothing to scale down its vigor. It’s general design, featured specifications and delivery combination shout proficiency from the very beginning.
Significantly better than that it the preceding model, here are its features.
This Alpine 4 channel amp is a class D amp with decent power output. In summary, it dishes out 50 Watts × 4 at 4 Ohms and 75 Watts × 4 at 2 Ohms. Bridging it pushed this output to 150 Watts RMS.
It’s Enhanced Shutdown Performance works in a different yet efficient way to keep this amp safe; instead of the usual shutdown off the move when pushed too hard, this amp rolls back output until the conditions stabilize. This promises you undisturbed performance even under the most strenuous prerequisites.
The Alpine MRV-F300 also brings you a bass boost for that low-end efficacy, pre-amp and speaker level inputs and a MOSFET power supply. Its size assures easy installation in anywhere including tiny confined spaces.
Despite being a bit too pricey, you have to admit the Alpine MRV-F300 comes with a pretty neat package. A clean yet powerful delivery, ease of installation and durability; that’s the Alpine MRV-F300 for you.
Motorcycle 4 Channel Amp: Rockford Fosgate PBR300x4 Punch BRT
For the longest time, the Rockford Fosgate 4 channel amps have held on to their rather outstanding resume. The PBR300X4 Punch is definitely no exception. If you feel it’s about time your bike got that tuned up music vibe, phasing out this amp may just be the biggest mistake you make.
Being one of the smallest 4 channel amplifiers (just 1.53 x 4.25 x 6.75 inches), it fits like a glove onto most motorcycles. Other than that, it’s specs combination practically make it a sound giant.
By now, it’s evident the PBR300X4 is considerably small making it a breeze to work even with the most limiting of spaces. With a 300 Watt maxi RMS, it allows you to rock up any tunes on your bike. At 4 Ohms, you get 75 Watts from each of its channels.
Its design features Dynamic Thermal Management technology that prevents the formation of hot spots through even spread out of the heat. It further incorporates a Maximum Efficiency Heat Sink Application (MEHSA) feature that serves a purpose similar to the above mention; its internal components are evidently well taken care of.
Another feature worth a fussy mention is its Boosted Tail (BR) technology which makes its capacitors and circuitry super speedy. Additional features include its punch EQ, high-quality building components and it’s decent tune disposition.
Motorcycles have very little spaces to work with; this small amp is designed to work seamlessly in such prerequisites. The Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4 Punch can be pushed without the ever-roaming fear or damage. Conclusively, it’s a pretty reliable option.
Also Great: Kenwood 22154656 Compact Amp
Tiny but tremendously efficient, this Kenwood 4 channel amp meets expectations with minimal strain. The Kenwood 22154656 is just what you need to tune up your car or motorcycle. And even more exciting, you can do so without worrying about space.
It brings to the table a 600 Watt maximum output; pretty neat, right? This is by venting out 75 Watts from each channel at 2 Ohms and 50 Watts at 4 Ohms. For a more powerful dispensation, you can bridge it to harness 150 Watts × 2 channels.
Looking at reviews, this Class D amp has a 90% efficiency rating. Its chassis comes in form of an aluminum casing that houses coated circuit boards to ensure protection. The Kenwood 22154656 brings you even more power with its variable crossovers. It stays cool when at work with minimal heating.
Simple, efficient and small enough to fit just about anywhere. The Kenwood 22154656 is obviously not the best of the best; however, it works diligently to keep its users fully satisfied.
Also Great: MTX Audio Thunder75.4
Whether you’re running a sub, full range speakers or both, MTX Audio THUNDER75.4 has you covered. From the Thunder Series, this amplifier kicks up your tunes and cleans up pretty well while at it.
This MTX Thunder 4 channel amp is also a no-brainer to work with as it incorporates a rather straightforward design and installation hardware.
It is a class A/B amp and that means topmost clarity when it comes to its resultant tunes. It’s 400 Watts maximum output keeps up its ability to capture all notes and drop them as neatly as possible. When bridged, it brings you a steady 175 Watts to drive your subwoofers.
It has a wide range of variable crossover points, an extruded aluminum heat sink. It also involves thermal, DC offset and short circuit protection. Finally, for the icing on the cake, it features a pleasantly small footprint that makes it mountable pretty much anywhere.
This tiny powerhouse is as efficient as they get. It is a clever way to drive your entire system to its full potential.
Best 4 Channel Amps For High-End User
Our Pick: Zapco Z-150.4LX Series
Top quality sound standards are all the Z-150.4LX aims to achieve. And pleasantly enough, no amp does it like this one does. Considering you have to pay a little more to own you one of these bad boys, it’s only right to expect nothing short of perfection.
Although it’s nearly impossible to get it all the right, this amp strives to give you the best sound output anywhere.
1000 Watts maximum output is agreeable out of this world impressive. At 4 Ohms, you get 150 Watts and 250 Watts at 2 Ohms. It is bridgeable with the promise of a rock steady 500 Watts from two channels. Its frequency response is 10Hz-30kHz.
It’s 4-way protection in involves thermal, overcurrent, short and DC guard.
This Zapco car amp is designed for best sound quality with as little hassle as possible. Right from its installation down to the delivery capabilities, this is beyond any doubt an audiophile car amplifier.
Also Great: Rockford Fosgate Power Series T1000-1bdCP
Quality has never been a topic of debate with Rockford Fosgate. And for its high-end clientele, they have outdone themselves with the magnificent creation that is the T1000-1bdCP. This amp features specification that no other amp has regardless of the price tag.
It’s easy to tell that the T1000-1bdCP was crafted with next level efficiency and care to ensure top-notch performance.
Honestly, the T1000-1bdCP has one of the most impressive feature combinations in the car amplifier market. Starting from its power output, it gives you a steady 700 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms (1,000 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms) and 1,000 watts RMS x 1 at 1 ohm. That’s right, it dishes out an unwavering output even with a change in impedance.
This is thanks to the Constant Power technology that maintains output through any impedance fluctuation. On bridging, you can blast up your 15″ subs with 500 Watts RMS.
For heat dissipation, it uses Dynamic Thermal Management technology, a feature that uses forced air to cool and evenly spread out heat within its chassis. It’s input features are designed to work silently with as little noise disturbance as possible.
To top it all, this amp combines class B and D technology for improved performance and detail. You can say by to unpleasant distortion with this powerhouse.
This audiophile car amp is as sleek as it is efficient. It is crafted to give its users the best sound output possible and it does so effortlessly. Trust Rockford Fosgate to create yet another genius, well-assembled gadget.
Also Great: Jl Audio Xd400/4v2
Max Power Output: N/A
RMS: 75 watts RMS x 4 @ 4 ohms
100 watts RMS x 4 @ 2 ohms
200 watts RMS x 2 bridged @ 4 ohms
(4-ohm stable bridged)
Amp Class: D
Last under this category comes the JL Audio XD400 4 channel car amp and all its glory. If you’re a serious audiophile, you will fall madly in love with this amp. It is not often you come across amp this small yet capable of dramatic potency, way above most other amps within this price range.
It incorporates old and new technologies to form a fusion like no other. How this tiny chassis manages such power is astounding just as it is puzzling. This Jl Audio 4 channel amp handles 400 Watts RMS in the face of 2 Ohms load. When bridged, it offers 200 Watts × 2 channels which can power up a sub or any full range speakers decently.
It features technologies such as Advanced Rollback Protection, which deals with thermal threats without shutting down; and NexD switching which eliminated distortions due to voltage supply fluctuations. Other than that, it also includes differential balanced inputs that phase out resultant operational noise distractions.
Bonus features include preamp and speaker level inputs, variable low and high pass filter, signal sensing that enables auto turn on and an optional remote control.
What’s the overall take on this amp? Super efficiency, well protected, undisturbed toil and of course a modern, amplified and clean touch to your favorite tunes. If money isn’t much of an issue for you, the JL Audio XD400 is a pretty promising amplifier.
Factors To Consider When Buying A 4 Channel Amp
Similar to making any other gadget purchase, you can never be too careful when picking out a 4 channel amp. Now, the intention is to get a long-lasting amp that works pretty well throughout its lifespan. And in order to do that, you must study each of the following features with keen interest.
Power capacity is the backbone of any amplifier. Based on the nature of the rest of your sound system’s components, your 4 channel amp choice should match up and fit in nicely with the general power flow.
Mismatching your amp’s power output with, say, that of your speakers could result in damages or an inefficient performance. Nevertheless, with power more is always better; just ensure its a match with the rest of your components.
First and foremost ask yourself this question; Will your final pick fit into its designated space? Surely no one enjoys the headache of having to make more room to fit the amp in. Next up, ensure you understand the complexities involved in the installation of any 4 channel amps. If you intend to bridge the amp, make sure you get it right.
This way you can evade future wiring problems. What’s more, the installation has a huge influence on the amp’s performance once it’s up and running.
Quality of output
Now the whole point of an amplifier is to better your vehicle’s system sound performance. Needless to say, the amp of your choice should do just that. Look for a 4 channel amp with the promise of as few distortions as possible.
Additional features like reduced operational noise are also another way to ensure that smooth burst of your favorite tunes.
Specifications such as an amp’s sensitivity, frequency response, and impedance have a great contribution to its operation. A scan through each of the above will go a long way in helping you make the right choice.
Sensitivity is the measure of an amp’s efficiency; the higher the sensitivity, the more efficient it gets.
Frequency response range defines the spectrum through which an amp can comfortably handle notes. Finally, impedance refers to the level of current resistance the amp experiences; the higher the impedance, the lower the current required to run it and vice versa.
With all that has been said, you should have a clear picture of what a 4 channel amp is and how it works. This takes us to the next section; here, we have picked different 4 channel amp models and laid out their features. With this guide, your shopping escapade is bound to get a whole lot simpler.
4 channel amps are an influential addition to any sound system. All the above are top quality picks that guarantee you a long time smooth, bass packed sound bursts.