To readers and visitors of our site, we can’t stress often enough how an amplifier can literally make or break a mobile audio system. Why do we say it’s a statement to be taken “literally”? For one, purchase and install a cheaply-made amp and you put your entire vehicle at risk – from the possibility of a fire starting under the hood to the subpar electronics in the amp wreaking havoc on a vehicle’s entire electrical system.
We are always advising our readers to buy the right car amplifier out of the gate to avoid any expensive component replacements down the road, whether they’re shopping for an amp to power their car’s component speaker system or looking for one to provide their subwoofers with some serious juice.
With that in mind, we have created this Best Car Stereo Amplifier Brands guide to get you better acquainted with the more reliable manufacturers out there in the world of mobile audio amps. You can take it from us that the following companies bring some of the most reliable, efficient and bang-for-the-buck options, regardless of how large or small your install project may be.
A brand that needs no introduction from us, Alpine has been a legend in the car audio community for generations, and this expertise extends to their current amplifier lineup, one which includes the X-Series, R-Series, S-Series, Power Pack family, V-Power MRV-M500 digital amp, PDR-V75 five-channel digital amp and PDX-V9 five-channel “power density” digital amp.
For over 35 years, Audiopipe has been connecting the world with electronic components that amplify lifestyles, representing such fine brands as Nippon America, Audiopipe Car Audio, Audiopipe Marine and Studio Z. While not as instantly recognizable compared to the more mainstream car amlifier brands on this list, Audiopipe nevertheless offers a complete range of high-quality mobile amplifiers such as the APSB-1299PP, APMCR-1800, APMCR-4060 micro amp, APMI-4150D mini amp, APCLE-2004 and APMA-5200WR compact mini design amp.
Headquartered in what is considered the “low bass capital of the world,” Miami, Florida, DS18 knows a thing or two about mobile electronics components, offering what its representatives call “the freshest of all car audio lineups.” This philosophy is never more apparent than with the company’s amplifier collection, a range that encompasses an almost overwhelming number of models for any setup or need. Whether it’s the SLC-X1050.4 full-range Class AB four-channel beast putting out 1,050 watts or the GEN-X3700.4 full-range Class AB four-channel monster delivering an eye-watering 3,700 watts, DS18 has the amp for you.
Focal amplifiers have been designed to get the most out of any car audio system installation, the manufacturer’s current lineup consisting of the FPX, FD and FDS series of products; the FPX line was engineered to represent musical and powerful amps, and is available in the FPX 4.800, FPX 2.750, FPX 1.1000, FPX 5.1200 and FPX 4.400 SQ models. The FDS is available in the FDS 2.350, FDS 1.350 and FDS 4.350 models, while the FD line represents Focal’s ultra-compact amplifier series destined to become a legend.
Instantly recognized by serious mobile audio competitors for its legendary products named after famous gods, Hifonics has been setting the pace in the audio competition lanes since car stereo contests began. The company’s current impressive lineup of power amplifiers is lorded over by the mighty BXX4000.1D one (1)-ohm stable mono subwoofer model boasting Super D Class technology and 4,000 watts and goes on to encompass a nearly infinite amount of choices for any installation project under the sun.
The term “hertz” in the realm of audio refers to the unit of frequency or the number of cycles-per-second – and indeed, for Hertz Audio, everything the brand does reflects the fact that it is a performance-oriented operation. Case in point: Hertz Audio’s current amplifier lineup includes ultra-high-performance models in the Mille Power, Hertz Compact Power, Hertz DPower, HPower, SPL Show and SPL Monster series.
As a shining member of the Harman International family of fine audio brands, Infinity has recently shifted its attention away from home audio-oriented products to focus on mobile components, the company’s current amplifier lineup consisting of the KAPPA FIVE, KAPPA ONE K 1,000-watt sub amp, KAPPA FOUR full-range amp, KAPPA ONE 6 600-watt sub amp and a line of premium Reference Series models plus Primus value-oriented products.
Like its sister brand Infinity above, JBL is also a member of the highly-respected Harman International group of brands and has found its way into the world of “step-up” premium factory systems offered by many auto manufacturers.
An entire range of sexy-looking, cutting-edge mobile amplifiers are offered by JBL today, encompassing such models as the Club 5501 high-performance mono amp, Stadium 600 mono Class D amp, Stadium 1000 mono Class D amp, A3001 Class D amp and others.
JL has tackled the challenges of automotive amplifier design with the same commitment to engineering and innovative thinking applied to its speakers and subwoofers, its subs in particular coveted by the high SPL competition crowd. The current JL Audio amplifier lineup consists of the VXi, HD, Slash v3, XDv2, RD, JX and MX series, with a plethora of amp accessories available through the company.
Kenwood’s current lineup of formidable mobile audio amplifiers are available in its regular KAC series, compact KAC series and limited-distribution D-Series; the regular KAC series includes the KAC-7005PS, KAC-5001PS, KAC-9106D, KAC-8406, KAC-5207 and KAC-6407. The compact KAC series consists of the KAC-M1824BT, KAC-M3004, KAC-M3001 and KAC-M1814, while the D-Series features the KAC-D8105, KAC-D5101 and KAC-D3104.
While revered worldwide for its head-crushing subwoofer products, Kicker has also made a name for itself on the mobile amplifier scene, evidenced by the fan-favorite brand’s current lineup of products divided amongst the IQ, Key Smart amp with AI-driven DSP, KX, CX, DX and PX series.
The KX amps boast a sleek design and the ability to pump out up to 2,400 watts of power, while the CX series benefits from an optimized circuit layout and the highest-grade internal components available. The DX amps, meanwhile, come loaded with Fail-Safe Integration Technology circuitry to deliver superior clarity and wiring flexibility, and the PX amps, bringing as much as 500 watts of power, deliver incredible current from a small chassis.
Morel’s current amplifier lineup is offered through three high-performance model choices – the MPS 4.400, MPS 5.950 and MPS 1.550. The 4.400 is a four-channel amp putting out 70 watts RMS per channel and 200 watts RMS x two channels bridged, while the 5.950 is a five-channel amp putting out 70 watts RMS x four channels at four (4)-ohms and 550 watts RMS at two (2)-ohms. The MPS 1.550 was designed as a mono subwoofer amp and puts out 550 watts RMS at two (2)-ohms.
Once known solely for its rugged, take-no-prisoners subwoofer enclosures, MTX has grown – like many other car amlifier brands on our list – to offer a myriad of different mobile sound system products, including power amplifiers. The company’s current lineup consists of the Jackhammer, XTHUNDER and THUNDER series of amps, in addition to a line of Coustic-branded models, the latter offering a value proposition for those needing serious power on a budget.
With models that can put out up to 760 max watts of power, Pioneer’s amplifiers are ready to rock and bring new power and clarity to the mobile audio scene.
The extra-efficient Class D GM Digital Series includes the GM-DX975, GM-DX874, GM-DX971, GM-DX871, GM-D9705, GM-D8704, GM-D9701, GM-D8701 and GM-D1004, while the GM Series includes the GM-A6704, GM-A5702, GM-A4704 and GM-A3702.
Ask any serious mobile audio competitor questions about brands that offer rugged, no-nonsense products, and you will almost always hear the name “Rockford Fosgate” in response. Indeed, from amps to subwoofers, Rockford is a name seen on thousands of items inside serious competitors’ rides the world over, and the brand’s current amplifier lineup is destined to become the stuff audio dreams are made of. With too many models to list here, Rockford’s amp collection consists of such popular variants as the Punch PBR400X4D, T1000X5ad, P1000X5 and P600X4.
In the world of bang-for-the-buck electronics, Rockville Professional Sound has been garnering quite the reputation, and its mobile audio division has been coming along for the ride. From subwoofers and enclosures to amplifiers, speakers, accessories and mobile video, Rockville’s car stereo products run the gamut to cover every conceivable installation scenario. Currently, the brand offers such popular amp models as the RXD-M3, RXH-F5, RXD-M4 and dB15, in addition to a host of others at varying wattage specifications depending on specific needs.
Skar Audio has been setting the standard with regard to what to expect from a high-performance car amp, fusing power, efficiency and reliability into every model the company produces. Current amplifier offerings from Skar include models from the SK Mini Series (400 watts to 900 watts RMS), LPv2 Series (550 watts to 1,000 watts RMS), RP Series (350 watts to 4,500 watts RMS), SKv2 Series (1,300 watts to 4,500 watts RMS) and a range of marine amps.