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If you want to streamline your car audio system, it’s a good idea to invest in a five-channel amp. Instead of managing multiple amplifiers, you can run your front and rear speakers as well as a subwoofer from a single unit. It’s an affordable upgrade that boosts the sound in your vehicle, which will make driving much more enjoyable. The best 5 channel amps are high quality and deliver excellent audio that isn’t distorted. Check out our buying guide to find the best channel amp for your car, truck, or SUV.
The Best 5 Channel Amp
The Rockford Fosgate amp has four 75-watt channels and a subwoofer channel that can produce 300 watts into 2 ohms. It features a cast aluminum heatsink with top-mount controls and four-gauge power/ground connectors. It also has a 12 dB/octave crossover, and it accepts high level and RCA level input. It is solidly constructed and has plenty of power to drive all five channels with good balance. It delivers good bass, and the sound clarity is crisp and loud.
The unit is fairly easy to install and sounds great, and the subwoofer volume control is a nice feature. However, the amp may run hot, which can cause it to shut down. Also, some of the channels may burn out over time, and the unit may fail within a short period of use.
200 watts at 4 Ohm and 300 watts at 2 Ohm
One 12V battery required
- BrandRockford Fosgate
- Weight7.94 pounds
Sound is crisp and loud
May run hot
Channels may burn out
May fail after a short period of use
This budget amp includes a high-speed MOSFET power supply, an adjustable 12dB bass equalizer, and mute and delay soft-start technology. Out of the box, you get the amplifier, a birth sheet with tested power, an owner’s manual, mounting screws, and a warranty. It’s clean and powerful on all channels. It is also very light and compact, considering its power output, yet it still feels substantial. The amp also has a lot of adjustments for highs and lows.
While this amp works like a champ for a fraction of the cost compared to some of its competitors, it does get hot a little faster than some of its rivals. Also, it goes into protection mode very easily at half volume. There have also been some complaints that the product arrives with one channel not functioning.
4,000-watt peak and 2,000 watt RMS
High-speed MOSFET power supply
- Weight10.75 pounds
Clean and powerful
Light and compact
Several adjustments for highs and lows
Gets very hot in very little time
Protection mode kicks in too easily
May be shipped with faulty channel
This Class D amplifier has an RMS power rating of 4 ohms (75 watts x four channels plus 250 watts x one channel) and 2 ohms (100 watts x four channels plus 350 watts x one channel). It is CEA-2006 compliant with a variable high-pass filter (12 dB/octave). The Alpine is small enough to fit under your seat, and it is solidly built. It’s powerful, extremely compact, and makes your audio system sound very balanced and clean.
While the sound quality is top notch, producing crystal clear highs and mids, the amp is a little on the pricey side. Similar to other five-channel amps, it can get a little warm, but it doesn’t get too hot. While it doesn’t provide overwhelming power, it provides plenty to make a decent audio system.
75W RMS x 4 plus 250W RMS x 1
Built-in Crossover & Bass EQ
Top-Side Control Panel
Remote Bass Compatible
- Weight7.05 pounds
Small and compact
Crystal clear highs and mids
Balanced and clean audio
On the expensive side
Can get a little warm
Planet Audio’s Class A/B full-range amplifier is 1,800 watts and 2-4 ohm stable with a MOSFET power supply. It comes with a variable bass boost, so you can control the exact amount of bass you want to output, and it is bridgeable, allowing you to connect two channels. It’s great for a sub upgrade in your vehicle and easily powers modest speakers. It has many adjustments to tweak your system to make it sound just the way you like it.
While the amplifier is loud, clear, and easy to install, it has a tendency to overheat quite easily and go into protective mode. It may blow a channel within a year or less of use, and the RMS rating may not be accurate.
300 watts x four at 2 ohms plus fifth channel 600 watts x one at 2 ohms
MOSFET power supply
Variable bass boost
- BrandPlanet Audio
- Weight14 pounds
Easily powers modest speakers
Features many adjustments
Audio is loud and clear
Overheats and goes into protection mode easily
Has a tendency to blow a channel
RMS rating may not be accurate
One of the smallest and lightest five-channel amps on our list, this unit sends 70 watts RMS to each speaker and 500 watts RMS to a subwoofer. It can fit nearly anywhere in your vehicle due to its size. It also features adjustable high- and low-pass filters, and the stainless steel case won’t rust. The sound is outstanding, and the amp drives your whole setup without breaking a sweat. It’s easy to install, set up, and adjust.
Even though this little amp packs a big punch, it may intermittently make your speakers squeal and hiss on startup. It may also go into protection mode easily, and it runs warm.
70 watts RMS x four at 4 ohms plus 500 watts RMS x one at 1 ohm
Wired remote subwoofer level control
12 dB per octave
- BrandPolk Audio
- Weight4.41 pounds
Very compact and lightweight
Stainless steel case won’t rust
Easy to install and set up
Speakers may hiss on start up
Easily goes into protection mode
This 3,700-watt amplifier comes with a variable high- and low-pass crossover, bass boost, high and low-level inputs, and remote subwoofer control. It is also bridgeable for more power. This amp gets plenty loud without any distortion, and the clarity is on point. It’s easy to install and overall is a great amp for the price and power it provides.
The amp looks great and does exactly what you need it to do; however, it runs hot, can overheat, and the protection mode is very sensitive. In addition, the amp may produce a slight noise, and some of the channels may stop working over a short period of time.
413 Watts x four plus 1,125 watts x one RMS at 2 ohms
MOSFET power supply
High- and low-level inputs
Variable high pass crossover
- BrandBoss Audio
- Weight12.5 pounds
Loud without distortion
Powerful and clear
Easy to install
Runs hot and overheats easily
May be noisy
Some channels may stop working prematurely
Best 5 Channel Amp Buying Guide & FAQ
If you're looking for the best 5 channel amp for car audio, you've come to the right place. We've already listed some of the top amplifiers on the market, and we will get into a more detailed review below to help you pick the top products on the market. We explain all the features you should look for in a 5-channel amplifier as well as some tips to make sure you're using the unit to the best of its abilities. We will also include some commonly asked questions about the devices, so you'll be prepared when you set one up in your car, SUV, or truck.
Why Do You Need a 5 Channel Amp
The best 5 channel amp for the money is designed to amplify your entire audio system. It includes four channels for the speakers and one channel for a sub. If you're an audiophile who loves rocking out to your favorite tunes while you're driving to work or just around town, you need a setup that is capable of handling anything you throw at it. That's where a five-channel amplifier comes in.
These units can be fairly affordable, depending on what your system's requirements are. If you do a little research, you will find one that suits your needs and provides numerous benefits.
- Boost the bass for those hard-hitting sounds you want from your subwoofer.
- Easily upgrade your vehicle’s audio system without spending a lot of money and produce more sound from a low-powered setup.
- A five-channel amp doesn’t take up a lot of room in your vehicle and often fits under the seat.
- They come in various power outputs from 300 watts to over 3,000 watts.
- Many can be modified because they have the capability of being bridged.
Types of 5 Channel Amps
Most modern car amps fall into one of two categories. They are specifically designed to output signals to drive your speakers. These two types of amps are slightly different when it comes to how they operate internally.
- Class A/B
A class A/B amplifier is very common and has been around the industry for many years. An A/B amp provides really good sound quality and efficiency by using the top traits from both class A and class B amps. Car amps have relied on this type of technology for decades.
Some products continue to use solely class A or class B technology instead of a combination of both. Less expensive models tend to be class A/B; however, it is not uncommon on more expensive amps.
- Class D
Class D is a newer technology that takes an input audio signal from the head unit and drives a circuit that quickly switches on the power transistors to produce a waveform. This results in a lighter, smaller, and extremely efficient amp. Class D amps run cooler than other amps, and many are cheaper since they don't require aluminum heatsinks.
One of the drawbacks is that class D amps may not sound as good as A/B amps unless they are premium quality. In addition, if the gain is turned on high, you may hear a hissing sound.
What to Look for When Buying a 5 Channel Amp
Not all five-channel amplifiers are the same. They all come with different features, and you want to find a high-quality device that will satisfy both your and your system's needs. These features can involve everything from power output to frequency response, size, and accessibility.
The first thing you need to consider when purchasing an amp is whether or not it matches your audio system's power requirements. The goal, after all, is to make your music sound better, and volume and bass are top priorities. Your speakers and sub have specific power ratings known as RMS and MAX. Use these ratings when selecting the best 5 channel amp for sound quality.
Keep in mind that it's better to overpower than underpower your speakers and sub. If you underpower your speakers, they're likely to get damaged. Therefore, look for the best 5 channel power amp with an RMS rating that is higher than what your speakers and sub provide.
Another feature you want to consider is whether the amp is bridgeable or not. Even though the best five-channel car amp is designed for a five-channel system, you could still use the same amp for a three-way system as long as it is bridgeable. Fortunately, many amps have this capability, so they're not difficult to find.
This is an appealing feature because it provides more flexibility for your system. In the future, for example, you may reconfigure your car's audio system (i.e., add additional speakers). If your amp is bridgeable, then you'll be able to do this without requiring an additional amp.
- Impedance Rating
Before you invest in a car stereo amp, check the impedance rating. Every amplifier comes with a rating described in ohms. The ohms refer to the unit's impedance, which is how hard it needs to work to generate power. The lower the impedance rating, the easier it is for the amp to function, and the higher the impedance rating the harder it is for the amp to work.
Typically, five-channel amplifiers have either a 4- or 2-ohm rating. It's important that you select the right impedance so it works seamlessly with your audio system.
There are a few other things that you should look for when selecting a new amplifier. First, make sure it fits. Some of them are very light and compact and can easily fit under the seat of your car. Also, select an amp that is easy to install and has an aluminum cover, which aids in heat dissipation.
If you want to control your sub from the driver's seat, choose a product with a subwoofer remote control. You may also want an adjustable equalizer so you can adjust the music even more. Finally, high-power amps should come with some sort of voltage or short protection so they don't burn out.
Tips for Buying and Using 5 Channel Amps
You've completed the first step, which is choosing to upgrade your vehicle's audio system. Next, you have to purchase the right amp and install it in your vehicle. If you're not mechanically inclined, you may require some professional assistance. Otherwise, you can set a few hours aside to do it yourself.
While building a custom audio system isn't necessarily hard, there are some things you need to keep in mind. If you want the amp and the corresponding components to operate efficiently, you need to do your research so the music you produce is loud, crisp, and clear. See the tips below to get optimal performance from your amp.
- Properly set the gain on your amp to prevent distortion.
- Distortion can cause cringe-worthy sounds, such as crackling or hissing, that interrupts your music.
- To remove distortion, set the amp gain on low, play a song, and turn up the volume until you hear distortion. Then turn it down until the music is clean. This is where the maximum volume on your receiver is. Then turn the amp's gain up until you hear the distortion and then down until it disappears. This is how you set the amp gain.
- Review the specs of your system's components before connecting a subwoofer.
- Don’t drive a sub with a lower impedance rating than is required (4 ohm or 2 ohm, for example), because it can cause the amp to overheat and turn off.
Best 5 Channel Amp FAQ:
When you're choosing a five-channel amp, you may have some questions. Unless you install car stereos for a living, there are probably some things you don't know about setting up an audio system perfectly. We've included some of the most common questions people have about five-channel amplifiers.
Q: What is a five-channel amplifier?
A: Many vehicles include four door speakers and a sub, which required the use of two amps in the past: a four-channel amp and a one-channel amp. These days, consumers have the option of selecting the best 5 channel amp for their system instead.
Q: How many speakers can a 5 channel amp power?
A: Even the best budget 5 channel amp can power four speakers and a subwoofer. Also, you can use a five-channel amplifier with less than four speakers. It's perfectly fine to leave one channel empty.
Q: Where are the best places to install a 5-channel amp?
A: You need to consider where you will route the connecting wires. In general, people install their amps in the trunk or under a seat. Make sure to measure the area where you plan on installing the unit to make sure it's the right size.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick is the Rockford Fosgate Prime 5-Channel Amplifier. It's reasonably priced, has a solid build quality, and produces a clean, crisp sound. It's also pretty easy to install and comes with top-mount controls for accessibility. The subwoofer volume control is also a nice feature. The amp also comes from a reputable company based out of Arizona that has been in the audio business for over 45 years.