Car amp Question
Mar 22, 2005 at 9:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

wnewport

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Will an amp for my truck give me the same benefit of what amp does with headphones? As of now i have 2 alpine 6x8s speakers in my doors and some pioneers behind the seat that you can't really hear. All of these speakers are connected to a 16x4 watt rms alpine headunit. I was wondering if buying a 2 or 4 channel amp to help drive the speakers would make that much of a difference in sound. I would want to spend under 200 bucks in more of the 100 dollar area.
 
Mar 22, 2005 at 9:59 PM Post #2 of 13

waltermeyer

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An amp will always make something sound better. Assuming you dont over/under power them.
 
Mar 22, 2005 at 10:44 PM Post #3 of 13

phoenix808

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In my first car (reliant k car!) I had 2 JBL 6x9's on a 2channel SoundStream amp that was 70w each.

Enough bass to shake my rear view mirror, suprisingly.

So yes, amps always make a big difference at least from what I've found over the years in car audio.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 12:46 AM Post #4 of 13

sr20dem0n

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yes

For that price you'd probably want to look at profile, namely the clarius and california lines. They're cheap but they get the job done pretty reliably. If you want something a little higher on the todem pole you're going to need to spend a little more, a good rule of thumb is around $1/watt for a front stage amp, for a sub amp it's closer to $.40-$.50/watt to get something nice.

I wouldn't spend too much more than this for an amp though with speakers like that, unless you plan on upgrading the speakers sometime in the future. Low end mainstream coaxs are normally pretty efficient so you shouldn't need more than ~50rms per channel, but more power can never hurt, especially if you plan on switching them out later.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 1:17 AM Post #5 of 13

kontai69

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wnewport
Will an amp for my truck give me the same benefit of what amp does with headphones? As of now i have 2 alpine 6x8s speakers in my doors and some pioneers behind the seat that you can't really hear. All of these speakers are connected to a 16x4 watt rms alpine headunit. I was wondering if buying a 2 or 4 channel amp to help drive the speakers would make that much of a difference in sound.


IME, an external amp improves things only slightly if you play your music at low to moderate levels. Keep in mind that a vehicle's interior has alot of background noise which masks any subtle differences such as amp sound. It's when you crank up the volume to relatively high levels that you start to hear the benefits of an external amp. The sound is cleaner without any distortion.

You wouldn't happen to be driving a Ford truck would you? The 6"x8" speakers is the standard size with those vehicles. In my Ford Ranger regular cab, I am only running two speaker up front, ditching the rears altogether. IMO, as well as many others, the best sound (i.e. imaging) is obtained by using only the two front speakers. If you do this, you would only need a two channel amp. Check Crutchfield or Sounddomain for a good selection.

You can see pics of my system here...
http://www.cardomain.com/memberpage/621380/3
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 2:18 AM Post #6 of 13

sr20dem0n

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Nice headunit and sub choices, I have the same headunit and I'm a pretty big fan of ID.

I agree on fronts only being better, but unless he's got deadened doors, some nice front speakers and a sub, it's not always the best idea. Normally the improvement in the soundstage is outweighed by the loss of sub/midbass, unless you have some nice front speakers with heavily deadened doors and/or a sub.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 2:50 AM Post #7 of 13

videocrew

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I'm a car audio enthusiast from way back, this headphone thing is new to me.
I'm running an Alpine 7969, Tru Tech 4.65, and DLS Ultimate Reference components.

In a car, there is no subsistute for an amp. The ridiculously high noise floor in the automobile environment combined with low sensitivity speakers begs for more amplification than a head unit can deliver. With that in mind, I would highly recommend US Acoustics amplifiers in your price range, very reliable, solidly built amps. The difference will be undeniable. I've never tried a headphone amplifier, but I know a car amplifier will blow you away in terms of both volume AND clarity at all volume levels.

The most important thing to remember about car audio is that mediocre equipment can sound vastly superior with a great installation job than superior equipment and a crappy install.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 4:09 AM Post #8 of 13

sr20dem0n

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man I'm really spamming this thread aren't I?

anyway, I have to disagree with the US Acoustics comment. I have a 4085 (hasn't been installed in my car in 2 years) and it was by far the worst piece of electronic equipment I have ever owned. You can read my flattering comments on that amp on my website here.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 4:59 AM Post #10 of 13

wnewport

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Yes i have a ford ranger, regular cab, crank windows, with four cylinders of fury vrrrrooom vrrrrooom. haha. I was thinking about infinity amps. If did get an amp i would just hook it up to my front speakers since my back ones only give me a little thump now and then. How many watts should i be looking at? I know my two fronts can hold 50 rms each i think. Also on another note my alpine 9826 gets read errors on cds everyonce in awhile for no apparent reason. It will read cds fine for one minute but then after it has been turned off and turned back on it won't read them. Sorry i just had to get that out there.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 2:19 PM Post #11 of 13

videocrew

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i've had nothing but good experience with US Acoustics, even though the quality is certainly not what it was years ago. either way, the infinity amps look pretty solid, i haven't heard much about them, but certainly nothing bad. Don't worry about amping your rear speakers, especially in a truck. sound is supposed to come from in front and your back speakers should really just provide a little bit of fill, if even that (i don't use rear speakers at all). 50W RMS should be just fine and I'm sure you'll notice a very nice improvement for the relatively little money spent.

-greg
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 12:36 AM Post #12 of 13

immtbiker

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wnewport
Will an amp for my truck give me the same benefit of what amp does with headphones? As of now i have 2 alpine 6x8s speakers in my doors and some pioneers behind the seat that you can't really hear. All of these speakers are connected to a 16x4 watt rms alpine headunit.


If that unit states that it is 16 X 4...it usually means peak output. If it says RMS, then it is a bit above average. Most head units put out 3-8 watts RMS, which equates to 16-50 watts peak to peak.
Not a whole lotta power considering, a less than ideal listening situation, unless you are parked in an isolated spot with your seat reclined.
A modest amp...maybe 50 watts RMS would make a huge difference. Even if you only use 10 watts, it would be cleaner than driving the head unit at 75% of it's range.
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 2:13 AM Post #13 of 13

sr20dem0n

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Quote:

Originally Posted by immtbiker
Most head units put out 3-8 watts RMS, which equates to 16-50 watts peak to peak.


Maybe stock decks, aftermarket ones are typically in the 20rms/ch range, the v-drive alpines are up at 26rms/ch. 16rms is actually on the low side of things as far as aftermarket decks go, but it's better than stock.

In my opinion the order you should make improvements is like this (this nets in a nice complete system, if you don't want to go that far then just stop wherever in the list you like)
1 - deaden the front doors
1 - get a nice 2ch amp for the front speakers and leave the rears on the headunit (these are both #1 because they're equally important IMO, it's a tossup which one should come first)
3 - get a decent sub and amp, and in the process either remove or just unplug your rear speakers
4 - upgrade front speakers to something other than mainstream coaxs
 

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