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Video: car amplifier channels

How many channels do I need for my amp?

Heads up!

Welcome to this article from the Crutchfield archives. Have fun reading it, but be aware that the information may be outdated and links may be broken.

One of the first steps in choosing an amplifier for your car audio system is to decide how you intend to use the amplifier, and thus how many channels it should have. This short video gives you a quick overview to help answer that question.

Check out all our entire selection of car amplifiers at crutchfield.com/amps.

Read video transcript

Zak: When you're shopping for an amplifier the first question to ask yourself is,
"How am I going to use it?"
"Am I going to power a sub or two subs?"
"One pair or two pairs of speakers, or maybe subs and speakers?"

Knowing this helps you make the first decision: which type of amp to buy based on how many output channels and how much power you need. So then let's take a look at the different types of amplifiers based on the number of output channels they have. Mono amps have one output channel. They're usually used to power subwoofers. And depending on the amp and the impedance of the subwoofers you can connect one, two or even more subs to just one mono amp.

Ken: 2-channel amps offer more versatility. You can use the two output channels to power a pair of speakers like the ones in your car's front doors. And most 2-channel amps can also be bridged. This combines the output of the two channels into a single channel. It's a great way to power a subwoofer.

Zak: 4-channel amps give you the most options. They're perfect for powering a couple pairs of speakers. You can also enjoy the best of both worlds by using two of the amp's channels to power a pair of full-range speakers in the front of the car while bridging the output of the other two channels to drive a sub. You'll get clean highs and powerful lows out of one package.

Amplifiers don't stop at four channels though. 5-channel amps let you power your entire system with just one amplifier. They have four channels for powering your front and rear speakers and a fifth, higher-powered channel for powering your subwoofers. Plus, a 5-channel amp takes up less space and it's easier to install than two separate amplifiers. A 5-channel amp is a good investment if you want to build a system that has a lot of flexibility and room to grow.

Ken: To see all the amps we carry go to crutchfield.com/amps and be sure to check out which wiring kits we recommend.

Zak: To learn more about choosing the right amplifier, go to crutchfield.com/ampguide.

Ken: And for personal, one-on-one help, call 1-800-555-9408.

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