Tired of the weak, boring sound produced by your car’s stereo system? You can add subwoofers, or maybe it’s time to do an upgrade and install an amplifier to give your car listening experience that much-needed boost. Now, you’re probably thinking that enhancing your car’s audio is expensive. The truth is it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a 5-channel amplifier to improve the volume and depth, so you can hear your music like how it’s supposed to sound.
When you start looking for the best 5 channel amp, you’ll realize that there’s a massive amount of options available in the market. It might become exhausting to find the best amplifier for car, especially if you’re not that familiar with the technicalities. To make things easier, we’ve compiled the best 5 channel amplifiers that will take your car sound to the next level.
What does a 5-channel amp mean?
In a nutshell, a 5-channel amplifier is used to amplify the front speakers, rear speakers, and the subwoofer in your car. Typically, a 5-channel amp has four Class A/B channels for your in-car speakers, and one Class D channel for your subwoofer. All these five channels are in the same chassis, so you don’t have to buy separate amps for your sound system. Usually, you would need two amplifiers for the front and rear speakers, but that just takes up too much space. A 5-channel amp solves that problem by having everything housed in one piece. That makes it a popular choice among those who either have limited space in their car or those who want that stealth installation. After all, high-quality sound doesn’t need to come with a bulky-looking setup.
Moving forward, here are the best 5 channel amplifiers in the market today:
Best 5-Channel Amplifiers For Your Car – Buying Guide and Reviews 2020
1 – Rockville dB55 Amplifier
First on our list is the powerful Rockville dB55 which a well-reviewed and well-loved amp in Rockville’s dB series. As a brand, Rockville is a relatively new yet very competitive provider of car audio systems and accessories. Despite this, the company keeps up with the bar set by big players in the industry such as Alpine and Kenwood. The dB55 is one of the best that the company has to offer and it seals the brand’s standing among the top players in the car audio world.
The Rockville dB55 produces a remarkable 4000 watts of peak power output across all 5 channels, which is more than what most competitors can provide. All that power is distributed through the high-speed MOSFET power supply which guarantees optimum performance for all 5 channels. Furthermore, a built-in professional peak limiter works to prevent sound distortion whatever the volume and settings are so you’ll be sure to enjoy clean and clarified sound.
At 4 ohms, the dB55 peaks at a whopping 320 watts per channel and 1200 watts for the subwoofer, giving you serious power.
When it comes to sound customization, the dB55 doesn’t fall short. It has fully adjustable low-pass, high-pass and subsonic filters, plus a variable bass boost to modify the bass level according to your liking. As such, this 5-channel amp can satisfy all kinds of listeners, whether you want a mellow and pleasurable sound or that car-shaking bass.
Protection mechanisms are also in place for significantly enhanced durability and longevity. The dB55 has under-voltage, over-voltage, and thermal protection features so you don’t have to worry about breakdowns.
Overall, the Rockville dB55 is an exceptional amp that delivers great power, superior handling, and excellent audio. It’s definitely one of the best 5-channel amps around.
- Great power output
- Flexible sound controls
- Protection measures
- Top-notch performance
- Heavy at 10.75 pounds
- Not as compact as other models
2 – Kenwood Excelon X801-5 Amplifier
Kenwood Corporation is a reputable Japanese brand not just in the car audio industry but in radio communications as well. The company’s products are considered first-rate by many audio enthusiasts. In the case of 5-channel amplifiers, the Kenwood Excelon X801-5 is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for premium performance in a more compact housing. The Excelon X801-5 is an upper-midrange amp that’s part of Kenwood’s X Series.
The Kenwood Excelon X801-5 produces a total power output of 1600 watts so your speakers’ performance is at their maximum potential all the time. It can provide 50 watts of power to each of the front and rear speakers, and 500 watts to the subwoofer. While it’s true that you won’t have a thunderous bass from the Excelon X801-5, you can enjoy clean and distortion-free sound even at maximum volume. If you’re not much of an ultra-loud bass fan, this 5-channel amp is something you’ll definitely love.
Equipped with MOSFET power supply, the X801-5 is highly efficient less prone to breakdowns. It’s also CEA-2006 compliant, guaranteeing energy-efficiency and top of the line circuitry. Best of all, this amplifier has a 3-way defense system that includes thermal, overload, and short protection. With all these things in place, you’ll have peace of mind over the reliability and life span of the Kenwood Excelon X801-5.
Since it’s designed for purity and clarity of sound, it also has a few fine-tuning tools for performance optimization. You can adjust both the low-pass and high-pass filters on the speakers and sub according to your preferences. Additionally, you can use the variable bass boost for a more resonant punch from the subwoofer.
The amplifier’s Class-D design allows the amp to accept input signals from an aftermarket receiver or speaker wire. On the other hand, using the speaker-level inputs will allow you to turn on the amp even without a remote. This Class D technology works with any mobile audio system and makes for a more convenient amplifier usage.
The only negative point in this otherwise great 5-channel amp is that it may not be suitable for vehicles with larger interiors. We’ve previously mentioned that it doesn’t have a super powerful volume compared to other models like the Rockville dB55. If you’re after a much louder unit, consider the other 5-channel amps in this buying guide. But if you intend to use the X801-5 in a small car, then you won’t go wrong with this amp.
- Compact design
- Solid performance
- 3-way protection
- MOSFET modulated
- Output power may not be enough for larger vehicles
3 – Soundstream PN5-640D Picasso Nano Class-D Digital Amplifier
From the name alone, you can already tell that the Soundstream PN5-640D Picasso Nano is a small amplifier. With incredible dimensions of 4.75 x 9 x 1.5 inches, you’d have no trouble fitting this little amp in limited spaces – perfect if you want to go stealth mode with your car’s sound system. Size is one of the best things about the Soundstream PN5-640D, as you can install it in a hidden spot like under the front seat. That sneaky trick will make passengers and listeners wonder where the sound could possibly be coming from, especially if you have a small car.
While the Soundstream PN5-640D looks small, it surely doesn’t play small. This tiny amp packs in quite a performance that’s impressive for its size. It supplies 60 watts of power to each of your four speakers plus 200 watts for the subwoofer. While it won’t blast the car roof with heavy bass, it’s more than enough to give you an easy, pleasurable listening experience. Don’t get us wrong, the bass is pretty decent. There’s a variable 0-12dB bass boost you can use to make adjustments as you like.
Equipped with high-pass filters on the front and rear channels, you can suppress the low bass to make your audio sound cleaner. The subwoofer, on the other hand, has a variable low-pass filter and a bass boost. These are both useful if you want to get the best amount of thump from your subwoofer. Furthermore, Soundstream included a wired remote to control the subwoofer level. Flanges and screws are integrated in the remote so it can be easily mounted under the dash.
All these convenient controls are combined with innovative class-d amp circuitry and MOSFET PWM power supply for easy booting and cooler operations. Overall, the Soundstream PN5-640D Picasso Nano amplifier is one of the best 5-channel amps if you want something compact yet delivers solid, distortion-free sound.
- Compact design
- 60 watts per channel and 200 watts on subwoofer at 4 ohms
- Wired remote for subwoofer level control
- High and low-pass filters
- No bridged inputs
- Manufacturer only offers a 1-year basic warranty
4 – Alpine PDR-V75 Class D Amplifier
Earning a spot as one of the best 5-channel amps in the market, the Alpine PDR-V75 is a top-notch amplifier that delivers on power and sound quality. If you want the best possible sound for your car, the Alpine PDR-V75 will not disappoint. This amplifier is a part of the Alpine PDR-Power series, an improved set of amps from the previous X-Power series.
One of the best things about the Alpine PDR-V75 is it has improved on the simple Class D technology. Basically, Class D amps are popular for their efficiency, but compromises are made when it comes to sound quality. Class A/B amps, on the other hand, sound much better but consume more power, which is not ideal for many users. Many amps today use Class D tech because they are indeed highly efficient, but many do not fix the sound quality issue.
The Alpine PDR-V75, along with others in the PDR-Power line, is equipped with Global Modulation with Adaptive Feedback Control loop circuitry which guarantees a clean and distortion-free power output. Real-time corrections are made to the input and output signals throughout the amplification process which results in a clearer and well-balanced sound.
Low distortion and low signal-to-noise ratio features work together to provide you with industry-leading sound quality without any audible noise. All amps in the Alpine PDR-Power series also have high stereo separation and smooth phase response, which basically translates to a more dynamic image and stage for the complete musical entertainment you deserve.
Furthermore, the Alpine PDR-V75 has an advanced built-in thermal management system that lessens power output when overheating is detected. Unlike other amps’ thermal protection mechanisms that shut off the unit, the Alpine PDR-V75 simply reduces output power so you can continue listening to your favorite tracks without any interruptions.
Speaking of power output, the Alpine PDR-V75 amplifier supplies 75 watts per channel and 250 watts for the subwoofer if you’re operating at 4 ohms. At 2 ohms, you get 100w RMS per channel and 350 watts for the subwoofer.
For more listening flexibility, this 5-channel amp has low and high-pass crossovers plus a variable bass boost which you can play around with to get the right amount of thump. You can also conveniently adjust subwoofer levels from the driver’s seat by using a remote control bass knob called the RUX-KNOB. However, this remote is sold separately and doesn’t come in the box.
Overall, the Alpine PDR-V75 is a powerful Class D amp equipped with advanced specs to deliver pure sound.
- Improved Class D circuitry
- Best sound quality and handling
- 100w RMS per channel and 350 watts for the subwoofer
- Advanced thermal management system for maximum efficiency
- Remote is sold separately
- Top-facing controls may not be suitable for some installations
5 – JL Audio XD700/5V2 Amplifier
Last but most certainly not least in our best 5-channel amps buying guide is the JL Audio XD700/5V2. Also coming from a well-loved brand by audio enthusiasts, this amp is a surprisingly powerful rig in a small package. It offers a full array of great specs that is sure to satisfy users who are looking for a premium amplifier.
Design-wise, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 sports a sleek black powder-coat finish with an ultra-durable aluminum cover for the controls. It certainly has that premium feel and appearance from the get-go. It’s small and lightweight as well, making it easy to install in smaller cars or kept out of sight.
But even with its compactness, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 provides 75 watts RMS to all speakers with 300 watts to the subwoofer. Should you want to switch to 3-channel mode, you can also do so by powering two speakers with 200 watts each. You can still have a full-force sub operating at 300 watts even then.
One of the highlights of the JL Audio XD700/5V2 amp is its signature Advanced Rollback Protection (ARP) which monitors and adjusts thermal conditions for improved efficiency. ARP works to eliminate thermal shutdowns so your music playback is not interrupted even in demanding heat temperatures. If the amp reaches an unsafe temperature, it rolls back the peak power output until the amp cools down. Many amps out there simply shut down when overheating is detected, but ARP is an effective way of managing thermal conditions so you get to enjoy non-stop music without compromising the life of your amp. Aside from the Advanced Rollback Protection, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 has a cast alloy heatsink which serves as an additional cooling system to keep the amplifier running even in hot weather. With these mechanisms in place to control the amp’s temperature, you can enjoy your musical entertainment for long periods of time without worrying about annoying shutdowns.
Another best feature in the JL Audio XD700/5V2 is its patented NexD technology which is capable of high-speed switching at over 400kHz. This simplifies the overall feedback loop design by having a self-oscillating modulator send instantaneous power supply voltage information to the modulator and combining this with the input signal. The result is canceled-out distortion for great audio and energy efficiency.
In addition, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 has variable high and low-pass filters that keep the audio crisp and well-balanced. Subwoofer levels can also be adjusted as in many 5-channel amps in the market. With the JL Audio XD700/5V2, you can control the sub volume and the master volume from the front seat should you choose to buy a separate HD-RLC remote level control.
Overall, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 is an incredible amp that will satisfy power users and audiophiles. Although it is an expensive purchase, you essentially get your money’s worth with all the features and functions packed in this compact amplifier.
- Premium amp
- Advanced Rollback Protection for efficient thermal management
- NexD Technology delivers distortion-free sound
- No fuses onboard
Our Top Pick – Rockville dB55 Amplifier
When it comes to overall functions and power output, the Rockville dB55 takes the cake. This 5-channel amplifier produces a whopping 4000 watts of peak power output, with 320 watts for each of the four channels and 1200 watts for the subwoofer. Without a doubt, that is some serious power for people who like things loud. Check your best options for under seat subwoofers here now.
Despite its remarkable maximum power, the Rockville dB55 amp delivers distortion-free sound even at full volume. Depth, clarity, balance, and a good thumping bass are all attributes that can be heard from the audio quality provided by this amplifier.
Variable bass boost, low-pass, and high-pass filters allow flexible tweaking in order to achieve optimum performance in every channel. As such, you have total control over your settings and you can change your listening preferences at any time.
Protection measures are also in place to keep this amp functioning well for many years.
Overall, the Rockville dB55 5-channel amplifier is a highly competitive top performer that delivers excellent sound, amazing power, and great functions. For that, it definitely deserves its spot as our top pick for 5-channel amps.
How to Choose the Right 5-Channel Amplifier
With a massive array of amps to choose from in the market, finding the perfect one might be a laborious task. If you don’t do your research and resort to buying something on impulse, you might end up with an amplifier that doesn’t match what you want or need.
To make the process easy-peasy, here are some of the things you should consider before making that purchase:
Your speakers and sub have specific power ratings which you can determine by looking at their RMS and MAX power indications. Take note of these power requirements because these will serve as your guide when choosing which amplifier is best to use. Generally, you should pick an amplifier that is able to produce at least 75 to 150 percent of your RMS.
Keep in mind that you should NEVER underpower your speakers. It will cause damage more than overpowering them. If you’re building your car audio system from scratch, buy the speakers first before the amp.
Number of channels
How many channels do you need? Well, you typically need one channel for each of your speakers, so it depends on how many you have. For a car with 4 door speakers and a subwoofer, a 5-channel amplifier is the way to go. Even if you have less than that, it’s always a good idea to purchase a multichannel amp because they are more versatile. After all, you may want to do some audio upgrades in the future. When you buy a multichannel amplifier, you don’t have to buy a separate amp again in case you push through with further additions to your system. The important thing is to buy a bridgeable amp so you can have a more flexible power distribution to whatever sound system you have at the moment.
Most vehicles don’t come with an included amplifier from the factory, so you do need to find a specific spot in your car to install them. Smaller cars have more limited space, so deciding on the location before buying the amplifier will save you a lot of time. Some popular spots where amps are installed include under a seat, in the trunk, or against a passenger-side firewall. Take the extra step and do some measurements so you’re sure that the amplifier will fit like a glove. In addition, remember that you do need to power your amp, which means extra wires as well.
If you don’t know how to install an amplifier, you can always ask a mechanic in your area to do it for you. Then again, there are many blogs and video tutorials on the internet you can refer to. Doing it yourself will save some bucks, but it won’t hurt to get someone who knows their stuff for a hassle-free installation.
Of course, improving the sound is one of the main purposes of buying a car amp. Do a bit of research and check out the amp specs to see if it will provide high-quality sound. Some of the things you may want to consider are filters, frequency, decibels, and power output. Usually, reputable brands have certain technologies integrated to deliver crisp, balanced, and distortion-free audio.
Also take into consideration if you want a heavy thumping bass or just a decent one. If you don’t check this, you may end up with a unit that has overwhelming power that’s too much for your taste. Nevertheless, many amps have adjustable bass levels that users can modify to their liking. Some even have other sound customization features for extra versatility.
Like any electronic device, an amp is susceptible to overheating and other problems. Take a look at what protection measures an amp has in place in case of short circuit, overloading, and other problems. One of the more common issues in amplifiers is the temperature. The longer you use it, the hotter it becomes. In that case, how does your amp work in terms of thermal management? Does it power down when it overheats or does it reduce power output and continue playback? Is there a heatsink in the design? These are some factors to consider to ensure that your amp can keep itself cool and intelligently handle demanding conditions.
Finally, you should always consider how much budget you have for a car amplifier. From cheaper models to higher-end options, the market offers a lot of amps to choose from. Check reviews and buying guides like this to see which models will give you the most value for your money.
Buying a 5-channel amp will definitely take your car’s audio system to the next level. Consider the different power outputs, sound quality, protection measures, and the overall feature set before making a purchase. After all, amplifiers do cost money and you obviously don’t want your hard-earned moolah to go to waste.
With the best 5-channel amplifiers outlined in this buying guide plus our tips to picking out the perfect amp, you’re sure to find the best one that suits your needs. Want a subwoofer that already comes with an amp? We should be able to help you out with our coverage of the best 8-inch subwoofers for your car![thrive_leads id='5063']