Tired of the weak, boring sound produced by your car 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 a car audio system has an expensive price tag. 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 would hear your music like how it’s supposed to sound.
When you look 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 for that high level car sound.
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 speaker, and one Class D channel for your dedicated subwoofer. All these 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 option among those who either have limited space in their car or those who want stealth installation. After all, high quality sound doesn’t need a bulky setup.
But what’s the difference between Class A, Class B, Class A/B, and Class D? Class A has the highest sound fidelity but it’s least efficient because they always run at full power. Class B amps are much more efficient in power, but they produce more distortion. Class A/B combines the strengths of the two with power efficiency and less distortion. Class A/B amps are widespread in the market. Class D, on the other hand, has the highest power efficiency, and is the go-to option for those who don’t need perfect fidelity.
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 Class D Amplifier
- 2 – Kenwood Excelon X801-5 Class D Amplifier
- 3 – Soundstream PN5-640D Picasso Nano Class D Digital Amplifier
- 4 – Alpine PDR-V75 Class D Amplifier
- 5 – JL Audio XD700/5V2 Class D Amplifier
- Our Top Pick – Rockville dB55 Amplifier
- How to Choose the Right 5-Channel Amplifier
Best 5 Channel Amplifiers For Your Car – Buying Guide and Reviews 2020
1 – Rockville dB55 Class D Amplifier
First on our list is the powerful Rockville dB55 which a well-reviewed 5-channel amp in Rockville’s dB series. As a brand, Rockville is a relatively new yet very competitive provider of quality car audio systems and accessories. Despite this, they keep up with the bar set by great players like 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 across all 5 channels, which is more than what most quality 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 in this best 5 channel amp 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 impedance, the dB55 peaks at a whopping 320 watts per channel and 1200 watts for the subwoofer, giving you serious power. Its peak power ratings are at 480 watts x 4 and 2000 watts rms x 1 channel for 2 ohms impedance. For 4 ohms impedance, it’s 320 watts x 4 and 1200 watts x 1 (sub channel).
When it comes to audio customization, the dB55 car amp doesn’t fall short. This good 5 channel amplifier has fully adjustable high and low-pass filters and subsonic filters to adjust subwoofer frequency. As such, this 5 channel amp would satisfy all kinds of listeners, whether you fancy mellow sound quality from the speaker or that car-shaking bass.
Good protection mechanisms are also in place for significantly enhanced durability when in use. 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 5-channel amp designed for great power, durable build quality, good handling, and excellent audio. Although it’s not as compact, it’s definitely one of the best 5-channel amps for your vehicle.
- Great power output
- Flexible sound controls for use
- Good protection measures
- Easy installation
- Top notch performance
- Good price
- Heavy at 10.75 pounds
- Not as compact as other models
2 – Kenwood Excelon X801-5 Class D 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. For our list of 5 channel car amplifiers, the Kenwood Excelon X801-5 is a fantastic option if you’re looking to run premium speaker performance in a more compact housing. The Excelon X801-5 is an upper-midrange 5-channel amp that’s part of Kenwood’s X Series.
The Kenwood Excelon X801-5 produces a good total power output of 1600 watts so your speakers’ performance is at maximum potential all the time. At 4 ohms impedance, it has a rating of 50 watts rms power to each of the front and rear speakers, and 300 w to the subwoofer (50 watts rms x 4 + 300 w x 1 channel). As for 2 ohms impedance, you get 75 watts rms x 4 for speakers plus 500 watts rms x 1 for the subwoofer. It’s also bridgeable, giving you power at 150 watts rms x 2 channels at 4 ohms. Bridged amps give you more flexible power distribution options. While you won’t have a thunderous bass from the Excelon X801-5, you can enjoy distortion-free punch even at maximum speaker volume. If you’re not much of an ultra-loud bass fan, this 5-channel amp is something you’ll love.
Equipped with MOSFET power supply, the X801-5 car amp is less prone to breakdowns. It’s good that the product is also CEA-2006 compliant, guaranteeing energy-efficiency and top of the line circuitry. Best of all, this quality 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 of the Kenwood Excelon X801-5.
Since this quality car stereo amp is designed for clarity of sound, it also has good fine-tuning tools you can easily use for performance optimization. You can use the adjustable low pass and high pass filters on the speakers and sub according to your preferences.
The amp Class D design accepts 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 5-channel amp even without a remote. This Class D amp 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 it may not be suitable for a vehicle with larger interiors. It doesn’t have a super powerful volume compared to other models like the Rockville dB55, so if you’re after a much louder head unit, consider other 5 channel amps in this guide. But if the X801-5 will be used in small car, it will run smoothly.
- Small design
- Great amp performance and quality
- Features a powerful sub at 500 watts at 2 ohms
- Great sound quality
- 50 watts x 4 + 300 watts x 1 at 4 ohms; 150 watts x 2 bridged at 4 ohms
- Designed with 3-way defense system
- Speaker level inputs
- MOSFET modulated amp
- Expensive price
- Output power may not be enough for larger vehicles
3 – Soundstream PN5-640D Picasso Nano Class D Digital Amplifier
Next on our list is the Soundstream PN5-640D. From the name alone, you can already tell that this product is designed to be smaller compared to other 5-channel amps. With an incredible size at approximately 5” x 2” x 10” inches, you’d have no trouble fitting this little 5-channel amp in limited spaces – perfect for stealth mode with your car’s sound system. Size is really one of the best things about this unit, as you can install it in a hidden spot like under the front seat. That sneaky trick is a way to make passengers and listeners wonder where the sound could possibly be coming from.
While the Soundstream PN5-640D 5-channel amp looks small, this unit really doesn’t play small. This tiny amp packs in power that’s impressive for its size. It supplies 60 watts of power to each of your four speakers (60 watts rms x 4) plus 200 watts rms power for the subwoofer channel. For 2 ohms, you get 80 watts rms x 4 channels and 350 watts x 1 channel for the sub. While it won’t blast the car roof with heavy bass, it has more than enough punch to give you easy, pleasurable listening experience. Don’t get us wrong, the bass power is pretty decent. There’s a variable 0-12dB bass boost you can use to easily make adjustments as you like. If you want something in the middle, the Polk D5000.5 provides 70 watts per channel and 200 watts of power to the sub.
Using the high-pass filters on the front and rear channels allows you to suppress the low bass to make your speaker audio sound cleaner. The dedicated subwoofer has a variable low-pass filter and a bass boost. Furthermore, Soundstream included a remote bass level control you can use for the sub. Flanges and screws are integrated with the remote bass level control so the car stereo amp would be easily mounted under the dash.
All these great system controls are combined with top Class D amp circuitry and MOSFET PWM power supply for easy booting and cooler operations. Overall, the Soundstream PN5-640D Picasso Nano 5 channel amplifier is really one of the best 5-channel amps to run your system. It has a good price, is compact, and delivers solid, distortion-free sound.
- Compact design
- Power rating 4 ohms: 60 watts x 4 and 200 watts x 1; 2 ohms: 80 watts rms x 4 and 350 w rms x 1 channel
- Features wired remote control you can use for subwoofer level control
- High and low pass, bass boost
- Great sound quality for its size
- Reasonable price
- No bridgeable 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 our reviews, the Alpine PDR-V75 is another top notch amplifier that delivers on power and sound quality. If you need a way to have the best possible sound system for your car, the Alpine PDR-V75 will not disappoint. This 5 channel amplifier is a part of the Alpine PDR-Power series, an improved series of amps from the previous X-Power series.
One of the really good things about this product is it has improved on the simple Class D amp technology. Basically, Class D amps are popular for their efficiency, but compromises are made when it comes to audio or sound quality. Class A/B car stereo amps, on the other hand, sound much better but consume more power, which is not ideal for many users. Many 5-channel amps today use Class D tech because they are indeed highly efficient, but many Class D amps do not fix the sound quality issue.
The Alpine PDR-V75 5-channel amp, 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 audio.
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 Class D amp has an advanced built-in thermal management system that lessens power when excessive heat is detected. Unlike other car stereo 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. It can also detect power on speaker level inputs so factory system upgrades are easier.
Speaking of power, the Alpine PDR-V75 5 channel amplifier supplies 75 watts RMS x 4 and 250 watts RMS x 1 (for the subwoofer channel) if you’re operating at 4 ohms. At 2 ohms, you get 100 watts RMS power per channel and 350 watts for the subwoofer.
For more listening flexibility, this 5-channel amp has high and low pass crossovers plus a variable bass boost which you can play around with to get the right amount of punch. It also added a subsonic filter. You can also conveniently adjust subwoofer levels from the driver’s seat by using a remote bass level control knob called the RUX-KNOB. However, this bass remote is sold separately and doesn’t come in the box.
Overall, the Alpine PDR-V75 from the PDR-Power series is a powerful Class D amp equipped with advanced specs to deliver pure sound. It has a pretty steep price range though.
- Improved Class D technology
- Compact size, good sound quality and handling
- Power rating at 4 ohms: 75 watts x 4 and 250 watts RMS x 1; 2 ohms: 100 watts x 4 and 350w x 1 for the subwoofer channel; Bridgeable at 200w x 2 channels and 350w x 1 channel.
- Features remote bass control
- High and low pass filter plus subsonic filter
- Advanced thermal management system for maximum efficiency
- Remote is not included
- Expensive price
- Top-facing controls may not be suitable for some installations
5 – JL Audio XD700/5V2 Class D Amplifier
Last but most certainly not least in our best 5-channel amps list 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 car 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 new, premium look and build quality 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 compact design, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 provides 75 w RMS power to all speakers (75W x 4) with 300 w to the subwoofer. Switching to 3-channel mode, you can power two speakers with 200 watts each. You can still have a full-force sub operating at 300W even then.
One of the highlights of the JL Audio XD700/5V2 car stereo amp is its signature Advanced Rollback Protection (ARP) which monitors and adjusts thermal conditions for improved efficiency. ARP eliminates 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 until the amp cools down. Many car amplifiers out there simply shut down power with overheating, but ARP is an effective way of managing thermal conditions so you get to enjoy non-stop music without compromising your 5-channel amp. Aside from the Advanced Rollback Protection, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 has a cast alloy heatsink as an additional cooling system to keep the car amplifier running even in hot weather. With these heat dissipation mechanisms in place, you can enjoy your musical entertainment for long periods of time without worrying about annoying shutdowns. If you prefer an aluminum heatsink, the Rockford Fosgate P1000X5 Punch has one.
Another good feature in the JL Audio XD700/5V2 5 channel amp 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 car audio and energy efficiency.
In addition, the JL Audio XD700/5V2 has variable high-pass and low-pass filters that keep the audio crisp and well-balanced. Subwoofer levels can also be adjusted as in many 5 channel amps. 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, this product is an incredible car stereo amp that will satisfy power users. Although this product has a steep price purchase compared to other 5 channel amps, you essentially get your money’s worth with all the features packed in this compact car amplifier.
- Premium amp
- Superior build quality and design
- Power rating at 4 ohms: 75 watts x 4 and 180 watts x 1; 2 ohms: 100 watts x 4 and 300 watts x 1 channel
- Variable high and low-pass filters
- Advanced Rollback Protection for efficient heat management
- Cast alloy heatsink serves as additional cooling system
- NexD Technology delivers distortion-free sound
- Expensive price
- Remote is not included
- No fuses onboard
Our Top Pick – Rockville dB55 Amplifier
When it comes to overall functions and power output, the Rockville dB55 takes the cake among our list of best 5 channel amps. This 5-channel amplifier produces a whopping 4000 watts of peak power, with 320 watts for each of the four channels (320 w x 4) 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 great max power, the Rockville dB55 amp delivers distortion-free sound even at full volume. Depth, clarity, balance, and great punch of 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 frequency 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.
You also get protection measures 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 car amplifiers to choose from, finding the perfect unit for your vehicle might be a laborious task. If you don’t do your research and bought something on impulse, you might end up with an amplifier that doesn’t match what you want or need.
To make the process of looking for 5 channel amps easy-peasy, here are some of the things you should know before making that purchase:
Your speakers and sub have specific power ratings which you can determine when you look at their RMS and MAX power indications. Take note of these maximum power requirements because these will serve as your guide when choosing which amplifier is best to use when you run the entire system. Also check if the specs are CEA-2006 compliant.
Generally, you should get an amplifier that is able to produce at least 75 to 150 percent of your RMS. For instance, the Polk D5000.5 has a power rating of 70 watts per channel plus 200 watts for the sub. Some amplifiers can provide 500 watts or more to the subwoofer.
Keep in mind that you should NEVER underpower your speakers. Forcing the system to run on less power causes more damage. 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 to get for a car stereo amp? 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 great idea to purchase a multi channel amp because they are more versatile. After all, you may want to do some car audio upgrades in the future. When you buy a multi channel 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. Bridged amps 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 for installation. 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 car amplifiers are easy to install 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 for installation as well.
If you don’t know how to install an amplifier, you can always ask a mechanic in your area to do the amp installation for you. Then again, there are many tutorials on the internet you can refer to for amplifier installation. Doing it yourself will save some bucks, but it won’t hurt to get someone who knows their stuff for a hassle-free amp 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, powerful sound. Some of the features you should consider in an amplifier are filters, frequency, decibels, and power. Usually, reputable brands have certain car audio technologies integrated to deliver crisp and distortion-free audio. Aside from those listed above, other great brands include Rockford Fosgate, Boss Audio, and Planet Audio.
Also know if you want a heavy bass or just a decent one with a punch. If you don’t, 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. Bass control is indeed useful. Some even have other sound customization features for extra versatility.
Like any quality device, an amp is still susceptible to overheating and other problems like short circuit, overloading, and other problems. One of the more common issues when using 5 channel car 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 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. One amp with great heat dissipation is the Rockford Fosgate R600X5 Prime, which is a class A/B amp with a heavy cast aluminum heatsink. This heavy cast aluminum draws heat away from internal components so the entire system is protected.
Budget / Price
Finally, you should always consider how much budget you have for a car amplifier when looking for one. From cheaper amps to higher-end options, the market offers a lot of amps to choose from. While price range should not be the determining factor, still check reviews and buying guides like this to see which 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, 5 channel car amplifiers do cost money.
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!