2 Channel vs. 4 Channel amp: Which is Better?

If you want better quality music or sound, you may want to consider adding an amplifier to your music system. An amplifier is an electromagnetic device that turns the low voltage signals from the system into signals with enough gain that can power up your speakers or subwoofers for an even better sound.

Whether you love soft or loud music, an amplifier will bring out a song’s detail and excitement. It will breathe much-needed life into your music. However, to get the best from an amp, you should know how to choose the right one for your after-market speakers and subs.

If you are wondering the ideal choice of amp for your stereo between a 2 channel vs. 4 channel amp, here is what you need to know about these two amps and how to choose the right one.

What to Consider When Choosing an Amp

Not all amplifiers are the same. Amps differ in the number of channels they have and the amount of power they use. Every channel of the amp is a source of power that is used to power up one subwoofer or one speaker. The number of channels you need primarily depends on how many speakers.

2 Channel vs. 4 Channel amp

1. The Type

There are different types of car amplifiers: mono amplifiers, two-channel amplifiers, and multi-channel amplifiers. The type of amplifier you choose will depend on the subwoofers you have and the location of the subs or speakers you want to power up.

Mono car amps are mainly designed for low-frequency reproduction. They feature low-pass filters and a bass boost. Unlike conventional amp designs, Class D mono amps are ideal because they are more efficient, pull less current, and produce less heat.

Two-channel amps are best used for component or full-range speaker systems. When in use, these amps should have a high-pass filter. On the other hand, five and six channel amps can be used for speakers that are located in the rear or front part of a car.. Lastly, multi-channel amps can be used for subwoofers and full-range speakers.

2. Power Ratings

When choosing an amplifier, you should also consider the power unit you have. The two main types of power ratings that amps use are peak power and Root Mean Square Power (RMS). RMS measures the continuous amount of power that a car amplifier uses to deliver power to your speakers. When using RMS, you should ensure that the power of your subwoofer and speakers equals the power of your amplifier. If your amp’s RMS power is very powerful, it can damage your speaker.

For example, if the amp features 60 watts of power per channel. In that case, every channel of the amp can be able to support or power up a standard subwoofer. On the other hand, if the sub cannot stand 60 watts, you may still get some music, but it may start getting distorted and eventually damage the sub.

Your amp’s RMD depends on your speaker’s highest RMS output rating. For example, a 50 watts speaker needs a 50 watts output RMS capacity channel. However, if you have a big car and need more volume, you should ensure you get 75 watts RMS per speaker.

Peak power is higher than RMS power. It shows how many watts the amp has for short and abrupt increases in volume. Whether you choose a 2 channel amp or a 4 channel amp, it would be best to choose one that can deliver power equal to twice your speaker’s continuous power rating. You should also consider testing the amplifier to ensure that it has the proper voltage.

2 Channel Amp Vs. 4 Channel Amp: Which One Is Better?

Car stereo systems deliver about 10 watts RMS power channel or output, which is very low. To convert this to some rocking music, you will need to upgrade your system by adding quality after-market speakers or subwoofers and a powerful amp to power them.

The number of channels an amp has is one of the major factors you should consider when buying an amp. Several cars use either a 2 channel or a 4 channel amp. It is important to note that the difference between 2 channel vs. 4 channel amp is the number of the channels they have and the number of subwoofers or speakers they can be connected to.

A 2 channel amp can connect to fewer subs and speakers when compared to a 4 channel amp. Both these amps are in the class A or B category. They are designed to power up tweeters and mid-bass amps. To help you determine which amp is better for you, here is what you need to know about 2 channel vs. 4 channel amp.

2 Channel Amplifiers

2 Channel Amplifiers

These amplifiers’ output power is dedicated to two separate channels. 2 channel amps are ideal for powering up a total of two speakers. With this amp, you will use one channel for each speaker. In some cases, the channels can be bridged or combined to give more output to one channel. This is commonly done to power one or two subwoofers.

However, to get the best possible sound quality, you may want to use an active crossover system. With this system, each speaker will have its own channel, and the passive crossover will not be utilized because each speaker channel will feed into a DSP/EQ unit which allows the speakers to be set to a particular power setting and crossover frequency.

When using a 2 channel amp with coaxial speakers, you can combine the tweeter and mid-bass into one speaker. The tweeter can be mounted in the center above the woofer cane.
If you have component speakers, you can separate the tweeter and the woofer for better results. This also includes using an external passive crossover network. Though the tweeter and woofer are separated, the crossover makes it possible to use only one channel to power them instead of two channels. Component speaker systems can also allow you to use a 2 channel amp to power up to four speakers.

4 Channel Amplifier

4 Channel Amplifier

A 4 channel amp can be used to run four subwoofers and speakers. When using this amp, you can put it in bridge mode for the rear channels. This means that the two front channels will power the front components of the speaker, and the rear channels will bridge into one powerful channel that will run the subwoofers.

If you have several subs and speakers, this amp can help you save space because you will not need to install any additional amp to run them. However, if you have larger subwoofers, this amp may not be able to power them fully.

A 4 channel amp can power up to eight speakers. When wired correctly, these amps can deliver twice as much power. If you want to retain front to rear fade control, and you like enjoying rear-fill sound in your car, this may be the best amp for you.

Final Verdict

When it comes to 2 channel vs. 4 channel amps, the ideal amplifier for your car depends on the number of subwoofers and speakers you have and their wattage. Each channel on the amplifier acts as a separate power source for each after-market device. This means that each channel on your amp can connect to one subwoofer and one speaker.

If you have two high-output front speakers, a 2 channel amp may be the perfect choice for you. However, if you have an additional pair of speakers on the rear, you will have to add two additional channels to your amp; hence a 4 channel amp would be more applicable. This way, you can use both rear and front speakers and subs and get good sound quality. If you are a rock lover and want to achieve a boom-blasted explosion in your car, you can install both the 2 channel and 4 channel amps.

Also Read: Can I Use Bookshelf Speaker as a Center Channel Speaker?

Avatar for Jamie K. Martin

Jamie K. Martin holds a degree in Audio engineering from Husson University, Bangor. Martin spends most of his time testing and trying the technology he writes about to ensure that he provides first-hand information to our customers from all walks of life.

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