Home > Learn > Choosing the Right Equipment > Best Subwoofer Amplifiers: What To Look For
When shopping for the best mono amplifiers, there are a few basic technical specifications that you should be familiar with. These include:
Power –Amplifier power is measured in RMS (Root Mean Square, or Recommended Power) or Peak watts, and there are specified watts minimum and maximum watts per channel. RMS is the continuous power that an amplifier is rated. This is the measure that you should be matching up with the RMS power for the subwoofer of your choice. Peak output is the absolute peak that an amplifier can power. Typically this is for microseconds. The amp output power should be able to deliver the power required by the subwoofer’s RMS power, or you can get poor distorted audio. Also, if you use an amp with more power than the subwoofer can handle, you can get distorted audio. Both cases, overpowering and under powering your subwoofer can lead to damage and even blown subwoofers. Generally speaking, you should be looking an amplifier that will power at least 75% RMS watts minimum and 150% RMS watts maximum of the RMS rating of the subwoofer.
Sound Quality – To achieve high fidelity sound, select a subwoofer amp with a wide frequency response plus low deviation. Pay attention to distortion or what manufacturers call THD or Total Harmonic Distortion. The lower the THD, the more superior the audio quality will be. Obviously, you also have to make sure all other audio components are of high quality as well like you speaker, player, and music tracks.
Impedance – This measure the resistance to the current from an electric circuit. Amplifiers need speakers with a minimum of 4 ohms. When shopping for one of the best subwoofer amplifiers, opt for low impedance or low resistance.
Amplifier Class – Amplifiers are classified into 3 classes based on their internal design: Class A, A/B, and D. Class A is rare and not popular because they have poor power consumption efficiency albeit a slightly better sound quality and A/B. The A/B is very common and easy to find, but if you want the best mono amps, you should target the D class which is high-powered subwoofer amps with an efficiency range of 80% of higher. Class D also consumes less current and is less likely to overheat.
Signal-To-Noise Ratio – Decibels is the unit used to measure Signal-to-Noise ratio. This measurement describes the distance between the audio noise floor and the wanted signal. You should target a higher ratio because it indicates less distortion and noise.
CEA 2006 – This is the latest standard used to compare amps. It replaced the old EIA 517B, although some companies still use the old standard. The CEA 2006 logo is a stamp of approval that the product has adhered to the industry standards, and the product specification has been proven to be valid and true. The two basic features checked using the CEA 2006 standards are output power and Signal-to-Noise ratio.
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