Best 5-Channel Amps in 2022

Alex | Last Updated On May 1st, 2022 | This post may contain affiliate links.

In today’s car accessories market, you are inundated by hundreds of different brands and models purporting to be the best 5 channel amp. It can definitely be a daunting task trying to find the one that will meet your listening needs and work well with your existing audio system.

Some are extremely compact while others will demand a bit more space. You can find amps for Class A and B systems, as well as Class D amps. There are even hybrid amps that can cover both A/B and D in one singular unit to complement a wide variety of car speakers.

We have taken a close look at several of the top 5 channel amps on the market and have seen what they had to offer. After careful consideration, we have narrowed it down to five that meet a range of needs. From a high-end luxury option to a budget-friendly amp that is great for first-timers, all the way down to a very capable hybrid system, we’ve got you covered.

Whatever you are looking for when it comes to 5 channel amps, you can find a great range of choices here when it comes to amps for your ride’s sound system. Most of the amps included are easy to install, offer a wide range of wattages, are either 2 or 4 ohms, and can definitely beef up your entire audio system in no time.

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Comparison of the Best 5-Channel Amps

photo of the JL Audio<br> XD700JL Audio
XD700
Best High-End AmplifierSee On Amazon
photo of the Planet Audio<br> AC1800.5Planet Audio
AC1800.5
Best Budget-Friendly AmplifierSee On Amazon
photo of the Alpine<br> PDR-V75Alpine
PDR-V75
Best Heat Protected AmplifierSee On Amazon
photo of the Kenwood<br> KAC-M8005Kenwood
KAC-M8005
Best Mid-Range AmplifierSee On Amazon
photo of the Skar Audio<br> RP-600.5Skar Audio
RP-600.5
Best Hybrid AB/D System AmpSee On Amazon

Reviews of the Best 5-Channel Amps

This high-end amp from a well-known brand is an excellent option to consider when you only have a small space for installation but expect a big sound from your subwoofer.

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Specs

  • 4 ohms
  • 75 watts RMS
  • 300 watts for subwoofer

Features

  • Average speaker watts, but decent sub watts
  • Small size but very powerful output overall
  • Can be installed within minutes even by beginners

If you are the kind of audio enthusiast that enjoys sticking with well-known brands, here it is. There are very few audiophiles that haven’t heard of JL Audio as their equipment is some of the best on the market when it comes to amps, subs, and speakers.

The size of this amp can be misleading because it is extremely versatile. It looks small and unassuming but can deliver a big punch of optimum power to your car audio system. If you love big bass boost from your subwoofers, the 300 watts of power output this JL audio provides is great for that.

Installation is widely versatile as this amp is narrow and can easily fit on the dash, under a seat, inside a console, or inside the car door. You won’t be limited in finding a space for it in your vehicle. However, it takes time to consider where the wires will be placed. The installation instructions in the JL audio user manual included with this amp are extremely detailed, and very easy to read and comprehend even if you are brand new to channel amp in general.

While the price may be a bit much for what it offers, the confidence you are getting in buying from a very established and well-known company may be worth it. If you have the extra cash to spend on an amp, definitely consider the JL Audio XD700 amp.

What We Like

This American company is a well-known brand name for audio enthusiasts.

This is a muscular mini amp that packs more than enough power output.

It is versatile for use as a 3 channel or 5 channel amp.

Know Before Buying

This Class D amp lacks fusing which may be an issue for some car owners.

This JL audio model can be expensive for what it offers.

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With high-quality construction, Planet Audio delivers a powerful and stylish-looking 5 channel amp that can deliver some serious power to your speakers and subwoofers without blowing a hole in your wallet.

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Specs

  • 2 ohms
  • 225 watts RMS
  • 450 watts for subwoofer

Features

  • A short circuit protection system does its job
  • Includes a large heatsink to help dissipate heat
  • Offers some forceful max power ratings from the Mosfet power supply

If you have tried a variety of different mid-range amps and just haven’t been able to get the results you want, give this Planet Audio amplifier a try. It not only offers some serious wattage for your channels and subwoofer, but it includes some extremely durable interior and exterior construction.

One of the biggest issues is this Class A/B amp seems slightly prone to overheating. However, Planet Audio took the bull by the horns and added an oversized aluminum heatsink to help dissipate heat. It also has a very solid and effective thermal protection system in place to prevent damage to your amp and car audio system in case of overheating.

While there have been some concerns about the actually stated power ratings from the Mosfet power supply, we found this amp to deliver a solid 225 watts RMS power per channel with an additional 450 watts for your woofer. If you’re looking for a big bass boost, this amp can get it done. While it is not a high-end amp for professional car audio systems, it is an extremely versatile mid- to high-range amp to consider.

If you are on a tight budget but still want an amp that can produce a deep punch while offering high-quality construction features, the Planet Audio AC1800 delivers exactly that. For both first-timers as well as those just looking to try a different amp, this one is highly recommended.

What We Like

This model is perfect for bridging systems together.

It boasts of an extremely high-quality construction inside and out.

The nickel and chrome-plated connections throughout protect the component from wear and corrosion.

Know Before Buying

It can be prone to overheating which the heavy-duty aluminum heatsink addresses.

The actual power rating from the Mosfet power supply is questionable.

After-sales customer service leaves much to be desired.

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This model from the industry-leading manufacturer of high-performance mobile electronics is a great option for 3-channel or 5-channel systems with plenty of customization and fine-tuning options. It is lightweight and easy to install in almost any location in the car.

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Specs

  • 2 ohms
  • 100 watts RMS
  • 350 watts for the subwoofer

Features

  • A great option for 3-channel or 5-channel use
  • Loads of customization options and fine-tuning
  • Lightweight and small for dash or console installation

Alpine delivered a great 5-channel amp that is not only powerful but is also small and lightweight enough to be installed almost anywhere. The power handling offers some of the best distortion-free sounds we have heard from both front and rear speakers and woofers.

You will get a full 100 watts RMS power, with 350 watts for your woofer, from this Class D amp. At 2 ohms, you are also getting a decent power rating for even the more demanding high performance speakers. Alpine makes sure you will get loud and excellent sound quality from whatever stereo system you hook this amp up to.

One of the most surprising features of this small amp is the thermal management system that helps reduce the buildup of heat as you play your tunes. Instead of shutting off completely, Alpine’s amp will instead reduce the output to help the unit cool down.

While the price is a wee bit more of an investment rather than a grab-and-go type, it is still a worthwhile piece of equipment to consider. If you’ve struggled with overheating amps in the past, Alpine got you covered by decreasing power output if anything gets too hot.

What We Like

These 5 channel amps have excellent build quality with high-end materials.

They provide some incredibly powerful sound without missing a beat or distorting.

The all-around small size makes them a very versatile and flexible amp for a range of setups.

Know Before Buying

The Class D amp may require the removal of the backplate to reach controls.

Customer service can be slow to respond to inquiries.

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This offering from one of Japan’s largest electronics companies is a very nice mid-range amp that offers high performance and decent power production for a variety of sound systems. It is also weather-resistant meaning it can be installed in almost any vehicle, including boats and off-road trucks.

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Specs

  • 4 ohms
  • 50 watts RMS
  • 300 watts for the subwoofer

Features

  • Bridgeable amp for a variety of systems

While this amp is not the best of the best, it can definitely be a great option to consider if you are looking for a mid-range amp for the great outdoors that is one step up from entry-level models. This Class D amplifier does not carry the big price tags of professional amps while ensuring the music continues in any weather condition.

Kenwood made this model as a versatile and compact amp that sits at a very comfortable price range. It is great for sound systems that don’t require a huge output power but still deliver optimum performance.

You will get a solid 50 watts RMS power with an additional 300 watts for your woofer. The sound it produces may not rattle the windows of your neighbor’s house, but it is still a reasonable step up in sound quality from entry-level amps. It is also compact enough for installation in discreet locations.

While the price may be a bit steep for someone just wanting a slight boost to their system, it is still a very worthy amp to consider if you want it to withstand seasons of snow, rain and heat. This streamlined and simple amp removes the unnecessary clutter and simply delivers superior sound quality from your audio system.

What We Like

The compact size makes for easy installation in a variety of locations.

It is very quick and easy to install, even for beginners, with its fully detailed installation instructions.

It is marine-graded and completely sealed to prevent water from seeping in.

Know Before Buying

The power handling can be limited in some cases and won’t thump as much.

The price may be a little on the higher side.

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With the high fidelity of Class A/B amps and the efficiency of Class D amps, this hybrid amp offers the best of both worlds. It brings solid wattage for RMS power, and woofers on 5 channels with 4 ohms at an affordable price.

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Specs

  • 4 ohms
  • 60 watts RMS
  • 250 watts for the subwoofer

Features

  • Can be bridged as needed
  • Offers 4-way circuit protection
  • Versatile hybrid can cover A/B and D systems

If you find yourself on a budget but still want a very capable 5 channel amp, Skar got your back. Its hybrid system is a great little amp that can work for your Class A, B or D audio sets, delivering great and distortion free sound.

It offers a solid 60 RMS power rating which is outstanding for the sticker price. You can power a subwoofer with the 250-watt channel, and the whole amp offers 4 ohms which meets pretty much any basic requirements of the entire car audio system.

If you are running for a dual subwoofer setup, this channel amp may not be the best option for you. However, if you are rocking a single woofer and some decent full range speakers, this model will deliver the bass boost you want from your audio system.

As the only hybrid on this review list that covers all three classes, the price for Skar’s AB/D amp is extremely reasonable. Whether you are looking for a versatile amp that can be used for different systems over time, or simply want to ensure you have all the bases covered, this hybrid is an excellent amp to consider.

What We Like

The cost is very affordable and great for first-timers.

The hybrid system is suitable for Class A, B, and D technologies.

It has plenty of power to provide a bass boost.

Know Before Buying

The amp has some issues with the protection mode.

It is not as capable for dual-subwoofer systems of car audio enthusiasts.

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Buyers Guide

Features to Consider in 5 Channel Amps

Turning the power switch on a dusty guitar amplifie ready to be played

Impedance and Power Rating

Many car audio enthusiasts who are new to 5 channel amps may be confused as to which is more important; power rating or impedance. Power rating indicates the amount of power an amplifier can provide to the speakers which is measured in watts, while impedance states the load an amplifier can drive effectively which is measured in ohms.

Everyone tends to be excited about the power rating of amps with the assumption that the more watts it can output, the better and louder the sound it will produce. There’s the peak power rating which tells the max power output an amplifier can handle without blowing up for a short period of time, and the RMS (root mean square) power rating which refers to the continuous average power you can expect from an amp.

While power rating is of course a very important feature to consider, impedance should be your main concern. The power output of an amp changes with impedance. If an amp cannot meet the impedance needs of your sound system, no amount of power rating in the world will help and may instead just lead to shorts or voltage issues.

Audio Quality

Having a capable 5-channel amp will be a huge benefit when it comes to increasing your overall quality sound. As a dedicated device that receives a weak audio signal and amplifies it, you can experience music the way it was intended to be. The louder, distortion-free sound will also drown the background noise from the busy traffic, noisy engine, or buzzing air conditioner.

Channels refer to the number of speakers and subwoofers that can be linked to an amplifier at one time which means a 2 channel amplifier can amplify a system with two speakers, and a 4 channel amplifier can power a system with 4 speakers. Multi-channel amplifiers give you flexibility as they allow you to add or remove specific channels.

Whether you will be making use of all 5 channels or not, purchasing a 5 channel amp is a great way to get full sound from your entire sound system right away while also being able to add additional speakers or subwoofers in the future on the same amp. Having this adaptability will ensure that your system’s audio delivery will always be classy.

Speaking of subwoofers, we have an article here for the best 12 inch subwoofers.

Frequency Response

Frequency response measures how well an amplifier can reproduce all of the tones that humans can hear. Human hearing ranges from a low frequency of 20 Hz to a high frequency of 20 kHz. Bass frequency, meanwhile, is roughly between 20 and 300 Hz, middle frequency is 300 Hz to 4 kHz, and treble frequency is anything above 4 kHz.

The amplifier must be able to reproduce all these input audio signals faithfully, efficiently, and at low distortion within human hearing range. It must have an expanded frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz to produce a rich and vibrant sound. If you are planning on building a sound system that is truly high-resolution, you need an amp that can play audio signals beyond 20 kHz.

Because the amp’s frequency response will depend directly on its components and architecture, a well-built 5 channel amp with a high-frequency response is your best bet for preventing muddy and distorted audio. After all, nothing would sound right if the frequency response is not good and can’t play all the low, middle, and high tones correctly.

Class

Class is the term used to distinguish the different amplifier types, and there are four classes depending on sound quality and energy efficiency. They can either be Class A, B, or D, or the combination type AB. Each class has its own strengths and weaknesses, and which class is best will depend on your needs.

Class A gives clean output and high fidelity but consumes full power all the time as it cannot be turned on and off. Class B, on the other hand, can be switched off but is prone to sound distortion at high frequencies. Class AB combines the sound clarity of Class A with the low energy consumption of Class B to become the most commonly used amps in car audio today.

Class D takes it a step further by using a lot less electrical current than the other classes with its pulse width modulation. The higher efficiency of as much as 90% in some cases makes the distortion at higher sound frequencies forgivable for audiophiles. Its low output impedance also makes it ideal for running with subwoofers besides being the cheapest of the four types.

Size

You have to consider the interior space of your vehicle when adding a 5 channel amplifier. If you drive a coupe or hatchback, a compact amp will probably do fine than when you’re driving a full-sized pickup. Don’t let the size fool you though as 5 channels have evolved through the years and are of higher quality and efficiency compared to previous models.

What used to be very large and heavy can now fit under a car or truck seat. The biggest size would be the always-on Class A amps to accommodate the airflow needed to keep them cool. It can be mounted in your trunk or boot space in case it won’t fit under the driver’s or passenger’s seat. Always consider the amount of space you will work with before getting a Class A amp.

Classes B, AB, and D amps are of smaller size since they don’t run hot like Class A amps. The compact chassis means you have more options when it comes to mounting and hiding the amps. You can put it under the front seats if you do not wish to lose space in the trunk, or vice versa if you want it safely hidden.

Price

The wide range of 5 channel amplifiers will not be equal in terms of dollar value. Fret not as car amp technology has evolved slowly but surely over the years and buyers can get more watts per dollar now. You will be able to find and pay much less for quality amps that once sold for a thousand bucks a few years before.

It may take a bit of looking around but searching for a 5 channel amp that fits into your budget is worth the effort as it can be cheaper than investing in two separate amps. You can boost up your music without having to worry about burning a hole in your pocket. Rest assured that there will be amps that will fit into any price range that you are looking at.

Generally, entry-level amps can be extremely affordable while luxury and professional quality amplifiers can reach the thousand dollar range easily. While we don’t recommend settling for the cheapest amps, don’t just go with the most expensive car amplifier, either. Choose a good compromise between quality, price, and performance.

How to Select the Right 5 Channel Amp

Guitar and amp with coloured lighting.

Consider your System’s Power Requirements

The entire point of a new 5-channel amp is to improve your sound system. A variable bass boost is one of your top improvement options, but subwoofers (see also best wireless subwoofers) and speakers can be very demanding when it comes to peak power requirements. They need power to make power and maintain reliable operation.

Each component of your sound system should specify its needed power allotment in RMS rating or wattage. If you are unsure of the RMS figures, check the user manual or packaging of the component to be sure how much continuous power your amp can handle. The higher the RMS wattage, the louder and cleaner your music will sound.

It is much better to get an amp that offers more power than you need instead of getting one that is at the limit or below. You are better off buying a 100 watt per channel amplifier and only using 50 watts than buying a 50 watt amplifier that occasionally distorts. Using an amplifier that cannot fully power your components will not only damage those components but will deliver a heavily distorted sound quality.

In addition to checking the RMS rating, you also want to make sure that your amp has an impedance rating of 4 or 2 ohms, unless your system specifically needs a different rating. This will guarantee that your amp is fully capable of delivering the max power output your car’s sound system needs to function well.

Decide on an Installation Location

Installing your amp may take a bit of time and studying when it comes to selecting which location is best inside your vehicle. Some of the more common locations for 5 channel amp installation are under the seat or in the trunk. It is, however, possible to install an amp in a center console, door panel, or even under a spare tire cover.

Keep in mind how the wires will route through the car to reach your subwoofers and speakers. Under-seat mounting requires shorter cables from your head unit, but a trunk-mounted amp is closer to the rear speakers and subwoofer. Remember also that not all wiring kits are created equal and you truly get what you pay for.

Additionally, using a 5 channel amp with less than four speakers is perfectly acceptable as well. It is not uncommon to purchase a 5 channel amp with future-proofing in mind. You can always leave one channel temporarily or permanently unused and this will simply provide more power to your existing car speakers. More power running to all your speakers is never a bad thing and will improve the sound quality overall.

Understand Why You Need a 5-Channel Amp

If you are considering upgrading to a 5-channel amp, you probably are looking to improve peak power. One of the most common reasons for moving to a 5-channel amp is to reduce the distortion you hear in your front and rear speakers. In this case, purchasing a Class A or Class B amp can be extremely effective.

For those that are searching for better sound reproduction from a system that uses low power, consider a Class D amp with excellent energy efficiency as one of your options. You will definitely hear an improvement in the sound quality without adjusting the power needed. You won’t hear those clicks, pops, and hisses from your car audio with a good Class D amplifier.

If your subwoofers are falling short on their bass audio, investing in a higher quality amp is a great way to beef up that sound and get the full potential out of your audio system. Installing a sub without an amp is really just a waste of time and money. The amp will provide the correct power for optimizing your sub.

Will You Need to Bridge Systems?

If you are looking for a future-proof amp that allows expansion of your sound system in the future, considering a 5-channel amp that is bridgeable is important. This article did cover a few amps that are fully bridgeable and perfect for use now in a smaller system as well as in the future with a larger system that will make use of the entire 5-channels.

Consider Other Important Features

Additional features you may want to consider in amps include:

Ease of Installation

Having an amp that is easy to install is a huge bonus. Many amps even include an installation kit with a variety of wires and couplings to make the process easier.

Remote Control

Some amps include remote controls that work with different components, such as the remote subwoofer control. This small addition can be extremely handy in many cases of background noise.

Voltage and Thermal Protection

Higher end amps that have a higher power rating will usually include voltage and short protection, as well as thermal guard.

Adjustable Equalizer

If you are someone that loves having full control over your audio system, being able to adjust the equalizing on the fly is a huge bonus.

Conclusion

Best High-End Amplifier
Best Budget-Friendly Amplifier
Best Heat Protected Amplifier

You might not be able to just run out and grab the first 5-channel amp you see, but doing a bit of research and determining exactly which amp will work best for your audio system is very important.

If you are looking for a single all-around great 5-channel amp, give the Skar Audio Full-Range Hybrid AB/D 5-Channel Amp a look. It’s a hybrid system, so it will work for systems that need class A/B or D amps. It is also highly affordable and a great entry-level amp for someone just starting out.