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You see an ad in the paper for a 1200 W amp going for $99. In another ad, you see another 1200 W amp for $999.

What's the difference? One is rated using CEA-2006-A, the industry standard for amplifier ratings, while the other is rated using what we call ILS ratings. "If Lightining Strikes..."

A quick way to estimate an amps power would be to look at the fuse rating. Then multiply that by 14.4.

e.g. 10 (amps) x 14.4 (volts) =144 (watts)

Remember, no amplifier is 100% efficient, and the chances that your car is going to be putting out a steady 14.4 volts is slim.

This also doesn't mean that you should shop looking for the biggest fuse rating either. Your vehicles charging system was never designed for 1000W amplifiers, so remember to build your system accordingly.

WARNING about Cheap Amps

 

Below is a few of the cheap amps I have come across throughout my career. Learn how to tell how powerful an amp really is by just looking at it, and why some amplifiers are so cheap. Think twice if the deal sounds too good to be true. It usually is. People ask me, "What is the best brand of amplifiers?" all the time, and to answer that, there is no one brand that takes that spot.

Each year, new products come out; one year brand "x" can be the best, while the next year brand "y" comes out with something better. "Underground" companies can't be count out too. Some are serious about cometetion and go all out with their components and design. Your best bet is to find an amp that seems suitable for you, and then to do research about it. Chances are somebody else has already bought the same amp, and posted a review of it somewhere. Keep in mind that "You get what you pay for", and it really holds true in car audio, where there are companies making counterfeit amplifiers!

 

This is a counterfeit Alpine amplifier. (Notice the 10 amp fuse. What a joke...)

 

Input side...

 

The Alpine logo was a surprise. For a second, I thought it was just a really old Alpine model...

 

Here's a TNT 800 WATT amplifier!

 

We smelled BS, so we opened it up...

 

Guess what? The plates in the middle were just weights!

 

Again, just a 10 amp fuse... Some headunits have a bigger draw than this...

 

This is a real 15,000 WATT Amplifier made by Rockford Fosgate! It was powering the wall of 60 woofers, and 6 pairs of 6x9's!