The Carputer Amplifier

There are two main reasons why you would want to add a carputer amplifier. 1) You want a better or "meatier" sound than your existing car audio system can produce. 2) You need to replace your head unit to permit installation of your carputer. This may be to allow a display screen to be fitted in the console.

Real audiophiles will want to research this subject in much greater depth. This section is primarily intended for DIY'ers who need to replace their car stereo as part of their carputer installation

Amplifier Graphic

There are a huge number of amplifiers available but there are several things to consider when integrating with a carputer.

  • Ensure the amplifier can handle the generally lower output voltage from the carputer. Most built-in soundcards generate around 1 volt, whilst generally, aftermarket amplifiers have a 3 volt nominal input (pre-amp input).

  • Modern cars usually have a 4-channel amplifier incorporated in the head unit. To mimic this, you need a four channel amp, even if you only intend to feed it with a stereo signal. This is to enable you to fade the sound i.e. change the volume balance between the front and rear seats. One channel is used for each of the front left, front right, rear left, and rear right speakers.

  • Check the power rating & impedance of your existing speakers are compatible with the amplifier, (unless you intend to replace the speakers with better quality, higher power ones, in which case you may also need to upgrade the speaker wiring). WARNING - fitting a powerful amplifier and connecting low power speakers is a recipe for "blowing" the speakers.

  • If you need to replace your head unit, you will lose the controls (volume, balance, fade etc) along with the pre-amp. You can replace this functionality to some extent through your touch screen, but most users are more comfortable with a control knob such as the Griffin Powermate

Finding Your Carputer Amplifier

If you use the search engines, stick to a reputable brand and use the guidelines on this page, you won't go far wrong.

For anyone intending to fit a car audio amplifier in their vehicle, these fitting tips will prove invaluable.

Build Your Own Audio Amplifier

If you are a real enthusiast and handy with a soldering iron, you may want to build your own amplifier. If so, I salute your dedication and point you towards some circuits in the links below.

Car Batteries

Display Screens


Motherboards and Processors

Optical Drives