What a great feeling it is to drive your own car and listen to incredible music sounds! It is hard to describe in simple words. However, experience has shown that a regular car audio amplifier is not able to unlock the full potential of a speaker system. For high-quality, deep, and strong sound, a separate power amplifier is a must-have.
You don’t need to scratch your head over solving this issue. To satisfy the need in the excellent sound, all you need to do is to choose one of the best 3 channel car amps. Are you ready to discover a magic decision, opening the door in the world of delicious music? Here we go!
Between a rock and a hard place
The number of output channels to the speaker system in car amplifiers is different. By their number, it is possible to reason about their quality and relevance.
Overall, additional car amplifiers have from one to six channels. The widespread models are 3 and 4 channel amplifiers. You may ask: which is better? Certainly, the first option is more preferable.
On the one hand, designed to connect two speakers and a subwoofer, 3 channel car amplifiers can support a low-impedance load. They often include additional features, for example, a low-pass filter and bass sound adjustment. On the other hand, 4 channel alternatives can be used for the same purpose as well. However, a 3 channel car amplifier is better because it allows delivering greater power per channel.
Not to leave you alone at a quandary which product to choose exactly, we have prepared a top-5 list of the best 3 channel amps. Ready, steady, go!
|Name||JL Audio XD500/3|
|Kenwood KAC-7406||JL Audio XD500/3v2||JL Audio M500/3||Massive Audio NX3|
|Dimensions (in inches)||11.3 x 8.8 x 3.8||15.2 x 9.9 x 4.2||11.3 x 8.8 x 4.2||14.6 x 7.1 x 2||17.9 x 7.6 x 4.2|
|Weight (in pounds)||5.73||5.4||5.73||2.2||8.7|
|Power (in watts)||500||800||500||500||2080|
|Tipp||For balanced sound quality||For economic decisions||For non-stop music||For work in the marine environment||For incredible power of sound|
The First Act: JL Audio XD500/3
The awesome thing about this model is that it allows maintaining the equally qualitative sound for both the back seat and the driver’s area. This 3 channel car amp allows you to really balance out the sound.
The size of the amplifier is quite compact due to the manufacturer’s own NexD switching technology. Therefore, this 3 channel car amplifier turns out to be very efficient. For instance, it draws less from your electrical system and generates less heat.
Besides, JL Audio XD500/3 is famous for its advanced rollback thermal protection. What this technology does is it allows you to keep playing your music harder and harder. Even when the amplifier gets hot, it won’t shut down because of heat. Most alternatives will simply turn off and protect themselves in such a case. Unlike them, this product’s protection circuitry chooses to roll back the power instead. So, this 3 channel amplifier can stay on and please you with its incredible work. You can listen to favorite hits for hours without any device’s outages. It sounds great, doesn’t it?
What’s more, the installation process is easy and smooth. Among the user-friendly features of the amplifier, there is having all the connections on one side. Therefore, you can run your wires to the location and tuck them neatly underneath the amplifier. Do you want a nice clean installation? Done!
Another feature that contributes a lot to the quality of the device is that the crossovers on the JL Audio XD500/3 are independent of each other. So you have the subchannel which is adjustable from 50 to 500 Hertz. On the main channels, you have a separate crossover with the same level of adjustability.
The device can boast of its feature differential balanced inputs. That means you can use any source unit. For instance, you are welcome to use a factory source unit with no need for adaptors, an aftermarket unit, or even your iPhone and any other music player. Besides, it has also got a preamp output necessary for further expanding the system in the future.
You can also take advantage of the HD RLC which is sold separately. This control knob can allow you to control either all three channels on the product or just the subwoofer channel on it. It gives you lots of flexibility. Just imagine you are sitting in the front of the vehicle more
With this 3 channel car amplifier, you can control the level of making the music sound exactly the way you want. All in all, JL Audio XD500/ is an excellent 3 channel car amp to get a system in your vehicle, as well as power up your main speakers with two channels and then a subwoofer on the subchannel.
The Second Act: Kenwood KAC-7406
What do people pay attention to when choosing a reliable car amplifier? First of all, power is one of the most important and main characteristics of any device of the kind. However, to note, many manufacturers deliberately overestimate it to mislead the customer. On the contrary, they can also underestimate it to get their product into the lower classes of car audio amplifiers.
The maximum power of this Kenwood product is 800 watts. As evidence has shown, the declared parameter corresponds to the facts. On Amazon, this product costs $124.99. Compared to the alternative 3 channel car amplifiers, Kenwood KAC-7406 is reasonably one of the cheapest devices available on the market. All things considered, for money spent, it sounds really great.
This device belongs to the AB class amplifiers. This feature means the product is a great combination of efficiency as well as performance. The amplifier is equipped with the red triangle power indicator light, so you’ll be always aware of the device’s preparedness to work. Besides, it has built-in low-pass and high-pass filters, aimed at improving the quality of sound transferred. With the help of these tools, you can measure what frequencies should pass through. You can customize these filters anywhere from 50 to 200 Hertz.
Kenwood KAC-7406 is convenient in use since it has all the connections on one side. That’s why the installation won’t become a real pain to any user, regardless of skills.
Apart from the product itself, the kit includes some screws and the speaker level input harness. The latter one is helpful when using a factory radio and then adding this amplifier to the factory radio. In turn, this may eliminate the need for a line output converter.
All in all, Kenwood KAC-7406 is definitely worth considering as a match to your vehicle’s audio system.
The Third Act: XD500/3v2
This product is just like a little brother or sister of JL Audio XD500/3. It has approximately the same characteristics, but some of them are still different. The winner of the top is a full range product. That means it is aimed at covering the audio spectrum in its richness. Unlike it, XD500/3v2 is more of a class D amplifier.
What does that mean? Belonging to D class amps make this 3 channel device especially efficient. For instance, it is almost zero-waste power product.
Overall, XD500/3va is a powerful 2-channel and mono AM combination in one compact chassis. With this JL product, you can drive a pair of top-notch speakers with the built-in 2 channel amp and your subs with an additional 300 watt mono amp.
Having a unique design with audiophile grade components, this amplifier is a perfect match for those looking for good bass and clean sound in a small package. To note, this product measures just 11.3 inches in length, 8.8 inches in width, and 4.2 inches in height. Besides, it weighs 5.73 pounds only.
Unfortunately, there is a fly in the ointment. There can be some outages in work if the RMS-rate of this amplifier and the subwoofer used don’t coincide.
The Fourth Act: JL Audio M500/3
This 3 channel car amp belongs to the JL Audio M-Series amplifiers for the marine division. Any device of this brand line features the NexD ultra high frequency switching amplifier design. Basically, what that means is a special circuit. The latter allows M500/3 to stay incredibly compact but deliver lots of power at the same time. Besides, this best 3 channel amplifier is famous for its excellent sound quality.
Another great feature of M500/3 is the already known advanced thermal rollback protection. This function is all about keeping your amplifier on, no matter how long you have been listening to music in your vehicle. With this feature, you won’t be annoyed it is when your audio system cuts off because the amplifiers got too hot.
In addition, all the metal on this 3 channel car amp is specifically designed for the marine environment. For instance, the product includes specific screws, compression fittings, etc. The metal itself is treated to ensure that it’s reliable in the marine environment. All the speaker and power connections are ABYC compliant. This means the product completely satisfies the quality and safety requirements of the marine industry. Apart from producing a powerful sound, such a construction minimizes chances for corrosion.
The M500/3 model also has a fully adjustable electronic crossover. It possesses the selectable 12DB per octave. Of course, such an important element as inputs is specially engineered for the marine environment as well. Besides, the control panel is housed underneath a gasket and aluminum cover. This element adds a lot to the product’s safety, especially paying attention to the conditions it is recommended to be used in.
What pleases about this best 3 channel amplifier is that it rejects noises like pops, sticks, and whistles so that your system always stays clean.
All in all, M500/3 is a top-notch product to choose. However, the line can boast of more powerful and advanced devices within this marine series.
The Fifth Act: Massive Audio NX3
Finally, the last winner of our top-5 best 3 channel car amps is the product designed by Massive Audio. Its broadband channels are built according to the traditional AB-class circuit design. The maximum output power measures 1600 watts per channel. This incredible feature is partly achieved due to the not very compact design of the device. However, this is a small drawback since the stated data is confirmed instrumentally.
The bass channel works as a D class element. When connecting a 4-ohm subwoofer, it gives out 200 W. At first glance, it is not a really stunning result, isn’t it? This makes Massive Audio NX3 suitable for use with relatively lightweight subwoofers.
On the other hand, this channel can work at the level of 1 ohm. In such a case, it will deliver a very impressive 800 W. For everyday use, the best option would be to choose a 2-ohm subwoofer model so that the amplifier will be able to output 400 W.
The filtering equipment of the broadband channels consists of an adjustable high-pass filter only. On the contrary, bass channel adjustments are more solid. In addition to the must-have high-pass filter, there is an adjustable subsonic. This element is especially useful when connecting free-air subwoofers or subs of the phase-inverter acoustic design. Besides, the extra protection of the base channel includes a full-fledged single-band parametric equalizer. The latter, in fact, is a bass boost. It regulates not only the diapason between 40 and 45 Hertz. It also deals with central frequency and amplification bandwidth.
Even though Massive Audio NX3 is great at the fine-tuning of low frequencies and produces not the worst sound at all, it would be excellent if it had a phase-changing unit. Let’s consider a simple example. Both satellite speakers and a subwoofer play loudly and powerfully. However, when working together, a pleasant sound can easily turn into the cat’s concert. The reason is the distortion of a high-pass filter. In this case, a phase-changing unit could perform balance and then turn their vectors into one direction in order to sum up the power, but not to subtract it.
All things considered, Massive Audio NX3 is one of the best 3 channel car amplifiers available on the market nowadays. Even though it has slight drawbacks, it is still among the most popular products of the kind.
The presented products are definitely of the premium quality and can easily find their own customer. However, tuning a car audio system depends not only on the powerful 3 channel amplifier. Besides, it is important to keep their combinability not to spoil the work of separately incredible tools.
We have prepared for you some simple tips necessary for a person who desires to make the decision without any regrets.
Car Audio System
If you have a powerful subwoofer, then it would be better to choose a 3 channel car amp of the D class. The devices of the kind are more powerful than their alternatives and consume less electric power. For the car audio system, consisting of speakers only, you can also give your preference to AB class amplifier.
As an additional car amplifier, it is promising to choose a device with a power of 100-200 watts per channel. Therefore, the power of the subwoofer should be at least the total power of all the speakers. For instance, with a 3 channel amplifier system, you have to install a subwoofer of at least 300 watts.
On the one hand, the bigger this parameter is, the better. On the other, the loudness of more than 100 dB causes strong pressure on the ear membranes. As a result, it can lead to a tension headache or even diminished hearing in a long-time perspective. Therefore, 90-95 dB is enough.
NB. Do not forget that the use of a powerful amplifier with a speaker system of lower power is unacceptable due to the occurrence of overloads, even at 50%-power work. And the reverse mismatch leads to an increased load on the amplifier due to the issues with diffusers at a low volume functioning.
Brand Is Important
When choosing an amplifier, pay attention to the product’s manufacturer. There are many already legendary companies that have been producing car amplifiers for more than a decade. Definitely, they have earned their deserved fame and reputation in the industry.
Please, remember that an unknown brand is less likely to surprise you with its functionality and quality. In such a case, it often doesn’t matter how praised the developers and their devices are. What’s more, there is almost a 100%-guarantee that you won’t be able to test the amplifier in action. That’s why think beforehand and make research.
Your car radio can have a built-in radio tuner (and sometimes a TV tuner), a CD or DVD drive, a USB player, a digital-to-analog converter, and even an audio signal processor. All these details are located in a small, let us say, container. In such a case, including a high-quality amplifier sounds like a mystery. Even it is present, it won’t function as stated because there is too much load on the one mechanism. That’s why the decision to choose and buy a car amplifier is a lifesaver.
A separate 3 channel car amp can serve for years when chosen right. All of the presented products satisfy safety and quality standards. Now it’s high time for the most responsible and exciting moments of any shopping and its preparatory stages. All you need to do now is to choose a 3 channel car amplifier from our top-5 list. Check their premium efficiency and productivity first-hand!