If you love music or listening to podcasts during your commute, then you might hate when road noise becomes so loud that you can’t enjoy your stereo.
A car amplifier can help with that problem.
Unfortunately, car amplifiers can be pretty expensive.
Why Are Car Amplifiers So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of a car amplifier is around $150 some costing around $50 at the lower end and higher-end amplifiers costing around $400 and higher.
Car amplifiers are expensive because of the expensive materials used to make them, the brand name, certain features adding extra costs, and the fact that car amplifiers are luxury items.
Let’s look at these and some other factors in more detail.
1. Powerful Heatsink Costs
The problem that amplifiers have is that they tend to get very hot when in use.
Considering that cars, in general, run hot, that makes the problem even worse.
An amplifier’s job is to make the stereo produce more power.
When it has more power, the stereo can produce more sound.
It can play louder without losing quality.
If anything, the amplifier can enhance the quality of the audio.
The problem with producing power is that it also generates heat.
Since it’s using energy, some of that energy is going to be lost to heat.
It’s a natural thermodynamic reaction.
The problem is that amplifiers generate a lot of heat.
If nothing releases that heat, then it can cause parts to melt or deteriorate.
The amplifier will break.
That’s where a heatsink comes in handy.
The heatsink’s job is to remove heat from the system.
Sometimes it does this through vents.
Other times, it might use some sort of thermal grease that helps remove heat.
However the engineer designs the heatsink, its purpose is to remove heat from the system.
High-quality heatsinks aren’t always cheap.
The more powerful the amplifier is, the more advanced the heatsink needs to be.
As such, manufacturers might spend a good amount of money on a high-quality heatsink.
Since the manufacturer is spending more money, it needs to make up for that cost by charging more for the amplifier.
Amplifiers are expensive because heatsinks can be expensive to engineer and produce.
2. Aluminum Casing Costs
Another cost that can make car amplifiers expensive is their casing.
Some car amplifier companies use aluminum as the casing for the amplifier.
Aluminum is an ideal metal because it doesn’t become hot quite as quickly.
This can help the heatsink reduce the amount of heat generated in the amplifier.
It also doesn’t have problems with corrosion.
This is vital if the car stereo somehow comes into contact with water.
While other parts of the car might start to corrode, the stereo’s amplifier will remain in perfect condition.
The problem with aluminum is that it can be an expensive material.
That’s because it’s a type of metal that’s in high demand.
A lot of different industries use aluminum because of the benefits it offers.
Since there’s such high demand for it, the price tends to be on the high side.
It isn’t as expensive as some precious metals, but if something impacts the supply chain and reduces the amount of aluminum available on the market, then the price is going to become quite high.
As such, car amplifier companies sometimes have to pay high prices to source aluminum.
That, in turn, makes the price of car amplifiers more expensive.
Car amplifiers are expensive because aluminum casing can be expensive to produce.
3. Brand Name
Some car amplifiers are also more expensive than others because of their brand name.
The brand name of a product makes it expensive because the brand has usually spent a few years building up its reputation.
In the world of electronics, reputation matters a lot.
For one, the audio market is quite competitive.
If your business doesn’t have a solid reputation for producing high-quality products, then it isn’t going to succeed.
There are plenty of other businesses with better reputations that can overtake yours.
As such, brand names spend a good amount of time developing products and ensuring high-quality customer service.
At some point, after the brand name has established itself as an authority in the market, it can start selling its products at high prices.
The company knows that its customers will still be willing to pay a higher price because they trust the brand.
It’s less of a financial risk than buying a car amplifier from an unknown brand with no reputation.
Some of the top car amplifier brands include the following:
- JL Audio
- Rockford Fosgate
- MTX Audio
If you see a car amplifier bearing the name of one of these brands, then it’s likely going to be on the expensive side.
Car amplifiers are expensive if it comes from a well-known brand.
4. Car System Integration
Some car amplifiers do more than just power up a car’s stereo.
Some can also integrate with other systems in your car.
For example, the amplifier can sometimes provide Bluetooth capabilities.
It will sync to your phone or another Bluetooth device in your car.
Then it can help the stereo amplify that audio source as well.
Others might connect to your car’s GPS.
It can amplify directions or help make the system more efficient.
The amplifier might also connect to the display.
That might allow you to customize the amplifier even further.
Integrating with a car can be expensive.
That’s especially true if certain elements of the amplifier need to be customized to fit the specific car.
You could be looking at service costs on top of the cost of the amplifier.
Being able to integrate with GPS and Bluetooth systems might also take on more costs from the manufacturer’s side of things.
Since the manufacturer is spending more on processing costs, it’s going to charge higher prices on its amplifier.
Car amplifiers are expensive because integrating with a car’s systems costs more to produce.
5. Surround Sound Capabilities
Some amplifiers can bring surround sound right to your car’s stereo.
If you want the movie theater treatment in your car, then there are amplifiers out there that can do that.
They usually need to connect to certain speakers to pull it off, but it’s something you can emulate.
Surround sound can make you feel more immersed in the music or podcast.
It also ends to make the highs and lows of the audio more pronounced.
As an audiophile, surround sound essentially enriches the experience.
If you want a car amplifier that can produce surround sound, however, then you can expect to pay a higher price for it.
For one, it usually means that a manufacturer has to build the amplifier for that specific purpose.
That might require certain parts that are more expensive than standard amplifier parts.
It’s also a niche product.
Not everyone who wants a car amplifier is going to want one that produces surround sound.
As such, the company is making its amplifiers for a very specific audience.
That audience might be willing to pay more for the amplifier since it’s something they specifically want.
Car amplifiers are expensive because some can provide surround sound experiences which is more expensive to manufacture.
6. Matching The Price Of Your Speakers
A lot of car owners will buy new car speakers or a stereo before buying an amplifier.
If you spend a lot of money on your speakers, it makes sense that you’d also want to spend a lot of money on your amplifier.
If you have cheap speakers, then an amplifier isn’t going to be able to do much with them.
The speakers won’t be able to handle the power that the stereo is going to produce based on the amplifier.
As such, if you care enough about your car’s audio to buy an amplifier, then you probably care enough to buy high-quality speakers.
After buying high-quality speakers, however, you’re going to need an amplifier that matches the quality.
Otherwise, your amplifier won’t produce the desired effect for the speakers.
It will just be a waste of money.
Since the two go hand-in-hand, if you buy expensive speakers, then you’re likely going to buy an expensive amplifier, too.
Car amplifiers are expensive because most people will buy expensive speakers and need an expensive amplifier to complement them.
7. Motion Or Voice Control
Some car amplifiers are also capable of recognizing motion or voice control.
This usually works in conjunction with the stereo.
The stereo will recognize a voice command, then instruct the amplifier to perform some sort of function based on the command.
The same goes for motion control.
If you wave at the stereo to tell it to turn down the music, the stereo will communicate with the amplifier.
Both the stereo and amplifier need to be able to recognize motion and voice commands.
As such, in the case of car amplifiers, it has to spend a bit more time in the factory.
It needs software on top of hardware that allows it to react to certain voice and motion commands.
Since it’s a bit more expensive to manufacture, it costs more to make.
It also has added value since some drivers might be willing to pay more for an amplifier that they can control with their voice or the movement of their hand.
It’s more convenient and safer.
Car amplifiers are expensive because being able to react to voice or motion commands is a bit more expensive to produce.
8. Overall Manufacturing Costs
While the casing and heatsink of amplifiers can be quite expensive, there are also numerous parts inside an amplifier to consider.
Everything from the struts to the various cables costs money.
A brand that wants its amplifier to last a long time will likely invest in high-quality materials.
Because of the sheer number of parts an amplifier needs, the manufacturing costs tend to be on the higher side.
To make that money back and generate a profit, the manufacturer has to sell the amplifier at a higher price.
Car amplifiers are expensive because of the various parts it uses and their expense.
9. Better Audio Quality With More Expensive Amplifiers
The more expensive an amplifier becomes, the better quality it usually produces.
That isn’t always the case, but generally, when you buy an expensive amplifier, you can usually expect better sound.
That’s because certain brands spend a lot of money on manufacturing.
The brand will use the best materials in order to achieve high-quality sound.
Since material costs are higher, the price is also higher.
There’s also more value in clear, crisp sound.
Some people are willing to pay more for an amplifier that offers high-quality audio.
Car amplifiers are expensive because producing high-quality audio can sometimes be expensive to manufacture.
10. Luxury Item
Car amplifiers are also a luxury item.
Standard car stereos have standard amplifiers in them.
They don’t do much, but they do work.
As such, if someone wants to amplify their car’s stereo even more, then buying a car amplifier is essentially an indulgence.
It’s not needed for the car to function.
As luxury items, manufacturers can set their products at luxury prices.
Car amplifiers are expensive because they’re luxury items.
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