Top 5 Of The Best Motorcycle Mini Amplifier

Best Motorcycle Mini Amplifier

An motorcycle amplifier, more commonly known as an amp, is an electronic device which increases the voltage, current or power of a signal. It effectively boosts the electric current in achieving higher values of the above mentioned types. They’re most commonly used in wireless communication in broadcasting, but find use in audio equipment of all kinds with mainstream applications. Basically, they’re divided into two categories: weak-signal amplifiers and power amplifiers. If you already have the best motorcycle headphones, then an amp will add more depth to your music listening experience.

Almost all aftermarket external amps produce more power than the stock amps built into car stereos. The amp works on a rather basic principal. It takes a low-power output signal from, say, a CD player, an auxiliary connection or a radio, and increases the strength of it to the point where it’s powerful enough to power speakers and subwoofers. There are a couple of reasons why people decide to go for an AEM amp, but the most important one is because they offer more power and better quality. A good amp will not only boost the sound levels, but it will do so without running the sound. If anything, it should enhance the quality even more. Adding extra features like equalizers or auxiliary inputs to an existing stereo are other valid uses for it, as is replacing a broken stock amp. In most cases, people like to pair up a new AEM amp with bigger and better speakers and subwoofers.

 

Motorcycle Amp Reviews

In this section, we will look at the top 5 motorcycle amps that are in the market today.

 

  1. Kenwood KAC-M1804 Compact 4-channel Amplifier

kenwood motorcycle mini amplifierThe Kenwood KAC-M1804 is an affordable product from the reputable audio pioneer Kenwood.

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Don’t let its relatively affordable price fool you however. This unit packs a serious punch, despite its compact size and unassuming price tag. Kenwood is one of the greatest audio manufacturers, and this product just further proves that. It comes equipped with lots of great features, but stays true to simplicity and elegance. It appears as a great unit, but is it?

 

What we like:

  • Design
  • Features
  • Size
  • Price

It’s a really small and compact unit, meaning you can pretty much store it and/or install it just about anywhere. It’s incredibly light as well. With a 4-Channel 400W Class D design, it’s one of the most powerful as well, powering all but the most potent stereos on the market. It has an RMS Power rating of 4 ohms, with four 45 watt channels, resulting in a total power output of 400 Watts. The design is extremely beautiful. Forget about cheap plastics and bland appearances, Kenwood went all out on it. You can tell the fit and finish is top-notch just by holding the unit in your hands. The exterior is durable but the circuit board is conformal coated, or in other words, it’s excellent for marine applications as well (or in case it happens to rain, it’s amazing for motorcycles as well). Then there’s the price. At just $85, it’s amazing value for money, probably the best bang for buck on the market.

 

What we don’t like:

  • Heat
  • Cutout

It’s not a unit plagued with problems, but heat management does seem to be an issue despite its extruded aluminum heat sink design. It’s only an issue when used for extremely prolonged periods of time, or if it’s not left adequate room to keep cooling. It also seems to cut off from time to time, either completely or just to a few of the speakers. Considering its pros, not many bad sides.

 

  1. Rockford Fosgate PBR300X4 Punch BRT

rockford PBR300x4 motorcycle mini amplifierThe Rockford is, once again, a quality product designed by a famous manufacturer.

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Rockford is known for immaculate high-end audio products, used by lots of amateurs and professionals alike, who share a similar passion. It’s not the most expensive product to come out from Rockford, because it’s a mid-range unit, but it offers everything the higher models get at an affordable price.

 

What we like:

  • Features
  • Size
  • Design
  • Adjustability
  • Warranty
  • Price

At 1.53 x 4.25 x 6.75 it’s an extremely compact unit, perfect for motorcycle application. The design itself is incredible. The Kenwood offered elegance and simplicity, this goes one beyond that to boast incredible black gloss finish, with chrome-finished edges and red accessories. The company logo along with the model name are engraved in the casing, making the whole thing look like a high-end PC or an artwork rather than just an amp. It offers high and low-level inputs with variable 4 to 6 volt hi-level DC offset for the turn-on control. It too offers 4 channels, at 75 Watts, boasting an impressive total RMS figure of 300 watts at 4 Ohms.

 

What we don’t like:

  • Heating
  • Customer service

By far and away the biggest issue the unit has, has to do with cooling. When fully stressed, it can get quite hot and sometimes even overheat. Most systems don’t phase it, but be warned if you plan on using all of its capacity. The customer service, although not terrible, is not the best in the business either. Still a great unit nonetheless.

 

  1. DS12 CANDY-MICRO2

DS18 candy micro2 motorcycle mini amplifierIf you want a simple 2-channel amp, look no further.

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The DS12 is an affordable unit which offers sufficient performance and amazing features for what it is. We didn’t have high expectations for it going into this test, but it proved more than worthy.

 

What we like:

  • Simplicity
  • Size
  • Price

It’s really simple and elegant. From its minimalistic grey finish with red and white DS19 logo, to the amazing yet basic features it offers. Power is rated at 320W with RMS at 4 Ohms. It has just 2 channels, each at 65W, but it’s enough. If you want to, you can even use it with the RMS at 2 Ohms getting two 80W channels. The bridged option at 4 Ohms gives you a single 160W channel. At 4.75 x 4.25 x 1.5 inches, it’ll easily fit even in the most confined of spaces. If you want something light and portable, this is definitely the unit. At $60, you can’t really fault it.

 

What we don’t like:

  • Nothing

Other than the occasional lemon or two, there are no issues to report with this unit. Because it’s so simple, there are not a lot of things which can go wrong with it, so it’s practically bulletproof. If there are issues however, a reputable seller will be more than willing to offer you a full refund.

 

  1. Kicker 12PX100.2

kicker 12px100 motorcycle mini amplifierKicker may not be as famous of a manufacturer as some of the others we featured on here, but don’t mistake that as a sign of worse products.

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It produces some of the best mid-range units out there, creating a perfect blend of affordability and performance. The 12PX100.2 is the second revision of the mentioned unit, offering everything the first one did and even more on top of that.

 

What we like:

  • Simplicity
  • Size
  • Price

Granted, it doesn’t have a lot of features, but it doesn’t need to because it’s so cheap. At just $59, it ties the DS12 on our list, although we’re not sure it can quite match it. Let’s start with the good things. It’s a 2-channel amp with a couple of presets: 2×25 watt channels at 4 Ohms, 2×50 Watt channels at 2 Ohms and a bridged single channel at 100 Watt. It’s designed for powersports vehicles primarily, but can be used in almost anything.

 

What we don’t like:

  • Design
  • Features

It’s a simple unit, with scarce features, which is sort of to be expected. The poor design however, is inexcusable. It’s alright if you can store it somewhere and not worry about anyone seeing it, because it looks like a badly-made lunch box. Definitely not stylish, but we suppose most people don’t care.

 

    1. Shark Motorcycle Audio Shkmsc22050

shark motorcycle mini amplifierUnlike the other products on this list, the Shark product is specifically designed for motorcycle applications in mind.

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It’s also a complete kit, with audio speakers, a small motorcycle amplifier and handlebar volume control. We decided to give it a shot, and we’re glad we did.

 

What we like:

      • Specific purpose
      • Size
      • Price

Because it was designed for motorcycles from the start, it’s small and compact. It works with 12 Volts on most motorcycles, scooters and yachts. The operating voltage of the amp ranges from 10 to 16V DC, with max power equaling 50Wx2 channels at 4 Ohms or 25Wx2channels at 4 Ohms as well. THD is rated at 50dB. Not the best, but not bad either. The best part about it is that the entire kit costs just $34, making it the bargain of the century.

 

What we don’t like:

      • Nothing

The Shark kit completely blew us away. At the price, it’s an amazing piece of tech. It offers everything an amp complete with speakers built for a motorcycle should. We cannot recommend it enough.

 

Motorcycle Amp Buying Guide

Most cars have the space to run large speakers and subwoofers, so an amplifier is no issue, but that is a luxury bikes can’t afford. The main thing when purchasing an amp for a motorcycle then should be the size of the unit. Although a lot of them are relatively small and compact, not every single product will fit your particular application. Try to find the right size for your use, without sacrificing quality or affordability of course.

Amps are generally categorized by the number of channels, i.e. discreet speakers, they can power. As the name might suggest, a one-channel, otherwise known as a mono amp, can power just a single speaker. The most common use for it is for powering a subwoofer. Two-channel amps can power two speakers, three-channel can power three, and so on, you get the point. With a motorcycle, the main concern is having enough channels to power the multiple speakers involved. Unlike a car, which can run just one speaker and one subwoofer, bikes tend to have multiple smaller speakers, meaning you need an amp with more channels.

You also have to match the amp’s output power to the one required by the speakers. Power is measured in Watts, and you have to be extremely careful not getting an overpowered or underpowered amp. Buy one with not enough juice, and your sound will get weaker and distorted, resulting in a downgrade rather than an upgrade. Bigger isn’t always better however. An extremely powerful amp matched to a medium-size stereo might result in blown out speakers, if the maximum power available from the amp is far greater than the one required by the speakers. Getting the perfect balance therefore, is a must. Always look at the RMS power rating of the amp. It represents the continuous amount of power it can provide, and is probably the most important thing when determining what type of amp you need.

Lastly, you have to make sure the amp is up to par with the rest of the system. A lower quality amp can bottleneck the entire system, not resulting in any improvements. Try to find amps with wide frequency responses and low deviation. Quality AMPS list their THD (distortion) as well, so a lack of any such number could indicate that the amp is below par. The lower the THD number, the better the amp. Various other factors such as soldering, connection quality and transducers affect the quality, but it’s difficult to determine that just from looking at the unit. It’s best to purchase amps from quality manufacturers with good reputation.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it. If you want the most feature-rich amp but don’t mind spending the extra money, go for the Rockford. If however, you just want the best, bespoke unit made for motorcycle application in mind, the Shark is there to satisfy your needs. The rest of the units fill in the gap with more affordable prices and better features, offering a little bit of everything to suit anyone’s requirements.

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