It is often confusing and challenging to find a perfect spot to mount a car amplifier. The main reason behind this challenge is that most car manufacturers don’t design a dedicated space for mounting car amps. For instance, you’ll find factory speaker mounting locations in your car but you won’t find a factory amplifier mounting location. Fortunately, there’re several car amp mounting ideas you can consider.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best car amplifier mounting ideas to make it easier for you to mount a newly acquired car amp. Here’re the top ideas to choose from:
1. Behind the trunk or seats
One of the most popular car amp mounting ideas is installing it behind the seats. With this method, you can easily mount several amps or an amplifier alongside an equalizer or crossover. Also, mounting an amp behind the car seat means that you’ll keep it more concealed. Additionally, you’ll find it easier to access the amp as needed, especially when you need to adjust certain settings.
It’s also a great amp mounting option for trucks and sports utility vans as it allows for enhanced ventilation. You can easily mount an amp behind the car seat with the help of MDF or plywood. In this case, you can mount the amp alongside other components such as a crossover on the plywood. Next, secure the plywood on the back of the seat. Avoid mounting an amplifier directly on a metallic seat.
However, this idea may not be ideal for sedans as there wouldn’t be sufficient ventilation within the trunk. If you’ve bought a car amp that doesn’t have a cooling fan, mounting it in the trunk of a sedan would be a bad idea. Without sufficient ventilation, the amplifier may overheat and get damaged.
Also, you need to get ready for extra wiring when mounting an amp behind the car seats or the trunk. Extra wiring comes with more costs. Additionally, longer wire lengths have an increased likelihood of picking noise. Noise interference may reduce the quality of the sound output.
2. Under the front car seat
Another great location for mounting a car amp is under the front car seat. The key benefit of this mounting location is that you’ll require shorter cables. Also, shorter cables lower the likelihood of picking up noise. You’ll also find it easier to connect door speakers to the amp when it’s installed under the car seat. Mounting a car amp under the seat also helps in concealing it for a cleaner installation.
However, the amp may overheat if it lacks sufficient airflow and if the space under the seat is extremely tight. You may also find it challenging to fine-tune the amp if the space under the seat is confined. If the amp is quite large, ensure the space beneath the seat is big enough to fit it in.
It’s also necessary to put the seat clearance into consideration. You can place the amp under the seat and try to move the seat to determine whether the amp will fit effortlessly. Also, the amp shouldn’t protrude behind the seat as it’ll get into the way of the rear passenger’s feet. If you want to mount an amp under the seat, ensure it’s a compact car amp for it to fit.
Also, ensure the amp casing doesn’t come into contact with the chassis.
It’s advisable to keep the amp cool by raising it over a wooden board with standoff screws. That way, there will be sufficient space all around the amplifier for ventilation.
3. Spare tire area
Mounting a car amplifier in the spare tire area is one of the best car amp mounting ideas. With this idea, you’ll retain space in the car cabin, especially if your car doesn’t have sufficient space. However, the effectiveness of this idea will largely depend on the clearance in the spare tire area.
If the space if large and the tire is relatively small, you can mount the amp on a wooden board and fit it in the available space. That way, you can easily remove the amplifier whenever you want to retrieve the spare tire. However, you shouldn’t remove the spare tire to create space for the amp as you may need the spare tire in an emergency.
The main advantage of mounting an amp in the spare tire area is that it doesn’t take up space in the car cabin. Also, it remains hidden for a neater car interior.
However, this mounting idea has the disadvantage of insufficient ventilation. The spare tire area is typically covered and lacks sufficient airflow. As a result, the amp may overheat. You can invest in an amp that has a cooling fan to protect it from overheating. In most instances, Class D amplifiers are less prone to overheating issues than class A/B amplifiers.
4. Within the rear quarter panel
You can conceal your car amp within the rear quarter panel of your car. In this mounting location, the amp will be out of sight. Also, it won’t take up any space in the trunk. You’ll also find it easier to hook up your car subwoofer to the amp, especially when you’ve installed the subwoofer in the trunk. Besides, you’ll
However, you may only mount a compact car amp in this mounting location due to the limited space. If your amp is large-sized, then this car amplifier mounting location may not work for you. Also, this mounting location may only work with sedans as they have a larger rear quarter panel than hatchbacks and station wagons.
5. Amp rack
If you want a more professional car amplifier mounting idea, then consider using an amp rack. There’re several car audio amp rack ideas you can try. You can use several items as amp racks. For instance, it can be a holder or case for holding one or several amplifiers in place. You can use a rack of any size or design depending on your preferences.
A car amp rack is typically used as an amp mounting board. You can design it in a nice finish for an enhanced look in your car interior. The rack can be mounted in any desired location, including the location mentioned above. Just ensure the rack is properly ventilated to allow for maximum air circulation to prevent the amp from overheating.
Why You Shouldn’t Mount A Car Amp on a Car Subwoofer Box
You might think that mounting a car amp on the subwoofer box is a great idea. However, it’s something you shouldn’t consider doing. While some people actually do it, it’s not worth the risk. Here’re some of the reasons why it’s a bad idea to mount a car amplifier on a subwoofer box:
1. You might damage the amp
If you mount an amp on the sub box, its interior components such as the soldering and electrical parts might get damaged due to the constant vibrations of the subwoofer box. Essentially, a subwoofer moves a lot of air that causes the enclosure to vibrate. The vibrations can damage your amp.
If the sub box is made of a thin and long wooden board, it’ll also flex. The flexing will affect the amplifier. Soldered parts may also break. Besides, semiconductor legs and capacitors can break. Consequently, your amp will get damaged. Although you may not see the effects of constant sub-box vibrations and flex on your car amplifier, the amp will eventually fail.
In case you find it very necessary to mount your amp on a sub box, double or triple the enclosure baffling material. Doing so will reduce vibrations on the enclosure and amp. The baffle works by absorbing some subwoofer vibration waves.
Also, add rubber bushing between the subwoofer box and amplifier to further reduce vibrations. The rubber bushing works by isolating vibrations from the amp. You can also attach foam padding between your car amplifier and subwoofer box to reduce vibrations.
2. You might void your car amplifier’s warranty
Any damage to the amp that results from improper usage is likely to void your warranty. Thus, if you damage your car amp due to improper mounting, the manufacturer may decline to replace or repair the amp.
Some car amp manufacturers warn users about the dangers of mounting the amp on a subwoofer box. If you fail to observe their warnings, you’re likely to void the warranty. If you must mount the amp on a sub box, start with checking with the manufacturer on whether it’s against the terms and conditions of their warranty.
3. Risk of theft
Automotive thieves often target car parts such as the stereo system. Car amps are notoriously stolen. If you mount your car amp on the sub box, it’ll be easier for thieves to notice it. Thus, you’ll risk losing both the subwoofer and car amp. Instead of taking such a huge risk, mount the amplifier in locations where it’s more concealed to deter theft.
After buying a new car amp, it’ll help to mount it properly. As you can see, there’re several car amp mounting ideas you can consider depending on the available space in your car. Just ensure the mounting idea you choose allows for proper ventilation around the amplifier. If you mount the amp in a location that’s extremely tight without proper air circulation, it may overheat and get damaged.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.