Many car stereos have built-in amps which are necessary to power speakers and deliver an audible output. They help in boosting the signal and ensuring accurate sound reproduction.
Usually car stereos also have options to connect an external amplifier. If you don’t want the hassle of connecting an external amp, stereos with built-in amps should be your choice.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Picks
- 1. Sony MEX – N5300BT Car Stereo Receiver
- 2. Sony DSX – GS80 Series Digital Media Receiver
- 3. Alpine iLX – W650 7’’ Mech – Less Receiver
- 4. Pioneer DEH – S4200BT Stereo Receiver
- 5. Kenwood KDC × 304 Excelon Stereo Receiver
- 6. Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 Inches Car Stereo
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Sony DSX – GS80 Series Digital Media Receiver
This stereo is the perfect upgrade for your old factory stereo.
- Best Affordable: Sony MEX – N5300BT Car Stereo Receiver
You will be surprised at how versatile this budget friendly stereo is.
- Best Features: Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 Inches Car Stereo
You will keep discovering new features in this stereo.
1. Sony MEX – N5300BT Car Stereo Receiver
The Sony MEX – N3500BT Car Stereo Receiver is a very versatile and functional stereo receiver. It has an old school look but is equipped with modern features. This stereo has an LED colour panel which is customizable. It has a very simple layout with easily accessible controls. You can fine tune the sound according to your preferences with the help of equalization settings and low pass and high pass filtering options.
It has a wireless dual Bluetooth feature which can be very useful if you want to carry out multiple tasks at once. The installation process is very easy and the instructions are clear and concise. You don’t need an external amplifier as the integrated amplifier does its job well by delivering powerful and good quality sound.
- Customizable display
- Dual Bluetooth
- Easy setup
- Good sound output
- Radio reception could be better
This car stereo will exceed all your expectations when it comes to sound quality and output.
2. Sony DSX – GS80 Series Digital Media Receiver
The Sony DSX- GS80 Digital media Receiver is another amazing stereo receiver by Sony. It has a very straightforward installation process and has loads of features. There are a variety of illumination presets you can choose from. It comes with dual Bluetooth ports, a microphone and an inbuilt XM tuner for SiriusXM. You can use smartphone integrated voice control with this stereo.
The built – in 4 class amp works better than most inbuilt amplifiers. If you want to connect another external amp for added power, there are 5 RCA preamp outputs. You can stream Spotify from your Iphone/Ipod. The Bluetooth pairing takes place very easily without lagging. You can control equalization and subwoofer controls through the Sony Music Centre app.
- Good amplifier output
- Easy setup
- Many adjustable settings
- Built – in XM tuner
- Many modern features
- Controls can be confusing
This is a very powerful head unit with crystal clear sound and decent bass levels.
3. Alpine iLX – W650 7’’ Mech – Less Receiver
The Alpine iLX – W650 7’’ Mech – Less Receiver is a stereo receiver which comes with a 7’’ touch screen. The touch screen is very responsive, easy to control and has a user friendly interface. You can adjust the brightness according to your preference. The shallowness of the stereo makes it very easy to install. It is compatible with Android and Apple CarPlay along with SiriusXM. You can also give voice commands using the Google assistant.
It has a built – in 4 channel amplifier along with preamp outputs for external amplifier connections. The stereo has many advanced audio features which have custom presets. You also get equalizer and crossover controls. The stereo has other controls like wireless Bluetooth, navigation and hands free calling.
- Responsive touch screen
- Easy installation
- Bright display
- Advanced audio features
- Low subwoofer output
This car stereo is very user friendly and has seamless pairing capabilities.
4. Pioneer DEH – S4200BT Stereo Receiver
The Pioneer DEH – S4200BT Stereo Receiver is an affordable and well built stereo receiver which is compatible with almost every car. It has several illumination options and the graphics are adjustable. It comes with a pair of free Alphasonic earbuds. The faceplate is removable for separate storage. It has a 3.5 mm aux input along with two USB ports.
This stereo has great HD radio reception. There is a very cool feature called MIXTRAX where you can mix your own music and play it on the stereo. It has good sound quality and power output with independent subwoofer volume and crossover controls. You also get bass boost, loudness and graphic equalizer options.
- Free ear buds
- Easy setup
- Cool audio features
- Easy Bluetooth pairing
- Delicate USB ports
This stereo has many useful and adjustable features for its price.
5. Kenwood KDC × 304 Excelon Stereo Receiver
The Kenwood KDC × 304 Excelon Stereo Receiver is a very budget friendly car stereo which fits any standard single DIN opening. Setup is very easy with little to no tweaks required. The display menu is very easy to navigate and the layout is nice and simple. It has 5 RCA preamp outputs which can be very useful if you want a more powerful sound output.
This stereo is capable of integrating with steering wheel controls with the help of a separate integration module. This stereo is compatible with SiriusXM, Alexa, Pandora and Spotify. It has many fine tuning options for sound and you get treble, bass and mid controls.
- Fine tuning options
- Easy to navigate
- Easy setup
- Compatible with many apps
- Sound can distort in some settings
You will not expect to get so many features with this budget friendly car stereo.
6. Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 Inches Car Stereo
The Pioneer MVH1400NEX 6.2 Inches Car Stereo is a good quality double DIN car stereo receiver. It has a 6.2 inch touch screen which has a clear and vibrant colour display. The stereo has a good build with a modern and sleek design. It has a user friendly interface and multiple inputs and outputs for external connections.
It has multiple language options. This stereo is easy to set up and comes with a wired harness. It is compatible with Pandora, Spotify and has the Apple CarPlay feature which is very useful. The Mistral feature can be useful for mixing and playing your own music. It has good sound adjustment settings and the navigation feature is easy to use.
- Good display
- Apple CarPlay feature
- Easy setup
- Easy to navigate
- Good sound quality
- Bluetooth tends to disconnect
It is a very modern car stereo with many modern capabilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do car stereos have built – in amps?
Almost all car stereos have built – in amplifiers to boost the sound signal. An amp is necessary to deliver an audible sound output and clear sound. Most car stereos have 4 channel amplifiers to power them. If you want a more powerful output, you can connect an external amplifier using the RCA preamp outputs.
Which is better, Alpine or Pioneer car stereo?
It honestly depends on individual preferences. Given below are the key characteristics of Alpine and Pioneer stereos,
1. Alpine stereos are good entry level stereos for stereo enthusiasts who want to upgrade their factory stereo. It comes with all the useful features and functions you will need.
2. It has many advanced audio features which can be a little difficult to navigate through. These stereos are great for audiophiles.
3. Alpine stereos tend to be a little expensive.
1. Pioneer stereos also have many modern features with a lot of inputs and outputs.
2. They tend to have a neat layout and the controls are easy to navigate.
3. They tend to have more affordable models.
Which is the best car audio brand?
Given below are some of the best car audio brands,
1. Pioneer – Pioneer is known for their high quality and feature rich car stereo receivers.
2. Alpine – Alpine car speakers and stereos are perfect for audiophiles.
3. JBL – They are known for their amazing and premium car speakers with incredible sound and booming bass levels.
4. Rockford Fosgate – Their car amplifiers, speakers and other car accessories are top notch.
5. Kenwood – Kenwood manufactures some of the best car stereos in the market.
How do I know if I need an amp for my car speakers?
You will need an amp for your car speakers if you experience the following,
1. If your sound is getting distorted at loud volumes.
2. If your sound does not have sufficient bass levels and subwoofer output is low.
3. If the sound is not clear and the quality is not good enough.
Does adding an amp improve sound quality?
An amp can improve your sound quality in the following ways,
1. The amplifier boosts and amplifies the signal so you will receive a more audible sound output.
2. It can improve your bass output by powering your subwoofer.
3. It removes distortion which is often experienced at high volumes.
There are many car stereos with built – in amps in the market which offer many features and compatibility with all the popular apps. Considering affordability, compatibility and the essential features in mind we have compiled a list of the 6 best car stereos with built – in amps.