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amp vs HU power for interior speakers


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I just replaced the 6.5 interior speakers with some kicker 50 rm ( 4 total) . I have a cheapo BOSS head unit . Was wanting to upgrade the head unit (which works fine) to a better brand with a true 4 ch 50 watt output. At about the same cost should i just power the speakers by adding an amp or is head unit power enough? With the BOSS head unit , I know there is a lot of unused power left in the new speakers. 

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A HU really isn't 4 X 50 watts despite ratings or brand. The 4 X 50 is unqualified and fiction. It is at best 4 X 20 watts over a very narrow bandwidth with a higher than realistic supply voltage. So call it 4 X 15 useable watts. And that could do a decent job with four of the right speakers in the right locations of a car, truck or small SUV cabin.  

But an open field boat environment demands more power because the sound energy flash dissipates in a three dimensional sphere. Add movement, engine noise, and hull noise, and HU power struggles. Whatever distortion you hear will be the HU running out of power long before the speakers have reached their potential.

An outboard amplifier will provide far more power and allow you to highpass the fullrange speakers, which removes the lowest frequencies that they are unable to effectively reproduce. This won't in any way limit bass that you could have otherwise heard, but will improve what range the speakers can reproduce.  

Choose an amplifier that is around the top of the speakers power handling rating. 


Edited by David
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The only head units I can remember that had a respectable, real rms rating were made by Alpine back in the day. I think they were called the V-drive series, and the main power wire was supposed to be connected directly to the battery. If I remember correctly, they were rated at 25 watts rms per channel. 

So yeah, like others have said, get a real amp.

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