Best Monoblock Amplifier of 2019 [Reviews and Comparison]

Bassheads and car audiophiles know what’s up when one of their own decides to buy a monoblock amplifier: s**t just got real.

Monoblock amps are designed to drive individual speakers by amplifying one speaker channel signal from a head unit or a separate multichannel signal amplifier.

Individual amplification of this magnitude is usually reserved for big badass subwoofers only.

Today I dig into the available options in the market to find the best performing amps of the year. Let's jump right into it:

Monoblock Amplifier Comparison Chart 

IMAGEPRODUCTRMSMax Power Output
TOP PICK!JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1 review1. JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1
  • Powerful single-channel 1200-watts RMS
  • Distortion and clipping free performance even at high volume
  • Ultra efficient impedance handling
  • Differential balanced inputs to eliminate car electrical system noise
RMS:1200-watts @1.5-4-ohmsMax Power Output:1700-wattsVIEW ON AMAZON
Runner UpAlpine PDXM12 Review2. Alpine PDXM12
  • Ultra compact stackable design
  • Powerful 1200-watt performance
  • Multiple low-pass and subsonic filters for superior subwoofer performance
RMS:1200-watts @ 4-ohms or 2-ohmsMax Power Output:1200-wattsVIEW ON AMAZON
Hifonics ZRX3216.1D review3. Hifonics ZRX3216.1D
  • Superior firepower with 1600-watts RMS
  • Excellent power stability
  • Exceptional filtering eliminates signal distortion and clipping
RMS:1600-watts @2-ohms, 800-watts @4-ohmsMax Power Output:3200-watts @1-ohmVIEW ON AMAZON
Kicker 12CX12001 review4. Kicker 12CX12001
  • Low power draw means greater overall compatibility with factory car stereos
RMS:1200-watts @2-ohms, 600-watts @4-ohmsMax Power Output:2400-watts @1-ohmVIEW ON AMAZON
Rockford Fosgate Prime R1200-1D review5. Rockford Fosgate Prime R1200-1D
  • 800-watts of RMS performance for most subwoofers
  • MOSFET power supply for stable, consistent current
  • PUNCH Bass-Boost
RMS:800-watts @2-ohms, 400-watts (4-ohms)Max Power Output:1200-watts @1-ohmVIEW ON AMAZON
6. Kenwood KAC-9106D
  • Compact amplifier with all aluminum housing
  • Class D amplifier
  • Powerful 1,000-watt RMS amplification
  • Can be used standalone or as part of a pair
RMS:500-wattsx 1 channel @ 4-ohms, 1000-watts x1 @ 2-ohmsMax Power Output:2,000-wattsVIEW ON AMAZON
7. Planet Audio AC1500
  • Tiny footprint at 10x10x2.4 inches
  • Powerful 750 watts RMS
  • Stackable design
  • Predrilled eyelets for easy mounting on enclosures and to your car’s frame.
  • High power and low power signal inputs for use with almost any head unit
RMS:375 watts @ 4 ohms, 750 watts @ 2 ohmsMax Power Output:750 watts @ 4 ohms, 1500 watts @ 2 ohmsVIEW ON AMAZON

Top Monoblock Amplifier of 2019
Reviews

1. JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1

Bassheads love these little monoblocks for running powerful subwoofer kits where space is at a premium.

JL Audio makes top-of-the-line audio gear too, so the HD1200/1 demonstrates all that is best about their products.

Recommended: JL Audio Subwoofers Reviewed. Are they any good?

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: D
  • RMS: 1200-watts @1.5-4-ohms
  • Max Power Output: 1700-watts
  • Features: Optional wired remote,removable power and speaker plugs, optional HD stacking kit for wiring multiple HD amps together, Differential balanced inputs eliminate distortion

The Good:

Okay, so if you plan on running some massive 12” subs at 2-ohms, this is little monoblock definitely has you covered.

EDITOR'S RATING:

JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1 review

It has more than enough power to drive competition grade subwoofers.

Wiring up two of these together for your sub kit will give you enough power to wreak some serious sonic devastation.

It’s got everything you need built right in with exceptional power handling and distortion and noise free operation thanks to its Class D configuration.

The Not-so-Good:

Ummmm...an active cooling kit would be nice?

Really, this is a remarkable little monoblock that is going to give you all the subwoofer performance you want and then some.

Pros

Cons

2. Alpine PDXM12

Well known for their high quality speakers and head units, Alpine also makes a mean subwoofer amp that is a real space saver.

The PDXM12 runs so cool that it can actually be stacked with other PDXM12s in order to provide additional power, which is a singularly impressive feat for a 2” tall amp kit.

Check out what we love about this monoblock.

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: D
  • RMS: 1200-watts @ 4-ohms or 2-ohms
  • Max Power Output: 1200-watts
  • Features:  MOSFET power and output stages, Quick-connect speaker ports, Variable low-pass filter, Stackable, Preamp inputs/outputs

The Good:

First off, little class D amp is all set to blast some serious bass from your car.

EDITOR'S RATING:

Alpine PDXM12 Review

Be prepared. It also has a well-balanced power supply for maintaining consistent current and a distortion-free signal.

Controls are all front panel, so these are easy to install in a stacked configuration.

Best of all though, it definitely delivers the goods in terms of bass output thanks to its multiple pass filters for subsonic and low frequency sound.

The Not-So-Good:

Not too much to complain about here.

There is no mention in the specs about an balanced differential inputs that prevent interference from a car’s electrical system, but that is an easy enough issue to resolve with a quality wiring kit anyway.

Pros

Cons

3. Hifonics ZRX3216.1D

A powerful offering aptly named the Zeus, Hifonics subwoofer amp is capable of powering even the most demanding subwoofer kits for personal or competitive use, and they offer tremendous value for the money.

Take a look.

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: D
  • RMS: 1600-watts @2-ohms, 800-watts @4-ohms
  • Max Power Output: 3200-watts @1-ohm
  • Features: Heatsinks for superior heat dissipation, MOSFET power supply, low level RCA Inputs/Outputs

EDITOR'S RATING:

Hifonics ZRX3216.1D review

The Good:

Whether you are running an individual monoblock to each sub or power both on the same amp, the Zeus is a star performer in terms of overall power output.

You can build a serious groundshaker bass kit with just one of these amps, and it’s been done.

The variable pass filter system is also top-notch, so there is no need for concern regarding distortion or clipping even at high volume.

The Not-So-Good:

This amp is a little bigger than many comparable models, and it is not configured for stacking, so you might have to do a little finagling with your setup if you are running dual monoblocks.

Pros

Cons

4. Kicker 12CX12001

Kicker makes such fantastic bass products that are so affordable, it is almost disgusting.

I say almost because, let’s face it, great gear at fair prices doesn’t just fall from the sky. Check out the goods on this little monoblock.

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: D
  • RMS: 1200-watts @2-ohms, 600-watts @4-ohms
  • Max Power Output: 2400-watts @1-ohm
  • Features: Variable low-pass and subsonic filters, preamp and speaker level inputs, balanced differential inputs

EDITOR'S RATING:

Kicker 12CX12001 review

The Good:

For those looking to add some serious thunder to their car’s audio system without breaking the bank, the Kicker 12CX is definitely the way to go.

This aggressive little amp is more than ready to drive 12” and 15” double driver subs to wreak that bass-heavy havoc we all crave.

Everything about this single channel monoblock screams high-end, and mounting and configuration is extremely simple.

It’s an all around great amp for first timers or experienced pros.

The Not-So-Good:

Okay...uh...it’s not designed for stackability? Don’t really know what else to point out. This monoblock is solid.

Pros

Cons

5. Rockford Fosgate Prime R1200-1D

Rockford Fosgate consistently puts out some of the best entry level products on the market when it comes to speakers and amplification, and the R1200-1D monoblock is no exception. It's not surprising to see Prime series featured on this list, as the 5 channel version too made it into the respective top 7 list.

Here’s what we love about this single channel amp.

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: D
  • RMS: 800-watts @2-ohms, 400-watts (4-ohms)
  • Max Power Output:1200-watts @1-ohm
  • Features: Variable low-pass and subsonic filter, variable low-pass and subsonic filter, punch bass-boost, MOSFET power and output stages, pre-amp In/Out

EDITOR'S RATING:

Rockford Fosgate Prime R1200-1D review

The Good:

For beginners, this is an exceptionally powerful kit that pairs well with many of the Prime product line subwoofers in various sizes.

It also offers their trademarked Punch Bass-Boost if you want to kick the bottom up a few notches on the fly.

It also produces extremely low distortion even at high volume with boosted gain, so it’s a solid performer all around.

They are also very small, so wiring up a pair of these to your subwoofer enclosure is both affordable and easy.

The Not-So-Good:

These are solid performing monoblocks, but if you are looking to break into bass-head competition, you may want to get something with a little more juice.

Pros

Cons

Bassheads love monoblock amplifiers because they let you run a powerful subwoofer without requiring significant interior space. They also tend to run cooler than bigger dual block amps, keeping things cool.

Best of all, monoblock amps draw less power, so they draw less from your car’s stereo head unit.

Kenwood is one of the longest running and best names in car audio, and this Class D is an exceptional example of their high quality builds with stable, reliable output.

You drop one or two of these bad boys in with your sub or subs, and you are going to be shaking the street with the best of them. Here’s my review of the Kenwood KAC-9106D 2000-watt Monoblock Class D Car Audio Power Amplifier.

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: D-class
  • RMS: 500-wattsx 1 channel @ 4-ohms, 1000-watts x1 @ 2-ohms
  • Max Power Output: 2,000-watts
  • Features: Speaker level inputs for direct connectionsSignal-activated power on-Variable low-pass filter 50-hz to 200hz @ 24dB/ octave, MOS-FET Switching Power Supply-Heavy duty, stackable chassis

EDITOR'S RATING:

The Good:

Kenwood builds all their products like tanks, and they are known for being dependable even when they run for extended periods of time. Putting one of these on a single 15-inch subwoofer or a pair of them on some 10-inch or 12-inch subs throws some serious thunder.

I also like the auto-power feature so the amp isn’t drawing current when it’s not boosting audio signal, allowing you to cut it off without need access to the power switch. Finally, this amp can be easily bolted down securely thanks to the predrilled eyelet mounts.

The Not-So-Good:

Not much to complain about with this particular amp. It produces crystal clear and powerful sound in a compact aluminum housing. One caveat though: it is passively cooled via heat-sink.

 I haven’t seen any feedback or user reviews about problems with overheating, but you definitely want to make sure it has enough space for air to circulate and minimize the potential for overheating. That’s just being smart about your car audio installation.

Pros

Cons

Not every car audio enthusiast is looking to blow the doors of every car on the block. Sometimes you want just enough power to feel your music as you ride, but competition and earth-shattering bass are not what you want.

For people interested in a reliable, solid boost to their car stereo’s bass, PlaneAudio makes the AC1500.

It’s a compact unit that comes pre-configured to work with your car stereo, and it integrates well with existing customized car audio.

If you don’t need a ton of extra power and space is at a premium in your vehicle, this is probably the best monoblock for you. That being said, I do have a few pieces of advice for anyone considering this monoblock amplifier.

Here’s my review of the Planet Audio AC1500.

Specifications:

  • Amp Class: Class A/B
  • RMS: 375 watts @ 4 ohms, 750 watts @ 2 ohms
  • Max Power Output: 750 watts @ 4 ohms, 1500 watts @ 2 ohms
  • Features: Variable low-pass filter, Bass boost, Integrated crossover, Low and high level inputs for use with any type of car stereo output, Tiny 10 inch by 10 inch footprint, 6 year warranty

EDITOR'S RATING:

The Good:

This monoblock is unbelievably small. At 240 cubic inches, this amp will fit virtually anywhere you want or need to put, especially in a smaller car where space is at a premium. It is also easily mounted on the back of subwoofer enclosures, making it a good choice for people who want to rig up a small sub that won’t take up all their trunk space but still has some serious kick.

Best of all, these amps are stackable. You can rig up a pair of these for running multiple subwoofers, allowing you to pack more power into a tiny space if you use 8 inch or 10 inch subs mounted in small enclosure.

The Not-So-Good:

Remember that the actual power of an amplifier is in its RMS wattage rating, not the peak output. This is important when choosing appropriate subwoofers for your car audio. There has been mixed user feedback online about this monoblocks, but don’t let that deter you from purchasing.

Part of the reported issues stem from people either not reading the specs, or they don’t look at specifications carefully before buying speakers or subwoofers that draw more power than this amp can push out.

Pros

Cons

What to Look For in a Good Monoblock Amplifier

Monoblock Amplifier Car

Do the Math on Your Wattage

There all kinds of claims about wattage on amplifier packaging that can be misleading.

Look at the specs sheet and calculate Voltage X Amperage Draw X Efficiency Constant.

Most cars push about 13.5 volts, Amp Draw Max is whatever the total fuse rating is for the amp, and the efficiency constant is usually 0.6 for Class AB amps, and 0.8 for Class D.

Be sure you are getting the wattage they are claiming on the box.

Also, get a Class D amp, they are worth every penny you pay for them.

Warranty

Read these carefully, as a lot of the warranties you get from manufacturers don’t cover your gear unless you bought it at one of their authorized dealers.

Size

Measure twice, mount once is a good general rule to follow.

Make sure this monoblock is going to fit where you want to install it in your vehicle or in an enclosure.

Size

Features

Ask yourself, can this amplifier do what I need it to do? Does it have the right inputs for connection to a factory deck or aftermarket headunit? Does it have a low-pass filter for subwoofers? Is it stable in your desired impedance load (2-ohm vs. 4-ohm)?

Intended Use

What are you going to drive with this amp?  You need to know in advance, because you can’t mix and match impedances unless you want to blow up your monoblock.

There’s No “Kill” Like “Overkill”

Always buy more power than you need. It sounds a little nuts, but speakers generally blow because there is too little power as opposed to too much.

When most people don’t get the performance they anticipate out of a “high wattage” amplifier, they make the mistake of cranking the gain on the amplifier.

Voila! Clipping occurs, and you blow your subwoofer or speaker.

don´t kill it

More powerful amps don’t produce speaker destroying signal clipping and distortion because they are loud enough without needing to boost your gain.

Final Verdict

For our money, the JL Audio Monoblock HD1200/1 is hands down the best value monoblock on our list. It’s small, it’s powerful, it doesn’t run hot, and it can drive competitive subwoofer kits with minimal distortion. When you go to get your first monoblock, definitely give the HD1200/1 a first look.

Last Updated on 06/04/2019

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