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:
- Top Monoblock Amplifiers: In-depth Reviews
- What to Look For in a Good Monoblock Amplifier
Top Monoblock Amplifiers: In-depth Reviews
1. Taramps 900 890 Class D
For those looking for a serious amount of power without sacrificing total sound quality, the Taramps 900890 Class D might be just what you’re looking for. Built to be versatile and powerful, this little amp packs a punch.
- Amp Class: D
- RMS: 3,000 watts @1 Ohm
- Max Power Output: 3,000 Watts
- Frequency response: 10Hz to 20KHzC
- Features: Short / Short Supply Protection System / High / Low Supply Voltage, built-in thermostatic fan
This full-range amplifier delivers stunning sound performance at all frequencies. Of course, you might not have a system up for the task yet, but the good thing is that doesn’t really matter, because even smaller systems sound great with this amp.
If you want to wire it up to devastate the area, though, it can definitely handle that.
The built-in, three-speed thermostatic fan regulates temperature so you don’t have to worry about overheating, which is nice because this much power creates a lot of heat. Even with the fan, it’s probably a good idea to keep an eye on the temp from time to time, just to make sure. We’ve had no reports of the fans failing to do their job, though.
Some customers complain that, while this amp performs great, they have a history of sounding great … right up until the point where they die. And customer service at Taramps seems to be an issue. So, that’s definitely something to think about
- Extremely powerful system
- Delivers excellent sound across a full sonic spectrum
- Three-speed thermostatic fan helps keep the system cool and worry-free
- Poor customer service, when needed.
All in all, the Taramps 900890 Class D is a remarkably powerful system that is up to the task of handling all but the most serious of sonic applications. The built-in fan is definitely a feature that shouldn’t be ignored. However, the reports we’ve had – while definitely few and far between – that some systems die (which is bad) and that the company’s customer service is less than helpful (which is worse) give us pause. It’s not a deal-breaker, or we wouldn’t list it here. But it should make you definitely analyze all the choices before deciding which way to go.
2. Alpine S-A60M S-Series Class D Mono Amplifier
Suppose getting bass is your concern, then this is the subwoofer for you. It can deliver 600 watts RMS. Given its small and compact size, it can fit almost anywhere.
In addition, the Alpine S-A60M S-Series has Enhanced Shutdown Performance to pull back the output to stop the amp from overheating when played for long. It continues playing instead of shutting down until it’s cool enough to go back to full power when this happens.
- Amp Class: D
- RMS: 600-watts @ 2-ohms, 330-watts @ 4-ohms
- Max Power Output: 1100-watts
- Features: CTA-2006 compliant, variable low-pass filter, variable bass boost, preamp and speaker-level inputs
This speaker has a low pass filter and base, which can be adjustable; this gives you control of the frequencies you want your subwoofer to be on.
It also has preamp and speaker level inputs and thus can fit in any vehicle.
When the speaker overheats, it gets into protect mode when listened to for around 15 minutes; this can be annoying at times.
- Good Bass
- Compact and elegant design
- Protect mode can be annoying at times
3. Rockville dB14 4000w
This woofer aims to give the best value in car audio. The Rockville db14 is a mono amplifier with 1000 watts peak Dyno Certified Power and 4000 watts peak output.
It also has a subsonic filter mute, a fully adjustable bass equalizer, a dashboard subwoofer, and a phase control switch for added convenience.
Take a look.
- Amp Class: D
- RMS: 1000-watts @2-ohms, 600-watts @4-ohms
- Max Power Output: 4000-watts
- Features: Dyno Certified RMS power ratings, Fully adjustable 12db / octave crossover with different circuitry, 8volt preamp circuitry, Fully adjustable 12db bass equalizer, Subsonic filter: 50Hz – 250Hz
It has convenient features such as a phase control switch, an adjustable bass equalizer, and a dashboard subwoofer control, among others, to make using it more efficient and enjoyable.
In addition, the Rockville db14 has IC controlled circuit and professional peak limiter to minimize distortion during playback.
It can be a bit frustrating to use the protection mode on this amplifier.
- Adjustable bass equalizer
- Mute and delay soft start technology
- Protection mode can be frustrating at times.
4. Kicker 46CXA8001
This amplifier has a variable bass boost for additional low frequencies and a 24db subsonic filter that protects it from damaging frequencies.
The variable 12db crossover provides a control dial to get the perfect sound.
- Amp Class: D
- RMS: 600-watts @2-ohms, 300-watts @4-ohms
- Max Power Output: 800-watts @1-ohm
- Features: mono subwoofer amplifier, CTA-2006 compliant, Class D amp technology, variable low-pass filter, fixed subsonic filter, variable bass boost
The Kicker 46CXA8001 is a small and compact unit that’s quite easy to install. It comes with filter protection from extreme frequencies giving it durability.
Moreover, the KickEQ 64db variable bass boost allows you to experience even low sound frequencies.
The Not So Good:
It is relatively small compared to other products of the same caliber.
- Protection from damaging frequencies
- Variable bass boost
- Easy to install
- Small in size
5. Skar Audio RP-1200.1D Amplifier
This speaker dominates in terms of power and reliability. Skar made it to be well-built, efficient, and have high-quality amplifiers.
The Skar Audio RP-1200 is also made for stability and has an array of internal components that make it reliable and robust.
- 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
This subwoofer delivers when it comes to power as it is reliable and efficient. It has an oversized gauge power and ground terminal on the amplifier; this allows for maximum current to flow and thus have higher output hence more efficient operation.
The Not So Good:
Unfortunately, the Skar Audio RP-1200 overheats after a while and then shuts off after a while. This can be frustrating.
- Efficient and reliable
- Amazing power
- The subwoofer overheats after a while
6. Kenwood KAC-9106D 2000W Monoblock Class D
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.
- 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 connections, Signal-activated power on-Variable low-pass filter 50-hz to 200hz @ 24dB/ octave, MOS-FET Switching Power Supply-Heavy duty, stackable chassis
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.
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.
- 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
- Passive cooling means this unit needs plenty of clearance all around when installed
7. Planet Audio AC1500
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
- Power of on amp may not be sufficient to drive larger subwoofers
- Passive cooling means these units need space to ventilate properly
What to Look For in a Good Monoblock Amplifier
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.
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.
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.
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)?
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.
More powerful amps don’t produce speaker destroying signal clipping and distortion because they are loud enough without needing to boost your gain.
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.