Best Monoblock Amplifier of 2018 [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.

best monoblock amplifier of 2017

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 

Picture:
HD1200/1 - JL Audio Monoblock 1200W Subwoofer Speaker Amplifier
Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier
HIFONICS ZRX3216.1D Zeus(R) Monoblock Class D Amp (3,200 Watts) Consumer Electronics Accessories
Kicker NEW 12CX12001 1200 Watt Amp Monoblock Car Audio MonoD Power Sub Amplifier
Rockford Fosgate Prime 1,200-Watt Class-D 1-Channel Amplifier
RMS:
1200-watts @1.5-4-ohms
1200-watts @ 4-ohms or 2-ohms
1600-watts @2-ohms, 800-watts @4-ohms
1200-watts @2-ohms, 600-watts @4-ohms
800-watts @2-ohms, 400-watts (4-ohms)
Max Power Output:
1700-watts
1200-watts
3200-watts @1-ohm
2400-watts @1-ohm
1200-watts @1-ohm
Our Rating:
Top Pick
Picture:
HD1200/1 - JL Audio Monoblock 1200W Subwoofer Speaker Amplifier
RMS:
1200-watts @1.5-4-ohms
Max Power Output:
1700-watts
Our Rating:
Picture:
Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier
RMS:
1200-watts @ 4-ohms or 2-ohms
Max Power Output:
1200-watts
Our Rating:
Picture:
HIFONICS ZRX3216.1D Zeus(R) Monoblock Class D Amp (3,200 Watts) Consumer Electronics Accessories
RMS:
1600-watts @2-ohms, 800-watts @4-ohms
Max Power Output:
3200-watts @1-ohm
Our Rating:
Picture:
Kicker NEW 12CX12001 1200 Watt Amp Monoblock Car Audio MonoD Power Sub Amplifier
RMS:
1200-watts @2-ohms, 600-watts @4-ohms
Max Power Output:
2400-watts @1-ohm
Our Rating:
Picture:
Rockford Fosgate Prime 1,200-Watt Class-D 1-Channel Amplifier
RMS:
800-watts @2-ohms, 400-watts (4-ohms)
Max Power Output:
1200-watts @1-ohm
Our Rating:

Last update on 2018-10-20 at 09:04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Review Time: Amps worth buying

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 5 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

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.

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