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At least, that’s the way it used to be. Some newer cars are starting to feature better quality, higher-powered speakers, but that doesn’t help you much if you’re driving a 2005 Toyota Camry.
You can always buy speakers for your car, but if you like to groove to a deep bass, that will only take you so far. What you need is something that will draw out those deep, low notes that make the car rattle.
You need a mono amplifier.
Things to Consider
Before you open your wallet, there are some things you should look for in a mono amplifier. How much emphasis you place on these points might vary depending on what you’re looking for, but these are some pretty good things to keep in mind.
A word of advice. Some of the items mentioned below are technical terms, and I am glossing over some of the finer points. If you are curious or confused and what more information, I encourage you to do some personal research. You should never buy a mono amplifier blind, and it may be a good idea to meet with a car audio professional before you settle on purchase.
When it comes to an amplifier, power is key, and in more than one way. In fact, you absolutely cannt afford to ignore this. The wattage of your amplifier determines how much power is going to be sent to the speakers. If your speakers don’t have enough power, your sound is going to be weak, which is a total waste for a mono amp. On the other hand, if you draw too much power you can blow the speaker system, which is even worse. Make sure your amp wattage is compatible with whatever speaker system you buy.
2. Sound Quality
The quality of the sound may or may not be important to you. If you are simply going for raw volume, than you may not be as concerned with this one. But if you’re an audiophile intent on preserving sonic equilibrium inside your speakers, then sounds quality is going to be crucial. Sound quality will almost always improve with more expensive speakers, so if audio quality is critical for you, be prepared to drop some extra cash.
I won’t spend a lot of time with this one. Basically, this refers to your ability to customize the mix of your amplifier, adding or subtracting decibels from your bass boost by controlling the frequency. This also changes the tonal qualities of your bass notes and reverberation. Your stereo should already have the ability to modify the channel, but an amplifier should be more precise.
Another technical term, impedance basically describes how much resistance the electrical current faces while traveling through the amplifier. The impedance of your amplifier has a direct bearing on how much current is required to produce a certain degree of power.
Quality audio technology is seldom cheap. Although it is certainly possible to get a good amplifier at a reasonably affordable price, you will find that the audio quality may substantially improve by spending more for a better product.
Our recommendation for the best mono amplifier is the Pioneer GM-D9601. Remember to ensure this amplifier is compatible with your speaker system.
Powerful 2400 Watt output.
Adjustable impedance levels for better compatibility.
Two speaker connections for easy installation.
Small, compact design.
Sleek and stylish appearance.
Best Mono Amplifiers Under $100
10. BOSS Audio Armor 2000-Watt Monoblock
If you’re looking for a decent monoblock amplifier at a reasonable price, this is a good buy. This amplifier offers up to 2000 watts of maximum power. This Audio Armor BOSS amplifier offers between two and 8 ohms of impedance, giving this amplifier a great deal of versatility. The amplifier is capable of delivering 1500 RMS watts at 2 ohms or 750 watts at 4 ohms.
One of the highlights of this amplifier is its ease of control. The amp comes with a remote controller that allows you to control the subwoofer, adjusting the low pass crossover and variable bass boost levels. This amp comes with a six-year platinum warranty, guaranteeing your purchase for a long time to come.
- Total output of 2000 watts
- Up to 8 ohms of impedance
- Comes with 6-year warranty
9. Kenwood KAC-M3001 600W Class D Monoblock
This 600 watt amplifier from Kenwood is another solid budget amplifier. This one lacks the power of the last amplifier, but makes up for it with overall sound quality. This amplifier delivers 300 watts of power at 2 ohms or 200 watts of power at 4 ohms. This means you’re not going to get any earth-shattering bass from this amplifier, but it will definitely improve the bass sounds of your music, and is less likely to damage your ears in the process.
Two LED-powered indicators alert you when the amp is on and when the power is being protected. This amplifier is especially designed so that the power circuitry is protected from moisture and exposure to water, which makes this an excellent amplifier for a boat or smaller all-terrain vehicle. For use with marine craft, its lower wattage is a major boon, as 2000 watts of power could draw vital energy away from a boat, where with a car the concern is less serious.
- Total output of 600 watts
- 12-Volt battery required
- Ideal for use in marine craft
Best Mono Amplifiers Under $200
8. Alpine MRV-M500 Mono V-Power Digital Amplifier
Alpine’s MRV-M500 is another amplifier that favors advanced technology and audio quality over mind-blowing volume. This humble amplifier offers a mere 500 watts of power delivered with two levels of impedance. The amp alternates between 500 W at 2 ohms of impedance and a mere 300 W at 4 ohms.
One of the advantages of this amplifier is that it only draws a small amount of power, limiting its drain on the car. Small, light and compact, this amplifier is designed for ease of installation. Thanks to its small size (10.5 x 10 inches) it can fit almost anywhere on your automobile, making it a great choice for smaller cars with less room to work in.
- Total output of 500 watts
- Energy efficient model
- Small size makes for easy, convenient installation
7. Pioneer GM-D9601 2,400-Watt Class D Mono Amp
The Pioneer GM-D9601 is a workhorse. Putting out an easy 800+ watts at 2 ohms, this amplifier will push your stereo system to its limits. You’re going to want to check the capacity of your speaker system before buying this, but if you’re looking for virtually unlimited power, this amplifier is going to knock you right out of your socks.
Weighing over 8 pounds and measuring over 15 inches in width, this amplifier is a beast. However, it is also one of the top-selling amplifiers on Amazon, making this an obvious inclusion in our list.
- Total output of 2400 watts
- Variable levels of impedance
- Popular model of mono amplifier
Best Mono Amplifiers Under $300
6. Rockford Fosgate Prime 1200-Watt Class-D Amplifier
With the Rockford Fosgate Prime mono amplifier, we enter into a new level of sophisticated automotive audio technology. 1200 watts of pure power offers a number of options for converting into RMS with different levels of impedance, offering you a lot of leeway with your stereo system.
What really sets the Rockford amplifier apart from other models, however, are its advanced features. For example, it comes with a tri-stage protection that guards the unit against thermal, over-current and short circuits, protecting your asset in a number of valuable ways. Easy punch equalization (PEQ) offers an impressive 18 decibels of bass boost at 45Hz. With a variable crossover of 12 decibels and an infrasonic filter for improved sounds, this amplifier offers endless ways to customize your sound.
- Total output of 1200 watts
- Three levels of circuit protection
- Comes with full lifetime warranty
5. Kicker 1200W Monoblock
The Kicker 12CX12001 offers 1200 watts of awesome power coupled with a sleek design and other awesome features. Enjoy the full 1200 watts delivered through 14.4 volts across 4 ohms for an experience that will literally rock your car. Or keep things toned down with 600 watts and a more conservative power consumption ratio.
Additional features include flexible channels and audio, a 3-second turn-on delay, low-voltage LED lights and auto-reset protection in the event of an overload. Easy installation make it easy to install this amplifier in an inconspicuous location and further increasing its value.
- Total output of 1200 watts
- Built-in surge protection
- Easy, out-of-the-way installation
Best Mono Amplifiers Under $500
4. JL Audio 1000 W RMS Monoblock
JL Audio JX1000/1D doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to car audio amplifiers. Their 1000 watt amplifier offers three easy options for your stereo system. Experience 500 watts of RMS at 4 ohms, 750 watts at 3 ohms and a full 1000 watts at 2 ohms of impedance.
You might be buying the amplifier for its power and variable customization, but you will also appreciate its added features. Its soft-start turn on prevents popping and scratching from your speakers, protecting your audio from potential damage. It also features gain control and a variable 12 decibel bass boost. This is a great car amplifier, and I’m sure you’ll be impressed by its high-dollar performance.
- Total output of 1000 watts
- Many RMS wattage output options
- Soft-start protects your speakers
3. Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono
Alpine really knows how to design a premium-grade mono amplifier. Their PDX-M12 offers 1200 watts of raw power. One of the impressive features of this amplifier is that it can run 1200 watts RMS at both 4 ohms and 2 ohms, meaning you won’t have to sacrifice power for the sake of impedance.
It’s CEA-2006 Compliant rating makes this amplifier easy to compare with similar models. Its six-layer glass epoxy PC board protects the valuable workings of your amplifier, and thermal protection circuity helps to keep your wiring safe in the event of a power surge. This amplifier is expensive, but it’s also very capable. It may not look like much, but it will deliver.
- Total output of 1200 watts
- No sacrifice of power at higher impedance
- Advanced safety features protect your investment
Best Mono Amplifiers Under $700
2. JL AUDIO 1000/1 V2 SLASH MONO
JL Audio is one of the leading producers of car stereos, and their 1000/1 V2 Slash is among the best, although it’s certainly not the smallest. One of its most potent features is its ability to unleash constant power in the face of impedance. This amplifier can unleash a full 1000 RMS at 1.5 all the way to 4 ohms, so you don’t have to sacrifice power for anything.
At the price this amplifier is selling at, you’d expect a lot more from it than just raw power. Again this amplifier does not disappoint. This amplifier offers a bevy of features, including heavily variable audio customization. Control your audio from 40 all the way to 200 Hz Slide from 12 to 24 decibels per octave, and equalize your sound with a variable boost of up to +15 dB. Advanced circuitry includes high-damping circuits and differential-balanced input technology. An advanced heatsink works overtime to prevent overheating and other power surges.
To be sure, this is not a cheap model. But if you are looking for a mono amplifier with a lot of power and frequency control, you can’t go wrong here.
- Total output of 1000 watts
- No sacrifice of power at higher impedance
- Awesome control over bass frequencies
Best Mono Amplifiers Under $800
1. JL Audio Monoblock 1200W Subwoofer
It comes as little surprise that my final review is for another JL Audio product. JL’s HD1200/1 is anything but cheap, but it packs more of a punch than you’ll know what to do with. This amplifier is a perfect example of why superior performance outweighs raw power. Their advanced and efficient power distribution maintains a full 1200 watts of RMS at up to 4 ohms, and their patented Single Cycle Control technology offers an unprecedented amount of audio fidelity.
There’s more. A fully variable frequency selection from 50 Hz all the way up to 500 Hz. An available remote control allows you to adjust the frequency settings remotely for added convenience. A heavy duty aluminum alloy heatsink transfers and dissipates heat effectively to prevent overheating and improve performance.
Best of all, this amplifier is small. Measuring only 10.7 x 8.3 x 1.9 inches and weighing less than nine pounds, you will have a hard time believing this much power comes from so small an amplifier. The price tag on this bad boy is pretty hefty, but if you are looking for an incredibly high-performance mono amplifier, this is as good as it gets.
Shopping for a mono amplifier for your car’s subwoofer can be a tricky process, especially because it can be difficult to figure out exactly what you’re getting with an amplifier. I hope this guide helps you to make an intelligent purchase. If after reading this you’re still unsure which direction you want to move in, I heartily recommend the Pioneer GM-D9601. It’s not too expensive, offers a lot of power and is easy to install. No matter what decision you make, I wish you the best in your search. Good luck!