Best Monoblock Car Amp Reviews: Amplifiers for Better Sound

A solid amp is the cornerstone of any car audio system so you need to make your purchase count.

After all, it’s futile taking the time and trouble to get great speakers and a solid sub if you let the side down with an underpowered amp.

In today’s monoblock car amp reviews, we’ll serve you up 5 of the strongest amps at your disposal so you can extract the very most from your system.

5 Best Monoblock Car Amp Reviews

We’ll dive straight into the reviews now then we’ll give you the lowdown on getting the best car amp the easy way.

First up in our best monoblock car amp reviews is the potent MRV-M500 from the superstar Alpine.

If you’ve got a smaller car but you’re not prepared to compromise on your sound system, the Alpine comes in a small, sleek package but packs a surprisingly heavy punch.

Famous for hard-hitting home audio the world over, Alpine are no slouch on the car audio front either.

Enhanced Shutdown Performance (ESP) is one of this amp’s chief selling points. Instead of shutting down completely if your system is edging toward overheating, ESP triggers a kind of safe mode. Although not entirely foolproof, this is nevertheless a strong arm of defense.

With up to 500 watts of RMS power handling, the dinky Alpine is man enough to really make your sub sing.

If you want plenty of low-end grunt without sacrificing too much by the way of clarity, the Alpine is a solid choice. Get a rugged and robust amp from a trustworthy brand without needing to take out a bank loan.

Pros.

  • Bass boost gives plenty of low-end oomph
  • Superb with subwoofers
  • Overheating controlled by auto shut-down
  • Impeccable brand heritage
  • Extremely compact unit

Cons.

  • Tends to run slightly hot
  • Lacks a subsonic filter

Next in our monoblock car amp reviews is a sleek unit from the super-reputable Pioneer. While this amp stands proud on the performance front, it’s priced to bring it within almost anyone’s budget.

You’ll be able to deliver a remarkable 800 watts of RMS power to your sub with this monoblock. Although this translates to an exceptional low-end and plenty of thudding power, the amp is small enough to fit into even compact vehicles without eating up too much of the interior.

Even if you push your system to its limits, you’re pretty safe from any overheating so this is ideal if you enjoy working your car audio hard.

The one minor gripe is that using the remote is fiddly and awkward at times.

With super-simple installation and all the efficiency of class D amps, the Pioneer makes a great and affordable way to upgrade your stock system without outlaying a fortune. Road test one today and get those windows shaking!

Pros.

  • Resists overheated even when worked hard
  • Straightforward installation
  • Very compact considering the power
  • Powerful low-end
  • Efficient class D technology

Cons.

  • Rather awkward remote control

No monoblock car amp reviews would be complete without an appearance from the enduringly popular BOSS Audio.

You might expect a 2400-watt amp to be priced aggressively but the Riot is firmly in budget-friendly territory.

Class D amps draw less power than class A/B alternatives. This alone means there’s less chance of overheating. Pioneer pay further attention to this issue with an impressive thermal protection circuit.

2400 watts of maximum power handling is calculated based on 1 ohm x 1 channel. As with all quoted power figures, it’s best to keep your expectations pegged back but you’re certainly unlikely to be complaining about a lack of firepower.

If you enjoy fiddling with your soundscape, you’ll appreciate the subsonic filter and subwoofer control. You’ll also be able to manipulate the bass, gains and frequencies for maximum customization.

If you’re hunting for a very crisp and clear bass in a keenly priced and scaled-down package, the Riot is tough to beat.

Pros.

  • Phase control
  • Strap to link 2 amps
  • Dissipates heat efficiently
  • Outstanding power
  • Unimprovable cost to performance ratio

Cons.

  • Lifespan is questionable
  • A few complaints about distortion

As we draw to the end of our monoblock car amp reviews, JL Audio storm in with this fantastic 500-watt amplifier also available in a beefed-up 1000-watt variant.

Much like the BOSS Audio Riot, you’ll be able to exercise a fair amount of control over your system with this monoblock. The low-pass filter is fully adjustable and there’s an integrated bass boost for an added thump at the bottom end.

The baseline model offers 500 watts of RMS power at 2 ohms although you can upgrade to one packing double the power. A MOFSET power supply delivers great stability.

Frequency response spans 10 to 150Hz so you’ll be able to work with a nice spread of bass.

If you want a small but agile monoblock amplifier that’s a cinch to install and will really drive your subwoofer with vibrancy, check this JL Audio beauty out at your earliest convenience.

Pros.

  • Excellent power to size ratio
  • Top-tier componentry
  • No distracting flashing lights
  • 1000-watt model available for more power
  • Commanding aesthetics

Cons.

  • Customer service is wonderful
  • Not the cheapest compact amplifier

Skar Audio designed their RP series with the stated intention of manufacturing the smallest and most efficient class D monoblock amp. We have to say, the RP-350 delivers in fine style.

Don’t be fooled by the modest power figures. Although you’ll only get 350 watts of RMS power and just 388 watts of max power at 1 ohm, you’ll be rewarded with an agile and rich soundscape packing a decent dollop of bass. If this configuration doesn’t suit you, there are 8 other models in this line-up topping out with a 4500-watt beast.  

With a MOFSET power supply, a protection circuit and durable, well-made components, you’ll enjoy durability as well as performance which is increasingly rare at this entry-level price point.

Filters are a let-down and the crispness and clarity leave something to be desired but you need to make some compromises at this price.

If you’re looking for a cheap and effective amp that while drive your subwoofer as you drive your pride and joy, look no further than the Skar Audio RP-350.

Pros.

  • Highly reliable
  • Use to power 1 or 2 subs
  • Pacey power supply
  • Deep and loud sound for a small amp
  • Awesome value

Cons.

  • Pretty pedestrian power handling
  • Can feel slightly uneven

OK ...

Now you’ve had the opportunity to check out some of the leading mainstream car amps, we’ll guide you through what to look for when you’re on the buying trail.

What To Look For In The Best Car Amp

As the centerpiece of your car audio, the importance of the amplifier should not be underestimated.

There are 3 driving reasons why you need an amp…

  • Powering Your Subwoofer: If you’re looking to power a heavy-duty sub, your standard-issue factory amp is unfit for purpose. By uprating your amplifier, you’ll get far more out of your new sub
  • Powering Speakers: Stock speakers are fine with a stock amp but if you decide to upgrade your drivers, make sure you pay equal attention to your amp or you’ll end up with an unbalanced, underperforming system
  • Sound Quality: Clarity, sensitivity and response will all be dramatically improved when you invest in a superior amp

Here are some specifics to ponder if you’re hunting for the best car amp…

Number of Channels

Amps come with a variety of channels and we’ll glance now at the 4 top types…

  • Monoblock: The primary purpose of a monoblock amp is to power a subwoofer. Since we recently looked into the best subs for you car, monoblocks are the core focus of today’s reviews. You’ll get plenty of oomph with no need for a squeaky clean signal. Most monoblock amps aren’t full-range since subs seldom play higher frequencies. Efficiency and output rule with monoblocks
  • 2-Channel: Another popular choice, versatility is uppermost with a 2-channel amp. Power is available across 2 channels. One option is to power paired speakers while the other is to bridge your amp. Bridging pushes more output to one channel which is perfect if you have a sub in your trunk
  • 4-Channel: A bridgeable 4-channel amp is ideal if you have a set of door speakers
  • 5-Channel: This combines the best of a monoblock amp with a 4-channel amp and means if you have a more convoluted sound system, you won’t need to shell out on multiple amplifiers. Avoid a 5-channel amp if you have more power-hungry applications

Power

RMS power handling is the figure that packs a punch. If you mistakenly focus purely on peak power, it’s easy to become misled.

The impedance of the amplifier is measured in ohms. The lower this rating, the greater the wattage.

Do not waste your money on an underpowered amp as you’ll end up with a limp and distorted sound.

Compatibility

The vast bulk of factory head units do not come with pre-amp outlets. Check your amp has speaker-level inputs or you’ll need to consider upgrading the head unit.

If you plan to build a system from the ground up, either hunt down a head unit with those outlets or look for an amp with line-level inputs.

Rushing in at this stage without proper planning is likely to lead to an expensive mistake so take your time.

The Technical Specs

When you first dip your toes into the world of car audio, the terminology can seem bewildering. We’ll quickly highlight some of the most important technical specs worth doubling down on…

  • Frequency Response: Frequency concerns the pitch or tone of the sound. Checking this rating will indicate how your amp is likely to handle the full range of sounds.
  • Sensitivity: Sensitivity measures the amp’s overall efficiency. The higher this rating, the louder the sound. When sensitivity is optimized, you should also experience less overheating
  • Distortion: TDH or total harmonic distortion relates to the accuracy of the amplifier
  • Decibel Rating: In simple terms, this decibel rating describes how loud the amp is

Size

Something you should never overlook is the physical size of the amp you’re considering.

While it might be tempting to unleash the biggest beast you can afford, it’s senseless doing so if you don’t have the real estate inside your ride.

For anyone with a compact car where space is at a real premium, shallow-mount amplifiers come into their own.

It’s perfectly possible to get a real powerhouse amp in a relatively small package so while size does matter, it’s not everything.

Battery

For any systems that are more highly powered, it’s extremely likely you’ll need to invest in an auxiliary amplifier.

As a rule of thumb, once you nudge over 1000 watts of RMS power, it’s time for an amp upgrade.

Installation and Wiring

If you’re happy with your hands, installing your own car amp is not the toughest task. Equally, it won’t break the bank if you need professional assistance.

You can buy plenty of wiring kits if you choose to go the DIY route but don’t take the installation on unless you’re confident with what you’re doing.

A Final Word

If you’ve enjoyed these monoblock car amp reviews and found them informative, please drop us a line and let us know.

We’re here to help out with all aspects of the home and garden and we’re aiming to give you a treasure trove of ideas on an ongoing basis.

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