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Top 6 Best Monoblock Car Amplifiers in 2022 Review & Buying Guide

Picking the right amplifier is often a tricky business. You need to get it just right, and these days, the average user is so spoiled for choice that it makes the whole business even more difficult. That being said, if you keep in mind that audio is audio, and while the tech has improved remarkably, the same rules apply. 

You don’t want to make the biggest mistake of all and go too loud. Just a stupid and expensive way to ruin a nice drive and a good tune at the same time. So, your first consideration will, of course, be the car itself but more on that later.

So, let’s take an in-depth look at the very best Monoblock Car Amplifiers currently on the market and find the perfect option for you, starting with the…

Best Monoblock Car Amplifiers

Top 6 Best Monoblock Car Amplifiers on the Market in 2022 Reviews

  1. Rockford Fostgate R2-500X1 – Best Budget Monoblock Car Amplifier
  2. Audio Control ACM 1.300 – Best Compact Monoblock Car Amplifier
  3. Soundstream Tarantula TXP 1.8000D – Most Powerful Monoblock Car Amplifier
  4. Kenwood KAC-M3001 600W Class D – Best Basic Monoblock Car Amplifier
  5. Pioneer GM D9701 – Best Value for Money Monoblock Car Amplifier
  6. Kicker Key 500.1 – Easiest to Install Monoblock Car Amplifier

1 Rockford Fostgate R2-500X1 – Best Budget Monoblock Car Amplifier

Rockford’s first generation of this amp was one of their biggest successes. A favorite among those on a bit of a budget. The workhorse that everyone knew because you saw and heard it everywhere. It was Rockford’s best seller at that time and for a while afterward. Rockford’s engineers handled the expectation well.

For the R2, and the rest of the series, for that matter, Rockford opted for a total from the ground-up redesign. The boldness of such a move is reflected in the new aesthetic. The new look makes a much bigger statement overall, but also makes for better presentation and comes with practical bonuses too. 

Power and Control

The R2 is rated for 300W at 4ohm and 500W at 2ohm. There is a 12dB crossover. All the controls, to which we’ll be getting in a bit, are all well marked and practically laid out. The switches and dials have a good solid feel that makes you feel money’s been well spent. 

It’s the same story at the back of the amp. All the inputs and outputs are nicely marked with bold white lettering. This might seem like something small to go on about, but you’d be surprised how little manufacturers think of these kinds of things. All in all, this is one of the most convenient monoblock car amplifiers on the market.

One downside…

The angle of the power wire mounting. If you’re planning on mounting the amp flat, it’s going to make for a nasty bend in your wires. You’ll have to rethink the placement or make a hole in your cab and have the wire go through there. Another recommendation is to use ferrules that don’t have plastic guards. 

There’s a bunch of LED indicators for power and overheating. The pair I find particularly useful is for the Clean-in and Clean-out channels. This means you can regulate independently without technical knowledge or extra equipment, and minimize distortion before you even tweak the sound. 

The R2 has a low pass filter that runs from 15 to 40Hz. The two coolest controls are by far Rockford’s Infa-Sonic (a fancy high pass filter but still a rare control on car amps) and the famous Punch EQ. One thing to keep in mind is that the punch EQ can increase output by as much as 12dB depending on the input level. So keep an eye on those indicators.

Rockford Fostgate R2-500X1
Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Good build and sound quality.
  • Reasonable price.
  • Extensive features for a budget amp.

Cons

  • Uncomfortable to install thanks to the angle of wire mount. 
  • The remote control doesn’t control bass volume, only dc offset.

2 Audio Control ACM 1.300 – Best Compact Monoblock Car Amplifier

Our next amp is for the guys who just want better than stock bass, not a confusing amount of controls, and at a price that won’t ruin three weekends. The Audio Control ACM 1.300 has got to be ranked somewhere as one of the best compact car amps out there.

The ACM is featherweight and measures 10 x 4 inches. These dimensions make it a true micro amplifier. As a result, it’s one of the best lightweight monoblock car amplifiers you can buy.

It comes in at 300Watts RMS at 2ohm, or you could have 175Watts RMS at 4ohms, plenty of punch considering its size and weight. The amplifier is very easy to install and connect to your car’s standard stereo. 

Sound-shaping options

The Adio Control ACM 1.300 pairs fairly easily with OEM-style car stereos. As long as you don’t go biting off more than you can chew, you’ll have far above average bass in your ride. One of the highlights is how well this amp counteracts low-frequency bass roll-off, caused by most factory car stereos.

Once you have it hooked up, you’ll notice one of the coolest features, Audio Control’s GTO or “Great Turn On” feature. As soon as the amplifier notices signal coming in, it will automatically turn on and monitor the input. This is a nice feature for such a budget amp. 

Take control…

The ACM has extensive controls considering the price, gain control, low pass that can be toggled between 120 and 80Hz. Finally, there’s Audio Control’s patented “Accu Bass,” which can be adjusted with threshold and level controls. 

Audio Control ACM 1.300
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Small and compact.
  • Variety of features.
  • Easy to connect.
  • Inexpensive.

Cons

  • Not the most powerful.
  • The controls could have been knobs.

3 Soundstream Tarantula TXP 1.8000D – Most Powerful Monoblock Car Amplifier

When it comes to pure power, the Tarantula has probably got the most bang for your buck. It could easily be ranked among the best looking of the bunch were looking at as well. Soundstream has been known for visually appealing designs, and they’ve kept it that way with the new Tarantula.

When it comes to the numbers, the Tarantula will impress. At 1 ohm, you can get 7000Watts RMS, at 2 ohms, you will get 3600, and finally, at 4 ohms, you’ll get 1800 watts RMS. In other words, one of the loudest monoblock car amplifiers on the market.

When it comes to build quality, those looks become very deceiving…

Although the components themselves might feel solid enough, it’s how they’re put together that will cause problems at high levels. The remote bass control remote is made of plastic, the wires look thin and weak. Also, an audible rattle when you try and test that impressive power. 

When it comes to functionality, the Tarantula doesn’t rack up a bad score. The dual-fan system at least isn’t as loud as the rattle. And what’s more, it does keep the Tarantula quite cool, so overheating won’t be a worry. 

Ultimate protection…

Two 12dB crossovers for low and high frequencies will also help to shape that power into a more manageable package. You’ll also be getting Direct Short, Thermal, and Overload Circuits to protect the amplifier. 

Soundstream Tarantula TXP 1.8000D
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pros

  • Great looking design.
  • Plenty of power.
  • Good selection of controls.

Cons

  • Not the best build quality.
  • Rattle at high output.
  • You’ll have to spend extra money on a proper wiring kit.

4 Kenwood KAC-M3001 600W Class D – Best Basic Monoblock Car Amplifier

Sticking with small, simple, compact, and affordable options, we have this 600W Class D car amp. It has most of what you need and good long-term value making it one of the best monoblock car amplifiers out there.

The power isn’t earth-shattering…

…but that’s not why you buy an amp like this, right? The KAC-M3001 has a maximum output rating of 600W. You can have 300W RMS at 2ohms or 200W at 4ohms. While this isn’t going to break any windows, it’s going to increase your stock bass sound to something you can be proud of. 

The KAC-M3001 doesn’t have much in the way of functionality. There are LED indicators to indicate power, and a MOSFET power supply helps with power regulation. This is the amp for the humble guy who knows he’s not breaking any records but doesn’t care because that’s not the point. 

Kenwood KAC-M3001 600W Class D
Our rating:4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Simple and easy to install and use.
  • Small and compact.

Cons

  • Limited functionality.
  • Bass can get weak at high volumes.

5 Pioneer GM D9701 – Best Value for Money Monoblock Car Amplifier

Pioneer has been around for the better part of a century. The quality and innovation associated with their name may sometimes come at a higher cost but is always worth it. The D9701 monoblock offers an easy choice for the user who wants high quality, simple functionality and can afford to pay that little extra.

The power is enough to compete with any of the top options on the market. But when you consider the quality of that power, it adds to the appeal. The D9701 will deliver 500W RMS at 4ohm and 800W RMS at 2ohms; the max power is rated at 2500W. 

Simple use and superb sound…

Functionality isn’t going to run pages either, but again what do you expect at this price range. RCA is the connectivity available on the D9701. The only sound control is a Low Pass Crossover control with a range of 40 to 240Hz. The D9701 also comes with a remote bass volume control and led indicators for input. 

The sound quality is as expected, being a pioneer product. Good defined low-end with plenty of depth and punch. The excellent build quality means the amp will easily maintain its bass reproduction capability when at high output. 

The Subwoofer channel has a response of 10 to 240Hz, so any kind of bass will be improved from Beethoven to the Beatles. In other words, it’s one of the best sounding monoblock car amplifiers you can buy.

Pioneer GM D9701
Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Reasonable price.
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Great sound quality.
  • Easy to install and use.

Cons

  • Limited connectivity and functionality.

6 Kicker Key 500.1 – Easiest to Install Monoblock Car Amplifier

The small size of this little kicker is about the only thing you’ll get a kick out of. The rest of it means serious business. Small enough to fit in a glove box, under a seat, or in most boot compartments, the 500.1 ranks amongst the most compact monoblock amplifiers. However, the small size doesn’t mean it lacks a huge personality. 

The 500.1 can run 150W at 4ohm, 300W at 2ohms, and finally 500W at 1ohm. I cannot think of a more impressive and affordable micro monoblock car amplifier.

Full of surprises…

The 500.1 is both a processor and an amplifier. And for such a small and simple model, it comes with some pretty intuitive features. There is an integrated EQ system that can dramatically improve sound quality. 

To calibrate this feature, the 500.1 comes with a tunic microphone that connects directly to the amp. This is then mounted on the dash of the car, and some pink noise is played at a high level. The EQ system will then auto-adjust to give the best results. This feature works and is made even better by the fact that it’s so easy to calibrate. 

Impressive features…

Functionality is another area where the kicker shines, considering the price. A low pass crossover control that goes from 40 to 160Hz. A high pass crossover control from 10 to 40Hz and finally a bass boost control with a 6dB range. There is also a switch to turn the DC offset on and off, and a very handy gain match LED indicator to prevent distortion.

Kicker Key 500.1
Our rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Variety of controls.
  • Compact.
  • Easy to install.

Cons

  • No remote control included.
  • You can get more power at the same price.

Best Monoblock Car Amplifiers – Buying Guide

Buying Guide

When choosing an amplifier, there are going to be three main areas to consider. The first will be the size. Do you use your boot or glove compartment a lot? If the answer is yes, then you know that it has to be under your seat, etc. 

Secondly, you’ll want to consider power. The size of the vehicle will influence your decision as well as the other components of your system. There’s no point in buying an amp that has more power than you require for your speakers etc. 

Finally, there’s the price, this is merely a decision between what you can afford and how important having good sound in your car is to you. One piece of advice that always works, though, is that good stuff ain’t cheap and cheap stuff ain’t good. 

Want Great Audio in Your Automobile?

We can help with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Car Amplifiers, the Best Car Subwoofers, the Best Under Seat Subwoofers, the Best Competition Subwoofer, the Best Cassette Adapter, and the Best 6.5 Speakers you can buy in 2022.

You may also enjoy our detailed reviews of the Best Marine Speakers, the Best Receiver-Amplifier For Outdoor Speakers, the Best Yamaha AV Receivers, the Best AV Receivers Under $500, the Best AV Receivers Under $1000, the Best 15-inch Subwoofers, and the Best 12-Inch Subwoofers currently on the market.

Which of these Best Monoblock Car Amplifiers Should You Buy?

Taking into account its size, power, and build quality, there is simply no other amp that provides better value for money and long-term value than my winner for the best monoblock car amplifier, the…

Pioneer GM D9701

It’s not that much more expensive than its competitors. And considering the build and sound quality, it’s not what you’d consider expensive. 

Until next time, happy listening!

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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