Best mono amplifiers for 2019
Our highest-rated best-selling amps for your subwoofers
In this article, we present seven of our best-selling mono subwoofer amplifiers with mostly five-star customer reviews:
- Alpine MRV-M500
- JBL Club 5501
- AudioControl ACM-1.300
- Kenwood KAC-9106D
- Rockford Fosgate Power T750X1
- Memphis VIV700.1
- JL Audio VX600/1i
Let's find out what makes these particular amps so popular.
irst of all, if you want bass, you have to get an amplifier. The physical nature of low-sounding notes is that they take a lot of power to produce. Whichever component subwoofer you choose, it'll sound best with an amplifier designed to play low frequencies without distortion, and provide enough clean power to fill your vehicle with the throbbing bass beats you want.
Why did we choose these amps?
These are some of our best-selling mono amplifiers, which also earned an average Crutchfield customer review rating of four or more stars*. So, not only do our customers buy these amplifiers, they're so pleased with their purchase they take the time to provide some feedback once they've spent some time with it.
You can use this collection of amplifiers as a starting point in your search for your sub amp. After looking them over, if you want to dive deeper into what to look for when shopping for a mono subwoofer amplifier, check out our Car amplifier buying guide.
Alpine MRV-M500 — Compact 500-watt powerhouse
Basics: This most popular amp makes it a little easier to get great bass in your vehicle — it's so small it can fit almost anywhere, even under most passenger seats, and it delivers the power you want without breaking your bank account. The Alpine MRV-M500 mono subwoofer amplifier can send up to 500 watts RMS to a sub, filling most vehicle interiors with powerful bass goodness.
Extras: The amp employs Enhanced Shutdown Performance technology to keep the music playing reliably when you're pushing it loudly for a long time. The amp will work with a factory radio, using its speaker-level inputs to get signal from the factory system's speaker wiring. If you do decide to get an MRV-M500, make sure you also get the RUX-KNOB.2 wired remote, so you'll be able to adjust the bass volume from your driver's seat.
JBL Club 5501 — Space-age power
Basics: Although it looks like it came out of the cockpit of a stealth bomber, JBL's Club 5501 mono sub amp will actually deliver up to 550 watts RMS to your subwoofer. The Class D amplifier design ensures the amp'll stay cool while playing loudly and that its high output won't put any strain on your vehicle's electrical system.
Extras: Speaker-level inputs allow this amplifier to integrate into almost any system, even one using your car's factory radio. You can use the low-pass filter and variable bass boost to maximize the performance of your subwoofer and enclosure, while a phase switch ensures that the bass will blend well with your full-range speakers.
AudioControl ACM-1.300 — Powerful bass from a compact chassis
Basics: AudioControl's ultra-compact ACM-1.300 mono amp delivers up to 300 watts RMS to your subwoofer. This tiny, hand-size amplifier will fit almost anywhere in almost any kind of vehicle, improving the bass and the power of your music. It also features high-level inputs with signal-sensing turn-on, so it'll work with almost any stereo system, even one using a factory radio.
Extras: This amp comes packed with high-tech features like a "Maximized" LED for optimizing the amp gain. There's also a tunable AccuBASS™ circuit that restores and enhances the low-frequency notes which factory radios often eliminate in order to protect flimsy stock speakers.
Kenwood KAC-9106D — A reliable workhorse
Basics: You get a big bang for your buck when you get a Kenwood KAC-9106D mono subwoofer amplifier — 1,000 watts worth of bang. Kenwood makes tough, rugged amplifiers that bring you superior sound quality along with reliable performance.
Extras: Along with the controls to shape and clean up the bass tone is a tunable subsonic filter — a necessity if your sub is in a ported enclosure. Aluminum plates cover and protect the amp's connections and controls, giving your installation a neat, professional look.
Rockford Fosgate Power T750X1bd — Super compact, bursting with power
Basics: Rockford Fosgate's Power Series T750X1bd mono amplifier can drive up to 750 watts RMS into a 1-ohm load, allowing you to power multiple subs for bigger and better bass. A dual-fan forced air cooling system keeps this sturdy little amp from overheating, so it can play hard for a long time.
Extras: The amp's controls feature input and output clip lights, to show you when the signal's good (blue) or too high (red). The optional wired remote has a clip light on it as well, so you can monitor and control the bass level from the front seat.
Memphis Audio VIV700.1 — Bring massive bass to the party
Basics: Looking fine in its anodized brushed aluminum chassis, Memphis Audio's SixFive Series VIV700.1 mono subwoofer amp can send 700 watts RMS to a 1-ohm subwoofer or subwoofer system. You can even change the color of the amp's illuminated logo — there're seven available colors to match your mood, whim, or vehicle's interior.
Extras: This amplifier features onboard digital signal processing that lets you tune your sub's sound for supreme clarity and articulation. M-Equalization™ bass enhancement controls let you add even more finely-tuned bass impact to your music. An optional wireless remote lets you control the bass volume from the driver's seat.
JL Audio VX600/1i — Subwoofer amp plus DSP
Basics: JL Audio teamed up with micro-device maker AKM™ to create this customized processor-amp hybrid. The VX600/1i mono subwoofer amplifier can put out up to 600 watts RMS for your sub, and features 3 channels of digital signal processing. You could set up a system, for example, by routing the signal from the receiver to this sub amp first, and then sending a processed stereo signal on to a separate amplifier for your other speakers.
Extras: The digital processing for each channel includes signal routing and mixing, 10-band parametric EQ, time-alignment, and very precise output level control. You make all your settings and adjustments from your compatible device running JL Audio's TüN™ software. JL Audio designed this amp to work in a networked system, so there are a few accessories you may want to get along with it that facilitate wired and wireless remote control.
With the right sub amp, every ride becomes a dance party
There are a few important things to keep in mind while shopping for a subwoofer amp. Namely, the mix of power and impedance.
You want the bass to musically blend and be well-balanced with the rest of your system, so, here's a good rule-of-thumb guide to power:
How much subwoofer power do I need?
- If you're using your car's factory stereo — 50 to 200 watts RMS for the bass will do nicely.
- An aftermarket receiver — you might want up to 300 watts RMS of power for your sub.
- Amplified speakers with around 50 watts RMS per channel — plan on around 500 watts RMS.
- 100 watts RMS or higher per channel system — you'll want at least 1,000 watts RMS for a sub.
Matching the amp to the subwoofer's impedance (ohms)
A subwoofer has impedance (measured in ohms) which represents the "load" an amplifier will sense on its output. An amplifier will put out different amounts of power (watts RMS) based on the impedance load it "sees."
Most subwoofer amps are optimized for pushing 2-ohm loads. The question becomes, at what impedance can the sub be wired? Here are some examples of the answer:
Wiring options for one subwoofer
- One SVC (single voice coil) 2-ohm sub will always be 2 ohms.
- One SVC 4-ohm sub will always be 4 ohms.
- One DVC (dual voice coil) 2-ohm sub can be 1 ohm or 4 ohms.
- One DVC 4-ohm sub can be 2 ohms or 8 ohms.
Wiring options for two subwoofers
- Two SVC 2-ohm subs can be a 1-ohm or a 4-ohm load.
- Two SVC 4-ohm subs can be a 2-ohm or an 8-ohm load.
- Two DVC 2-ohm subs can be a half-ohm, a 2-ohm, or an 8-ohm load.
- Two DVC 4-ohm subs can be a 1-ohm, a 4-ohm, or a 16-ohm load.
Check out Subwoofer wiring diagrams for more solutions.
Putting it all together
Getting the right sub for an amp, or the right amp for a sub, is like solving a puzzle where the amplifier's capabilities (X watts RMS into Y ohms) needs to match the subwoofer's specifications (Y ohms and can handle X watts RMS). Your goal is to get those two variables to match for both the amplifier and the subwoofer. For more information see How to match subwoofers and amplifiers.
Let us help you shop
*Note: The star ratings cited are current as of May 2019.