Best Subwoofer Amp Review for Monster Sound 2017

Our Top Pick
After reading hundreds of reviews, and talking to loads of serious audiophiles, we highly recommend the Alpine PDXM12. Picking a winner was hard, but we think that this amp simply offers the best sound quality of the subwoofer amps we reviewed. It develops a huge amount of power, and even when pushed to the limit its bass response stays tight and controlled. If you are looking for a subwoofer amp that will really add value to your subwoofer set up, and sound great for years to come, this is definitely the one to get.

Editor’s Pick – Top Pick

Product #Model
1Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier
2MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series Car Amplifier
3Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier
4JL Audio Slash Series 1200/1v3 Mono Subwoofer Car Amplifier
5Kenwood eXcelon X500-1 1000 Watts Class D Amplifier

Product DescriptionUsers ScoreOverall Score
Editor choice
Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier

Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier

Key Features:  RMS: 1200 Watts x 1 @ 4 ohms, 1200 Watts x 1 @ 2 ohms Compact size for easy installation ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
2 MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series Car Amplifier

MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series Car Amplifier

Key Features:  Compact design for easy installation Selectable bass boost Surface mount PCB Class D ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
3 Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier

Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier

Key Features:  300 Watts x 1 @ 4 ohms 500 Watts x 1 @ 2 ohms Includes wired remote On-Board Punch EQ ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
4 JL Audio Slash Series 1200/1v3 Mono Subwoofer Car Amplifier

JL Audio Slash Series 1200/1v3 Mono Subwoofer Car Amplifier

Key Features: RMS: 1200 Watts x 1 @ 1.5-4 ohms Parametric EQ bass boost Class D amplifier design ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
5 Kenwood eXcelon X500-1 1000 Watts Class D Amplifier

Kenwood eXcelon X500-1 1000 Watts Class D Amplifier

Key Features:  RMS: 300 Watts x 1 @ 4 ohms, 500 Watts x 1 @ 2 ohms Variable Low Pass Filter Bass boost ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)

Adding deep, tangible sound to your daily commute starts with choosing a subwoofer and ends by pairing it with the highest quality amp. Trying to connect a subwoofer to a stereo system without an amplifier is a fruitless process—the subwoofer will never get enough power, and you’ll end up with the same quiet, bland commute.

With the right amp, however, a subwoofer can truly shine and power out the bass for as long as you let it. Finding the right amp for subs is a delicate process, as not all subwoofers and amplifiers are meant to work together.

Each piece of sound equipment has its own specifications and designs, which makes it simply impossible to randomly pair one model with another.

In this article, we’ll talk about the top-rated best amps for subs, including tips on how to match an amplifier to your subwoofer to create efficient, powerful, and booming bass.

Matching Amps & Subs

In order to get great bass, subwoofers and amps need to be properly matched together. But how can you make sure that your amp matches your sub?

This section will cover a few basic tips on how to ensure that your amplifier perfectly matches your subwoofer, resulting in a perfect combination of bass, volume, and power.

Impedance, Ohms, and RMS

All subs have something called impedance, which is the resistance of one electrical current to another. Another way to look at this is the “load” that an amplifier will sense when putting out power.

This load is measured in ohms, and when it comes to finding the right amp for a subwoofer, ohms are incredibly important.

Just like subwoofers are measured in ohms, amps are measured in RMS, or “Root Mean Square.” This represents the mathematical equation of determining how many watts are flowing through each channel.

When choosing the best amp for your subwoofer, the idea is to get both units of measurement aligned. An amplifier that handles X number of watts can handle Y number of ohms. Likewise, a subwoofer that handles Y number of ohms can handle X number of watts.

Both ohms and RMS need to match to find an amplifier and a subwoofer that will work together to create dynamic tone, bass, power, and volume. If they aren’t properly matched up, the units could overheat, causing irreversible damage.

If you’re installing one sub, matching impedance is straightforward. It can get slightly complicated when trying to match two subs to an amplifier.

For example, if you are installing two 4-ohm subs, you will need to get an amp with 8-ohm impedance. A dual-voice coil subwoofer with 2 ohms will need an amplifier with a total of 4-ohm impedance since each subwoofer connection carries 2 ohms.

If all this seems confusing not to worry, whoever installs your amp will know exactly what to do. Also, check out this short video about matching your woofer to your amp.

Single-Channel vs. 2-Channel Amp

Amplifiers come with multiple channel options, but when it comes to matching an amplifier with a subwoofer, your best bet is to choose either a single-channel or a 2-channel amp.

2-channel amps are best for handling higher ohms since they have more than one channel for wattage to travel through. Subwoofers that have 4 ohms are often best paired with 2-channel amps since they are typically better prepared to handle heavier loads.

Still, most experts agree that the best type of amp for subs is a single-channel amp, which is a more direct process for wiring and power transfer.

With a single-channel amp, audio signals are processed through one channel. Multiple subwoofers can be connected to this channel, but each sub will receive the same frequency. Many of the best single-channel amps for subs come with enhanced features, controls, and filters to control the bass.

While this is a blanket rule, there are times where changing the wiring can create situations where a 2-channel amp or a single-channel amp can work as exceptions.


Examples of Wiring Single & 2-Channel Amps

First, there are two types of subs: single voice coil (SVC) and dual voice coil (DVC). SVC subs have one pair of terminals, and DVC subs have two pairs of terminals.

Here are a few common wiring instances where you may want to choose a single-channel amp for your subwoofer:

One 4-Ohm DVC Sub

Single-channel (or mono) amplifiers will provide the most amount of power when used alongside a sub with low ohms, usually around 2.

This means that if the voice coils are wired parallel to each other, the amp will interpret this as 2 ohms instead, maximizing the power of the amplifier.

Two 4-Ohm SVC Subs

You can also use one single-channel amplifier for two of these subs: if their wires are done in parallel, the amp will interpret this as a 2-ohm impedance.

Not only is this one of the most common setups, but it is also one of the most efficient, too.

Here are few common wiring instances where using a 2-channel amp will be a better fit:

One 4-Ohm SVC Sub
A 2-channel amp is a perfect fit for this type of sub since the two amplifier outputs can be combined into one. This is called bridging, and it’s a great way to get a ton of power out of the amp.

Two 4-ohm DVC Subs

If the subs are wired in parallel, the total impedance in ohms will be 4 ohms. This is too much for a single-channel amp, but for a 2-channel amp, this is a great opportunity to maximize power and efficiency.

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Best Amp for Subs

When it comes to choosing the best amp for subs, there are a lot of factors to consider. Even after you narrow down your search to the right ratio of ohms and RMS, it can be frustrating to identify which amp model is best-suited for your sub.

To help you narrow down your search and find the best amp for your subwoofer, we have created a list of the top-rated amps that are currently on the market. Each of these amps come with high performance, reliability, and most of all, positive reviews from people who have actually paired them with a subwoofer.


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EDITOR’S CHOICE – Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier

Key Features: picture of Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier

  • RMS: 1200 Watts x 1 @ 4 ohms, 1200 Watts x 1 @ 2 ohms
  • Compact size for easy installation
  • Thermal protection
  • 6-layer glass epoxy PC board

Finding a negative review on this amplifier is difficult, particularly when looking for the best amp for subs. This compact amplifier packs a powerful punch, with high wattage capabilities for subs with 2 and 4 ohms.

The thermal protection ensures that the amp won’t overheat, even after hours of connectivity. It also comes with a subsonic filter to allow for customized bass tones, making it a great amp to pair along with a sub.

While this amp comes at a substantially higher price in comparison to other amplifiers, the product is well worth the price. Customer reviews rave over the power of this compact amp, especially when combined with a matching subwoofer.

With a sleek, attractive, and compact design, this amplifier is easily installed into any car, creating a perfectly hidden supplement to a subwoofer.

Alpine PDXM12 1200W Mono RMS Digital Amplifier

Finding a negative review on this amplifier is difficult, particularly when looking for the best amp for subs. This compact amplifier packs a powerful punch, with high wattage capabilities for subs with 2 and 4 ohms.


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MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series Car Amplifier (Most Powerful)

Key Features: picture of MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series

  • Compact design for easy installation
  • Selectable bass boost
  • Surface mount PCB
  • Class D topology

Despite its small, compact size, the MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 is one of the most powerful amps for subwoofers. One of its best features comes from its thermal management, allowing the amp and subwoofers to be used for hours at a time without worry of damaging the unit or interrupting playback.

The surface mount circuit design is an integral part of this amplifier, as it utilizes smaller parts to resist vibration, increase efficiency, and ensure long-term use.

When it comes to connecting amps to subs, it’s important to allow for customization of sound. Luckily, this MTX Audio car amp comes with all the necessary features for customization. This includes a low pass filter, bass boost, and a subsonic filter to improve sound quality across all music genres.  

The price tag is a little higher, but if you can afford to splurge on a high-quality car amp for your subwoofer, the MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 is the best amp to do it with.

MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 Thunder Series Car Amplifier

Despite its small, compact size, the MTX Audio THUNDER500.1 is one of the most powerful amps for subwoofers. One of its best features comes from its thermal management, allowing the amp and subwoofers to be used for hours at a time without worry of damaging the unit or interrupting playback.


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Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier

Key Features: picture of Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D

  • 300 Watts x 1 @ 4 ohms
  • 500 Watts x 1 @ 2 ohms
  • Includes wired remote
  • On-Board Punch EQ

This single-channel amp from Rockford Fosgate comes with a ton of boosting power, making it a great companion for a subwoofer.

Along with a MOSFET power supply, this amp also features a cast aluminum heatsink, short circuit protection, over-current protection, high-level inputs, real-time output, and power supply thermal sensing to protect against overheating.

It also comes with a remote bass control (Remote Punch Control) to maximize bass effects and produce a truly impactful riding experience when combined with an equally powerful sub. Another great feature is the On-board Punch EQ, which allows users to customize their audio.

As an additional benefit, customer reviews rave about this amp’s ability to provide intense, booming sound for hours without overheating, making it a great choice for those who are driving for long periods of time.

Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1-Channel Class D Amplifier

Along with a MOSFET power supply, this amp also features a cast aluminum heatsink, short circuit protection, over-current protection, high-level inputs, real-time output, and power supply thermal sensing to protect against overheating.


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JL Audio Slash Series 1200/1v3 Mono Subwoofer Car Amplifier

JL Audio Slash Series 12001v3 Mono Subwoofer Car Amplifier

Key Features:

  • RMS: 1200 Watts x 1 @ 1.5-4 ohms
  • Parametric EQ bass boost
  • Class D amplifier design
  • Single-channel amplifier

JL Audio has made incredible strides in the automotive industry, creating a national definition of how high-quality amplifiers should perform. The V3 series is filled with updates, innovative technology, and enhanced features that make this one of the best amps for subs on the market today.

Compared to previous amplifiers, this single-channel amp comes with 20% more power, boosting sound and bass like never before.

Part of JL’s innovation comes from their Regulated Intelligent Power Supply (RIPS) technology. With this system, the amp maintains a constant output of power over a variety of load impedances, making it an ideal option for a subwoofer amplifier.

As an additional benefit, the advanced thermal protection protects the unit from overheating, ensuring that your tunes will continue to play without interruption or damage to the amp. All in all, JL Audio continues to produce high-quality amps, especially when it comes to amps for subs.

JL Audio Slash Series 1200/1v3 Mono Subwoofer Car Amplifier

JL Audio has made incredible strides in the automotive industry, creating a national definition of how high-quality amplifiers should perform.


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Kenwood eXcelon X500-1 1000 Watts Class D Amplifier

Key Features: picture of Kenwood eXcelon X500-1 1000 Watts Class D

  • RMS: 300 Watts x 1 @ 4 ohms, 500 Watts x 1 @ 2 ohms
  • Variable Low Pass Filter
  • Bass boost
  • Class D single-channel amplifier

The Kenwood eXcelon line of amps is a powerful force amongst all amplifiers, but particularly when considering the best amps for subs.

Part of this is because each amp in the eXcelon line comes with Hybrid Digital Amplification technology, which shields against distortion. For those who are looking to connect a sub to an amp, this is an important feature.

A combination of a low-pass filter and bass boost allow users to customize their sound, making small adjustments at any time. To properly connect the amp, Kenwood recommends using 8-gauge ground leads and power leads.

When combined with a sub, online reviews rave about the clarity of sound, customized bass, and the ability to keep the amp running for hours without worrying about overheating. When looking for the best amp for subs, you can’t go wrong with the Kenwood eXcelon series.

Kenwood eXcelon X500-1 1000 Watts Class D Amplifier

Part of this is because each amp in the eXcelon line comes with Hybrid Digital Amplification technology, which shields against distortion. For those who are looking to connect a sub to an amp, this is an important feature.


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Our Thoughts on the Best Amps for Subs

Pairing the right amp with a sub requires a little attention to detail, but the effort is entirely worth it. When combined effectively, amplifiers and subwoofers create a powerful depth of sound and bass that simply cannot be matched.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Best Subwoofer Amp
Author Rating
5