When you take a ride in your car, which features do you value the most? Is it the plush, comfortable leather upholstery? Or do you prefer the latest head units with flip out touchscreens and Bluetooth? Well if you listen to music while driving the car, then you most likely should invest in a good set of car speakers, be it stereo or surround. However, most non-OEM car audio solutions will require the installation of an external amp. You can get a single 4-channel or 5-channel amp to power all of the speakers inside your automobile theater setup, or you can instead choose to get multiple mono-block amps for the same.
And if you have a big 12”/15” car subwoofer in there (possibly a dual sub setup), you must get a good 1-ohm stable amp to power the same. Subs require extra power, and the “cleanliness” or quality of power that is fed to a sub will determine the clarity and responsiveness of the driver towards a bass signal. There are many types of 1-ohm stable amps out there and most good ones allow you to bridge multiple output ports in order to generate extra power that will be fed to a high-powered sub driver.
Some other things that you need to focus on are- internal component shielding, coil and capacitor quality, I/O options, heat dissipation, etc. All of these factors have a pretty large impact on how “clean” (distortion-free) your sub is going to sound at both low as well as high volume levels. Internal circuitry can also determine the frequency response of an amp and will affect how well a driver that is connected to the amp reacts when you feed it with super-low frequency sounds. Also, check to see if your 1 Ohm mono-block amp has high pass filters if you wish to hook it up with your sub. And check the quality of the crossover circuitry.
In this article, we examined a total of 5 different 1-Ohm stable amps. All of these amps were cherry-picked from the hundreds of amps currently available on the market, based on the thorough analysis of customer reviews, as well as specifications and build quality.
Check out our list of best car amplifiers!
Our Pick: Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX2550.1D
For every car audio enthusiast, the desire for a powerful sound system and great bass delivery often ends at the amplifier. This is what the Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX2550.1D offers, a powerful 2500 watts sized mono block amplifier. The black colored amplifier can function across several other impedance levels besides the 1 Ohms where it is stable. At 2 Ohms it will require 1250 watts per channel and at 4 Ohms it has an RMS rating of 675 watts per channel. This is a dominant performance and it is delivered over a frequency range of 15Hz to 250Hz. It also comes with a variable low pass filter of 30Hz to 250HZ, a variable subsonic filtering range of 15Hz to 35Hz and a bass boost of 0-12dB at 45Hz.
This amplifier beats the field for its superb sound and safety features. It uses the D- Class circuitry which allows it to have a higher bass response without compromising on the overall sound quality. The circuit makes use of the Modulated MOSFETS technology which is usually employed in music production to achieve a powerful performance without distorting the sound. The circuitry features a 4-way protection system catering to thermal risks, DC, overload and also protects the unit against speaker short protection.
The whole unit is protected by the heavy duty aluminum alloy vented heat-sink. There is an inbuilt system diagnostic application for checking any errors. You also get a bass knob equalizer control allowing you to match the bass with a number of music genres.
If you’re on the budget try option with fewer watts but better on the price – Hifonics Zeuz ELITE ZEX1350.1D
Runner Up: BOSS AUDIO PD5000 Phantom
While costlier and better options exist, they will charge a very high premium for a slight increase in performance, which most consumers and even audio enthusiasts will not need unless you’ve built your entire car around the audio system.
For less than 200 bucks, you’re getting an extremely well-built class-D amp (single channel of course), with a whopping 3750 watts of output at 1 ohm, 1875 watts at 2 ohms, and 938 watts at 4 ohms of resistance. With power like this, you’ll have no problems whatsoever while pushing the volume knobs up on your 12”, 15”, or even 18” sub/dual sub.
On top of the amazing power output, you’re also getting pre-amp outputs so you can connect this amp output to another mono amp without the need to run separate wires from different speaker to each separate amp. Low-level inputs are also present, along with variable crossovers and bass boost.
The subsonic filter will catch and chop off all the super-low subsonic frequencies that our ears are not capable of hearing. This will reduce power draw during operation, and make the whole sub run much more efficiently since it does not receive any signals that don’t matter. The one con regarding this amp is the fact that it tends to run pretty hot when you use it in 1-Ohm mode, and the power draw might get a little too high. For smaller cars, you will have to dim the lights unless you want to risk damaging your amp or speakers.
Also Great: Skar Audio RP-1500.1D Monoblock Class D
This 1 Ohm stable amplifier was made to deliver great features at an almost budget price and it did go quite a way in achieving its goal. Its intricate design for the aluminum is one of the best in this category but it covers quite a powerful unit beneath. The unit features the rave reviewed class D circuitry with a soft start turn on. It also quite versatile in power handling with a power rating of RMS 500 watts x 1 channel on 4 Ohms, RMS 930 watts x 1 channel on 2 Ohm and RMS 1500 watts x 1 channel on 1 Ohm. At Peak output, on 1 Ohm, the amplifier has a rating of 2,300 watts.
It is not just the power packed by this amplifier that sets it apart, the ease of installation and compatibility to a number of audio system and electrical systems is a great factor. The amplifier comes with dual speaker terminals for easy hooking and connection to multiple speakers. The design allows for a number of SK amplifiers to be used to channel power to one source. It comes with oversized 4 gauge power and input terminals which help achieve maximum flow of the current and also allows for efficient and fast installation.
Great sound quality and control are achieved by the internal filters with a variable subsonic filter with a range of 10-50 Hz and a variable low pass filter. Further control is provided by the wired bass remote control. The only downturn is the quality of the filters which mean you experience a level of distortion in the sound and bass qualities. The performance of the medium and high frequencies is also shaky compared to the first amplifier on this list. However, at its price, you are getting far much value making it a bargain.
On the Budget: SOUND STORM EV4000D EVOLUTION Monoblock
Well, this is yet another budget amp. It costs nearly 40-50 % more than the R2400D from BOSS but makes up for that increase in price with superior build quality and better internal shielding. The audio quality is pretty good, and this should be all that you need if you’re interested in listening to some rock, electro, metal, etc. while taking a drive around the city in your brand new sedan. You get remote subwoofer control, switchable phase control, variable bass boost, and a whopping 3000 W of RMS power at 1 Ohm stable. One of the features that you’ll get on this amp, which is otherwise only found on more high-end amps, is the variable subsonic filter.
What is it that we don’t like about it? Well, at this price the amp is already offering so many goodies that it is rather hard to nitpick. However, some things COULD have been improved just a LITTLE bit- such as the terminals on this amp which only allow you to connect wires of thickness 4-gauge and below. Also, it would have been super-great if Sound Storm found a way to decrease the size of this amp ever so slightly. If you are going to mount this amp in really tight spaces, the larger than conventional size could turn out to be an issue.
Also Great: NVX JAD1200.1
Another amplifier worth looking is the NVX JAD 1200.1 with 1200 watts. It is designed with a minimalist approach to aid easy installation and reduce the area taken up by the amplifier. It is under 2 inches thick and measures 16 inches x 9 inches x 4 inches meaning it presents numerous mounting options around the car. Being one of the latest 1 Ohm stable amplifiers, it uses advanced Class D circuitry which aids in the three layer protection and quality sound delivery much better than earlier models.
It has an RMS power rating from 500 to 1200 watts across 1, 2 and 4 Ohms but at 1 is where it is stable for peak performance and compatibility. It also includes both variable filters for the low-pass and the subsonic one. It comes behind because of the filtering range and the lower power output compared to the leading amplifiers in this category.
Also Great: Power Acoustik BAMF5500/1D 1700W Class D Mono Amplifier
This is a class D Mono 1 ohm stable amp, and it is in the “Worth Considering” category only because of its relatively underwhelming power output. Even though it is one of the most solidly built amps that we have ever tested, the 1700 W RMS power does tend to drag it back a little bit. Bridging synchronization, 4-way protection circuitry, and full PWM power supply comprise a few of the most notable strengths of this amp. The interiors are loaded with high-speed digital circuitry and feature high-quality chokes, capacitors, and coils so that the amp will respond immediately to volume changes. You will notice a smooth transition from low to high volume and vice versa, no matter how fast you turn the knob. The bass boost is clean and distortion free, with plenty of punch and well-defined notes even in the sub-100 Hz range.
The biggest con of this amp, of course, is the slightly limited RMS power, and the second con would be lacking proper heat dissipation owing to its super small form factor. However, there is one thing that must be noted over here- you’ll probably never feel the lack of heat dissipation unless you ALWAYS use this amp on maximum power, and that too for extended periods of time. The lower RMS power means that you’ll be totally fine in most usage scenarios as less power= less heat produced. We recommend strapping two of these amps together to make up for the shortage of RMS power.
Also Great: Rockford Fosgate Prime R1200-1D
Coming close in second is Rockford Fosgate’s 1,200 Watts amplifier weighing just 7.1 pounds and measuring 11 x 6.7 x 2 inches. This amplifier is suitable for all vehicles and packs a powerful delivery of bass at a 1- Ohm load without overwhelming your car’s electrical system. It is versatile enough to work on a 4-Ohms subwoofer where it has a power handling of 800 watts RMS.
However, it is optimized for the 1-Ohm subwoofer where its full power and performance range is realized. There are a number of features which lend this amplifier its performance levels; an infrasonic filter, a 12 dB full octave Butterworth crossover, a remote punch level control, RCA pass through outputs, real time thermal sensing, four gauge power ground connectors, MOSFET power circuitry, a frequency response range from 20Hz to 250Hz and on board fuses. It also comes with a signal to noise ratio of 100dB and a total harmonic discord of less than 1.0%.
The Prime R1200-1D is made to offer clear and powerful bass delivery and this is achieved first by the infrasonic filters which protect the subwoofer from ultra-low bass levels which can affect the bass quality distorting the overall sound output. The 18dB bass boost is one of the highest in this category and along with the provision of 45Hz and onboard punch equalization you get more control on the nature and kind of bass you listen to. The compatibility of this amplifier with a 4 channel stereo helps you achieve overall high quality in your music since it adds more precision in the mid and high note responses to the already superb bass performance.
The only drawback of this amplifier according to different customers is its lack of durability. A number of them also observed that the bass performance levels tended to lose their crisp clear quality at high-performance levels.