Best Class D Amplifiers for The Money

Whether you like listening to bass-heavy or treble-heavy, soft or loud music, car amplifiers are definitely part of the picture. A powerful amplifier will instantly supercharge your car sound system and breath life into your music, bringing out all of its excitement and detail, thereby making time spent in your car seem more like a concert than a commute.

All car amplifiers are built to perform essentially the same function and operate under the same basic principles, however that doesn’t mean that all car amplifiers are created equal.

In today’s post, we’re going to review some of the best class D amplifiers out there which are the most extremely efficient car amplifiers that you can buy.

Amplifier Classes – Pros & Cons

Car amps are divided into different classes. They’re classified according to their internal circuit design and the way their output stages are powered. Each class has its own performance characteristics, and each is optimized for a specific task and application.

Some car amplifiers are better suited to specific uses than others, and the easiest way to tell which type you need is to look at the amp’s class. Each of which is referred to by a letter or two. There are class A, class B, class A/B, and class D amplifiers.

To clear up the confusion and to help you avoid buying the wrong thing, here’s a a comparison chart of pros and cons of each car amp class :

Amplifier Classes – Comparison Chart

Amp Class Pros Cons
Class A
  • Clean output
  • High fidelity
  • Low distortion
  • Large size
  • Generate too much heat
Class B
  • Efficient
  • Smaller size
  • Create less heat
  • Lower audio fidelity
  • Potential signal distortion
Class A/B
  • More efficient than class A
  • Less distortion than class B
  • Less efficient than class B
  • More distortion than class A
Class D
  • Extremely efficient
  • Distortion at high frequencies

Top 5 Best Class D Car Amplifiers

#1- Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D 

Rockford Fosgate R1200-1D monoblock amplifierRockford Fosgate is one of the top rated brands in the car audio industry. They’ve been in business for quite a long time and they offer everything from speakers and amplifiers to signal processors and amplifiers.

Rockford Fosgate offers a wide range of reasonably priced car amplifiers of differenty types. Rockford Fosgate car amps fall into three main categories labeled “Prime”, “Punch”, and “Power”. Amplifiers in the “Prime” series are the entry-level amps while those in the “Power” series are company’s high-end amps. More of a middle-of-the-road line of amplifiers, the “Punch” series which offer a great value for the buck.

The R1200-1D is one of the best class D amplifiers that Rockford Fosgate has to offer. This entry-level class D monoblock amp is featured with Rockford Fosgate’s P.O.W.E.R technology (Power Output Without Excessive Regulation) which allows the amp to respond quickly to the peak demands that you may throw at your sound system.

The R1200-1D car amp is optimized for subwoofers with the implementation of Rockford Fosgate’s famous Punch bass boost, and infrasonic filter to keep those ultra-low bass notes from damaging your subwoofer system.

This amp has preamp-level inputs and outputs and comes a wired remote bass level control which allows you to remotely control the output level of the amplifier from the dash or center console of your vehicle.

Additionally, this amp is equipped with a top-mounted LED indicator which turns green when the unit is turned on. This LED will turn red when protection circuit is engaged.

Speaking of protection, this monoblock amp has a heavy duty aluminum alloy heat-sink for extreme heat dissipation. It’s incorporated with 3-way protection circuitry (thermal, overload, and speaker short protection).

This monoblock amplifier can put out up to 400 watts RMS at 4 ohm (800 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms), but will crank out up to 1,200 watts when it’s running a 1-ohm subwoofer setup.

#2- Rockford Fosgate R500X1D

 Rockford Fosgate Prime R500X1D Class D mono channel amplifierIf you’re on a budget and you’re looking for a compact car amplifier that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, then Rockford Fosgate R500X1D is a great option to consider. Despite being an entry-level ultra-compact amp, the R500X1D has some serious power.

This is one of the best class D amplifier in its category. As with its bigger brother, the R1200-1D linked to above, this Prime Series R500X1D mono amp comes with low-pass filter and Rockford Fosgate’s famous Punch boost to get the best possible bass from your subwooofer.

Additionally, this amplifier comes with a wired remote control which you can use adjust the amp’s volume level from your driving seat. Further, the 2-position phase switch allows you to easily reverse the output phase of the amplifier, while its speaker-level inputs let you hook this amp up to almost any system, even a factory stereo.

To prevent thermal breakdown, this amplifier is fitted with thermal, overload and short protection circuits. Its heavy cast aluminum chassis on the other hand efficiently dissipate heat away from its internal components, ensuring long-lasting performance.

This compact car amplifier can drive a sub with up to 300 watts RMS at 4 ohm, so you can really feel your bass rockin’, but it’ll crank out up to 500 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms.

#3- Pioneer GM-D9605

Pioneer GM-D9605 Class D 5-Channel AmpPioneer is one of the most auhoritative brands in the car audio industry. They’ve been around for a long time and have mastered the art of making top notch car audio components.

Pioneer offers a wide selection of car audio components including speakers, subwoofers, headunits and amplifiers. Their components have consistently performed well through independent lab testing and in real world applications.

Pioneer GM-D9605 is one of the best class D amplifier that you can buy. This 5 channel amp offers increased flexibility and gives you more control. It’s a great little amp for building a car audio system on a budget.

This little powerhouse was designed to be an all-in-one solution; It can power your entire car audio system, sending 75 watts RMS to each of your front and rear speakers while delivering up to 600 watts RMS to your subwoofer.

The GM-D9605 can also be switched into 3-channel mode, sending 200 watts RMS each to a set of component speakers up front, plus 600 watts to a subwoofer.

This 5 channel amplifier features a wired remote bass boost control for sub channel that you can use to adjust the bass level on the fly. It also has preamp and speaker-level inputs so you can hook it directly into your system. Its built-in high- and low-pass filters let you adjust the sound for your car’s interior and personal listening preferences.

#4- Alpine MRV-M500

Alpine MRV-M500 Class D monoblock AmplifierIf multiple channel and flexbility aren’t your primary concern and you just want the best compact car amplifier, we think the Alpine MRV-M500 is one of the best compact class D amplifier you can buy.

This amp is the top performing mono amp in Alpine’s V-Power Series. Despite its tiny size, this little powerhouse can put out up to 300 watts at 4 ohm (500 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms), which is a ton of wattage to power your subwoofer and turn your ride into a rolling thunderstorm of chest pounding bass.

Alpine MRV-M500 can fit almost anywhere. It’s one of the most compact car amplifiers out there — it’s got less than an 8″ by 8″ footprint and it’s just over 2″ tall —

To enhance thermal protection and to avoid annoying shut-downs, alpine fitted this class D monoblock amp with a new circuit and heat sink design which allows for gradual thermal absorption.

This amp also use a new, higher efficiency design to achieve non-stop music playback. This design prevents the amp from shutting down by rolling back the output a bit when the amp is about to overheat from playing at its limits for too long. So, instead of shutting down completely, the amp keeps playing your favorite tracks, until it cools enough to return to its full power.

This monoblock amplifier is equipped with a variable low-pass filter which puts you in command of the frequencies that reach your subwoofer. Speaking of a subwoofer, this amp has a bass boost which lets you apply plenty of low-end punch.

The amp includes preamp- and speaker-level inputs, so you can pair it up to almost any vehicle, even one with a stock headunit.

This car amplifier is compatible with Alpine RUX-KNOB remote bass knob. This knob is a very convenient gadget that will let you adjust the bass levels from your dash.

#5- Rockford Fosgate R400-4D

Rockford Fosgate R400-4D Class-D 4-Channel AmplifierIf you want a good 4 channel class D car amplifier and want to spend the bare minimum, the Rockford Fosgate R400-4D is a great choice.

This multi-channel amplifier might lack the compactness of some of its competitors, but it offers great flexibility and power for the price. Speaking of flexibility, this amp is perfect for powering your entire car audio system. It’s built to put out 75 watts RMS to each of your full-range speakers or component speakers, giving them plenty of juice to rock. And since, this is a 4-channel amp, you can use its front channels to power for your front speakers while you bridge the rear two channels to run a subwoofer with up to 200 watts RMS. Furthermore, you can bridge the amp to 2-channel mode to drive a pair of powerful components or subs.

As with all Rockford Fosgate Prime amplifiers, the R400-4D feature Rockford’s exclusive POWER (Power Output Without Excessive Regulation) supply/output design to insure true rated output power at all levels.

The amp’s high- and low-pass filters, along with Rockford Fosgate’s variable bass boost let you tune your speakers to match your personal listening preferences.

All Rockford Fosgate amps are very well-engineered and this one is no exception. Its heavy duty cast aluminum alloy heatsink will help dissipate heat away from the amp’s internal components and lower distortion levels or possible thermal overload.

All in all, if you’re looking for reliable class D 4 channel car amplifier without breaking the bank, then the R400-4D is the perfect amplifier for you.

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