9 Best 1200-Watt Amps of 2020

Posted by

If you are looking for the best 1200-Wat amp for your new aftermarket car stereo system or if you need an amp to drive your new car subwoofer, our article on 9 best 1200-Watt amps is a great place to start your search. In this article, you’ll find all the things you need to know before making the purchase. We will warn you about some tricks the manufacturers use to sell their amps and tell you what to pay attention to. We will also give you a list of characteristics to look for when buying a new amp. In case you are just looking for some suggestions, there’s a list of 9 best 1200-Watt amps divided into three price categories. 

Do You Really Need a Car Amp?

Well, if you care about your music and you are not happy with your car stereo system, you should definitely consider buying an external amplifier. Most of today’s cars come with some kind of built-in amp but they are usually quite small and weak (mostly because their size is limited by the available space). Attaching your old car speakers to a new amp could really help you find a new appreciation for your stereo system. On the other hand, if you want to change all the speakers or add a completely new subwoofer to the existing system, you will most definitely need an amp. 

The answer to this question depends on multiple factors. You should ask yourself why do you need it for. Depending on the number of speakers you want to connect to the amp and on the speaker specs (max and RMS power ratings, impedance), 1200W could be enough but it could also be insufficient. You’re probably not happy with this answer so let’s discuss these factors more thoroughly.

Is 1200W Amp Enough?

Let’s assume that you have four 4Ω speakers and that you want to connect them all to one car amp. You have four speakers which means that you need a 4-channel amp. Now, you have to check the amp specs and look for the RMS power output for the given impedance (in this case, 4Ω impedance) and compare it against your speakers’ RMS power outputs. If the amp’s RMS power output per channel (at 4Ω), matches or exceeds your speakers’ power ratings, then this amp is a viable choice.

Everything sounds much clearer now, right? Well, prepare to be disappointed. The advice given above applies only to amps made by the manufacturers that are being honest about the specs. 

ProductPriceOverall RatingReview
Audiotek AT900SUnder $1004.1Read Review
BOSS Audio ARMORUnder $1004.2Read Review
Planet Audio AnarchyUnder $1004.2Read Review
Pioneer GM-D8704Under $2004.5Read Review
Hifonics ZRX1216Under $2004.6Read Review
Alpine PDR-M65Under $2004.6Read Review
Kicker MonoUnder $5004.9Read Review
Rockford FosgateUnder $5004.9Read Review
Alpine MonoblockUnder $5004.9Read Review

Don’t Take the Advertised Power Ratings for Granted

The first thing you should know is – if the manufacturer says it’s 1200W it doesn’t have to be 1200W. Even if it’s engraved into the amp’s chassis, it doesn’t have to be true. In most cases, 1200W is the max (peak) power output while the RMS ratings are much lower. This is not such a big deal and you are probably aware of this. But, there’s something even more important – some budget amps that are advertised as 1200W have actually much lower max power outputs. In some cases, they can’t produce more than 300W. That’s why it’s important to check the fuses and see the recommended fuse rating (or, even better, check the average and max current draw if it’s available). Thanks to Ohm’s law, there’s a simple way to calculate the actual power output. Assuming that your battery’s average voltage (while driving) is 14.4V, you can calculate the max power output by multiplying the voltage by the recommended fuse rating and by the efficiency rating (.6 for analog amps or .8 for digital amps). That way, you will get the actual max power output and you will avoid being tricked into buying an amp that can’t actually deliver the advertised 1200W.

If you don’t want to deal with math and physics but still want to avoid buying some crappy amp, you can do at least two things. First, don’t buy budget amps (invest more than $100). Second, look for the amps that are CEA2006 certified. CEA2006 is a car amplifier standard respected by many reputable amp manufacturers (including Pioneer, Rockford Fosgate, KICKER, etc.) but, since it’s not a mandatory standard, you can find some great amps that are not CEA-2006 compliant. It’s probably safe to say that if it costs more than $200, it can output the advertised power.

All the previous story wasn’t designed to turn you away from buying a budget amp. Our goal is to make you aware of some tricks and false advertisements and help you avoid buying something that’s not good enough for your needs. In some cases, a 1200W budget amp could be a viable choice. For example, if you need a cheap amp to run you four 30W (or even 50W) speakers, a cheap 1200W amp can do the job just fine. 

You’ll find a few of those budget amps on our list but you’ll also find the calculations and their actual power ratings. In fact, we did the calculations for each amp so you can see the difference in power output between cheap and expensive amps. You’ll notice that reputable manufacturers are more conservative when publishing their power ratings (the actual power ratings are often higher than advertised) while the generic brands use some arbitrary numbers that are not even close to the actual output. 

Now that you have some basic info, let’s move onto the reviews. Our list of 9 best 1200-Watt amps is divided into 3 sections – best under $100, best under $200, and best under $500. If you want the best possible performance, you should go for the Kicker CX1200.1 and Rockford Fosgate R1200. If you can’t spend more than $200, Alpine PDR-M65, Hifonics ZRX1216.1D, and Pioneer GM8704 are our top choices. 


Best 1200-Watt Amps Under $100

If you really need an amp that can output 1200W, you should skip this section. None of these cheap amps under $100 can’t actually deliver the advertised power output but they are good enough for some less-demanding speakers. 

1. Audiotek AT900S

Editor’s Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

Audiotek AT900S is one of the cheapest amps on the market. This is a 2-channel class AB amp. The advertised power output (combined) is 1200W but the actual power output is disappointingly lower. This amp is probably better than your built-in amp but it doesn’t represent a huge improvement. AT900S wouldn’t be our first choice in this price range. The amp will deliver stable performance with less demanding speakers (for example, two 50W RMS speakers).

Impressions

Along with the AT900S, you will get a bass level remote (wired), user manual, and 1-year warranty. The wiring kit is never included in the package and has to be bought separately. 

The amp is compact and slim. It’s 9.72in long, 9.45in wide, and 2.2in tall. 

The amp has low-level (RCA) and high-level inputs so you won’t be having troubles connecting it to the head unit (no adapter needed). 

The amp features a variable low-pass filter (35Hz to 160Hz) and fixed high-pass crossover filter (200Hz). It also features bass boost knob (0db-18dB).

AT900S has only one 20A fuse which is simply not enough to push 1200W peak. You can see from the equation below that the amp can output 172W which is a bit disappointing but still expected. 

Based on the specs, the RMS power output is rated at 200W per channel (into two 4Ω speakers) or 400W per channel into 2Ω speakers, which doesn’t seem right. This thing can hardly output 200W per channel continuously. If you have two less demanding speakers (50-100W RMS), A900S could be a nice choice. If you want to install some more powerful speakers, you should look for something more expensive. 

The amp is bridgeable and, according to the specs, the amp can deliver 1200W into one 4Ω channel (which is, obviously, impossible). 

AT900S supports tri-mode operation but, considering the actual power output, this is not something we would recommend. 

This amp could drive your 200-300W sub in bridged mode but it will probably turn off due to overheating after 2-3h. 

Advantages

  • Compact and slim
  • Easy to install
  • High-level (speaker level) and low-level (RCA) inputs
  • Variable low-pass (35Hz-160Hz) and fixed high-pass crossover filter (200Hz)
  • Variable bass boost (up to +18dB)
  • Bass level wired controller (included in the package)
  • Bridgeable
  • Tri-mode capable
  • Stable at 2Ω-8Ω in stereo mode or 4Ω-8Ω in bridged mode

Disadvantages 

  • Not stable at 1Ω/2Ω/3Ω in bridged mode
  • The actual max power output is disappointingly lower than advertised (172W compared to 1200W)

2. BOSS Audio ARMOR AR1200.2

BOSS Audio ARMOR

Editor’s Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

AR1200.2 is another 2-channel class AB amp with overrated power output (1200W). Compared to the previous Audiotek AT900S, BOSS AR1200.2 can push much more power but it’s still not on par with high-end amps made by more reputable manufacturers. On the other hand, this thing is so much cheaper than some similarly rated Rockford Fosgate amp. The term ‘’you get what you paid for” perfectly applies here – BOSS is a generic/cheap brand and their amps offer decent performance for the price but nothing more than that. 

Impressions

Along with the AR1200.2, you’ll get a wired subwoofer remote, mounting screws, high-input connector, user manual, and 6-year platinum warranty.

The amp looks nice but a little bit cheap. Those mounting points look weak and fragile. AR1200.2 weighs 4.5lb. It’s 10.3in long, 6.5in wide, and 2.8in tall. It’s small enough to fit under your seat. 

AR1200.2 features both input types – high-level (speaker level) and low-level (RCA). You don’t need an adapter to transform high-level signal coming from your receiver. 

This ARMOR amp features a variable low-pass filter (50Hz-250Hz) and fixed high-pass crossover filter (80Hz). The amp also has the bass boost knob (0dB to +18dB) and bass level remote (you don’t have to install it if you don’t want to). 

AR1200.2 uses single 35A fuse which is simply not enough to push 1200W of power. According to our calculations, this amp’s max power output is 302W which is significantly lower than advertised.

The amp is supposed to deliver 450W per channel continuously into 2Ω speakers but that doesn’t seem possible. The amp could probably push enough power to a single 300W subwoofer (in bridged mode) but more than that would be too optimistic and it would cause overheat fairly quickly. Luckily, the amp features overheat and short circuit protection so it won’t get damaged but that doesn’t make it more powerful. 

Advantages

  • Compact and easy to install
  • Speaker level and low-level (RCA) inputs
  • Variable low-pass (50Hz-250Hz) and fixed high-pass (80Hz) crossover filters
  • Bass boost (up to +18dB) and bass level controller
  • Bridgeable
  • Stable at 2Ω-8Ω in stereo mode
  • Stable at 4Ω-8Ω in bridged mode

Disadvantages 

  • Some parts (mounting points) look fragile
  • Can’t deliver the advertised power output (only 302W max)

3. Planet Audio AC1200.2 Anarchy

Planet Audio AC1200.2 Anarchy

Editor’s Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Planet Audio is another generic brand (just like BOSS Audio and Audiotek) and their AC1200.2 amp is, just like the previous two amps on the list, 2-channel class AB amp with an advertised 1200W max power output. Like the BOSS Armor AR1200.2, this amp falls short when it comes to actual power output. To be honest, we have quite a few reasons to believe that many of these cheap amps are made in the same factory (just look at the BOSS AR1200.2 and Planet Audio 1200.2 manuals – some pages are practically copied).

Impressions

Along with the AC1200.2, you will get a wired bass level controller, mounting screws, high-level input connectors, user manual, and 1-year warranty. 

The amplifier is 12in long, 10in wide, and 2.4in tall. Installing it under your seat or inside your trunk shouldn’t be a huge hassle. 

The amp features speaker level and RCA inputs so you don’t have to use some high-to-low adapter to connect the amp to your head unit. 

You have variable low-pass and high-pass crossover filters. Low-pass crossover frequency range spans from 45Hz to 90Hz, and the high-pass crossover range spans from 50Hz to 500Hz. Along with high and low-pass crossover, you also have variable bass boost (up to +18dB) and an optional bass level remote. So, basically, you have all the controls you can possibly need to adjust the sound to your preferences.

The amp uses one 35A fuse and, if you try to calculate the actual power output, you will get 302W. That’s roughly 25% of the advertised output. So, just like BOSS Audio AR1200.2, AC1200.2 can’t push the advertised 1200W and it can’t deliver 225W into 4Ω speakers continuously.

Having those real capabilities and price in mind, this amp delivers pretty good performance for the price. It could push enough power to your stereo 100W RMS speakers but it could hardly push two 300W RMS subwoofers. 

The amp features overheat, overload, and short circuit protection. 

Advantages

  • Compact and slim 
  • Simple installation 
  • Speaker level and RCA inputs 
  • Variable low (45Hz-90Hz) and high-pass (50Hz-500Hz) crossover filters
  • Variable bass boost (0-18dB) and bass level controller
  • Overheat/overload/short circuit protection
  • Bridgeable
  • Stable at 2Ω-8Ω in stereo mode 
  • Stable at 4Ω-8Ω in bridged mode
  • Delivers stable performance when connected to less demanding speakers (two 100W stereo speakers)

Disadvantages 

  • Not stable at 1Ω/2Ω/3Ω in bridged mode
  • The actual power output is significantly lower than advertised

Best 1200-Watt Amps Under $200

The next three amps are not that cheap but are much more capable than the previous three. Still, they won’t deliver 1200W. 

4. Pioneer GM-D8704

Pioneer GM-D8704

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Pioneer GM-D8704 is a 4-channel class D amp. Unlike all those budget amps, this amp is CEA-2006 compliant and its power outputs are significantly higher and closer to the advertised 1200W. This amp is a great choice if you want to connect two 300W subwoofers, or two front stereo speakers and one subwoofer (bridged).

Impressions

Inside the box, you’ll find your GM-D8704 amp, mounting screws, speaker level to RCA adapters, user manual, and 1-year warranty. Wiring kit is not included and you have to buy it separately.

The amp is quite small and compact, mostly because it’s class-D and it doesn’t need large heatsinks as class-AB amps. It’s 10.4in long, 7.9in wide, and 2.9in tall. 

The amp features only RCA (low-level) inputs but they are capable of receiving high-level signals and you’ll find speaker-level to RCA adapters in the package so you don’t have to buy an adapter. GM-D8704 also has two RCA outputs for connecting an additional amplifier (in case you want to add a separate mono amp for the subwoofer).

The inputs are arranged into two channels (A and B) for bridging. You have variable low and high-pass crossover filters (40Hz to 500Hz). The low-pass filter applies only to channel B so if you want to connect a subwoofer, you will have to connect it to this channel. 

If you like your music to sound bassy, you’ll be happy to know that you can install the bass boost controller and boost it by up to +18dB. 

GM-D8704 has two 30A fuses and if you apply that equation for the actual max power output, you’ll see that the amp can push up to 700W. So, the output is pretty good (much better than those previously reviewed budget amps) but it’s still not on par with the advertised numbers.

The amp is CEA-2006 certified for 2Ω and 4Ω speakers and it can continuously (RMS ratings) push 100W per channel at 4Ω, 150W per channel at 2Ω, and 300W per channel at 4Ω in bridged mode (2 channels). This amp will deliver a perfectly stable performance when connected to two 300W RMS subwoofers.

GM-D8704 is bridgeable and can be used in 2-channel, 3-channel, and 4-channel modes. In 4-channel mode (non-bridged), the min allowed impedance is 1Ω (max impedance is 8Ω). In bridged mode, the amp is not stable at 1Ω (the min allowed impedance is 2Ω). 

Advantages

  • Small and compact
  • Easy to install 
  • RCA inputs are capable of receiving both high and low-level signals 
  • RCA outputs for connecting an additional amp
  • Inputs are arranged into two independent channels for more flexibility
  • Variable high and low-pass crossover filters (40Hz-500Hz)
  • Bass boost (up to 18dB)
  • Bridgeable
  • Three operation modes – 2-channel, 3-channel, 4-channel
  • Stable at 1Ω-8Ω in 4-channel mode
  • Stable at 2Ω-8Ω in bridged mode
  • CEA-2006 certified RMS power outputs

Disadvantages 

  • Not stable at 1Ω in bridged mode
  • Actual max power output is still not on par with the advertised power output

5. Hifonics ZRX1216.1D

 

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Unfortunately, Hifonics amps are not as good as they used to be but they still represent a good affordable option. Hifonics ZRX1216.1D 1-channel class-FD amp is one of our favorites when it comes to Watt/$ ratio. ZRX1216.1D is advertised as 1200W amp but it falls a little bit short of that target. If you can’t spend more than $150, this amp is actually a pretty good choice.

Impressions

Along with the ZRX1216.1D, you’ll get a bass level controller/knob, user manual, and 1-year warranty. Mounting equipment (wiring kit) is not included and you have to buy it separately. 

The amp is a bit larger than the previous amps. It’s 12.6in long, 10in wide, and 2.4in tall. 

ZRC1216.1D features RCA (low level) inputs and RCA outputs (for adding another amp). It doesn’t have speaker level inputs.

The amp has low-pass crossover filter (40Hz to 300Hz) as well as subsonic filter (10Hz to 40Hz). You can also play with the bass boost (0-18dB) which is centered at 45Hz. Bass level controller is another nice additional feature but it looks cheap and plasticky and you don’t have to install it if you don’t want to. 

The amp uses one 70A fuse. Based on our calculations, this amp can output 806.4W (peak power output) which is not bad (compared to the previous amps) but it’s not 1200W.

The amp is stable at 1Ω (up to 4Ω) and it’s not bridgeable. 

The manufacturer offers only max power ratings (1200 at 1Ω, 600W at 2Ω, 400W at 4Ω). We have tried to find some trustworthy Amp Dyno measurements and, based on these measurements, the amp will output 600W continuously at 1Ω, 300W at 2Ω, and 200W at 4Ω.

Advantages

  • Compact and easy to install 
  • Low-level (RCA) inputs
  • RCA outputs 
  • Low-pass crossover filter (40Hz-300Hz) and subsonic filter (10Hz-40Hz) 
  • Bass boost (up to 9dB) and bass level controller
  • Stable at 1Ω-4Ω

Disadvantages 

  • Lacks high-level inputs
  • Not bridgeable

6. Alpine PDR-M65

Alpine PDR-M65

Editor’s Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Alpine is one of our favorite amp brands and one of the most reputable manufacturers on the car amp market. They are usually very honest when it comes to power outputs and their entry-level amps (like this one) are not crazy expensive. Alpine’s amps offer great quality for the price. We are presenting to you Alpine PDR-M65, a 1-channel digital amp with an advertised power output of 1300W.

Impressions

Along with the PDR-M65, you will only get mounting screws, user manual, and 1-year warranty. The amp features one input for the bass level remote but that’s optional equipment and it’s sold separately. The wiring equipment is also sold separately.

The amp is smaller and thinner than the previous amps. It’s 9in long, 7.2in wide, and 2.1in tall.

PDR-M65 features two RCA (low-level inputs) and they are not compatible with high-level signals so you will probably have to buy an adapter if you want to connect your factory receiver to the amp. There are also two RCA outputs for connecting another amp. 

PDR-M65 has low-pass (50Hz to 400Hz) and subsonic (10-40Hz) crossover filter. It also features bass boost (0 to +12dB).

The amp uses two 35A fuses. If you apply the equation from the introduction, you’ll get 806W. The equation won’t give you the most accurate results but it usually gets pretty close to what the amp can actually deliver. So, it’s not really 1300W of max power, but it’s not that bad, especially considering the price.

This amp can deliver 450W continuously into one 4Ω channel or 600W into one 2Ω channel. The amp is not bridgeable and it’s not stable at 1Ω. 

PDR-M65 can easily drive your 500W RMS subwoofer without getting hot.

The amp has overload, overheat, and short circuit protection.

Advantages 

  • Quite small and compact
  • Low-level inputs
  • RCA outputs
  • Simple control panel
  • Variable low-pass (50Hz-400Hz) and subsonic (10Hz-40Hz) filters
  • Bass boost (up to 12dB)
  • Optional bass level remote
  • Class-D amplification
  • Stable at 2Ω-4Ω
  • Not bridgeable 

Disadvantages 

  • Not stable at 1Ω

Best 1200-Watt Amps Under $500

The next three amps are our absolute favorites and, if you can spend more than $200, Kicker, Rockford Fosgate, and Alpine amps are great choices. Unlike the previous amps, these three can deliver 1200W continuously (1200W is their RMS power output). 

7. Kicker CX1200.1 Mono

Kicker CX1200.1 Mono

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Kicker is one of those few honest manufacturers and their power ratings are quite conservative compared to what their amps can actually deliver. When you know that there are so many cheap generic amps with overrated power outputs, it’s good to know that there are some brands that actually care about the customers and don’t want to trick them into buying their product. We are presenting to you Kicker CX1200.1 digital 1-channel amp. 

Impressions

The packaging contains your amplifier, mounting screws, user manual, and 1-year warranty. As always, the wiring kits are sold separately. If you want, you can also buy the bass level remote (43 CXARC).

CX1200.1 is relatively small and it should be easy to install. The amp is 12.2in long, 7.1in wide, and 2.4in tall. 

CX1200.2 features low-level (RCA) inputs that are capable of receiving high-level signal (speaker level to RCA adapters are not included). It also has two RCA outputs for daisy-chaining. 

The amp features a variable low-pass crossover filter (50Hz to 200Hz). There is no subsonic filter. You can also boost the bass if you prefer that kind of sound. The bass boost is centered at 40Hz and allows you to boost it by up to 12dB.

Based on the recommended fuse ratings (150A) and type of amplification (digital), you can calculate the expected max power output. In this case, the result is 1728W which is really good considering the price (under $250).

It is advertised that the amp can push 1200W continuously at 2Ω load (1 channel) or 600W at 4Ω load and, in our opinion, this thing can get pretty close to those advertised outputs. In our opinion, this amp can easily pump more than enough power into your 1000W (RMS) subwoofer. 

CX1200.1 is a mono amp so it’s not bridgeable. Like all the other amps on the market, it features overheat, overload, and short circuit protection. 

Advantages

  • Compact and slim
  • Easy to install
  • Low-level RCA inputs (capable of receiving speaker level signals)
  • Variable low-pass crossover filter (50Hz-200Hz)
  • Variable bass boost (0-12dB)
  • Optional bass level controller
  • Stable at 2Ω-4Ω
  • Reliable and stable performance with an impressive 1200W RMS power output (at 2Ω)

Disadvantages 

  • Not stable at 1Ω
  • Expensive

8. Rockford Fosgate R1200

Rockford Fosgate R1200

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Rockford Fosgate is another favorite of ours. Just like the previously mentioned Kicker CX1200.1 amp, R12000 delivers 1200W continuously. This one is a little bit pricier than the Kicker amp, probably because it’s CEA-2006 certified and because it’s stable at 1Ω. R1200 is also 1-channel Class-D amp.

Impressions

R1200 comes along with mounting screws, user manual, and 1-year warranty. You are supposed to buy the wiring kit separately. You can also buy an optional bass remote and install it somewhere in your car.

The amp features clean design with a simple control scheme. All the inputs/outputs are on the front panel and all the control knobs are on the top. R1200 is compact and super-slim. It’s 11.1in long, 6.8in wide, and 1.97in tall. 

R1200 has low-level RCA inputs but doesn’t have high-level inputs (you are going to need a high-to-low adapter to connect the amp to your factory receiver). The amp also has two RCA pass-thru (output) ports in case you want to add another amp to your system. 

When it comes to controls, you have a variable low-pass crossover filter (50Hz-250Hz) as well as the subsonic filter (15Hz-40Hz). You can also boost the bass (centered at 45Hz) by up to 18dB.

The recommended fuse rating is 150A but the max current draw is 110A. Assuming that the efficiency is 80%, the maximum power output would be 1267W which is pretty close to the advertised 1400W (at 1Ω). So, to conclude, this is a great amp and the actual power ratings are on par with the advertised values.

The amp will pump 1200W continuously into 1Ω speaker, 800W into 2Ω speaker, or 400W into 4Ω speaker. As you can see, the amp is stable at 1Ω.

Advantages

  • Compact and super-slim
  • Easy to install
  • Low-level RCA inputs and RCA outputs
  • Variable low-pass crossover filter (50Hz-250Hz) and variable subsonic filter (15Hz-40Hz)
  • Bass boost (up to 18dB)
  • Optional bass level remote
  • Class-D amplification (higher efficiency, lower operating temperatures)
  • Stable at 1Ω-4Ω
  • Reliable and stable performance with a 1200W RMS power output (at 1Ω)

Disadvantages 

  • It has no high-level inputs
  • Expensive

9. Alpine MRV-M1200 Monoblock 

Alpine MRV-M1200 Monoblock

Editor’s Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

MRV-M1200 is much more capable than the previous Alpine amp on this list (PDR-M65). PDR-M65 was able to push 1200W in peaks while this one can push 1200W continuously (1200W Peak Power VS 1200W RMS). In terms of performance, MRV-M1200 is comparable to the previous two amps (Rockford Fosgate and Kicker CX1200.2) but it’s significantly pricier than those two. Rockford Fosgate R1200 remains our top pick but buying this one is not a bad move.

Impressions

The box contains your MRV-M1200 amp, bass level remote, user manual, and 1-year warranty card. As always, you have to buy the wiring kit separately (Note: Buy OFC wire, not CCA).

The amp looks very refined and stylish. It’s relatively small (13.5in long, 8.6in wide, 2.3in tall) but quite heavy (more than 9lb). 

MRV-M1200 features both high-level (speaker level) and low-level RCA inputs and it has two RCA pre outputs. 

You can adjust the sound to your needs thanks to the variable low-pass filter (50Hz to 400Hz) and variable bass boost (0 to +12dB). The amp has no subsonic crossover filter.

The amp is fused at 100A (it comes with 4 preinstalled 25A fuses). If we apply our good-old equation, we will get the max power output of 1152W. The advertised peak power output is 2000W and we don’t think that this amp can actually push 2000W (maybe 1400W).

The amp is stable at 2Ω-4Ω and according to the specs, it can push 1200W continuously into 2Ω subwoofer (1000-1100W seems more believable) or 600W into 4Ω speaker.

Like all the high-end amps, MRV-M1200 features overheat, overcurrent, over-voltage, and under-voltage protection.

Advantages

  • Refined design
  • Compact and slim
  • Easy to install
  • Low-level (RCA) and speaker-level inputs
  • RCA pre-outs
  • Low-pass crossover filter (50Hz-400Hz)
  • Bass boost at 50Hz (up to 12dB) and bass level remote 
  • Stable at 2Ω-4Ω
  • Stable and perfectly reliable performance when connected to a 1000W subwoofer (2Ω)
  • 4-way protection (overheat, overcurrent, over-voltage, under-voltage)

Disadvantages 

  • Not stable at 1Ω
  • Quite expensive

This is the end of our list of 9 best 1200-Watt amps. Hopefully, you have found something you like. In case you haven’t, here’s a short buyer’s guide with some tips on what to look for when buying a new car amp.

Buyer’s Guide – Things to Look for and Specs to Check When Buying a 1200-Watt amp (or any Amp)

There are numerous specs you can check out when looking for the new amp but some are more important than others. 

The Number of Channels (mono, stereo, 3-ch, 4-ch, 5-ch, 6-ch) and Impedance Matching

This number of channels depends on your current needs and your future plans. If you only want to add a subwoofer to the existing speaker system and you don’t want to expand the system in the future, some mono amp (1-channel amp) should do the job. If you only want to upgrade your stereo speakers, 2-channel amp is a nice choice. If you want to upgrade two front speakers and add a subwoofer, you could buy a 3-channel or 4-channel amp (depending on the power ratings per channel). If you buy a 4-channel amp, you could use two channels for your stereo speakers and then bridge the remaining two channels in order to supply enough power to the subwoofer. Still, it’s probably smarter to buy a separate 1-channel amp for your subwoofer.

You should also check the min and max allowed impedance. If you have a 2Ω or 1Ω sub and you want to bridge two channels on your 4-channel amp, you need to know the min allowed impedance in bridged mode. Buying an amp with a 4Ω min impedance in bridged mode and trying to connect some 1Ω subwoofer is a bad idea (it will cause the amp to overheat).

Power Ratings – False Advertising VS Actual Power Ratings

We have already dedicated a huge chunk of our introduction to this subject but let’s make a quick summary. 

The advertised power ratings don’t have to be true. In fact, none of the budget amps under $100 can actually output 1200W (peak power). So, you have to be careful. If you want to find out the actual power output, you can use the equation below like we did in our reviews. 

Type of Amplification 

Based on the amplification type, the amps can be divided into class A, class B, class AB, and class D. The first three types are analog amps. Class AB amps are the most common type when it comes to 2-channel and multi-channel amps because AB amplification combines the good characteristics of class A and class B amplification. Class D amplification is used for mono amps because it’s more efficient, it has lower operating temperatures, and enables great bass reproduction.

Amp Size

The size doesn’t seem like a big deal but it’s more important than you would think. You have to measure the available space in your car and compare it against the amp dimensions, especially if you want your amp to fit under your seat or some other tight space. 

Amp Wiring Kit

Wiring kits are practically never included in the package, even if you are buying something really expensive. Choosing the right kit is not that hard. You basically have two options – kits with OFC wire and kits with CCA wire. If you care about performance and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, buy OFC kits. CCA kits are cheaper but offer much worse performance. 

Additional Features – hi/low-level inputs, variable high/low-pass filters, etc. 

Depending on the price you pay, you will get more or fewer features. Some amps have both high and low-level inputs while the others have only low-level inputs (RCA inputs). Some amps have low-level inputs that are capable of receiving high-level signal. 

Some amps have variable low and high-pass crossover filters while the others have fixed crossovers. Also, some mono amps come with an additional subsonic filter. 

More advanced amps will have additional inputs for HALOSonic and ADAS equipment. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *