The word ‘Mono’ is pretty self-explanatory already. It means “One.” When we’re talking about stereos and amps, the term ‘Mono’ can mean only one thing. That is, singular or linear.
A mono car amplifier is a high-quality car amp that has only one channel. It transfers a single audio signal to an assigned speaker.
This only gives you a basic idea of what a mono amp is. At this point, you must be thinking… why would anyone want a single-channeled amp instead of a multiple-channeled one?
Well, there are some unique benefits of a mono car amplifier that no one else can provide you with.
Let’s find out what they are, along with how to get a Monoblock to work.
- 1 What Are Mono Car Amplifiers Used For?
- 2 How Are Monoblock Amps Different from Stereo Amps?
- 3 Do I Really Need a Monoblock Amplifier?
- 4 How Do I Wire a Monoblock Amplifier?
- 5 My Final Two Cents on the Topic
What Are Mono Car Amplifiers Used For?
A mono car amp can be used for amplifying any single channel inside an audio system. It can amplify one audio channel at once. Hence, if you have two audio channels or a stereo system, you’ll need two Monoblock amplifiers (also known as a stereo amplifier).
Similarly, let’s say you have a pair of stereo speakers and a subwoofer for the low-end. Then you can use three Monoblock amps, a stereo amp, and a Monoblock subwoofer amp. This is to make the ultimate all-in-one 2.1 setup.
There are a handful of options for using Monoblock amplifiers. But most often, they are used in-car audio systems and higher-end sound systems that take advantage of the isolation of ‘per-channel amps.
They are also used for amplifying individual channels for playback. In this case, they might have multiple output terminals that allow you to drive multiple speakers using the same channel signal.
How Are Monoblock Amps Different from Stereo Amps?
Well, the basic difference between a stereo amp and a mono amp is that a stereo amp has a separate channel for each of the speakers inside a single unit. A mono amp only has one channel. But there are other ways to tell them apart as well.
For starters, the overall form or size of a stereo amp containing multiple channels is smaller than two individual Monoblock amps wired together. Then, there’s the factor with the price. Stereo amps are usually more affordable than mono amps.
They are easier to get hold of as well. This is because most of the audio available to us today is designed for the latter. Everything from songs to movies and TV shows.
However, there are some downsides to stereo amplifiers. These are so prominent that they can be used as driving factors for differentiating between stereo and mono amps. One such drawback is that the signal paths inside a stereo amp share the same power supply, chassis, and transformers.
This causes the signal paths too often inherent crosstalk. Without the signal paths being isolated, it causes increased noise, interference, and distortion in the signal path. The downside is that most stereo amps, actually all stereo amps come with this drawback.
That’s why we always recommend getting a matched pair of two separate Monoblock amps instead of a single stereo unit.
That doesn’t mean stereo amps are inherently bad. They’re used in most vehicles for producing deep, strong bass, and they are very much capable of doing that.
They’re not solely dedicated to amplifying their energy through a single channel, and the energy gets distributed. This does affect the sound quality.
Do I Really Need a Monoblock Amplifier?
Whether if you really need it or not is totally up to you. A Monoblock amplifier can be used for powering either of the two; a subwoofer or speaker(s).
In the case of speakers, there has to be a single dedicated amplifier for each channel or even one amp for every single speaker. If you do decide to build a system in this manner, the results will be astonishing.
Just imagine, each of your door speakers has its own dedicated amplifier. Doesn’t it sound amazing? This setup is an expensive one though. Hence, only devoted audiophiles who value perfect tones above all are the ones who consider it.
So, getting a Monoblock amp, or a number of them, depends on several factors ranging from your vehicle’s capacity, your music listening preferences, your budget, and so on.
But if you want to experience some superior quality music in your car, I’d say go for it. Get a pair of Monoblock amps for each door speaker.
How Do I Wire a Monoblock Amplifier?
Now comes the important part. Say, you’ve made your decision and gotten yourself a pair of Monoblock amps for your car. Now, how do you hook them up on your own without getting any professional help?
Well, let me tell you a li’ll secret. Every professional out there was a newbie once, and any newbie can one day become a pro if they keep trying with passion and dedication.
Typically, there are two types of Monoblock amplifiers. Tube amplifiers, and solid-state amplifiers. Hooking them up requires proper placement with the speakers and preamp. Hence, these are the basic simple steps to set up Monoblock amplifiers in your car:
Step 1: Disconnecting the Negative Terminal
First and foremost, disconnect the negative terminal from the battery. I cannot emphasize this enough, but always remember to disconnect the negative terminal before you install or fix anything in your car. Do not play with car electricity or audio system with battery grounded.
Now, place each amp on either side of the preamp leaving an approximate distance of 1 to 2 feet away from the preamp.
Step 2: Handling the Power Wire
Run power wire from the battery to the amp through the firewall. You can do it also from the cabin towards the engine.
It is up to you; from which way you will find it more comfortable or with better access to the wall. Cut the power wire and place a fuse holder close to the battery. You should place the main fuse under the hood for safety reasons.
Connect the RCA cables from the preamp outputs to the RCA inputs on each Monoblock amplifier. Make sure you run the left output of the preamp to the Monoblock powering the left speaker, and the right output of the preamp to the Monoblock powering the right speaker.
Step 3: Connecting the Speakers to Your Monoblock
Connect the speakers to the speaker taps on each Monoblock. Check the taps output rating against your speaker input resistance to make sure you are connecting the speaker to the right tap.
Several Monoblock amps have both 8-ohm and 4-ohm output taps. Remember, if the speaker has a 4-ohm impedance, it has to connect to the 4-ohm tap.
There you have it. You have successfully wired a pair of Monoblock amplifiers with your car’s audio system.
My Final Two Cents on the Topic
Getting a Monoblock amplifier can be a huge investment if you spend enough time, effort, and of course, money, to get the amp that is right for your vehicle.
The sole purpose of this article was to make sure you are well informed about every nook and cranny of a Monoblock amp before you commit to one.