The 10 Best Rack Mount Amplifiers
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in October of 2017. Whether you're a professional musician with a need for additional power when gigging, a bar or restaurant owner with a top-tier stereo system, or a music and film buff with a great home theater setup, your kit won't be complete without a killer rack mount amplifier. Our list includes models suitable for a variety of budgets, ranked here by their signal quality, total wattage, and added features. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
December 04, 2020:
The 18-inch rack standard has been in use for decades, and is still the preferred means of transporting, storing, and displaying equipment for pro-audio specialists and sound engineers the world over. Not only does rack mounting keep gear safe from knocks and falls, but it also allows easy connectivity of several outboard units, while providing quick access to the front and back panels. In this ranking, we have included a comprehensive mix of models that are suitable for a wide variety of applications, from home theater setups, to live audio use, to DJ performance, to powering studio monitors.
For example, those looking for a versatile solution for use in homes and small venues might consider the Pyle PT8050CH. With eight individual channels, each with an output of 500 watts, this unit will provide enough headroom for the most ambitious private event or screening at a highly competitive price.
On the other hand, those looking to power a professional in-house PA system or large event might consider the Seismic Audio Magnitude 3600, EMB Professional EB6500PRO, QSC PLD4.5 Multi-Channel System, Crown XTI6002 1200 Watt, or the incredibly powerful Behringer iNuke NU12000. All of these feature balanced XLR and TRS connectivity, and enough potential to get the job done without experiencing distortion at high SPLs.
If you are a gigging musician or DJ, then the Musysic SYS-2000 2-Channel, Crown XLS1002, and the Peavey IPR2 3000 Watt are all highly recommended models. Although they are pretty basic when it comes to features, all are robust enough to handle the technical demands and knocks associated with touring. Use one of these in conjunction with a rack mount DSP reverb unit and limiter, and this could be all you need to power the backline in a small to medium-sized venue.
February 28, 2019:
The QSC PLD 4.5 climbed up a few spots toward the top of our list mainly due to its forward-thinking inclusion of a screen that's capable of displaying a litany of useful information. Further down the list, both the Behringer iNuke and the other QSC model were upgraded with more powerful options than we'd previously included, each of which is just as feature-rich — if not more so — than our old selection.
Jan-Al Custom Rack Cases If you are daisy-chaining several amplifiers in series or using additional outboard rack gear in your live performance, studio, or home theater setup, then a tailor-made custom rack case will protect your system, assist with portability, and can be made to perfectly accommodate your equipment without excess bulk. This Los Angeles-based firm makes rack cases with 18- to 22-inch rail-to-rail widths and with any depth you require, with and without lids and casters, and with all hardware included. janalcase.com