3-channel car amplifier — 50 watts RMS x 2 at 4 ohms + 500 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms






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Our take on the JBL GTO-3EZ

by Buck Pomerantz

My system has plenty of power. Who needs an amp?

You might think you don't need an amp because you have a 400-watt system in your car, or because your new stereo puts out 50 watts a channel. But those are peak wattage ratings, which may boil down to 15 or 20 watts per channel, using the more realistic RMS rating. An amp sends your speakers the power they need to deliver your music with clarity and impact, whether you're using factory speakers or high-performance components. And low-frequency reproduction requires lots of power, so an amp is an absolute must if you're adding a sub to your system.

Efficient power for your music always set correctly
JBL's compact GTO-3EZ 3-channel amp will drive each of your front speakers with 50 watts RMS, while driving your subwoofer with up to 500 watts RMS, bringing exciting, visceral impact to the music in your car. Or, bridged in 2-channel mode, it can run a center channel speaker with up to 150 watts, to go along with that 500 watts RMS for the sub. This amp looks very cool with its "old-school" styling, and JBL includes a few innovations that really separate this amp from the others.

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Simple Setup System for setting amp gain
One of the biggest problems with installing an amplifier is setting the gain properly. JBL has come up with a foolproof method for getting it right, ensuring full-power performance and distortion-free play. Using test tones on the included setup CD, you adjust the gain knob until the yellow light or the red light goes off, and the green "Gain OK" light comes on — it's that simple. You'll never have to worry again about your amp "clipping" the signal, and possibly damaging your speakers or subs.

Plays well with factory radios
This GTO amp comes with screw-on bare wire-to-RCA adapters that let you hook up the amp, using your car's factory speaker wiring to supply the input signal. In some vehicles, the factory radio shuts down when you try to tap into the speaker wires, displaying a "no speakers are present" message. This amp features a special circuit that fools those factory radios by simulating a speaker load. The onboard crossovers and bass boost let you fine tune the system to perfection, and the large recessed knobs mean you don't need a tiny screwdriver to make your adjustments.

GTO-3EZ input panel


  • 3-channel car amplifier
  • 50 watts RMS x 2 at 4 ohms + 350 watts RMS x 1 at 4 ohms
  • 75 watts RMS x 2 at 2 ohms + 500 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms
  • 150 watts RMS x 1 bridged at 4 ohms + 500 watts RMS x 1 at 2 ohms
  • CEA-2006 compliant
  • variable high-pass filter on front channels (40-220 Hz, 12 dB/octave)
  • variable low-pass filter on subwoofer channel (40-280 Hz, 12 dB/octave)
  • variable bass boost on sub channel (0-18 dB at 40 Hz)
  • Simple Setup System with test tone CD for perfect gain setting
  • optional wired remote bass level controller available soon
  • preamp and speaker-level inputs (speaker wire-to-RCA adapters included)
  • switchable automatic signal-sensing turns on amp without need for remote lead
  • fuse rating: 35A x 2
  • 8-gauge power and ground leads recommended — wiring and hardware not included with amplifier
  • 11-15/16"W x 2-5/8"H x 9-11/16"D
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Features and Specs
RMS Power Output (Watts x Channels) 50 x 2
350 x 1
Peak Power Output (Watts x Channels) 1050 x 1
Power at 2 Ohms (Watts x Channels) 75 x 2
Bridged Power (Watts x Channels) 150 x 1
Minimum Impedance Bridged 4
Minimum Impedance Unbridged 2
Best Frequency Response 10-23000 Hz
THD at Rated RMS Power 1%
Signal to Noise Ratio 85 dB
Input Voltage 14.4v
Amplifier Class AB/D
Low-Pass Crossover Frequency 40-280 Hz
Low-Pass Slope (dB/octave) 12 dB/oct
High-Pass Crossover Frequency 40-220 Hz
High-Pass Slope (dB/octave) 12 dB/oct
Bass Boost 0-12 dB
Bass Boost Frequency 45 Hz
Fan Cooled No
Fuse Rating 70
Speaker Level Inputs RCA
Preamp Outputs No
Width (inches) 11-15/16
Height (inches) 2-5/8
Depth (inches) 9-11/16
Parts Warranty 1 Year
Labor Warranty 1 Year
Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • 3-Channel amplifier (two full range channels/one subwoofer channel)
  • Two 35-amp ATO fuses (installed)
  • 3 Speaker wire to RCA adapters
  • Setup CD
  • Warranty information
  • Owner's manual (English/ German/ French/ Spanish/ Dutch/ Italian/ Swedish/ Danish/ Finnish/ Korean/ Japanese/ Chinese/ Russian/ Polish/ Portuguese/ Turkish/ Indonesian)

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.



Multi-Channel Design: The JBL GTO-3EZ is a 3-channel amplifier, basically a 2-channel Class AB amplifier and a Class D mono subwoofer amplifier built into one chassis. The 2-channel section can be bridged, so the amp can be used as a 3-channel or 2-channel amplifier (in this 2-channel mode the output of the two channels is not equal).

CEA 2006 Compliant: The power ratings are measured according to the Consumer Electronics Association CEA-2006 standards. These standards allow you to accurately compare the rated power output of all CEA 2006-compliant amplifiers, even different brands. Manufacturers who adhere to the standards can display the CEA 2006 logo on their products and packaging. The power output is measured from 20 Hz to 20 kHz for the front channels and 20 Hz to 280 Hz for the subwoofer channel, using a 14.4 volt power supply, and with no more than 1% THD+N:

  • Front Channels:
    • 50 watts x 2-channels into 4-ohms
    • 75 watts x 4-channels into 2-ohms
    • 150 watts x 1-channel into 4-ohms (Bridged)
  • Subwoofer Channel:
    • 350 watts x 1-channel into 4-ohms
    • 500 watts x 1-channel into 2-ohms

Setup Disc: The included setup CD is used to optimize the input gain. A test tone is output from the disc and the Gain LEDs on the amp (green, yellow, red) guide you through adjusting the gain controls.

Note: The instructions in the first version of the manual indicate the radio should be at full volume when playing the setup disc; this is wrong and JBL is in the process of correcting the manual. The volume should actually be as high as possible without distorting the signal; this will be different for every radio, but approximately 3/4 volume is typical.

Auto Turn-on: The GTO-3EZ has a signal sensing automatic turn-on circuit; it will turn on whenever an audio signal is present at any of the RCA inputs. The amplifier will automatically turn off approximately five minutes after the input signal ceases. If you prefer to use the radio's remote lead, the auto turn-on feature can be turned off.

Crossovers: There are two independent, built-in crossovers. The subwoofer channel has a low-pass crossover that cannot be bypassed. The crossover point is continuously variable from 40 Hz to 280 Hz and the crossover's slope is 12 dB/octave. The front channels' crossover can be set to high-pass, low-pass, or it can be bypassed (run full range). The crossover point is continuously variable from 40 Hz to 220 Hz and the crossover's slope is 12 dB/octave.

Audio Input: If your radio has no line-level outputs, use the included adapters to convert the speaker wires to RCA and plug them into the amplifier's inputs. The input level switch has a Hi2 position, used to present a speaker load to factory radios equipped with a circuit that turns the radio off when an amp is connected.

Sub Routing Switch: The signal for the subwoofer amplifier channel can be supplied from the dedicated subwoofer input (single RCA), or from the front channel inputs (stereo RCAs). Set the switch to F (front) or S (sub).



  • Subwoofer channel:
    • Crossover Frequency: rotary knob; continuously variable from 40 Hz to 280 Hz
    • Input Gain: rotary knob (the gain LEDs are above the knob)
    • Bass Boost: rotary knob; continuously variable from 0 to +12 dB; boost centered at 45 Hz
  • Front channels:
    • Crossover selector: three position switch; high-pass, full range, low-pass
    • Crossover Frequency: rotary knob; continuously variable from 40 Hz to 220 Hz
    • Input Gain: rotary knob (the gain LEDs are above the knob)

Right Side:

  • Input Level: three position switch; Low, Hi1, or Hi2 (used only with factory radios having a circuit that turns the radio off when it sees no speaker load)
  • Sub Routing Switch: F (front)/S (sub)
  • Gain LEDs: on/off


  • Auto Turn-on: on/off


Left Side:

  • Power and Ground Terminals: set screw terminals; accept up to 4 gauge bare wire
    • Note: JBL recommends the power and ground cables be 8 gauge minimum. The recommended accessory list for the GTO-3EZ includes wiring kits with 8 gauge wire and either 50 or 60 amp fuses, but the amp has two 35 amp fuses (70 amps total), so if one of these kits is used a replacement fuse must also be added (at least 70 amps). If a 4 gauge wiring kit is used no additional fuse is necessary.
  • Remote Turn-on Terminal: set screw terminal; accepts up to 8 gauge bare wire
  • Speaker terminal: three pair of set screw terminals (for front left, front right, and sub); accept up to 8 gauge bare wire
  • Fuses: two ports for 35-amp ATO fuses (fuses are factory installed)

Right Side:

  • Audio Input: three female RCA jacks (left, right, and sub); compatible with a speaker level signal using the included adapters
  • Remote: RJ-25 jack (the wired remote is not yet available as of 2/20/12)

Product reviews from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Video: JBL GTO amplifiers

Video: JBL GTO amplifiers

by Zak Billmeier
Video: JBL GTO amplifiers

Zak got a chance to check out the new JBL GTO car amps at CES. Chris from JBL takes us through the line and shows us that no matter what you've got planned, JBL has a GTO amp for you.

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JBL GTO-3EZ Reviews

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5 out of 5

Impressive little amp!!!

Written By Todd D., Bristol, NH on Sunday, September 15, 2013
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
2000 Malibu, deck: CDE-141bt, Front speakers, Kappa 4X6 plates, Sub: Infinity 10" svc, 4 ohm, .75cu ft sealed, 8 gauge power kit, 4 channel rca. THe Kappa's are 2 ohms, so 75 watts for the front, and 350 watts for the sub ( Deck powered rear fill) The amp made that equipment really stand out! Incredibly easy to tune ( didn't use the disc, started around 80Hz and up for the kappas, 80hz and down for the 10, and adjusted it from there) Ample power, small footprint, and being 2 ohm stable front and rear, makes for an incredible choice!!! Optional bass remote, and 8 gauge power input, makes for a great choice, for a beginner set-up, or a small custom system.
2 ohm stability, small foot print, eq/crossover adjustments on the top for easy access, 8 gauge power in and ground.
My only issue, would be the sub rca input, is mono. But I just ran 4 channel Rca's, and capped off the un-used one.
2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

great little amp

Written By Jasonmc, Sykesville MD on Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
This amp is one of the best I have seen. I never run rear speakers and the 3ch design its perfect for me, as well as anyone with a small amount of space too. The setup CD is a good idea however it is noticably quieter thru the cd player, and even as a lossless file on my ipod. I use a JVC Arsenal source unit and id bet a Kenwood Excelon would allow for a better setup, but thats just opinion for now. I ordered the remote bass knob directly from JBL also. Overall, great power and sound quality...
Class A/B on front channels, class D on sub, great power and clarity, small size, doesnt strain electrical system like some amps with this type of power
Setup CD is quieter than regular cds or ipod, i setup the gains and played music only to have to readjust the gains turning them way down. I also dont like the control knobs, i like the "old school" style but thats my opinion... bass knob should be included, not $ additional.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
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