Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
JL Audio has one of the best reputations among audiophiles, and for good reason. JL Audio speakers and subwoofers produce accurate audio at every level. The JL Audio W1v3 car subwoofers are no different. The low-end bass is crisp and round. Unless you install these subs on a ported enclosure to get that big and punchy bass sound, you won't hear any distortion. This makes the 12-inch subwoofer and 10-inch subwoofer ideal for listening to genres with defined bass, such as jazz, reggae, funk and classical. They also perform well with genres such as punk rock, metal and hip-hop, where the bass typically sounds big and thunderous.
The frequency response range extends to 22Hz, which is only 2Hz above what the average human can hear. For reference, the lowest note on a piano is about 27Hz. Most music doesn't reach much below 27Hz unless it uses electronic keyboards, which can produce frequencies well below the range of human hearing. The highest frequency response is 200Hz. This covers the fundamental audio you hear in kick drums and bass guitars, which makes a dramatic improvement in your car audio experience because it fills in those frequencies you feel when you're at a live concert.
Much like the Rockford Fosgate Punch, the biggest flaw to the JL Audio W1v3 is the 86.1dB sensitivity. This is 10dB less than the Pioneer Champion, which is the best subwoofer we reviewed. This means that the W1v3 subwoofer needs approximately 100 watts to produce the same volume as a 96dB subwoofer using less than 12 watts. You can still get these subwoofers to kick hard; you just have to use a lot more power.
The continuous power handling is 300 watts, which is slightly below the average among the car subwoofers we reviewed. The peak power handling is only 600 watts, which is the lowest in our lineup. In addition, while the peak is 600 watts, you void the warranty if you exceed 300 watts. JL Audio recommends that you keep the power around 174 to 200 watts. This is plenty of power to produce enough volume to greatly improve your car audio, but you need a more substantial subwoofer if you want everyone to know you're coming down the road.
The JL Audio W1v3 car subwoofers provide accurate low-end reproduction with clear bass, making them an excellent addition if you're more concerned about quality than volume. The low sensitivity and power-handling ratings means you can't push these subwoofers very much before experiencing distortion or damage.