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.
If you're looking for a car subwoofer that sounds punchy, then the Rockford Fosgate Punch subwoofers will get your attention, for obvious reasons. With a name like "Punch," there's no hiding the purpose behind these subwoofers – the deep Kevlar reinforced paper cone is designed to punch the air, creating thunderous bass notes to fill out your music. The downside to the audio quality is that it doesn't provide a well-rounded and clear bass note. So while you get big and punchy bass, the bass notes aren't clearly defined. That said, the Punch series is the most versatile subwoofer series that we reviewed, with sizes for all types of installations.
The frequency response range for the 12-inch subwoofer is 27Hz to 250Hz. The 10-inch subwoofer only reaches as low as 31Hz. While the high frequencies will overlap with your car speakers, the low frequency response doesn't reach as low as the best subwoofers. In addition, since the woofer provides a punchy low-end, you will hear some distortion when you really push the speakers to their continuous power-handling limit. If you're looking for a subwoofer that will rattle the windows of cars next to you on the road, you'll like the distortion. If you're looking for low-end that has a clearly defined shape, you probably won't like the distortion.
One of the best features of the Rockford Fosgate Punch 12-inch subwoofers is the 400-watt continuous power handling with a peak of 800 watts. While this isn't the best continuous power-handling rating available in our car subwoofer reviews (Pioneer Champion and Kicker CompRT share that distinction), it's better than most subwoofers. Since the purpose of a subwoofer is to move large amounts of air to create low frequencies, they require a lot more power to operate than your car speakers. The ability to handle more power means you can push these subwoofers a lot harder than most without experiencing damage.
Unfortunately, you'll need the extra power because the sensitivity rating is only 86dB. For comparison, the best sensitivity ratings for a car subwoofer is 96dB. This measurement directly relates to the speakers ability to convert power to volume. It represents the decibel level recorded at one meter from the woofer using only one watt of power. For every 3dB increase in sensitivity, only half the power is required to create the same volume output. This means that the Punch subwoofers require much more power to produce the same volume as the best car subwoofers.
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If you want to get the most punch for the name, you want to install these subwoofers in a ported enclosure with a volume of 1.79 cubic feet. You get a cleaner low-end sound with a sealed enclosure, but the ported enclosure maximizes the purpose of the Punch subwoofer by allowing more movement of air.
The Rockford Fosgate Punch series of car subwoofers are great if you want a thunderous, punchy low-end to your car audio. This makes it ideal for listening to hip-hop and heavy metal. The continuous and peak power handling provides you plenty of room to push the speakers with a power amp, which you'll need because of the inefficient 86dB sensitivity rating.