Pros / The series has very efficient speakers.
Cons / The model we tested received the lowest audio quality grades.
Verdict / The JL Audio Evolution C2 model performed very well in our comparative loudness tests, but its results in our audio quality tests were less impressive.
The Evolution C2 series car speakers combine silk dome tweeters with polypropylene woofers on steel-stamped frames. This series features sizes ranging from 3.5 inches to 6 x 9 inches, though it lacks a 4 x 6-inch speaker option. We tested the 6 x 9-inch speaker, the C2-690tx, and while its comparative loudness was good, its overall performance and power handling specifications just don't match up with its high-end price.
In our frequency accuracy tests, the C2-690tx was the worst performing speaker, receiving a C grade for it high- and low-frequency reproduction and a C+ for the midrange. That said, our tests compared the 10 best car coaxial car speakers under $200, so it still sounds better than most after-market car speakers.
The C2-690tx’s performance in the high frequencies was the most disappointing. Even at moderate volumes, the highs tended to grate across my ears, causing me to wince. Listening to this speaker for an extended period during testing (without adjusting the EQ band to minimize highs) gave me a headache.
The speaker earned its best marks for comparative loudness, which is unfortunate since the highs only get shriller as you turn up the volume. When we compared the C2-690tx’s volume to that of other speakers supplied with the same amount of power, it was loud enough to earn an A-, which means it’s one of the most efficient speakers we tested. This is expected, since it has a sensitivity rating of 93 dB. Only the Pioneer PRO, Infinity Reference X and Kenwood KFC speakers were louder.
Aside from its unimpressive audio quality, the JL Audio Evolution C2-690tx’s biggest downside is its power handling. It has a reported continuous power handling rating of 70 RMS watts and a peak power handling of 225 watts. Both ratings are among the lowest for a 6 x 9-inch car speaker. This means it can't handle as much power as most of its competition. Of course, this is less of a problem thanks to its excellent sensitivity, which means it doesn’t need as much power to reach ear-splitting volumes as most speakers.
The JL Audio Evolution C2 series includes a 6 x 9-inch car speaker with all-around unimpressive audio quality. While the C2-690tx’s high sensitivity rating proved its worth in our comparative loudness tests, its low power-handling ratings are a concern, especially for speakers that are this expensive. Essentially, the C2 series features high-end coaxial car speakers that lack the audio quality of the best models out there.