JL Audio Subwoofers Review: Best Models with Pros & Cons

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JL Audio is one of the most popular brands in the high-end car audio scene. But are they really as good as people believe? Let's have a look at the brand, their subs series and a few models to find out.

The brand

Founded in 1975 by business partners James Birch and Lucio Proni, JL Audio takes its name from the first initials of its founders.

Although they did not initially start out in the car stereo business (they were a home speaker system kit builder), they eventually became one of the preeminent sellers of high end car audio.

Their speciality was and has always been subwoofers for producing deep bass response, and they did a significant amount of the heavy lifting in terms of development in the early days of high end car audio equipment.

Two years after the company was founded, Birch and Proni went into business with a third partner, Stephen Seidl, setting up a retail location called Speaker Warehouse.

While they maintained their JL Audio business, the business grew under Seidl’s direction and flourished thanks Birch and Pironi’s development of new and innovative car audio technology.

To this day, they remain one of the top performers in the car audio industry, and their subwoofers are still revered as being some of the best in the business.

They manufacture runs of subwoofers for various power and audio fidelity levels, and though some may perceive them as being “too expensive”, these subwoofers never fail to deliver on JL Audio’s commitment to making the best sounding subwoofers on the market.

Check out their series of subwoofer products below:

JL Audio Subwoofer Series.

  • W7AE
  • W6v3
  • TW5v2
  • W3v3
  • TW3
  • W1v3

Car audio fans looking for JL Audio subwoofer performance at a price that won’t break the bank should definitely consider getting a set of W1V3s for their car audio setup.

They are highly stable, well built, and powerful performers when it comes to throwing bass in shallow depth applications at lower power.

W1V3 Subwoofer serie Review

If you aren’t looking to create a portable seismic event machine but still want to feel the beat of your music, the W1v3 is the subwoofer that will deliver what you are looking for.

They can be mounted with or without grille guards, and have some classy, aggressive style thanks to their aluminum dust caps emblazoned with the JL Audio logo.

The only thing “economy” about these subwoofers is their price point in the JL Audio lineup.

There is nothing “bargain basement” about their performance at all.

JL Audio Subwoofers Reviews

Here are our reviews for some of the most popular subwoofer setups that JL Audio has to offer.

Check these out:

1. JL Audio 10W3v3-4 10" W3v3 Series Subwoofer

When you want a good subwoofer kit in your vehicle that doesn’t require you to sacrifice trunk or cargo space, these are the best subs JL Audio has to offer that are purpose-built for just that application.

Check out what makes these such great subwoofers for smaller enclosure designs.


  • Sensitivity: 85.37 dB
  • RMS: 150 watts
  • Peak Power : 500 watts
  • Frequency Response: 32.9Hz
  • Impedance: 4-ohms

The Good:

Overall subwoofer dimensions are more compact than a lot of comparable 10” subwoofers, yet they still generate enough bass response to let you feel every beat while you are on the go.


Audio 10W3v3-4 review

They are an ideal balance between size and power without compromising on clarity or fidelity even when run at lower power handling.

The Not-So-Good

Maxing out at 500 watts means that these subs are not going to win any awards at basshead competitions, but they will definitely deliver the low-frequency performance most car audio enthusiasts are looking for in a customized system for personal use.



2. JL Audio 12W6v3-D4 12"

As these are one rung below the top of the line W7 car audio subwoofer series on the quality ladder, the W6 subwoofers deliver premium bass performance with an even higher fidelity of sound than the W7 series.

They have made it consistenly into our list of the best subs, and this model was rated very high into this list of the best 12 inch subwoofers.

It’s tough to beat the thunderous performance of these subwoofers even if you have them mounted flush within the vehicle in unique locations.


  • Sensitivity: 85.4 dB
  • RMS: 200 watts
  • Peak Power: 600 watts
  • Frequency Response: 26.919 Hz
  • Impedance: DVC 4ohms

The Good

Definitely the best bass performance in shallow subwoofer kit that JL Audio currently manufactures.


JL Audio 12W6v3-D4 review

These subs have excellent low frequency response and maintain their punchy clarity even at lower power levels.

They are definitely the product line for those who want a powerful subwoofer that they can easily mount without needing significant depth in their vehicle to accommodate bigger, more powerful subs.

The Not-So-Good

The impedance for these subwoofers means that they are more than likely to run hot during periods of heavy use at full power.

You will want to make sure that you and your system don’t overheat during use by allowing adequate cooling and ventilation.



3. JL Audio 12W0V3-4 12"

These are some truly beefy subwoofers that can pack serious punch provided you have the space in your vehicle. 

Some consider them to be “overbuilt” in terms of how much they can handle, but their superior performance speaks for itself.


  • Sensitivity: 85.64 dB
  • RMS: 75 watts
  • Peak Power: 300 watts
  • Frequency Response: 28.43Hz
  • Impedance: 4.280-ohms

The Good

These speakers are for those car audio fanatics that want bass to shake the ground as they pass.

They are exceptionally powerful despite their lower wattage output, and they can definitely deliver a thumping performance to make any bassheads heart happy.


JL Audio 12W0V3-4 Review

The Not-So-Good

These are actually really well built and powerful speakers considering their lower wattage and sensitivity rating.

However, their lower power rating does mean that you are unlikely to be able to compete in terms of sheer volume compared to other subwoofers that possess significantly more power handling.



4. JL Audio 12" 12W7AE-3

The premium, top of the line subwoofer for the car audiophile who wants the crispest, most thunderous bass that JL Audio has to offer.

These represent the best of of what JL Audio has to offer the world in terms of both quality and performance.

You will be hard pressed to find a better subwoofer in the consumer car audio market.

I previously called this sub the best 12 inch subwoofer of 2017 and I still stand that posture!


  • Sensitivity: 86.2 dB
  • RMS: 400 watts
  • Peak Power: 1000 watts
  • Frequency Response: 27.2Hz
  • Impedance: 2.47-ohms

The Good

There are so many good things to about these subwoofers.

Build quality is out of this world, and only the finest materials will do for the flagship of the JL Audio subwoofer line. In terms of raw power, these are as good as it gets at JL Audio.


JL Audio 12" 12W7AE-3 review

With 400-watts of RMS power handling and peaking at 1,000 watts, these subwoofers can bring some serious sonic devastation to your car’s stereo.

The Not-So-Good

It’s hard to criticize perfection, but these subwoofers do have one or two minor issues from a competitive bassheads point of view.

First of all, their peak and continuous power handling are significantly lower than the power handling most competition grade subwoofers can throw even at lower power settings.

While driving around town these definitely deliver the goods in terms of rock and rumble, but compared to many other so-called “boutique” subwoofer makers, these are definitely on the low end of the power scale.

If you want the best quality at a good price for made in the USA subwoofers, these are the best choice hands-down.

If you are looking to bring the heat at competition though, you may want to search from some more powerful subwoofers.



Final Thoughts

While some may decry JL Audio as not building powerful enough subwoofers, they are not concerned with maximum power handling, but rather with excellent performance as a whole.

If you are considering adding subwoofers to your car audio system, definitely find a JL Audio dealer near you and give them a listen.

You will be very glad you did.

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