Everybody knows if you want decent bass in your car, you need a big enclosure and a ton of power, right? Well, the people at JL Audio may disagree. You see, they have decades of experience in putting high performance woofer systems in all kinds of cars and trucks, including those with really tight spaces. To that end, they have developed a series of products called “Ported PowerWedges.” This series of products combine specifically designed vented enclosures with the most appropriate woofer, and produce higher than average performance from very small spaces. These systems are much more than just a small box with a woofer screwed into it. The system we’re looking into this time around is the JL Audio CP108LG-W3v3 which uses a single 8W3v3 woofer, and retail price around $240 (USD).
The JL Audio CP108LG-W3v3 subwoofer system is very compact, measuring only 18-5/8 inches wide, 11-3/16 inches high and 5-1/8 inches deep. Some amplifiers are bigger! In that tiny package however, is a clever design packed with quality workmanship. Every PowerWedge enclosure is finished and inspected by hand at JL Audio’s Florida-based facility, so you can be sure things are right when it gets put in the carton.
The exterior of the enclosure is covered very nicely in black automotive carpet, and thoughtful touches like heavy duty terminals with 5 way binding posts add to the sense of quality. The woofer is securely mounted on the front panel with 8 screws, and comes complete with a removable steel mesh grille. The slot-vent for the system is on the upper edge of the end panel of the enclosure and features a flared end at the output to reduce air turbulence and port noise.
By using the high performance JL Audio W3v3 woofer, the system’s power handling is rated at 250 watts. Of course, I had to remove the woofer from the enclosure and check out the construction, and was impressed with what I found. To minimize the mounting depth, the enclosure is constructed of 3/8-inch MDF, but lest you think that’s not thick enough for a good enclosure, I should explain that great care was taken to design and build the enclosure with special internal braces that stiffen and add tremendous strength to the design (see photos). The interior of the enclosure is also lined with polyfill to improve performance and “trick” the woofer into thinking it’s in a larger air volume than it actually is. Polyfill stuffing also helps to reduce sonic colorations and can in some cases improve overall efficiency slightly.
The 8W3v3-4 subwoofer utilizes a special mineral-filled polypropylene cone and comes complete with a distinctive JL Audio medallion. A patented design improves the surround to basket junction, and reduces the stress loading of the rubber surround during cone movement, for increased reliability and more consistent output. The 8W3v3-4 woofer also uses JL Audio’s exclusive voice coil cooling feature, which dissipates heat away from the sub’s internal motor structure, thereby improving long term durability.
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