Kicker L7QB8 Subwoofer Review PASMAG 2

The Kicker car audio brand is known for innovative and high quality products, designed and engineered in Stillwater, Oklahoma. When it comes to getting quality bass in your car, Kicker subwoofers have earned a great reputation as one of the go-to brands in the car audio industry. Now they are introducing an entirely new concept for the Kicker brand, an ultra compact subwoofer system utilizing “Reflex Subwoofer™” technology. The new Q-Class woofer system is called the L7QB8, and is rated at 500 watts. The L7QB8 is designed to appeal to the sophisticated listener, or just anyone who wants quality bass output while giving up as little cargo space as possible. However, in almost every other regard, the $799.95 system is quite unlike anything else out there. In fact, the unique approach to design and engineering of this product earned Kicker a prestigious CES® Innovation Award.

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One of Kicker's most popular products, the L7 Subwoofer, adds a new series class to its lineup.

Features

As you may have guessed, the system is based around one of Kickers L7 square subwoofers. But from there on, everything is different. The eight inch square woofer is mounted in a solid aluminum cabinet, which has been seamlessly extruded to a thickness of 0.25” in one piece. There are several benefits to using an extruded solid aluminum cabinet. First it’s obviously very robust and durable, but it is also almost resonance free which improves sound quality. To further enhance sound quality, on the opposite side from the woofer, a specially tuned L7 passive radiator is mounted to augment the systems output. 

A passive radiator functions much the same way as a port would, but without port noise and allowing greater control over the tuning of the system.

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The woofer itself uses a cast aluminum basket with perimeter venting to ensure good heat dissipation, critical for high power handling. Further adding to the heat dissipation and power handling capability, a large ferrite motor assembly includes an integrated heatsink in the top plate. A solid (non-vented) extended pole piece is forged into the steel bottom plate of the woofer for high excursion. Electrical energy is delivered via a single spring loaded terminal on the woofer cabinet, to a pair of two inch, four ohm, copper voice coils wired in parallel for a two ohm amplifier load.

Following the same construction as the other L7 woofers, the cone is injection molded polypropylene, and is secured to the Santoprene surround with adhesive and stitching. The passive radiator looks identical to the driven woofer in terms of cosmetics viewed through the strong mesh steel grilles.

Measuring only 9.6 inches tall, 9.4 inches wide, and less than 11 inches deep, the system will fit almost anywhere. And it’s surprisingly heavy, weighing in at almost thirty pounds, with the woofer itself accounting for more than half of the total weight. A cleverly designed mounting bracket provides a solid and secure mount for the cabinet, and is included in the box.

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Listening

I connected the L7QB8 to my reference system and set my amplifier’s second order low pass crossover at 100Hz. The Kicker woofer system immediately impressed me with solid, well defined bass. One of the tracks I listened to at the beginning of my session was “My Maria” by Brooks and Dunn. The kick drum in this track is very well recorded, and has excellent definition. On a good system you can hear the attack as the batter strikes the drumhead, and the full, warm resonance of a properly tuned bass drum. The L7QB8 reproduced this very well, with good authority. Although the system is geared to the more “sophisticated” listener, I wanted to see how it would handle real bass-heavy music at higher volumes. After hearing tracks from Yello, Muse, and Linkin Park, while it may not fully get to the lowest octave or bounce quarters off your roof, the Kicker system will hold its own regardless of the genre. As my listening continued, I grew more impressed with the musicality of this unique woofer system, and noticed what a great compliment it made to my full range speakers. From hip hop to classical, rock to country, the Kicker L7QB8 simply reproduced the recordings I played, without strain or complaint. Even when pushed hard on bass heavy music at high power levels, it simply played on, and asked for more.

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On The Bench

Back on the test bench I measured the frequency response of the system and had a look at the impedance curve. As expected, the woofer system has very good output from about 40 Hz to over 200 Hz. In a vehicle, the normal transfer function will significantly enhance the lower registers as well. The impedance curve showed nothing lower than 2 ohms at any frequency. 

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Conclusion

Anyone who is searching for a compact, yet high performance subwoofer system would do well to audition the Kicker L7QB8 subwoofer system. The compact design will fit in almost any vehicle, and the 500 watt power handling capability provides great reliability as well as plenty of output for all but the most enthusiastic bass heads. For more information on this system and all the other Kicker gear, visit them online at www.kicker.com.

For more test reports, download the PASMAG+ tablet app for free from the App Store.

Kicker.com | @KICKERaudio | @Kickeraudio | KICKERaudio | Kicker

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