Browsing Archive September, 2011

Battle of the Subwoofers: JL Audio W3 vs Alpine Type-R

Last week we discussed the differences between a Rockford Fosgate P3 subwoofer and a Kicker Solo-Baric L7, and focused on the features that set them apart from each other. In this week’s second “battle” we will go pound for pound with the Alpine Type R and the JL Audio W3. Both of these series of car subwoofers are considered high quality and never disappoint.

JL Audio 12W3v3-2


JL Audio is one of those companies that everyone knows by name. Even if they have never heard any of their drivers people will still tell you that JL Audio is considered one of the top companies in the car audio industry. Hard work and precision goes into all of their products and nothing could be more true about JL Audio’s 12W3v3-2 W3 series subwoofer. Many of the subwoofer’s patented technologies focus on the response and linear movement of the subwoofer, making it one of the most accurately precise woofers on the market today. While the W3 will sound great in a ported enclosure it was design to perform at is best in a smaller sealed enclosure, allowing the subwoofer to produce tight, crisp, and clean bass every single time. One of the coolest things about the W3 is that while other woofers suffer under lower power conditions, the W3 does not; in fact it will still reproduce clear and tight bass at multiple power ranges. The W3 is really the subwoofer that was designed for those who don’t want to miss a beat.

Alpine SWR-1243D


Alpine’s SWR-1243D Type-R series subwoofer is one of the most top rated subwoofers not only on our site but within the car audio world and for a number of very good reasons. With an RMS power handling of 600 watts, this woofer is able to really reproduce some hard hitting bass. Alpine’s patented High Amplitude Multi-Roll surround allows the woofer do deliver deep and clean bass. The Type-R woofer is known as a power hungry subwoofer meaning that it wants all the power it can handle because it was designed to play loud. One of these woofers is more than enough to make your car shake eliminating the need for additional woofers, unless of course you want more power and want the entire block to hear you coming. This woofer is able to combine SPL with SQ and a price that is more than great. Its ability to be a versatile subwoofer, really sets it apart from other woofers who are more proned to play better under one condition than the other.


Jensen VM Series Car Stereos

When it comes down to choosing the right car stereo for your vehicle, the Jensen VM series has something for everybody. The lineup features 5 single DIN models, and 5 double DIN models which are all loaded with different features. The single DIN VM’s feature a 7” LCD screen and are all priced in the range of two to three hundred dollars, while the VM double DIN models all sport a 6.2” screen and are priced in the range of two to five hundred dollars.

Standard Features Across The Series

Jensen has really one-upped the market with their high quality car stereos. Each head-unit has 3 sets of RCA outputs that can be utilized for adding multiple amplifiers into your audio system. These stereos are all designed to work with Apple devices, meaning you may plug in your iPhone or iPod directly into the front or rear USB connection and have full control of your music library through the controls on the head-unit. Additionally, CD’s, DVD’s, MP3, and WMA files are supported across the entire line of VM stereos.

The Style and Features You Want

The VM9214 is the most basic model of the series, available both in double DIN as well as single DIN. By purchasing separate Jensen modules, you may add on features such as Bluetooth or even navigation. The high end VM9424BT has built-in Bluetooth for hands free talk and for wirelessly streaming your music from your cell phone. The included navigation contains 11 million points of interest to ensure you will never get lost again. With each step up to the next head-unit in the series, you will get more and more features that will keep you driving efficiently and keep your passengers entertained.

Jensen Has What You’re Looking For

When you are looking for a new stereo for your vehicle, consider that the Jensen VM lineup will likely have the perfect product you are looking for. With an unbelievable amount of features, support of multiple file types, and audio quality that is superior to most others, these user friendly stereos can be the perfect solution to your aftermarket car receiver needs.


7 Common Car Audio Installation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Installing a car audio system for the first time can be a lot of fun. It can also be a great learning experience if something goes wrong and the installer has to figure out what happened. This blog contains 7 common mistakes first time installers make and how to avoid them.

1. Lack of Planning

Before you buy anything or pull off any vehicle panels, make sure to plan out exactly what you want. The better the initial plan is, the better (and easier) the installation will be. Ask yourself these questions to help you plan:

  • What do I want in my car?
  • What is possible to install in my car?
  • How much am I willing to spend?

These simple questions will help you have a vision of your upgraded car, provide a realistic outcome, and establish a budget for the project.

2. Not Disconnecting the Battery

Whenever you do anything with the electrical system of a car, always remember to disconnect the negative battery terminal. This will prevent an electrical short within the system and allow you to safely work on the car.

3. Mismatched Subwoofer and Amplifier

Installing incompatible equipment can cause all sorts of problems in a car. Aside from the possibilities of damaging the vehicle’s electrical system or ruining the new equipment, mismatched audio components don’t sound as good as they should. Double check the subwoofer to ensure that it is the correct impedance and configuration for the amplifier. Make sure amp does not under power or overpower the subwoofer.

Learn More! Read the Article “How to Match a Subwoofer and an Amplifier“.

4. Improper Ground

An improper ground can cause a wide variety of problems with an aftermarket car audio system. Typically, this is the first question that is asked when the Sonic Electronix techs troubleshoot a system over the phone.

Learn More! Read the article “How to Create a Proper Ground“.

5. Running Power & RCA Signal Cable Next to Each Other

To the first time installer, running the power cable and the RCA signal cables next to each other seems like a convenient and time-saving solution. In reality, this is a bad practice because it will create noise. The end result is degraded sound quality.

Learn More! Read the article “Wiring RCAs opposite side of Power/Ground“.

6. Not Upgrading the Car’s Electrical

The stock electrical system is not designed for the power demands of high-end aftermarket audio systems. When installing multiple or high-powered amplifiers, but sure to see if a new car battery is needed. Larger batteries can be installed to provide more power to the system. Another solution is to do The Big Three upgrade. That involves upgrading the wire under the hood to allow more efficient current flow to the electrical system, specifically the upgraded car audio system.

7. Not Using the Proper Tools

Tools can make or break the installation. Having the proper tools for the installation can save dash panels from snapping and prevent door panels from breaking. Spending a few extra dollars for a tool can prevent spending hundreds of dollars if the installer has to order a new part from the dealer.

Installing a new car audio system can be a lot of fun. However, that fun can be ruined when problems come up. Learn from the mistakes of others and follow the advice above. Following these 7 points will save you time, money, and a major headache.


Signal Processing 102: An Introduction to Time and Modulation Based Effects

Time Based Effects

Also refered to as parallel effects due to the way in wich the processed signal is mixed together with the original signal, time based effects extend the duration of audio signals relative to the original signals. The two main time based effects are reverberation, and delay.


Alesis Midiverb4
Reverb is simply a simulation of a natural reverberation of a room. The ambient sound waves that bounce around a room based on the rooms dimensions are reproduces by digital signal processing (DSP) either modeled from a convolution algorithm or a sampled impulse response. Prior to DSP recording studios had to use an actual room to record reverbs by reproducing an audio signal such as a vocal with a loudspeaker and recording it again with a microphone in the desired environment. These resulting track was then mixed back in the original signal. Reverbs are categorized by the way in which they are made. Smaller sounding reverbs are considered room or chamber reverbs while long echoing reverbs are refereed to as halls. Spring and plate reverbs refer to the manner in which the reverb is artificially created.


Alesis Midiverb4
Delays are echo effects that are mixed back in with the original signal to give space and dimension. Delay parameters include: time, (the actually delay time from the orignal signal to the affected signal), feedback, (the amount of affected signal that is reintroduced into the delay circuit). The individually instances of delay resulting from feedback are refered to as taps.

Modulation Effects

Modulation effects are composed of audio signals that are split into two or more signals, then mixed back together creating an effect based on the relationship between the two or more identical audio signals. The effects are created by phase anomalies resulting from the varying the time and amplitude relationships between the multiple signals. they can be across the entire frequency spectrum or select bands of frequencies. Modulation effects include: flanger, chorus, and phasers. Modulation effects are some of the more spectacular and dramatic processing effects that can be done to an audio signal but they can be reproduced with very simple circuitry and even simpler DSP (digital signal processing). Flanger effects are a very common and popular effect for guitars and basses. The term flanger comes from the original way in which the effect was created. By syncing together two reel to reel tape machines and recording the same signal to both, a flanger effect can be produces by playing back the tape machines in sync and dragging your finger with varying pressure across the flange of one of the tape machines. The resulting varying speed producing a phase anomaly that sounds like a jet fly by.


Imaging is an element of audio signals that are in stereo and is simply where in the stereo image the audio signal is placed and how it behaves. For example a tremolo is a popular guitar and organ effect that raises and lowers the amplitude of an audio signal to a set rate and depth. If you were to incorporate an imaging effect such as autopan, the signal will seem to dance back and forth, left to right in the stereo image while seeming to appear and disappear.


Battle of the Subwoofers: Rockford Fosgate P3 vs Kicker L7

Here at Sonic Electronix we are constantly being asked what subwoofer is better. This only becomes a problem when comparing two great subwoofers. At this point the word “better” no longer applies and instead it becomes which one is best for my application? This series will showcase two car subwoofers at a time, drawing out the features that make that particular subwoofer better for one application than the other. This will help you decide which woofer is better for you.

Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12


First up is the Rockford Fosgate P3D2-12 Punch P3 series subwoofer. This woofer is rated at 600W RMS and features multiple technologies that make a solid and great woofer. Double stacked magnets provide the driving force need for this woofer to really hit hard, while the VAST surround increases the effective radiating cone area increasing nominal efficiency and maximum output. This is what we call the “all around” woofer, great for those who want accurate and loud bass. This woofer will offer clean bass that isn’t too punchy but still provides a nice reproduction of lower frequencies. This type of woofer is perfect for those who listen to music with a faster beat.

Kicker Solo-Baric 11S12L72


Unlike the P3 the Kicker 11S12L72 Solo-Baric L7 subwoofer was made more for SPL than SQ. Rated at 750W RMS, this woofer is able to handle a bit more than the P3, giving you a much louder bass. Its unique square design gives the woofer more surface area which allows for more air movement and thus a louder sounding bass. The L7 also has a lower frequency response which allows it to have a more resonant lower frequency reproduction. This is the kind of woofer you want when listening to music with deep bass, such has Rap and Hip-Hop. That type of music has elongated lower notes that are often missed with other woofers but not with the L7.

In conclusion the P3 is best for those who want a woofer with more sound quality features, while the L7 is best for those who want a woofer with more deep bass features. Both woofers are top-notch woofers within the car audio industry that will provide both bass and quality but will perform better when applied to their specific application.

Want to learn more about subwoofers? Check out our Learning Center!

Sonic Electronix Knowledge Base