Advantages of a Selectable Impedance Subwoofer (JBL Series II & III)

When it comes to subwoofers, there are a multitude of distinguishing characteristics between them. Everything from size to build material, # of voice coils, etc. One of the most often overlooked factors is the sub’s impedance. Impedance can be a tricky subject but in this blog post I will discuss what it is, how it can affect your car audio system, and the benefits of selectable impedance.  At Sonic Electronix, we want you to be educated about car audio systems so that you can choose the right products that will satisfy your needs.

What Is Impedance?

Impedance is the measure of opposition that a circuit presents to a current when voltage is applied. In electrical systems, this resistance is measured in ohms. To get a better grasp, lets imagine a wide open freeway with no traffic (low impedance = low resistance). You will be able to travel faster and more easily because their are fewer vehicles on the road impeding your speed. However, when rush hour comes around (high impedance = high resistance), traffic becomes heavy and cars move slower and less easy. Much like these cars, electricity gets slowed down by too much resistance. Likewise, the lower the resistance, the easier it is for current to flow.

So, you are most likely thinking to yourself, “lower impedance must always be better right?” Not always. While at lower impedance levels you will be able deliver to the most power to your audio system, there are trade-offs. In theory, higher impedance will yield better sound quality but will be less loud. At lower impedance levels, sound will be more loud but will experience diminished sound quality. What does this mean for the customer? If you are someone that is into high quality audio at a moderate listening level, higher impedance would be the way to go. On the flip side, if you are the person that competes or just loves that car rattling bass, lower impedance would suit you better. Traditionally, only dual voice coil subwoofers were able to be wired to different ohm loads but companies like JBL have simplified this by adding a selectable resistance switch that allows users to switch between 2-ohm and 4-ohm loads. Here are the benefits of being able to toggle between higher and lower impedance levels.

Benefits of Lower Impedance Levels

If you go for a subwoofer with lower impedance levels such as 2 or 1 ohm, you will have enhanced projection of sound. This is because lower impedance equals much higher rates of power flow. While this will make the audio louder, it will result in a decrease in sound quality. This occurs because the speaker is required to work harder to maintain this flow and to project the sound.

Benefits of Higher Impedance Levels

If you run your subs at higher impedance settings such as 4 ohms, you actively slow down the flow of power. By impeding the electrical currents, there is less stress on your vehicle’s electrical system resulting in smoother operation. This means the music will not be as loud but you will get superb sound quality and clarity.

JBL S2-1024

The JBL S2-1024 offers car owners strong, tight and uncompromising bass. This beast of a subwoofer is capable of reproducing crystal clear and  bold sound for a studio-like experience, right in your car. In addition, this sub provides the convenience of selecting between 2-4 ohms of resistance without having to re-wire your whole subwoofer setup. No more confusing wiring diagrams. You can bet the JBL S2-1024 will deliver those bass lines with precision and power right through your body.

JBL S2-1024 10" Subwoofer with Selectable 2-Ohm or 4-Ohm Impedance
JBL S2-1024  10
  • 1000 Watts Peak power handling
  • 250 Watts RMS power handling
  • Polypropylene Cone
  • Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) Surround
  • Frequency Response: 30 - 175 Hz
  • Spade Terminals (Quick-connect)
$99.95
Buy Now!

JBL S2-1224

When it comes to resourcefulness and flexibility, JBL is is leading the way. The innovative Selectable Smart Impedance Technology gives users the ability to select a resistance that suits their system and listening style. So, how do you control such massive amounts of power? Simple. An exclusive, dual impedance switch allows you toggle between 2-ohms and 4-ohms allowing the user more versatility and variability in their system.

JBL S2-1224 12" Subwoofer with Selectable 2-Ohm or 4-Ohm Impedance
JBL S2-1224  12
  • 275 Watts RMS
  • Single 2 or 4 Ohm Nominal Impedance
  • 2.0 inch over-sized voice coil
  • Selectable Smart Impedance Technology
  • Spade Terminals (Quick-connect)
$99.95
Buy Now!

JBL Series II & III Selectable Impedance Explained

JBL S3-1024

JBL has set a new standard for convenience and versatility with the S2 and S3 series subs. The JBL S3-1024 sub includes all the same perks as its predecessor but with improved features. The over-sized magnet allows for maximum power and the aero-cooled voice coils channel air pumped from the sub’s cone movement for maximum airflow to avoid overheating.

JBL S3-1024 10" Subwoofer with Selectable 2-Ohm or 4-Ohm Impedance
JBL S3-1024  10
  • Peak Power: 1350 Watts
  • RMS Power: 450 Watts
  • Selectable Smart Impedance Technology
  • Oversized Aero-cooled 3.0" voice coil
  • Polypropylene Cone
  • Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) Surround
  • Frequency Response: 30 - 175 Hz
  • Premium screw-down terminals
$149.95
Buy Now!

JBL S3-1224

JBL is always pushing the limits and introducing new and state-of-the-art features and products to the car audio industry.  The JBL S3-1224 subwoofer offers users the choice of superb sound quality and unprecedented power and performance. The Selectable Smart Impedance technology intelligently optimizes power and sound quality while enhancing the sub’s overall potential with uncompromising performance.

JBL S3-1224 12" Subwoofer with Selectable 2-Ohm or 4-Ohm Impedance
JBL S3-1224  12
  • Peak Power: 1500 Watts
  • RMS Power: 500 Watts
  • Selectable Single 2 or 4 Ohm Nominal Impedance
  • Polypropylene Cone
  • Nitrile Butadiene Rubber (NBR) Surround
  • Frequency Response: 25 - 175 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 92 dB
  • Premium Screw down Terminals
$159.95
Buy Now!

Bottom Line

Whether you’re an audiophile or not, you will notice that songs possess their own unique sound. It would be impossible for a sub to hit all of the bass notes across all genres of music. JBL has addressed this matter by adding another level of versatility and convenience with its Selectable Smart Impedance feature. By allowing users to adjust their subwoofer impedance, users can now unleash the full potential of their audio system. Love your ears and your car by checking out these and more speakers at www.sonicelectronix.com today.

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