In this article: We will provide an in-depth review of the features of the JL Audio W7 series subwoofers. This review is designed to help you understand and review the comprehensive features of the W7 subs.
Overview of the features of the JL Audio W7 series subwoofers
JL Audio’s W7 Series subwoofers are reference quality speakers that will find you at the top of most installers’ lists of the best car subwoofers to install (including our own!). They combine decades of research and experience with the latest materials and construction methods to produce massive bass that is clear and accurate, even at maximum loads.
The latest model of W7 subwoofers is called “10th Anniversary Edition” and was introduced in 2022. Functionally they are identical to the previous W7 models, but with a number of new looks that make this an even more impressive speaker.
The 10th Anniversary Edition differs from the previous subwoofers in the W7 series with the satin black powder coating of the basket, the glossy anodized clamping ring and the unique 10th Anniversary emblems on the cone and the terminals. If you’re looking at a bunch of ‘new’ W7 series subs and they don’t have these features, look at the previous generation. Because the Anniversary models are identical to the previous generation, there are no functional differences, so a non-Anniversary sub shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if it’s in new condition.
In order for the W7 Series subwoofers to handle the massive power that JL Audio demands from their speakers, the company’s engineers had to go to the drawing board and develop an entirely new cone design that could functionally withstand large cone movements while still maintaining the ability to accurately reproduce frequencies .
What they created is known as the W-Cone. In fact, the surface of the cone consists of two layers of mineral-filled polypropylene. The bottom layer is shaped like a W, giving the cone its name, and works the same way the supports on a bridge or the way unibody cars are constructed, so the final design is incredibly stiff yet light. The use of double layers makes the polypropylene cone significantly stronger than standard cones, allowing the speaker to take advantage of a removable surround that expands cone range while maintaining proper alignment of the cone with the engine structure.
JL Audio first introduced Dynamic Motor Analysis (DMA) technology back in 1997 and has perfected the design over the years. DMA uses Finite Element Analysis (FEM) to properly model the characteristics of a speaker motor under load. In addition, DMA allows audio engineers to perfectly match a speaker’s output to a specific range of motion to ensure the most accurate sound reproduction by considering the power flowing through the coil and the position of the coil and cone. The result is that the loudspeaker can be designed not only for maximum power handling, but for maximum performance over the entire frequency range. No other subwoofer on the market has such intense tuning to achieve maximum results.
These two technologies allow the user to lift the cone assembly and detach the surround from the speaker. The design allows the W7 Series subwoofers to utilize oversized cone areas while maintaining a (comparatively) small footprint. In fact, one of the first things that many people notice about the W7 series is the lack of mounting holes. The mounting holes are hidden under the bezel instead of hanging down the sides.
The design creates a clean appearance but also improves the performance of the speaker. By relocating the mounting points within the bezel, the speaker has better mounting stability while allowing for a massive bezel.
The design enables enormous deflection rates and ensures perfect symmetry between the diaphragm and the motor movement. The combination of OverRoll surround and FCAM technology allows the W7 series of loudspeakers to significantly exceed the power handling and performance of similarly sized designs.
Many subwoofer designs use a vented pole piece, but the design of the vent in the W7 is functionally different from other designs. Rather than allowing just one passage of air, the vented pole directs air movement through radially drilled vent holes that ensure proper air movement. The design allows the W7 Series speakers to have extremely high efficiency and the ability to quickly remove superheated air to prevent motor and voice coil assembly fatigue.
The frame also features a unique design that provides a path for airflow to greatly reduce the tendency of subwoofers to “hold” hot air around the motor, especially when box mounted. The design ensures that the top plate, often the hottest component in a subwoofer, is constantly subjected to a high velocity flow of cooling air. Reducing heat improves the sound and longevity of a subwoofer.
JL Audio engineers had to reinvent the wheel a bit when developing the W7 series. Because the speakers have large excursions, a special design of the connection cable was required to prevent the cables from being shorted out, touching the frame or spider, or being frayed by the constant movement of the woofer cone.
The flying cable design uses engineered entry and exit points while providing the ideal amount of deflection and preventing common problems. Some models in the W7 Series also feature fully sleeved lead wires to ensure there are no unwanted distortions or electrical shorts that can destroy a speaker.
The W7 Series subwoofers are sold in traditional 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch designs. For enthusiasts looking for the biggest and worst subwoofer, JL Audio offers the W7 in a massive 13.5-inch design.
The subwoofers of the W7 series are designed for use with a closed or ported loudspeaker box. They do not act as outdoor speakers. Minimum box sizes vary depending on which speaker you are installing.
- Sealed: 12.875″(W) x 12.875″(H) x 14″(D)
- Ported: 18.75″(W) x 12.875″(H) x 14″(D)
- Sealed: 14.5″(W) x 14.5″(H) x 15.375″(D)
- Ported: 21.75″(W) x 14.5″(H) x 14.625″(D)
- Sealed: 15″(W) x 15″(H) x 16.125″(D)
- Ported: 22.75 inches (W) x 15 inches (H) x 15.875 inches (D)
- Sealed: 16″(W) x 16″(H) x 18.875″(D)
- Ported: 25.875 inches (W) x 16 inches (H) x 17.25 inches (D)
JL Audio advises that the speaker design requires a minimum of 0.75 inch clearance between the back of the cabinet and the back of the speaker. Case dimensions are external and require a minimum wall thickness of 0.75 inch.
JL Audio engineered the W7 Series speakers to handle massive amounts of power while maintaining reference-quality sound. Performance varies by model, but all designs require a robust amplifier to function.
You should invest in a good quality Class AB or Class D amplifier designed specifically for the sub. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a list of our best amplifiers for your car audio project.
- 200-500 watts RMS, 3 ohms resistance
- 300-750 watts RMS, 3 ohms resistance
- 400-1000 watts RMS, 3 ohms resistance
- 500-1500 watts RMS, dual 1.5 ohm resistor
- The anniversary edition has special surfaces and logos
- Two-layer W-Cone technology made of mineral-filled polypropylene
- DMA tuning via FEM
- Removable foam OverRoll surround with FCAM technology
- Precisely ventilated pole piece and optimized cooling basket
- Durable design with flying connection cable
- Available in sizes 8″, 10″, 12″, 13.5″.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The only differences are cosmetic and include a satin black frame, anodized trim ring, and custom logos. The specifications, sizes, technologies and capabilities of the W7 remain the same for both models. They can be distinguished by the logos and the suffix AE at the end of the model number.
JL Audio W7 Series speakers have been tested and engineered to give you maximum power handling right out of the box. According to JL Audio, there’s no reason to run your subwoofer at half power to “wear out” the suspension.
The W7AE subwoofers are not recommended for outdoor applications and do not have built-in protection from salt, moisture and UV rays. If you’re looking for the best marine subwoofer, check out our list or check out JL Audio’s M7 Series, which has marine protection.
It’s hard to find anyone out there speaking ill of this subwoofer range. They’ve been dubbed “the best damn subwoofer” and numerous buyers have said it was a worthwhile investment. More importantly, many buyers report that the W Series speakers they bought more than a decade ago are still working perfectly.
Reviews state that the bass response is “tight, precise and amazing”. The volume is said to be very loud when used with a suitable amplifier and can shake the neighboring house. There have been no reports of significant problems with construction, sound, or reliability.
The JL Audio W7AE Series loudspeakers are among the most popular designs of all, as they combine the highest level of technology with proven engineering to produce a superior, reference-quality loudspeaker. Available in a range of sizes for the perfect fit, the W7AE speakers pack a real punch when paired with a high power amplifier.
This subwoofer has been at the top of our “best of” lists for years, and with good reason. We think you’ll have a hard time finding a subwoofer that performs better than the JL Audio W7AE series.