Last updated on September 26th, 2020 at 08:43 pm
When JL Audio introduced the VXi-series of amplifiers, it was clear that a revolution was underway in the car audio world. For the first time, tuning an amp was not possible without the free app. The amplifier has no knobs, buttons, or other typical tuning options. Instead, JL Audio introduced the TüN™ tuning system accessible on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. Installers love this amp and it’s tuning capabilities because when a customer's car is finished, the sound is unbelievably realistic. It’s also an incredibly versatile amp that can be used with factory systems, aftermarket head units and stock speakers or as the heart of a complete audiophile experience. The technology that's in these amps set them apart from the competition and continues to prove JL's excellence and dedication to R&D and design VXi-Series amplifiers. So much so, that they've made our list of Best Car Amplifiers.
JL Audio VXi Basics
The VXi-series includes a whole bunch of options to suit any setup. The line includes two monoblock amps (600 & 1,000 watt), a 2-channel amp (600 watt), a 4-channel amp (400 watt), 2 5-channel amps (700 & 1,000 watt), a 6-channel amp (600 watt), and an 8-channel amp (800 watt). That’s a lot of options for any line of amplifiers. Each of these amps is rated Class-D, but there is something different about JL Audio tech, as each of these amps features exclusive NexD2™. More on that in a minute. The entire line is amazing, but there are lots of amps out there that are also amazing. What really sets the VXi-series of amps apart is the way JL Audio got the tech to work together. Let’s dig into these amps a bit and explain why your music sounds so much better on a JL Audio VXi-series amplifier.
Technical Excellence that Sets VXi Amps Apart
We are going to start out looking at some features that make this amp wonderful to install. Each cable running to the amp has a port that connects a wire harness. The connections are simple and clearly labelled, taking all the guesswork out of wiring. The harness plugs in solidly. Power input can accommodate up to 4-gauge. The connections make it simple to mount the amp, then connect wiring. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a project easier.
RCA cables connecting your system can cause noise and interference, particularly in modern vehicles with numerous electronics. Sophisticated circuit technology allows the VXi amps to eliminate these unwanted frequencies on both balanced and unbalanced signals. Not only does differential-balanced inputs produce cleaner sound, it also allows for a wide range of voltage inputs all the way to 16 volts.
Triple-core DSP Processor by AKM
The secret to the superior performance of the VXi amps is the advanced DSP. JL Audio teamed up with AKM to produce a customizable processor that is incredibly powerful. This thing can handle multiple equalizer sets on each channel or groups of channels. On its own, the DSP is a tremendous advance in technology. Then, JL Audio gave users the power to take control of the DSP with the company's TüN™ software. They even made it possible to connect via Bluetooth and tune your system from your phone.
JL Audio TüN™ Takes Tuning to the Next Level
Instead of having little knobs to fiddle with, the VXi amps are compatible with TüN™ software. This is a free app that gives users unprecedented control over each channel and each frequency from a compatible smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The amplifier is capable of wireless tuning, but you will need to add a VXi-BTC Bluetooth controller to make it work. Users say there is a bit of a learning curve that comes along with the software. But once tuned properly, the amp performs exceptionally well and just how you want it to. Highs are crisp and there is no hums or hisses from these amp during silences (good grounds are always a must). The tuning software permits a digital 3-D theater surround experience. The level of tuning possible here is simply unheard of, and it begs the question – Why aren’t all amplifier companies copying the VXi? I'm sure like most innovation, fast-followers will soon enter the market.
How the VXi Sounds in Real Life
Now, we haven't tested one of these in person. We're hoping to get our hands on a VXi or an MVi (similar but marine version) soon so stay tuned. But, the pros over at PasMag.com got ahold of one of the VXi amps back in 2018 and put it through its paces. Gary Springgay wrote that the model he tested, a 5-channel, 700 watt JL Audio amp, exceeds rated performance on all tests on the bench. In fact, he said this one amp was powerful enough to drive an entire system on its own. Springgay said the VX700/5i he tested was able to reproduce a full choir singing over a full symphony accurately and with great realism. The amp did not display typical Class-D shortcomings, like high frequency harshness or added noise, but found neither.
Over at Crutchfield, one of the tech support guys upgraded his factory system with a complete JL Audio upgrade including speakers, subs, and the VX700/5i amplifier. The original equipment wasn’t necessarily bad tech, it just underperformed. Bass notes in the lower frequencies were missing and highs were shrill. After installing upgraded speakers from JL Audio and tuning the VX700/5i amp, he mentioned that the audio experience was transformed. The JL Audio setup provided deep bass, crisp highs and clean mid-range across different genres and frequency demands.
The Problems with the VXi Amps
This is where we are going to talk about the downside of these amps. A surprise to us is that even after discussing these amps with pro installers, major retailers, and JL Audio reps themselves, there just aren’t many issues to discuss. For example, many powerful amps encounter problems with overheating when they are driven hard. No one we spoke with has experienced problems with the VXi amps overheating. This is a result of the Advanced Rollback circuit among other things. This ingenious design allows the amp to roll overloading outputs back until temperatures subside. In most cases, the variation is inaudible to listeners, so you don’t experience your amp cutting out when the party's just getting good.
The biggest complaint about the VXi-Series of amps is the relative complexity of the TüN™ software. When using a smartphone, only some of the basic controls are available. A tablet offers a few more tuning options, but to get the most out of the VXi amps and JL Audio’s TüN™ software, you need to connect a laptop via USB to the amp. This connection allows for the full suite of tuning capabilities so that you can direct individual frequencies to specific channels or groups of channels, custom set speaker locations for optimal audio playback, and numerous other modifications. Of course, having to buy extra stuff to make it work is frustrating, but most vehicles these days will require a few adapters and wiring harness components to install virtually any aftermarket stereo equipment. Drivers of vehicles with push button start should do some extra homework to make sure this amp can be made to be compatible, since those ignition systems do not allow for a full power off of the amp when installed.
VXi Image Gallery
Here's some images of the VXi series amplifier. But if you want specific details or images for a specific VXi amp, click on one of the amplifiers in the list on the bottom of the page
Final Notes on the VXi Amplifiers
JL Audio’s VXi amplifiers are technologically superior to virtually all amps on the planet. The ability to fine-tune specific frequencies on specific channels is tech typically reserved for professional stuff. The inclusion of differential-balanced inputs ensures clean sound, no matter what you are listening to, and the Advanced Rollback circuit keeps the tunes going even when the amp is pushed to its limits.
The cost on these amps is high, no doubt about that, but what you get for that money is an amp that can easily transform your listening experience regardless of whether you are upgrading factory equipment or creating a complex system all of your own taste. Even after being on the market for several years, these amplifiers continue to put other brands on notice, and are a favorite of high-end installers. If you are looking for the one amp you need to power an entire audio experience, the JL Audio VXi-Series of amplifiers should be the first option you consider.
Browse the VXi Line of Amplifiers
Browse through the line of VXi Amplifiers and click on the one that you'd like more detailed specs and information on!