In this article: we will provide an in-depth review of the features of the JL Audio W7 series subwoofers. This review is intended to help you understand and review the comprehensive features of the W7 subs.
Table of contents
- JL Audio W7-series Subwoofers Feature Overview
- Key Features
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
JL Audio W7-series Subwoofers Feature Overview
The W7-series of subwoofers from JL Audio are reference-quality speakers that you’ll find at the top of most installers' lists of best car subwoofers to install (including our own!). They combine decades of research and experience with the latest in materials and construction methods to produce massive bass that is clear and precise even when loading maximum power.
The most current model of the W7 subs is called the “10th Anniversary Edition” and was introduced in 2022. Functionally, they are the same as the previous W7 models but have a range of new appearance additions that make this an even more impressive speaker.
Shop JL Audio W7 Subwoofers
The 10th Anniversary Edition can be distinguished from the previous W7-series subwoofers by the satin-black powder coat finish applied to the basket, the bright anodized clamping ring, and unique 10th Anniversary badges on the cone and the terminals. If you are looking at a set of “new” W7-series subs and they don’t have these features, you are looking at the previous generation. Since the Anniversary models are the same as the previous generation, there are not any functional differences, so a non-Anniversary sub shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if it is in new condition.
In order for the W7-series of subwoofers to handle the massive amounts of power that JL Audio desired from the speaker, the company’s engineers had to go to the drawing board and create an all-new cone design that could functionally withstand huge cone movement while retaining the ability to accurately reproduce frequencies.
What they created is known as a W-Cone. In effect, the surface of the cone features two layers of mineral-filled polypropylene. The bottom layer is shaped in a W, giving the cone its name, and functions the same way as the supports on a bridge or the manner in which unibody cars are constructed so that the final design is incredibly rigid, yet lightweight. By using dual layers, the polypropylene cone is significantly stronger than standard cones and allows the speaker to take advantage of a removable surround that expands the cone area while maintaining proper alignment of the cone with the motor structure.
JL Audio first introduced Dynamic Motor Analysis (DMA) technology way 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. More than that, though, DMA allows sound engineers to perfectly tailor a speaker's output to a given range of motion to ensure the most accurate reproduction of sound by taking into account the power running through the coil and the position of the coil and cone. The result is that the speaker can be engineered for maximum performance not just at peak power handling, but across the entire range of frequencies. No other subwoofer on the market features this level of intense tuning to achieve maximum results.
There are a number of unique features to the W7-series subwoofers, but perhaps none is as impressive as the combination of Floating Cone Attachment Method (FCAM) technology and the OverRoll Surround.
These two technologies allow the user to lift the cone assembly and release the surround from the speaker. The design allows the W7-series subwoofers to take advantage of oversized cone areas while maintaining a small (comparatively) footprint. In fact, one of the first things many people notice about the W7-series is the lack of mounting holes. The mounting holes are concealed under the surround rather than hanging off the sides.
The design creates a clean appearance, but it also improves the performance of the speaker. By relocating the mounting points inside the surround, the speaker has better mounting stability while allowing for a massive surround.
The design allows for massive excursion rates and ensures perfect symmetry between the cone and motor movement. The combination of the OverRoll surround and the FCAM technology allows the W7-series of speakers to significantly exceed power handling and output over similarly sized designs.
Many subwoofer designs use a vented pole piece but the design of the ventilation in the W7 is functionally different than other designs. Rather than simply allowing for an air passage, the ventilated pole directs air movement through radially-drilled venting holes that ensure proper movement of air. The design allows the W7-series speakers to have extremely high efficiency and the ability to remove super-heated air quickly to prevent fatigue of the motor and voice coil assembly.
The frame also incorporates a unique design that provides a pathway for air flow to significantly reduce the tendency of subwoofers to “hold” hot air around the motor, particularly when mounted in a box. The design ensures that the top plate, often the hottest component in a subwoofer, is constantly exposed to a high-velocity flow of cooling air. Reducing heat improves the sound and longevity of a subwoofer.
The engineers at JL Audio had to reinvent the wheel a bit when they designed the W7-series. Because the speakers have huge amounts of excursion, a special design of the lead wire was necessary to prevent the wires from shorting on each other, contacting the frame or spider, or becoming frayed from the constant movement of the woofer cone.
The flying lead wire design uses engineered entry- and exit-points while providing the ideal level of excursion and preventing common problems. Some models of the W7-series also include lead wires that are fully jacketed to ensure there is no unwanted distortion or electrical shorting that can destroy a speaker.
The W7-series of subwoofers is sold in traditional 8”, 10”, and 12” designs. For the enthusiast seeking the biggest and baddest subwoofer around, JL Audio offers the W7 in a massive 13.5” design.
The W7-series subs are designed for use with an enclosed or ported speaker box. They will not function as free-air speakers. Boxes will vary in minimum sizes based on which speaker you are installing.
- Sealed: 12.875”(W)x12.875”(H)x14”(D)
- Ported: 18.75”(W)x12.875”(H)x14”(D)
- Sealed: 14.5”(W)x14.5”(H)x15.375”(D)
- Ported: 21.75”(W)x14.5”(H)x14.625”(D)
- Sealed: 15”(W)x15”(H)x16.125”(D)
- Ported: 22.75”(W)x15”(H)x15.875”(D)
- Sealed: 16”(W)x16”(H)x18.875”(D)
- Ported: 25.875”(W)x16”(H)x17.25”(D)
JL Audio cautions that the design of the speaker requires that you provide at least 0.75” clearance between the back of the enclosure and the rear of the speaker. Enclosure measurements are external dimensions and require a wall thickness of 0.75” at a minimum.
Shop JL Audio W7 Subwoofers
JL Audio engineered the W7-series speakers to handle tremendous amounts of power while maintaining a reference-quality sound. Power varies by model, but all designs will need a robust amplifier in order to perform.
You should invest in a high-quality Class-AB or Class-D amplifier dedicated to the sub. If you aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve got a list of our best amplifiers for your car audio project.
- 200-500 watts RMS, 3 ohm resistance
- 300-750 watts RMS, 3 ohm resistance
- 400-1000 watts RMS, 3 ohm resistance
- 500-1500 watts RMS, Dual 1.5 ohm resistance
- Anniversary Edition features special finishes and logos
- Dual-layer mineral-filled polypropylene W-Cone technology
- DMA tuning via FEM
- Removable foam OverRoll surround with FCAM technology
- Precision vented pole piece and optimized cooling basket
- Durable flying lead wire design
- Available in 8”, 10”, 12”, 13.5” sizes
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The only differences are cosmetic and include a satin black frame, anodized trim ring, and special logos. The specifications, sizes, technologies, and capabilities of the W7 remain the same between the two models. They can be told apart by the logos and the inclusion of AE at the end of the model number.
JL Audio W7-series speakers are tested and engineered to provide you with maximum power handling right out of the box. JL Audio says there is no reason to run your subwoofer at half-power to “wear-in” the suspension.
The W7AE subwoofers are not recommended for free-air applications and don’t have protection from salt, moisture, and UV built-in. If you are looking for the best marine subwoofer, check out our list or the M7-series by JL Audio that feature marine protections.
It is difficult to find anyone out there who will speak badly about this series of subwoofers. They have been called “the best damn subwoofer” and numerous buyers have said that the investment was well worth it. Even more important, many buyers report that W-series speakers they bought more than ten years ago are still working perfectly.
Reviews indicate that the bass response is “tight, accurate, and amazing.” The volume when used with an appropriate amplifier is said to be very loud and capable of shaking the neighbors house. There are no reports of significant issues with construction, sound, or reliability.
The JL Audio W7AE-series of speakers is one of the most popular of any design around because it incorporates the highest level of technology with tried-and-proven engineering to produces a superior, reference-quality speaker. Available in different sizes for the perfect fit, the W7AE speakers pack a serious punch when combined with a high-performance amplifier.
This subwoofer has been at the top of our “Best of” lists for years and for good reason. We think that you’ll have a hard time finding a subwoofer that performs better than the JL Audio W7AE series.