JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofers - 8, 10 And 12-Inch Subs Reviewed

Do you want to upgrade your car speakers and get that bass-booming effect that takes over your vehicle, but don’t know where to begin?

The answer is: right here & now!

Most car speakers do not reproduce bass well. And it’s needless to say that high-quality bass brings the whole listening experience to another level. Even if you’re not a rich bass junkie, you might want to consider upgrading this fraction of your car audio equipment.

It seems that powerful bass always requires large speakers. So, how do you implement it in a limited space on your car doors?

With shallow mount subwoofers that easily and snugly fit wherever you need them to.

When you crank up your speakers with one of the JL Audio shallow mount subwoofers, your ears will be graced.

But, in the sea of different models, which ones to get? No worries; here are JL Audio shallow mount subwoofers (8, 10 and 12-inch) subs reviewed for your convenience!

Last Updated: September 1, 2021

By Barry Allen: This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information regarding JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofers currently available on the market. The best 5 available have changed, and information has been added to assist individuals in finding the suitable JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofers. The FAQ has also been updated.

JL Audio Legacy

JL Audio came into existence in 1975. Today, it is one of the world’s most reputable audio vendors, side-by-side with Rockford Fosgate, Kicker, Pioneer, and others.

When you take a look at their assortment, it’s clear that they follow a simple philosophy: create superb products that contribute to a premium listening experience. Hence, their products are oftentimes a part of my top lists, and I believe that it won’t change any time sooner.

The JL Audio shallow mount subwoofers have multiple benefits for your car audio system:

  • Bolster the bass. As noted, this is the main purpose of subs - the bass undertone will be much deeper and pronounced when you install a sub.
  • Protect your speakers. Now, the importance of this factor is oftentimes overlooked. Your vehicle’s factory speakers can crack if you continue to push them at high vibrations and lower frequencies for a long time. Therefore, the subwoofers protect your OEM speakers from damage.
  • Fine-tune the sound. Controlling low frequencies does not only mean more powerful bass. It also means that subs channel those notes appropriately, which results in a much cleaner, crisp sound.

Current JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofers
 – Comparison Table 

There’s no subwoofer formula that will tell you what size of the sub is perfect for you. But it’s easy to determine which one will work better. Just keep reading!

First, take a look at my top three picks or JL Audio shallow mount subwoofers:

Product

Size

Power (RMS/Peak)

Frequency  Range

Sensitivity

Our Rating

Current Price

JL Audio 8W1v3-4 W1v3 8-inch Subwoofer Driver

JL Audio 8W1v3-4 W1v3 8-inch Subwoofer Driver

8’’

Mounting depth: 3-⅞’’

150/300 watts

25-250 Hz

81.8 dB

90/100

JL Audio 10TW3-D4 10" 400W Dual 4 Ohm Thin-Line Component Car Subwoofer

JL Audio 10TW3-D4 10

10’’


Mounting depth: 3-¼’’

125/400 watts

24-200 Hz

82.10 dN

94/100

JL Audio 12TW3-D4 12" 400W Dual 4 Ohm Thin-Line Component Car Subwoofer

JL Audio 12TW3-D4 12

12’’


Mounting depth: 3-¼’’

200/400 watts

22-200 Hz

84.8 dB

92/100

8-Inch JL Audio Subs

This is the smallest size of subs that JL Audio produces, and also the cheapest one.

A rule of thumb is that smaller subs are less powerful than the bigger ones, which is oftentimes true. In that case, people sometimes use amplifiers to get the most of their capacity.

But reputable brands like JL Audio manage to pack a tremendous amount of features into their tiny size. Therefore, 8-inch JL subs can compare with many larger subwoofers from other companies.

Generally, 8-inch subs require less power to play (and vice-versa, give less power), so they are good for your car battery. This means that the whole system will be able to play at a consistent level without too much effort and/or drains.

Naturally, these are the most compact of the bunch, which implies you can mount them in more places than larger subwoofers. If space is the problem, definitely go for an 8-inch sub. They’ll fit into any factory location dedicated to your sub.

JL Audio 8W1v3-4 W1v3 8-inch Subwoofer Driver
- Best 8-Inch JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofer -

best sub under $200 - Yamaha 10" Powered Subwoofer
Our Rating: 90/100

Do not let the minuscule size fool you.

If you hear the bass coming from this JL Audio subwoofer, you’ll never guess that it’s coming from an 8-inch sub. That’s how powerful it is.

The Design

The miniature design does not mean that the JL Audio 8W13-4 is not durable; quite the contrary. The mica-filled cone is sturdy, and the nitrile-butylene rubber surround accounts for additional protection.

They call this design “Trickle Down Technology,” which is famous for its fine layering.

There are no grilles, and the speaker element will look great in your car’s interior, with the recognizable JL Audio logo in the middle, encircled by glossy highlights.

And owing to its compact size, it can fit anywhere without the need to drill additional holes or something like that. To get the most of its bass, you can add it to the dedicated space for speakers in your car doors, or you can use it as an underseat sub.

Technically, you could also put it in your trunk, but it’s less powerful than typical trunk subs.

The Performance

The numbers are pretty impressive for the size. It sports 150 Watts of RMS and 300 Watts of peak power, the frequency range is 25-250 Hz, and sensitivity is 84.8 dB. This is all above average for 8-inch subs.

But the real reason why it made it to the top 3 JL Audio shallow mount subs is how it performed.

It can produce high volume for hours, and what is more important, the sound and bass will remain stable and clear during the whole reproduction.

The 4-Ohm impedance is energy-saving at any volume control setting, which means this sub won’t significantly drain your car’s battery.

I found that it performs best in fast-paced genres with more BMP, such as techno, country, house, etc.

Pros

  • Easily mounted in tight spaces
  • Excellent replacement for OEM speakers
  • Clean sound
  • Affordable
  • Plenty of power for its size
  • Energy-efficient

Cons

  • Might not produce bass loud enough for some users who prefer a more powerful output
  • Aren’t waterproof

10-Inch JL Audio Subs

If there is a happy medium and the middle ground of subwoofers, then it is a 10-inch sub.

They are just the perfect size to fit them pretty much anywhere - say, as underseat subwoofers or in the doors - and yet, they can blast out more power than smaller ones.

These well-rounded subs bring your beats to life regardless of the genre. I tested it with jazz, pop, rock, metal, and techno, and it performed equally well.

In comparison to the smaller subwoofers, they produce more bass and perform better at lower frequencies.

Also, based on my considerable experience, I can attest that 10-inch subs are suitable for all kinds of vehicles, from smaller cars to trucks and SUVs.

Therefore, this size of shallow mount subwoofers does not really condition you to make any compromises, unlike the other two. It’s universal!

JL Audio 10TW3-D4 10" 400W Dual 4 Ohm Thin-Line Component Car Subwoofer
- Best 10-Inch JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofer -

best subwoofers under 200 - budget pick is Polk Audio PSW10
Our Rating: 96/100

This 10-inch sub is a jack of all trades - AND a master of them all.

JL Audio has managed to produce a model that packs enough power while still staying among the most compact subs out there.

The Design

The JL Audio 10TW3 features the Concentric Tube Technology, which means that the suspension system supports the voice coil for the most durable build. Lucio Proni from JL Audio himself patented this system in 1996, and they have continued to implement it since.

Made of a cast alloy frame, this sub is virtually indestructible. It is enhanced with the rubber surround for smooth transitions.

The design also has the patented Floating Cone Attach Method, which adds to the flexibility of the sub, as you easily direct it toward any direction that you wish.

As there’s no pole vent, you can mount it really close to the wall of the enclosure.

The Performance

Overall, the JL 10TW3 delivered excellent bassy output and enhanced the volume.

The Xmax, aka how far the sub moves back and front when producing the bass wave, is 0.60 inch, which paints you a general picture of how it performs.

Due to the optimized DMA system, the air moves linearly, for complete control of the sound.

The sub can handle up to 200 Watts of continuous power, whereas the peak is 500 Watts.

Bright tones at both low and high frequencies (its range is 24-200 Hz) are distortionless with hard-hitting bass.

They do not come with a grille, but I also tried it out with a matching grille by JL Audio that you can purchase separately. 

The difference is minimal. The grille slightly enhances the clarity of the sound, but without it, the bass is louder. Plus, the sleek JL Audio logo really adds to the interior of your car.

Pros

  • Suitable for a variety of vehicle types
  • Clear sound
  • Best value for the price
  • Enhances the bass efficiently
  • Mounts in a breeze
  • Reliable performance

Cons

  • None here!

12-Inch JL Audio Subs

Is loud bass your jam? Then go for the 12-inch JL Audio subs.

Just keep in mind that it’ll be more difficult to mount them in your vehicle. 

You may need to drill additional holes, though the fact that they are shallow still saves up a bit of space. A good place to put your 12-inch subs is in the trunk, as it is spacious, and the power of the sub will be enough to fill the whole vehicle with deep bass.

Also, bigger subs have higher power outputs. What’s the potential problem? They may drain your car battery.

But if you have a large bass appetite, these are sure to satisfy it. 

Any frequency won’t be a hurdle. It will be able to pull off everything - from slow-paced blues beats to hard rock, though it’s not the best choice for fast genres because it takes more time to draw the power.

A pro tip: If your car speaker is factory or not very powerful, I suggest you stick to 8 or 10 inches. A 12-inch sub can seriously damage it, as it moves larger volumes of air than your OEM speaker can handle.

JL Audio 12TW3-D4 12" 400W Dual 4 Ohm Thin-Line Component Car Subwoofer

- Best 12-Inch JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofer - 

BIC America F12 - #3 contender for the title "Best Subwoofer Under 200"
Our Rating: 92/100

If you are looking for a sub that will rise to the challenge of bringing bigger and heavier bass to your car, the JL Audio 12TW3-D4 is the one.

It exhibits unparalleled characteristics on numerous fronts.

The Design 

The all-black design never goes out of style, and JL Audio matched it with silver highlights and logo to make it look modern.

One of the most durable materials for the cones is the cast alloy frame, and JL used it for this model, too.

Another signature of theirs is the mica-filled cone with rubber surround. What they call a “Thin-line Technology” compresses the architecture of the JL Audio 12TW3-D4 so that it stays as compact as possible even though it’s larger.

Just like in the 10-inch JL Audio subs, the manufacturers utilized the revolutionary Floating Cone Attach System so that you can position them according to your preference.

The Performance

These are the subwoofers you turn to when you imagine that earth-shattering bass that will make your vehicle vibrate with each beat.

Due to the sensitivity of almost 85 dB, it will take a little more power, but it won’t easily distort the sound.

As it only possesses a single voice coil, it limits the number of additional wiring amps. But this is not a significant drawback, considering the fact that it sports a 4-Ohm impedance, which can accommodate a great variety of amplifiers.

Because of their size and power, they are the best candidates for trunk subwoofers.

But if you wish, you can fit them under a seat provided that you make a custom box for them. You’ll only need around 3.5 inches of depth at maximum, but keep in mind that its diameter is slightly bigger than a typical 12-inch sub, based on what I’ve seen.

Pros

  • Highly sensitive
  • Can play at high volumes for a long time
  • Low-profile
  • Sleek design
  • Powerful output
  • Sturdy build

Cons

  • Isn’t cost-efficient
  • Mounting in tight spaces can be an issue

JL Audio Shallow Mount Subwoofers: FAQ

Before you get yourself a JL Audio shallow mount, you might want to consider some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q: Which shape of shallow mount subwoofer is best?

A: The round subwoofers reproduce the bass most effectively and precisely, though the shape isn’t the paramount factor that influences the sound quality. Other factors and specs are much more important.

So, if square or triangular subs won you over, you can give them a chance.

Q: Do shallow mount subwoofers sound good?

A: Yes, they do! Besides the compactness and affordability, shallow mount subwoofers are able to bring out the best of your sound. You will really hear the difference in the bass quality when you install one.

Final Words

My recommendation for the best bass for your buck is the JL Audio 10TW3-D4 10" 400W Dual 4 Ohm Thin-Line Component Car Subwoofer. If you want to hit the perfect balance between the size and power, 10 inches is the way to go.

Of course, at other times, you may need something more compact, or you maybe want that extra bit of power. In that case, my recommendations are the JL Audio 8W1v3-4 W1v3 8-inch Subwoofer and JL Audio 12TW3-D4 12" 400W Dual 4 Ohm Thin-Line Component Car Subwoofer, respectively.

One thing’s for sure: JL Audio shallow mount subwoofers will deliver a thunderstorm of bass to your vehicle, regardless of the size.

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