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Alpine vs JL Audio

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Alpine and JL Audio are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars, subwoofers and amplifiers.

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Alpine Quick History

Alpine Electronics, Inc. was established in 1967 as Alpine Motorola. This was a joint venture between the Alps Electric Company and Motorola. In 1978, the company name changed to Alpine Electronics, Inc. when the Alps bought all the Motorola shares. It is headquartered in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. The company makes amplifiers, speakers, subwoofers, and car tweeters.

JL Audio Quick History

James Birch and Lucio Proni started out making home speakers and components, the company they founded in 1975 was named JL Audio —from their initials. They produce home, marine, and mobile audio products (they are one of the earliest mobile audio pioneers), but are best recognized for their subwoofers. The

company headquarters is located in Miramar, Florida, and they have several award-winning designs and innovative technologies to their name.

Sound Quality

Alpine Sound Quality

Alpine produces a good professional range of speakers. Though the cheaper end may occasionally lack clarity and suffer from minor distortion, most speakers from Alpine have a very low level of distortion. JL Audio specializes in car audio products. 

The bass is however not as much and those who need thumping bass may need to add a subwoofer. 

JL Audio Sound Quality

JL Audio’s commitment to excellent quality is evident in all aspects of their products, especially the sound quality.

They produce products that have cool midtones, crisp highs, and heavy-hitting bass for bass lovers. The expertly engineered drivers and on-board DSP ensure a balanced and natural sound production.

Features

Alpine Features

The speakers bear varied features. These are:

Here are the main features of Alpine amplifiers

  • T.A.R circuitry
  • Thermal management control
  • Compact design
  • Adjustable gain control
  • Variable subsonic filter
  • Speaker level input

JL Audio Features

Here are some unique and enriching features that make using JL Audio devices a pleasant experience:

  • Digital Automatic Room Optimization (D.A.R.O.) flawlessly optimizes the sound to match the room’s acoustics
  • Advanced Digital Signal Processing for balanced audio reproduction
  • App support for iOS and Android
  • Up to 8-channel on the amplifiers

Build Quality

Alpine Build Quality

Alpine speakers have a premium and rugged build.

Alpine electronics

They use high-density polymers for speaker casing, and the cones are made from premium fiber instead of regular paper. 

Alpine stereos

Their car stereos are also used in some of the most popular and well-respected car brands across the world including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Skoda and VW.

JL Audio Build Quality

They make use of materials such as fiberglass-composite, aluminium and wooden cabinets to ensure enough rigidity to avoid audio distortion and ensure lasting use.

Gotham g213v2 subwoofer

JL Audio’s trademark handcrafted glossy and texture-coated finish only enhances the quality materials used above.

The premium drivers used in their devices are carefully produced for the excellent performance these devices display.

Ease of Use

Alpine Ease Of Use

Alpine speakers are generally small in size and easy to install. The SPR-60C, for instance, focuses a lot on improving performance in a compact size. As a result, they are built with neodymium magnets that are much smaller than regular magnets and deliver better sound quality. 

JL Audio Ease Of Use

JL Audio fits their device with several user-friendly features such as large backlit controls, bright LCD display with day/night modes on some devices. The installation is easy and brisk, especially with the use of their mobile app.

Cost

Alpine Cost

Alpine speakers fall into the mid-range and the expensive category, with very few Alpine products falling within the bottom prices. While you can easily get a cheap speaker with offers well under $50, even under $20 from JVC and Sony, Alpine speakers generally cost around $40 or higher.

JL Audio Cost

JL Audio devices deliver quality performance at affordable prices as listed below:

  • Amplifiers: $100 – $1800
  • Subwoofers: $70 – $2600
  • Speakers: $200 – $1600

Space Requirements

Alpine Space Requirements

As we mentioned already, Alpine speakers are compact and easily fit in small spaces. You can therefore enjoy music from Alpine even in small rooms without worrying about speaker placement.

JL Audio Space Requirements

The largest of JL audio devices are their floorstanders and hefty amplifiers. They have devices in both size extremes, and their products occupy just enough space as required for that device category. 

The Gotham g213v2 subwoofer measures 867 x 546 x 610 mm and weighs a massive 168 kg while the relatively smaller Fathom IWSv2 in-wall subwoofer measures 89 x 442 x 455 mm and weighs 15.9 kg.

Remote Controls

Alpine Remote Controls

Remote controls make listening to music a fantastic experience. Alpine remote controls such as Alpine’s compact RUE-4360 remote control give you wireless command of your Alpine stereo system from any position and distance.

Some of the actions you can perform with the remote control include: 

  • Audio processor adjustments 
  • Track repeat and random playback of audio files from USB
  • Subwoofer level up/down 
  • Defeat on/off to be able to apply tone controls using a separate EQ
  • Phone functions; include hanging up, picking up, or rejecting calls from paired smartphones 

JL Audio Remote Controls

JL Audio has several custom remote controllers for tuning and performing rudimentary control functions. The JL Tun Express and Tun Mobile are JL Audio‘s mobile apps for device control and tuning.

Connectivity Options

Alpine Connectivity Options

The speakers are built with various connectivity options that support different use scenarios. For instance, some speakers accept RCA wiring with older brands, while others, such as the Bluetooth Alpine speakers, can easily connect through Bluetooth pairing. The other connectivity options available include USB.  

JL Audio Connectivity Options

There are several connection options when it comes to a JL device. Some of the several options available are XLR, RCA, USB, optical, coaxial and auxiliary input, and Bluetooth and Wifi.

Power Range

Alpine Power Range

The speakers have a significant power handling ability for the price. The power output on the high-end Alpine speakers is 300 watts or 100 watts RMS. The low and mid range speakers deliver up to 150 watts RMS.

JL Audio Power Range

JL Audio devices can produce large amounts of raw power, which makes them the product of choice for outdoor use.

Compare the mind-numbing 4500W peak power of the Gotham g213v2 subwoofer and the equally exciting 2000W of the Fathom IWSv2-SYS-213 in-wall subwoofer. Most JL Audio devices lie within the 60W–4500W power range.

Frequency Response

Alpine Frequency Response

The type-S speakers operate within the frequencies of 80 Hz to 22 kHz while the R-Series respond well between 65 Hz to 29 kHz. 

JL Audio Frequency Response

JL Audio devices effortlessly cover a wide frequency range. Most of their devices tend to be bassy which is not a big issue, especially for the bass enthusiasts.

The Gotham g213v2 subwoofer has a frequency response from 19Hz -112 Hz. The more balanced M3-650 VEX speakers cover 100Hz – 25KHz. The frequency response spectrum for JL Audio devices is from 10Hz to 25KHz.

Conclusion

Alpine makes great stereos and a force to beat when it comes to mind-blowing head units. Its speakers offer quality and reliability even in the cheaper range. Also, the subwoofers have a good frequency response, good power handling, and are easy to install. JL Audio manufactures devices that fit into many use scenarios, and their world-class subwoofers are a great addition to any existing sound system. But most importantly, all these come at reasonable prices.

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