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Kicker vs JL Audio – Detailed Comparison

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

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

Kicker Quick History

Kicker, an American audio company, headquartered in Stillwater, Oklahoma, was founded in 1973. Many companies have tried to copy their square solo-baric L5 & L7 subwoofer over time but in vain. The Kicker is well known for making some of the most reliable and powerful amplifiers in the car audio industry.

The company boasts an excellent quality line of the full range and component speakers. Besides, they recently developed other home audio products such as Zune Dock and headphones.

Kicker traces its origin back to 1973. The company started as a two-person operation focusing on hand-building professional sound and musical instrument speaker systems. The company majorly manufactured products for churches, entertainment and auditoriums.

In 1980, Kicker Performance Audio built the high-performance stereo enclosure market. This was when Steve Irby – the founder and president of the company, developed the Original KICKER – the Original KICKER being the first full-range speaker box constructed mainly for automotive use.

Kicker introduced its first Kicker Solo-Baric subwoofer in 1992 and the first Kicker Solo-Baric L7 square subwoofer in 2000 It continues to release more audio products with increased innovation and training and skills development.

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

Kicker Sound Quality

Kicker produces excellent sound quality, though at a little higher cost. If you compare some of the best subwoofers from other brands with Kicker products in the same category, Kicker outsmarts many. The company continues to produce concert-like audio quality across a wide range with accurate sound and renowned bass.

Take Kicker 12” 800 Wall Comp VR, for instance. This is a cheaper product, easy to install, and delivers plenty of punch. With an RMS power of 400 Watts and peak power of 800 Watts, this subwoofer from Kicker can handle any music.

It has a higher sensitivity, good power handling capacity, and superior audio quality. It is, however, not quite as nuanced as a high-end subwoofer.

Therefore, although you might notice some sound distortion on some kicker speakers, it is generally a result of some external interference. Kicker speakers produce typically good quality sound, and the bass is ultra-clean.

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

Kicker Features

Kicker speakers feature suitable power handling devices that make them more likable. The car speakers especially come with average superior audio quality with superior low-end accuracy.

Whether you choose to listen to Kicker at its high volume frequencies or mid-level settings, the sound quality delivery and performance are always on top of its performance.

Let’s look at the Kicker CSC65 CS Series 6.5-inch performance features.

  • 200 Watts RMS Power per 2 pairs
  • 300 Watts Max per speaker
  • 5-inch 4-ohm 2-way car coaxial audio speakers
  • Polypropylene cone to protect against heat and sunlight
  • EVC technology for improved woofer performance
  • 5 inch PEI dome tweeters

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

Kicker Build Quality

Kicker speakers boast very good design and build quality.

NEW KICKER 43DSC69304

For instance, the Kicker CompQ subwoofer has a more solid build with a sleek appearance that reflects its outstanding build quality.

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

Kicker Ease Of Use

Kicker engineers put more effort into researching and developing skills to ensure their audio products are manufactured with the highest precision.

They understand that the speakers, for instance, are an excellent way to deliver sound quality for various uses by multiple users.

Therefore, the kicker speakers are built in a manner that makes them easy to use both at home and in the office. They produce excellent sound quality and will fit any form of use. Here are the benefits of using kicker speakers:

  • Usable on a wide range of applications
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent customer service just in case you face any issue with any kicker products

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

Kicker Cost

The average costs for Kicker products are listed below: 

Speakers: $10 – $1000

Amplifiers: $40 – $1000

Subwoofers: $40 – $1000

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

Kicker Space Requirements

Kicker has perfectly developed three new ultra-thin, down-firing enclosures known as TRTP-Series. You can purchase the enclosures both in-store and online.

They also come with a single 2-ohm terminal available in 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch models. The famous KICKER CompRT thin subwoofer alongside the reflex passive radiator permits bass upgrade without increasing the depth.

These kicker enclosures are barely five inches high and can fit anywhere from behind the pickup seat to behind the back cargo area of a hatchback. Also, the down-firing design makes it possible to include them in tight spaces and still be able to deliver peak performance.

Therefore, these and other kicker products are designed to fit in small spaces while still ensuring their performance is optimized for a better sound experience.

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

Kicker Remote Controls

Wireless remote control is a crucial feature of many audio products today. Kicker makes its products user-friendly by including remote control systems for hands-free management of your entertainment equipment.

Kicker KMLC remote control for Kicker LED marine speakers and subs is a special hands-free control system compatible with kicker TVs and allows quick toggling between programs without changing your sitting positions.

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

Kicker Connectivity Options

Kicker products are built with the changing technology in mind. They, therefore, accept a wide range of connectivity options.

Most Kicker speakers, for instance, will be able to connect to other Bluetooth speakers within their Bluetooth range. Below are some of the main connectivity options you can use with Kicker:

  • Bluetooth
  • USB
  • Wi-Fi
  • HDMI
  • RCA

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

Kicker Power Range

Speakers: Up to 480 watts peak power

Subwoofer: Up to 1800 watts peak power

Amplifiers: Up to 5000 watts peak power

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

Kicker Frequency Response

The frequency response of Kicker products is essentially wider. For instance, the Kicker 11 KB600W speaker works perfectly well within a frequency range of between 55 Hz to 21 kHz. However, some of the products have much narrower frequency ranges.

For instance, the Kicker 11HS8 Hideaway is built to operate within a frequency range of 25 – 150 Hz with a bass boost of 6+db at 40 Hz.

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

Kicker excels in many ways from build quality to sound quality. For instance, the speakers deliver very clear highs. It is, therefore, a very good option if you are considering upgrading your sound system.

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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