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JL Audio E-Sub e110 and e112 Subwoofers Review

by May 05, 2014
  • Product Name: E-Sub e110 and e112 Subwoofers
  • Manufacturer: JL Audio
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarhalf-star
  • Review Date: May 05, 2014 08:30
  • MSRP: $ 1,500 e110 Black Ash ($1,700 Gloss Black) / e112: $1,900 Black Ash ($2,100 Gloss Black)
  • Buy Now

JL Audio E Series Specifications

10” (e110) or 12” (e112) JL Audio proprietary long throw woofer

¾” MDF cabinet, internally braced

Steel driver mounting flange forms the front of the enclosure

Amplifier: 1200 watts short term (e110) / 1500 watts short term (e112)

Frequency Response (Anechoic): 25-116Hz +/-1.5dB (e110) / 22-118Hz +/-1.5dB (e112)

Finishes: (Standard:) Black Ash, (Optional) Piano Gloss Black ($200 Extra)

Dimensions (H/W/D): 13.5” x 14.24” x 16.51” (e110) / 15.5”x16.23”x18.39” (e112)

Weight:  53lbs (e110) / 73lbs (e112)

Warranty: 3 years (bumper to bumper)

JL Audio E Series Driver Features

Integrated steel mounting flange

Proprietary cast aluminum frame

Patented vented reinforcement collar (VRC)

DMA optimized motor with double stacked ceramic magnets

Threaded back plate bolts into enclosure for support

Large rubber, half roll surround

Twin large diameter spiders with differing diameters and extreme spacing

Engineered lead wires (ELWS)

Designed and assembled in the U.S.A.

JL Audio E Series Amplifier Features

High efficiency, regulated, switching design with low latency analog signal processing

Detachable power cord

Top panel controls with cosmetic cover

Speaker level inputs

Stereo Unbalanced RCA inputs and outputs

Power toggle Auto, On or Off

Gain control

Variable Linkwitz-Riley 4th order low pass filter, 25-130Hz with bypass switch

Phase control 0-180deg variable

Polarity switch

Ground lift

Pros

  • Excellent construction and finishing
  • Very high quality components
  • Ultra compact yet powerful

Cons

  • Multiples may be required to fill larger spaces

JL Audie110.jpgo is a brand likely to be familiar to anyone who has been into either mobile or home audio for any length of time. With roots stretching back into the late 70’s, JL Audio or “JL” for short, has established itself over the years as one of the most recognizable brands in mobile audio and about 8 years ago made quite a splash with their formidable Fathom line of powered subwoofers. Indeed much of the JL Audio reputation was built through the performance and sound of the subwoofers and amplifiers that they produce and I suspect this is still their bread and butter. In fact JL holds a number of patents related to audio and bass driver design and utilize a proprietary DMA finite element analysis (FEA) based system developed in house that is used in conjunction with other sophisticated modern technologies such as a Klippel analyzer during product design and development. JL still designs and builds the majority of their top lines right here in the good ole United States too. JL Audio has been flexing these resources for quite a while to develop a new line of powered subwoofers aimed at the home and studio market and recently released the “E” series of powered subwoofers consisting of the e110 ($1,500 in black ash and $1,700 in gloss black) and the e112 model ($1,900 in black ash and $2,100 in gloss black). This E series are in many ways similar to the earlier Fathom series as both lines are compact sealed systems utilizing a single forward firing driver and a powerful amplifier, but the E series are targeted at a lower price bracket and are in other ways quite different. JL Audio graciously offered to send both an e112 and an e110 for review. Finding myself with the chance to spend some quality time with not one but both of the new E series subwoofers I jumped at the chance, so this will be a special double review of both the e110 and the e112.

The E series subs both arrived at the same time and are not overwhelmingly large but the e112 in particular still had significant mass to it in the box. Cutting open the boxes revealed that the packaging is the same for both units, a single heavy gauge cardboard carton with a 2-piece Styrofoam insert to protect the subwoofer. Each subwoofer is inside of a cloth bag which is inside of a plastic bag to protect the finish. The accessories list is short and sweet with just the owner’s manual, which is quite well written and thorough and the detachable power cord. Unpacked and sitting on the floor the very small size of the E series subs becomes apparent. While the e112 is quite trim, or what I would classify as a miniature subwoofer, the e110 is downright diminutive and is what I like to call a micro sub. The e110 is physically one of the smallest subwoofers I have ever reviewed. Despite the small stature these subwoofers are built very sturdily and have significant mass that belies their size. The e110 is listed at just less than 53lbs, while the slightly larger e112 tips the scales at a hair under 74lbs. These are no featherweights, but neither the e110, nor the e112 should pose a handling problem for a single adult in good health. Both the e110 and e112 review units arrived in the more expensive gloss black trim, which I found well applied, deep and which easily reflected back clear images in the right light. In retrospect I should have asked for one of the review units to be in the base black ash finish so I could compare both finishes. Oh well…The amplifier controls are located on the top of the amplifier on the back of the E series instead of on the back plate of the amplifier as is seen with most units, which is a much more convenient place to reach in most instances. A cover panel for the controls is also supplied to prevent inadvertent adjustments, which appears to be molded out of a rubber material. The amplifier controls are a brushed aluminum finish when the cover is removed, which provides a nice accent to the look. The grilles are nothing flashy but feel solid and snap into place soundly. Removing the grilles shows the drivers to be adorned by only a very small logo and due to the mounting system employed in the E series, no driver mounting screws are visible other than 4 large screws which anchor the steel front baffle to the rest of the enclosure. The E series have clean lines, are well finished and are certainly attractive as far as subwoofers go.

JL Audio e112 Subwoofer Youtube Review

Design Overview

The E series subs as previously mentioned are very small sealed designs with a single forward-firing driver and a powerful on board amplifier. The e110 is so named because it houses a single 10” driver and the e112 houses…You guessed it…a 12” driver. The amplifier for the e110 is rated at a robust 1200w and the e112’s amplifier carries an even more powerful 1500w rating. There are 2 finishes available, both of which are black. The standard finish is a black ash which shows some wood grain and is less reflective. The second is the high gloss black which both the e110 and e112 review units came dressed in and which carries a $200 upcharge over the basic black ash finish. Typically I am the type of guy who would pocket the extra cash rather than splurging extra just for a cosmetic enhancement, but I have to admit the E series subs really wore the gloss black well and I’m not sure if the standard ash finish would have been as visually arresting.

Since the driver of the E series subs is a bit unique and there was mention of the motor bolting into the cabinet in the literature, I decided it might be best to inquire with JL Audio about how to remove the driver and amplifier before attempting to do so. After briefly speaking with Brett about it, JL’s lead engineer on the E series project, I was informed that there really isn’t much to it. I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry with a loaner $2,100 subwoofer though. Armed with the knowledge of how to go about disassembly of an E series sub it took all of 5 minutes.

It is often said that the driver is really the heart of a subwoofer and in the case of the JL Audio E series that may be an even more apt description than normal. These are no ordinary drivers. The design of them at some point veered off the traditional track and ventured out into previously unexplored territory. JL has not been shy about sharing pictures and information about the drivers developed for the E series and one look at them indicates that these are a little bit unconventional. To begin with they are abnormally deep units with the overall depth equaling or exceeding the diameter. Part of the reason for this is the result of an effort by JL’s engineers to increase the suspension linearity and resistance to the former rocking at high excursions by spacing out the suspension elements more than usual. The surround is in its normal position at the cone edge and there is a large diameter spider in its traditional position near the motor and voice coil. Typically the cone would also meet the former and spider at this point forming the triple joint. The E series drivers greatly stretch out and increase the depth of the former and frame and add a second spider landing between the surround and traditional spider placement up close to where the cone now meets the former. The result is a very deep driver that looks a bit odd with a very deep, open designed 12-spoke, cast-aluminum frame and spiders of different diameters spaced a good 3-4” apart. This design should be very stable and resistant to rocking effects at high excursion. In between and linking the 2 spiders and the former is a black plastic piece that I assume uses JL’s VRC technology to firmly lock the former and both spiders together into a single moving unit. Another interesting feature of the drivers is that the typical mounting flange is gone and there is a large, square, steel flange attached to the front of the driver that mounts into the enclosure and actually composes the front of the finished subwoofer. It comes up around the surround enclosing the area between the top spider landing and surround and also recesses the driver. I’m not sure of the exact reasoning behind this piece but it is certainly different.  On a more traditional front the cone is concave and shares a family resemblance to the W7 or Fathom drivers. It is adorned with only a small JL logo at the bottom of the cone. The surround is rubber material formed in a half roll that supports large excursions. The motor itself also appears rather conventional compared to the rest of the driver with a stacked pair of large diameter ferrite magnets, a deeply bumped back plate and a top plate of what looks to be about 12mm in thickness. The back plate is also threaded so that it may be bolted into the enclosure. With drivers this deep the heavy motor can apply a significant amount of leverage to the mounting baffle and frame since it is hanging back so much further than usual, so supporting the motor is an extra bit of precaution in case the subwoofer is dropped or otherwise encounters a high G loading on the motor.  The voice coil of the E series drivers is a 2” diameter affair that appears to be 4 layers of substantial winding length for extended Xmax. The owner’s manual mentions that the e110 driver is capable of 2.5” peak to peak excursions and that the e112 driver is capable of 3” peak to peak excursions. After watching the driver movements during a few loud action movies and conducting CEA-2010 burst testing on the E subs outdoors I’m inclined to believe them. These are very high quality drivers and it is obvious that a lot of resources and effort were used in the development of them and that they were engineered specifically for the E series application.

e110inside2.jpg       e110inside1.jpg

JL Audio E series Driver

The amplifiers employed in the e110 and e112 subwoofers are high efficiency regulated switching designs both rated to produce well in excess of 1kw and like the drivers used in the E series, are specifically tailored to the individual application. These amplifiers have a simple input and output layout with stereo unbalanced inputs and outputs. There is also a set of high level inputs, a ground/lift switch and a fuse by the detachable power cord. All of the usual controls for balancing the subwoofer with the rest of the speaker system are located on the top of the amplifier plate in a recess in the back of the enclosure. These consist of: Gain, 0-180 degree phase control, absolute polarity switch, internal low pass crossover adjustment (24dB/octave Linkwitz-Riley) which also high passes the line outputs and a switch for Auto/On/Off power mode selection. During use the E series amps seemed to have the ability to give the E series drivers all that they could want and despite being run very hard for extended periods at times the amplifiers heat sinks only got slightly warm to the touch.

 

 e110controls.jpg

JL Audio e112 Amplifier

The cabinet of the E series subwoofers are constructed of CNC cut MDF (medium density fiberboard) and contain a couple of large braces internally. The first of which is near the center of the cabinet, which the super-deep drivers pass through and the second of which is back towards the amplifier and which the back of the driver motor bolts to. This second brace is a full wall which seals off the amplifier from the driver. The amplifier occupies most of the back panel while the front panel is almost entirely occupied by the unique steel mounting flange of the driver which bolts into the enclosure face. The front panel is in effect a composite MDF-steel sandwich. With the very short enclosure dimensions, internal bracing and the driver being anchored to the enclosure at both the back and front, these are very dead enclosures. I noticed no panel resonances, rattles or other issues even pushing the subwoofers for all they were worth at the outdoor test site.

 The gloss black finish of the E series review units was beautiful and deep. It contrasted well with the aluminum accents on the amplifier and front panel when the grilles were off. The top and bottom edges of the cabinets have a 45 degree angle cut which helps differentiate the profile from that of a plain rectangular body. The amplifier cover piece adorned with the JL Audio logo, fit down into the recessed area for the amplifier controls well and is held in place with magnets molded into it. The grilles were more heavily constructed than most I have encountered and hold in place quite solidly. All of the controls on the amplifier possessed a feel of quality as well. I also enjoyed having the controls on the top of the unit versus on the back of the amp as is typical of most powered subs. It makes adjustment, however rarely needed, just a bit easier. The build quality, fit and finish and ergonomics of the E series subs are all excellent to say the least.

e110cutaway.jpg  

JL Audio E Series Cutaway Cabinet View

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Attached Files

Recent Forum Posts:

haraldo posts on September 04, 2016 09:35
haraldo, post: 1081400, member: 32412
I'm really questioning why they do this …. it seems very strange to me, I'm sure they could use damping too….

Ref Jim's review here where he opened up the sub to see no damping inside: www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-subwoofer-reviews/73616-jl-audio-e112-subwoofer-review.html

This us the answer I got from Barry @ JL Audio as to why there's no dampiimg inside:
The concept of “damping material” is
a) relatively useless at low frequencies
b) really useless if there are no cabinet resonances

Even if the cabinet were to vibrate, that signal would be so far down in dB relative to the actual output that it wouldn't make any difference.

The JL subs have long throw drivers. The way the cabinets are constructed we are mainly concerned with the air pressure in front of the driver.
Majico Garcia posts on September 04, 2016 08:42
Hello Joshua.

What was it about the E Series that actually impressed you more than the Fathom series?

Is there more output?

Is the esub more musical?
haraldo posts on April 27, 2015 01:32
KEW, post: 1081373, member: 41838
Are you sure it has no detrimental consequences?
I think they could definitely use some damping!

I'm really questioning why they do this …. it seems very strange to me, I'm sure they could use damping too….

Ref Jim's review here where he opened up the sub to see no damping inside: www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-subwoofer-reviews/73616-jl-audio-e112-subwoofer-review.html
haraldo posts on April 27, 2015 00:55
KEW, post: 1081373, member: 41838
Are you sure it has no detrimental consequences?
I think they could definitely use some damping![/QUOTE

I'm really questioning why they do this …. it seems very strange to me, I'm sure they could use damping too….

Ref Jim's review here where he opened up the sub to see no damping inside: www.hometheatershack.com/forums/speaker-subwoofer-reviews/73616-jl-audio-e112-subwoofer-review.html
KEW posts on April 26, 2015 18:22
haraldo, post: 1081369, member: 32412
Why is it that JL Audio employs absolutely zip damping material in these subs?
And does really not have any detrimental consequences?
Are you sure it has no detrimental consequences?
I think they could definitely use some damping!
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