Subwoofers may well be my favorite AV component. Back in 2013, I heard JL Audio subwoofers in a Keith Yates-designed home theater demo and took note of the exceptionally clean and dynamic quality of the bass.
It took a year, but I finally got my hands on a JL Audio sub to review for AVS. In fact, JL sent two subs, because the company finds using a single subwoofer presents problems when it comes to achieving a flat in-room frequency response. I strongly support this position. All else being equal, I always recommend including more than one sub in a sound system—with two (or more), you get smoother in-room response (depending on placement), as well as more output. Furthermore, for 2-channel listening, you can use a pair of subs in a stereo configuration for a true full-range audiophile experience.
JL Audio has a reputation for building some of the best subwoofer drivers money can buy. The company specializes in high-excursion drivers with extremely powerful motors, and the E-sub e112 is no exception. The moment you pick one up, it’s obvious the enclosure contains much more heavy-duty components than found in less-expensive 12″ subs.
Before we get into the review, take a quick look at the cutaway view of an E-sub. The driver takes up practically the entire enclosure! The result is prodigious output from a relatively compact package.
The e112 is a compact, 1500-watt, 12-inch sealed subwoofer featuring a front-firing driver. JL Audio lists its anechoic frequency response at 22-118 Hz (+/- 1.5 dB), -3 dB at 21 Hz and 120 Hz, and -10 dB at 17 Hz and 153 Hz.
The 73.5-pound e112 measures 15.5″ (W) by 16.23″ (H) and 18.39″ deep. It comes in three finishes: Black Ash for $1900, and either Black Gloss or White Gloss for $2100. The enclosure is basically a cube, but beveled edges add an attractive design touch. Also—for fans of exposed drivers—the e112’s 12-incher looks as impressive as it sounds.
I’m happy to say the twin JL Audio E-Sub e112s have produced exemplary bass over the hundreds of hours I’ve listened to them. I enjoyed every minute I had the subs in my system—plus they were a pleasure to look at.
Thanks to ample amplification, room gain, and their high-excursion drivers, the e112s easily reproduced sub-20 Hz bass in my studio. That crucial capability turns virtually any decent speakers into true full-range systems.
The twin e112s proved more than capable of producing earthquake-like rumbling, while also offering nuance and precision. At high volumes, the subs kept pace with aggressively bass-heavy music and movie soundtracks. When called upon to extract nuance from a quiet passage, they also rose to that task.
During the four months I had the JLs, I used them in conjunction with a wide variety of speakers, and never had a problem integrating them seamlessly; I always found a good crossover point and achieved a perfect blend. From the $270/pair SVS Prime Satellites to the $6000/pair Thiel TT1s, I found a lot to love when I used the e112s with engaging speakers. They were a key component in getting the most satisfaction out of every system I added them to.