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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone know anyone at JL Audio (factory) that might be able to get me help that I need?

I own 4 of the 12W7's (purchased them preowned, the only way I could afford them)

Of the 4 I now have a pair that need rebuilding. I love these subs, they are absolutely the perfect sub for my needs (SQL) I wasn't sure at first, but now I'm convinced.. My initial apprehension was quickly put to rest with some fine tuning with a parametric (another story)
These subs (just the pair I have running for now) have solidified themselves in my heart as the best all around performers..
However, (and I think this a big deal) JL's role in topping this perfectly engineered marvel of a sub with that ****ty foam surround begs the question..

"Why?"

I think that JL put together a seemingly bullet proof sub, that of which will inevitably fail even when in the hands of the most capable user (perhaps prematurely and in my case with catastrophic results.. Did they do this in anticipation of getting paid from the costly repairs that will eventually come pouring in? I doubt it but one has to wonder..

Now I know that this is a very common problem with drivers of all color and creed. Foam surrounds that dryrot then fail.. And just like any sub, speaker, or any piece of electronic equipment, it will all eventually fail. But why would an engineering marvel like the 12W7 be made so susceptible to failure from something so seemingly avoidable. A $2.00 piece of foam? Would a rubber surround change the performance or TS of the sub so dramatically that they avoided using it for those reasons?

I think it sucks that they overbuild these subs, only to put ****ty foam surrounds on them, surrounds that are extremely prone to dry rot (especially in South Florida Sunshine) Once rotted, doesn't take much for the sub to basically annihilate itself. Premature, seemingly avoidable, costly failure of an already expensive piece of equipment.. The $2.00 foam surround, the Achilles heel of the venerable 12W7??

It's a business, just like any major business, they could give a rats ass about a small time piss ant like myself moaning about my preowned subs taking a crap on me.... Not when they have Celebs and Ballers paying top dollar for their gear at full retail, no questions asked.. Why would they give a rats ass about me?
I am not bad mouthing JL. They make killer subs, and if you've got a taste for and the resources to back it, they make killer everything.. They have a smart business strategy that has made them a huge success, was merely pointing that out (plays right into my already paranoid "conspiracy theorist" mentality)..


Anyway, enough ramble, I was hoping that since I am local (factory is close by) I could save a buttload of money on shipping fees by dropping off in person..
JL understandably won't accept drop offs of any equipment by "Joe J consumer" off the street.. If it were an amp, no biggie, just pay the $18 shipping and be done.. But we are talking over $200 in shipping fees alone and I live but 10 mins away..

Anyone with an inside connect that can get me hooked up would be like the Late great Jesus and his wine trick.. (peace be upon him) I would be your best friend for life.. If there is in fact a remote chance that someone in here knows someone within JL that can hook me up, please PM me! Would be best to keep it discreet I would imagine...

Please help!! Thanks in advance..

Ant, I'm sorry if this is posted in the wrong place.. Anyone from JL happens to read this, your subs rock!! Please help me get mine fixed!!

Eggz.
 

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Talk to msmith on here. He works for JL and has a pretty important position from what I understand. And BTW, I worked for a JL dealer and we never had issues with the surround. And we sold tons of them. Good luck.
 

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Dammit.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Talk to msmith on here. He works for JL and has a pretty important position from what I understand. And BTW, I worked for a JL dealer and we never had issues with the surround. And we sold tons of them. Good luck.
These may be older subs, may have been mistreated as well.. I talked to another JL Dealer told me that it is sometimes a problem with these..

Thanks for the 411..

Hope it pans out!!

Eggz.
 

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I am watching this thread. I have one I traded for that is locked up, coil looks good, measures 3.33 ohms, but that sucker will not move at all. And they want $410 to rebuild it? A new one can be bought for quite a bit less than that...
 

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I can't think of a single JL that did NOT use a foam surround. FWIW, my foams from the early 90's are still good, but now, irreplaceable :(
 

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Manville Smith (msmith on this forum) is a VP of marketing for JL.

How do you know that foam surrounds equal a poorly made sub? Changing a surround's material it is made from will change the T/S parameters. As long as I have been seeing, buying, and listening to JL subs (since about 1991) they have always had foam surrounds on all models. I have never seen one become damaged from normal use and wear.

However in one of the owner's manuals for one of the several JL subs I have owned over the years says a special industrial grade foam is used for the surround. The special foam was chosen so it would not break down from caustic fumes from glues and sealants used in making subwoofer enclosures. Just about all of us that have made subwoofer enclosures installs the sub as soon as possible. We all want to hear it ASAP. In most cases the glues and sealants are still curing and giving off caustic fumes. Those caustic fumes can damage some types of rubber as used in some rubber surrounds.

Hope this helps you understanding of JL Audio subs.:)
 

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Today's foam surrounds have a UV coating, so the sun's effect on causing dry rot is a non issue. Plus, many, many of the high end "supersubs" also use foam surrounds. The track record for current foam surrounds is a good one, and can't see this as a weak link.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Strange. I always thought of foam as a weak link in car audio subs.. I have seen numerous examples of JL and other subs with brittle and or dry rotted/damaged foam. Must be the weather in South Fla..

Still, the use of foam VS rubber is part of the formula to the JL sound? I find that hard to believe.. With all the materials made available today, I'm sure there is a product that is superior to foam that will perhaps even one up the performance of the driver, depending on it's density/composition..

Doesn't add up I'm sorry. Rotted foams are a problem down here in South Fla, at least from what I've experienced.. Maybe I'm alone on this? I don't know..

All that aside, I would love to have these subs repaired but can't justify spending that kind of money to do it.. C'mon.. $400.00 to repair a sub that basically broke because it was built using an inferior material..What makes it worse is the fact that I live 10 mins from there but I still have to pay $200+ in shipping because they wont allow me to drop the subs off, have to go through a dealer..
 

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Alot of JL's newer models have rubber surround including my W3v3's so I'm actually interesting in why the foam also. My guess and it is a guess is maybe foam was the choice here in the W7's maybe due to the high excursion levels the the cone can hit in these subs but that a guess that all. And I will attest the Florida sun is a lot harsher than most people realize though I would assume it would eat up a rubber surround also if left to bake it it. Either or the 'official answer/reason' from JL would be interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I sent a message to someone from JL, let's see how that pans out.. I'm hoping he's a nice guy..
 

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I can still remember back in the day when JL was first becoming popular, I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot polepiece because of that foam surround. It was mind boggling to me how they became so popular. I never understood it. We replaced many a dry rotted JL with a rubber surrounded IDQ, so it was pretty good for us and we weren't even JL dealers :)

But I'm glad to see JL is now using rubber surrounds, and guess what? Because they now use rubber surrounds and are still made in the USA (W3 and up) my new sub is a JL.
 

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From what I understood, JL used foam surrounds because it would allow to the motor to control the movement cone more. With rubber, especially at full excusions it would snap back. You probably can't hear it, but I guess it exists in theory.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I can still remember back in the day when JL was first becoming popular, I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot polepiece because of that foam surround. It was mind boggling to me how they became so popular. I never understood it. We replaced many a dry rotted JL with a rubber surrounded IDQ, so it was pretty good for us and we weren't even JL dealers :)

But I'm glad to see JL is now using rubber surrounds, and guess what? Because they now use rubber surrounds and are still made in the USA (W3 and up) my new sub is a JL.
From what I understood, JL used foam surrounds because it would allow to the motor to control the movement cone more. With rubber, especially at full excusions it would snap back. You probably can't hear it, but I guess it exists in theory.
That makes sense, arguable, especially with today's tech advances, but it does make sense.

I am watching this thread. I have one I traded for that is locked up, coil looks good, measures 3.33 ohms, but that sucker will not move at all. And they want $410 to rebuild it? A new one can be bought for quite a bit less than that...
The VC is probably busted. It will still read something on a MM, but I think the reading should be closer to 2.6 (just going from memory, may be off)

My sub is still reading spot on, but what happened was the cone was allowed to extend way past it's normal throw, the VC either smashed the bottom of the mag or it went up past the mag and came back down in a way where it made contact with the side and was damaged as a result.. Whatever the case, it still moves, still powers on, still reads normal, but you can actually see and hear a few of the windings from the very bottom have come loose, are jingling inside the motor.. Yours probably suffered the same fate, just not from a torn surround, probably over excursion. The VC is probably smashed in there, jamming the sub, restricting movement. Since the winding in the VC is still intact, you are still getting a reading..

If you look into the motor from the side, you can actually see part of the coil. I tried gently pushing the cone all the way up (torn surround allows this) and was able to see a small chip on the bottom of the cylinder for the VC, as well as part of the winding just dangling there.. The copper windings are thick!! Looks like 14-16 Gage wire, serious business to be topped off with a foam surround!!

1 other peeve is the material used for the cylinder connecting the spider and the cone.. The material used for this cylinder is very thin and seems brittle.. Not sure what material is used, but it's also perforated (to allow VC cooling) Incredible tech, yet seems like another negative.. Just seems that a lot is riding on that thin piece of material (literally) It (the connecting cylinder made of thin brittle material) probably serves it's function without fail.. Just my 2 cents.. But what do I know? I'm just a broke ass Noob bitching and moaning about his broken preowned sub :)



Get this, I have 3 local speaker repair shops that can't even tell me how to take one apart, their reason? They have never touched one because JL will not sell the parts.. Not even a surround..

BTW, where can you get 12W7's that cheap?

Alot of JL's newer models have rubber surround including my W3v3's so I'm actually interesting in why the foam also. My guess and it is a guess is maybe foam was the choice here in the W7's maybe due to the high excursion levels the the cone can hit in these subs but that a guess that all. And I will attest the Florida sun is a lot harsher than most people realize though I would assume it would eat up a rubber surround also if left to bake it it. Either or the 'official answer/reason' from JL would be interesting.
Yup, people don't realize that the brutal sun and humidity make for such a severe environment for any material here in Soflo, especially materials in a vehicle.. How many warped/cracked dashboards have you seen down here? Living in NY, I had never seen near as much damage to interiors, especially in newer cars..

Here in Fla, anytime I see an older pair of subs with foam surrounds, I check the texture of the surround (just a slight pinch will tell all) almost always in poor condition.. Subs that come from garaged vehicles hold up way better..

I can still remember back in the day when JL was first becoming popular, I wouldn't touch one with a 10 foot polepiece because of that foam surround. It was mind boggling to me how they became so popular. I never understood it. We replaced many a dry rotted JL with a rubber surrounded IDQ, so it was pretty good for us and we weren't even JL dealers :)

But I'm glad to see JL is now using rubber surrounds, and guess what? Because they now use rubber surrounds and are still made in the USA (W3 and up) my new sub is a JL.
There is no question, many of JL's subs are incredible performers.. The foam surround is what kept me from buying.. The only reason I picked up these 12W7'S is because I found them pre owned..

I don't regret the purchase, even though i am having this problem with the one particular sub.. These 12W7'S are hands down the best subs I have ever owned (in terms of sheer output while retaining SQ)

It just puzzles me that they hadn't implemented a rubber surround much sooner for their subs... The tech built into this 12W7 is mindblowing.. So is it's performance. But the foam surround?? C'mon.. That's like putting a set of $50 pistons into a $30K race motor..

I'm glad to see that they are using rubber surrounds on their subs. I'm wondering if I can get all 4 of my 12W7's fitted with new spiders and perhaps rubber surrounds.. I bet they'd last a lifetime, wonder if they would sound any better?

If I can get a break on the shipping, I will definitely get them redone, would be awesome if the newer rubber surrounds would work on my older subs..
 
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