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[img]http://www.hometheaterreview.com/images/jl_gotham_subwoofer.jpg[/img]
JL Audio Gotham Subwoofer Review

By: Andrew Robinson

The JL Audio Gotham has come a long way from the early offerings that characterized JL's roots as an automotive loudspeaker manufacturer. If you're thinking the Gotham is a couple of low-quality car audio sub drivers in a new, high-gloss case, you're sorely mistaken, for the Gotham is the real deal. By real, I mean really, really good. Besides being hopelessly good- looking, the Gotham packs quite a punch with its dual 13-and-a-half-inch drivers stacked atop one another in is slightly triangular, sealed chassis that is about as solid and robust as you'll find in a sub, regardless of price. The Gotham has a reported frequency response of 19-200Hz and has a built-in amplifier that is capable of 3,800 peak watts RMS in short bursts. Let me put that into perspective: my reference sub has a peak power performance of 350 watts and I consider it to be quite good, but 3,800 watts is borderline insane. I like it. The Gotham comes in any color so long as it's black and measures in at roughly 34 inches tall by 21 inches high and 24 inches deep in a sort of round triangle where none of the sides are parallel. The Gotham is rock-solid in its construction and, because of its enormously over-engineered drivers and power amplifier, it tips the scales at 360 pounds and retails for a hefty $12,000.

In terms of integrating the Gotham into your system, it has some of the usual features and a few that are not so usual. For starters, the Gotham features stereo and mono RCA and balanced connection options. You can even daisy-chain a few Gotham subs together via their inputs. The wonderful thing about the Gotham is, once you get past the connections, the remaining features and controls for the sub itself are located on the front of the sub (vs. the standard back) and under a separate grille, allowing you easier access during set-up. The usual level, phase, polarity and power modes are all present and accounted for, although the Gotham has a few more low pass filter modes and crossover controls then your average sub. The sheer level of control and adjustment at your disposal to tune the Gotham to your system and room is unparalleled. In a further effort to maximize performance and value, the Gotham features Automatic Room Optimization and comes with a calibrated microphone. This level of EQ or room correction isn't the usual test pattern and/or automatic crossover setting you'll find in a receiver-based auto EQ. This is far superior and much more successful in its implementation.

High Points
• Stylish and elegant for a large subwoofer. This isn't one you'll want to hide in a corner, nor should you. However, if you must, the sheer level of control will ensure you get the most out of your investment.
• One of the fastest subwoofers I've ever encountered, regardless of price. There are many subs that cost way more than the Gotham that can't match its level of performance and output.
• The Gotham is surprisingly musical for a brute of a sub, possessing nuance, texture and grace, even when thrashed at insane levels.
• When it comes to multi-channel music or movies, the Gotham is in a league all its own, with few rivals.
• The Gotham's front-mounted controls and auto room optimization are absolute godsends.

Low Points
• While supremely attractive, the Gotham is large and may be a bit much for smaller and some medium-sized rooms. If you require a smaller sub, I would look to JL Audio's Fathom sub.
• The Gotham is a blue-chip subwoofer that should be paired with loudspeakers of equal prowess and status in order to get the most for your money in terms of overall performance.

Conclusion
In terms of reference-grade, or should I say weapons-grade, subwoofers, the Gotham by JL Audio knows few equals. Sure it's a bit pricey at $12,000, but your dollar is buying you more than just quality. It's also buying also you peace of mind that you'll own one of the very best subwoofers in the market today. With a feature set that rivals those of most AV preamps, the Gotham is a no-holds-barred assault on your senses. It's part jackhammer, part scalpel, for no matter what source material you throw at it, you won't faze it. It is exceedingly musical when called for, but can also throw down with subs costing much, much more. It is a reference-grade subwoofer by which others should be judged. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
 

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:geek: Hi,

:clap::clap: It is a nice and elegant subwoofer.:clap::clap:
You said: [MOUSE]"The Gotham by JL Audio knows few equals and it is one of the very best subwoofers in the market today".[/MOUSE]
Have you tested it with Room EQ Wizard?
Who are the few equals subwoofers?
What is the best subwoofer on the market today?
:bigsmile: :spend: :spend: :jiggy:
 

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Hi Arpea, welcome to the Shack :T

The JL Audio range and especially the Gotham really are incredible looking subs, the one that I could think of that compares or similar would be the Velodyne 1812...but has one 18" driver and an 12" drive unit, as in the name 1812...I have actually heard this monster and it is quite impressive

I have not seen any measurements for the Gotham but here are some measurments for the Fathom which shares the same drive unit but in a single config, you get the idea though if you Imagine 2 of these stacked... JL Audio Fathom F113 :hsd:

If you have anymore questions it might be worth directing it in correct forum, which is here... Home Audio Subwoofers
 

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yosturm said:
Hello,

I am a bit confused about this one. Isn't peak power and RMS power mutually exclusive by definition?
JL website spec sheet says "3800 Watts RMS short-term", no mention of peak
 

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Have you tested it with Room EQ Wizard?
I really hope anyone spending this kind of money on subs is getting four of them, at which point you really don't want much PEQ at all.

Who are the few equals subwoofers?
I'd be willing to wager that a Funkywaves 18.0 or 15.2, among other offerings from brands like Seaton Sound, SVS, Rythmik and JTR can compete with the performance of the JL, although there is still the questions of features, aesthetics/size, and current draw out of the wall: and for a true high end setup four; even five, are almost a foregone conclusion. It's really scenario-specific.

What is the best subwoofer on the market today?
That's such a tricky question. What are your goals? Extension to 3hz? 135db output? Small Size? High value? The real answer to the question is that there's no best subwoofer, but rather you have to factor in the room and really treat any expensive subwoofer purchase as a full subwoofer system - multiple subwoofers designed to interact optimally with the room and to provide maximum headroom. Open up a thread on our Subwoofers Forum where we can more adequately address your individual situation.
 
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