500/1 JL Amplifier Review


Unregistered guest
RIPS, infrasonic filter, balanced inputs, low THD, crossover

Pricey, Bass EQ poorly designed, built in alan screws, warranty

The Bottom Line
Buy it if you can get it for anything in the $300 range, but at $549 it is not worth it.

Full Review
After all the years of talk and speculation JL Audio finally comes through on their promise to introduce an amplifier line to their customers. The 500/1 is their second best subwoofer amplifier next to the 1000/1. This amplifier was designed to put out 500 watts of clean power without putting a lot of stress on your car's electrical system. To do that it employs a class D circuit design versus a class AB design. While class D circuits are more efficient they often tend to produce more distortion. Jl Audio took care of this problem by lowering the efficiency of the class D circuit allowing more power to run through high quality electrical components. All of this translates to a total harmonic distortion rating of 0.05% which is outstanding.

This amplifier is packed with a lot of features, however, the most unique feauture is its Regulated Internal Power Supply also known as RIPS. The advantage of this feature is that the amplifier will produce 500 watts from 14.4 volts all the way down to 11.5 volts. All other amplifiers will actually lose power when voltage drops often giving you half the power you paid for. They also took this a step further by designing RIPS to produce at least 500 watts for any impedance from 4 ohms all the way down to 1.5 ohms. This is a relief for anyone that is worried about how to wire their subwoofers, because as long as it is that range it will see the same power. An example would be having a 4 ohm subwoofer and another class D amplifier from another company that makes all of its power at 2 ohms. To get two ohms you either need to get another 4 ohm woofer and run them in paralell or scrap the 4 ohm woofer and buy a 2 ohm version. If you have the JL Audio 500/1 it won't matter if you have one or two, you will still be getting 500 watts. It can be a little confusing sometimes, but hang in there.

The JL 500/1 also has a built in crossover like many other amplifiers out there. The nice thing about it is that you can switch between 12db and 24 db slopes. 24db slopes are very steep and will allow far less "bleed through" to occur. What "bleed through" is when you want frequencies below a certain crossover point and get a little bit of the unwanted frequencies playing from your speakers. So if you wanted your subwoofer to play nothing but low bass then you would set it at 24 db or else you would hear a little bit of midrange through your subwoofer. The only use for this feature is if you are running 8,9, or 10 inch midbass drivers and you need to have them blend in seemlessly with other component speakers that are near by.

Another nice feature is the adjustable infrasonic filter. What it does is a high pass crossover that will take out really low frequencies that can not be heard by subs and or can possibly blow them out. It is also cool if you want to go for max sound pressure levels. If you have a custom made bandpass box you can set the crossover slightly above the tuning frequency and set the infrasonic filter slightly below the frequency leaving you with nothing but boom, if you are after that. It can also be used to clean up smaller subwoofers or midbass drivers that can't play really low for sound quality.

The built in bass eq is another feature that was thrown into this package, however it is questionable. It takes an advanced user to be able to tweak it right and it tends to add a lot of unwanted distortion to the over all sound. I doubt that this feature was even active when the total harmonic distortion tests were done because it produces peaks that can not be classified as musical. The other downside to this feature is that you can only boost and not cut frequencies out. What if you are going for a flat sound and you have a peak caused by the type of vehicle you drive at let us say 40 hz. Everytime something with 40 hz plays in your system it will sound way louder than the rest of the music. With this feature you can only boost it even more. This feature is a poorly designed version of Phoenix Gold's Bass Cubed where you select a frequency and are able to boost it. It works but does not work as well as the Bass Cubed. With the Bass Cubed when you turn the nob it doesn't distort as easily.

The last feature I am going to talk about is the balanced inputs. Both inputs must hooked up on any amplifier to achieve full potential as stated in their literature. A balance input means that both left and right signals are matched giving you accurate sound. What is nice about this feature is that JL actually designed it work with high voltage head units all the way down to your stock stereo.
This will promote more sales because a lot of consumers are happy with their factory systems or can't take them out because of the car's computer system being built in.

Installation and in car Testing:
I installed the 500/1 into my 1998 Mercedes.
I drove the amplifier from an Eclipse 8 volt CD player, and I wired its speaker outputs to a single 12-inch JL Audio W7 mounted in a custom vented enclosure that I built. Just to let you know how well I design and build boxes, I built a box for a Phoenix Gold Titanium Elite 12 in a vented enclosure to fit underneath the bench seat of a tow truck. We went to an IASCA competition at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California where he was interviewed and will be featured along with myself in 12 volt magazine.
Anyways, back to the installation. Another thing I noticed about this amplifier is that you slide your cables into small holes and tighten the built-in alan screws. It looks nicer, however if you strip the screws you will have to give JL a call and beg them to repair it because they are "built in". After everything was all hooked and ready to go I began playing various types of music. The first thing I noticed is that while this amplifier is efficient, it still draws a decent amount of power. I noticed this when my lights began dimming with the factory electricla system. So I went out and bough an Optima Deep Cycle battery and a BatCap 40 farad cap, problem solved.
When I am testing for performance and sound I simply go through a number of tunes at really fast rate and listen for flaws. The amplifier made the power that it promised, and definately sounded cleaner than most other class D amplifiers I have ever played around with. The subwoofer on the other hand was a disappointment and I sold it and went with two 10w6s in a sealled enclosure at 1.5 ohms and readjusted everthing. The sound that resulted wasn't very loud, but was a good clean sound that almost anyone could enjoy for normal listening. While it didn't sound as clean or powerful as Phoenix Gold's Titanium line of amplifiers it did sound a lot better than Alpines fairly new Digital line.

A final thought:
This is a good clean amplifier that will make most intermediate and advanced audiophiles satisfied. I still don't think it is worth the $549 list price you find in stores but if you can get it for $300 on line, go for it.
As far as being concerned with not having a warranty through JL Audio if purchased through unauthorized dealers, don't be too concerned. As a certified JL sales and installation rep I can tell you that they won't do that much anyways. They will either fix your product, deny service because of "abuse", or simply send you a refurbished item. They believe that their products are "bulletproof" and that their workmanship/qualtiy controll is superior. I am not trying to put down JL Audio for their beliefs in any way, I am simply trying to tell consumers that you can save money buying it online. Ultimately, it is up to you to decided if you want to pay the extra money for the security blanket. In my opinion, if this is hooked up properly it will last you for many years to come.


Amount Paid (US$): 300


Silver Member
Username: Dominirica012

Charlotte, North Carolina US

Post Number: 232
Registered: May-05
i know that i dotn know that mush but a 40farad cap?thats overkill and anyways i thought a cap wouldnt solve dimming headlights..i though it would make it worst..just my 2cents

Unregistered guest
Powerful, flexible configuration, small, clean and clear

Not quite enough for super-power-hungry subs- also, doesn't like 2 ohm loads

The Bottom Line
For the price, I couldn't ask for more- this thing SLAMS my boston pro 12.5LF *(4ohm) and fits in the smallest spaces. Clean, clear and slammin. Well done JL

Full Review
JL talked about introducing an amp line to the market for years before finally following through just a few years back. Since this introduction JL's line has expanded from the "Slash" series (to which the 500/1 or 500 SLASH 1 belongs) to the lower "E" series amps, which share alot of the same good stuff inside, less some of the more advanced bells and whistles on the slashes.

JL's 500/1 is a shining example of how well JL has done with this amplfier line. Many great ideas went into the design, however at the top of the list has to be the RIPS architecture- Without going into an electronics-geek tangent, the RIPS design simply offers the end user a way to provide solid and COTINUOUS/CONTIGUOUS power without worrying about voltage levels or impedance levels for wattage. Example: Most amp specs provide TWO seperate wattage figures, 1 for 12.6 volt usage and 1 for 14.4 volt usage. This is because in terms of usable voltage, most cars yield about 12.6 or just under 13- NOT 14.4!~! On a test-bench, yeah, you can get 14.4 volts and THIS is what the amp's over-stated wattage figure is based on, but in reality in the context of your vehicle's system, you get far less. JL has taken a different approach- through clever circuitry design, and very forward thinking, they've given a FIXED wattage regardless of voltage or speaker impedence- provided you keep the voltage above a voltage floor of 11.5 volts (FAR less than any car will provide, meaning you'll easily achieve wattage at spec provided!)

In terms of sound quality (SQ from here on in for the rest of this review) the JL is well ahead of most of the pack. While the paper means nothing comapred to what your ears say, the JL's paper spec is impressive, boasting 108.5 s/n ratio with .05% THD at rated power. This is VERY low for a class D amp- which is usually much higher in distortion to acheive higher wattage (class D's tend to be subwoofer amps- designed for high wattage where SQ isn't usually important- most people try to get more SPL (sound pressure level) but for me, I consider SQ a much higher priority. The damping factor is also a very important figure, especially in terms of a sub amp, where subwoofers require much more power (or actual WORK) to move their large cones to move more air, which produces more BASS! Damping factor is a way of demonstrating the amp's ability to provide consistent power and work for each bass hit regardless of if one bass hit comes right after another large one- alot of amps can't recover so quickly, and thus damping factor is a sort of way to quantify this. Most people don't consider or care about this figure- but when you wonder why your friend's JL 500/1 is SLAMMING a single 12 sub harder WITHOUT a capacitor than your 800 watt is hitting your 12 WITH a Cap, you can be sure it is damping factor!! Mine is driving a single Boston Pro 12.5lf and it is SLAMMIN'
JL's amps do it all- on paper they are killer, however in practice and in real life, they really do a wonderful job- and the 500/1 is a stunning example of a mighty-mouse amp, because despite it's small chassis (which is great because it fits virtaully ANYWHERE) the amp still pounds subs. Rated at a fixed 500 watts (no matter where between 3 and 8 ohms you are) the amp will pump just about ANY sub - the only shortcoming is running at 2 ohms is a bit taxing on the amp- which means if you want to run 2 4 ohm subs in parralel, you could be asking for alot- however because the RIPS circuitry, you can runs the 2 subs in SERIES and still get the same wattage, despite doubling your ohmage effectively- so it becomes a non issue- the amp just draws more current to achieve this. Again, the RIPS architecture is really ingenious!

In terms of setup, the amp has a low-pass crossover built in as well as a sub-sonic filter to remove super super lows to avoid your sub from doing work that won't be audible anyway. The cross-over is super flexible, and can be set to either a 12 or a 24 dB curve. The amp accepts both speaker level and RCA inputs, it also takes up to 8 volts input- so this makes it VERY difficult to clip the input stage- ideal for applications like in a BMW, where if you keep your factory head unit, you use a convereter to make the signal usable to the amp, BUT sometimes clip the amp's input stage because of the super high voltage yield. This is immaterial for the slash amps because their input stage has a ceiling at 8 volts- it can handle a REALLY hot input load.

In terms of power, the 500/1 is quite capable of powering just about anything. With the exception of only the power-hungriest of subs (like W7's- WHICH still sound good with 500/1) the amp does a great job. Take my Boston Pro 12.5lf for isntance- this amp easily handled a grand watt-wise- however the 500 out of the 500/1 is plenty, and the single sub SLAMS- I can flip a quarter in my well deadend bimmer- which is ALOT. THis is with just 1!!! And with a single a/d/s/ Rs12 I get beautiful articulation and bass this is simply ACCURATE to a T- though I prefer the boston for the extended lows. I've also gotten great results from W6v2's on 500/1 power- they sound SLAMMIN- a bit more extention than the boston perhaps are just a bit of SQ loss-- again, the Boston is my choice of sub right now. The 500/1 easily powers it and fits just about anywhere- I have it hidden in my bimmer's stock amp location where you can't even see it- it stays cool, pounds the balls off my boston sub and runs for hours without thermal shut down or interuption- not to mention the signal is clean, clear and unaffected by voltage changes- I don't even use a capacitor (*yet) and because it runs so damn well, I may not bother to install my cap from my past car (which used a Kicker ZR amp)!!!

JL has done a great job- street price on this amp is at or about 300 bucks- I've seen em for 250. WELL WORTH IT. I suggest NOT paying retail - you can do much better. the amps are reliable, powerful and worth every penny- at street price of 325 (figure after tax or shipping) dollars-for-watt you're well ahead of alot of the competition and you get real power- not overstated bogus numbers, but true reliable clean/clear watts. An excellent choice- the 500/1 is a champ of a little amp!


Amount Paid (US$): 310


Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 7888
Registered: Dec-03
Not quite enough for super-power-hungry subs- also, doesn't like 2 ohm loads"

learn to pick an amplifier that's matched to your requirements for the subs. the fact that you chose an amp with less than needed power for your requirements isn't JL's fault.
As for 2 ohm loads, the 500/1 is stable from 1.5 to 4 ohms, and with a properly configured system I've never had a problem with a JL amp within that rated range of impedance.

The 500/1 can handle a single 10W7 or 12W7 just fine as well by the way, while the 1000/1 is better suited to a 13W7. There is so much misguided misinformation in these two reviews at various points that I dare say I don't know where to begin picking them apart, so I'll simply say leave your reviews on epinions with all of the other ones, and off of here please? I hate having to corrent peoples misconceptions about products because junior backyard reviewers fed them a bunch of data that was based on inexperience or lack of knowledge.


Gold Member
Username: Jonathan_f


Post Number: 4247
Registered: May-04
hehe, you should read the W7 reviews, I had to point out quite a few errors on those.

Silver Member
Username: Rzarector

Coquitlam, Bc Canada

Post Number: 440
Registered: Dec-04
lol .. you guys are tearing him apart on these shitty reviews.. glasswolf post more

Unregistered guest
ok well i posted about the amps for feed back
because this is all the info i can find now
I wonder what the fellas here think of the amp
besides w7 matchups but i guess the opions are too much I think Ill definitly stay away from jl products and this board since we are to high and mighty to clear suposedly misconception(EXCUSE for Lack of performance)
If JL is supose to be top of the LINE?
then Rockford T series is a leauge of its own

Gold Member
Username: Invain

Michigan United States

Post Number: 3058
Registered: Aug-04
"think Ill definitly stay away from jl products and this board "

Good, I'm tired of all your retarted reviews....

blowing jl out the WATER
Unregistered guest
only thing retarded is paying 800$$ for a subwoofer that an $230 avalanche can crush

The Reviews were utimately the same the JL products are over priced this mean you can get the same quality for 75% cheaper

mark s tearing me apart? hell I dont understand half of the sh!t the reviewrs said to (technical)
jonathan had intelligent info and is not biased
we did not agree he thinks the w7 is good I think theres better for that price Like 3 avalanches for that much
only tearing apart is the stupid comment glass wolf said to some one who is looking for guidance on buying a product here! I see I held him in a higher class then deserved (like the w7 until I heard em)
since see threw wolfy cant make an excuse for the JL amp im staying away from it 1 guy said its the w7. I think both product just aint worth the money
its a low performance product for high dollars dont be so defensive LMAO@ suckers who buy this crap!yes its crap as far as 1000$is concerned. wolfy all that stupid technology in that jl amp means nothing if it dont performance somthing that amp is lacking! its low performance !
this could be why that amp is for you and not for me I like my bass deeep not pounding or thumping deeeeep and pound and thump when it has too
the w7 and the slash could not reach such depths
so I cannot say that it is a good woofer
and thats my review on both F*** asking you guys for a reason to buy this thing I have more power and better quality for 300 bucks



Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 7895
Registered: Dec-03
post more? did you see my post count already? I look like a junkie as it is.. haha

Gold Member
Username: Jonathan_f


Post Number: 4250
Registered: May-04
"I think Ill definitly stay away from jl products and this board since we are to high and mighty to clear suposedly misconception(EXCUSE for Lack of performance)
If JL is supose to be top of the LINE?
then Rockford T series is a leauge of its own"

You found a series of negative reviews from a single person that has an obvious bias against JL and also has an obvious lack of knowledge in the audio field. That is one negative review in the light of hundreds, if not thousands of positives. If you feel RF has the better product, go right ahead. There just aren't as many that will agree with you since their quality has went down the crapper since the late 80s and early 90s, although they've slightly improved over the last year or so. JL never needed excuses, they've won so many good reviews and accolades by qualified personnel (read: people that actually have credentials) that they don't need the help of a half-assed reviewer that doesn't know half of the babble he's spitting out. They've won 11 Autosound Grand Prix awards this year, been rated as the #1 overall audio manufacturer for 5 years in a row in inside track surveys, they are the South Florida manufacturer of the year, and have created best sounding show vehicles at CES numerous times. They are the brand of choice for numerous competitors in SQ competition. They earned their reputation, they weren't given it. You posted this review so that you could get our opinions on them and you got them. Obviously you don't agree with it, and that's fine. I've used a lot of JL Audio equipment in my time and I've never been disappointed with any of it, although they're not my choice in everything, you can't argue the fact that they are very well made, well engineered, and well backed. They're an American company that is dedicated to their product line and their customer. RF can't say the same, they crapped out and gave the company to stockholders and settled for producing mediocre equipment for the general public.

Unregistered guest
I dont know what JL has done in the past
but what they have now Just aint doing it
I took the pepsi challenge
slash to w7(suv)
10001 bd to t2(open store)

and the second setup was louder and deeper
hell I kneeled down infront of the 15inch T1s at another store it felt like somebody was steping on my chest

I agree and dont agree the t series are GREAT
the Punch and the old power stuff belongs in best buy.

I dont know bout all this enginerring stuff like i said thats why I come here people like you know
but what does all this good engineering american made stuff do If another company is rated at the same but out performs it?
mayb I looked at this the wrong way and compared the 1 new line of product to another and thought they were the best of the best from the company
I hope not for JL sake

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 7902
Registered: Dec-03
"I took the pepsi challenge
slash to w7(suv)
10001 bd to t2(open store)
and the second setup was louder and deeper"

Ok, allow me a moment to point out a few problems with this comparison that may help you understand why it's biased. by the way I believe both the amps you mentioned are US made and engineered, so asking why one is better being from the US is moot.

Ok, problems are as follows:
the JL was in a car, but no mention of:
enclosure type
electrical system to support that amplifier (HO alternator at least?)
the rest of the system driving the amp and sub?
was this a 12W7? by itself on a 500/1?

The RF setup was in a store, which is a completely different environment with an entirely different acoustic response. It's like comparing headphones to tower speakers in a sense. Also the power supply driving that setup was probably an AC to DC regulated power supply running from AC wall outlets with virtually unlimited current.
Beyond this, again, no mention of driver size or enclosure type which can make all the difference as well, and from the general specs, you're comparing a 500 watt JL amp to a 10001bd that puts out what, 1000+ watts @ 2 ohms? That's at least a +3dB gain with double the power, plus if you went from sealed to say, a bandpass box, you'd add up to +12dB in gain beyond that, and more if it's corner-loaded in the store front. Far too many variables in your comparison to be anything remotely fair or reliable.
It's good that you auditioned both setups, but I think the settings weren't really fair to compare them head to head, if you will.

A good scientific comparison, well a pseudo-scientific comparison anyway, would involve as few variables as possible so the environment is controlled and you know exactly what each change gives you.
same car, same box, same sub.. swap amps..
then keep the amp you like and swap subs with everything else the same again..
that'd be the way to really compare, though more difficult and costly usually.

Bronze Member
Username: Audioguy22

Post Number: 20
Registered: Jul-05
Big problem I have with JL is this, there selling a class D amp for $500!!! WTF is up with that? anyone can buy a Tri-path Class D amp chip and all the parts, and build a car amp that meets the 500/1 specs for around $65. LOL.

Unregistered guest
well Im guesing the Truck had a H.O alt belong to some kid in Iraq his second truck was there and it had 16 JL Subs in it and was gonna have amps swirving down the wall of Enclosure that told me that he has to know that he needs H.O alts very dissapointed I couldnt hear that 1.

the 1 I did hear was 1000/1 to a w7 in a ported enclosure in my other post i did state that I asked was this the loud as it goes???

I also thought that even with the multiple sub
That the w7 and 1000/1 would have the advantage being in a small enclosure
as I stated in my other post everybody EXCUSE was that you couldnt get the full spectrum of the sub
in a open space, and 1 guy did say that he sells them to fast to set them up.
the 10001bd made the power in the store blink and dim pushing 3 t2 10s as I listened to everything i could that day at a alpine shop 1 of 3. That amp is not what i bought. that amp birthsheet says 1430rms mines says only 1100 :-(
but with unlimited supply comparing the two does make this unfair as i did not think of this.
I also thought that in anycase a amp and sub should sound louder and better in a car then in a store.

I suppose I could buy a 1000/1 and hook it to my t2 15 and hook up my 10001 after that and see
all ported of course and being that I have to pay somebody to do it and pray they dont put a scratch on the jl incase i dont like it

and what is a bandpass enclosure? I heard som t1 15s at that alpine place with a enclosure were the part was in front and the speakers were facing downward is that it?

(gets a lottery ticket)

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Wisteria, Lane USA

Post Number: 7932
Registered: Dec-03

see 4th and 6th order links in left menu
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