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Review: Jaycar's All-In-One Subwoofer/Amp

A refreshingly different approach

by Julian Edgar

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At a glance...

  • Compact, unusual shape
  • Subwoofer and amp combination
  • Low cost
  • Poor controls and instructions
  • Good results
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The smaller the car, the harder it is to find a suitable subwoofer. That is, if you don’t want to lose a lot of cargo space and add a lot of weight. In small sedans you can use a free-air sub, where the driver is mounted through the rear shelf, but in hatchbacks that’s much harder to do. In those cases most people elect for a small sealed box with an 8 or 10 inch driver in it, but the finished design still often ends up an awkward package to fit in the back. If you want to transport a suitcase or anything large and square, the box will have to come out.

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And it’s just this sort of car that suits Jaycar’s new subwoofer – cat no CS2275. It runs an 8-inch driver, 75 watt amplifier and all comes in a package just 110mm thick! The design appears to use a wave-guide style folded port, which allows the box to be tuned to a much lower resonance than a straight, shorter port. A single driver is mounted in the enclosure (although the cardboard box the unit comes in claims that “dual woofers” are fitted!) and directly behind the driver, built into the enclosure, is a modest amplifier. The heatsink for the amp is the rear panel, which is aluminium but doesn’t use any cooling fins. Amplifier power is claimed as 75W RMS, or 150W music power, or 380W - depending on whether you read the instructions, the box or the amp control panel!

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On the control panel you’ll find level, phase and crossover controls. There are also LEDs for power, ‘fail’ and gain (volume). A wiring harness is supplied that includes a thick, fused positive supply, short ground wire, remote switch-on wire and two RCA inputs. A separate speaker level adaptor is also supplied.

MDF is used for the box walls and the dimensions are 600(L) x 380 (W) x 110 (H) mm. We measured the mass at 10.2kg – very light for an amp plus sub – and cost is just AUD$200.

The Unit

On the bench using a frequency generator and with both crossover controls turned up to their highest frequencies (more on these controls in a moment), the amplified sub had decent response down to 40Hz. That’s not very low for a sub but is fine for an enclosure with such a small volume.

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The internals of the amplifier look pretty cheap – the way the thermal overload thermistor is connected to the unimpressive heatsink is nothing wonderful and care in construction doesn’t look overwhelming.


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We mounted the unit in a Honda Insight, where it could sit in the small cavity directly above the spare wheel. The storage space above the sub was therefore made shallower by 110mm, but the major load space was left unchanged.

Installation was straightforward – we shoved the sub enclosure into the space (it’s actually a nice tight push-fit!) and then earthed the two ground wires nearby. Run forward towards the front of the car were the 12V supply, the remote switch-on wire and a double RCA/RCA extension cable that we purchased.

Rather than taking the 12V lead right to the battery, we found a very heavy gauge, permanently-on cable at the under-dash fuse box and used that supply. The remote switch-on lead (blue/white) connected to the same colour output wire of the aftermarket JVC head-unit and the RCA cable connected to the subwoofer OUT cable on the head unit.

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And that was the first problem – there was only one RCA sub OUT on the head unit, and two RCA INs on the sub. But the sub seemed to work fine with just one RCA input connected so we ran it like that.

Next were the settings of the crossover controls. Frankly, these don’t make any sense – even the Jaycar store personnel had no idea. Two pots are provided, one marked 40 – 280Hz and the other 40 – 600Hz. We’re not sure if the controls are meant to be used in series, in parallel or only one is to be used. But since in our case the crossover of the sub output can be set at the head unit, we just turned up both crossover controls and set the crossover frequency with the head unit.

Note: the supplied instructions are terrible - some aspects make no sense at all and others are misleading.


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Even when covered in carpet, the output in the small cabin of the Insight was damned impressive. Go mad with levels and/or volume and the sub could be overloaded but set it up with sense and the increase in bottom-end was excellent. We played around with the phase switch and amp gain level and so tweaked the outcome a little, but from the moment of switch-on there was never any doubt that the bass was phenomenally improved. However, we don’t recommend this unit to someone who really likes to shake the inside of the car to pieces at high SPLs.

But if you’re pushed for space and don’t want to add much weight while still requiring a better bass response than you’ll get from normal sized speakers, this innovative product deserves a long look.

We’re happy with it.


The subwoofer was purchased for this review.

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