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Built In America | With Global Components

CONTINUING OUR FOCUS ON AMERICAN PRODUCTS THAT DRIVE OUR LIFESTYLE, WE TOOK A TRIP DOWN TO MIRAMAR, FLORIDA, FOR A ONE-ON-ONE TOUR THROUGH ONE OF OUR INDUSTRY’S MOST RESPECTED MANUFACTURERS. JL Audio has a classic story of entrepreneurial success made possible by the efforts of a highly motivated, talented and passionate group of real audio people.

LITTLE DID ANYONE KNOW THAT A SMALL CREW OF RABID CAR AUDIO ENTHUSIASTS WAS ABOUT TO TURN THE AUTO SOUND WORLD ON ITS EAR, USING THIS MODEST LINEUP OF SUBWOOFER DRIVERS.

It all started in the mid-1970s when two high school buddies decided to fool around with component speakers and began building home-use loudspeakers for fun during their summer break from university studies. At first, they only showed them to their friends. Then, their friends bought a few of them, and they built a few more to sell at the local weekend flea market. Soon, the hobby turned into a fun little business, and the two friends chose their first name initials for the fledgling enterprise. While Jim Birch and Lucio Proni were turning their passion for sound into JL Audio, they had no idea what they were starting would eventually become one of the world’s most respected audio brands.

Opening their own retail store called Speaker Warehouse was a way to sell their products and provide loudspeaker repair services on a local level. As the word got out that these guys really knew their stuff about speaker systems, their small retail store in Hollywood, Florida, began to thrive. Soon after, Lucio started to design new products, including more home speakers, DIY speaker kits and DJ speaker systems in order to carry more interesting products in the store. The first JL Audio car subwoofer driver was the 8W2, a simple-looking 8-inch woofer that delivered excellent output and low-frequency extension. Variants of the 8W2 design in 10-inch and 12-inch sizes soon followed with similar success. In 1987, Lucio followed with more powerful W5 dual voice coil subwoofers in 10- and 12-inch sizes. Little did anyone know that a small crew of rabid car audio enthusiasts was about to turn the auto sound world on its ear, using this modest lineup of subwoofer drivers. Over the next decade, JL Audio grew exponentially, adding dealers and new products to the line. By the mid -’90s, the company was no longer a small enterprise and began to outgrow its building in eastern Miramar, Florida. Additional space was added in remote buildings to delay the inevitable, but in 1998 the big move was made to the company’s present 156,000-sq-ft headquarters.

Throughout JL Audio you will find people who love audio, take it very seriously and consider themselves fortunate to have a career in such an enjoyable field. True audio nuts can be found around every corner of JL Audio’s facilities in Miramar, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and Cypress, California. They include former audio retailers, IASCA World Champions, installers, recording engineers and an engineering staff with vast experience in professional, car and home audio product design. Let’s check this place out.

Our GPS brought us to this unassuming building in beautiful South Florida that is home to JL Audio’s facilities. Engineering, environmental testing and assembly all take place in Miramar, Florida, ensuring consistent process control and component part quality.

After a quick introduction in the meeting room, Steve Turrisi brought us into the heart of the operation for a complete two hour tour full of extremely interesting information.

A speaker’s lifecycle starts at the bottom with a highquality voice coil. The crew at this station checks for proper gaps before approving them to move forward.

This particular run of speakers is JL Audio’s Marine Series, which are the world’s finest marine speakers. All materials, assemblies and completed systems are tested using advanced saltfog and UV-test equipment.

Moving to the subwoofer area, we were able to watch and appreciate the detail and precision these workers maintain throughout the entire process. With more than 500 employees, it’s impressive to see the logistics behind an operation of this size.

Quality and packaging are just as important to JL Audio as their product, and it’s obvious in this department. Each and every unit is inspected before leaving the facility.

To ensure these speakers are properly sealed with the correct amount of airspace for nearly any vehicle, JL Audio produces a line of products called Stealth Boxes that can be discreetly installed in most trucks. These formfit speaker boxes are engineered for each vehicle and designed to sit in a factory location.

With the pre-engineered molds cleaned and prepped, coating and fiberglass are laid down and meticulously fit into each crevice of the mold. JL Audio loves their employees, so health and protection are top priority in this area. Once the fiberglass is set in place, the backside of the mold is clamped on and resin is pumped in from ceiling hanging tubes. Pretty neat!

Now that the molds are hard and trimmed, they are stacked in order as they await for a coating of carpet.

Contact glue is the go-to binding compound for both wood and fiberglass, although the carpet has different thickness based on the project. Once these skilled technicians have the box wrapped and trimmed, they will be ready for speakers and terminals.

Here you can see some completed JL Audio Stealth Boxes ready for installation. Check out our upcoming story on installing one of these in our Street Trucks Silverado!

JL Audio also offers a line of standard speaker boxes in multiple sizes designed to spec. These boxes are impressively engineered and cut on massive CNC routers.

These boxes are engineered with such precision that the carpet crew can simply add carpeting to the back side of the wood and easily fold the box into shape. Check out our JL Audio Instagram story highlights to see this in action.

Next on the list are speaker wire terminals—and the most important piece. Luckily these guys put the speakers in themselves, so you don’t have to worry about poking through a speaker surround.

Here are a few sample shots of these boxes complete and ready for install, with the perfect amount of airspace and a sweet embroidered logo to boot!

Before we could go on, I had to get Solomon to snap a shot of these shelves. That’s just one of many racks we passed. Bet you wouldn’t mind picking up a few boxes, would ya?

Got a side-by-side or off-road toy in your garage? JL Audio has gear for your ear and its designed to be used!

Custom audio shops around the country know that JL Audio products are the best in the business, and some of the show vehicles they build highlight these speakers in a big way. Who else is just like me and begging for a new car audio revolution?

JL Audio doesn’t stop at cars and trucks. The company’s premier products are actually for home use like the Gotham v2. This amazing unit has a massive fiberglasscomposite enclosure that is hand-finished in luxurious gloss-black and complemented by machined aluminum and stainless-steel accents. More importantly, this beautiful cabinet houses a pair of JL Audio’s highest technology subwoofer drivers, each with over 4 inches of peak-to-peak excursion capability. The Gotham v2 amplifier offers a mind-numbing 4,500 watts of clean, controlled power.

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