Do you like your music clean and loud? We do too, and thats why we tested out the NVX JAD900.5 5-channel amp and NSW102 Subwoofers to see if they could give us good clean sound that even our old tow vehicle deserves. I know that car audio isn’t necessarily the norm around here, but I have to say I’ve been a car audiophile since before forums existed. Back in the day when the CarAudio bulletin boards were first getting started, and you couldn’t post real pictures online, there were still dedicated guys sharing information and getting me into this whole world of car audio. Because I started out as a young punk building systems with no money, and learning all the wrong things to do, my philosophy has always been to create the cleanest, broadest range, for the money. I like to listen to all kinds of music, from classical to heavy metal, R&B to hardcore Rap, and Pop to Country, which means that my system needs to be well rounded and adjustable. And it was, with old school great components, until some asshats in Vegas decided they needed them more than I did.
When my system got stolen, it consisted of a very simple setup. A mid line Pioneer head unit fed a Punch 40i and Punch 60ix that were older than hell but packed a real punch, pun intended. Rated at only 100 watts combined, these two amps had served me well for many 0-100 watt competitions while the true output was really more like 500 watts. The two Punch Amps fed a pair of Pioneer Premier 6.5 components in the front doors, and Boston 5.25 inch coaxials in the rear doors for fill, along with a pair of tried and true JL Audio 10W1’s that I bought at the same time as the amps back in the early 1990’s. This system was clean, simple, but would rattle the windows when you wanted to turn up some Dr. Dre, Metallica, or Jason Aldean, while letting you hear the rasp in Adele’s voice in Turning Tables.
Well, after thieves took the head unit, amps, a lot of wiring, the subs, and front door speakers, I was dejected. It turns out the guys at Sonic Electronix, a huge distributor of car audio and home electronics, had reached out and asked if there was anything we might like to test just a few months before.
After contacting them, they graciously provided me with a new NVX JAD900.5 5-channel amplifier and a pair of NVX NSW102 Subwoofers. I picked up a new head unit at Al and Ed’s here in SoCal and chose a mid level Alpine unit with a usb input up front, Bluetooth, and the normal stuff, including 3 RCA outputs for maximum flexibility. I’m only using two of them, but it’s nice to know I have all three. The thieves hadn’t gotten the rear Boston Acoustic’s 5.25 inch coaxials in the doors, so I left those alone and went to my shelf of car audio gear to pull out a brand new, but a few years old, set of Diamond Audio HEX series 6.5 inch components I had been planning on putting in my, now Daphne’s, wagon. Sorry honey!
The NVX JAD900.5 is a 5-channel amp that can run with either a 4 or 2 ohm load, and has 4 channels for all your mids and highs, and then a mono channel for your subs. The specs are below.
- RMS Power Rating:
- 4 ohms: 70w x 4 + 220 x 1 chan.
- 2 ohms: 115w x 4 + 440 x 1 chan.
- Bridged, 4 ohms: 230w x 2 + 440 x 1 chan. @ 2 ohms
- Variable high-pass filter (40-4000 Hz, 24 dB/octave)
- Variable low-pass filter (80-4000 Hz, 24 dB/octave)
- Variable subsonic filter (20-38 Hz, 24 dB/octave)
- Input Sensitivity: 200mV-6V
- Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- 4 gauge power and ground wiring is required for installation
A couple of RCA cables, some slight modifications to the power distribution, a new fuse holder, and a couple odds and ends and it was time to install the new amp. The first thing I noticed is just how small it is. After always using big amps, and taking up lots of room with them, I wasn’t really looking forward to sliding this sucker in, but a man has to have tunes. The install was super simple, and as always I installed the amp with the controls facing the most convenient direction for tweaking. I’m a guy who adjusts and adjusts, which should be expected because your speakers WILL go through a break in period. How long this is depends on the volume and type of music you listen to, as well as the drivers themselves. I can honestly say that with no more than moderate volume my Diamond’s sound changed considerably from initial install to 50 hours of music. Enough that I made adjustments multiple times. The installation of the amp, it’s controls, and the subwoofer channel level control all work cleanly and smoothly, and this amp would be easy to install and control for any novice or expert.
For the subs, I took the two 10″ NSW102 subs and put them in a generic 3/4 inch mdf hatchback or suv style enclosure. It’s one box with two separate enclosures that each measured 1.25 cubic feet. This is .25 cubic feet larger than recommended, but we tested it out anyway. We started with NO polyfill, aka pillow stuffing, inside the enclosure. We later added polyfill and then added a block of wood to take up the .25 cubic feet of extra space to see how that affected the sound. Our 102’s are 10 inch subs with dual 2 ohm voicecoils that allow for different ohm loads depending on how you wire them. We wired ours up so that we have a 2 ohm mono load at the amp which means it is providing 440 watts to the subs. Perfect since they are rated at 200-350 watts each, although I’d gladly shove more to each of them, because I know they’d take it.
The NVX NSW104 10″ subwoofers handle 200-350 watts each, and have impressive sensitivity. We were very impressed by the weight and quality when we pulled them out of the box, and the giant butyl rubber surround is a beast. The full specs are below.
- 10″ Dual 4-ohm N-Series Car Subwoofer
- Power Range (RMS) 200-350 watts
- Impedance: Dual 4 ohms
- Ultra-Light Polypropylene cone
- High excursion rubber surround
- Stamped steel basket for maximum rigidity
- Nomex single spider
- 2″ KSV Voice coil
- Single 40oz. magnet motor structure with protective rubber boot
- Frequency response: 20-200 Hz
- Resonance Frequency (Fs): 36.6 Hz
- Top-mount depth: 4.65″
- Sensitivity: 92.89 db
- High Strength Steel Basket
- Chrome-Plated Spring-Loaded Push Terminals
Here’s what we found overall.
First off, the subwoofers are happiest with 1.0 cubic feet of air space each, and with a few pounds of polyfill in each chamber. This provides clean bass that will boom when you want it to or be tight and clean when you need it. Just a good clean overall performance, regardless of music type. Are they going to win some unlimited SPL competition? No. But we’re only giving them moderate power and they aren’t setup for it, so we’re good with that. But, on our SPL app on the iPhone we did see it max out the meter at 110 decibels. After boring a Radio Shack meter from a friend, we saw 121.3 with the windows up, and 125.4 with them open slightly to take advantage of cabin gain. That’s not bad at all and will get your kids attention! Keep in mind, this was with actual music, not with a test tone like is usually used in competitions.
As I said before, I was in love with my Punch 40i and 60ix that I had before. They were super clean, bulletproof, and always stayed cool. The poor NVX JAD900.5 was coming in as the definite underdog, if for no other reason than my own prejudices toward my old stuff. Well, the little bastard took the challenge and ran with it! Seriously, it rocks. Is it the best amp I’ve ever seen or heard about? No, but at $300 I’m not sure I’ve heard anything that comes close. If this is the new class of bang for your buck amplifiers, then I’m in love.
After days of listening and tweaking, and finally being satisfied with the break-in on my front speakers, I started letting the amp and speakers really work. I moved the high pass crossover point down a bit each day for a week, until I found the sweet spot where the Diamonds were happy cranking out all the music the JAD900.5 could give them. I like driving anyway, but it was at this point that I wanted to drive around just to listen to my stereo!
The amp, subs, and front speakers take the shrill lead guitar, hammering bass, and punch of the kick drums of Metallica and ask for more. Jason Aldean sounds like he’s standing on the hood singing right to you, as does Adele. Her voice is no longer just about the rasp and emotion, but also about it’s amazingly breathy nature. If you haven’t heard Adele’s voice through a truly clean and powerful system, you should. It’s a different experience. One that my daughter Peyton was amazed by. While driving her to a friend’s house, while still tweaking on the system, I was shuffling through a bunch of my music on my phone to listen to different types of sound and she was in awe as we listened to Adele.
So, I am definitely impressed with the sound quality and power of the NVX amp and subs. But how do they live? Well, I’ve had them in for more than 6 months now and have made multiple 24 plus hour trips without shutting the system off for more than 10 minutes every 5 hours. It has NEVER given me a single hiccup, and keeps cranking regardless of the music or volume level. Overall I would recommend this amp and sub setup to anyone looking for a great performer at a reasonable price.
If you want to check out other NVX Audio gear, visit SonicElectronix.com, and tell them BangShift sent you.