Kicker Com­pRT

Sub­woofer Sys­tem Re­view

Pasmag (Canada) - - Test Report -

From their world head­quar­ters in Still­wa­ter, Ok­la­homa, the Kicker brand of car au­dio con­tin­ues to turn out rev­o­lu­tion­ary prob­lem solv­ing new prod­ucts. If you have ever wanted to in­stall a ground pound­ing sub­woofer sys­tem in your ve­hi­cle, but couldn't over­come space con­straints, this one's for you. By uti­liz­ing their “Re­flex Sub­woofer” tech­nol­ogy and ad­vanced en­clo­sure con­struc­tion, Kicker has solved the space con­straint prob­lem for a lot of peo­ple.

The new Com­pRT loaded en­clo­sures are some of the thinnest fully-fin­ished en­clo­sures avail­able. Thanks to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a pas­sive ra­di­a­tor with the Re­flex Sub­woofer tech­nol­ogy, these in­cred­i­bly space-sav­ing sys­tems can pro­vide all the bass you've been wait­ing for. The Com­pRT loaded en­clo­sures are avail­able in three sizes, eight, 10, and 12 inches, and each size can be had in ei­ther two- or four-ohm con­fig­u­ra­tions. For our re­view, they gra­ciously sent a 12-inch, two-ohm ver­sion, known as the TCWRT122. This sys­tem has a re­tail price of $349.95 in the U.S. and is de­signed to han­dle a 500watt am­pli­fier.

The shal­low depth sys­tem is based around one of Kicker's Com­pRT shal­low-mount woofers, cou­pled with a spe­cially de­signed pas­sive ra­di­a­tor. Both el­e­ments use Kicker's ribbed San­to­prene sur­rounds and re­in­forced polypropy­lene flat cones. The en­clo­sure is man­u­fac­tured from medium den­sity fiber­board (MDF) and uses rugged in­ter­nal brac­ing to keep it rigid and res­o­nance free.

So, why a pas­sive ra­di­a­tor in­stead of a typ­i­cal port? A pas­sive ra­di­a­tor sys­tem works very sim­i­lar to a typ­i­cal ported en­clo­sure, but has a few sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences. To be sure, de­sign­ing a prop­erly tuned pas­sive ra­di­a­tor is more com­plex and ex­pen­sive than stan­dard ports, how­ever, many ported sys­tems with typ­i­cal sub en­clo­sure low fre­quency tun­ing lack the abil­ity to dis­place the large vol­umes of air nec­es­sary when the woofer is op­er­at­ing near full ex­cur­sion. This is be­cause the port vol­ume is al­most al­ways too small for the amount of air to be moved at high power lev­els. By the time you get the port vol­ume large enough to dis­place the re­quired air vol­ume, the ports are too long to fit in the ve­hi­cle! This is where the pas­sive ra­di­a­tor comes in. Al­though it may not be read­ily ap­par­ent, pas­sive ra­di­a­tors work on the same prin­ci­ple as a port. The air in­side a sealed box is com­press­ible, but then it “springs” back. This push­ing back ef­fect is called “com­pli­ance,” and me­chan­i­cally it's much like a spring. Any spring will have a res­o­nance fre­quency. If you hang a weight on the end of the spring, it will os­cil­late slower, or at a lower fre­quency. In­crease the weight, and you lower the fre­quency fur­ther. The same thing goes for a pas­sive ra­di­a­tor. The tun­ing is ac­com­plished by care­fully ad­just­ing the com­pli­ance and the mov­ing mass. Only now, you don't have to worry about los­ing out­put to in­ad­e­quate port sizes be­cause the pas­sive ra­di­a­tors can have mas­sive ex­cur­sion ca­pa­bil­ity.

I con­nected the Com­pRT Loaded en­clo­sure to my ref­er­ence sys­tem and set my am­pli­fier's sec­ond or­der low-pass cross­over at 100 Hz. The Kicker woofer sys­tem im­me­di­ately sur­prised me with the amount of out­put pro­duced. I be­gan with a re­ally cool bass track that isn't very

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