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Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review
Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review (Listening, On the Bench, Conclusion)
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PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review

From the folks at AudioPipe comes the new Q Line of subwoofers. The Q Line products incorporate a lot of high-end features and are built for those who need a woofer that can handle high power levels and a lot of excursion, while providing good quality sound and lots of output. We wanted to take a closer look at this cool new piece of gear, so they kindly sent us a Q-12 sample for evaluation.

FEATURES

The AudioPipe Q-12 is a robust woofer with some very interesting design features. The first thing you notice is the lack of obvious mounting holes or trim gasket. The woofer uses something AudioPipe calls “Edge Extension Technology”. In addition to accommodating very high excursion, it also serves as a cosmetic solution to hiding the mounting screws. The usual mounting holes in the basket are basically hidden by the wide high roll surround that has eight small scallops in it, one directly over each mounting screw hole. When viewed from the top, the scalloped sections are virtually invisible; it just looks very clean, like one big surround. To access the screws, you gently squeeze the surround a bit and tighten the screw. When you are done, you release the surround and the mounting location disappears!

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review

This is a big, heavy woofer that weighs in at over 40 pounds with a large 250-ounce motor comprised of four stacked magnets. The patented cast-aluminum basket is strong and rigid - a good platform to build a high performance woofer around. The basket is designed to incorporate custom shaped airflow vents, which aid in the cooling of the three-inch copper-clad aluminum four-layer voice coil.

The cone of the woofer is made of two parts. The underside of the cone has a steep taper and is very rigid, while the upper part of the cone is basically a full diameter dustcap. These two parts are bonded together in a way that creates a sealed air chamber between them, which is claimed to improve strength and reduce distortion.

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review

Below the cone, the Q-12 woofer uses a custom-tooled spider ring that is secured with both adhesive, as well as threaded fasteners to retain the linear-type Nomex spider. The custom spider ring also facilitates the mounting of AudioPipe’s patented “Pipe-Style” speaker terminals. These terminals will accept up to 10-gauge cable and use hex head screw-type fasteners to secure the speaker wires.

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review


PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review

LISTENING

As usual, the first thing I do with a woofer is break in the suspension, otherwise known as “exercising”. In this case, I use a 10 Hz signal to maximize excursion and allow the suspension to soften up a bit. With enough power applied to get about half an inch of cone movement, I let the woofer break in for about eight hours. Before the woofer can be listened to, I like to let it cool completely and allow everything to normalize overnight. Normally you don’t need to do this when buying a new woofer because it will break in as you listen to it for the first couple of weeks. The manual indicates the woofer likes rather large enclosures, with the sealed version at three cubic feet and the vented adding an additional half a foot. In my opinion, these may be the ideal volumes for the woofer, but they are far larger than the average vehicle has room for. So, I choose to do my testing in a more typical 1.75 cubic foot vented enclosure, tuned to 38 Hz.

With the Q-12 securely fastened in the enclosure and the coils wired in parallel for a two-ohm load, I connect it to my reference system and select a 1,000-watt amplifier. With a low-pass crossover point at 80 Hz and the amp’s subsonic filter at about 30 Hz, I sit down and evaluate the sonics of the woofer with a bunch of different music.

The Q-12 definitely plays low and loud! Power handling is not an issue, and I don’t see any indication of reaching the woofer’s limits, even when playing at very high levels. The sonic performance of the woofer is generally quite good too. The Q-12’s output is warm and round sounding, with decent definition and not too much “overhang” on the transients. Fast plucked bass notes, such as in Thom Rotellas’ Friends, sounds strong and powerful, and you can easily hear the resonances and echo in the recording. Bass and drums in The Blues Brothers’ version of Sweet Home Chicago sound realistic and convincing without being overbearing. When pushed hard on bass-heavy tracks by Yello, The Pussycat Dolls and 50 Cent, the AudioPipe Q-12 simply pounds out the bass with nary a whimper or protest.

In terms of output, this woofer is right there with most of the other very high power handling woofers I’ve tested. They all seem to have a bit lower overall efficiency, but the trade-off is the extreme power handling and the amount of abuse they’ll take, where a more efficient woofer would simply self destruct. No worries about that here - this woofer can handle all the power it’s rated for.

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review
WOOFERS FREE AIR IMPENDANCE - COILS IN PARALLEL

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review
NEARFIELD SPL/FREQUENCY RESPONSE 1W/1M

ON THE BENCH

Back in the lab, I measure the woofer’s parameters with my trusty Klippel Analyzer and its very accurate laser interferometer. My results are significantly different than the published specifications and a bit of quick math showed the woofer is actually very well suited to the exact enclosure I had used for testing.

It is very common for published specifications to change, so I don’t blame AudioPipe for the differences I noted. However, it does make a good case for having your woofers measured properly before you spend the time and money on the enclosure.

PASMAG Test Report: Audiopipe Q-12 Subwoofer Review

CONCLUSION

The AudioPipe Q-12 woofer offers some very interesting and innovative features and has the ability to handle high power and the most enthusiastic listeners. And maybe best of all, it sounds pretty darn good while doing it!

For more information on the Q-Line of subwoofers and all the other AudioPipe products, visit them online at www.audiopipe.com.

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