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Hardware Review: JL Audio CL-RLC volume controlled preamp

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  • Hardware Review: JL Audio CL-RLC volume controlled preamp

    Hardware Review: JL Audio CL-RLC volume controler with built in 7.5 volt preamp

    What it is/does: allows remote volume control of stereo equipment

    Reviewed by: Soundman98
    Manufacturer : JL Audio
    Model: CL-RLC
    Specs: 7.5 volt preamp, linkable, remote volume knob
    Price: MSRP $60, i paid $55 w/ free shipping on ebay-- seller was dimensionaudio
    Rating: 9/10
    Manufacturer website: www.jlaudio.com
    Purchased at: www.ebay.com
    Pros: great if you need a volume control and a preamp even better if your need both for a multichannel system
    Cons: rj-11 phone plug for volume knob wire connector might be very touchy- one defective unit--later found unit is defective, not connectors.
    Pictures:

    file photo courtesy of jlaudio.com


    i purchased 4 of these to control my entire setup-- 3 are used to control my actively crossed-over speakers(meaning that the audio signal is divided for the proper speaker before it enters the amp), one for my tweeters, one for my mids, and one for the sub channel. the one for the sub loops into the 4th unit to serve as a independant subwoofer level control.

    overall, i was inpressed by the construction of the units. they are built very sensibly, with fused power inputs, and a range of options for connecting them to your stereo.
    the power and input rca connectors are on one side, with the other having a variable output pair of rcas- controlled by the volume knob, and a pair of fixed output, or pass-through rcas, which are not affected by the volume knob. they just pass the input signal on, without changing it.

    i connected them with very little problems, using 2 phone jack splitters, and small phone extension cables, to allow one volume knob to control 3 units. the fourth unit was connected to its own volume knob, so subwoofer volume is controlled by the main units, but is also independantly variable.

    after installation, i was finally able to turn my amp gains down(previously, all my gains were set to max-- about 0.2volts..) and fired up the carputer for some subjective listening.

    as expected, going from a very poor, low level signal to a higher level input signal has resulted in much better dynamics across the board-- the subs hit much stronger and fuller, the mids, and tweets sound a lot more natural.


    i have now had them installed in my car for about 2 weeks now, and have been very pleased with the result--while they are more expensive than what i would prefer to pay for something like this, there are very few solutions for multichannel volume controls, and preamps, but it has definatly increased the enjoyment i get from listening to music in my car-- i can actually turn it up now! and having a physical knob makes volume adjustments that much easier-- no more waiting for the computer to adjust the master volume.

    but i have been having problems with one of the units cutting in and out-- at random, it will just stop working, and then all of a sudden start working again. at first, i had problems with all 3 of the units, and had poor connectivity over the phone connectors. after making my own phone cable jumpers, it seems to be doing better, except for the one unit.

    EDIT:just a small update for those of you who might have been concerned about the issues that i said i was having with one of the units---i recently swapped it with the one that was my sub volume control(one single, dedicated knob, no other units connected to it), and it has since worked flawlessly. i have had to re-adjust the knob for the correct amount of bass though--it seems that it was expecting a different level of resistance from the knob, and linking it to the other units was enough for it to get confused as to what level it sould be outputting, so it would cut in and out as it figured out the correct resistance...

    since the swap, it has worked flawlessly (i did't even think about it on the way into work today, which is amazing in itself)

    edit2: it worked flawlessly until i made the post, it turns out it is still up to its old shenanagins-- ordered a replacement
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided

  • #2
    Whoa!! Great review!! I'm using 2 of these, didn't know you could control multiple units with one knob!....cool!!, that's got me thinking now...
    Sig, smig...

    Ford Flex Toshiba Excite 7.7 Install

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    • #3
      Does this allow you to adjust the volume from silence to deafening? Or does it just adjust a certain percentage of range?

      Also is the adjustment very fine and detailed or does it jump up the volume range quickly?

      Comment


      • #4
        It really depends on how your amp gains are setup. When I first got them, I had left all of my gains cranked- so it was extremly touchy. After I readjusted the gains for a 5volt input, it is a lot less touchy.

        For when they are turned all the way down, they are not completly silent. But thy are very quiet- kind of like listening to a RCA cable with a non powered speaker. Or like 1%volume in a front end
        My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
        "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


        next project? subaru brz
        carpc undecided

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        • #5
          So you leave the front end volume way up? And then all the volume control is done with the Jl ?
          My 2007 Yukon XL setup. http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/show...64-5000-a.html

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          • #6
            That is how I have been using it.

            I try to be courteous to other drivers and at least turn down the volume at lights, and the fe control always took forever- by the time I got it to a "old fart tolerable level" the light would turn green
            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


            next project? subaru brz
            carpc undecided

            Comment


            • #7
              edited
              My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
              "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


              next project? subaru brz
              carpc undecided

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the review, very interesting, didn't know you could use RJ11s! Does it come with a faceplate for the button? Or you just make a big hole for it?
                Worklogs: 08 Sequoia Platinum Carputer (In Progress!)
                Skin: MetroSex on the Beach preview

                07 Infiniti Fx35 (done!) & 06 Infiniti M35 (gone...)

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                • #9
                  no, it doesn't include faceplate(thats fine for me though-- i don't want people knowing what it is), you really just need to make a large enough hole and then bolt it up(it has a threaded stem for that).
                  My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                  "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                  next project? subaru brz
                  carpc undecided

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I realize that this post will be only semi-related to the topic but maybe someone can give me a pointer if this is what i need in my setup.

                    I have a 4 channel amp that pushes about 240Watts powering 2x12" subs. I've got the outputs on the amp such that all the output is going to the subs. The input sound comes from my xenarc that has a sub output.

                    When I turn the input sensitivity up all the way on the amp, i get good power from the subs, but the sound is distorted at times and soemtimes, the amp shuts down (assuming overheating issues??). So i turned the input sense down and now I get hardly anything out of the subs.

                    Will this pre-amp help? Or should I get a more powerful amp?
                    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
                    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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                    • #11
                      More power is always good ...

                      But if you could provide more info as to brand/model of amp and woofers..plus exactly how you have wired them....series/parallel...ohm rating of woofers etc....
                      Sig, smig...

                      Ford Flex Toshiba Excite 7.7 Install

                      CoverMess - Cool Flash Covers

                      FlashFlex - Flash Components for your skinning pleasure

                      Mazda Millenia, Road Runner

                      YouTube - Road Runner, IGO8 PC, Dashcommand OBD, Visteon HD Radio

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I agree..SPECS will tell all.
                        the distortion can be anything from not enough power on input side that the amp cant efficiently boost it. The Signal to noise ratio (SNR) and total harmonic distortion (THD) or (Db) as a refrenced also.. the higher this number the more music it reproduces at a lower per volt input. These can be the difference in high quality vs low quality amps. The S.N.R. is where you want to focus for input side as this is where the amp tells you how well it reproduces and amplifies the original "music" without degration. the THD is how much distortion is heard on higher volume for instance a THD 1% would in perfect world be 1% is pure distortion @ 100 percent not including enhanced effects, so this you want as low as you can go. It's always my first look when buying amps..
                        Also it can also be wrong wiring type for the amp.. it sounds like your running it 2 ohm load but this can be wrong assumption.. if your amp isnt rated for 2ohm load then it will kick off upon higher volume as this is when the amp's transistors are being strangled, smacked and beaten.. if you had it wired in series your amp wouldnt cut. try unhooking one and see if it still cuts? I bet it don't.. this will tell you if you need to change wiring from parallel to series or buy an amp that supports 2-ohm loads. Another possible problem but unlikly with only 240 watts can be your amp has a protection for low battery voltage when the bass kicks the the amp voltage drops and temporarily goes into protect mode this can be also the case for wrong wiring for the subs as earlier mentioned... if the amp isnt rated for it! Im not sure the output of Xenark screen output but I can asure these Jl boosters will make your input much more cleaner and stronger. I ordered a pair of these yesterday. But rest assure JL leads in automotive audio in SEMA, my wallet proves this..lol
                        I am willing to make a friendly bet that your amp shuts down because its not rated for your Ohm load and the distortion is too low voltage level input all this points to a low quality amp
                        Did it.. Done it... now I got to keep the neighbors kids away!!

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                        • #13
                          Okay, i'll get some specs and report back. Sometimes my non-bass sound will go out when it hits really hard, but there is still bass sound... I wondered if the amp was drawing all the power away from the xenarc's amp, but like you, that seems unlikely at only 240watts. When the bass cuts out, it cuts out for several minutes. During my last 700mi road trip, it seemed to cut out for 30mins to 1hr at times.

                          brb with some specs...
                          Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
                          Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
                          Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

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                          • #14
                            this poor thread has been hijacked..

                            thats overheating for sure no doubt.. Im leaning towards 2 things its either the load or the thermal paste inside is thin and the thermal resistor is getting hott too fast. when we see those specs and verify your wiring is ok, then I would suggest a trip to a radioshack and get "thermal compound" it;s thick white and messy but it will solve premature overheating issues. I have amp being upgraded and can post a video of how to apply this if it get to that point. I would create a new post..lol

                            * I just created a thread lets see if it's in demand
                            http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/car-...ml#post1353849
                            Did it.. Done it... now I got to keep the neighbors kids away!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              back to the review on Jl's website it claims 7.5VRMS output unclipped! where did you find 5v? Also I was looking in the online manual and it says the 2 uncontrolled outputs are same as original input level?!?.. can you clear this up as Im confused are all 4 outs boosted or is it only 2 of them?

                              http://mobile.jlaudio.com/products_c...hp?prod_id=446
                              Did it.. Done it... now I got to keep the neighbors kids away!!

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