Adding a bunch of bass to the Ford factory stereo and taking up a little space
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The JL Audio Stealthbox I am reviewing today is the version specifically made for the 2010 Ford Mustang. The box has a single 13W3v3-4 13.5-inch subwoofer in a sealed enclosure wired for 4 ohms. The sub can handle up to 600W of power. The JL Audio Stealthbox will only fit in coupes.
Early this year I traded in a 2005 Ford Mustang with the factory Shaker 1000 stereo system, which included a trunk mounted subwoofer, for a new 2010 Mustang. The 2010 Mustang I bought had only the Shaker 500 stereo in it, which lacks the subwoofer. I noticed right away that the quality of the sound from the factory radio was very lacking.
The factory stereo in the Mustang has no bass to speak of and when you turn the bass up to get better sound, the factory speakers tend to vibrate and just sound bad. All I really wanted was the level of bass that the factory trunk-mounted subwoofer system had.
The JL Audio Stealthbox for the 2010 Mustang looks similar to the factory Shaker 1000 subwoofer in size. It weighs about 30 pounds and tucks away in the trunk nestled up against the passenger side fender well of the car. I am a big Mustang enthusiast and my car is far from stock. I worried that the JL Audio Stealthbox might not clear the rear shock towers and would prevent me from accessing the adjustable shocks that are on the car.
The fit in the trunk is tight near the shock towers, but I can easily reach where the rear shocks are mounted to adjust them when I need to. The JL Audio Stealthbox is covered in a carpet that is a very close match to the factory trunk carpet. The color is off a bit, but for most of us that won’t be a big deal. If you are a hard-core car show person, you might have an issue with the slightly different color and pattern of the carpet on the JL Audio Stealthbox.
I took the car and the JL Audio Stealthbox along with a 500W JL Audio J2500.1 subwoofer amplifier over to Mitch's Car Audio in Tyler, Texas for the install. You can install this yourself, but I wanted a pro to do it so if there were any issues with the sound or quality of the JL Audio Stealthbox it would not be because an amateur installed it.
The install took the pros about three hours; mostly this was due to my specific request for hiding all the wires and installing the remote control for the amp inside the console of the car. After the install was done, I was excited to try the system.
I mentioned that I was only hoping for more bass to the tune of what the factory Shaker 1000 system offered. What the JL Audio Stealthbox delivered was performance that surpasses the factory Ford stereo systems so completely that you can’t even compare the two systems. The bass produced by the JL Audio Stealthbox is the deep and low type I would expect to come from more than a single 13-inch woofer. You can shake pictures in the house if you crank it up in the garage.
I don’t want enough bass to make the neighbors mad so luckily the JL Audio amp I used with the system can be turned down to a just right level. I was also pleased to find that the JL Audio Stealthbox could connect to the factory Ford head unit. Ford uses an integrated radio system in the new Mustangs and I didn’t want to mess with the factory looks or lose my Sync systems ability to control the music with my voice.
With the JL Audio Stealthbox installed the bass for the woofer can be controlled using the factory bass control settings within the radio and the volume of the Stealthbox woofer goes up and down to some extent with the volume knob on the factory radio. If you want more bass, but not so much volume in the car, you can simply turn the radio down and then crank the remote control for the amp to get all the bass you want.
I am also impressed by how clean the bass from the JL Audio Stealthbox sounds. The JL Audio Stealthbox for the 2010 Mustang is held to the frame of the car at two points with included bolts and brackets. There is no vibration or rattles that come from the enclosure moving around in the car at all. In fact, the only vibrations produced in the car due to the much higher bass levels come at high volume settings when you can actually vibrate the plastic trim panels in the car.
The JL Audio Stealthbox is a high-end solution and in a market where you get what you pay for I can heartily say that the JL Audio Stealthbox is worth every penny. It's not the cheapest thing you will find out there and you have to buy an amp separately. Those two issues are the only drawbacks to the JL Audio Stealthbox and many will gladly not count those as downsides for the quality sound the JL Audio Stealthbox brings to your car. The Stealthbox I used can be purchased directly from JL Audio for $699.95 and the J2-500.1 amp I used can be purchased directly as well for $349.95.
The JL Audio Stealthbox for the 2010 Ford Mustang is in a different universe for sound quality and bass compared to the factory Shaker 1000 stereo Ford uses. If you want more bass from your factory stereo and don’t want to fill your trunk or back seat with speakers, the JL Audio Stealthbox is simply one awesomely fantastic choice.
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Leading our review center, Shane McGlaun (Google) knows technology inside out. His extensive experience in testing computer hardware and consumer electronics enable him to effectively qualify new products and trends. If you want us review your product, please contact Shane.
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