Powered subwoofer enclosures are a great option for too many reasons to list here. I’ve installed many over the years, too. However, it’s critical to buy one that actually delivers the bass you’re looking for.
The P300-12 (and its sibling the P300-10) is a subwoofer enclosure that stands out from others in many ways. But how does it rate? How does it sound? And most importantly, will you be happy with it?
In my review I’ll cover everything you need to know in detail before buying.
First impressions and evaluating the quality
Note: as it’s the sibling to the P300-10 which features a 10″ subwoofer, many features and performance points are the same. I’ll try to point out differences where they exist.
My first thoughts? Wow, it’s a nice one! “Man, this one’s solid!” I thought to myself right away, and I’m sure you will too. It even has that “new speaker box smell” kind of, the one you are always excited to sense when you first get your hands on a new subwoofer box & subs.
The P300-12 is solid and well-made, and definitely comes across as such. The black material covering it is an industrial heat-activated vinyl. It’s scratch and ding resistant. Nice!
The whole thing is very solid, being made from 5/8″ medium density fiberboard (MDF), a material popular for speaker enclosures as it’s cost-effective but also has high density. This is a necessity for high-powered subwoofers as a dense material is needed to resist flexing during air & cone motion, and to trap sound for producing the bass you love.
At just under 30 lbs (13.4 kgs) it’s kind of heavy – this thing is not flimsy! This is a “real” speaker enclosure and not a watered-down pipsqueek of a speaker enclosure like some others I’ve seen.
Parts & assembly line up well and it looks well done. No sloppy construction or “cheap-looking” production methods appear to be used. I’m really curious about the connection & wire terminal section, one of the biggest advantages the P300-10 & -12 subwoofers have over others sold today.
It measures about 15″ (h) x 19.8″ (w) x 11″ (d, at bottom) so you’ll need to measure and make sure you’ve got room in your vehicle. The 10″ version measures nearly the same, at 13.3″ x 17.9″ x 8.8″ in size. Ideally, you’ll be able to fit but I know from experience that sometimes even an inch can make all the difference!
Power connections and audio inputs
Rockford Fosgate has apparently put some good engineering design though into the connection “plate”, a square assembly on the left hand side of the enclosure (it’s on the left sand side when you’re facing the front of the speaker).
What really sets it apart (from the cool features that provide some big advantages I’ll get into below) is that the power connector allows for quick connections and disconnection of the positive, negative, and remote-on wiring. After that you can simply unplug the audio input connector and bass remote plug and you’re done!
That’s a huge advantage as with most similar products you have to disconnect each wire individually every time you remove it.
That’s fantastic for those individual instances in which you’re running out of cargo space and need to remove it temporarily. Or maybe you’ll be out of town for a few days and don’t want to leave it inside for thieves to steal it while it while your vehicle is at airport parking. I can think of many more examples why this is a great feature to have, especially for leased vehicle owners who know they’ll have to take it out one day.
The connection & input plate brings everything to one place and makes installation (and removable) pretty simple. It’s much more well thought-out than other products I’ve seen and used. Here you can make all connections for the power & and audio input signals, as well as adjusting bass sound with the adjustable bass boost (Punch EQ), low-pass crossover, and 0/180 degree phase control.
Connecting audio sources
The P300-12 can connect to both speaker level or aftermarket stereo system using the supplied harness which provides RCA jacks to connect. However, for speaker-level inputs, you’ll need to cut the harness and attach the wiring with crimp connectors or some similar method.
That’s one thing I don’t like – I would have preferred a slightly simpler option like having the speaker-level inputs wired next to the RCA jacks to allow the buyer to connect to them.
That would have avoided the need for cutting the wire and reattaching it later if you needed the RCA connections when you system changed.
Turning on the built-in amp – extra features you’ll like
Fortunately, there are 3 ways, not just one (unlike other products) to turn the amp on & off:
- Auto-on using audio sensing
- DC OFFSET – this features needs only 6V to switch it on
- +12V remote on wire (standard way)
The first 2 are great because normally an amplifier remote-on wire uses a +12V signal to control it for on or off purposes. This keeps an amp from draining the vehicle battery when not in use. However, some vehicles today are harder to work with and an accessory-switched +12V wire can be hard to find.
The P300-12 provides 2 great ways to work around that! And I personally really can appreciate that. However, note that the DC offset feature only works for high-level inputs. Audio sensing works for both.
Amp wiring connectivity
The removable connector which firmly slides in or out of the connector plate accepts 4 gauge wire with set-screws to keep the wire secure and from loosening. I like it.
Gain, in case you’re not already familiar with it, adjusts the amplification factor of the system based on how strong of an input signal is available. Ideally gain is set low, when possible.
The low-pass only crossover is easy to use and is adjustable from 50 to 200Hz, with a 12dB/octave Butterworth filter cuttoff. You can’t bypass it as the system is designed only for low bass response.
As bass sound waves are very large in size and the subwoofer is most likely located in the rear, in many installations bass sound slightly out of tune with the front speakers. In that case, changing the phase switch to 180 degrees, which inverts the speaker movement, may improve it.
A bi-color LED is used to indicate power-on a green power on condition or show red when a short circuit or overload condition is detected. In that case the amp will shutdown automatically. It’s a good feature I like. Simple, but effective.
Of course, you’ll have to remove the subwoofer to begin troubleshooting if a problem puts the amp in that state.
Remote Punch feature
The remote Punch control is an easy to use add-on (included) with a long cable and 3.5mm headphone-style plug which plugs easily into the connector panel on the subwoofer assembly. With it you can adjust the bass level from the front of your vehicle.
It’s a nice touch, and the control is easy to use. I don’t particularly like the “ovalish” shape of the assembly for the remote, but that’s a minor complaint. It has a good “feel” and is a nice touch.
The owner’s manual
The owner’s manual is great and one of the best I’ve ever seen! It’s relatively brief but has measurements, thorough installation details, and clear, detailed information. I really like it, and I’m confident it will be helpful to people who aren’t very experienced with car audio installations.
(click to enlarge)
The instruction manual is clear, detailed, and explains the amp features and connections very well. I think it’s a great example of an owner’s manual done right. So, don’t sweat the instructions! That’s one more great thing about the P300-12 and -10.
10″ vs 12″ version comparison
To summarize everything, the P300-12 and P300-10 are very similar. Check out this comparison:
Ultimately it won’t make a huge difference which one you pick, but like I always recommend, if you can fit the 12″ in your vehicle, buy that one. The reason why is that there’s no substitute for cone size. A bigger subwoofer can move more air and hence produce a bit more bass sound and volume, sometimes with more impact.
Interestingly enough, there doesn’t seem to be much difference, if any, in costs between the 2 models depending where you shop. However, as I’m reviewing (mainly) the P300-12 I’ll refer to that here. Expect to pay close to $200 if you shop smart. Otherwise you could end up spending an extra $50 dollars elsewhere.
One note about Rockford Fosgate and the specifications
Rockford Fosgate provides industry-standardized Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) ratings for the performance of their amplifiers and speakers. What this means to you is that they’re not inflated (or made up!) numbers like you’ll find with many other brands – they’re reliable and accurate.
Klippel is a speaker certification program Rockford Fosgate uses to deliver some of the best subwoofers on the market. The CEA-2006 standard was established to assist consumers with the misleading power ratings that have plagued the industry for decades and mislead consumers. A handful of industry-leading car audio companies support these reliable means of rating their products.
Fitting the subwoofer enclosure in your vehicle
You probably already have a few great ideas about where you’d locate the powered subwoofer, but since it’s so convenient it can work really well in so many applications:
- In car trunks
- In the rear of Jeep Wranglers and other sport vehicles
- In cars with limited space like sports cars or 2-seat coupes (behind the seats)
- Underneath rear fold-up seats in truck cabs or in the rear floor board
- In SUV cargo spaces
The RF P300-12 looks great and fits in a wide variety of spaces in vehicles. I like the modular design and it looks professional and not at all cheap in just about any installation.
Honestly, you’re really only limited by your imagination if you have (small) room to fit it.
The one “real” (well, ok, it’s still pretty minor) issue is that you really do need to strap down or mount the subwoofer box to keep the whole thing from sliding around or falling of if its standing upwards. At close to 30 lbs weight, I’m sure you can understand why I saw that.
You’ll probably need to plan for how you’re going to keep it in place and figure out something. A great idea would be some inexpensive elastic bungee cords, for example. Or perhaps a factory cargo strap like in the back of this SUV.
Plan on having to pick up a few as there aren’t any type of straps included with it as I would have preferred to have seen. That’s another minor complaint I have. The subwoofer doesn’t include any kind of straps of any sort to help with installation.
Evaluating the speaker grill
The speaker grill is made of a nice mesh metal and is well-secured to the box. It looks great and doesn’t obstruct sound at all. I can’t understand why some competing products have no grill or have one that can allow objects to touch and potentially damage the speaker cone. That’s not a concern here, and it’s a nice touch.
How good does it sound?
The sound? Ah yeah! Bass is smooth, punchy, and sounds very nice. I really like it.
The P300-12 restores that bass sound that makes music so much more livelier and fun than a system without it. I really like it!
Adjusting the Punch Boost adds just the right level of extra emphasis on low-end bass that “hits” and sounds great! (Note: It’s centered at 45Hz in case you weren’t aware)
Overall, at high volumes the P300 couldn’t produce the same bass as two equally-rated 12″ woofers in a larger or vented box, that’s to be expected.
Bass is clear and filtered very well – no noticeable vocals or upper-end noise with the low-pass filter set to around 80Hz.
Playing some familiar test tracks with bass that helps to notice any flaws in performance, the P300-12 responded well and really sounded satisfying. How can you do the same? 1) Buy it, 2) install, and 3) enjoy!
Ultimately, the P300 produces excellent low-end sound with great volume – it doesn’t sound “thin” or shallow like smaller car powered subwoofers that have to compromise a lot.
Final thoughts and review score
What do I think? I like it, and it’s a good choice. The bass is satisfying and is “real” bass, not some weak version you’ll get from cheaper and poorly-designed models.
You’re not going wake the whole neighborhood up and rattle all the windows, but you’ll definitely get great sound and a lot of high quality bass with good volume that you’ll enjoy.
Definitely head over and have a look at the fantastic P300-12 powered subwoofer at Amazon.
The P300-12 (and slightly smaller P300-10) is an all-in-one powered subwoofer that performs well for its size. Features and quality are excellent. I'm impressed by both the appearance and perfomance for the price. Sound quality is great: detailed, clear bass with good volume and punch. Owner's manual is excellent. Good engineering went into the quality power connector which makes removal easy. You won't beat more costly (and larger) subwoofer systems in a sound off, but for what you pay it's very satisfying. Cheaper alternatives exist but most can't match the performance and quality. A great choice for factory or aftermarket stereos.
- Set-screw power terminals accept 4 gauge wire
- 3 on/off remote switching methods provided
- Accepts RCA and speaker-level inputs
- Easy connect/disconnect and removal
- Good size for the sound
- Quality material, very solid (5/8" MDF)
- Recessed connector plate doesn't stick out
- Industrial vinyl material protects the enclosure, looks nice
- Great speaker grill
- Controls are simple to adjust and well-documented
- Provides thermal overload and short-circuit protection
- Vertical wedge shape allows the system to fit many vehicles
- 300W amp provides plenty of power
- Subwoofer itself is good quality, not high-end but performs well
- Punch bass remote is included & works well
- Rockford specs are CEA-2006 compliant/reliable
- Owner's manual is well-done, clear, and helpful
- No straps included which are helpful for many installations
- No installation brackets for permanent mounting
- May tip over when moving if not secured
- Audio signal harness must be cut if speaker inputs used - odd design
- Heavy - almost 30lbs
- Sealed enclosure can't quite match the volume of vented box
- No daisy chain (link) port for connecting 2 P300-12s easily