Rockford Fosgate P3 12 Inch Review
Rockford Fosgate Punch P3 Review
The Rockford Fosgate P3 12 Inch is for you if you like to really experience your music. And by experience it, we mean hear it and feel the beat of the bass as well. This 12-inch subwoofer is setting itself up as the model to beat in the race for the perfect bass experience.
Rockford Fosgate P3
Before we dive in-depth to this product itself, we first wanted to take a look at Rockford Fosgate and this current series as well.
For those who are car audio experts, having been around the block a few times, it’s hard to have not heard of the brand. They come with almost 50 years of experience and make just about everything when it comes to car audio.
They’re not limited to car audio, however, and make plenty of audio options for motorcycles and marine vehicles too.
Their products are some of the highest-rated on the market on a consistent basis, routinely putting out quality products after quality products.
They are regularly competing with other big-name brands such as JL Audio, Alpine Electronics, and Kicker.
Rockford Fosgate promotes its high-performance products and “purpose-built audio”. They are renowned for using high-quality components for their products and not skimping out on cheap materials. They know they have a “fanatical following” and they make sure to live up to high expectations every year.
Because of this, Rockford Fosgate’s speakers and other products tend to be on the higher end of prices. While older models can go down and you can always look for a discount here and there, going with Rockford Fosgate means you’ll be paying a pretty penny.
But! If you’re craving great audio, then it’s money well spent.
While we encourage everyone to check out Rockford Fosgate, you may want to look at some other options if you’re on a budget or just getting into car audio. For those who are trying a new hobby, don’t feel like you should instantly hone in on Rockford Fosgate.
The P3 Series Overview
With such continued success, it makes sense for Rockford Fosgate to build on that success with multiple generations of their speakers. Today, we are going to be talking about the P3 sub as part of the P3 series.
As you can probably guess, this is the third generation in the Punch series. One should only imagine that the third generation is going to continue to provide excellent bass.
With a name like the Punch series, you would hope that it provides the excellent bass you need. We’re here to say that it does and we loved its hard-hitting sound.
For more details on this excellent subwoofer, keeping reading below.
p3 Punch Performance
- 50 Inch Aluminum Dual Voice Coil clad in copper
- Vast tech to increase the surface area of the cone
- FlexFit basket with linear spider webbing to ensure easy installation and better heat release
- Tinsel leads of 16 AWG embedded in the basket.
- Cone made of anodized aluminum and matching aluminum dust cap
- Power handling of 600 watts RMS and peak power rating of 1200 watts
- 12-inch diameter subwoofer with 4 Ohm capacity
Being in the game for such a long time, Rockford Fosgate has learned that there is a huge audience for car audio. Not only do they have to serve the audio heads who spend hours configuring their speakers for the most perfect sound, but they also have to serve those who just want an upgrade in their vehicle.
Maybe the speakers blew out, audio is becoming distorted, or the stock speakers just aren’t getting the job done.
This sub was designed with both parties in mind; something powerful enough to satisfy the bass heads and something simple enough for those looking for a solid audio upgrade.
After going through the installation process and making sure everything was set up, we couldn’t wait to turn on some tunes and see how it sounded.
The first thing we noticed was the low frequencies that were pushed through the amp seamlessly. Fans of rap, rock, or heavy metal aren’t going to be disappointed with their choice and you’ll be able to announce your presence from a block away while rattling your rib cage.
We know one of the other most important things for any bass lovers is pure volume. It’s one thing to provide quality bass, but it’s another to provide high-quality bass when the volume is pushed to the limits.
We thought there may be some distortion with the higher volume levels, but it was hard to catch. Overall, the sound quality was great and clear. We could only imagine what pairing it with a whole speaker set would be like!
Features of the Fosgate P3 12″
What we really liked about this sub was just how practical it was. While there are plenty of fancy subs out there that have tricky installations and lots of bells and whistles, we really enjoyed the fact that this sub was so surprisingly simple. Simple design, simple installation, and simple use. It’s a great “everyman” sub.
Enough about its practicality, let’s get to the specs!
First off, you have to take a look at the power of this sub. Rated at 600 Watts RMS with 1200 Watts of peak power, this sub brings enough to give you that punchy, loud bass you so require. Don’t worry so much about the peak power, as your sub will rarely ever reach that amount. But 600 Watts RMS is enough to make even the most serious bass heads water at the mouth.
The dual voice coil works great with either the 2-Ohms or 4-Ohms design. This means it’s going to be compatible with just about any monoblock car amplifier on the market. See what we said about simplicity and practicality?
Getting past the side of the cereal box specifications, let’s move on to the real substance: the speaker materials. It almost goes without saying, but this baby is built with high-quality materials aiming to give you the best sound imaginable.
The P3 sub comes with an anodized aluminum cone that is pretty light but doesn’t give up anything when it comes to that sweet bass sound. In addition, the dust cap is made from the same material.
Leave it to Rockford Fosgate to come up with a unique feature like the vertically mounted surround. They claim that this can increase cone efficiency by up to 25%. A bold claim to be sure, but we like the boldness.
Another new, innovate component is the “FlexFit” design. We know, we know, every brand likes to put their own flashy names on items and call it “all-new tech” while you’re none the wiser. But here, the FlexFit actually is pretty interesting.
Flexfit is inside the basket and instead of having holes for sub mounting, it has slots. Maybe not the sudden prairie-dog turn gasp you were expecting, but it does have its benefits. This means that adjusting the angle of the sub is much easier, giving you a bit more customization when it comes to your audio capabilities.
It does come with a slight flaw, in that some users have noticed a few screws coming loose and moving the speaker around a bit. This can either damage the speaker or cause major vibrations, which tend to sound more annoying than anything else.
Moving on to the leads now, these Tinsel leads are pretty normal in shape but they happen to be stitched. Hand-stitching does take a bit of extra time, but that does offer you a great combination of reliability, weight, and flexibility.
For those that have been around electrical components for more than three seconds, you know that heat can be one of their biggest enemies. It’s always a telltale sign that your phone starts to get extra hot when you use it. Computers have fans built-in (often up to four or five) in order to make sure components don’t overheat or melt.
Subs require a lot of power and with a lot of power running through them, they’re going to be heating up rather quickly. A sub’s durability is often measured on how well that it can disperse heat. Those that don’t will often shut off, blow out, or stop working quickly. That’s why we always tell people that “you get what you pay for” when it comes to car audio.
One of the outstanding features of this model is the way that it disperses heat, in order to make sure you can keep the tunes pumping without any break. We know you wouldn’t be investing in a car subwoofer if you weren’t in your car all day and you need one that’s going to withstand your expectations and pressure.
How does this Rockford Fosgate model disperse the heat though? We’re glad you asked.
The heat is led to specially made venting, and this helps to keep the interior cooler. This, in turn, allows you to enjoy playing bass for a lot longer than you would with its counterparts. The basket also plays a big role in heat dissipation.
With a semi-vented design, your spider is going to be able to breathe and push out air with ease. That will keep that heat away from the magnets, making sure they don’t overheat. On the plus side, you can also cook some s’mores while you’re listening to music.
This sub takes things a step further in that it features a pole piece that has been extended and a backplate that has been bumped out. This makes it possible for the system to play the deepest lows a lot more clearly and consistently.
The performance of this sub leaves the competition eating its dust. This is one of the best options out there for those who enjoy highlighting the bass in their music.
The Vast tech is also something unique to Rockford Fosgate and allows even the smaller speakers to put in a great performance.
We can’t go all this way without at least shouting out the look of the sub. We know that it’s what on the inside that matters the most, but we do have to take a moment and applaud the beautiful exterior.
With a PVC magnet cover and the diamond cut aluminum trim ring, you’re going to be getting a sub that both plays and looks the part. While people may be able to hear (and hopefully feel) your new purchase, we know that eventually, you’re going to have to point to it and show it off.
Rockford Fosgate went the extra mile in making sure that this sub looks great and you’d be proud to show it off to anyone who wants a peek.
On a non-technical side, this sub does come with a one year warranty for parts and labor so you know you can trust this product.
It’s a bit on the heavier side too, coming in at about 20 pounds. Nothing to break your back, but maybe a bit difficult to get into the ideal position at the very beginning of installation.
You get all the features wrapped up in a nice and affordable price.
Drawbacks of the P3
The downside is that it conforms to CEA-2031 standards. This means that it is able to cope with continuous power demand but not as well with instantaneous power demand. So you cannot crank up the volume all the way all the time without causing some damage to the speakers themselves.
While this doesn’t mean you can’t use it all day, we would recommend just not pushing the volume to the max all day. But if you’re someone that’s using your speakers for a commute, then you should be fine to pump up the volume. If you’re going on a 10-hour road trip across multiple state lines, then it may be best to moderate your volume.
One surprising thing we did see to show up a lot in the reviews was that this sub can be too loud sometimes. That may be surprising for some, as most people are looking for those loud sounds, but nonetheless, it appeared often enough where we felt like it had to be included in our review.
To be fair, though, even at a lower setting, this baby produces more than enough sound to satisfy the most serious bass head. For every day, casual use, you are unlikely to even tap a portion of its true potential.
For the rest of the time – rock on and enjoy your sub.
2 Ohm vs. 4 Ohm Subs
If you head over to the Amazon page or Rockford Fosgate’s page itself, you’re going to see an option for the sub with 2 Ohms or the one with 4 Ohms. Ohms are not only what yoga masters say while practicing their trade, but they are also pretty important when it comes to which sub to choose.
What are Ohms? Essentially, that refers to the amount of power a subwoofer can handle and how well they are able to transform that power into sound. 2-Ohm subs are generally able to produce higher sounds but with lower quality because of their power consumption. They are usually a bit more expensive than their 4-Ohm counterparts.
Moving onto the 4-Ohm options, they come with high electrical resistance which means that they produce less sound than the 2-Ohm options. But, by consuming less power over their life, they tend to last a bit longer. They also tend to be a bit more compact and depending on who you ask, produce better overall sound quality.
So, which one do you buy?
Both of the Rockford Fosgate options excel on the pros and cons of the 4-Ohm and 2-Ohm options and which you buy largely depends on what you want. Many people, especially those who don’t have fine-tuned ears to all things audio and music, can’t really tell a difference.
In fact, there hardly is a difference if both are running at the same wattage.
With that said, most people tend to go with the 4-Ohm option.
As mentioned before 4-Ohm subs just aren’t as loud as the 2-Ohms and they produce a softer sound. That softer sound tends to be more pleasant for the average listener and audio experts tend to think that the overall sound quality is better, although it can be incredibly hard to tell.
Plus, 4-Ohm subs tend to be a bit easier on the wallet. Not by much, but this Rockford Fosgate model offers a $20 discount when comparing the two options.
Lastly, they tend to last longer. By not consuming as much power, they’re going to stay working in your vehicle for more time. But, you’re probably going to have to use them years and years in order to outlast the 2-Ohms.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours and if you’re a beginner when it comes to car audio and sound as a whole, you’re probably not going to notice a huge difference.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Sub
There is a bit more than simply buying the best sub out on the market to enjoy high-quality tunes all the time. Don’t feel like you need to make all these changes at the beginning, as you can work your way up to other components to complement your sub. Below are some of our tips to make sure you’re going to get the most out of your sub.
The most obvious place for this sub is in the trunk, as that’s where you’re going to get the most out of your bass and a large enough place to store it. When putting it in your trunk, make sure you have everything fastened together well enough to prevent rattling or movement.
While the Rockford Fosgate is pretty sturdy as it is, it can still be subject to wayward objects or items flying around in the trunk. Make sure you have it safely covered and ready to endure any surprise elements.
This sub is going to be hard to fit in compact cars, so make sure you have enough trunk space to slide it in. It’s not going to work as an underseat or behind seat sub. You’ll have to check out other options to fit those requirements.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your sub (and your car audio system as a whole), then adding a head unit is the next logical step. Older cars are issued with only the most basic of audio controls and aren’t going to let you fine-tune your vehicle.
Installing a head unit is the next logical step and will give you plenty of options for tuning your sub and all other speakers to your liking.
Finding the right head unit can be tough, as they vary greatly by ability and size. Many newer cars have a factory-issued head unit and because of this, their decks aren’t a normal or natural size. This means that installation can be tricky and modifications may need to take place.
But in the end, they’re going to offer you plenty of options for making your audio sound great. It’s worth noting that not all head units provide such options, and you’ll want to double-check the specs before making a purchase. Plus, they often come with extra features such as GPS, phone mirroring, DVD playback, and much more.
The amp is what’s going to give all the power your sub needs in order to provide that deep bass and loud sound. While we did talk about how this sub is going to work with just about any monoblock amplifier, your car’s stock system may not have enough to handle it off the bat.
If you notice that your amp is shorting or overheating on a regular basis, then it might be time for an upgrade. Even though it’s an extra cost, it’s going to be well worth it once you notice the big change and constant performance from your sub.
While this is a minor item, we thought it was best to include it on the list in order to cover all our bases. Having high-quality wiring is going to make a big long-term difference with your sub.
While you may not switch out wiring and hear an ultimate change in sound quality, wiring that is a bit more expensive is going to make sure nothing is burned out over time.
Even though this sub from Rockford Fosgate is a bargain deal, it’s a bit more expensive than buying a cheap phone charger at a gas station. You want to make sure your sub and your money go as far as possible.
If you’re a novice DIYer when it comes to car audio, we recommend giving it a shot. Rockford Fosgate, historically, have made subs and speakers that aren’t too confusing to install.
Largely, that’s because all the installation materials you will need are in the box. You might be surprised to know that other brands sometimes don’t even include an installation manual. They simply hand you the box, pat you on the back, and say good luck.
Installation on this sub is probably going to take you a few hours, dependent on your skill of course, but is overall straightforward. We can’t say it better than the instruction manual, so make sure you follow what’s written.
It’s also great to watch a few YouTube videos online to get the idea of what you’re supposed to be doing.
As a final word on installation, if you find yourself stuck or utterly confused, there is no shame in taking it to a pro. The last thing you want to do is damage your new sub and ruin a perfectly good day.
It is always good to rely on an industry-leader when it comes to more specialized equipment. Normally that means paying a premium price as well. in this case, though, the price is pretty reasonable considering the high performance you can expect. That’s why it’s hard to pass up such an opportunity as this. With a bargain price coupled with high performance, you’re not going to be wanting anything else when it comes to your sub.
There are natural limits to what the speaker can produce, and running it full blast at all times is not recommended. However, because of the sound quality, you really don’t ever need to run it full blast very often at all. Just make sure to moderate the sound and not try and overload your sub while going through an entire day.
If you want a smooth listening experience, you cannot go wrong with these – whether you are a newbie or a sound enthusiast. However, if this doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, check out our Top 10 list for some other great Rockford Subs