The short: I pit an old Kicker Comp VR 12″ dual 4 ohm voice coil subwoofer (model CVR124) against an Infinity Kappa 12″, also a dual 4 ohm voice coil (model 124.7w).
This is not another of those X vs. Y posts that lists a bunch of features and cops out at the end. By the end you’ll know my take on it, and the result surprised me a bit.
My own assumption going into this fit with opinions given all over audio forms everywhere, any time headlines between Kicker and Infinity appeared in the same statement. “Infinity for sound quality, Kicker for SPL.”
My experience has been that it’s more complex than that, and it’s a disservice to both to use such a dismissive summary.
- Pioneer car amp class AB, 350W RMS @ 2 ohms (With this amp I wired each subwoofer’s dual voice coils in parallel for 2 ohms) [used in the car]
- Crown XLS 1002 class D, 700W RMS @ 8 ohms (With this amp I wired each subwoofer’s dual voice coils in series for 8 ohms) [used in the house]
In general I’d say that the Kicker Comp VR sub is easier to drive. Both subwoofers have basically the same RMS power handling (350 vs 400), but the Kicker seems to sound a little louder around the 50hz area all the time, and fared better at lower volumes and with sealed boxes.
The Infinity definitely seemed to need a ported box to sound decent. In a sealed box, even with the Crown amp’s 700W inside, it never sounded as robust as it seemed like it should. In general it seems the Infinity needs significantly more power to sound powerful than the Kicker, which is much more forgiving of a weaker amp (or lower volumes).
The Infinity can definitely dig deeper.
In songs like Camila Cabello’s “Havana”, Roddy Ricch’s “The Box”, and many others with some really deep bass notes, it sounded good on the Kicker. But the Infinity was able to provide a lot more body to those select deep notes. Those notes were audible on the Kicker, but sounded like they were definitely near the end of the sub’s range. I didn’t get that impression with the Infinity.
My box’s 28hz port tuning became very pronounced with the Infinity. I think that’s perhaps because of the Kicker’s mild boost in the 50hz range kept the “boost” consistent down to the port’s boost, whereas with the Infinity the response curve was flatter until the port boost.
The Infinity also seemed to have a bit more impact on thumpy kick drums — a bit more of that “feel it in the chest” bass even if at other bass frequencies it actually seemed less overtly loud than the Kicker.
Put another way, the Kicker seemed louder at the same wattage but had less punch, like impact notes were a little more rounded off if that makes sense. Whereas the Infinity made those notes sound a little sharper or more distinct.
Thus far I would say I like the Infinity’s sound more overall, with a few caveats.
One would definitely be that you need ample power for the Infinity. In a car I wouldn’t go lower than 500W RMS for the amp if you’re using a sealed box. And it’s definitely a sub that makes sense to use as a pair.
While the Kicker isn’t as tight-sounding, I will certainly say two things to its credit:
- It can take a lot of abuse – you can run it close to its rated power without worry.
- It’s more forgiving of lower power setups and will still sound good, particularly if you port low.
Read on for a more detailed comparison.
Comparisons in Different Music Genres
Both subs sound great with electronic and rap music. I threw on Amazon Music’s “Top 100 R&B” playlist while cruising around and everything sounded enjoyable with either sub. Like I said before, the Infinity seemed to dig a little deeper.
For rock music it was a bit more of a mixed bag for me.
I liked the Infinity’s sharpness in the bass hits more for kick drums, but I also felt like the speaker would’ve sounded fuller with more amp power and a sealed box. Reason being: the flatness of the EQ curve made everything above the port boost a little weak. Ample power in a sealed design to capitalize on that flat response, but with more overall output, would probably be ideal.
Again, the Kicker’s “hot spot” around 50hz to me actually was a pleasant bump alongside the port boost. It gave me a strong and consistent output from ~30hz all the way up.
The Kicker seemed to have a broader selection of genres it enhanced because of this.
What I ran into with the Infinity a few times as the scenario where a good chunk of the bass range seemed like it needed a bit more volume, but then if anything played down into the 25-35hz range it was car-rattling loud. That uneven response was a little jarring in various genres. With a high end head unit with advanced EQ you could probably correct for this, but at the moment I’m rolling stock stereo for security reasons.