- Written by Colin Miller
- Published on 14 April 2008
Specifically . . . .
Tori Amos, Sweet The String - The Fathoms had great definition on bass guitar transients, complimented by even tone, solid body, but not fat, filled out the bottom of the S-150p satellite speakers with superb integration. Blending a 'real' 12" woofer with a 5" midbass? Not a problem.
Tori Amos, Ireland - The entire range, top to bottom, formed a unified soundfield. Bass guitar was quick on the plucks, meandering up and down the range, clearly. What is "Speed" with bass? Strictly speaking, it's well-damped, and smooth in response. In this track, it was tight, and extremely coherent, flying an easy, effortless cruise, ending with a volley of shuddering organ bottom notes, and eerie envelopment.
Ben Harper, Burn One Down - The apparent transient velocity with drums, kick drum, allowed me to easily hear the impact itself, with no observed overhang. Percussion just SMACKS!
Chris Issac, Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing - The opening shudder went through the walls, the floor, my gut, but wasn't distracting or out of place, serving the music.
Primus, Have a Cigar - During this Pink Floyd cover, Les Claypools percussive bass, with slapping drums, is delicate and violent in detail. The recording is raw, and not at all what I'd call 'audiophile', but the music is good just the same, and each bass note was clearly defined in space, transient attack, decay, and stopped in place. The soft wail of the lead guitar came through unobstructed by the controlled frenzy of the bass guitar, or the insistence of cymbals, kick, or snare drums.
Nirvana, Where Did You Sleep Last Night (MTV Unplugged) - This was interesting, with an acoustic, real-space character of reverb. The benefit of the subwoofers was not only the rendition of the instruments themselves, but also in revealing the recording itself, pumping the room. The Fathoms helped me feel more like I was just there.
Peter Gabriel, Kiss That Frog - Peter Gabriel loves the low end. This track provided it, deep and satisfying, with a throb of electric bass surges, detailed and powerful. It was absolutely room quaking, while still subtle and poised. Oxymoron? Nah, just remarkable.
Jane's Addiction, Ted Just Admit it - I can't listen to the entire song, but the opening, with the kick drum hits, clean and solid, really do it for me with a good bass system. The JL Audio Fathoms didn't let me down, at all.
Emmylou Harris, Red Dirt Girl (Bonnaroo) - The driving kick drum with the 'Live' concert sound. Reverberant, but unbooming, with the occasional epic electric bass shudder, solid rocking, detailed dalliance, large venue bass sound, in my living room. That's ambiance retrieval.
Can, Last Night Sleep - In this track, there is a textured electronica painted over a synthetic seismic rhythm. It shook, awesomely, without boom or mud, a quick succession of machine gun trembling within what would seem like a single tone with many reproduction devices. Most definitely a WTF kind of moment!
Johnny Cash, Rusty Cage - The Fathoms played beautifully, providing the resonance of Johnny's chest.
Paul Simon, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes - The intro had a great sense of space, reverberant and majestic. When the song kicked in, the kick drum was easy, natural, and smooth.
So, that's pretty much it for my observations. How can I summarize best? The JL Audio Fathom f112 subwoofers are awesome, and severely well-rounded. They are my favorites to date, period. Perhaps I should just conclude with my initial reactions, e-mailed to Carl Kennedy after my initial exposure at home. The impressions have held after living with them for months:
"My #%*^ing lord, Carl.
"While I've never had the pleasure of TWO MX-5000 mkII's for comparison . . . .
"This is way better than sliced Montery Jack cheese with a bottle of good wine and a wicked beef stew.
"With the right music, I'm alone in the house in a cold sweat, giggling like a little freaking girl. I get definition, depth, and dynamics fit for a sloppy wet dream. I'm hearing $#^+ in the low stuff I haven't heard with good headphones.
"I'd really like to call you an @**hole for having such a profound effect on my emotional state, but I think I love you.
"Thanks for stimulating my addiction.
"Seriously, thanks. I haven't had anything this refreshing from audio equipment since a long, long time. This is the kind of $#^+ that makes me want to believe again.
As sincerely as a junkie can get.