Subwoofers

JL Audio Fathom f113 Subwoofer

ARTICLE INDEX

The Sound

I tested the f113 with a Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray player, MToshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player, Lexicon MC-12B SSP, Classé CA-5200 power amplifier, and Carver Amazing ribbon speakers. Cables were Nordost and Legenburg.

I watched a number of movies with this subwoofer (while reviewing that great Marantz projector of a few weeks ago), and I finally got around to opening the HD-DVDs that I bought at discount when the HD-DVD format was terminated.

One of these is a favorite movie of mine, The Dirty Dozen. It has a lot of fine actors, a great director, and a plot that started a whole bunch of imitators. Even if you have never seen the movie, you can tell from the cover art that this film has plenty of explosive action. I love war movies, and I like to experience the intense bass that goes with the stories. The f113 gave me everything I was expecting.

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Here is a more modern film, actually three of them, the Matrix Trilogy. It does not seem to be out on Blu-ray yet, but I imagine it will be. It has to be. All three movies are heavy on the action and on the sound, but my favorite is Part III, Revolutions. The scenes where the huge robotic machine guns are destroying all the machines coming in through the ceiling are beyond sensational, and they are a magnificent test for any subwoofer. The JL Audio f113 just sailed through them, unfazed. I can't say the same thing for myself, as I sat there, stunned by the intensity. I love this stuff. A great subwoofer can deliver a very large percentage of the home theater movie experience. If you like action movies and don't have a powerful sub, trust me, you are in for a treat when you get one.

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Orchestral music was a cake walk for the f113. It has low distortion, and will reach the depths of musical instruments' fundamentals (the lowest note on a piano is 28 Hz). The old thing about such and such a subwoofer (or speakers) being good for movies while a different sub is more suited to music, well, that is nonsense. What you want is deep, clean, powerful. That kind of sub will handle anything, and the f113 did that in our lab.