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Outlaw Audio LFM-2 Subwoofer

Part II

May, 2006

Adrian Wittenberg

 

Set-up

I tested the LFM-2 in my small 1500 ft3 home theater room which is treated with bass traps. After experimenting with a few different room locations, I found that placing the subwoofer about one foot away from the front right corner gave the best overall response. The sub was matched with an Infinity TSS 750 satellite system. I bypassed the LFM-2's low pass filter and set the digital crossover on my receiver to 80 Hz with speakers set to Small. The phase switch was set to the 00 position.

Frequency Response Linearity

Measurements were performed with a Radio Shack digital SPL meter six feet away from the sub. The test was done with test tones at 1/12 octave resolution. Radio Shack meter correction factors courtesy of Ilkka Rissanen were applied. These correction factors can also be found on Internet forums. As can be seen in the graph below, the response was 20 Hz to 75 Hz 4 dB.

With Movies

I enjoyed testing the LFM-2 with action movies. I was really impressed with the performance that this feisty little sub could deliver. It could reach down and play the low notes like the heftier more expensive subs will, and also had good projection in the midrange. Blending with the satellite speakers was also very good, and in many cases seamless.

Star Wars Episode II The Attack of the Clones (DD-EX 5.1)

In the scene entitled Asteroid Chase (Time Stamp 1:07:02 1:09:37), the seismic charges and missiles hit their targets, and the sound coming from the subwoofer delivered a strong full ranged impact. I was impressed with the amount of bass that the LFM-2 could deliver.

The Arena (Time Stamp 1:45:20 1:49:50) is one of the coolest sequences in the movie and has lots of bass information coming from the fights with the various creatures and the percussive soundtrack. There was deep bass extension from the movements and growls of the rhino creature, and the driving strikes of the crab creature were quick and punchy with strong impact.

The Incredibles Dolby Digital 5.1

Mr. Incredible engages the Omnidroid robot for the first time in a explosive action scene called Nomanisan (Time Stamp 37:31 39:56). There was good impact and bass extension during the various impacts from the Omnidroid. The performance from the LFM-2 made the scene as exciting as it was intended to be.

During the climactic scene, Omnidroid Attacks (Time Stamp 1:33:35 1:34:07), the LFM-2 belted out the deep sounds of the force beam holding up an 18-wheeler with good sustain and commendable output. In The Incredibles vs the Omnidroid (Time Stamp 1:36:58 1:41:22), the room was filled with the various crushing sounds of the Omnidroid colliding with its environment. The LFM-2 kept pace wonderfully, playing the sounds with speed and accuracy.

With Music

The LFM-2 had nice dynamics and balance which make it suitable for many different musical styles. It can play deep notes even down to 25 Hz which is suitable for almost every type of music. The tonality and articulation of notes was very good. There is a slight roundness to the character of the sound, and it's also a little bit pronounced and forward. I imagine that people who like the "in your face sound" will like this subwoofer for these qualities.

Oysterhead's The Grand Pecking Order, Elektra/Wea, 2001 takes three highly talented musicians and sets them loose on a recording of amazing technical performances combined with the freedom of being as far out and silly as the musicians like. The band consists of Les Claypool (of Primus) on electric bass guitar, Trey Anastasio (of Phish) on electric guitar, and former Police drummer Stewart Copeland. This is a great subwoofer album, because Les Claypool is a master of the electric bass guitar and tends to be very experimental with use of subsonic material.

On tracks like "Mr. Oysterhead" and "Rubberneck Lions" the walking bass lines were played smoothly and evenly, and the kick drum notes sounded tight and punchy. The LFM-2 gave these tracks the kind of driving sound that a lot of people who enjoy rock music will like.

On the tracks "Radon Balloon" and "Army on Ecstasy" the midrange subwoofer notes were forward and pronounced and had a lot of presence. A sealed subwoofer system is typically a little tighter or quicker when it comes to playing high speed passages, but the LFM-2 was definitely no slouch, and it kept pace with the high velocity notes that Claypool and Copeland dished out.

On the title track "The Grand Pecking Order", the deep bass extension was great, and there was plenty of impact. The LFM-2 was proving it could play all the different ranges with evenness and accuracy.

Grant Green's Standards, Blue Note Records, 1998. Grant Green on guitar, Wilbur Ware on bass and Al Harewood on drums round out this trio for a recording that is filled with genuine emotion and an approach to playing music where less is more and every note counts. I found when I backed off the volume a little bit, the LFM-2 gave a natural and smooth sound to this album. The overall performance was relaxing and warm, which is the way jazz music is intended to be.

On track 1, "You Stepped Out of a Dream", there was a very nice even sound on the walking bass line. The acoustic bass material sounded natural with a lot of warmth. Each bass note had proper balance and was projected cleanly onto the soundstage.

On track 2, "Love Walked In", the LFM-2 played all the notes with good tonality. Each note was precise and separate from the next, and there wasn't any muddiness or excessive overhang.

I also tested the LFM-2 with some rap and electric music, and the performance was very good from this small subwoofer. The deep bass extension of the LFM-2 made the music of 50 Cent, Cypress Hill, and DJ Real sound powerful.

Conclusions

Bass lovers who are on a tight budget would find a lot to like about the LFM-2. The subwoofer features strong output over a wide frequency range, making it a suitable and entertaining choice for both movies and music. The sound is forward and pronounced, but is also cleanly articulated, so it really is a fine choice for those who wish bass to be a prominent part of the playback material. Consumers can also utilize Outlaw Audio's 30 day risk free guarantee to take a little test drive (shipping not included).

When it comes to a performance subwoofer that is designed for small rooms and modest budgets, the LFM-2 hits the mark dead on. It provides lots of bass output, with a smooth response across the frequency range that belies its size and price. I can't imagine many $300 subwoofers with the versatility and output of the LFM-2.



- Adrian Wittenberg -

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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