July 22, 2009
The JL Audio Fathom f110 may be small in size, but its not lacking in the performance department. While there are certainly much larger subs from other brands at the same price or less, you will be hard pressed to find all of the performance attributes the Fathom f110 has to offer in such a compact box.
Not once did I find the f110’s output lacking. They were always able to rattle my walls and shake my couches when the source material required it. JL Audio is as serious about high fidelity in the home environment as they have been in mobile audio since its inception.
Bassaholics rejoice as JL Audio has produced a reference level product that will thump, and thump well, without requiring a refrigerator sized box that you don’t have the space to accommodate.
The woofer is based off JL Audio’s W7 platform from the company’s car audio drivers with a peak-to-peak excursion of over 2.5 inches. The driver includes OverRoll surround technology that spans over the driver’s mounting flange. JL Audio actually screws the driver into the cabinet before attaching the removable surround. This allows the use of a wider roll necessary to control high excursions without sacrificing cone area.
I can’t tell you how many high excursion drivers I’ve seen that claim to be 10 inches in diameter only to measure less than 7 inches because of the thick roll surround. The JL driver is one of the few high mass drivers that actually looks like the size the company claims it to be.
The engineers at JL Audio must all have kids and recognize how irritating it can be when you sit down late at night to enjoy a good flick only to be blown out of your seat because your two-year-old kid discovered the volume knob on the back of your sub. Unlike most subwoofers that have all of their controls and adjustments on the back panel, JL Audio recessed most of these on the front baffle and are only accessible when the grill cover is removed.
Front panel controls include:
- On/off/auto power switch
- Selectable 12dB and 24dB/Octave adjustable LPF from 30Hz to 130Hz
- A 0/180 degree phase switch
- 0-270 deg variable phase
Master volume is selectable as variable or fixed and there is a -12dB to +3dB ELF trim for low frequency boost or cut.
JL Audio also includes its own auto setup feature called ARO (Automatic Room Optimization) that operates as a multiple band PEQ to flatten bass peaks caused by room modes. Using ARO involves placing the supplied microphone at your primary seated position aimed up at the ceiling (preferably using a mic stand), hitting the calibrate button and running like hell while it runs a series of noise tests to optimize the subwoofer’s in-room response.
If you’re not happy with the results, you can hit the defeat button which illuminates red or simultaneously press and hold the “demo” and “defeat” buttons to clear out the calibration. There are 5 front panel LEDs that can be dimmed or defeated. I chose the middle setting to reduce the light output enough to not be noticed unless you really look for it.
Click here to read the entire review on Audioholics.com.