December 02, 2011 by Audioholics.com
The Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX is a moderately large 12-inch ported powered subwoofer with a built in 350 watt rated amplifier. Based on our extensive testing, the LFM-1 EX proved to be an overachiever at its mere $650 price tag. We did find the sub to be slightly mistuned but keeping both ports open produced the best overall sound and measured results. Two ports open also allowed us to achieve its most dynamic output while minimizing port chuffing. The fit and finish was good, though the product wasn’t quite as buttoned up as some of the multi thousand dollar units we’ve tested. The Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX receives the Audioholics “Bassoholic Large Room” rating, which means that this sub is recommended as maintaining adequate headroom in rooms or spaces of 3,000 to 5,000 cubic feet and/or for users who usually listen at moderate to high volume levels. The LFM-1 EX does a lot right and makes no major mistakes all while providing huge bang for the buck value and meaningful 20Hz extension. Outlaw has knocked this one out of the park as far as I’m concerned. Budget conscious sub shoppers looking to fill a large space take note.
The Outlaw arrived in a generous sized double box and was very thoroughly packaged. Protections for the subwoofer seemed to be more than adequate and the LFM-1 EX arrived largely devoid of markings to even the outer cardboard. Inside of the packing materials was the LFM-1 EX wrapped in a cloth bag, the power cord, the owner manual, the port bung and a packet containing the floor spikes and plastic cups for them. Unpacking was an easy one person job.
The LFM-1 EX is what I would consider to be an average-to-large size for a consumer level powered subwoofer. At 80lbs it is no lightweight but not what I would consider a back breaker either. The finish is a nice flat black which is not reflective. The glass top was covered with a peel off protective sticker which reveals a very nice looking, glossy and deep black color when removed. The cabinet corners are each rounded off with a large radius and the floor spikes are very large, heavy and high quality units. The unit has no grill since both ports and the driver are all down firing. The total package is a rather good looking affair in my estimation. I had no troubles moving the LFM-1-EX by myself but the floor spikes will mark any hard surface if you are not careful.
Outlaw’s LFM-1 EX is a bass reflex design utilizing a single 12-inch driver and two 3-inch flared ports in a down firing configuration. The system can be configured for a 25Hz tune with both ports open, or an 18Hz tuning with one port blocked via the supplied port plug. There is a switch on the amplifier which operates the necessary high pass filter for each tuning.
The BASH amplifier is rated for 350 watts. The literature also makes mention of the amplifier being capable of reaching peaks of 1300 watts but this seems to be a nebulous claim at best. In any event most other manufacturers do not list peak power of their amplifiers any more for comparison. As with most BASH designs this is a relatively simply constructed and very lightweight unit. There was no internal heat sinking other than the large aluminum faceplate of the amplifier. Two large reserve capacitors were in evidence.
Looking at the sum of the measurements the LFM-1 EX performs well in almost every major metric. The response is smooth enough and flat enough to be crossed over well above 120Hz. The output compression performance is not great due to the ports, but is not bad either. It has good THD performance especially in two ports operation where it is essentially below 10% everywhere at 25Hz and above even during the 110db nominal sweep level. The maximum sweep level and the CEA2010 results show that the LFM-1 EX has a generous amount of output and not just at the upper bass frequencies like many “subwoofers”, it has deep extension and produces an honest to goodness 100dB+ at 20Hz. There is a little bit of delay near the vent tunings when looking at the time domain measurements but certainly nothing out of the ordinary for a vented subwoofer. I do have to say that I would recommend running this subwoofer with both ports open as the single port mode is simply overloaded and compressed too easily in comparison. On top of that the maximum headroom at 20Hz and above is better as is the distortion performance with both ports open.
Taken as a whole the Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX performed very well, but when you add in the fact that it came from a subwoofer which retails for under $650 it takes on a new aspect.
Read the complete review here at Audioholics and comment in the forum here.
Check out more Audioholics coverage at Electronic House here.
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