JL Audio Fathom f110 Subwoofer Reviewed

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JL Audio Fathom f110 Subwoofer Reviewed

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JL_AUDIO-FATHOM_f110-SUBWOOFER_review_with_grill.gifHigh Points
• The f110's build quality is first rate and exudes class and sophistication, making it one of the few subwoofers you don't have to make excuses for - visually or aurally.
• While the f110's lack of line level or speaker terminal inputs may seem like a downside, it's not, for the f110 is not only easy to integrate into your system via its balanced or unbalanced input options, its ability to daisy chain means you can have multiple subwoofers in your room via single subwoofer output.
• JL Audio's A.R.O. software works beautifully and is a wonderful way to get the very best out of the f110 without having to be an acoustician. Also, the f110's included calibration microphone just feels like the real deal, unlike a lot of the included mics that come with many processors and/or receivers these days.
• I found little fault with the f110's sonic performance; in fact, for their asking price I'm not sure you can beat 'em. Whether you have $2,000 a pair loudspeakers or $20,000 a pair loudspeakers the f110 will be a welcomed addition to the mix and will round out any loudspeaker's performance beautifully.

Low Points
• My review pair of f110s came in high gloss black which was difficult to keep clean and free of dust and smudges if I'm honest. Those with pets - you've been warned.
• For reasons still unknown to me, I don't like the way the f110's speaker grill looks - it's petty I know, but the grill seems clunky compared to the rest of the f110's otherwise stunning good looks.
• Because the f110 can move copious amounts of air with ease, those of you with homes not built to the same exacting standards as the f110 itself can probably expect to hear some or a lot of rattling around the house. I solved the problem by using Auralex's SubDude HD isolation platforms, which worked beautifully though any isolation platform does add a bit to the overall cost. Thankfully the SubDude HD retails for $70 so it's not too bad.

Competition and Comparison
Like I said earlier, there are more than a few subwoofers out there to choose from though few, especially at a little over $2,000, can compete with the f110. A few notable competitors include Velodyne's DD+ 10 subwoofer at $3,299 as well as Paradigm Studio SUB 15 at $2,799. Both are very capable subwoofers and offer similar feature sets to the f110, but are also clearly more expensive.

For more on subwoofers including the latest news and reviews please check out Home Theater Review's Subwoofer page.

Conclusion
It's rare that I come across a product that I can't find something not to like about, but that is where I find myself with regards to JL Audio's Fathom f110 subwoofer. I suppose I don't like the f110's grill but that's akin to criticizing a supermodel for being an inch too tall or to short - it's silly. While some will probably feel spending $2,000 on a subwoofer is nothing short of insanity, others will no doubt see it as a bargain. I'm inclined to side with the latter for it's the subwoofer I would choose for any reference two-channel or home theater system regardless of price. Recommended? Hell yes.

Additional Resources
• Read more subwoofer reviews from the staff at Home Theater Review.
• Find a pair of Floorstanding Speakers or Bookshelf Speakers to pair with Fathom F110.

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HTR Product Rating for JL Audio Fathom f110 Subwoofer

Criteria Rating

Performance

5

Value

4

Overall

4.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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