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JL Audio High End Sub Bass Systems from AV Tech Solutions


JL Audio’s Biggest Heaviest stuff ..is for your HOME!

Working for Home Cinema Choice magazine, I have reviewed pretty much all of the subwoofers here. I went along to the HQ of AV Tech Solutions, the UK source for these products, for a day’s filming. The idea was to record some straightforward stuff about the subs but also to capture what pleasant and knowledgeable, intelligent fellows there are involved in importing and distributing these awesome bass makers.

As well as the smaller subwoofers, we had the truly serious two way active JL Audio CR-1 crossover, intended for high end stereo use, as well as being in the chain for the home theatre system. Also, a lot like some other makes, JL Audio have a bass wireless transmission system. Except, that being American, it does go a ways further than say, the REL Longbow. Because you can connect and run pretty much as many subs as your mad power hungry architecture and soul desires with the JL Audio J-Link transmitter-receiver system, if you want to add receivers. Feel the need for four..or more?

Great fun to film and you can tell that these chaps know their stuff and are on the bass ball!

Go see http://av-techsolutions.co.uk/ to get in touch, find out where to go experience them for yourself and buy one..or four from one of these dealers: http://av-techsolutions.co.uk/dealers.aspx!

J-Link Bass Transmission System.






This is the Dominion D108 and it runs 500W into an EIGHT!



The bones of my review:

“CHIHUAHUA SIZE, GREAT DANE BASS!

From the company known for bass that can hurt you, comes a diminutive woofer. Adam Rayner meets a small sub with a big Chihuahua attitude.

As well as high level speaker wire connections via their own quick-release plug system, Dominion has RCA sockets and either input can be fed in mono or stereo. An Ethernet socket is featured, used for connection of the receiver box of the JL Audio JLINK™ system. A £235 accessory, it comes with a transmitter as well. Up to four extra receivers can be used, to feed more subwoofers. A three channel 2.5GHz wireless system, it has an 80dB signal to noise ratio, plenty of fidelity for bass.

I plugged up the transmitter/receiver system and after a little setting-up, played some music before spinning up Inside Out by Pixar. That set up was interesting. There is a polarity flip switch (and an input ground lift switch, incidentally, to avoid any earth buzzes) but there’s also a continuous-sweep phase control, only zero to 280 degrees. This indicates deep expertise with bass. Especially as the specification states that it was referenced to 80Hz.

Also, that eight inch driver has a very big round top roll surround, with a bigger roll-diameter than found on most fifteens. Inside, the patented plastic parts are made to allow a stupefyingly long throw. Along with the iron grip of the amp with a closely regulated power supply, it makes for bizarrely potent bass from an eight.

The d108 purred, growled and held luscious rich notes underneath the big resident system of large towers and a centre weighing thrice what this woofer does.

The film starts very gently inside a newborn’s head. We are given exposition about how memories and keeping them all works. A memory is stored, a very important plot-vital concept accompanied by a rich heavy basso throb-of-importance.

This tiny box has an identity crisis. Like a Chihuahua sized dog that barks like a damn Great Dane.

It played the full depth and absurd weight. Being so small, the massive excursion of the firmly-suspended driver is what does this. Set deep into the front baffle behind a grille intended to be left in place, it moves air like a twelve.

Without spoilers; ‘Sadness’ and ‘Joy’ get sucked up a big pipe by accident. Another important moment with a large taut ‘thwobb' effect that drops. The d108 simply played all this, with no evidence of its small size at all. Even when our protagonist gets in trouble and has Islands Of Personality go crashing into the abyss, the room-shaking tones got played with aplomb.

The doors to the subconscious and the scary clown asleep within, snoring, presented deep effects, again that went almost to subsonics - as this can play below 25Hz - that the d108 loved. The end credits music is full of lovely bass lines too, that were truly enjoyable.

As well as pretty looks and elegantly capable controls, the Dominion d108 subwoofer is astonishingly good in output. Played unseen, I would have thought it was a 12in based subwoofer with a good amp. The d110 will just be heavier and a bit deeper yet!

Not cheap but very good.”

Performance: 5
Design: 4
Features: 5
Overall: 5



This Small Form Factor Hides an Hellacious Output: DOMINION D110






THIS is Hardcore. The JL Audio CR-1 Active Bass Crossover. HIGH END PRODUCT




UNBOXING GEEKERY! Meet the E-Sub




The JL Audio E-Sub Products: Meat & Potatoes Vid



And here, my unedited original review. (THEY NEVER, EVER USED MY DAMN HEADLINES!)
“BABY ZILLA
When your grand daddy is called ‘Gotham’ and your uncle, ‘Fathom’, Adam Rayner finds that even a baby JL Woofer is like a T-Rex. Big teeth, just less of them…

JL Audio’s massive factory in Florida is set up like cottage industry inside, just scaled-up. With many small departments beavering away feverishly on individual products on their very own little production areas. In one such, they have an ENORMOUS machine. It uses hench cutting bits, tipped with industrial diamonds, that cost $600 each. And it eats these like candies, at a rate of two a week. For it is employed in cutting through a two inch resin and carbon fibre composite, so incredibly rigid and tough and thick, that it takes four passes around each hole to cut out the round parts without overcooking the bit. These holes, two of them, fifteen inches across, are in the big bulky body of a subwoofer called Gotham that truly looks like Batman thought it up. And it is literally absurd.

Now, at last, we get to meet its grandson, as we had a play with the biggest one we are allowed here, the Fathom. There are issues of CE approval with the Gotham, I gather. The thing is, JL Audio started with woofers and theirs won contests. Not the break the screen ones, which are now dominated by 160dB weapons of utter unmusicality, but rather the sound quality ones. They are huge spenders on research and development and are acknowledged as one of the manufacturers at the very top end of the game.

These home woofers all use the tech developed for their flagship W7 transducer. You won’t see the fixings for the chassis to the front baffle as the design actually hides these underneath the top roll surround. The internals of the transducer are also deeply cunning and are all about astonishing excursion and vast amounts of air cooling.

In this, the E-Sub range (well, a ten and a twelve) we see the filtered down, best price possible application of all the above, for a home cinema user. Yes, we would all love a detached out building and four Gothams but in the real world, here, the speed and bonkers grippy drop of the W7 tech woofers can be had for an ‘entry level’ price.

This ‘entry level’ is in fact at the top end of what many Brits would ever consider spending upon their bass and thus is really a high end priced item. This merely speaks of how far up scale these guys go.

It turns out to be terribly easy to simply plug and play and get a damn fine result, yet the manual, without any over techy terms, clearly shows that these guys understand bass in enclosed spaces.

Right, so what does a not-so-entry-level JL sub give you? Well, for one, they are bonkers on the power front, as this single twelve has a 750w RMS amplifier to drive it. For one of the coils…as the other has another 750w RMS amplifier, running on the same clever switching power supply. So a kilowatt and a half as potential top power, and a sub bass system that truly shows a driver maker given free reign. A cutaway exists, that I have seen. The driver has a big frankensteinian bolt that runs out the back of the motor, through the back of the box, making it solid with a capital ‘Z’. The suspension is insane and looks cartoonesque, as if ACME Industries had been asked to make a thing to stop Roadrunner in his tracks in fear.

The connections bear witness to JL’s car audio roots, with a quick release speaker wire connector, as well as the RCAs in and out. I think I have only seen this once before and then, only flimsy. This is a good connector.

The control section is very accessible and yet well hidden until you want it, underneath a deliciously rubbery tactile and weighty piece of coated metal, I think. This has Neodymium magnets, or else is ferrous and the e112 has them embedded within the crucial spots but this part snaps nicely into place under magnetic grip. It tops the rear mounted amplifier section and the controls are labelled to be used from above, the user to the front. This saves needing to get around the back after installation for adjustment, like on a big REL.

Once removed you can set the overall polarity by a 0/180 degrees switch, as well as there being a sweepable phase knob, which is very rare to see both. They even tell you that it is variable from zero to 280 degrees, referenced to 80Hz, which is more knowledgeable detail than I have ever seen in a specification for a subwoofer.

The build quality is absolutely gorgeous and in this gloss finish, you will see every dust speck.

You could spend a while if you follow every last suggestion and detail in the manual as well as wondering about buying at least three more e112’s, after reading the contents but essentially, it is easy to plug in. Tuning by setting the polarity, phase offset if needed and crossover point versus your AVR’s LFE feed, may leave you playing happily for a movie or two. That manual does have a really unassailable authority, though. It’s good stuff.

As soon as I fired this shiny, deep-grilled cuboid up in my room, I smiled. The really big thing is that the large cone in this woofer has mercurial alacrity to fling itself a long way to and fro under almost any drive. And when it does it in anger and intent, it creates wave fronts at a fabulous speed. That’s ‘tech’ for ‘when it goes bang, it will scare you’. Fireworks, explosions, car crashes and other things that go 'thunk' and where the director and sound designer meant the theatre subwoofers to wake up and squeeze the audience’s adrenals, will proper startle you.

The smallish box size compared to some of the monsters of bass we have had in the magazine, only means a difference in scale. Yes, I have had woofers that pushed out my windows as well as pushing my luck with the neighbours but the e112 has no idea that it is only a twelve. It can do the most profound lows. It even specifies that it can drop to 17Hz in -10dB, still-feel-that fashion!

The B&W 800 series reference speakers have their own 15 inch subwoofer, as well as the Stentor III I use for reaching infrasonics in the system, yet the e112 was absurd in how well it did.

I played a good few films and will reference Elysium and Frozen.

Frozen actually begins underwater in a lake, with ice being harvested. It starts with the thump of boots on the ice overhead. It is deep and should be felt in your chest as well as offering up as profound a wobble as your speaker system can manage. The e112 loved it and shook the room, with a controlled pulse. It’s dts Master Audio and the male voice stuff immediately following this was rich and deep. Later, the parents of the daughter hit by an ice bolt, take her to visit a sort of rock-troll tribe. The sound of them assembling has a huge and scary-by-intent basso rumble that is made of many components. You believe you are being surrounded by rolling boulders. The complexity of the bass in this is huge. And then, during the very famous song, ‘Let it go’, we have a monstrous rumble as an ice palace is conjured on the mountain. Again, it is intended to be thunderous and ground shaking. Yes, it could have been more intense but the e112 managed it all where some would cough unless set very low level. I was impressed.

Elysium uses bass well in its sound track. The very start menu on the disc has a ridiculous throb that is great for setting up your woofer as it goes on, then repeats, of course.

As soon as we start up, we get scene setting and will be seeing the ‘habitat’ of Elysium in the sky from Earth, then closer in. The basso throb is again intended to stir some awe, with a big descending bass dropping tone. It made the hair stand up on my arms. The weight of pressure is impressive yet the control is incredible. When the bass event finishes, the subwoofer stops like a fly on glue. It is very tight indeed.

In fact this film uses this basso drop a lot. The biggest is when a ship of would be incomers breach security in a shuttle and there is an alert, along with this huge descent. The JL tracked everything like it was a serious exotic and just rose to every occasion. When the survivors of that event go to ‘deportation’, again, huge dropping throb that will hurt or confound lesser woofers and e112 just loved it.

If you are looking for a top end product from the start, with huge possibilities to ever yet add to it, without worrying that it be obsolete next year, then the eSub is deeply worthy of your consideration. Very pretty, too and available in a smaller ten inch size for smaller rooms but still a beast, I’d reckon. Heartily recommended, I would spend my own money on it.”



Performance: 5
Design: 4
Features: 4.5
Overall: 5



FATHOM F112 v2 Big Bass from ‘normal’ looking woofer!






The Biggest Single Driver that JL Audio make: FATHOM F113 v2






The Mighty FATHOM F212 v2



And lastly, the review they edited, the one JL was aghast at..and with the thing YOU are not allowed to try, finally published and left IN THE TEXT!…


“ DOUBLE-TAKE, DOUBLE-BARRELLED BIG BORE BOOM

It is both big and clever, unlike the reviewer at first. Adam Rayner literally wrestles with a mighty two headed subwoofer called Fathom, in Version 2 guise.

This mighty home cinema subwoofer system arrives in a double carton of immense strength that sits atop four puffy plastic bagel-like feet. This is so that a forklift can be used, for it weighs 224lbs. That’s sixteen stones and doesn’t count said weighty carton assembly. I got help to get it into the room but thought, with Rayner sized arrogance, that I could position it easily enough. I have carpet, the device has four rubber feet. I nearly burst my intestines ‘walking’ the thing into position as I only had a few stones weight advantage. After doing this I examined the accessories pack to find not just white gloves but ones with special grippy finger tips and four shallow slippery plastic cups with foam inserts. These go under the rubber feet and allow you to ‘skate’ the monolithic thing into place. I felt like Bugs Bunny when he grows donkey ears. Yep, Read The Flipping Manual…. sigh. I was like Shrek at DuLoc Castle, full of endorphins!

This is a mighty product, yet the makers blithely suggest that you do want to use two, three or best of all four, which at UK import prices will be £25,996.

The numerate amongst you will be marvelling at a £6,499 subwoofer. The next musing is about how this was an upgrade of the previous huge model, since this is an evolution, so beloved of JL Audio as a development path and called ‘v2’. They have got to v3 with some other products and always use serious reasons for renaming.

A big black box with two twelves and massive amplification, along with sophisticated control electronics, f212v2 looks much the same as the first. However, the room optimisation processing is now immensely more sophisticated than before, with eighteen bands of digital equalisation being applied during the D.A.R.O. process, (Digital Automatic Room Optimization sic) which is a single button press.

Best of all, perhaps and not actually seeming to have cost you any more, (for the price difference from v1 to v2 is I think down to currency exchange rate changes since we looked at the first one) is the power upgrade.

JL Audio have added amplifier power to take the f212 from 1,500 watts RMS per driver, to 1,800 watts RMS per driver for v2.

Yes, the ‘upgrade’ is to add more power than most woofers come with. This has added four pounds mass or just under two kilos of pure JL Audio metal muscle.

The transducers are covered by eight different patents to do with enabling them to run cool and an hysterically long way in and out. These remain the ‘indoors version’ of the maddest ‘W7’ woofer JL Audio make, without having to worry about automotive moisture issues, as it is ‘indoors’. If any changes have been made to the drivers, we are not told.

I plugged in the microphone, a neat, smartly specific-to-this-system device and pressed the DARO button. Quite unlike the ‘doof-doofs’ of previous room optimisation systems, this did not run descending tones but rather three minutes of what was described as ‘hashy static’. Then, it was showtime.

First,I played some rich dynamic bass heavy music by Yello, whom I adore and who have been the darlings of the HiFi trade in their time, with The Race being played to death at shows. It was clear that the reference B&W 800’s ‘liked’ the support. A lovely match after set-up, there was no gap, no swelling, no stupid hooligan feel to the bass. But ye gods and little fishes, any hooligan will love it, for the sheer scale grasps you by the sternum, holds your vitals in a velvet glove lined with cold steel and then shakes them around a bit.

I bought The Force Awakens, especially for the new Fathom. I will show off here (What, YOU Adam? Ed.) and brag about my chum ‘Big’ Mick Hughes (NEVER use his surname…) who does Metallica’s live sound. He may kill me for revealing this as it was secret but he bullied Glastonbury management into having his thrice-normal sub bass PA system for the band at the festival. For the scale thing holds good. More bass actually makes ALL of it feel bigger and richer and that first traditional TA DAAAH of The Force Awakens, was literally awe inspiring and I got goose bumps.

Like a new car with a big engine, I played with the obvious. Enjoying major scale events for the sheer power. The immense basso rumble as the very opening sequence unfolds was epic. I had had to turn the control down a tad from “0dB” on setup not to overwhelm the room system. Bonkers, as I am a ‘fader pusher’, not ‘puller’, in engineer-speak. Bit like Big Mick.

We meet The Scavenger, we feel the weight of the tired engines of that hovering motor cycle with no wheels. And oh my, when that poor pilot gets tortured by Kylo Ren, there was an epic deep bass throb that grabbed me by my guts. Likewise, a crashing First Order fighter in the Badlands or the Millennium Falcon taking off, both offer major excitement and you get so wrapped up in the action as the feel is so good from Fathom.
Yet this is to be expected.

The real difference, was experienced in the scene where Ren meets Supreme Leader Snoke. Here was where that DSP bore fruit. The taut accuracy of the abyssal lows, down seriously into infrasonic made the space feel more cavernous than a cathedral. My hair stood on end all over. you can literally feel the size of the space they are in, in a way that defies simple description but gives acoustic agoraphobia, so large doth it feel!

I did have to play the beginning of Limitless again, just to see if I could spit the grille off again (no really, I didn’t try!) and it remains like being kicked in the belly, hard, by an ungulate, accurately.

A wonderful device, fully deserving of v2 label, this means you can have smaller speakers than towers and still have epic reference grade audio. I loved it to bits, except for shifting the bastard.

AND FINALLY AN EXTRACT FROM MY ORIGINAL REVIEW OF THE F212 v1 PRODUCT

“The system has RCA and XLR connections to the rear and sophisticated pro-audio-looking controls on the front at the top under the grille. (Which I actually punched off the box during testing, with the cones!) I played the intro to Limitless in DTS Master HD to the lads who delivered the Fathom. The bit where our protagonist is on the balcony and a Russian gangster is smashing his way through his fortress of a flat’s front door. This is a sequence of bangs and crashes that easily beats Master & Commander for sheer abuse grade massive bass hits. I played the sequence a few times and ended up at +5dB seeing genuine but brief terror on the boys’ faces. (-20dB is LOUD in my room) For, far more than merely a huge boom (hello, SVS!) or awesome control but no stupidity-bass (that’d be B&W’s DB1) the JL Audio Fathom F212 can still do the classic support-the-satellites thing to make it all louder and clearer.

And believe me, a set of eight grand B&W 800 series, the resident reference speakers, were able to support stuff at clear levels I have never, ever had in my home. As the last BANG hit, a flying toy fell off the shelves and my son’s A level results congratulations balloon jumped and started in the air like it had been slapped.

It had been, at around 130dB of room-inflating hell! The effect was meant to scare and it DID.



VERDICT
JL Audio f212v2 Subwoofer
Price £6,499 in high gloss black
www.av-techsolutions.co.uk
Tel: 07974 735 998



HIGHS: Astonishing bass power with utter control that as well as massive scale, can create epic ‘space’.

LOWS: In the UK, to apply four subwoofer systems as suggested in the manual, will cost you £25,996.

Performance: 5
Design: 4.5
Features: 5
Overall: 5

SPECS

Drive Units: Dual twelve inch (300mm) very long excursion design with motor systems covered by eight different proprietary JL-patented transducer design technologies, derived from their W7 flagship model

Enclosure: Sealed box

Frequency Response: 20Hz to 97Hz (+/-1.5dB); -3dB at 19Hz and 110Hz; -10dB at 15Hz and 157Hz

On-Board Power: 3,600W RMS short term from Class D amp with patented high damping feedback circuit for better cone control

Remote Control? no

Dimensions (WHD): 379(w) x 812(h) x 518(d) )mm including feet and rear fins

Weight: 102Kg (224lb) approx

Connections: RCA inputs (paired, stereo or mono use), balanced XLR inputs and XLR slave output socket, IEC mains, front microphone socket.

Included: Mains lead, manual, cotton gloves with extra-grip finger tips, slider feet for handling in-room, microphone, microphone cable and branded zip case for same.”




Great fun to film and you can tell that these chaps know their stuff and are on the bass ball!

Go see http://av-techsolutions.co.uk/ to get in touch, find out where to go experience them for yourself and buy one..or four from one of these dealers: http://av-techsolutions.co.uk/dealers.aspx!


1 Comments

2x12 JL or velodyne dd18+?