Shootout: Five Mid-Price Subwoofers Page 7

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How Did It Sound? Saint-Saens The LFM-1EX was fearless on the low notes. It banged out 20 Hz and made a stab at the 16-Hz stuff, pausing only to trigger its protection circuits. The upper half-octave had a great organ sound; I could hear characteristic pipe detail lacking with other subs, including a kind of warmth that shows good tonal reproduction.

Linkin Park This is a tough track, and the LFM-1EX played it with a distinctive sound quality. The very lowest notes did not punch as hard as they should; the sub couldn't really dig all the way down to the very bottom. But, it reproduced the middle and upper notes superbly. As with the Saint-Saens, the inner detail was astounding. I heard tonal qualities in the bass line that I've never heard before. The sub could play very loud, but at the highest levels, the breakup raspberries really started to kick in.

Superman Returns The LFE track here has extreme low-frequency content, which the LFM-1EX reproduced quite well at modest levels. Ambient rumble was clear and uncluttered, free of any defects. At loud levels, the bottom half octave of rumble caused the sub to rattle more than I wanted. On the other hand, the higher-pitched explosions sounded quite good, with good attack.

Godzilla This soundtrack's LFE rumble was nicely reproduced at low and medium levels, with convincing power and uncluttered sound quality. Impact noise had a good punch to it, as long as peaks did not demand too much. When cranked to higher levels, the sub started to lose integrity as driver and cabinet resonances took over. This occurred only at loud levels, however, and when I turned on the satellites, some of this distress was covered by the upper-frequency content.

What's the Bottom Line? The LFM-1EX is a true rock 'n' roll subwoofer. It plays loud and it goes fairly deep. At moderate frequencies and levels, its tonal quality is very good. But when pushed, it starts to reveal the stress. The tonal balance is somewhat unusual -- although the lower bass is there, the sound seems much sweeter in the upper bass. At the highest levels, cabinet resonances can be pronounced. The Outlaw handled LFE movie tracks nicely, with enough power to rattle the room and enough detail to articulate bass impact, as long as it wasn't pushed into overload. It also bears noting that the LFM-1EX was our dollars-per-dB champ.

Manufacturer Outlaw Audio www.outlawaudio.com 866-688-5297

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