Sunday, November 9, 2008

JL Audio Fathom f212 Subwoofer


Those of you who have had a long interest in car audio know the name JL Audio very well, because that is where they made their fame.

Since every company likes to grow, JL Audio decided to expand into the home audio market, i.e., home theater.

We reviewed the f113 a few months ago, and were astonished at its performance.

Well, if you thought that sub was good, wait until you see how their latest sub, the f212, does the job.

Instead of one 13.5" driver, the f212 has two 12" drivers. And, get this, 3,000 watts of RMS amplifier power (short term; a few seconds) to drive them.

The enclosure is necessarily quite large (32" high) and is of sufficient weight that I had to hire two young fellows to lift them (JL Audio sent two subs) into the lab. When I was finished testing the subwoofers, I had to hire the same two guys to carry them out again.


  • Design: Sealed Enclosure Subwoofer
  • Drivers: Two 12"
  • Amplifier Power: 3,000 Watts RMS Short Term
  • MFR: 20 Hz - 97 Hz ± 1.5 dB
  • Inputs: XLR and RCA, XLR Output to Drive Second Subwoofer (Slave)
  • Dimensions: 32" H x 15" W x 20.4" D
  • Weight: 220 Pounds
  • MSRP: $6,000 in Black Satin, $6,100 in Black Gloss, USA
  • JL Audio































It has a grille, and you need to pull the grille off to access the control panel, shown below (click on the photo to see a larger version, and if it needs further enlargement, click on the small square in the bottom right hand corner).

From left to right are: On/Off/Auto toggle switch, the Calibration Microphone Jack, Demo, Defeat, and Calibrate (Defeat turns off the calibration after it is done so you can compare before and after calibration; the Calibrate light turns green if calibration was successful), Input Mode (Master or Slave if you use two subs in parallel), Level (Volume - Reference or Variable), Master Volume Control, Panel Lights on or off, Low Pass Filter 0, 12 dB or 24 dB/octave), Low Pass Frequency, ELF Trim (Extreme Low Frequency applies variable EQ at 25 Hz depending on how close to your wall the sub is located), Phase Adjustment and Polarity.

The rear panel has XLR and RCA inputs, one XLR output to drive a slave subwoofer, the selector for Master or Slave, a Ground Lift, and the grounded AC socket.