JL Audio Fathom

I've been very tempted to upgrade my 2x 12in Martin Logan 1100x subs to 2x JL Audio Fathom v2 subs. for reference the 1100x retail ~1300$ and the JL Audio 5k. I am very happy with the Martin Logans which are very nicely integrated with my Sabrina X speakers. Do you think it would be worth upgrading to the Fathoms? 

No REL for me because I don't want made in China FYI. 


Leave it alone. 

Two reasons, too many complaints about JL Audio reliability, as well as how hard it is to integrate a sub with main speakers.  If you have it dialed in don't touch it!! :D

If you want to really dive in though, consider a miniDSP along with the appropriate measurement gear to help you get to glory.

Also, room acoustics matter.  A reflective room, bad placement and big room modes should be dealt with.

No I would not switch. Doubtful the JL is much different from ML sound wise. I have had 5 (yes 5) failed JL E112s, friends don’t let friends by JL. 

I would not switch either. With the JL Audio you are paying a lot for room correction and a calibrated microphone. Room correction would be much better handled with a good DSP unit and REW.

I haven’t heard of the V2 JL fathoms having issues. The V1 definitely did. I haven’t heard the Martin Logan’s you have but can say the F113 is way better IMO to the Rythmic F12 I had. Much more articulation and punch. 

Post removed 

Thanks everyone for the valuable feedback. That’s good to know. I had heard the v2 was much improved over the problematic v1 as well. 

Good sub integration is not something to mess with. Trying something new is great but make sure you can undo any damage. 

Well I am not from Florida but I am currently in Florida lol. But yes, I am pretty much at a 100% failure rate with JL audio. I wonder how much of an exception it really it. 

When they broke the second time my shopped offered me a floor model while I water for mine… we looked at the floor model and the volume knob did not work on it either…. Can’t make this stuff up

When someone says they want to buy the premium line and someone complains about the cheaper version; I’m not sure I see the value add.

I’ve had a F112 V1 since 2013 no issues, best subwoofer I’ve ever owned, once Rockwool R30 is available again and I can finish my new movie room the plan is to pickup two F113 V2 … no regrets …

I have a pair of F112 v2 running in my system.  They are very well integrated and I've had no operational issues.  I'm very pleased with them.


In general, it's difficult to get really good sub integration.  Since you are happy with the integration in your system I wouldn't change a thing.  

Not worth it. Money is better spent on another part of your system like your phono or digital. Even better, room treatments. Way better to control your bass with room treatments. 

I wanted to come back to this after some thoughts.  One of the very important reasons JL subs sound so good is the quality of the built-in room correction.  I really like the choices it makes, but at the same time you can do the same with a microphone, Room EQ Wizard and miniDSP for a lot less.

If the OP is genuinely interested in going to the next level with his setup, I'd encourage him to go that route, which is going to be a lot less expensive but also more challenging.  The good news is he can't really break anything that way.

As I mentioned before though, bass traps when needed can really help, but that would come from measurements.

If you haven't already, perform the subwoofer crawl and map your rooms two loudest standing wave bass modes. Position the ML 1100X's in those modes then recalibrating them. Despite the level of noticeable improvement at least you'll know that rooms optimum sub locations, forever.

The cost of custom length subwoofer interconnects from say, Blue Jeans or Monoprice Cable are quite economical. Try and maintain the same VAC supply to avoid grounding issues.

A -6dB  'Sub-Bass' speaker is not a subwoofer regardless of where its manufactured.  

I have 3 F112 v1, since 2008 iirc, I’ve also had need to have them serviced, keeping my boxes shipping them to either AZ or FL. The service is excellent and timely: about 7-10 turn around. The fact that they can be serviced is a plus. That they are still in business even with some negative feelings by a few says a lot about them as a company. The good news is they are stunning, powerful, fast and adjustable in every manner. I don’t use the ARO room correction but let my Trinnov deal with it. My system is a dual purpose room, both analog and HT. I play vinyl and digital music plus movies. Getting 3 subs in phase with the mains is challenging, I’ve done it manually in the past, but not much need now. I don’t think you’d go wrong getting the F112. 

I also have owned dual JL Audio f 113’s v2 for about 7 years. They unfortunately both needed servicing, and one of the units, had to be serviced a second time. However, to their credit, they ended up replacing it with a brand new unit about a year ago. Customer service is excellent. It has been all good since then, and they sound wonderful.

I'm surprised by all the servicing needs. For the price, I would expect more reliability. 

I have owned two F112V2's for close to six years now and have never had an issue with either one. (I hope I do not come to regret that statement) Could be the, law of averages at play here...the more units you have in the market, the more that could end up needing service.

Well, decision time is near. I have the $$$ set aside. If not for new subs, I was going to get a McIntosh MT5 turntable. I currently have a a simple audio technica. If it was you, JL or MT5? Keep my day interesting haha. 

The good thing is if you go JL Audio they have great service, as one day you will need it… 

I haven't been without subwoofers since the sixties.

After giving away my early Technics SL 1200 for a belt driven Well Tempered Classic I experienced that Basis Audio's A.J. Conti was defiantly onto turntable drive belt irregularities and aging. 

I missed my SL's drive power and torque from day one. I should mention I've been conformationally swayed by Oswalds Mills Audio's Jonathan Weiss direct drive philosophy. After over a decade without an audio purchase I'm currently squirreling away for an affordable Technics SL-1200G-S.   


Dear @upstateaudiophile :  The main issue and target with added subwoofers is to achieve first than all a benefit to lower the IMD in the main speakers as can be in your WA Sabrina X and a side benefit is to have a lower and better bass range handled by a dedicated amplifiers and woofers in those true active subwoofers ( I'm not talking of your ML but any self powered true subwoofer. ).

To maximization those 2 targets you need that the subwoofers must be sealed design and needs to comes with not only low pass crossover filter but it's desired high pass crossover filter too to take advantage and really lower that high IMD that your Sabrina has in this moment due that its woofers crossover the mid range at around 300hz and from here down to 30hz and this is what develops that IMD levels that with the sub high pass crossover filter ( or external High pass. ) will permits a lot better quality levels in the Sabrina mid range, high frequency and mid-bass ranges.

To all those happens and you really can enjoy your system as never before you need to croosover both crossover filters at around 80HZ. Other great benefit that you will have is that at 90hz the Sabrina woofer impedance is at 1.1 that it's really low to handled with aplomb by almost any amplifier and this fact develops higher distortions that makes a degradation in all your room/system quality level performance.

Your ML subs can't do the job neither the JL ( has to high THD. ) and you can go with a noy to expensive alternative like these Velodyne that measured at 20hz and over 100 SPL the lower than 0.5% THD that no JL can even dreams:


Digital Drive Plus - Velodyne Acoustics


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,



@upstateaudiophile --

What's the rationale behind your interest in the Fathom subs? The 112's house woofers of the same diameter compared to the ML's, but the former is no doubt more powerful, both driver- and amp-wise. The question is what it amounts to in your context apart from more headroom/sense of power perhaps, but the DSP section of the Fathom's (that has been pointed to already, and which is more sophisticated), may be the most determining factor for potentially better room integration. In addition I'd argue that subs-main speaker integration, as well as overall main speaker potential, would be further enhanced high-passing those Sabrina's, but that involves adding a digital processing layer via a DSP (unless done passively), which may invite controversy either for simply being handled in the digital domain, and/or that it's a second processing layer on top of the passive crossover prefitted in the Sabrina's.

I share the sentiment expressed about the miniDSP route for less money and same-ish results, but if money isn't an issue (and it seems it isn't, certainly up to about $10k) I'd up the ante and challenge even further for a separate amp + DIY subs solution of a considerably larger and more efficient kind. There are many options of such a large, high eff. and separated sub+amp+DSP (+ high-passing the mains) route, and I'll refrain from elaborating any further here being it's likely an option most will choose not to embark on, but the sonic perspectives offered with such a solution is one that really separates the sheep from the goats; those small all-in-one subwoofer cubes, expensive they can be, and added to full-range running main speakers are really only the tip of the iceberg performance-wise, but who am I to argue against a convenience-catering industry and its followers. 

In any case I'd try and make some sense of the madness. From all I can assess the inclusion of the Fathom's will likely be more of a sideways step to your ML's than a ballistic upgrade, so why not spend your money on a turntable and more music? 

Lots of great discussion and valuable opinions. Honestly, I thought the ML’s just didn’t cost enough to be as good as the rest of my system. Acoustically, they sound great. I took measurements with a UMIK-1 and REW and I’m happy with the results.

I liked the “ballistic upgrade” statement from @phusis. When I got the Sabrina X setup in my ideal dimension and treated room, McIntosh MA8950 and Transparent Super cables, it was nothing short of a religious experience. I’m not sure if anything else matters much at this point but I had set aside some $$$ to gift to the audio lover in me and thought the subs were the step vs turntable.

I did listen to the JL’s with a set of Sasha V’s and they were good but I wouldn’t say I thought it was better than my system. Probably due to the room/acoustics.

@upstateaudiophile  : Your WA Sabrina are  not well served by your integrated amplifier that has not the abiñlity to handle with aplomb that 1.1 ohm impeance at that critical and way important frequency range that affects at least 2 octaves and its developed MUSIC harmonics and additional to that the MUSIC signal is obligated in that integrated amplifier to pass through an autoformer ( transformer ) instead directly to the output transisttors.


You own to very high quality speakers for that meiocre integrated amplifier. Sorry but thgis is the facts that normally owners don't want to hear/read it.



@rauliruegas appreciate the info! I do have to disagree as the MA8950 is amazing. I have heard a lot and tested these with a number of amps. I’m very satisfied and the McIntosh per WA drives it well. 

@rauliruegas where does the Sabrina go as low as 1.1 ohms? I’ve seen 2+ but not anything as low as you state. I think the MA8950 would drive them well just as @upstateaudiophile says as it will drive 2,4,8 ohm loads with 200W regardless of which tap is used. I disagree that the MA8950 is a mediocre integrated amp.

Dear @jastralfu  : In a critical 90hz frequency and does not matter what that 8950 can't handled it and the problem is all what surrounded that reproduced 90hz frequency as the overtones/harmonics that puts colorations in the mid range and even in the HF and obviously in the mid-bass.

No single amplifier where the audio signal must pass through transformers/autoformers instead directly to the output bipolar devices could be considered up to the task.


Sorry @upstateaudiophile  but I'm not talking of what you like it but what is rigth and what's wrong because these are the facts the " I like " has no objective foundation it's just what we like but facts are way different.



@rauliruegas I’m not entirely sure of what you are saying. You mentioned low impedance as a limiting factor that the Mac can’t handle then switched to the autoformers can’t recreate the frequency without some sort of coloration. I have an admittedly limited understanding of how the autoformer works and why it is used however I have never read anything that indicates that it’s incapable of effectively recreating an audio signal in a particular frequency. I believe the Macs are relatively linear in their output. I’m sure the engineers at McIntosh have sorted this all out and know better than you or I, so I will defer to their expertise. My ears tell me they have done an excellent job. If there is some literature you can point me to that explains your position I would be happy to read it.

Just use the 2 ohm tap. the autoformers are use to match the load to the amp so it does not need to work as hard. Using the 2 ohm tap should make the highs sound a touch softer, effectively making the bass louder.

if you want a deep dive into how a Mac work the stereophile review of the MC462 is a good read… it also has near perfect measurements.


Dear @jastralfu  : Look, Mac works with autoformer from 1967 but that just not says they are perfectly rigth about because it's not. Any additional device in an ampp design ( as the autoformer ) only degrades the MUSIC signal no matter what.

No, that Mac is not really ready to handled with aplomb that 1.1 ohm speaker impedance.


Those are facts that I can see or you don't understand very well or you have a misunderstood about.


@james633  is rigth: " autoformers are use to match the load to the amp " but not for that to low 1.1 ohm impedance in a critical and very often present in MUSIC as 90hz and wha surround that 90hz.


That's the issue.



@rauliruegas you keep saying the same thing over and over without explaining what you mean.  There is also no 1.1ohm impedance in the curve for the Sabrina that I have seen.  Sorry, I'm hijacking this thread and I don't want to do that.  I understand the autoformer matches the load that's how it is able to consistently deliver the same wattage regardless of load.

The autoformer more or less multiplies the impedance of the speaker making it an easier load.


the minimum impedance of the Sabrina according to Stereophile is 2.44 ohms and the Sabrina X is stated by them at 1.1. Mcintosh states to use the tap below the lowest impedance of the speaker. In this case try the 2 ohm. With that being said you can use any tap you want, it will not hurt the amp.


When you use the lower tap it will reduce the output voltage which will increase the current (current being good for low impedance speakers). It will generate more heat but Macs run so cool it will not matter.


However lower than needed will not improve it more. If you had a true 8 ohm speaker using the 4 ohm for example has no advantage over the 8 ohm as you just give up voltage as the “extra” current will not be pulled.


The down side of the autoformer is cost, size and weight. The other one is running the signal through a big chunk of copper but not sure it matters too much.


what I think you will hear when using the lower tap is a reduction in the highs and an overall smother sound. Try it and let us know what you think.

Dear @james633  : All speakers ask for current not voltage.


Before I posted in this thread I analize the Sabrina and Mac and from this " bad " realationship " I gave my advise to the owner to change the subs for ones that uses low and high pass filters crossing at around 100hz and with that the Mac will be running alot better in the 4 ohm tap and the subs will handled from there and down to 16hz and with all those the owner system will be improved in its overall quality level performance.


He says that is satisfied with the ML subs what seems to me that he has a misunderstood in the whole subject.



Yes the correct answers is a high pass which will fix “everything” and take the system to another level. On the 8950 you can pull the bars out of the back that separate the pre-amp and amp to rout wires to the crossover then back into the amp portion. 

JL Audio CR-1 $3500 (analogue)

Sublime Acoustics K231 $600 (analogue, probably as good as the JL, new model has balanced inputs) 

Harrison Labs inline highpass  $27 ( single capacitor installed between the preamp and amp). This will be a 12db slope on the Mac’s input impedance.

Hi @james633  : " Harrison Labs inline highpass  $27 ( single capacitor installed between the preamp and amp) " 

It seems to me the best alternative/option for @upstateaudiophile  As a fact I'm doing something similar directly in my ML 20.6 monobloks that are coupled ( by design ) at the input and it's here where I changed the input cap for a lower and better quality cap that makes the high pass at around 87hz.

Your very good advice.