Outlaw LFM-1 EX Failing - Need some help/suggestions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought an Outlaw LFM-1 EX subwoofer back on 01/30/09 due to a great price and some great recommendations from this forum.

Flash forward 3 years and not even a month after the warranty expires it has developed a hideous rattle that is coming directly from the speaker itself. The rattle started a couple weeks ago and has only accelerated from there. Its so bad now that I don't even bother watching movies in my home theater since all you hear is the rattle coming from the subwoofer, and it is incredibly distracting. I'm amazed that this has happened as I never ran the subwoofer over the volume level of 4 (out of 10), but I guess things just fail sometimes.

Admittedly I haven't contacted Outlaw yet to see what they can do, but I've already calculated that the shipping to Outlaw will set me back around $65-$70 (its 80 lbs) plus the assumed cost to repair since it is outside of warranty.

What do you recommend? Should I attempt the repair or should I just look elsewhere? I'm looking to do something soon since it is driving me nuts, but I'm not eager to fork down another $500+ on a new subwoofer this soon.

I'm not technically inclined with audio equipment (computers are my thing) so repairing it myself is pretty much out of the question.

Thanks ahead of time for any help/suggestions you can give!
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post #2 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 10:04 PM
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Are you capable of opening it up to see if anything's lose?

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

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post #3 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 10:04 PM
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have you tried removing the driver itself and checking to see if something is inside rattling on the cone? I've seen small objects get sucked into ports before and end up on top of the speaker. If you have it out, I would push on it from the center and listen to scratching noises. If it makes any such noises, i'd start looking for a replacement driver.
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post #4 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 10:32 PM
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Where the gain is set on the sub's amp is not all that important but rather it's acoustic output to determine if it was being over driven. In many cases you would hear odd noises before permanent demage occurs.Other then something got loose inside, there could be damage to the cone itself,or the voice coil. Both of those instances can result into the noise you described, and both cases will require a new driver which I'm sure could be replaced by HSU/Outlaw.
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post #5 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklight_tr View Post

I bought an Outlaw LFM-1 EX subwoofer back on 01/30/09 due to a great price and some great recommendations from this forum.

After you check the driver and the inside of the cabinet, I'd call Outlaw on Monday. They might still honor the warranty since you are just outside the warranty limit.

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post #6 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

Are you capable of opening it up to see if anything's lose?

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Originally Posted by stormwind13 View Post

have you tried removing the driver itself and checking to see if something is inside rattling on the cone? I've seen small objects get sucked into ports before and end up on top of the speaker. If you have it out, I would push on it from the center and listen to scratching noises. If it makes any such noises, i'd start looking for a replacement driver.

I got brave and removed the amp (after unplugging, of course) from the back to I could take a peek inside. I did a thorough check and nothing was loose or moving around from what I could tell. I tried removing the driver itself but it is secured by more than the screws I removed and I didn't want to risk damaging it since I plan on contacting Outlaw to see what they say. I did get a good look at the bottom of the driver itself and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but I don't know exactly what ordinary is.

The rattling does stop immediately if I place my finger on the cone so that's how I determined that it was the source.

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Originally Posted by netudki View Post

Where the gain is set on the sub's amp is not all that important but rather it's acoustic output to determine if it was being over driven. In many cases you would hear odd noises before permanent demage occurs.Other then something got loose inside, there could be damage to the cone itself,or the voice coil. Both of those instances can result into the noise you described, and both cases will require a new driver which I'm sure could be replaced by HSU/Outlaw.

I never heard any odd noises from the sub before the rattling started. It just came pretty much out of nowhere. How would I know if it was being overdriven? Admittedly this isn't my area of expertise and whatever I do I want to avoid damaging the repaired one/replacement. All I did was turn the volume down to 4 from the default 5 (since it was a bit too loud at 5 for my tastes) and then used the automatic calibration with my Emotiva UMC-1 via the included microphone.

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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

After you check the driver and the inside of the cabinet, I'd call Outlaw on Monday. They might still honor the warranty since you are just outside the warranty limit.

As I said above I got brave and checked the cabinet and could find nothing wrong. I think contacting Outlaw to see what they will do is worth it. I'll give them a call on Monday.
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post #7 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklight_tr View Post

Admittedly I haven't contacted Outlaw yet to see what they can do, but I've already calculated that the shipping to Outlaw will set me back around $65-$70 (its 80 lbs) plus the assumed cost to repair since it is outside of warranty.

Given the reputation of Outlaw, I have to believe that they may accommodate you as being "in-warranty" since you're so close to the 3-year threshold.

May or may not be relevant, but I had some rattle like that and noticed that either a power and/or audio cable had gotten tangled either near one of the open ports or the driver. Did you ensure that you don't have any foreign and/or loose objects near your driver, or is this coming from inside the unit? It could also be that the driver (coil) has gone bad, which I thought would have been covered under warranty for more than 5 years.

I would quickly email them ASAP and follow up with a call to tech support. They may be able to help you quickly, and to your satisfaction. Good luck, and please do keep us posted!
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post #8 of 35 Old 02-25-2012, 11:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by anonymouse99 View Post

Given the reputation of Outlaw, I have to believe that they may accommodate you as being "in-warranty" since you're so close to the 3-year threshold.

May or may not be relevant, but I had some rattle like that and noticed that either a power and/or audio cable had gotten tangled either near one of the open ports or the driver. Did you ensure that you don't have any foreign and/or loose objects near your driver, or is this coming from inside the unit? It could also be that the driver (coil) has gone bad, which I thought would have been covered under warranty for more than 5 years.

I would quickly email them ASAP and follow up with a call to tech support. They may be able to help you quickly, and to your satisfaction. Good luck, and please do keep us posted!

The noise is coming from inside the sub, as I checked the exterior, under it and both ports and found no debris that could be causing an issue. Plus, the rattling ceases when I put my finger on the cone.

I'm contacting Outlaw on Monday and will let everyone know what they say.
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post #9 of 35 Old 02-26-2012, 12:03 AM
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Tell em the folks at avs said to call you . Their resulting actions could give em great advertisements here :0

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #10 of 35 Old 02-26-2012, 05:35 AM
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I would not use it and call Outlaw could be a voice coil or spider let them check it out
or see what it would cost to replace the driver.
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post #11 of 35 Old 02-26-2012, 05:52 AM
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If you are happy with the sub, even buying a new driver will be far cheaper than buying a new sub. At best Outlaw hooks you up out of warranty (either with a new driver on their dime, or a discounted driver), at worst you buy one. Cannot imagine it would cost more than $150 or so.
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post #12 of 35 Old 02-26-2012, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklight_tr View Post

I got brave and removed the amp (after unplugging, of course) from the back to I could take a peek inside. I did a thorough check and nothing was loose or moving around from what I could tell. I tried removing the driver itself but it is secured by more than the screws I removed and I didn't want to risk damaging it since I plan on contacting Outlaw to see what they say. I did get a good look at the bottom of the driver itself and nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but I don't know exactly what ordinary is.

The rattling does stop immediately if I place my finger on the cone so that's how I determined that it was the source.

The cone itself is often "sandwiched" of different materials , if one layer gets separated even just a bit that eludes your eyes, it will gives a buzzing sound, which when in the cabinet could sound as a rattle. I wouldn't send the unit in for a driver replacement, since you could do that yourself. The driver probably still held by some mild adhesive besides the screws, but they are usually easy to dislodge, and won't damage the driver any further.

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post #13 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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So I just got off the phone with Outlaw. Unfortunately I have to cover repairs since I'm outside the warranty window. I asked for a repair estimate and was told that it would be $200-$250. I would need to remove and ship both the amp and driver to them.

So here's where I am. I question the worth of putting the cash into this sub vs buying a new one with a warranty, even though a repair is the cheaper option.

Suggestions?
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post #14 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 09:29 AM
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I would recommend seeing if someone here can help you figure out if it's the amp or the driver before going further.

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post #15 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklight_tr View Post

So I just got off the phone with Outlaw. Unfortunately I have to cover repairs since I'm outside the warranty window. I asked for a repair estimate and was told that it would be $200-$250. I would need to remove and ship both the amp and driver to them.

So here's where I am. I question the worth of putting the cash into this sub vs buying a new one with a warranty, even though a repair is the cheaper option.

Suggestions?

When you replace the amp or driver, I am sure each part will come with a new warranty. Might want to find out what that warranty is.
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post #16 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 09:49 AM
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I would recommend seeing if someone here can help you figure out if it's the amp or the driver before going further.

Agreed.

It sure sounds like the driver to me...
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Agreed.

It sure sounds like the driver to me...

And if it's the driver, no need to ship them the driver; they simply send a new one.

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post #18 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 10:49 AM
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If you have a local b&m audio place I would bring it there. They could probably tell you what the issue is pretty quickly and may charge a VERY small fee if any at all. Then you will know exactly what it is and not have to worry about shipping anything out. All you would need to do is just purchase the amp or the driver from Outlaw.

It's out of warranty so how you deal with it is up to you now....meaning you don't have to worry about 'warranty claims' and such. So if you bring it to a place they can take it apart and pinpoint what it is without voiding the warranty. It may be something very minor or maybe something major... I would not send both the driver and the amp to them.....that sounds silly....
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post #19 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 10:51 AM
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It sounds like the driver has gone bad. And for future reference the gain nob of 4 of 10 is meaningless. If its on 1 you can still overdrive the subwoofer.

Remove the driver from the box. Turn the subwoofer off in your receiver so your mains run full range. Hook up one of you main channels to the driver and disconnect the other one. Play lets say a 30 hz test tone (with volume really low, just wanting to get the driver moving some free air). Increase volume slowly to get some excursion but be careful to not overdrive.

If you can replicate the problem you know it is the driver and not the box vibrating or amp. If it is the driver then you simply have them send you a new driver and you don't have to ship anything in. Hope this helps.
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post #20 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 11:05 AM
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Hi darklight_tr, as everyone posted it appears to be a driver issue.

Since you have the amp out, suggest turning down the EX volume knob and connect a cd player or ipod (or similar) directly to the sub Line In. Play a track with lots of bass and slowly turn up the volume on the sub. This way you can try to pin point the noise if its from the driver.

Edit: or doing what Luke Kamp suggested.
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post #21 of 35 Old 02-27-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your suggestions, they really help.

I'm going to try taking the driver out as suggested - its funny that I am so reserved regarding taking this sub apart when I have no issues with tearing apart PCs. At this point I really have nothing to lose since I'm out of warranty.

I'm almost 100% sure its the driver and not the amp that this point.

For future reference, did I do anything to overdrive the sub? How do I avoid it?
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post #22 of 35 Old 03-01-2012, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklight_tr View Post

Thank you all for your suggestions, they really help.

I'm going to try taking the driver out as suggested - its funny that I am so reserved regarding taking this sub apart when I have no issues with tearing apart PCs. At this point I really have nothing to lose since I'm out of warranty.

I'm almost 100% sure its the driver and not the amp that this point.

For future reference, did I do anything to overdrive the sub? How do I avoid it?

Calibration. SVS has I believe a very good guide on their site, how to calibrate subs, which will include the use of audessy,gain setting and the likes. Once you're done play some demo material that known for high LFE levels. Super 8's train crash would do nicely. Unplug all other speakers set the master volume to the level you most likely you use and fire away. Listen for obvious sighns of distress if there is nothing obvious you should be good to go.

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post #23 of 35 Old 03-01-2012, 03:25 PM
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Dark, first, it is surprising that Outlaw won't extend some goodwill given you're just out of warranty. If if you can confirm the driver is damaged by testing using a known good amp as suggested earlier, you've got a couple of options without buying a whole new sub.

1) The first, being to simply ask Outlaw how much to ship you a replacement driver. I'd push for a heavy discount under the good will argument.

2) Simply put a third party driver in the box. Ricci's testing says the box is 4 ft^3 internal and I'm figuring that probably gross volume. With the tuning also given from Ricci's data, I would recommend the RSS315HF-4 or DVC12 as more than adequate replacements without hesitation (sites down at the moment or I'd post direct links). P-E also sells the TC Sounds EPIC12 and Titanic-12 that would likely work well in the LFM-1 EX cabinet, but I haven't run the models to confirm. As yet another option, P-E has some closeout drivers from T3 Audio that might be suitable, but the T/S parms were provided by T3 and haven't been confirmed by independent testing AFAIK.

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post #24 of 35 Old 03-01-2012, 05:10 PM
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I wouldn't say it's surprising that a company is not taking care of a product OUT of warranty. Even if it's the day after expiration, the warranty is no longer valid.

With that being said, definitely test your driver like others have said. That sucks that you are having issues with your sub

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post #25 of 35 Old 03-02-2012, 04:07 PM
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I wouldn't say it's surprising that a company is not taking care of a product OUT of warranty. Even if it's the day after expiration, the warranty is no longer valid.

With that being said, definitely test your driver like others have said. That sucks that you are having issues with your sub

Nobody's bashing Outlaw for their right to deny warranty coverage after it expired. However, given their reputation for customer service over the years, I think most do find it a bit surprising that they didn't at least offer some sort of goodwill discount on replacement parts. Then again, we weren't part of the call between Dark and Outlaw so we don't know how the conversation actually transpired. Personally, I've had good luck with companies offering goodwill warranty work past expiration or significant discounts on a replacement product. YMMV.

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post #26 of 35 Old 04-28-2012, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got off my butt and got a formal estimate from Outlaw - $250 + shipping. I've decided that is too much for me to invest in it vs buying a new one.

Any suggestions? I am unsure as to what to purchase. I would like to spend under $500.

Thanks!
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post #27 of 35 Old 04-28-2012, 06:00 PM
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Can you buy just the driver from them? That would be cheaper. Or maybe buy a different driver and put it in the EX.


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post #28 of 35 Old 04-28-2012, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklight_tr View Post

I finally got off my butt and got a formal estimate from Outlaw - $250 + shipping. I've decided that is too much for me to invest in it vs buying a new one.

Any suggestions? I am unsure as to what to purchase. I would like to spend under $500.

Thanks!

Unfortunately at that budget nothing is going to beat what you had.
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post #29 of 35 Old 04-28-2012, 06:19 PM - Thread Starter
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@Pain Infliction - $250 + shipping is just for the driver

@oztech - I was afraid of that. That gives me pause now. The price for the driver alone just seems really high.
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post #30 of 35 Old 04-28-2012, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riverwolf View Post

2) Simply put a third party driver in the box. Ricci's testing says the box is 4 ft^3 internal and I'm figuring that probably gross volume. With the tuning also given from Ricci's data, I would recommend the RSS315HF-4 or DVC12 as more than adequate replacements without hesitation (sites down at the moment or I'd post direct links). P-E also sells the TC Sounds EPIC12 and Titanic-12 that would likely work well in the LFM-1 EX cabinet, but I haven't run the models to confirm. As yet another option, P-E has some closeout drivers from T3 Audio that might be suitable, but the T/S parms were provided by T3 and haven't been confirmed by independent testing AFAIK.

How do these models you listed compare to a car audio sub, like a JL audio 12w1 or 12w3? I haven't been into car audio for over a decade, but JL used to be one of the best. Couldn't he just look for a sale on car audio subs?

$250 is a ridiculous price for a generic replacement sub. I wonder who makes these subs for Outlaw?
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