Received my LFM-1 Compact a few days ago and thought I would chronicle my experience:
After reading and researching for weeks, I had narrowed my choices down to:
1. Hsu STF-2
2. Outlaw LFM-1
3. eD A3-250
4. BIC H-100
I eliminated the eD due to it's size, finish (WAF) and shipping charges. The BIC was eliminated due to worries about boominess, construction quality and warranty fulfillment. So I was down to the Hsu and the Outlaw (thank goodness for their Xmas sale). Their specs were for all intents and purposes, the same. Their final prices after shipping, were within $2.00 of each other. The Outlaw came out on top by a whisker due to a slightly more powerful amp, and it's looks. Anyway, I pulled the trigger and waited for my new baby to arrive.
Fedex delivered the box and the packaging was much larger than I had anticipated. Turns out subwoofer is double boxed in fairly heavy duty cardboard. The subwoofer itself is isolated from the inner box by soft foam protectors at each corner. To top it off, the unit is encased in a soft fabric bag. Very nice. I feel pretty certain that the subwoofer could have survived a fairly substantial drop, although to FEDEX's credit I didn't detect any evidence that anything like that had occurred. Upon unpacking and setting up the speaker, I came across what would be my only disappointment (and a relatively small one at that). Packaged with the subwoofer were a power cable and 4 plastic spike feet. I had been expecting 4 metal spike feet and 4 metal dimple discs, as that's what was listed in the owner's manual. The plastic feet aren't unsightly and are certainly functional, but I hadn't expected Outlaw to cut corners on such a small item. Like I said, not a big deal, but it was a little disappointing. The size of the unit was exactly what I had envisioned and fit perfectly in the limited space available. As subwoofers go (well, black ones anyway), this is a very good looking unit. The satin finish contrasts nicely with the gloss top, and the beveled top edge makes it a little more interesting than the typical squared-off box design.
I connected the Outlaw to my Onkyo 705, pulled out my Rat Shack digital SPL meter and ran through some test tones. Ran the Onkyo's Audissey MultiEQ, then double-checked with the SPL meter again just for grins. Loaded my Tranformers HD DVD for the moment of truth, and HOLY CRAP!...so this is what I've been missing! Some of the LFEs shook the whole house and really made me feel like I was in the middle of the action. I was grinning ear to ear. Thus far I've also tested the Bourne trilogy, the Matrix trilogy and I'll be testing out 300 (all on HD DVD) as soon as I get a chance.
For music listening, I started going through some of my David Sanborn collection (as well as some other jazz) and it was like hearing them new all over again. I haven't upgraded my speakers yet (that's my next project), but I was stunned that a quality subwoofer would make the old system sound so good. On the "Pearls" disc, the clarity and resonance of the acoustic bass was something that I hadn't noticed before, but was keenly aware of during this listening. I plan to dust off some of the CDs I haven't listened to in a long time, and give them all another go'round. Probably the best endorsement I could have gotten was from my son who is a car audio basshead (currently he's got 2ea. 10" Boston Acoustic G5's and a 15" Digital Design installed). After playing some of his favorite deep bass Hip Hop and test tones on the Outlaw, he was somewhat shocked with how low yet tight the bass was. He wanted to know if Outlaw made subwoofers for cars...something they might want to think about. Nah.
Thus far, I've been absolutely thrilled with the Outlaw. The design, good looks and construction made it an easy sell to the Finance Dept. But for me, the most important factor has been the sound quality - the deep, taut, non-boomy bass has exceeded my expectations. I plan to enjoy this Outlaw for a long, long time. Now, if I only could have gotten those metal spike feet and dimple discs......
Update on the spike feet:
I contacted Outlaw via their web form and received a reply the next day. Apparently Outlaw has changed the specs for the Compact accessories. Because the Compact requires taller spikes (more clearance), they've switched to the taller plastic spike feet. As long as they're functional, well built and not an eyesore, I'm ok with them. Only time will tell whether they're well built. Also, the dimple discs should be included regardless of the type of spike feet, so Outlaw is shipping out the discs to me. Thus far I've been pleased with their customer support.