PROS / This powerful subwoofer is dynamic enough to be used in both small and large entertainment rooms.
CONS / It is a large and heavy subwoofer which could make finding a space for it difficult.
VERDICT / This subwoofer is the best fit for many home theaters. It is loud, powerful and versatile.
If you want to experience movie theater sound quality in the comfort of your own home, a subwoofer is a necessity. Action sequences seem real and theme music carries emotion if you have deep sound to accompany a large, high-resolution picture. The BIC Acoustech PL-200 is our top pick for home theater subwoofers thanks to its strong performance and balanced sound.
The low frequency response, RMS and peak power of the 12-inch speaker are a great combination to drive energetic bass without any distortion or clipping. For these reasons and more, the BIC PL-200 is the best home theater subwoofer we reviewed and the winner of our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
The home subwoofer had an impressive showing in both our listening tests and our frequency analysis testing. It was not surprising that this active subwoofer that operates on 250 watts of RMS power and can handle up to 1000 watts of peak power had powerful, punchy and clear bass. Our listening panel often described the bass produced by the PL-200 as strong, warm and punchy. When the really low frequencies occurred, the bass would shake the floor. The subwoofer is really powerful and can take over with low frequencies if you let it. Even with the room shaking, there was still plenty more volume available. Our entire panel was impressed with the power and the quality of the bass provided by the BIC PL-200.
The manufacturer lists the frequency response of this active subwoofer as one of the most dynamic in our review. On the low end, 22Hz handles all of the growling bass tones, and there is a ceiling of 200Hz. In our testing, though, we noticed a decline in audio performance around 30Hz and again around 150Hz. There are many outliers to consider when doing frequency testing. Since we volume matched each subwoofer to get a fair side-by-side comparison, the PL-200's lack of performance in the low register could have been due to a lack of power being sent to the woofer to properly produce the sub 30Hz frequencies. Regardless, according to our tests, we felt the subwoofer performed best in the 30Hz-150Hz range, which is a dynamic range compared to others in our lineup.
There is no question that the PL-200 is one of the best home subwoofers in terms of overall power. Inside of this active subwoofer is a built-in BASH amplifier that dishes out up to 250 watts of RMS continuous power and drives the speaker to produce room-rattling bass. The BASH amplifier is basically a mix of a class AB amplifier and a class D amplifier. In layman's terms, it is a highly efficient amplifier that needs little power to perform at a high level.
From the inside out, this subwoofer is impressive. Even though peak power is not the most reliable statistic for gauging a subwoofer's power handling capabilities, the 1000-watt peak power shouldn't be ignored. That is an impressive mark. Given its 110-decibel sensitivity rating coupled with the highly efficient internal BASH amplifier, it's not surprising that this home subwoofer can handle massive bursts of power.
Although this is one of the most powerful speakers we reviewed, it is also one of the largest and heaviest. For starters, the PL-200 weighs a whopping 43 pounds. That is 25 pounds heavier than the lightest subwoofer in our comparison. Although you won't be moving your subwoofer around much in your home, it does take some initial movement during setup to find the best spot in the room for your subwoofer. The heavy weight of the subwoofer can make it a strain to do this.
This subwoofer is quite large, measuring in at 17.25 x 14.75 x 19.5 inches (H x W x D). Standing 1.5 feet tall, the subwoofer is almost as tall as a small ottoman. If you have limited space in your home entertainment room, the size of the subwoofer could become a problem.
With a 12-inch front-firing speaker, this subwoofer can easily provide too much volume for smaller rooms. For larger or rooms with open walkways, the 12-inch woofer is welcome and pushes the bass to fill up the room. This sub offers a wide range of features. Along with impressive sound quality and design, it offers the controls to fine-tune several elements of the speaker and amp.
On the back of the subwoofer are the adjustable crossover and volume knobs as well as a 180-phase control switch and a signal-sensing auto on/off indicator. There are also speaker-level inputs and outputs located on the back of the speaker so you can connect the sub to an older sound system. This subwoofer has all of the controls and inputs that we looked for.
Help & Support
The BIC warranty is certainly impressive, with eight years on parts and labor and five years on the amplifier. On top of that, BIC America has a solid reputation for repairing non-warrantied components to fix warranty-covered issues. BIC America's website offers email and phone support if you have any questions or concerns regarding the PL-200.
The BIC Acoustech PL-200 is the best home subwoofer for the money. Its 250-watt RMS power and dynamic frequency response are defining characteristics that make this subwoofer worthy of our top spot. It will immensely improve your home stereo system with billowing bass tones that will add depth to both movies and music.