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BIC America F-12 Review

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PROS / This was one of the best performers in our listening tests.

CONS / The amp is underpowered compared to other subwoofers in our review.

 VERDICT / The subwoofer impressed us with punchy and impactful bass despite its low-power amp. With multiple connection options, the BIC America F-12 is a great choice for upgrading old and new systems.

The F-12 had one of the best showings during our panels listening tests. The most common words used to describe the subwoofer's performance were "powerful" and "punchy." We volume-matched all of the subwoofers before the testing began, but the F-12 leapt out and made an impact on our listening panelists. The subwoofer provided more than enough bass and plenty of brute force which is why it earns our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award. The bass reverberated through the floor during low frequencies and made its presence felt. This is especially impressive considering the volume level wasn't set very high. The subwoofer isn't the most powerful in our lineup, but it makes the most of every watt.

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In our frequency testing, this subwoofer started to decline in performance around 30Hz, even though it's rated to go as low as 25Hz. According to our tests, the sweet spot of this active subwoofer is 30Hz – 100Hz. Regardless, it is still impressive that a subwoofer rated at 150 watts of RMS power can reach down below 30Hz in real-world testing.

  1. This is the lowest tone the subwoofer can produce.
    Lower is Better
  2. 2 BIC America
    25 Hertz
  3. 22 Hertz
  4. 27 Hertz
  5. Category Average
    31.22 Hertz

Audio Performance

Although the F-12's BASH amplifier is sought after in home theater subwoofers, the continuous power rating of 150 watts is surprisingly low. The continuous rating coupled with 475 watts of peak power is not as powerful as other subwoofers in our review. The manufacturer rates the sensitivity of the powered subwoofer at 90 decibels. This high sensitivity rating is indicative of the subwoofer's ability to efficiently convert power to sound. Fortunately, despite its low power rating, the sub's highly efficient amp still allows the speaker to deliver big sound. This was evident throughout our listening tests.

Power Handling

The JBL 150ESP is the second most powerful subwoofer speaker that we reviewed. It has impressive power with 300 RMS watts of continuous power and up to 500 watts of peak power. This power was evident in our tests. Few 10-inch subwoofers can fill a large room with low-frequency sounds, but this sub can power bass through a large entertainment room. It's one of the few 10-inch woofers with the ability to do so.

Speaker Design

The BIC America F-12 home subwoofer is well designed. The cube-shaped cabinet, although large and heavy, is classic and attractive. It is solidly constructed from durable materials and finished in black laminate. The black mesh grille is removable, allowing you to display the stylish, black-trimmed metallic cone if you prefer. The woofer itself is 12 inches in diameter, magnetically shielded and powered by a long-throw driver that can move a lot of air and fill a medium-sized room with low-frequency sound.

The speaker offers a long list of features that make it a good fit for a home theater. It is equipped with three power settings: off, on and a signal-sensing automatic power setting. There is an LED power indicator light on the rear of the speaker, which can be hard to see. This is one of the F-12’s few design flaws.

You can control the volume level with a dial on the back of this home subwoofer unit. The crossover frequency dial lets you find the sweet spot for integrating your powered subwoofer with your other speakers. With patience and proper tuning, this sub will not seem distanced or out of sync with your other speakers. You can also set the phase control at either 0 or 180 degrees to achieve ideal integration. When the phase is set properly, the drivers in your speakers all move in the same direction at the same time.

The BIC America speaker offers several connection options. The sub-in connector allows you to switch between a Dolby Pro-Logic receiver and a Dolby Digital 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 or DTS surround-sound receiver. If your AV receiver lacks a sub-out, you can use the F-12 as an intermediary between the speakers and receiver.

Help & Support

BIC backs up its home subwoofer with a five-year parts and labor warranty; this is one of the most comprehensive warranties for powered subwoofers in this class. In addition to the warranty, BIC offers technical support via a toll-free telephone number and an email address that can be found on the website.

Summary

The BIC America F-12 delivers huge bass and works well as a home theater or stereo subwoofer. The power rating suggests that the subwoofer wouldn't be able to produce powerful bass, but the opposite is true. This home theater subwoofer is highly efficient, making the most out of the 150 watts from the amplifier. It is no surprise that the F-12 has been around for so long. Its punchy bass and continuous energy at low frequencies make it one of the best subs you can buy for your entertainment room.

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