The BIC America F-12 had an impressive showing in our listening tests. This subwoofer was the best in our test group at delivering long and low sustained bass notes during our movie listening test. During this test, we played a scene from the James Bond movie Skyfall that has a 15-second sustained low-frequency rumble effect. The F-12 exhibited flawlessly consistent volume and frequency separation for the duration of the sound.
It's an older subwoofer now, having launched back in 2010, and more modern speaker systems have surpassed it. However, it remains a decent budget pick, and you can still buy it new from places like Amazon. If you're looking to pick up the America F-12, though, we'd recommend looking on sites like eBay to get a better deal on a used unit, saving even more cash.
This was the only home theater subwoofer we tested that made us check our volume meter constantly because the impactful bass response seemed louder than it actually was. Although the F-12's BASH amplifier is sought after in home theater subwoofers, the continuous power rating of 150 watts is surprisingly low. When coupled with its 475 watts of peak power, the woofer is not as powerful as others we tested. Still, the manufacturer rates its sensitivity at 90 decibels – this high rating is indicative of the speaker's ability to efficiently convert power to sound. So, even though it has a low power rating, the sub's highly efficient amp still allows the speaker to deliver big low-end sound. This was evident throughout our listening tests.
The cube-shape 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.
BIC offers a five-year warranty on the speaker and amplifier, which is the longest amplifier warranty term offered by active subwoofer manufacturers. The BIC website is a bit antiquated, but there are email and phone contacts clearly listed on the front page, and representatives can answer questions about the product features or the set up process.
This BIC America speaker has 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 you have an older two-channel AV receiver that doesn’t have a sub-out, you can use the speaker level input and output as an intermediary between it and the subwoofer.
Overall, it's still a decent enough pick, although there are better models out there. Get one cheap, mix it up with other speakers that can compete with the bass on offer, and you're winning.