Pros / High Performance subwoofer, yet affordable.
Cons / It's very big.
Verdict / The Pioneer TS-WX1210A has the most powerful built-in amplifier and was among the best performing subwoofers, but the price makes this car subwoofer stand out.
The Pioneer TS-WX1210A is a 12-inch powered subwoofer in a sealed enclosure engineered to produce tight bass. The built-in amplifier has a peak output of 1,300 watts and a continuous output of 350 watts, making it the most powerful subwoofer I've reviewed, though power doesn't always indicate volume with bass. In my tests, the performance didn't receive the highest performance grades, but it was nevertheless very good, especially when you consider it's the most affordable powered car subwoofer. Therefore, it's my pick for the car subwoofer with the best value.
The TS-WX1210A has a MSRP of $260. At this price, it would be among the most expensive powered subs I reviewed. Fortunately, the market is rarely the same as the MSRP, and this sub is a great example. The current market price is about $130, making it the most affordable powered subwoofer available. By comparison, the Kenwood KSC-SW11 is the only comparable subwoofer at a price around $130. However, the Kenwood subwoofer is very small 8-inch subwoofer with a 75-watt amplifier. It doesn't perform anywhere near as clean or as big as this 12-inch Pioneer subwoofer. Of course, the diminutive under-seat design of the Kenwood may be more appealing to some, as it doesn't require trunk space.
I compared the performance of every subwoofer I've reviewed by evaluating how well it sits in a mix with some high-end coaxial car speakers. Following this test, I disconnected the car speakers to isolate the low-end performance of the subwoofers.
The Pioneer TS-WX1210A emerged from these tests with an A- grade overall. The performance was very good, with only a few minor marks when pushed to its max level. It's has a bit more punch than I expected from a sealed enclosure, but the performance was more on the tight side of the performance spectrum, especially when compared to the JBL GT-BassPro12 – a subwoofer with an aggressively booming performance due to its large front-facing port.
The size of this subwoofer's sweet spot received an A grade. As with most subwoofers, the sweet spot isn't close to the maximum output, but is the subwoofer's maximum volume at its best performance. Despite not having the biggest bass size, it was still big enough to provide more bass than most people can handle for long periods. In other words, it's big enough to let your neighbors know when you've pulled into the driveway.
The Pioneer TS-WX1210A is the only subwoofer I reviewed with a frequency response touching 20 Hz – the basement of human hearing. This is somewhat surprising, as I'd expect more subwoofers to have lower frequency responses. For reference, the lowest note on a piano is 27 Hz and most of the subwoofers I tested have a frequency response starting at 35 Hz.
Power & Control
The built-in amplifier is rated with a 1,300-watt peak output and a 350-watt continuous output, making it the most powerful amplifier of the powered subs I reviewed. This is necessary because of the 12-inch woofer and the large, sealed enclosure. It needs more power to move the woofer.
The controls received an A grade. It has six controls in total, featuring 50-125 Hz crossover and a bass boost between 40 and 100 Hz. This provides exceptional tuning so you can find the sweet spot for your vehicle and preferences. It also comes with a wired remote for controlling the volume. Unlike many subwoofers, the knobs are easy to access and adjust.
The biggest downside, however minor, is the size. Of the powered subwoofers I reviewed, this enclosure is the biggest. At 26 inches long, 18 inches high and 12 inches deep, the enclosure takes up a considerable amount of space in your trunk or storage area. By comparison, half of the subwoofers I tested fit under a seat.
The Pioneer TS-WX1210A is my pick for the best value subwoofer because it combines excellent performance with the lowest price for a powered car subwoofer. With exceptionally easy controls and a powerful amp, it's easier to tune this subwoofer to your preference while still reaching bone rattling levels of bass. Overall, this is the best subwoofer at this price. The only concern is whether you're willing to sacrifice trunk space for the large enclosure.