Despite being lesser known and having a website that looks like it’s stuck in 1997, BIC America has been around as long as the best of them and has managed to produce several really great value-tier loudspeakers. The straight-to-the-point named F12 (Front Firing 12 inch is one such speaker, and is the solid choice for someone who’s looking to augment a budget-tier sound system with a subwoofer.
Speaker type: powered, front firing, back ported
Nominal power handling: 150 watts
Peak power handling: 475 watts
Impedance: 8 ohms (not really applicable for powered speakers, but they specified it anyhow)
Sensitivity: 90 dB/W/m
Frequency response range: 25 – 200 Hz (+/- 3dB)
Unit weight: 42 lbs
Unit dimensions: 14.75 x 17.25 x 17.0 inches (width x depth x height)
Warranty: 5 years (does apply to purchase from Amazon.com)
User manual: not available on manufacturer website
Review and Discussion
This is, to our knowledge currently, the biggest and most powerful subwoofer that can be acquired for around $200, maybe even less if you’re thrifty, wait for a discount, and get lucky. Any time a company fully discloses the power specs that’s a good sign, and with 150 w continuous power, a 90 sensitivity rating and a response floor of 25 Hz, not only will this get plenty loud, but it will produce the full range of bass quite nicely. Really high end subs will start to go below 20 Hz (most people can’t even hear anything below 20), but if you go that route you’ll find yourself quickly out of the budget-tier category.
Not only is the F12 comparatively performant, it actually looks really cool too. Kind of similar to the signature Klipsch look with the shiny metallic drivers, except this one is a more platinum color than copper. The grainy black finish is otherwise pretty boilerplate, but this should aesthetically blend nicely with most speaker sets.
The F12 is definitely on the bigger and heavier side, but as long as you can lug it into place, you should be good to go. Powered subs like this one are easy to set up, just plug it into any standard receiver with an RCA cable. The company has a 5 year all inclusive warranty, which is outstanding – 1-2 years of coverage is more the norm for lower priced speakers.
If you’re looking to maximize specs with a minimal price (we think ~$200 and under is a fair benchmark to call “budget”), then the F12 seems, as of now, like the best choice. You can opt for less power and get fairly decent subs for as much as about half that, and that might be all that some people need, but this is the kind of speaker that will go the distance until you’re ready (if ever) to spend a premium to venture into the realm of HiFi.
Relevant Links and Resources
See our favorite overall budget-tier subwoofers here.