BIC America F-12 12 Inch Front Firing Powered Subwoofer Review
Music Should Come Crashing Out Of Your Speakers And Grab You - Lou Reed
Whether you were raised on and grew up loving, rock’n’roll, classical or pop music, or less mainstream fare, you’ll know how important a good speaker set-up is to audiophiles and music junkies.
Subwoofers can bring music to life by packaging and preparing it before blasting it in the direction of the hungry recipient who needs them to do what they do in order to help to satisfy their eternal craving for audio perfection.
Finding the subwoofer that’ll help to tick every box on your must-have playback list can be an unforgiving, life-long quest.
Individual ideas of what music should sound like can differ greatly, and the opinions about how music should make you feel are as numerous as the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches.
In fact, the only thing that music lovers can agree on is that they disagree about everything.
During my musical odyssey, I’ve worked my way through more subwoofers than I care to remember, and while for the most part, they’ve all allowed me to enjoy my chosen genre of music, I’ve never found the perfect one.
While I’m sure that it exists, and knowing that somewhere out there, it’s just waiting for me to stumble across perpetually eats away at my psyche, it also gives me hope that one day, I’ll find it.
And that determination, that need to find perfection pushed me in the direction of BIC America’s F-12, a surprising and deceptively powerful, subwoofer solution to every music lover’s eternal conundrum.
Who is BIC America?
British Industries Corporation or BIC as they later came to be known was originally established in 1950 to import high-end home audio equipment from Britain to the American market.
That all changed in 1973 when they started to manufacture their own audio equipment and became a force to be reckoned in the industry after they invented, developed, and started manufacturing and distributing speakers equipped with their patented venturi port technology.
It was an invention that altered everything for BIC, who soon became BIC America, as they conquered the American market and within a couple of years had become one of the dominant forces in the industry.
But, I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know, as you’re almost certainly as well versed in the history of the audio industry as I am. And, already being a fan of the brand, I shouldn’t have expected anything less than excellence when I added the F-12 to my stereo set-up.
After all, I was brought up listening to BIC America speakers, and my first set was inherited from an older sibling who was bound for college and hadn’t been and wasn’t as consumed, by the all-conquering power of music as I was.
Realizing that the prize that I’d spent most of my life searching for could finally be within my reach, made me more than a little anxious as I unboxed and prepared to unleash the full audio power of the F-12.
OUR TOP PICK
Almost every devoted music fan that I know will happily tell you that you should incorporate a subwoofer into your audio set-up as it’ll let you experience the full dynamic range of whatever it is that you’re listening to in a way that you never dared to dream was possible.
Made to reproduce lower frequencies than other speaker systems can’t bring life to, subwoofers are, according to the audio people who understand such things, the final piece in the musical equation that helps everything to balance out and achieve harmony.
It’s a theory that I happen to agree with and even though I don’t fully understand the technology that makes them work, I’m more than aware of how effective a good subwoofer can be.
It can punch you straight in the soul, and almost as soon as I’d set the F-12 up, I knew that it was suited, booted, and ready to get in the ring.
It’s No Slouch In The Looks Department
No one wants to add an ugly piece of equipment to their set-up, they want it to seamlessly fit in with everything else, and while the majority of my fellow music freaks would probably describe the F-12 as being unobtrusive at best, I like the way it looks.
It’s a simple elegant design that defies time and doesn’t date the speaker in the same way that a lot of its contemporaries do. And let’s not even get into the reasons why anyone might be tempted to cover the gorgeous metallic cone that lies at the heart of this subwoofer.
Did DaVinci add a mustache to the Mona Lisa? Leave it alone and let it do what it was meant to do, the way it was meant to do.
It might not win any beauty prizes, but it is a sturdy, solid subwoofer that thanks to its weighty wood construction feels like it’ll take all the daily abuse that having a young family can, and will inflict upon it.
And as lower frequencies and bass have a tendency to make speakers vibrate and begin to wander across hardwood floors, it was nice to see that BIC America had fitted the F-12 with a set of rubber feet (or “shoes” as I used to call them when I was growing up) to prevent any potential, bass fueled the movement.
Setting Up The F-12
If you’ve ever connected a speaker to your system, you’ll have no problem adding the F-12 as it doesn’t deviate from convention.
Plug the audio outputs from your system into the back of the subwoofer (which, I was delighted to see, used gold-plated terminals - it’s their constant attention to the small things that have helped BIC America to earn their reputation for designing and manufacturing solid reliable audio equipment), plug it in and switch everything on.
Depending on the level of volume, and bass (which be increased and decreased with the frequency control), that you enjoy, set the dials on the back of the F-12 accordingly and step back and let the music drift over you and take you to that place in your imagination that your favorite records always transports you to.
And it’s devastatingly easy to adjust those levels until they’re just right for you, although if you’re anything like I am, the volume and bass levels will need to be altered to accommodate whatever it is that you’re listening to, and as the F-12 makes this simple, it was another tick in my big book of music must-haves.
The Sweet Spot - Position Is Everything
Every music fanatic has their own sweet spot, that place where the tone and sound are just right, and the F-12 will happily take up that position if you want it to.
But given the level of the F-12’s performance, you might find that your old sweet spot has changed, so a little experimentation is needed.
It took me a couple of hours to find my new ‘golden position’, but as soon as I did, I knew this subwoofer was absolutely worth every second of taking the time to tweak, shift and alter where it was placed - and it all came down to incrementally small adjustments, but as I said when I did find where the F-12 needed to be, it was completely worth the hassle and all of the trouble.
Although, if I’m brutally honest it wasn’t really any trouble or hassle as it gave me a chance to play around with the F-12 and get used to it and what it could do.
How Does The F-12 Perform?
All of the things that you’d expect a decent subwoofer to include have been forged into the F-12.
Magnetic shielding? Check. Gold plated terminals? Check. The sort of dynamic response that makes you smile and nod your head slowly whenever anything is being pumped through it? And check again.
With a peak output of four hundred and seventy-five watts and a constant one hundred and fifty watts of audio power, the F-12 is more than capable of turning the volume up as far as you’ll ever want to.
Chuck D once asked “Bass, how low can you go?”, and if he’d been listening to the F-12, he’d know exactly how low it could go, as it creates a rich, deep, dense multi-layered sound that doesn’t begin to break-up or distort even when you crank the volume up to Nigel Tufnel’s legendary eleven.
The F-12 is a subwoofer for the ages that I wish I’d known about when BIC America first sent it out into the world, as it would have spared me a lot of subwoofer-related pain and expense.
The only slight drawback is one that all subwoofers are saddled with, and that’s its weight.
The F-12 isn’t light, and even though it’s far from being the heaviest subwoofer that you’ll encounter, if you’re on the older end of the scale like I am, you might want to take your time when moving it around, as trying to explain a subwoofer related back or knee injury to your insurance provider is a headache that no-one wants to have to deal with.
And Finally - The F-12 Verdict
The F-12 proves that the long-standing belief that price and performance are forever joined at the hip is a myth.
It’s an incredible piece of audio kit that won’t damage your bank balance or unduly hurt your pocketbook, and even though BIC America’s recommended retail price is already incredibly low if you shop around a little and don’t buy directly from them, but go looking on Amazon or another affiliated seller, you’ll be able to shave up to around a third of the already mind-blowing price.
And the subwoofer that you’ll get in return for parting with your hard-earned dollars will provide you with endless hours of audio pleasure.