Hopefully this helps someone out, because these seem to be the two most popular subwoofers on this site because of their price point and value. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong forum.
My new home theater is a SD/NewEgg special containing only Polks. I have two Polk Monitor 70s ($137 each open box), two Polk Monitor 60s for rears ($100 each new), and a Polk CS2 center ($92 open box). I checked the Newegg open box section every 2 hours for like 2 months to get this stuff. I just recenty got a used Denon AVR-590 used off ebay.
I spent a week reading every thread on the internet I could find between the Bic F12, Polk PSW505, and the Energy S10.3
. I came to the conclusion that since I had a larger room, I would shy away from the 10" Energy sub even though it appears to have the best sound quality of the 3
, while still having pretty good output. I didn't think a $200 10" subwoofer would fill a 26x20 room. I also was weary about the build quality considering the annoying front light dies for everyone within a few weeks
Anyways, on AVS forum and most of the internet, most people picked the BIC F12. However, there is a large following for the PSW505 on Polks forum (go figure), and on SD. The kicker is Amazon accepted a trade in on some old calculators and gave me $20, so I ended up choosing the BIC.
I ordered it on a Tuesday morning, it shipped on Wednesday, and I received it on Thursday, lightning fast. Here are my thoughts, and I am not an audiophile. I had some cheap KLH speakers I spent bottom dollar on and loved them for 10 years.
First thoughts were that this thing is really, really loud
. It is also really, really big
. You're suppose to leave a foot of space for the backfiring port. This was an issue for me. Sitting flush against the wall was the only way it could line up with the rest of my stereo. I had to move it to the side pretty far so I wouldn't have to hop over it every time I walk by.
I wasn't impressed impressed with it musically
. It didn't sound bad, but it didn't sound great either. Home theater was pretty good. It gets pretty deep, and like I said, very loud. Maybe I got used to it, but it didn't seem as loud the following days. I was coming from an older JBL 12" that I realize now was very weak compared to the BIC.
The day after I bought my BIC, I was browsing NewEgg open box, and a PSW505 showed up for $124!
I couldn't help myself because I knew it wouldn't last, so I bought it. I just hooked it up today, so I can finally do a direct comparison.
I switched the audio cable back and forth between them while playing loud rap music. They both sounded the exact same for the first 30 minutes or so
. I had the gain set on both at 12 oclock. After 30 minutes, I realized that the PSW505 had more kick/boom to it bass wise
. You could hear it rumble noticeably more than the BIC. I did however notice a little bit of port chuffing on the Polk, but you can only hear it if your ear is right next to the port. I doubt anyone would ever do that. The BIC doesn't chuff much because of their special port.
So I think wow, this is great, the Polk has more output and was cheaper! This was confirmed with Home Theater. The Polk had noticeably more boom when I watched Transformers
. My Denon is calibrated for the BIC by itself, but you could hear much more bass in the fight scenes. An explosion that you could barely hear from the BIC made a BOOM from the Polk.
So I sit back think about getting dual PSW505s (2 open boxes @ $124 each) and returning my BIC (1 for $200). While I was watching the movie for like an hour though with only the Polk on, I realized that despite the extra ooomph the Polk was giving, I wasn't really enjoying the movie
. I went back to the BIC F12 and really listened. Again, although the F12 was not as loud as the Polk at the same gain, I realize the BIC sounded much clearer than the Polk
. It had crisper sounds.
I think people would be happy with either subwoofer. They sound pretty much the same with rap music. If you switch back and forth repeatedly, you'll hear a difference though. The Polk is rated higher in wattage, so that's probably why it's louder at the same gain and probably louder in general
. For me, I've decided to keep the F12. Due to the cheap price, I'm also considering keeping the PSW505 as well. I'm a bass head and while a single sub is probably enough for most, I might want to help fill out the large room more.
I'm attaching some side by side photos of the F12 and the PSW505. Notice that the PSW505 has broken pegs on it. Yes, the grill came broken, but Polk will send you replacements rather easily, which is a big deal for me.
The F12 is aesthetically pleasing with its black cabinet and the gloss silver cone. The Polk looks kind of ugly with the silver face next to the series II monitor series that is all black cabinets and faces, but behind a grill you'd never be able to tell.
: With them both costing the same price, I would recommend the F12 over the PSW505
. I think the boominess and extra output of the Polk would get tiring after a while
and you would want something a little clearer, even at the sacrifice of a little output. If you will be listening to 100% rap music, you may actually like the Polk more cuz I kinda did
I hope that this Joe Schmoe review helps many Slickdealers with their future home theater and subwoofer purchases
The F12 is $197 on Amazon right now, $3 less than what I bought it for last week.It has been about $200 for the past 5 months or so. Likely not moving any time soon.
The PSW505 is regularly on sale for $199 shipped on Newegg.
P.S. I actually caught a second PSW505 tonight and purchased it. I canceled it like an hour ago, so it will probably be back tomorrow morning for those that want one. For $123 shipped it's a freakin steal you shouldn't pass on. I just don't need a third one and this stuff doesn't go for much locally on CL surprisingly. I added a poll for fun and a couple of extra pictures. The F12 is really wide. That is my monitor 70 and the sub is leaned up against the wall, the M70 isn't. The Polk isn't much smaller, and I realize that if I keep both I will need to relocate one of them somewhere else in the room.