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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
High specs for an affordable price
Huge 1000 watts of peak power
Dual front-facing ports
Sturdy construction and looks good
Overwhelms smaller spaces
No magnetic shielding
Rattles at high volume
Very large cabinet
The BIC Acoustech PL-200 II is one of the best subwoofers for under $300 on the market right now. Its quality construction, high amp power, and great sound make it an ideal addition to your home theater. You’ll be hard pressed to find any other subwoofer on the market with comparable specs at this price.
BIC America, maker of the highly popular Formula F12 subwoofer, has done it again with their newer Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer. With a huge 1000 watts of dynamic peak power, this sub will never struggle filling your space with loud, deep, impactful low end. We looked at its construction, sound quality, and overall value to see if it edges out the Formula F12 as one of the best budget subs you can buy.
At first glance the BIC Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer may look a lot like other subwoofers in its price range but there are a few important differences under the grill. Notably, the PL-200 II boasts higher quality construction, a state of the art amplifier, and dual front-facing, flared ports.
At 17.25 x 14.875 x 19.5 inches and 45 pounds the PL-200 II sub is large and heavy. Like all subs at this price, the cabinet is constructed of MDF but instead of only the familiar black laminate that we see on so many budget audio products, BIC opted for hand-rubbed lacquer on some surfaces. The top and a small strip at the bottom are a nice, shiny black that look and feel like piano keys.
The front of the woofer houses the heavy duty 12" poly-injected woofer driver. There is a removable black fabric grill but the speaker’s shiny metallic center is very attractive and users may want to leave it exposed. Unlike other subwoofers in this budget range, the PL-200 II has not one but two ports. They’re both front-facing and sized at 9 x 2 inches to minimize turbulence and noise.
The PL-200 II looks a little better than other subs in this price range and the dual porting makes a big difference. It’s a quality sub that is surprisingly inexpensive for what you get and that looks like it should cost twice as much.
Set up is dead simple. The dual front-facing ports help make placement easier, and we didn’t need to spend much time moving it around to find the sweet spot. The ports also significantly reduce noise and rattle, while letting the driver still push a lot of air, and mean you don’t need to pay as much attention to rear clearance from your wall.
Set up is dead simple.
When we found what we thought would be a good spot, we plugged in the power cable in, connected it to our receiver’s RCA sub output and turned it on. We began by testing the sub with some bass heavy music so we could adjust the volume and crossover frequency. Once we got it generally in the range we wanted, we shuffled through some other genres so we could find settings that worked well for a diversity of music. We didn’t need to switch the phase and left it on 0°.
We loved how easy and quick it was to get a sound we liked with this subwoofer. BIC also includes a great manual and reportedly has excellent customer service.
The PL-200 II delivered some of the best quality we’ve heard in its price range. A lot of budget subwoofers start to fall apart when pushed hard but the PL-200 II sometimes needs a little nudge to really let the audio quality shine through. Pushing it sometimes seemed to clean up the signal and make it more articulate.
The subwoofer also handles limits a lot better than other budget subs. We never heard any port noise, distortion, or other distressing sounds from the driver. This might be because it rolls off pretty sharply around 30Hz instead of trying to push to depths it isn’t capable of. It also looks like BIC may have added some extra power to the 50-70Hz range, the range we commonly feel in our chest.
The PL-200 II delivered some of the best quality we’ve heard in its price range.
This makes watching movies incredibly enjoyable. You can feel the impact even more in your body and this sub is more than capable of making the floor and walls rumble when the bass hits. At the same time, it handles detail well and “quieter” bass parts sound clean and articulate.
Even though the PL-200 II doesn’t reproduce frequencies below 30Hz very well, it’s hardly noticeable for movies. The quality of the what the PL-200 II does offer conceals those flaws well. When it comes to music, the sub sounded very good with our collection of FLAC files but occasionally lost some detail and precision with lower quality MP3’s.
While there is no MSRP listed on the BIC America website, the best we could find was other sites listing the MSRP as $330. BIC America isn’t an internet direct company, so they don’t sell their products on their own website, but they are easily available from most major distributors. Almost every distributor we saw sells the PL-200 II for $300, making it only $80 more than what their popular Formula F12 sub goes for.
The BIC Acoustech PL-200 II is a significant upgrade from the Formula F12 in power, construction, and sound quality. BIC is a well respected company in the audio and home theater community. Even though their speakers are affordably priced, their quality is high and they come with generous warranties. We absolutely think the price is great for the value and this subwoofer would make a great addition to your home setup.
The BIC Acoustech PL-200 II Subwoofer’s little brother is the BIC Formula F12. The Formula F12 is a slightly smaller, 475 watt peak power subwoofer that offer 150 watts RMS. It has significantly less power than the PL-200 II but in some cases that’s a good thing. For our space, the PL-200 II was too loud, while the Formula F12 was just right.
Both subs produce high quality audio, though the PL-200 II does edge out the Formula F12 due to its higher power rating and dual ports. We’ve tested a lot of budget subs and the PL-200 II and Formula F12 are two of our favorites. If you have the space and ability to crank it when you’re watching movies, the PL-200 II is the way to go. If you’re like us and live in a smaller apartment, the Formula F12 will still satisfy all your bass needs.
A great buy if you have the room.
The BIC Acoustech PL-200 II is one of the top economical subwoofers on the market. We loved the PL-200 II and wish we had a large enough space to fully utilize it, but it can easily overpower a smaller room. Because of that, we’ll stick with our tried and true BIC America F12 subwoofer, another well respected classic.
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