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JBL A120P subwoofer underwhelming bass


New Member
Oct 21, 2022
A couple of weeks ago I bought 3 pairs of the JBL A130 bookshelf speakers and the A125 center speaker, which I like quite a lot for both movies and music. My subwoofer was a BIC America F12 that I've had since 2011. It's a nice subwoofer and really powerful, but I just wanted to see if there was anything better without breaking the bank, and since I had the set of JBL Stage speakers, I thought I'd give the A120P a shot and bought it on Amazon to return for free if I didn't like it.

Given that the BIC America was a very inexpensive sub, I thought that a JBL was going to be much better. But I was really underwhelmed compared to the F12. The volume knob in the F12 has to stay at 30%, 40% tops because it's so insanely powerful that I can't imagine what kind of room you need to turn the volume all the way up. I tried once and the whole house was almost shaking. Even at 30%, depending on the movie it can get to a point where the walls shake.

So I thought the JBL was going to be even better than that, and it has great user reviews. And it's not bad, but I had to turn the volume all the way up and set the crossover in it to 150 Hz to get even close to the F12. Sure, when I put the Blu-ray of Hans Zimmer Live in Prague, I had to turn it down a bit, but Hans really likes his sub bass and any recording of his is going to be excessive in that department.

But for everything else, especially 80's music which was severely lacking in bass generally (or it had the right amount of bass and then each decade they added more and more bass to music depending on how you look at it), with the volume at max and the crossover (in both the speaker and the receiver) to 150 Hz, which when set that way in the BIC America produces the best bass in my case, the bass in 80's music is not that present. To be fair, with the F12, I also have to raise the volume to get good bass out of 80's music, but it has a lot of extra volume to do that if I need. And I usually just adjust the SW volume in the receiver.

Is this because I haven't finished breaking it yet? Are all subwoofers like this at the beginning? I bought the F12 in 2011, so I just don't remember. I just know that it's a beast, and even when I listen to something with plenty of bass, it does have a decent amount, but I don't see any radical difference in sound quality with the F12.


Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Feb 7, 2020
More likely just a less sensitive sub amp than the BIC has....JBL isn't particularly known for subs in any case, and they're no sense in matching brands with subs in general. That JBL sub doesn't look very impressive by the numbers in any case....I'd stick to the sub specialists or go diy.
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