You have here a long time lurker and a first time poster
I recently acquired a FH6-LCR center, followed by a F12, both from parts express. The vast amount of information I used to decide on the F12 was accumulated here on this thread and I wanted to thank those of you who shared your experience with this sub. Here are my own impressions with some background.
I originally stumbled upon BIC looking to replace a blown center speaker for a PC 5.1 system (Logitech Z680) which is being used in my Home Theater instead of using it with my PC station. The listening area extends about 12 feet by 12 feet, although the width of the living area is about 12 feet by 25 feet. Due to this small area the Z680 served my purposes well. Or so I thought.
The Z680 comes with an 8” front firing woofer, paired with one massive port in the back cranking out 188 watts RMS. This being my first experience with a subwoofer of any kind, I am not sure if this unit could be considered a ‘true’ subwoofer, despite it being able to crank out some really thunderous bass. After all, it IS designed to be used with a PC. I have always left it on the lowest possible setting due to just how much bass the unit produces. I always thought that was kind of bizarre- the inability to turn up the bass level without irritating the neighbors and/or destroying the walls. Now having read this thread in its entirety (yes, really), I understand that this is what the audio enthusiasts refers to as ‘boomy’ bass. Nonetheless, I was content with the Z680’s performance in my primary home theater set up for many years.
A few days after picking up a FH6-LCR to replace the blown center, I also picked up a used receiver (Onkyo TX-SR506) from a friend who no longer needed the unit so he just gave it to me. Sure it’s a few years old, but can't beat free. As I was hooking everything up, I discovered that the Z680 subwoofer would not work unless hooked up with the receiver/pod/whatever that controls the Z680. While I was totally stoked to use the Onkyo receiver, I could not use it and have LFE of any kind without picking up a subwoofer with a ‘sub out’. I tried running a 5.0 set for a few days with the Onkyo powering everything, but no way I could put up with that. Soon thereafter, I was once again running the Z680 receiver/pod/whatever to have a 5.1 setup. But I really wanted to use the Onkyo, and thus, started looking for a subwoofer. Enter the F12.
My initial impression of the F12 was man, this thing is HUGE! The metal looking grill is identical to the other Formula units BIC offers, which has a chrome type of color, which looks absolutely stunning with the black lacquer the rest of the enclosure is painted in. After hooking everything up, I ran Audyssey. Not surprisingly, it set up the gain to -9 (it also set the gain for the FH6-LCR to exactly -9). The other 4 satellites, including the 2 fronts, are the Z680 satellites, each of which are set at a gain of -2. After a lot of fine-tuning, I settled on a gain of -5 on the receiver for the F12, and 4 behind the subwoofer itself, with a 0 degree phase. I tried 3 crossover settings: 120Hz, 100Hz and 80Hz, and 80Hz sounds the best to my ears. The F12 did take a few days to ‘break in’- I know this for a fact, as I become aware of a ‘noticeable’ tighter overall bass all of a sudden 2 weeks into owning this sub. And oh man! What a difference compared to the Z680’s sub! The bass is so much tighter (controlled?), is shorter and has more powerful bursts, and further, I am able to turn it up significantly before bothering my walls or my neighbors! I couldn’t be happier
With these settings and in my fairly small listening area, LFE in both movies and music sounds very good, very full, and I can actually FEEL those really low non directional frequencies which has added an entirely new dimension to the listening experience. The deep rumbling sound tracks in movies in particular has really taken on a new persona which I was not familiar with before.
I did not do a sub crawl and opted to leave the F12 between the left main and the TV for aesthetical purposes. I am considering a second F12, to be placed in between the TV and the right main, not necessary for more bass, but for aesthetical purposes to ‘even out’ the total appearance. However, this will have to wait until I replace the 4 remaining Z680 satellites which I am currently using, the fronts with a pair of FH-6T towers and the rears with a pair of FH-65B bookshelves.