The Fluance DB12 home subwoofer has a stylish cabinet design and full feature set, but we were underwhelmed by it during our listening tests. It scored well in our acoustic music listening test, but most people buy a subwoofer because they want theater-quality sound in their home entertainment room. Unfortunately, the DB12 fell short in our movie listening tests.
We conducted all our listening tests with the subwoofers set at 85 decibels (db), which is the average volume used in a commercial theater. We had to set the volume knob on the DB12’s back panel to nearly the maximum to hear it alongside the floor standing speakers we used in our test. All the other 12-inch subwoofers we tested ran at less than 75 percent of their maximum capacity to reach the same volume, which means the DB12’s amplifier works too hard and is much more likely to distort sound at listenable volumes.
Its 36Hz low-frequency response rating is the highest starting point of all the 12-inch subwoofers we tested, which may be the reason for its poor scores in our movie listening tests. Admittedly, most low-end content in movies is found between 50Hz and 120Hz, but a 12-inch woofer powered by a 240-watt amp should rumble your seat when sub-frequencies are available. The DB12 hit most of the low-frequency effects, but lacked the accuracy and rumble in the lowest frequencies.
This is the best-looking subwoofer in our test group. When you take off the black grille cloth, it reveals a glossy black front panel with two large ports. The wood veneer that surrounds the rest of the cabinet comes in three color options: black, mahogany and natural walnut.
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The back panel has a large heatsink that helps dissipate heat from the amplifier. That should help lengthen the subwoofer’s life. The DB12’s flimsy power switch is also on the back panel, and because it doesn’t have a standby mode, you have to toggle the switch often. Our reviewers raked their knuckles across the hot, sharp heatsink multiple times turning subwoofer on and off – it’s a minor inconvenience but worth noting.
Fluance offers a two-year warranty on both the amplifier and the speaker. That is below average compared to the other home subwoofers we tested. However, the company has above-average support options, including phone, email and live chat customer service. We found the customer service representatives to be knowledgeable and friendly when we contacted them with questions.