Sunday, November 19, 2023

Kicker PTRTP Powered 12 Inch Subwoofer with Enclosure Review

When it comes to car audio, it’s not the same without a subwoofer. It’s the triangle of sound with bass being the foundation. But depending on your vehicle, you may not have much space available for a subwoofer. And even if you already have a stock subwoofer that came with your vehicle, you can always improve it. My 2023 Chevy Bolt came with the upgraded Bose sound system which included a powered subwoofer in the trunk. While the Bose system sounded good, including the sub, there was room for improvement. Kicker is known for having great subs. They have something for everyone, including for those with limited space. Up for review today it their Kicker PTRTP Powered 12 Inch Enclosure. MSRP is $499.


Features and specs:

TYPE: powered down-fire

WOOFER SIZE (in, cm): 12, 30

RMS POWER (watts at 14.4v): 500



S-TO-N RATIO (A-weighted, re: rated power): >90dB

INPUT SENSITIVITY: Low Level – 125mV-5V; High Level – 1V-40V

CROSSOVER: active 12dB/octave, variable 50-120Hz low pass; 12dB/octave, high pass at 25Hz

KickEQ™ BASS BOOST: variable to +6dB, centered at 40Hz

BOX HEIGHT (in, cm): 6-1/2, 16.6

BOX DEPTH (in, cm): 14-5/8, 37

BOX WIDTH (in, cm): 27-1/2, 70


The Kicker PTRTP 12 Inch Powered Subwoofer came in a color printed box with photos, and specs of the subwoofer. Opening the box revealed a well-made sub in a solid enclosure. Materials used in the construction is MDF and carpet for the enclosure, metal polypropylene and rubber for the sub, and metal for the amplifier. Quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish, are excellent. Also included was the bass remote, wire for the bass remote, and manual.


I love the design of the Kicker PTRTP 12 Inch Subwoofer. It uses a shallow mount subwoofer to yield an enclosure that will fit in most tight spaces. Yet it also boosts performance by incorporating a passive radiator. Enthusiasts may prefer a ported design for its higher output. Unfortunately, ported enclosures require more space due to the higher airspace needed for the ported design. So if you are limited in space, you may have to concede to going sealed.


At least you may have thought that was the case. But if you have limited space, going sealed is not the only option. Kicker is known for giving you big bass, and that continues with their Kicker PTRTP 12 Inch Subwoofer. Instead of going just sealed, they added a passive radiator. A passive radiator is just that, passive. That means that it does not require any power. Like a car turbo takes exhaust energy and turns it into extra horsepower for the vehicle, a passive radiator takes internal energy created by the active subwoofer and uses it to create extra output.


Using a passive radiator is more of a hybrid design.  You don’t get the output that a ported enclosure can provide. Yet it is not sealed either. Thanks to the passive radiator, the design provides more output. In reality it’s a bit of a compromise. You get an enclosure designed for small spaces like a sealed enclosure, yet you get more output than a sealed enclosure. If you want a lot of output and have the space, ported is still the way to go. But if you want to get the most output from a small space, a sealed enclosure with a passive radiator will give you the most output from a small space.


I also love the turn key design of the Kicker PTRTP 12 Inch Subwoofer, which also proves an easy install. Not only does it provide a great driver in the CompRT, it also includes a built-in amplifier. With a 500 watt RMS rating of the driver, they maximized its performance with an amp that puts out 500 watts. All of the connections and controls for the amp are mounted on the side. This ensures not only a simple install, but also it’s easy to tune. All of the controls for gain, crossover, and boost are all within easy reach. Power ground and signal is all that’s needed for install. And installation was a cinch. Now let’s see how it sounds.

New Order- Blue Monday:  at the beginning the beats were really fast, yet they played really tight, with good punch and didn’t skip a beat at all, nor was it dragging.  And when the deeper beats came in, they also were really clean, played with excellent low end extension, and a lot of authority.

Lady Gaga- Starstruck:  bass beats were really clean. They sounded really full and deep, playing with a lot of authority. And they hit like a hammer to the chest.

Branden Beal- Drop That Booty Down Low:  bass beats were extremely deep, played with so much output and authority my rearview mirror was dancing and getting its groove on.  And while it hit so hard like a hammer to the chest, it did it so cleanly!  And when he dropped the booty down low, it took things to a whole new level.  It was so deep it was like an earthquake in my little Chevy Bolt!  And again it did so, so cleanly!

As I mentioned earlier, My Chevy Bolt came with the upgraded Bose Sound System.  It was a small ported sub that was located in the trunk area under the rear hatchback.  While the stock sub provided ok output, and played deep, it felt anemic.  The deep bass just didn’t seem that full.  I like to use the analogy of horsepower and torque.  My other vehicle is a 2017 Nissan Titan with a large 400hp V8.  A much smaller 4 cylinder like in a Honda can be modified with a large turbo to get 400hp out of it, but it won’t have anywhere near the same amount of torque.  It lacks the muscle/power needed to say….pull a large trailer, like my V8 Titan can do.  The Kicker PTRTP 12 Inch powered sub was a night and day difference compared to the Bose subwoofer.  Not only did it provide significantly more output, it was also much deeper with a fullness to the base that the Bose did not provide.


I love seeing a quality product that performs extremely well.  I also love it when a company develops a name for themselves for great products, after years of doing so.  But I love it even more when a company with a great reputation doesn’t rest on their laurels, and continues to develop and provide great products. Kicker is one of those great companies.  And their Kicker PTRTP 12 inch subwoofer, thanks to the sealed enclosure with the passive radiator, provided a nice and tight bass yet also very deep with extra output.  Based on their design, features, quality, and performance, the Kicker PTRTP Powered 12 Inch Enclosure has earned out Editor’s Choice Award. Kudos to Kicker on such a great product!  For more info and complete specs, check out their website at