Klipsch RW-10d Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

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Klipsch-RD10D-subwoofer.gifIn addition to expanding its prodigious lineup of products into almost every conceivable area of consumer electronics, Klipsch has also found time to innovate and incorporate its cleverness into features that provide real value to lots of people. Its five DCS subwoofers (short for Digital Controlled Subwoofers) provide simple adjustment of all functions through easy-to-use controls located on the unit's top panel.

Additional Resource
• Find a pair of speakers to go with the RW-10d.

These controls also are compatible with some third-party remote control systems such as Pronto and Universal Remote Control. Adjustments include three equalization modes ("Flat", "Depth" and "Punch") and three user-adjustable presets ("Music", "Movie" and "Night") to create specific listening preferences. The "Depth" EQ mode boosts the 30Hz region, and the "Punch" mode the 60Hz region, while slightly lowering the unit's overall output. The music, movie and night presets can be entirely set by the user, for Volume, EQ Mode, Lowpass (which includes a bypass), and Phase. The unit also offers a brightness control. This all adds up to some very easy operation, especially with a remote, which provides great dividends considering how subwoofers can radically alter a system's performance and user-friendliness, not to mention household members' sleep patterns.

The RW-10d ($549.00/MSRP) utilizes a 10-inch front-firing Cerametallic woofer, driven by a 260-watt BASH digital hybrid amplifier, fitted in a front-ported enclosure utilizing CornerPort technology, which, according to the company, allows the subwoofer's port tube to be as long as possible without bending, minimizing turbulence that can cause port noise and distortion. It also allows the enclosure to be tuned to a lower frequency than would otherwise be possible to create deeper bass from a smaller cabinet. Another important element is a corner-shaped flange at the port's internal opening, which amplifies the benefits of a longer port. The RW-10d provides both high-level inputs (via gold-plated, five-way binding posts) and low-level inputs (via stereo RCA jacks, one of which can be used for an LFE signal), but no high-pass crossover outputs. All digitally-performed via the top control panel, the RW-10d provides a low-pass crossover control from 40Hz to 120Hz (with a convenient bypass control), a volume control, and a phase control. So those with small speakers or a need to match a subwoofer to the system's speakers will have to use the processor's crossover, an external crossover, or simply use the RW-10d's controls to fine-tune the bass response to the system's other speakers.

Measuring 17.8 inches high by 12.5 inches wide by 19 inches deep and weighing in at 39 pounds, the RW-10d is not very compact but very solid and hefty. The RW-10d employs nice angled feet which help with moving the unit around, is finished in a smooth black-ash woodgrain or silver matte vinyl, and makes a bright statement with the grill off with its 10-inch gold-colored woofer and ridged front baffle. The quality of construction and parts is at a very high level.

The RW-10d provided a very big, boomy sound with movies and games. While it certainly had enough tightness, it sounded more big than punchy. The porting somewhat minimized the effects of walls, but it still sounded a bit better in a corner or up against a wall. Port noise was low overall. On music, the RW-10d exhibited good speed on certain material, particularly rock and electronic music. It even provided some nice body to large scale classical tracks. While exhibiting a plodding quality overall and lacking ultimate finesse, the RW-10d didn't detract from music material overall, keeping its faults to a minimum while providing some kick in unexpected places. The RW-10d's lack of a high-pass crossover could be a factor in systems lacking bass adjustment control, while its inclusion of a low-pass crossover bypass could help bass performance in some systems by eliminating a needless crossover. The RW-10d provides a phase control and, as noted, easy adjustment capability which added a lot to the enjoyment of the product. The Depth and Punch modes made it easy to quickly tailor the sound to music or movies without getting too involved in setup, and the presets enabled some more fine-tuning. The digital control presented no downside whatsoever, and added a lot of convenience to the product (Nobody likes reaching around back to make adjustments, let alone turning the woofer entirely.). Klipsch added a lot of value with this aspect of the product.

Read about the high points and the low points of the RW-10d on Page 2.

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