Klipsch RW-12d Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

Klipsch RW-12d Powered Subwoofer Reviewed

The RW-12d is one of Klipsch's larger models and our reviewer remarked how this model "rocked the listening area and never stopped." It added "a tremendous amount of weight and kick...[but] also seemed in control...It provides a "superb digitally controlled top panel use interface which adds flexibility and ease of use and convenience."

Klipsch makes a variety of different subwoofers to complement its extra large lineup of loudspeakers, accessories, multimedia models, and a whole bunch of other things. Five of its fourteen subwoofers are labeled "DCS", or Digital Controlled Subwoofers. They provide the user with a top panel digital control panel that allows for simple adjustment of the unit's main functions, either manually or by remote control through select third-party systems such as Pronto and Universal Remote Control. All of the key functions are adjustable, including Volume, EQ Mode, Lowpass (which includes a bypass), Phase, and Brightness. The preset EQ modes ("Flat", "Depth" and "Punch") provide an instant boost to certain frequencies, and the three fully-adjustable modes, labeled "Music", "Movie" and "Night", enable custom settings for those general situations.

 The "Depth" EQ mode boosts the 30Hz region, and the "Punch" mode the 60Hz region, while slightly lowering the overall output. For anyone familiar with the importance of subwoofer settings and how difficult they are to change on most products, all of these adjustment features will be welcome. Proper subwoofer levels enhance overall system satisfaction, versatility, and politeness to those in the next room. Very similar in design to its baby brother, the RW-10d, the RW-12d ($799.00/MSRP) utilizes a 12-inch front-firing Cerametallic woofer, driven by a 350-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-12d 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-12d 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-12d's controls to fine-tune the bass response to the system's other speakers.

Measuring 19.2 inches high by 14.6 inches wide by 21 inches deep and weighing in at 49 pounds, the RW-12d is big and very beefy. As with the RW-10d, the RW-12d employs nice angled feet which help with moving the unit around, is finished in a smooth black-ash woodgrain (the RW-10d also offers a silver matte vinyl option), and makes a bright statement with the grill off with its 12-inch gold-colored woofer and ridged front baffle. The quality of construction and parts is at a very high level.

Sound
From the very start, the RW-12d rocked the listening area, and never stopped. With movies and games, it added a tremendous amount of weight and kick, and despite its very large presence, also seemed in control. As good as the RW-10d performed in this regard, the extra two inches and bigger cabinet made a big difference in the sheer quantity of bass. The RW-12d sounded a little better closer to walls or in a cerner, although not by very much. On music, the RW-12d exhibited better speed and control than would be expected from a big design, and rarely spun too far out of control. While it couldn't be described as fast, it did add punch and weight to all types of music, especially rock and electronic material, without detracting from the experience with excessive muddiness or added boom. As with the RW-10d, it provided some nice body to large scale classical tracks. Its 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-12d 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-12d on Page 2.

High Points
• The Klipsch RW-12d offers excellent performance with movies and games, providing a tremendous amount of weight, punch, and extension to the experience.

• The RW-12d sounded more than respectable on music material, adding punch and weight when needed and staying out of the way of the music overall.
• The RW-12d provides a superb digitally-controlled top panel user interface, which adds flexibility, versatility, and, most importantly, ease of use and convenience.
• The RW-12d is built very well, offers claw-style feet for easy placement, and looks as good as anything in its subwoofers class.

Low Points
• The RW-12d needed more speed, accuracy, and transparency on music material, occasionally falling behind the material and sounding a bit plodding and boomy.
• The RW-12d lacks a high-pass crossover output, which could limit bass control options for some users.
• The RW-12d only comes in Black.

Conclusion
The RW-12d does a lot of things very well, and some superbly. In the Klipsch tradition, it rocks the house with movies and games, and adds oodles of enjoyment to the experience. With music, it sounds more than respectable, and very good on occasion, with a wide variety of material. It adds punch and weight when required, and rarely sticks out negatively. When it comes up a bit short, it never detracts from the experience. When combined with its superb user interface, good looks, and solid build, the RW-12d offers an excellent value across the board and should be seriously considered for an audition.

Additional Resources 
• Read other subwoofer reviews from the likes of Klipsch, Polk Audio, Def Tech, Sunfire. SVS and many more.
• Check out a review of the Klipsch SW-350 from HomeTheaterReview.com.

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