Published On: July 13, 2023

RSL Speedwoofer 12s Review: A High Value, High Performance Subwoofer

Published On: July 13, 2023
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RSL Speedwoofer 12s Review: A High Value, High Performance Subwoofer

This new subwoofer from RSL showcases impressive low bass output.

RSL Speedwoofer 12s Review: A High Value, High Performance Subwoofer

By Author: Justin Breckenridge
I am a lifelong Florida resident with a huge passion for tech and sound. My love for music initially drove me to vinyl, which introduced me to the world of speakers and other audio equipment. It is important to me that an audio product not only produces excellent sound quality but also is worth the price.

RSL recently released the next product in their Speedwoofer line, the Speedwoofer 12s. The 12s is a step up from the 10s, both in size and performance. Using the same formula as its predecessor, the 12s improves its capabilities by reaching much lower frequencies and offering greater bass extension.

The RSL Speedwoofer 12s gives you output that can express the finest intricacies of all types of bass. And with its well-constructed build quality, solid customization options, and aggressive pricing for its performance, the 12s is an excellent option for those looking to add a subwoofer to their home theater.

High Points

  • Fantastic performance; The Speedwoofer 12s can dig deep to 16Hz at an $800 price tag.
  • Solid build quality.
  • DSP modes provide useful customization.
  • Powerful amp with just enough features.

Low Points 

  • The large size may not be optimal for some setups; Especially those who may be switching from the previous Speedwoofer 10s.
  • Misses app control for advanced room correction.

The Build 

The Speedwoofer 12s is encased in a black, textured matte surface which shields it from fingerprints or scratches. It is also rather large, clocking in at 22.25 inches tall, 18.875 inches wide, 22.25 inches deep, and weighing in at a staggering 82 pounds. So finding space for this product may be a challenge for those who have a smaller setup.

However, for those who do have the space, the Speedwoofer 12s has a slick and minimalist design that will look good in most audio setups. At the front, there is an LED meter that indicates volume and mode, which disappears quickly after changing to not be intrusive.

Speedwoofer 12s from the back

The 12s is rear-vented and use a 500 watts RMS, 1550 watts peak, XDR series amplifier. At the back of the 12s is a panel that houses all of the knobs, switches, and connectors. The 12s have four knobs in total: one for volume, one for high pass-over, one for low pass-over, and one for phase. The knobs have a satisfying resistance and notches to them that make fine-tuning to your preferences a breeze.

In addition to the knobs, the 12s also has an auto power switch, a power switch, a detachable power cable, stereo RCA connectors, speaker-level inputs, and a USB power port.

Internally, the 12s builds on the foundation of the 10s, just on a larger scale. It utilizes a similar driver to the 10s, with a cast aluminum basket, a Kevlar-reinforced paper cone with an aluminum dust cap, a double-stacked magnet motor, and an FEA-optimized motor structure.

The 12s also boasts RSL’s signature rear-vented Compression Guide technology, which allows porting for a powerful transient response. One of the changes made to the 12s over the 10s is the dual-mirrored spiders, with the 10s only having one spider. This is a great change, as it drastically increases stability and reduces distortion.

RSL also made improvements to the heatsink tech in the 12s, greatly increasing thermal efficiency and capacity in the subwoofer.

The Remote and DSP Modes

The remote for the 12s utilizes a simple design. It is black and short, with a textured matte finish and a few buttons. The remote allows you to easily change the volume of the subwoofer, power it on and off, and switch between the four DSP modes that come with the subwoofer.

Speedwoofer 12s Remote

For the most part, the remote seemed to be pretty responsive to action, however, it was a bit difficult to tell if the subwoofer was turned on at times.

The four DSP modes you can swap between are Music, Movie, Reference, and Boundary. Each of these modes has its benefits. Reference is a good neutral point, as it has very little EQ processing that produces a more natural sound. Movie mode works well for higher frequencies, Music mode work uses shelving EQs, and Boundary mode helps prevent shaking the walls, which definitely can happen in the other modes.

From my testing, I like Music mode the most. It sounds very balanced while also giving the appropriate weight that the bass should give. Although this will depend heavily on your setup and preferences.

Audio Performance

In my experience, the 12s outperforms its price. This subwoofer has some serious output and depth of sound. The bass on the 12s is intricate, and incredibly impactful without sounding blown out or distorted. The 12s greatly enhances the auditory experience of both film and music alike.

For movies and TV, I tested a few options. One excellent litmus test for a good subwoofer is Dunkirk. It is a war movie, there is plenty of opportunity for a good subwoofer to show its excellent qualities. And the 12s do so in stride. 

DUNKIRK - OFFICIAL MAIN TRAILER [HD]

The impact of war is captured perfectly with the 12s, feeling appropriately impactful in a way that isn’t completely overpowering to the other sounds or distracting. There is real weight to the bass being output here, and it is incredibly immersive to the experience of watching the film. 

Another movie I wanted to test was Star Wars, not only because it is incredibly popular, but again, it particularly benefits from elevating its sound design. Once again, I am happy to say the 12s succeeded in enhancing the experience of the film. Not only do the sounds of action feel incredibly impactful, but John William’s iconic score is given the spotlight it deserves. 

As far as music goes, I tested a favorite few songs. One song I tested was Okra, by Tyler the Creator. I wanted to test this song as a means of seeing the upper limits of the 12s, as the song features incredibly blown-out bass. 

Tyler, The Creator - OKRA

The song sounded great on the subwoofer. I was expecting it to sound a bit distorted and overly exaggerated, but it managed to sound as heavy as it should without sounding muddied at all. 

Another song I tested was Tainted Love by Soft Cell, which has a much more subtle bass. Again, the song sounded great and very punchy, across all of the DSP modes. Overall, the audio performance on the 12s blew me away.

Conclusion

From my testing, the Speedwoofer 12s subwoofer makes an incredibly compelling case. Sitting at $800, the 12s features very competitive pricing for its stellar performance, elevating it as a strong contender against other even more expensive subwoofers.

Overall, the RSL Speedwoofer 12s has made its mark in the world of subwoofers with excellent performance, build quality, design, and an unbeatable price point. If you are looking to upgrade your subwoofer or even get started with a new one altogether, I think the 12s is a great choice with few downsides, making it well-deserving of the Editor's Choice.

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