Customer Reviews: Klipsch RW12D 12-inch Reference Subwoofer
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on January 29, 2011
First off, I appreciate the lengths that the first reviewer went to in creating thee most thorough and informative review I've ever read. While I'm sure the author was being serious during all of that, in the end I couldn't help but giggle thinking of a scene from "Good Morning Vietnam"

"Excuse me sir. Seeing as how the VP is such a VIP, shouldn't we keep the PC on
the QT, because if it leaks to the VC, you could end up an MIA, and then we'd
all be put on KP." -Robin Willams as Adrian Cronauer

Average Joe Citizen, you are not alone my friend. My review will contain nothing more than my humble opinion written in plain english. Reading it will not require an instruction manual to understand what I am saying.

So here's my review of the Klipsch RW-12d:

I spent at least six months shopping around, reading reviews, pondering, listening to different products, and this is the one that spoke to me. Yeah, the price was more than I wanted to spend, but it was well worth it. I wanted something that was smooth and clean, but powerful enough to punch me right in the chest, and that's exactly what I got!

I'm going skip all the little intimate details as far as quoting specs, Hz, etc., and get straight to what you really wanna know:

Music: I kid you not when I say I am discovering a whole new dimension to the music I've been listening to all my life. I listen to everything from Mozart to Marilyn Manson, and it all sounded (and felt) awesome... even pipe organs sounded perfect. It doesn't overload the room with big boomy bass all the time. The sound is subtle and smooth... and when its time to hit hard, its solid, powerful, and clean.

Movies/Games: The smooth, subtle, yet powerful cleanliness I mentioned above is also the case with movies and games. I played a little Call of Duty on my Playstation. Forget the vibrating controller! Who needs it! I found myself running for cover as if grenades were actually exploding in my living room. Just to test the thing out, I put in Transformers 2 and cranked it up. Explosions are AWESOME. My entire house shakes. I'm not talking just a rumble in my seat. I mean the floor moves up and down, and things like pictures and knick-knacks fall. I turned it all the way up and went outside just to make sure I was pissing off the neighbors, and my mailbox out at the road was vibrating. THAT was EXACTLY what I was looking for in a subwoofer!

Controls: The controls on the unit are simple to use and almost completely self explanatory. I'm not going to tell you what levels of what sounds best. It's all about what YOU, the listener prefers. Play around with it until it sounds good! I am no rocket scientist, and it only took me about 2 minutes to figure it all out.

Clarity overall was what I wanted the most, and the RW-12d has it. I am a very picky guy who will waste as much time as it takes searching for exactly what I want, and I absolutely do not stop until I get it. Forget all the crap you find at all the big box stores. This is the one. This sub may be a bit on the pricey side for the average Joe, but trust me... as soon as you feed your head with the ear candy this baby produces, you'll forget all about what you paid for it.

On a side note about subwoofer cables... I refused to pay upwards of $100 for the 35 feet of cable I needed. Do yourself a favor, look into regular shielded coax. After examining all options, I decided to go with and buy the 35 ft. shielded coax for 9 bucks. Yes, I said NINE DOLLARS! I figured, what the hell.. it's worth trying for $9, right? Totally worth it. But coax? I know, I didn't believe it at first either. Despite not being "THX Certified" or some other gold-plated gimmick, magnetically shielded in pure bullcrap, my 9 dollar cable worked just fine. I ran the cable up through the attic amongst a mess of other various wires. There is no humming noise or signal loss. I do have a shorter top-of-the-line cable that I tried, and the sound was identical. I guess if coax is good enough for an HDTV signal to make the 18 mile trip from the cable company, I'm sure its more than capable of carrying a subwoofer signal across my living room.

Anyway, Great subwoofer! I am definitely impressed and I'm sure you will be too. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

1313 comments| 130 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
For home theater use I am a Klipsch fan. I use their RB 81's for mains and the RS61's for surrounds with a RC 51 for my center channel. I bought the system piece by piece over a period of 3 years and purchased my first RW-12D sub 3 years ago. Since the price has come way down in the last few years I just purchased another and now run both for movies using the Klipsch system and for music using my Martin Logan's for L/R mains. I could not be happier with this system and the RW-12 in general.

The RW-12 sub represents total quality. The amp, the enclosure itself and the sonic performance is impeccable. Plenty of power for ANY type of source. Nice tight articulated bass , never flabby or boomy. Plenty of control over all aspects of your sound is available on the top panel, providing digital control over volume, equalization, crossover frequency and phase. Both RCA and wired connections are available plus the option to use 'auto on' which works very well if you don't wish to turn your sub on and off each time you use it.

I have used my first RW-12 daily for more than 3 years with ZERO problems or reliability issues. I was sorry to see Klipsch has moved on and no longer manufacturers this model so when I got the opportunity to purchase another at roughly HALF the price paid for the first I jumped at it. I didn't NEED another sub for movies OR music, but by placing each sub at the left and right position I get much improved sonic performance overall and now have even more headroom without having to crank the one sub at all.

Bottom line is, if you can't get great results with this sub your other equipment is malfunctioning or you need to experiment a bit more with placement. I have found this Klipsch sub is not too picky about where it is placed and installation was a breeze.
If you want one of the very best subs out there, this one is one of them. This was a purchase I never regretted for one moment and as my review title says, they are SO good, I bought TWO! The Klipsch RW-12 earns my very HIGHEST recommendation!
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on January 7, 2011
To start, I must admit that I can't outdo the previous review. All I can add is that this the best subwoofer I've ever experienced. Since the price has come down, it is truly a bargain. The bass is smooth and refined. It blends with my other speakers and doesn't produce that crude booming sound that I've heard from other subs. From Klipsch Forum advice, I wired it with a single wire coming from the "Sub out" connection on my Harman Kardon AVR 3600. This is real audiophile equipment at a bargain price. In the past, I paid just as much for a low end HSU Sub which doesn't come close to matching the Klipsch sound.
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on November 13, 2010
First off, I puchased this LFE from NFM and this is one of their top-tier subwoofers at $800+ back in 2009-2010. I did consider building one using PartsExpress, and a few tactile transducers but my skills building is far from what I expect my end product to look like. So I suck at building enclosures. So I skipped the build to find something that was pleasing to look at. I was foremost interested in a sealed sub, and is what I asked for. NFMart sales people are not really that knowledgeable with their products, as I did most of the talking via phone after as many returns as I had.

When purchasing a LFE the important thing to look for is ported/sealed, Frequency response, and RMS. Ported or sealed is a user preference. For Frequency response anything below 16 is not nessasary, and 16hz up to 25hz the sound is felt not heard. High RMS wattage will sound louder and reproduce the sound cleaner, if the Subwoofer is rated at a lower if not equal RMS.


1. LFE= Low Frequency Effects (Emmitter) (HF is High Frequency)
2. Enclosure= Box the subwoofer is set in.
3. Subwoofer= LFE speaker
4. RMS= Root Means Square, constant wattage a speaker will receive at any time
5. Peak= Maximum wattage a speaker will receive, simply a burst of wattage at a given moment
6. SVC= Single Voice Coil
7. SPL= Sound Pressure Level, yes sound does have pressure and as descibels increase so will pressure.
8. Equilizer= a digital or analog device that incorperates crossovers to filter and adjust sound at the given amplifier.

To start:
This Enclosure is ported (This one is done right!) and atractive, and is very deceptive due to it's design.

>>The port fires at a 60-45 degree angle downward in the direction of the Subwoofer, and was also tuned to the enclosure (and speaker). <<

Unlike many brand x designs that fill the port with a generic plastic tube this one actually works as intended. I feel this is a good woofer for a medium to large room. (mine is 24'x 14'x 8') I think for a Small room I'd go with the 10".

Like the previous rater/reviewer I went through a few LFE that I purchased within days of each other. Follows a "Goldylocks and the 3 bears" search for a LFE, for the sake of time and simplicity I'll leave it at that.

To the quality and function, first I own a Onkyo tx-sr706 receiver and I enable a HF cutoff @ 90hz for the LFE channel. For older receivers without a LFE pre-out or HF cut-off, the unit has a digital crossover that will do this if enabled. The Enclosure is almost 2 feet tall (this LFE is almost a coffee table) the unit is about 2 feet in lenght and roughly 16 inches wide. The controls for the sub are simple to use and are backlit for use in a dark room, and located on top. I have kids, the 2 year old especially, notices the light momentarily come on when it receives a LFE signal and wakes from standby. The 2 yearold wants to investigate this light and thinks it's a toy, oooh lights! This is one of those minute things that I would design differently, maybe a cover/lid. The back of the unit has a 4 post out (2r 2b), stereo coaxial in, and an IR receptor for universal remotes.

I have cracked this "egg" open and the internal bracing is very acceptible, the wiring is a thick guauge wire, 12-14 guage with spade connectors at the speaker. The amp uses 340watt RMS (850w peak) BASH Amp which is an amp design that Klipsch uses, as they hand make it. This internal amp is more than enough power to drive the SVC 12 inch subwoofer.

Klipsch has excellent customer service and is a very reliable company and product(built in the USA by experts that have been doing this for many years)

For those that are designing a home theater do your self a favor, do not use this on a hard floor and/or in an empty room and expect it to sound awesome. The ideal room is rectangular and carpeted. Any negitive reviews would lead me to believe that reviewer is inept, and should just stick to a HTIB and nothing else. Putting the this in a Highly reflective(hard surfaces) enviroment or room increases the amount of Standing/canceling waves. Leaving the listener fatigued or worn out because as musical moments are canceled by negating soundwaves that leave the listener with Sound pressure for the listener's ears. LFE's are suppose to be warm and richen music and movie soundtracks.

For starters, I do not recommend turning the LFE's amp volume up past -5 to increase the bass response(mine is -8, still shakes the 1600sqft house). The sub is producing a sound that is in-audible and it won't get any louder by turning it up. Second Flatten the LFE's built in Amp, using the receiver's pre-amp settings to adjust the sound, by going into the equillizer menu add volume to the 25hz, 40hz, and 60hz range till the sound is warm(+2,+1,+1,0,-1 works for my room). Move the Enclosure around in the room until it sound's right to you, lastly LFE's produce a soundwave that is omni-directional so placement is not a set in stone. There are people that say that up against a wall increases the sound, but that is based off of Bass-reflex (ported enclosure) principle, and isn't as applicable to this unit because the port fires at an angle to the ground. This enclosure is by design and function on a different level than most low-end crap and higher reference LFE's I have owned.

Bottom line, I feel that the price is high, but "that keeps the riff-raff from owning it." No really, truth is you are paying for someones expertise and handwork, not just the name like _ _ _ _. It is a awesome LFE when setup the right way, the average to enthusiast listener would be happy or impressed with the sound. This LFE complements my 5 speaker HT setup: Yamaha NS-777 3-Way Bass Reflex Tower Speaker(Bi-amped),Yamaha NS-333 2-Way Bass Reflex Bookshelf Speaker (Pair), and Yamaha NS-C444 2-Way Center Channel Speaker. A complete Klipsch setup is not necessary, However, they are designed to work seemlessly together. The different speakers need to be tuned to match crossover points and the room, as would be true with all speakers to include Klipsch's. There are other LFE's that come to mind but this one shines in most HT settings without spending more money than necesary. If purchasing this by Amazon the packaging appeared to be more than adaquate so rest assured, it should be delivered without damage. It is cumbersome and slightly heavy. Yet I have never had a hind-sight moment with this LFE.

Thanks for reading I know it is kind of exhaustive as well. I hope it was informinative as well. Enjoy which ever LFE you choose! By the way THX is just a standard and there are cables that exceed thx certification and and sound the same as ones that don't meet those certifications. I have a set of Belkin PureAV AV50500-25 25-Foot Subwoofer Audio Cable with zero interference issues that I compaired to a Monster M-series 850 Sub cable and there is no difference.

edit 10:00pm 11-13-10 added links and paragraph continuity fixed.
edit 10:00pm 3-22-13 effects added
3030 comments| 124 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 23, 2012
After seaching, and talk to a broad array of friends, and professionals, about which sub woofer would the best bang for the buck. I decided on going with the Klipsch RW12D 12inch refrence line sub. This is klipsch top of the line products. Klipsch refrence is the way to go. This thing is a animal, better yet an monster. This is a single, front firing, cermamic based sub. Its over 340wtt rms, and is designed with a digital lcd read out for the eq, audio set up, and personal adjustments. I have this sub in an area that is 20x20, with another open area connected to it , which also is about 20x10, and it still knock pictures off my walls. This thing is over kill, but in a wonder full way. I love bass, and the klipsch RWD12d gives me all I need. This sub is of great quality, and very solid built. Movie night will blow you away, aswell as games, and music. This sub use to retail for around $1000, but now you can get it between $350 to $500. If you are in an apartment, your neighbors will hate you, I promise. If you are planing on putting this sub in a room less than 15x15 your heart will skip a beat i promise. If you just dont give a damn, you will love it, i promise. I broke mine in for about 20hrs, I have it on the punch setting, and never have to take the volume past (0). The volume ranges fromn -20 to +10.


1. Outstanding quality
2. Cermamic sub
3. Digital lcd which controls every setting for the sub, even allows you to lock the display so kids can't toy with you setting
4. Settings memory
5. Superior sound for any application
6. Extremly powerful.
7. Very easy set up and user friendly

Cons ( None )
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on August 18, 2011
First things first I have this sub in a 20x15x8 carpeted finished basement theater
room. This bad boy is being powered by a Pioneer VSX-1120-K 7.1 receiver. This sub
can handle what ever u dare throw at it, from movies to any kind of music your into!!
for months I have had the sub volume turned down on my receiver without my knowledge
and I have adjusted the volume on the sub to my liking for whatever i'm listening
to. That has been plenty good enough to shake the hole house! Now that I have turned
the volume up for the sub on the receiver, I can now shake my house and the
surrounding houses in my area...No joke I've been next door while its been cranked,
its amazing. the three sub adjustment tones on the top of the sub (flat, depth,
punch) let you easily choose your listening pleasure. the sound quality is unmatched
its smooth rich and deep. I love taking new people down to listen to it for the first
time and watching the smile on their faces grow and grow as I turn the volume up and
up, it happens ever time. Bottom line, this is it for home theater and music subs in my opinion, I took my iPod around with me when i was looking for a sub and played the same song on all the ones I tested. I highly recommend doing that if you go looking, and I highly recommend this SUB!!!!!!
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on February 2, 2012
Since this is my first subwoofer, I don't have anything to compare it to. I can tell you though, we LOVE it. When I first turned it on, it nearly shook the pictures off the walls. My big fearless Boxer took off like he'd been shot. I had to turn it down for us to be able to stay in the room.
The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because of the packaging. The first one came in with a part broken off...the box looked like it had been punctured in several places. Thank goodness for Amazon's wonderful customer service! They had UPS back the next day to pick it up. I reordered, but the box looked just as bad this time, and it was also damaged.
In the picture, it seems to show no cover over the can see a bronze circle in the front. It actually does come with a cover, but it had some plastic pieces broken off so it won't fit properly. The same problem as the first one. We decided to just tape it on with clear packaging tape, rather than sending it back again. Doesn't show in the corner where it sits anyhow.
If I didn't get lots of stuff from UPS, I might think they'd damaged it. However, I do as much shopping as possible online, mostly from Amazon, so I know our UPS is pretty careful. It just seems that such a high dollar item would be packaged with more care.
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on March 21, 2013
I looked everyday, for a solid two weeks at literally dozens of subwoofers in the under $350 range. BTW, this is really a $450-$500 dollar range sub, but Amazon had it at an amazing price. I looked at the BIC's and HSU's which are out of the price range, but were at the top of my list and mixed whether it would actually hit like this Klipsch anyway.

I had an 8 inch Pioneer that I had for maybe a month. It was ok, but just didn't hit as hard as I wanted my sub to. When I pulled the trigger I was fairly confident, but still left wondering if I chose the one that I'd be happy with. Once I hooked it up, I knew right away I made a great decision. It's still getting broken in, only had it a couple of weeks old, but it will truly knock stuff off of shelves and rattle things that I thought were secure on the wall. You can feel it in your gut. I also like the fact you can make adjustments to the sub on the top of the unit via a digital display. No getting down on the floor and moving the sub around to make adjustments, which is a lot when you're first setting it up and tweaking it. So, if you want a sub that feels like you've been hit in the gut, goes low and sounds good even at low volumes, look no further. This is the one. I wouldn't swap it for anything under $500!
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on August 13, 2013
I paired this up with a Onkyo TX-NR809 home theater receiver and i'm extremely pleased. Its a bigger improvement sound wise from my RSW-15 sub from klipsch . I've owned the Klipsch Reference line since around 2002ish and they sound just as good today as they did after a few hours of break in. The reason why this middle brand 12 inch improved the sound quality in my room is purely my hearing style preference. I love front firing subwoofers my old one had a passive 15 inch behind and front firing but air flowed behind so the sound felt strange, In this unit, the bass is very deep for a 12 inch and has 3 options. Movie, music and flat settings . Each one can be customized. My room is large or slightly under a large. It fills everything with tight bass.

I have to run it on +3 volume on the subwoofer with my receiver set to reference (dead center) if I want extra bass.. Even if the sub itself set to 0 (dead center reference) it still produces tons of large bass. Especially with bass tracks and movies. For me to listen to bass music like drumming bass, Deadmau5, DJ baby Anne I have to set the subs volume to -8 so it doesn't disturb neighbors and I STILL GET BASS! One of the reason I went with this 12 inch was to control the deep bass from extending and having cops called on me. It didn't help. I have absolutely no problem with this.If anything it reinforces its a good subwoofer.

TIP: for many of those using receivers that do auto calibration. Its better to do yours subwoofer settings by hand and personal hearing preference. Many auto-calibration systems like Audyssey have a tendency to ask you to lower the subs volume on the unit and mutes the bass sound. This is normally done to adjust the speakers hertz frequency and measure the room but system like Audyssey do not take bass into account. So your speakers will probably get shifted to see itself as "large speakers" even if you have towers. This reduces overall bass tracks your subwoofer plays because it thinks the other speakers can reproduce low bass. To fix any lack of bass, change the hertz settings of each speaker at a starting point of 80hrz. This will feed the subwoofer bass tracks that the others speakers can not reproduce. Satellites speakers crank it up to 120hrz or more.

-LFE (low frequency effects) in your receiver settings to 120hrz. Sub crossover or LFE settings are in the receiver itself.
-all speaker herz settings to 80 or test by going higher. Some have a setting for small and large Set them small even if you have towers unless they have powered subs built into them.(this is normally in the settings of the speakers in the receiver) Not the sub itself.

This allows your receiver to control where bass gets redirected. If you set the receiver to control every speaker, you would disable similar settings on the subwoofer itself, That way you don't get the sub and receiver having a double filter effect. The only thing you raise up and down would be the subs volume control and equalizer settings IN THE SUB. I avoid lowering and increase sub volume from the receiver , instead ,do it by hand on the unit.

I have had this subwoofer for a year and still in love it.I choose to wait before publishing the review to see how it stands 1 full year later. Still impressed.
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on July 1, 2013
This is truly one of the loudest subs I have ever owned. It may be a bit pricy but it is definitely worth every penny. I have it attached to my 7.2 onkyo receiver and sound wise I'm primarily using the system for movies or gaming purposes and trust me this sub does not disappoint.

The way this sub bring life to my games, the sound of explosions and gunfire, or deep bass undertones in music or movies is just pure bliss. I know that I will be enjoying this bass for years to come. This is one subwoofer you cannot go wrong with, plain and simple.
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