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Klipsch RW review: Klipsch RW

Klipsch RW

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
We're big fans of Klipsch's subwoofers, and not so long ago, we raved about one of its smaller subs, the RW-8. As baby subs go, it's a real contender, but the RW-10's full-size cabinet, more powerful amplifier, and larger woofer trump the smaller sub on every count.
The RW-10 ($500) features an updated version of Klipsch's familiar copper-colored Cerametallic cones; they're now anodized aluminum. The anodizing process converts the inner and outer surfaces to a ceramic substance, all in an effort to lower distortion. The 10-inch woofer is front firing, and an oval port mounted on the subwoofer's bottom panel exits just below the woofer. The RW-10 sports a black wood-grain vinyl finish; this midsize design measures 17.6 inches tall, 12.5 inches wide, and 19 inches deep and weighs a hefty 39 pounds.
The RW-10's amplifier delivers up to 280 watts continuously and 450 watts of dynamic power. A variable phase control facilitates the integration of the RW-10 with the other speakers in the system. Connectivity options include stereo line-level jacks, a mono-direct jack, plus stereo speaker-level inputs. Rather than stash the sub's volume control in the back panel, the RW-10 has an easy-to-reach, side-mounted volume control. On-the-fly adjustments are a breeze, and you won't have to search for your flashlight to find the volume control. A variable phase control facilitates the integration of the RW-10 with the other speakers in the system.
We auditioned the RW-10 with Klipsch's Cinema 8 speaker package, but it would do equally well with a wide range of Klipsch bookshelf or tower speakers.
As a purveyor of home-theater fury, the RW-10 is competitive with the best in its class. The Matrix Reloaded DVD is jam-packed with low-frequency hijinks--from ominous atmospherics to thudding body blows to highway carnage--and the RW-10's room-filling authority was always impressive. Even when pushed to the max, the RW-10 never showed signs of strain or distortion.
The RW-10's musical muscles were fully evident when we played Holly Cole's Temptation CD. David Piltch's stand-up bass is front and center in the mix, and the RW-10 communicated a keen sense of pitch definition and dynamics. When Piltch leans on his big fat strings, you'll feel every low-down shudder. Lesser subs can thicken or muddle crisply delineated lines, but the RW-10 never stumbled. It's equally adept at home-theater or music duty.