Will Klipsch RW-12D suck for music?

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by steel_3d, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. steel_3d Audiophyte

    steel_3d
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    Looking at it on sale at newegg, but the soundandvisionmag shootout review kinda put me off:

    This would be my first sub. I like musical bass as far as I can tell. I listen to a lot of trance, and everything else, rock, rap, pop.

    Most people, especially those home theater oriented, focus on flat frequency response curves. The rw-12d has that. But I think for music you need more than that. You need an amp/enclosure that has tight control over the driver, low distortion. Does the rw-12d deliver (decently) in that respect? The review above implies otherwise.

    Note that this would be my first sub, so I don't have extremely high expectations. I want good sound at normal (med-low) listening levels that won't piss everyone off inside and outside the house. I am also a bass-head, and I don't like flat eq, I want quite a bit of bass boost, even if the rest of the spectrum is at more reasonable listening levels.

    I was really hoping to pick up an Epik legend, but missed out on the sale. Should I spring the extra 70 bucks for an stf-2? Jamo 650 is out of stock. Any other suggestions? Go used? $400 is my absolute max, but I'd like to keep it under 300.

    My setup is:

    large, very irregular, open living area. has horrible nulls and db variation from the bass from my mains. Probably 600sqft or more, normal ceilings. I don't expect or care to pressurize this.
    Cerwin Vega VE-12F 2ch mains (12inch drivers should have decent bass, but not quite doing it for me)
    Marantz 6005

    Thanks for your help.
  2. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
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    The RW-12d delivers decent bass with reasonable output. I wouldn't really classify it as a "bad" subwoofer, it is probably acceptable for your purposes, but it's not really "good". It reaches down somewhat low, it has somewhat quick response, it is mostly not boomy. I will say I was fairly surprised at it's total output which exceeded my expectations.

    I cannot though tell you if the STF-2 is a good upgrade or not.
  3. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    The STF2 might have a flatter frequency response than the RW-12d, but it won't have the RW-12D's output. Seeing as how seem to want loud bass but also accurate bass, I would save up for something that will satisfy both requirements. I would be looking at the Outlaw LFM-1 Plus, Power Sound Audio XS15, or Hsu VTF2 mk4.
  4. steel_3d Audiophyte

    steel_3d
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    Let me rephrase again :) I like more bass than what people would consider "flat" compared to higher frequencies. That's an eq thing. But as I said, my listening levels don't need to be earthshaking. Now I'm not sure what I should expect in terms of output since I've never had a sub. But I'm guessing I'd be less disappointed with one than without one.

    If I could hear full bodied, musical bass, at moderate listening levels, I think I'd be satisfied.

    So the key question is: is the rw-12d musical "enough" for the average person?
  5. Jeff R. Audioholic Chief

    Jeff R.
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    How about the Cadence CSX-15.....it has been talked about pretty highly and will have plenty of output. I believe it is on sale for $400.
  6. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

    Steve81
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    I'd expect it would get the job done for the average listener, yes. Granted, if you've got a Velo DD18+ right next to it, even the average listener would likely be able to hear the difference. Still, in a vacuum with no other frame of reference, the Klipsch is certainly passable.

    Of course, tastes vary and the room plays a huge role the bass response of any sound system. Put the aforementioned Velo in a bad room and make no attempt to optimize response at the listening position, and you're going to get poor sound. Spend some time setting up and calibrating the Klipsch, and you'll be rewarded with pretty good sound.
  7. Grador Audioholic Field Marshall

    Grador
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    As someone who has a 12d, I think Steve hit this one right on the head.
  8. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    I would say the STF-2 is likely worth the additional funds, despite being 10". They are both listed as 24/25Hz, which means neither is likely to get you deep rumble, but both should be good in terms of output, with the Klipsch likely giving a bit more of it. What you will gain with the HSU is almost definitely a better driver (a driver which carries a 7yr warranty) and probably a better design in general, considering HSU's greater focus on subs.

    IMO, I don't think the Klipsch will suck either, but it may not be the best you can get for your funds.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  9. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

    Steve81
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    A little info on the STF-2

    Hsu Research STF-2 Subwoofer Test & Review

    Nothing to sneeze at in terms of output to be sure.
  10. j_garcia Audioholic Jedi

    j_garcia
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    The Klipsch site claims RW-12D's max ouput to be: 116dB @ 30Hz 1/8 space, 1m. The 24Hz spec is also +/-3dB though, meaning if we had a chart on it, it is likely -6dB at 24Hz.

    The STF-2 has been a consistent budget recommendation for MANY years that I don't think anyone who has bought one has come back and complained about it. If your room is really big though, it probably won't cut it.
  11. ridikas Banned

    ridikas
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    Klipsch makes very decent subwoofers and products in general. They would be in my top 10 loudspeaker manufacturers in the world. Chances are, the subwoofer in question is at least good.

    There's no such thing as a subwoofer for music, or for movies.

    NOTHING beats HSU and SVS for budget subwoofers however.
  12. steel_3d Audiophyte

    steel_3d
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    Any information on the distortion performance of the Klipsch? Versus something like the HSU?
  13. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

    Steve81
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    I'm not aware of any unfortunately. Suffice it to say though, distortion is going to be related to how hard you push it. You mention low to medium levels with a bass boost. Now, I don't know about you, but I'd qualify that as maybe 70-80dB tops with another 10dB boost for bass. If you browse data-bass.com and look at the measurements of various subs, you're not going to see many (if any) subs that are horribly distorting at those kinds of levels, even the less costly stuff. Unless you're looking to push the volume up considerably, distortion should pretty much be a non-factor.
  14. steel_3d Audiophyte

    steel_3d
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    Interesting... What really affects "musicality" then? Enclosure? Damping factor?

    The frequency response itself doesn't look uneven on the Klipsch. But as I understand it, the frequency response graph doesn't tell the whole story, because distortion is mixed in throughout the spectrum.

    I assumed that any deviation from the input signal would be called distortion, including ringing, harmonics, any loss of control over the driver. Damping factor is the one thing I know affects driver control, but I'm sure many other woofer and enclosure parameters also do.
  15. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    Musicality doesn't mean a whole lot here. I would say it is simply a sub with good transient response and decently flat frequency response. So many over-priced and poorly-performing subs have been called "musical" by some audiophile somewhere that the term has been drained of what little meaning it had in the first place.
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  16. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

    Steve81
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    I'd largely have to agree with shady on this. I'd also add that IMO the single most important factor is how the subwoofer interacts with the room. Room gain can potentially make a sub sound bottom heavy, a big peak in response at your listening position can make a sub sound boomy, excessive ringing in the room can make a sub sound slow, etc.
  17. adwilk Audioholic Ninja

    adwilk
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    I used to have RW12d... Honestly for what you're after- it will probably exceed your expectations. Its a bass heavy boomer that sounds fantastic...

    UNTIL you hear a really well designed sub thats set up correctly.

    The Klipsch at 300 bucks is a fantastic price- I think I paid around 700 or so if my memory is right a few years ago. It probably reminded me most of some of the boomy car audio sub installs way back in highschool. There's a good bit of "wow" at first but it fades quickly and you'll find yourself turning it down. It doesn't matter how much of a bass-head you are if its not realistic in the response. After hearing better designed systems, this was reinforced.

    I really like Klipsch speakers overall and have had many different models in their speaker lineup including subs- I'll endorse their loudspeakers all day long... just not their subs.
  18. steel_3d Audiophyte

    steel_3d
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    Adwilk, see, based on that, I'm not sure if it'll exceed my expectations. I (think) I want clean, accurate bass. Something that just sounds warm and sweet and smooth.

    So what do you call a "well designed system"? Should I spring for something like the HSU, or will that be so incremental as to not be worth it, and you're talking more about subs costing in the thousands?
  19. shadyJ Audioholic Ninja

    shadyJ
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    I think what he is talking about is something that has an even frequency response, good dynamic range, and good transient response. For me, those qualities don't tend to all come together until you get to pricier subs. I think you start to get a good balance of those qualities in the $600 range, with the mid level Hsu and Outlaw subs. Below that you can get loud subs like the Klipsch, or subs with a relatively flat frequency response like the STF2, or something with a good transient response like you might find with a decent sealed 10" somewhere, but you don't tend to get all three.
  20. Steve81 Audioholics 5-O

    Steve81
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    One bit of advice: it seems like a lot of what you think you want is based on subjective reviews with a bit of flowery prose thrown in for good measure. I'm not sure how a subwoofer is supposed to sound sweet; if you've ever listening to a subwoofer alone, there's nothing "sweet" about it. Frankly, it sounds like you need to get out there and do some listening to actually determine your preferences. I'd also add that subjective subwoofer reviews are largely worthless IMO: the room dominates bass response so heavily that in most cases much of what you're getting is a review of the room rather than the subwoofer.
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