What about the R-12SW? Where does it stand among the other legacy speakers still being created by the company? Well, to understand that, we need to look at three major elements in order to review it properly, there being the design, the features, and, last but not least, the sound quality.
No one likes the sound of silence (the absence of sound, not the 1966 hit song by Simon and Garfunkel), and everybody likes convenience, hence the rise of home speakers in the market.
Once such product is the Klipsch R-12SW, a stylish model that has it’s sights set on becoming a home staple, and a great addition to any room.
But can this legacy speaker hit all the same notes as the more popular choices like Sonos or Marshall speakers? Is the Klipsch the right choice for you and your home? Well, that’s what this review is set to find out.
When I call these speakers heritage speakers, I do so because this is a company that has been creating and pioneering audio and home entertainment technology for a long time.
The founds, Paul Klipsch was an American audio pioneer, who is a member of the science hall of fame. He helped create and improve speaker technology in a way that would impact the way we listen to music forever.
His original Klipschorn Speaker is the only speaker in the world that has been in continuous production for over 70 years, proving that it has stood the test of time against its competition.
The Klipsch R-12SW is a 12-inch subwoofer with 400 watts of dynamic power all coming from a digital amplifier.
Similar to the majority of subwoofers, this product just looks like a big cube, measuring about 14 x 18.5 x 16 inches, and weighs just a little over 30lbs.
That makes the R-12SW a hefty piece of kit that is admittedly a bit bulky, but is nevertheless still sleek and premium.
Due to it’s heft, this speaker is not so easy to move about if you’re prone to redecorating/reorganizing your space every couple of weeks, but if you get it into a position you’re happy with, then it will serve you well.
The cabinet that the tech is enclosed by is made with a sturdy medium density fiber (MDF) wood and wrapped with a black polymer veneer. This veneer is brushed, which gives is a lovely texture that sets it aside from other products and giving it a high-end appearance.
The Klipsch is equipped with a 12-inch driver, and a digital 400W amplifier, The driver is one of the highlights of the design, thanks to it’s copper diaphragm right in the center.
Finally, the back of the cabinet is where the important bits are, including the controls and power cord.
The bottom of the speaker has four thick rubber feet that are able to prevent too much sound absorption from occuring, as well as keeping floor vibrations to a minumum. If you’re in an apartment,m your downstairs neighbor will appreciate that bit.
The Klipsch features a set of RCA audio inputs, the one on the left also including the low-frequency effects input. On the back, the aforementioned controls include several switches and dials that control the power, the volume, gain, and an adjustable low-pass filter.
The gain knob gives you the ability to increase or decrease the volume of the audio that is being sent from the receiver to the speakers.
So that means that a gain of 0 is going to produce an audio level that is the same as the over speakers connected to the receiver. If you want the subwoofer to stand out, you’ll just need to increase the gain.
The low-pass filter dial is used to adjust the cutoff for the bass frequencies that pass through the subwoofer. The R-12SW has a 29Hz to 120Hz, and with the low-pass filter, you’ll be able to adjust the cutoff of the upper range from 120Hz all the way down to 40Hz, or anything between.
The major downfall of this model is that it doesn’t feature any wireless connectivity, which in this day and age is surprising.
In fact, there are very few features on this speaker which makes it feel a little analogue compared to a lot of other options. That said, if simplicity is what you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong with the R-12SW.
That said, if you have your heart set on this model, but also don’t want to miss out on the convenience of wireless connectivity, then you’ll be happy to know that Klipsch actually sell a wireless kit that connects to a WA-2 port on the back panel that will allow you to connect to the speaker wirelessly.
By far the most important aspect of reviewing any kind of audio equipment, is a good knowledge of the sound quality that you can expect from this product. With that in mind, I am happy to report that the sound quality of the Klipsch R-12SW is where this model really stand out.
The majority of other subwoofers in the same pricerange are likely to create a grating rumble when it comes to playing those low frequencies at a high volume, however the R-12SW can play low frequencies without distortion. In fact, even the deepest of bass notes comes out clear, smooth, and accurate.
The copper diaphragm is partially to thank for the crisp clarity that you get with this speaker, as the copper driver creates less coloration and distortion when compared to other, more flexible materials.
It’s true that copper wouldn’t be so good for a speaker that was going to playing higher notes and frequencies, but it’s perfect for a sub-woofer.
Although words like bright and crisp probably aren’t ones that you typically associate with subwoofers and bass frequencies, the sound from the Klipsch is so incredible clear that you may find that you can suddenly notice sounds and notes that you never actually heard before.
Now there is an issue where some people have noted hearing a hum, which can largely be attributed to a ground loop feedback – which occurs when multiple devices are plugged into separate outlets.
This is probably because the audio cables that come as standard with this kit are pretty inexpensively made, so if you do happen to have this issue, you can just purchase higher quality audio cables in a shorter length (the shortest possible, if you can) and that hum should be no more.
Other than the possible hum, the Klipsch offers a fantastic, clear sound that it can maintain, regardless of what volume you set it to. From the lowest rumble, to a mighty roar, this subwoofer can handle just about anything you can throw at it.
So, to put it simply, there are a ton of benefits that you get from this subwoofer, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good for everyone.
- Clean Bass – Even at high volumes, the sound quality is effortlessly clear and detailed, making it a real standout for this price range.
- Stylish – Who doesn’t want something copper plated and sleek like this. Not only will it tie into most decore, it will also be a great conversation starter just because of how elegant it looks.
- No Distortion – The bass does not become distorted or rumbly, now matter how low.
- No Wireless Connectivity – Although Klipsch does have a fix for this, it can still be annoying that you’ll have to purchase and spend more money on something that comes as standard in a lot of other products these days.
- Attached Power Cable -The power cable doesn’t come out which means that it will have to go somewhere close to an outlet. If this doesn’t fit your set up, then you’ll probably have to use an extension cord.
- Cheap Audio Cables – Knwoing that there’s a potential problem with the audio cables that might require you to purchase upgrades yourself could be pretty off putting for some people, and you kind of wish that this subwoofer could just come with the good cables as standard.
The Klipsch R-12SW is a durable piece of kit that has a sophisticated design that is sure to stand out in your home. Thanks to it’s brushed polymer exterior, it’ll fit in with the rest of your decor, no matter your style.
The grille at the front is also removable, which allows you to show off the beautiful copper driver.
The sound quality is far better than you’d find with other models at this price range, and is exceptionally clear, even at high volumes. You’ll get a clean output, regardless of what you’re throwing at it.
Though it’s not going to be suitable for everyone, this is definitely a premium piece of kit you should keep on your radar when looking for a subwoofer.