Klipsch Reference R-10SW Review (Recommended)
When it comes to top-of-the-line audio equipment, Klipsch is one of the first names that comes to mind. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, and founded in 1946, the American brand has always been renowned for its high-fidelity sound systems. Even today, owning a Klipsch audio product is considered to be royalty.
One of Klipsch’s most popular products is the Reference R-10SW, a 300W subwoofer from 2014, driven by a beefy motor and an all-digital amplifier. However, it’s smaller and weighs less than subwoofers from other established brands on the market. It’s engineered to deliver a deep, detailed, dynamic response that you have never felt before. Additionally, it offers low-pass crossover and phase controls.
For those who are wondering, Klipsch has subwoofers of various sizes and output powers in its “Reference” lineup. The R-100SW is the latest addition to the ever-growing portfolio, but the older R-10SW model remains the most popular choice despite the availability of a newer unit. It’s partly because of the substantial price difference between the two, which makes the R-10SW kind of a no-brainer for audiophiles on a budget.
If you are in the market for an entry-level subwoofer, chances are you have come across the Klipsch R-10SW, which is why you are here to learn whether it’s worth buying seven years after its release. To find the answer, take a deep dive with us to this Klipsch R-10SW review guide.
Klipsch R-10SW: Who is it really for?
If you are looking to add some hard-hitting bass performance to your home theater surround sound setup, the Klipsch R-10SW is the only subwoofer you will ever need.
This unit packs a 150-watt RMS amplifier and a 10” copper-spun front-firing woofer, which in combination delivers 300 watts of dynamic bass output. With one of these in the center of your surround audio setup, you will not only hear the music you listen to, the movies you watch, and the video games you play but also really feel their impact.
Klipsch advertises the R-10SW as an add-on subwoofer for a true 5.1 surround sound system. It works flawlessly with the company’s other audio products, but you can use the subwoofer with receivers from other brands as long you have access to a sub output.
Although the R-10SW is one of the more budget-oriented subwoofers from Klipsch, the company didn’t cut any corners in terms of raw performance. It delivers nearly the same signature level of crystal-clear fidelity as its higher-end, more premium siblings, if not better than subwoofers from other brands in the same price bracket.
Not to mention, the same philosophy also applies to the design language and build quality of the R-10SW. Its overall aesthetics resemble other audio devices in Klipsch’s ecosystem, forming an aura of uniformity. It’s the same as Apple with its various computing devices.
The Klipsch R-10SW sits in the entry-level segment of subwoofers, and it’s reasonably affordable for the impressive specs offered. Those who are on a fixed budget will certainly find the lower price appealing. The subwoofer maintains an exemplary build quality regardless of its price, and the limited warranty period (5-year for the woofer, 2-year for the amplifier) makes the R-10SW an excellent choice for audiophiles on a budget.
In the end, if you are in dire need of upgrading your existing home theater speaker system for better bass, the Klipsch Reference R-10SW is probably one of the best compact subwoofers to buy. It has almost every feature you would find on a more expensive model, but you can get it without paying the associated premium.
Klipsch Reference R-10SW: What’s in the box?
In the box, you get the subwoofer itself with the pre-installed front mesh grille, an external AC adapter, user manual, warranty card, and important safety instructions. Since it’s a companion product, you get nothing else with the R-10SW.
Klipsch R-10SW Review: The Good Things
Setting up the Klipsch Reference R-10SW is pretty straightforward thanks to the included user manual in the box. It happens to be well documented, with easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions on how to get the subwoofer up and running.
Unlike the majority of subwoofers on the market, the R-10SW is very compact and lightweight. It has the following dimensions of 14 (H) x 12.5 (W) x 15.7 (D) inches and weighs around 11.6 kilos. You can easily move the subwoofer unit around without breaking your back.
The R-10SW’s plain design allows it to blend in with almost every type of environment, whether it’s a typical living room, home cinema setup, or a professional-grade studio. The all-black cabinet with brushed polymer veneer means business, looking elegant and stealthy at the same time. The detachable mesh grille with the subtle Klipsch branding on the front adds extra flair to the unit’s rich, refined look. It also helps with acoustics. There’s also an LED indicator on the front that lets you know when the subwoofer is on or off.
Behind the removable grille is the main component of the Klipsch R-10SW, a copper-spun, injection-molded graphite subwoofer cone that’s ten inches in diameter. It’s firmly attached to the enclosure with heavy-duty screws, giving the rear-firing driver its extreme rigidity.
The humongous woofer offers a remarkably natural low-frequency response, with deep and undistorted bass reproduction. Since it’s a front-firing subwoofer, you can place the unit anywhere in the room and still feel the seismic-level punches when listening to EDM tracks or watching action movies.
Additionally, the Reference R-10SW incorporates an all-digital amplifier, which provides sufficient power for high efficiency and excellent bass reproduction. It can produce up to 300 watts of dynamic power, which is more than enough to shake a large-sized room and wake your neighbors up.
In our testing, we carefully listened for clipping, rattling, and distortions in bass-heavy music tracks but couldn’t identify any. Playing with the phase switch, volume, and low-pass dials on the rear panel for a while also gave us the chance to fine-tune the frequency response further.
In case you are wondering, the frequency response of the Klipsch R-10SW varies between 32 to 120 Hz, with the crossover level ranging from 40 to 120 Hz. Since the unit uses an IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) woofer, we found the lower setting to deliver the best experience.
The fact that there are line-level (RCA-type) and LFE (Low-Frequency Effects) inputs on the R-10SW also means flawless compatibility with old and new receivers and home theater systems.
Klipsch R 10SW Review: The not-so-good Things
In terms of performance, we consider the response range of the Klipsch R-10SW to be decent at best, but not groundbreaking. The maximum 120 Hz frequency response is a bit on the lower side, but it generally does the job. Considering how good the subwoofer already sounds, a 200 Hz ceiling would have offered an even better coverage of the lows.
One of the bigger disadvantages of this subwoofer is the absence of mounting points for a ceiling mount. If you don’t have enough floor space, you may have to avoid this particular model.
Pros & Cons of the Klipsch Reference R-10SW
Here are a few pros and cons of the Klipsch Reference R-10SW subwoofer:
|Crystal-clear, accurate bass||The brushed fiberboard of the cabinet can be scratched easily|
|Performs impressively with music and films||Particularly low response ceiling|
|It uses a 150W RMS amp (300W peak output)||Lacks ceiling mount options|
|Offers low-pass crossover, level, and 0˚/180˚ phase control|
|Bang for the buck|
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Klipsch R 10SW Review: Verdict
The R-10SW from Klipsch is a fantastic companion subwoofer for any home theater, surround sound setup. It incorporates exceptional built quality, provides up to 300 watts of output, and is compatible with most receivers out there.
Despite its age, we give the Klipsche Reference R-10SW a very strong recommendation to anyone looking for a budget-friendly subwoofer that sounds nearly as good as a higher-end unit. Whether you are an audiophile or a cinephile, the R-10SW with its 10” IMG front-firing woofer and all-digital RMS amplifier won’t disappoint you.
However, the relatively low response range, absence of rigging points for a ceiling mount, and lack of color options might not meet your requirements, sending you back to look for something else. That said, you can’t go wrong with its affordable price tag.
If you find our Klipsch R-10SW review useful and comprehensive, be sure to leave your genuine feedback in the comments. We will be here to answer your queries regarding the subwoofer too.