Klipsch R-10SW Review

Klipsch R-10SW

Klipsch Reference R-10SW Full Review

Formed in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas, Klipsch has established itself as one of the top manufacturers in the audio equipment industry. They are especially considered as big players in the speaker and subwoofer market. Today, ‘a Klipsch’ is considered to be amongst the very best premium quality kits.

Klipsch Reference R-10SW is a high-output subwoofer utilizing a powerful motor and strong amplifier, in spite of it being compact and lightweight in comparison to most other subwoofers in the market. It’s built to provide deeper and more detailed bass, with its main function the phase switch and crossover control options, yet is also useful on higher frequencies.

The R-10SW is one of several subwoofers of varying size and power in Klipsch’s Reference range. And although it’s now been succeeded by the newer generation R-100SW, it remains one of the most popular subwoofers on the market. That’s because, despite it being a budget-priced and entry-level product for and by the company, it’s widely considered pretty hard to go wrong with any Klipsch loudspeaker. Also, older generation speakers are still pretty desirable, exactly because they go for cheaper but are usually not too different from their newer counterparts.

Launched in August 2014, does Klipsch Reference R-10SW deserve to still hold its reputation in place in the market? If you’re looking to buy, is it still worthy, after six years, of your consideration as the right subwoofer for you?

We got our bass heads on, to use and test it so that we can hopefully give you a trusted answer.

Who’s It For?

Are you a ‘basshead’ who ALWAYS wants and needs more bass? The hard-hitting Klipsch R-10SW might just have what you need.

This high-output-powered sub hosts a potent 150-watt amplifier and a strong-yet-lightweight 10″ woofer designed to lay the sound foundations of a comprehensive bass. With this bad boy as part of your system, you’ll truly feel as well as hear your music, movies, and video games.

Reference R-10SW is made to be a companion subwoofer to compliment all products from the Klipsch Audio Ecosystem. Its main function is to add bass to a 5.1 system, and coming with its power supply, is also compatible with any other brand’s receiver that has a sub output.

Klipsch is a name that attracts quite fierce loyalty. This is partly down to the company’s philosophy that every product built should feature the same signature technology, to produce crystal-clear sound. Even though their Reference R-10SW is by no means a flagship model, you can be reassured that you will still receive and enjoy the same high level of audio quality as you would with Klipsch’s higher-end models.

But that’s not to say that acoustics is the only consideration for both the Klipsch company and its uses. Much like say, Apple, the design is and has always been a primary focus for the brand, and amongst the attractions for their devotees. There is a clear homogeneity to the aesthetics of the brand’s products; one that gives users a sense of attachment and pride to the Klipsch brand. Reference R-10SW’s looks are no exception.

Plus, the price tag is pretty cheap for the specs provided, and a big selling point for this subwoofer, in fact for companion products in general. As they’re not essential, but instead complementary pieces, a reasonable price is almost always a requirement. This also helps establish even greater brand loyalty.

Klipsch R-10SW falls into the more reasonable end of the price spectrum for world-renowned audio. With it, Klipsch keeps its promise of providing amazing components at affordable prices. You can also be assured of the durability of Klipsch products, and the R-10SW is no exception. This subwoofer has an impeccable build which, along with the added assurance of the included international warranty, makes it a good long-term investment.

While Klipsch is often considered to be for the pros and fanatics, Reference R-10SW works for beginner audiophiles too. For someone who needs an entry into the 5.1 system. It has all the facilities and features that an excellent professional companion subwoofer should have to satisfy pretty much any audiophile.

What We Like About the Klipsch R-10SW

There’s nothing complex in assembling and setting up the Reference R-10SW. It comes with a user manual that is simple to understand, well detailed, and has a step-by-step guide on how to use the item.

During the setup process, we were made aware of the possibilities of placing the subwoofer on different types of surfaces thanks to its easy-to-use and convenient design. Mounting the subwoofer is also easy and it can be firmly fixed without any shaking.

Small, compact, and lightweight compared to the majority of the subwoofers available on the market, Klipsch Reference R-10SW stands at a height of 14 inches, with a depth of 15.7 inches, and a width of 12.5 inches. This and its weight at a mere 25 pounds, making it easy to move and with it, versatile. portable. Also, the smallish dimensions of the housing help in the bendability of the subwoofer, and so does its sound. A front-mounted LED power indicator makes it easy to tell when the sub is powered up and ready to rock.

Ask most audiophiles what, from a purely aesthetic point of view, comes to mind when they think of Klipsch, and more often than not the answer will be “black and copper”. For this is the signature look that personifies the brand. And their Reference R-10SW follow suit. It has the same simple yet stylish design and looks like any other Klipsch speaker. The cabinets are made from the usual brushed black polymer vinyl and come, as always, fitted with the easily detachable black mesh grille. The front face is designed in a way that makes it look like it’s floating.

Some complain that the universal design of all Klipsch products makes them lack versatility in form. Not us for sure! Of course, it’s down to personal preference, but what is undeniable is that in effect you get two looks for the price one, and so the ability to blend comfortably with almost any setup, studio, or room.

Remove the grille and, in our eyes, with it the modern aesthetic, and you have a classically retro-looking component. A Klipsch logo still remains towards the top, but the black is now set off by the premium spun copper of the stunning Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) subwoofer cone.

Covering most of the front at 10 inches in diameter, and firmly secured by eight black screws, this cone gives Reference R-10SW not only the Klipsch signature look but that of its sound too. With its Front-Firing Driver, it’s the main feature component of the outstanding deep and natural low-frequency response, with minimal cone breakup, giving the bass response a HUGE kick.

It truly provides a seismic level bass that is also good with low-frequency volumes for any compatible speaker type. While it can be mounted, it’s perfect for floor-standing 5.1 speaker systems. And despite its small size, the solid punchy bass makes it a great choice for larger-sized rooms.

Reference R-10SW has substantial definition due to its built-in all-digital amplifier which is capable of delivering 300 watts of dynamic power way above the requirements for even large-sized rooms. This with high efficiency and true-to-source accuracy in reproduction. We didn’t hear any sound or clipping distortion during our testing, whether we were listening to music or watching movies. Likewise, any annoying air coming from it, as you do with some subwoofers.

Klipsch Reference R-10SW’s settings offer excellent flexibility and performance. Its back-panel volume, Low Pass Crossover, and Phase Control allow you to blend the subwoofer’s low-frequency tones with other Klipsch speakers as well as fine-tune and establish your ideal bass level.

The frequency response can vary from 32 to 120 Hz with a crossover level of 40 to 160 Hz. We found the low-frequency response to be the better option due to the subwoofer’s solid injection modeling feature. Line-level and Low-Frequency Effects inputs let you easily connect the R-10SW to almost any stereo receiver or home theater system.

What We Don’t Like About the Klipsch R-10SW

While some complain about the lack of colors and types of modifications available (we disagree), what isn’t in doubt is that it’s not possible to mount Reference R-10SW on the ceiling as it lacks rigging points.

When it comes to sound, we found the response range to be ok, but not outstanding. Klipsch Reference R-10SW’s has a particularly low ceiling of 120 Hz, usually fine for the crossover to cover the floor of most main speakers.

But with sound this good, it’s a shame that it didn’t go that bit higher, to better cover the lows which our main speakers at least struggled to reproduce. After all, one of the main points of a subwoofer is to allow the main speakers to focus on the mids and highs. Ideally, a 200 Hz response ceiling would help ensure that.


  • Clean and tight bass!
  • Got to keep the volume turned down to about 10%. It is that loud!
  • If you want something to make your music and movies sound great – this is your sub
  • The sub can thump…when watching movies, you can hear it and feel it
  • Great bang for the buck!


  • Rattling sound at even mild levels of bass
  • Design flaw with how they expel air out the back
  • Laminated and so easy to peel at every edge

What’s Included?

Klipsch Reference R-10SW comes with the subwoofer unit itself, fitted with the removable grille, an AC adapter, cables, an instruction manual, and an international warranty card.

Klipsch R-10W Features

Klipsch Reference R-10SW has a cabinet of 14”x15.7”x12.5” housing a powerful 10″ copper-spun IMG front-firing woofer providing deep DEEP bass. Its black mesh grille cover can be easily removed.

Inside, an all-digital amplifier delivers 300 watts of dynamic power that is equally as impressive with music and movies.

Low Pass Crossover and Phase Control can be adjusted on the unit’s rear, for a crossover level of 40-160 Hz and a frequency response of 32-120 Hz. Klipsch Reference R-10SW has Line/LFE inputs for compatibility with most receivers.

Review Summary

Manufactured by one of the most famous companies in the industry as a companion to their 5.1 speaker systems, you might think that Klipsch Reference R10SW is only for a specific user base. But in reality, it is much more than that. This subwoofer is a great low-cost product that is compact yet still powerful enough to satisfy audiophiles, as well as those who just want to give their movies a boost.

The R-10SW is a top subwoofer with an elegant look that can fit in any interior. It comes with a built-in all-digital 300w amplifier. Although the features are not that high, this subwoofer still provides accurate and deep bass. It also performs well in high frequencies; rare in most other subwoofers available in the market.

Compatible with most receivers of other brands, it’s great for those who need an entry into a 5.1 system. Yet it has all the features and facilities an excellent professional companion subwoofer should have.

It is hard to ever go wrong with Klipsch, and this is an excellent subwoofer at a decent price. That said, the next biggest 12-inch Reference subwoofer (R-12SW) has a bigger driver, more power and response range, and is not that much more expensive. As long as that remains the case, if you have that little extra budget and space, you’ll want to opt for the bigger version.

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