My London Drugs Experience with the RSW10d
I'll give a brief explanation here, I have been looking to get a sub for the past couple months to go with my main.
One of the units I've auditioned at a great length so far and have more experience with is the RSW-10d from Klipsch.
I have already made my choice but it didn't hurt to go and have another listen, this time even more prepared
And ready to put the little sibling of the sub ill be getting through its paces.
I called up a local London Drugs in my area, and asked if they had a unit on display ready to audition, and to roughly describe the room and its dimensions, as the one I had spent the most time with was
at a downtown location with a really, really miniature room with 2 glass walls on each side. Not exactly the best place, as everything in the room resonates past a certain spl. Content with the description of the room and setup,
I told the guy I'd be heading down with some DVDs and music to put the little guy through its paces.
I head down and go to the back, I talk with a salesman there who mentions that the unit they have is malfunctioning, and emitting weird noises at low volume when playing back bass content.
Somewhat surprised and disappointed I dont waste any time and ask if there is a proper setup at a nearby location.
He makes a phone call and confirms that there is. So I head down to the new location and walk to the back again, this time to be greeted by a very large intimidating fellow, probably 6' 6 or so, and 300lb or more.
I mention that Im the guy they phoned about from the other store.
I go to walk in the audio room, but before I step or even take my jacket off he starts firing away with questions, like a police detective in the movies or TV.
Similar tone and attitude, it had only been 15 seconds and I already didn't like this guy and had a bad impression.
"What are you looking for exactly?"
"What is your current sub, what is your setup?"
"What is your room like, describe it."
"Why are you auditioning the reference subs?"
I can tell this was going to be a frustrating evening. Had I had the stamina and patience to leave and go to another store I would have walked out right there. I decided though, these clowns wasted enough of my time and that annoying salesman or not,
I wasn't going to let that stop me from testing the limits of this sub. They had the subs setup against the large glass wall along the lengthy side of the rather large room. I could tell right away that this was a less than ideal position. A quick listen to U-571 confirmed, as the bass was anemic and non existent for all the subs.
I asked him if I could relocate the sub to the other wall near, in between the mains a pair of RF62's.He hesitated, gave me a couple of excuses that I did not care for and proceeded to relocate the unit. I put in Master and commander, under attack chapter (4) and began my listening.
I had set the settings on the sub to play (LFE direct, internal-xover off) so that I could hear the entire range of the sub after I stepped back and sat down from calibrated the unit to my liking, this clown walks over to the sub starts changing the settings and "locks" the keypad on the sub. I play along dumb Heh, a simple holding of the two arrows left and right for a few seconds unlocks it and I reset it to my liking later on before doing more tests..
He was really, really eager to know about my room and equipment and wouldnt stop asking questions. Anyway so the chapter starts playing and I could tell the towers were set to large, I ask him politely if he can switch the front channels to small but before I finish he fires "Why do you want them set to small?" at me.
I explain that I want to hear the bass from the sub, not the mains, and that I want to hear its entire spectrum, not the 80 Hz crossover it was set to. He says " You dont need to set these ones to small, the sub is still doing the bass around 80hz" completely disregarding what I had just explained.
After some more bickering and him telling me that I wont hear any difference he sets them to small.
I put in War of the worlds, the pods emerge scene shortly after to listen for any leaks or weird noises coming from the sub playing those extreme LFE frequencies at high output. This time I ask if he can turn off the mains, like he turned the center off.
He walks over to the receiver and presses the A/B speaker select button a few times to no avail and pauses, then says to me "Nope, sorry. I can't do that with this unit"
I say, "Well why not just unplug the banana plugs from the speakers in the back." He hesitates for a moment and tells me that It cant be done since the Wires are carefully connected or some other BS. Ok then...
At this point or around this point a lady(his manager) comes up to the glass door and motions to him to turn down the volume, she gives a frustrated look, and I turn it down before he opens his mouth.
She mentions that merchandise was coming off the wall on the other side of the HT room and storms off.
Throughout the audition I had pulled out my RS meter pad, and ruler to make some measurements and run some tests. He says what Im doing is a waste of time and that he has never used a RS meter to calibrate or test a sub; he only uses it for measurements of mains, to test the FR of a speaker/main. I tell him that the RS meter is grossly inaccurate and pretty much useless for accurately testing upper frequencies.
That it is pretty much only good for calibrating the sub to the mains, and testing subs with the correction numbers. At this point he starts telling me that
I shouldnt bother with measurements and should just listen since they dont mean anything. He asks "What are you looking for in a sub"
I tell him the big five, 1.power/slam/punch, 2.extension/depth, 3.Loud and linear, 4.flat Response/decay/speed, and to have 5.low distortion levels. I tell him that I'm already quite familiar with this product, but I wanted to measure its extension in more depth, more specifically.
Ah yes, the following 5 minutes were the most entertaining and Gee Wiz Bang claims out the *** I have ever heard. The first thing he says to me is "unless you have a room that is 38' feet long, you wont hear a 25hz wave he states." I laugh out loud, I explain to this clown that you don't need a 60 foot room to hear/feel 20 cycles but he is too stubborn to accept.
We get into a heated debate, but he finally shuts up when I tell ask him where he has heard these children's fairy tails. Towards the end he gets bored I'm guessing and leaves me to listen to my music and run a few more tests before I depart from this insanity.
Though this ordeal and experience was definitely something I never want to experience again, I did manage to get the information I wanted when it was all said and done, so it wasn't a total loss!
the measurements of the driver surround which I was curious of are 20mm on the outer ring of the surround, from the base of the baffle to the peak of the rim(the diameter of the surround measured from the outside half of the triangular shaped surround)
And approx 28mm/30mm on the inside half. All in all this looked like a very formidable unit capable of displacing grown up Bass in a tiny enclosure.
I was able to push the unit to its limits with some sine waves played back, until the driver excursion wouldnt go any further, the surround was capable of more quite a lot more from the looks of it..., but this unit had reached its limit, amp wise/power wise or magnet wise perhaps. Maybe the flagship RT series would dare to push this drive unit even further. Not once in all of the tests at well over its max output did the sub distort audibly, bottom out or sound flatulent. It remained composed and took everything I gave to it.
The one complaint I had was that this thing was so powerful it was rattling the grill which was securely fastened to the front of the passive radiator during "Jurassic lunch" stomps leading up to the crunch. I took some measurements from 4 feet, with my meter, and wrote them down: the sub was in about 12inches from the wall, active driver facing into middle of room passive against the wall.
This room was roughly 22 feet by 16feet.
With a reference volume of 107dB at 53 Hz:
(Note this was not max output of the unit, it had more to go)
70 Hz @ 102db
67 Hz @ 103
63 Hz @ 104
56 Hz @ 104
53 Hz @ 107
50 Hz @ 109
45 Hz @ 108
43 Hz @ 108
40 Hz @ 108
37 Hz @ 108
34 Hz @ 107
32 Hz @ 102
30 Hz @ 103
28 Hz @ 104
26 Hz @ 101
24 Hz @ 99
20 Hz @ (not on the scale)
In short, considering the crappy room layout, no EQ or proper calibration/placement, and superb knowledgeable staff made for a vomit inducing experience, at least I was impressed with how the sub sounded given the conditions.
To be fair, all the other London drugs locations I have been to, the staff is all pretty much clueless, but at least they were polite and gave me the space and time I needed, just not this guy. So this post was not intended as a flame for London Drugs, just my experience at this one location with this one clerk!
Ill post a review and pics when I pickup my RT-12d in week or so.