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Klipsch SW-115 Subwoofer Preview

Klipsch SW-115 Subwoofer

Klipsch SW-115 Subwoofer


  • Product Name: SW-115
  • Manufacturer: Klipsch
  • Review Date: October 31, 2006 08:25
  • MSRP: $849.99
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • AMPLIFIER POWER: 400 watts continuous @ <2% THD / Dynamic Power*: 800 watts
  • AMPLIFIER TYPE: BASH® Digital Hybrid
  • BUILT FROM: 2011
  • DIMENSIONS: 19.75" (50.2cm) H x 24" (61cm) W x 24" (61cm) D
  • DRIVE COMPONENTS: 15" (38.1cm) Active non-resonant Woven Fiberglass driver
  • ENCLOSURE TYPE: Bass-reflex via front-firing slot port
  • FINISH: Black pica
  • INPUTS: L/R Line-level RCA jacks, L/R High-level speaker binding posts, WA port
  • MAX ACOUSTIC OUTPUT: 121dB @ 30Hz 1/8 space, 1m
  • OUTPUTS: None
  • VOLTAGE: 100-120V / 220-240V~50/60Hz 4A (Auto-voltage switching) with 1 Watt standby
  • WEIGHT: 69lbs (31.3kg)

If you are a fan of subwoofers, like we are, you know there has been a deep divide in the subwoofer culture. It comes between those that buy from a store and those that buy from the Internet. When you first start shopping for subs, you are generally looking for one from a known speaker manufacturer. And then you hit the Internet and find out that there are all these Internet Direct brands out there that the forums rave about. They don't look so special but, you are assured, they play low and loud. 

The problem has always been that you really don't know what you are getting until it shows up. And you are almost always shocked by the size. Large boxes make low-hitting subs but they do take some getting used to. That's why the manufacturers that have to place their subs in stores tend to focus on smaller boxes. Smaller subs sell when you can see them. When you are just looking at specs on a webpage, it tends to not be of such importance.

Klipsch has decided that they are going to take some of these Internet Direct subwoofer companies on with their new SW-1XX line. This is a performance and price based line that isn't as worried about glossy finishes and small boxes as it is about hitting low notes, and hitting them hard. The SW-115 is the top of the line sporting a 15" driver and a frequency response that tapers off at a bone crushing 18Hz. The cone is crafted out of non-resonant woven fiberglass and is categorized as an extra-long-throw. The BASH amp provides 400 watts of power with most of the usual controls.


The SW-115 allows line level (RCA), high level (speaker cable), and LFE inputs. There is a gain and crossover knob and a 0/180 phase switch. We would have preferred an adjustable phase but it isn't uncommon to have a switch. Also included is an auto sensing or always on setting and a WA port. The WA port is for integrating Klipsch's $130 WA-2 Wireless Subwoofer Kit for making a wireless connection to your receiver.

The Klipsch SW-115 features a "black pica" finish which looks to us from the pictures to be a textured vinyl wrap. The forward facing slot port makes positioning easier and also helps brace the cabinet. The cabinet is Internet Direct large at 19.75" tall and both 24" wide and deep. While there are bigger (much) subs out there, this cabinet is really not bad considering the size of the driver and the output. At nearly 70 pounds, you'll probably want to have a friend help you move it. 

Klipsch rates the -3dB point at 18 Hz which is low enough to satisfy all but the most crazed bassheads. Klipsch also provides a maximum output of 121dB. They measure this at 30Hz in what is called "1/8 space" which you and I know as "corner loaded" and at one meter. For our Audioholics Room Size Rating protocol tests, we use the same corner loading technique but run the sub full bandwidth (25Hz to 80Hz) and at 4 meters (so, all things being equal, we'd expect -12dB from Klipsch's measurement).  That being said, it's quite possible the new Klipsch SW-115 will earn our "Large Room" Bassaholic rating but we will have to do a formal review and put it under our powered subwoofer measurement protocol to make that determination.

Yes, I'm suggesting we want to get one on our test bench. I did a quick search and there is very little out there, Internet Direct or no, that can complete with the Klipsch SW-115 on pure specs and price point. Klipsch may very well have come up with in ID sub killer. The question is: will it sell on a showroom floor? The answer: they sell them online too.  We were absolutely thrilled with the performance/size of their SW-311 subwoofer and have high expectations for this behemoth. 


If Klipsch's thought was to design and sell a sub that could take on the Internet Direct brands head to head, they've succeeded. While a 2 foot by 2 foot by 20" tall sub wrapped in vinyl might be a tough sell for the ladies, bassheads are going to flip for it. At $850 MSRP (and certainly destined to go on sale at some point), it is a lot of sub for a little money. Bragging a 15" driver, front firing slot port, a 400 watt amp, and a -3dB point at 18Hz, the new Klipsch SW-115 is ready to play. And it plays for keeps. The only real problem is that it doesn't start shipping until January so you can't get one by Christmas. Well, it would probably shatter all the ornaments anyhow.

For more information, please visit www.klipsch.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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