Our Verdict 
Brilliant: a fine, fun subwoofer that plays both music and movies with terrific energy and authority. Very solid buy if you specify better speakers
Dramatic levels of extension and drive
fast, agile balance
great timing and punch
beautiful cabinet finish
fairly small
Not cheap
lacks a remote control
no speaker-level connections
Reviewed on

Beautifully finished in real-wood veneer, it's one of the most compact subs out there, but don't let those diminutive dimensions fool you. The Monitor Audio might be small, but it hits hard, courtesy of its stiff, heavy, sealed-box cabinet, long-throw magnesium/aluminium drive unit and spectacular power: 500 watts is claimed, and it certainly sounds like it.

Set-up is fairly simple. There are no speaker-level connections – which makes connecting into a hi-fi amp more tricky (although not impossible) – and no remote, but otherwise, there's little to get heated about.

Sofa-shaking action definitely on the menuOnce wired and warmed, the Monitor Audio swiftly settles into its groove. It's a fast and articulate listen: The Chemical Brothers' Block Rockin' Beats pounds out with accuracy and savage intent, the rhythm accurately timed even at neighbour-unfriendly volumes.

Much like a powerful car running at motorway speeds, the RS W12 sounds effortless: turn up the wick, and it simply gets louder, in a linear, progressive way. With King Kong, especially during the T-Rex sequence, the results border on the awesome for the money.

In short, we've no hesitation in giving this Monitor Audio a big fat thumbs up.