Monitor Audio RS W12 review

A fine, fun subwoofer that plays both music and movies with terrific energy Tested at £750.00

What Hi-Fi? 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


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    Dramatic levels of extension and drive

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    fast, agile balance

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    great timing and punch

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    beautiful cabinet finish

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    fairly small


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    Not cheap

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    lacks a remote control

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    no speaker-level connections

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

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 menu
Once 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.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

Read more about how we test