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The Rockville RW10CA 10″ Review — How Does It Perform?

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the Rockville RW10CA 10” – a powerful and compact subwoofer from a leading brand. Let’s take a look.

Whether you’re driving an old beater car or letting the latest Tesla drive itself, there’s one thing you’re missing: a powerful sound system.

While most modern vehicles are packed with smart features, OEM (original equipment manufacturer) speakers can’t cut the mustard for anyone with a passing interest in sound quality.

And that’s not because car manufacturers aren’t trying – even the best factory speakers literally can’t produce the lowest frequencies in our music. That’s right: I’m talking about that bass.

To take your in-car audio to the next level, you need a subwoofer to produce the lowest frequencies in your music. From the punchy bass of hip hop to the most intense drum ‘n’ bass, bass brings our music to life.

And while the biggest and baddest subwoofers might fill your trunk, a slimline 10-inch subwoofer like the Rockville RW10CA 10″ can easily fit under the seat, producing unparalleled sound without taking up precious space.

This is one of the top rated subwoofers on the market. Let’s take a closer look.

What’s In The Box With The Rockville RW10CA 10″

One of the best things about this 10-inch subwoofer is its simplicity. You’re not overwhelmed when you open the box. Inside the box is the subwoofer itself, with its in-built amp and enclosure. That all comes in one unit.

There’s also the mounting hardware and the remote bass knob that lets you adjust the subwoofer from the front. And that’s it!

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First Impressions

I’ve seen a lot of 10-inch subwoofers and I was immediately struck by the size of the RW10CA 10-inch. The depth is just 2.7”, super slim and you feel comfortable it’ll fit anywhere in your vehicle. It’s designed for installation in the dead space under a seat – super convenient in smaller vehicles.

It’s clear a lot of thought has gone into the design: the high level input means you only need one wire in, and the inputs and outputs are side by side, for easy access.

However, the materials do seem a little delicate. The mounting hardware is ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) – the same stuff your kid’s Lego bricks are made from and the frame is plastic too. It’s fortunate that the subwoofer will be installed out of harm’s way as it’s not the most robust.

Vehicle Compatibility and Installation

Impressively, the RW10CA 10″ has been designed for compatibility with every vehicle out there. From the smallest hatchback to the biggest truck, it’s one of the great options for a bass boost.

While Rockville haven’t included the power wires, they have made ease-of-installation a primary feature. The high level input and smart circuit eliminate the need for messy wiring and the subwoofer can be wired directly to your speakers – and then you’re good to go.

Even a car audio beginner should have no trouble installing this subwoofer without the help of a pro – that makes it an affordable option for the beginning of your sound system journey.

Owner’s Manual

All Rockville products come with an easy-to-read owner’s manual – also available in video format for those who prefer to watch tutorials. The manual offers a thorough guide to the installation and controls of the RW10CA 10” subwoofer, and it’s an invaluable resource when you’re getting to know your sub.

You can find the product manual here, for a look inside this compact subwoofer.

A Closer Look: Key Features Of The Rockville RW10CA 10″

So we’ve got a straightforward, slimline 10-inch subwoofer on our hands. But the simplicity of this Rockville subwoofer hides a lot of impressive features so let’s take a closer look.

Power

The subwoofer features a hefty 800 watts of peak power and 200 watts of RMS (root mean squared) power for continuous use – more than enough to provide loud bass to complement your vehicle’s sound system.

Compared to subwoofers in the 8-inch class it offers considerably more power, while still being compact and versatile. And the sub is CEA-2006 compliant, meaning the power ratings have been third-party tested: while other brands may claim higher power ratings, the real performance of this subwoofer has been put to the test.

In-Built Amp

This is a powered subwoofer (also known as an active subwoofer) meaning there’s an in-built amplifier to power it. Powered subs are easier to install and offer deep, punchy bass on a budget.

The amp is built on a PWM MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) design. MOSFET amps have a high impedance which lets them efficiently power a subwoofer.

Enclosure

The subwoofer has been designed with a sealed enclosure to save space and provides excellent sound quality with tight, accurate bass. While sealed enclosures are somewhat quieter than ported enclosures, they’re a popular option in car audio systems where space is an issue.

The enclosure itself is built from plastic rather than carpeted MDF – in the long run, this might be less durable but thanks to the compact design you’ll install this sub under a seat where it’s less likely to suffer from wear and tear.

Style and Design

Although the sub is most likely to be installed out of view, Rockville have nonetheless designed a stylish subwoofer with an appealing blue trim. While the color might not be to everyone’s tastes, it’s a sleek and classy look.

The inputs and outputs are adjacent to each other on one side of the enclosure, making access straightforward when it comes to wiring. These small considerations are the sign of a well-built subwoofer, and indicate quality on every level of the build.

Inputs

The high level inputs feature auto turn-on technology, sensing when the unit is required and saving you from manually turning the subwoofer on and off when you play your music. There’s also the option of a low level RCA input to hook the sub up to a speaker, giving you versatility in installation.

Customizable Sound Controls

The subwoofer comes with a range of customizable sound controls, enabling you to fine tune your bass experience. The wired remote bass knob can be positioned in the cab, so you can adjust the sound on the go.

To customize your sound you can adjust the volume of the bass, independently from the volume of the speakers. The Phase Switch can be set at 0° or 180° to ensure the sub’s bass is perfectly in time with the speaker’s output, and Bass Boost can be set from 0 to 18dB (decibels) @ 45Hz. The Low Pass Filter can be set from 50Hz – 150Hz and additionally, a subsonic filter eliminates the lowest frequencies inaudible to the human ear to ensure the speaker isn’t working harder than it needs to.

Protection Features

The RW10CA 10” has a few convenient protection features that give you peace of mind and ensure a long life working to produce heavy bass in your vehicle. The Thermal Protection Circuit ensures the sub doesn’t overheat when it’s under a heavy load, while the Short Protection Circuit and the Overload Protection Circuit protect it from any level of current.

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Full Specs

For all the numbers at a glance, here are the full specs of the Rockville RW10CA 10”.

  • Power: 800 Watts Peak / 200 Watts RMS
  • Impedance: 2 Ohm
  • Dimensions: 12.4” x 13.4” x 2.7” (L x W X H)
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 150Hz
  • Sensitivity: 90dB
  • PWM MOSFET Power Supply
  • Low Level RCA Input
  • High Level Inputs with Auto Turn-On Technology
  • Adjustable Input Sensitivity
  • Soft Delayed Remote Turn-On
  • Thermal Protection Circuit, Short Protection Circuit
  • Overload Protection Circuit
  • Phase Switch: 0° or 180°
  • Low Pass Filter: 50Hz – 150Hz
  • Bass Boost: 0 – 18dB @ 45Hz
  • Subwoofer Level Remote Control
  • Built in Subsonic Filter @ 29Hz

What Could Rockville Have Done Better?

The RW10CA 10” subwoofer is undoubtedly one of the best car subwoofers – but of course, nobody’s perfect. There are a few things we think Rockville could have done better.

Single-Color Design

Call me superficial, but I like to have some design options for my aftermarket audio setup. Rockville’s RW10CA 10” subwoofer comes with a cool blue trim – but if that clashes with your little red corvette, you’re out of luck.

No Power Wires

Given that Rockville have gone out of their way to make this slimline subwoofer easy to install, it’s a shame they’ve left it down to the consumer to find the appropriate power wires. A bespoke wiring harness would have been a good inclusion.

Plasticky Feel

While the subwoofer itself is a well-built and powerful unit, it has been encased in cheap-feeling plastic. It won’t affect the quality of the bass it produces, but it leaves me worried about long-term durability. But still, for the price it’s a great option and you might be tempted to upgrade in the future before durability becomes an issue.

The Highs And Lows: The RW10CA 10” At A Glance

This is a powerful and affordable subwoofer that’s great for beginner sound systems – but there are a few issues. Here are the highs and lows of this 10-inch subwoofer.

What We Liked

  • Easy installation – limited wiring
  • Super space saving design
  • 200 watts RMS power
  • Works effectively with OEM head unit and factory speakers
  • Protection from overheating and power surges
  • One-year warranty
  • Great value for money

What Could Be Improved

  • The design might put some people off
  • Doesn’t include a wiring kit
  • Plastic exterior isn’t robust
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Final Thoughts…

Rockville’s RW10CA 10” is an impressive all-rounder: with 200 watts of RMS power, it’s big enough to pack a punch and can handle a higher volume without your bass disappearing into distortion. But it doesn’t eat up your trunk space like a larger subwoofer and this slimline little number does disappear under your seat.

The powered design, with an in-built amp, is also great for simplifying installation. This subwoofer can complement your factory speakers, or it can be part of a bigger sound system if you’re so inclined.

And with the layers of protection and customizable sound, we think it offers real value for money.

What does it all mean? If you’re starting out on an audio upgrade odyssey, the Rockville RW10CA 10” subwoofer is the perfect place to start.

Robert Muñoz

I’m Robert, a US-based auto electrician, auto mechanic, trained engineer and fanatic about all things motor vehicle. After studying engineering in college I returned to my original passion - car mechanics - and I ran a garage for a number of years serving my local community. Through my garage, I got involved in numerous road safety campaigns in my local area until eventually, I decided to share what I've learned with the world. Know more about me... You can follow me on LinkedIn.

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