Klipsch is an American brand operating since 1946 and probably best known in audiophile circles for their Klipschorn, La Scala and Heresy loudspeakers. However, they also make more conventional loudspeakers and here Adam Billingham puts a pair of their £625 RP-600M stand-mounters through their paces.

I think most audiophiles would agree that choosing equipment is as personal as our musical tastes and what we listen to on our beloved electronics. There are many things to take into account when splashing our hard earned dosh on a new bit of kit; sound, obviously should be at the top of our list but we all have different ears and brains. Yes, we are all individuals – “I’m not.”

As well as sound there is features, ease of use, style and a perceived sense of value. Arguably nothing affects the sound coming to our ears more than our choice of speakers, the physical creation of sound waves to send to our ears and the engineering used to create these waves is a vital part in choosing a system that will put us in touch with the artists we love to listen to, that and maybe a decent glass of your favourite tipple and a comfy chair.

I have always been a fan of stand-mount speakers as the kind of budget I have to spend on speakers, for my ears, bookshelf speakers generally give me greater detail and imaging than similarly priced floor-standing counterparts, especially as I do not have the luxury of a massive listening room. The RP-600M stand mount speakers are one of the latest offerings from well regarded US company Klipsch and distributed in the UK by Henley Audio.

BUILD AND FEATURES

The first thing to strike you when taking these speakers out of the box is the quality of the build. They are beauties, I’m usually a fan of black speakers but my review pair came in walnut. However, with their spun copper cerametallic woofer, which looks sexy as hell, matching copper detail around the composite coated Tractrix horn and black frontage I would happily live with these stunners in my living room. The black magnetic grilles are a lovely touch too. These speakers could happily sit next to speakers twice their price and hold their own visually.

Klipsch uses the Tractrix horn on a lot of their speakers and it provides more efficient way of using power. At a claimed 96dB sensitivity these speakers should be a lot easier to drive than many of their rivals so a big beefy amplifier shouldn’t be necessary to get them to sing.

The rear of the speaker has quite a large rectangular port and keeping them away from back walls is advisable. Also, a pair of bi-wire speaker connectors are featured for those who want to bi-wire or bi-amp.

SOUND QUALITY

As with many speakers, the first thing to note is you have to spend a little time on placement to get the ideal sound. Initially, I put them in the same position as my KEF LS50s which are quite toed in to my listening position. This had the effect of making the Klipsch’ a little too bright for my ears. However, once I had a fiddle about with positioning (which is a thing lots of us audiophiles love to do anyway) the perceived brightness of the treble disappeared and the imaging greatly improved. For my room, I had them about a foot from the rear wall and toed in around 5 degrees towards my listening position.

The first album I listened to was Gregory Porters fabulous Liquid Spirit. His silicone smooth voice was presented beautifully centre stage while instruments had fabulous definition, the piano tinkled along beautifully, while the horns struck with excitement and presence. The double bass hit fabulously and while not being as low as maybe a similar priced floor-stander, every note was heard with clarity and not just the notes but the attack on the strings as well and with no muddiness. The initial brightness I had heard when first setting up the speakers had totally disappeared and snares and hi-hats were smooth.

Next up I thought I’d check how these slick Americans would deal with some LA hip-hop. Dr. Dre – 2001 is a masterpiece of hip-hop production, all sub bass, tough 808 snares, funky guitars, Moog leads and Funkadelic samples. The 600’s handled everything with aplomb. Bass still had enough movement at moderate levels that I could feel it in my chair, kicks had thump and snares snapped with presence. As with Gregory, one thing these speakers really excel in is imaging of vocals. It felt like Dre and Snoop were really right there in the room with me, I think they might have had something to say about me only puffing on my vape.

So Jazz and hip-hop definitely work with these speakers but how about thumping rock? Royal Blood is an earth-shattering 2 piece from my home town of Brighton. Despite only being 2 members of the band they create a significant punk rock wall of sound. The Klipschs thumped along nicely, not getting fussed or flapped by the heavily distorted guitars or compressed drums. This kind of music should only be listened to at one volume in my opinion, loud. The 600s rocked along at party volumes while still retaining the excellent imaging and dynamics I had heard on the other music.

Damien Rices’ ‘O’ is one of my favourite melancholic acoustic guitar albums and I felt would suit the talents of the Klipschs perfectly. I wasn’t wrong. Goosebumps were felt as the Klipschs showed the mastery at vocal tone and saturation while mid-range guitar had delicious clarity and presence.

I listened to lots of music in the few weeks I had the speakers and the biggest compliment I can give them is how I just wanted to keep listening. Pulling out album upon album and listening at various volumes the Klipschs just constantly made you feel the emotion of the music and made you want to come back for more.

CONCLUSION

There is a great deal to love about the 600s. Build quality is excellent, they are easy to drive, they sound fabulous and are especially good with imaging and presence. They are perhaps a little brighter than my LS50s but in no way fatiguing. Bass, while not delving down really low is tight and precise. I can definitely see these being a very popular choice for the sub £1000 mark and should sell very well. I think Paul W Klipsch would have been very happy with these speakers and the no-nonsense no ‘bullsh*t’ sound they produce for the money.

AT A GLANCE

Build Quality: As good as anything I’ve seen in the sub £1000 mark and better than a lot of speakers twice their price.

Sound quality: Nice open sound with all sorts of music at all sorts of volumes. Can rock hard and convey subtle details with equal measure.

Value For Money: With their great build and sound these offer excellent value for money.

Pros: Great sound, handsome looks, easy to drive and excellent value.

Cons: Can be a bit bright if not positioned properly, a sub would help pull out lower frequencies.

Price: £625

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Billingham

Review Equipment: Primare CD32, Michell Gyrodec, Audiomods arm, Ortofon Black cartridge.

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