Klipsch is a company that produces some exceptional audio equipment. From standard headphones, through to complex and cinematic surround sound setups, it’s a company that delivers the goods with a quality you can trust.
Its most recent release in the Reference line of audio equipment is the R-10B Soundbar and Subwoofer set. An impressive, lightweight design that curves gently in a pleasing, although simple, aesthetic for the living room. The looks of the soundbar are important, to a degree, as it capable of being wall mounted, ideally placed under a wall mounted TV So a certain level of minimalism is required, without affecting its connectivity or audio quality.
The soundbar is finished in a satin black, with a perforated grill fitted over the two 19mm textile dome tweeters and two 76mm polypropylene midrange drivers. Along the front are various media controls for mute, volume up and down, and input source, with a power LED one side of the strip of buttons and another the other end indicating which of the soundbar’s features are engaged or not.
The rear of the soundbar houses the connectivity in a cut out section, for easier access should the bar be wall mounted. Here you’ll find the main power switch, power port, digital optical and RCA.
The next component in the package is the subwoofer. This is a wireless, satisfyingly heavy and sturdy box that will auto-connect to the soundbar when both are powered on and will work up to 50 feet away. The good-quality MDF sub is finished in a brushed black vinyl, with a side-mounted perforated grill protecting a single 203mm side-firing fiber composite cone.
With the two connected, the combined power hits you with 250 watts, which is no small thing for the average sized living room. Our test setup to the TV via the included digital optical cable and running a Blu-ray copy of Gravily was immense. The power delivered by the sub alone could be felt in our rib cage without setting our teeth on edge. The soundbar was equally good, although the midrange didn’t quite deliver as much impact, but the higher frequencies more than made up for any lack of midrange depth.
The R-10B also has a trick up its sleeve in the form of Bluetooth connectivity which obviously allowed us to connect our phones and other devices and listen to the music collection stored on a NAS drive.
This setup is indeed an audio delight, although there are a couple of negatives to take into consideration. For one, there’s no HDMI connectivity on the soundbar. Although this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for most users, the cinematic audiophile will no doubt criticize the lack of DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby Digital trueHD.
The other issue we have is with the rather poor remote. Although it’s certainly functional enough for the features of the R-10B, it feels extremely cheap when compared to the rest of the package. Also, it’s the primary source for powering the soundbar on and off, due to a lack of a physical power button on the bar itself, Which to us feels like a poor decision on Klipsch’s part.
Having said that, once you’ve connected everything up and are immersed in the powerhouse audio that this thing delivers, you’ll soon forget all about dodgy remotes and lack of HDMI inputs.
Klipsch has outdone itself with the Reference R-10B Soundbar and Subwoofer. For $599 you may want more features, but it’s the sound quality that’s important, and the R-10B has that in abundance.