The R-10B is part of Klipsch’s recently revealed Reference line of speakers, the concept being to provide first class audio performance at an affordable price. With a few notable exceptions, this is a wise philosophy that most prosperous companies follow with varying degrees of success. But, Klipsch is one of the companies that actually manage to consistently achieve this ambition.
Klipsch has a full arsenal of patented design features that they are employing across the Reference range. And the R-10B is one of the beneficiaries of their inventiveness.
As people are willing to spend more on their home theater systems, the market for a compact yet comprehensive speaker set up has expanded too. The Klipsch R-10B is their entry level speaker in the home theater department. It’s a sound bar with a separate subwoofer that really gets the blood flowing. The crown jewel of this set-up, the subwoofer, really makes this system worthy of further investigation.
So, let’s do just that…
Out of the box, the sound bar looks stylish enough. It has quite a high profile by industry standards. A sleek looking grille rounds off the look though we felt the plastic housing was a little on the flimsy side for such an expensive item.
The wireless subwoofer, on the other hand, has some serious weight to it as all good subs should. The MDF enclosed cabinet feels really solid. An 8-inch cone drives the woofer, which also features a control panel on the back housing volume control and a power button.
Other accessories include power cabling for the bar and the woofer, RCA and digital cables, a comprehensive instruction booklet, and a credit card style remote.
Klipsch has opted for a minimalist design approach. The sound bar has a very basic control panel that comes equipped with volume, mute, and source controls, but strangely no power button. That means most of your control options are in the hands of the remarkably small remote. As long as you don’t misplace it, this shouldn’t be an issue as it’s very easy to navigate.
However, it’s also very easy to lose, and we predict time will be wasted trying to locate it.
Other sound bars have more features, and a digital display would have been nice. But generally, we’re ok with manufacturers who skip on features as long as their development dollars are going towards improving sound quality. We’ve reviewed far too many sound bars that are packed with all the mod-cons imaginable yet fail to do the one thing required – produce great sound.
The Klipsch R-10B has an impressive array of drivers. Two ¾ inch dome tweeters and a pair of 3-inch cones adorn the sound bar. Klipsch has employed its patented Tractrix Horn design to good effect here. The sub comes equipped with an 8-inch cone underneath a tough screen. Together they combine to produce 250 watts of power and a frequency response range of 27Hz – 20kHz.
At 4-inches high, the sound bar isn’t the subtlest of designs. It will probably be best positioned mounted on the wall to avoid blocking the TV’s remote beam. The sub weighs in at a hefty 25lbs and has a relatively slim profile at 16 by 13 by 8-inches.
The Klipsch R-10B also has a 3-D mode, which provides a virtual surround sound and a Bluetooth option that comes with aptX. This allows you to stream CD quality sound through compatible devices.
To be honest, there isn’t much setting up to do. The pairing between the subwoofer and the sound bar is automatic. We connected it direct to the TV using the supplied optical cable. No HDMI option means the system cannot decode advanced codecs such as Dolby Digital TrueHD, but this isn’t something most listeners will notice.
As there is no HDMI, you’ll be unable to just plug into the TV’s ARC connection and use the TV remote to control the sound bar. You can set things up so the TV remote can control the power and volume, but that’s it.
What this system lacks in features, it more than makes up for in the Audio department. The treble range is outstanding. Crystal clear highs jump out from the sound stage. The Tractrix horn design provides microscopic attention to detail. Small movie sound effects are skillfully reproduced, and individual instruments are very nicely defined.
However, if there is one area where the Klipsch R-10 fails to excite, it’s in the high mid-range reproduction. Vocal tracks in movies and music sometimes felt a little bright with certain instruments, acoustic guitar, for example, not quite hitting the clarity we would like. But all is forgiven when the outstanding subwoofer is taken into consideration.
For such a relatively small unit, the Klipsch woofer packs a real punch. Performing as well reproducing action movie explosions as it does pounding out the heaviest bass lines. Klipsch has really outdone themselves in the bass department. It manages all this with a deft yet potent touch that never threatens to overwhelm the mid and treble ranges.
As a package, the sound bar and woofer work extremely well together, whether watching movies or listening to a wide range of musical styles. Klipsch really has followed through on their promise to focus on audio quality over an excess of features, and that is just fine with us.
Tested against competitors in its price range, we can confirm that the Klipsch R-10 outperforms its rivals in the sound department and even sounds better than some more expensive models.
If you’re a fan of Klipsch but are only thinking of adding a subwoofer to your current system, check out our in-depth review of the Klipsch Sub 12HG. Alternatively, if you are looking for full sound bar systems, please check out our reviews of two excellent Yamaha systems, the Yamaha YAS 207BL, and the Yamaha YAS 109.
If you’re after even more choices, then our review of the Best Wireless TV Speakers is well worth a read.
Klipsch R-10B Pros & Cons
- Outstanding bass reproduction.
- Sparkling treble.
- Sleek design.
- Value for money.
- Excellent for watching movies and listening to music alike.
- Extras thin on the ground.
- Higher Mid-range reproduction could be better.
- Will probably have to be mounted.
If you’re looking for a 2:1 home cinema system to fill a relatively enclosed space that will not house a larger multi-speaker setup. Then you will be hard pushed to find a better sounding sound bar and woofer than the Klipsch R-10.
What it lacks in extra features can be easily forgiven by the rich and engaging soundstage it delivers. Bass and treble levels cannot be adjusted but do not need to be as we found them to be perfectly balanced irrespective of the source material.
Devotion to sound performance is what Klipsch has promised, and it’s exactly what they have delivered. Overall, an excellent choice if you have the money.