Are you looking for a true surround sound movie-watching experience? How about a deep and immersive musical extravaganza? Either way, no matter how good your audio is, you’ll need great speakers to get the best sound. That can mean superior floor-standing speakers, a fabulous sub-woofer, or a set of excellent bookshelf speakers.
Enter Klipsch, speaker-maker extraordinaire. This American company has been heating up stereos since they were a thing. But in this Klipsch RP-600M review, we’ll see how their Reference Premiere Bookshelf Speakers hold up to the test. Are they worth investing in, or something to avoid? Let’s find out…
Klipsch Audio Technologies
The Arkansas-based Klipsch Audio Technologies, Klipsch for short, is now making their speakers out of Indiana. For 75 years, this audio company has been producing some of the most sought-after speakers in America, and even the world.
Some of their products are legendary, including the Klipschorn cabinet speaker, which they’ve produced according to the same specs ever since 1946.
Klipsch speakers are known for low distortion and high sensitivity. They also consistently make horn-loaded speakers, mounting their tweeters in horns to increase their outputs and provide a great dynamic range. The Reference Premiere 600M is a great horn-mounted bookshelf speaker. Let’s see if it stands up to Klipsch’s mighty reputation.
Klipsch Reference Premiere 600M Bookshelf Speakers – Overview
Let’s get down to business, starting with the specifications of these bookshelf speakers. Each speaker is about 8 inches by 12 inches at the base and stands over 15 ½ inches tall. Each cabinet weighs a moderate 16 pounds (7.3 kg) and is constructed of medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The cabinets come with durable grilles that connect with magnets.
Let’s look at the drivers. These are 2-way cabinets that each feature a 1-inch titanium tweeter and a 6.5-inch “Cerametallic” woofer. The cerametallic woofer cones are a proprietary material mix of ceramic-coated metal that shines with a bright copper-colored sheen. I’m not certain what the mix really is, though.
As is standard with Klipsch speakers, the tweeters are horn-loaded. Here, the Tractrix horns are faced with silicone. And there are rear-ported speakers, again with Tractrix ports to reduce bass turbulence.
The cabinets come in two vinyl finishes, ebony or walnut, and will run you about $500 for a pair. If you have a bit more to spend, a glossy hand-sanded piano black finish might be the right choice.
Bookshelf speakers are pretty basic machines. They’re cabinets with drivers that connect to your amplifier, so let’s examine each of these features individually to see if the RP-600Ms are worth their not-so-cheap but not-that expensive price tag.
Tweeters and Horns
As I mentioned earlier, each of the RP-600Ms is driven by a 1-inch titanium tweeter. Yes, titanium. Lightweight and very rigid, titanium is a high-class choice for these speakers, but it works. This tweeter is vented to allow for airflow and to reduce distortion that can occur as a result of standing waves.
It’s also what Klipsch calls an LTS diaphragm, which stands for linear travel suspension. This system works like a piston to reduce distortion. As a result, this is one of the best distortion free speakers you can buy.
As with nearly all Klipsch speakers, the tweeter is loaded in a horn. This horn is square in dimension and has a face that curves up and out from the tweeter in their trademark Tractrix shape.
What effect does the horn have?
Other brands have worked towards diffused highs and mids that fill up the room and make it tricky to figure out where the speaker is with your eyes closed. Klipsch has a different approach.
Their speakers are designed for intentional listening, focused listening, and directed listening. The effect of mounting the tweeter in a horn is to focus its sound and direct it towards the listener.
So for sitting and watching a film or taking in your favorite tracks while crashed out on the sofa, a horn provides a much more focused sound directed at your ears. Therefore, you get some of the best speakers for movie watching on the market. If the speakers are set up in the correct way, that is, but I’ll get into that a bit later on.
Each cabinet is outfitted with one 6.5-inch woofer for your listening pleasure. Here the cones are made from some sort of ceramic-coated metal material. Although, the actual makeup of the proprietary “Cerametallic” material is not revealed by Klipsch. It does come off in a very attractive copper-colored cone, though.
Whatever it is, the cerametellic cone is very stiff, and this leads to very low distortion in the low-end. The voice coils here are double wound copper, which is thick and heavy and allow for great conductivity.
Altogether, the woofer is a treat. Combined with the rear-facing sound port, they bring a surprisingly robust low-end that’s clear and detailed, matching the tweeter’s quality.
As we’ve already mentioned, these speakers are housed in MDF cabinets with slick veneers. You can get them in either ebony or walnut vinyl finish, which in my opinion, is a cool retro look. For something sharper and more modern, the Piano Black finish is a high-gloss paint that is hand-sanded and applied in multiple layers until perfectly smooth. It costs more, of course.
These cabinets are mid-sized or even a little bit on the small size, but in this case, smaller is better. They still give a solid, concentrated sound without having to be big and cumbersome. They also look great thanks to the contrasting colors of the copper-toned drivers and the cabinet faces.
You can leave the grilles off for maximum effect or put them on for a more smooth, subtle look that will blend into any room.
Klipsch knows its target market. They’re pushing these speakers on established and aspiring audiophiles who want excellent sound for a reasonable price. In other words, they are some of the best sounding affordable bookshelf speakers around.
The speakers feature dual-binding posts so that you can bi-wire or even bi-amp them for even more reduction in distortion. The dual posts can be connected via alligator clips or bare wire up to 12 gauge. Now, of course, you don’t have to bi-wire your speakers, but it’s nice that Klipsch has given you the option.
Overall Sound of the Klipsch RP-600M Speakers
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how these speakers sound. For their price of around $500 (and you may be able to find a sale price if you’re lucky), we think these speakers have a great presence for small to medium-sized rooms. The high-end is extremely clear and quite detailed. The low-end is robust and also clear and detailed, never muddy.
With movies, we found that these speakers did a great job with dialogue and music. Although you will very likely need a subwoofer to get the most out of the low end. With music, the speakers soared. Voices and high-end instruments like guitars and brass soar. There is enough punch in the low end to feel deep beats and get an immersive experience.
Some listeners will notice that the mid-range is lowered a bit on these speakers, and this might be to their chagrin. Others will love the high and low-end boosts. But the crossover in these speakers does lead to a scoop in the mid-range, so we’re not looking at true high-fidelity.
Best Orientation for the Klipsch RP-600Ms
Let’s start with spacing. First of all, these are rear-ported speakers. Even though they’re called “bookshelf speakers,” probably the last place you’d want to put them is on a bookshelf. Instead, they sound best when spaced at least a foot from the wall.
The separation of your speaker pair is going to vary according to the size and dimensions of your room. However, I found the RP-600Ms sound best at a separation of at least six feet with a fair toe-in.
As for height
You’re going to want the speakers up at ear level. The horns are designed to direct the tweeter sound towards your ears. You can get away with the actual tweeter a bit lower than ear level since the horn will direct sound up a bit.
If you have a table or cabinet that’s somewhere between 20-30 inches tall, you may be alright. But for the best listening experience, get these speakers on their own stands.
Klipsch RP-600M Review – Pros and Cons
- Great sound for a reasonable price.
- Music sounds clear, full, and immersive.
- Excellent clarity and very low distortion.
- Impressive efficiency at a claimed 96 dBA/Watt (though actual performance seems lower).
- Sharp look and smooth design.
- Crossover leads to a scoop in the mid-range.
- Only wired connections, with no digital audio or Bluetooth connectivity.
- Can be a bit bright in the highs – not quite fatiguing, though.
Looking for Great Speakers?
We can point you in the right direction. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000, the Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $200, the Best Bookshelf Speakers, the Best High End Home Theater Speakers, the Best Smart Speakers, and the Best Wireless TV Speakers you can buy in 2021.
Also, take a look at our comprehensive Klipsch R-28PF Review, our Klipsch R-26FA Review, our Klipsch RP-402S Review, our Klipsch R-52C Review, our Klipsch Sub-12HG Review, and our Klipsch R-10B Review currently on the market.
Klipsch RP-600M Review – Final Thoughts
All told, Klipsch’s Reference Premiere 600M Bookshelf Speakers are sensitive, powerful, and full-sounding speakers. They are very clear in the high and low ends. However, they do present a scoop in the mid-range that may or may not bother some listeners. The construction is solid, and they look superb.
The bottom line is that at the price you can grab a pair for, the RP-600Ms would make an excellent addition to any home theater or stereo sound system.
Until next time, let your music play.