Klipsch The Fives Test

 

Klipsch The Fives Test

Klipsch The Fives Test


active horn speakers with a retro look

There are many active lifestyle loudspeakers with high sound and design standards in the price range of under 1,000 euros. Among them, however, only a few appear as unvarnished as the Klipsch The Fives 

When you first looked at the small active speakers from Klipsch, everything was different. For example, that the retro attitude of The Fives is harmonious overall: the proportions, the natural veneer (in the walnut version), the baffle in a hammered look, plus the chassis without visible screws, a tweeter horn that takes up almost the entire width of the cabinet, (Magnetic) front covers with casual, coarse-meshed fabric... It all fits together really well. Except perhaps for the knobs on top of the main speaker, which look a bit modernistic and slightly out of place, and the included plastic remote control. But the boxes themselves? – Really cool and living space friendly.


Anyway, I was immediately hooked on The Fives. Which has never happened to me before when looking at Klipsch loudspeakers, nor with any other range from the manufacturer. Perhaps the compact dimensions play a certain role. With their 305 x 165 x 235 mm (H x W x D), the "five" do not dominate the room like a Klipsch Cornwall or a Klipschorn

Why this unusual name: The Fives ? It doesn't flow smoothly from the lips in every sentence. In principle very simple. It is the fifth model variant in the Klipsch Heritage series. This consists of one-box speakers of different sizes, namely the models Heritage Groove, The One (Mark II), The Three (II) and The Sixes. The Fives are the fifth Heritage model variant. Nevertheless, the naming remains extremely confusing, since there is no four-model, for example. This may have something to do with the fact that four is an unlucky number in China and Japan. But why are the Sixes actually located below the Fives? And what is "Groove" doing in the series? Why no "The Seconds"? ... Some marketing decisions don't need to be understood.

Under the hood of the Klipsch The Fives

The Fives technique is simple and efficient. Here, Klipsch relies on the more cost-effective concept of active master and passive slave loudspeakers. This means that not everything has to be available in duplicate and installed in every loudspeaker. For example, one DAC in the master is sufficient, which converts the signal for both channels to analog. A power connection is also only required on the master speaker. In the case of playback via Bluetooth, just two strings are required: power for the master and the speaker cable to the slave.

However, the five are quite connection-friendly in terms of cables. In addition to today's most common connection sockets such as analog cinch, USB for computers and Toslink for televisions, Klipsch goes one step further and also gave the master an HDMI-ARC input for TV. The advantage over Toslink: HDMI not only transmits the sound to the speakers, but also control commands. For example, the volume can be controlled using the TV remote control. Although HDMI-ARC can be found on many soundbars, it is still the exception in active stereo sets like this one.


Klipsch The Fives Test
Image credit: Klipsch
Easy to connect: In addition to USB, Toslink and Line-In, there is also HDMI ARC and even a phono connection option on the master of The Fives. 
Active subwoofers were also considered

Also nice: the analog stereo cinch input can be used for high-level devices such as CD players, but also for turntables. All you have to do is set the corresponding toggle switch on the back to the correct position (phono). There is even a ground terminal on the master.

The slave is connected via a loudspeaker cable that is supplied and is probably sufficiently long (4 m) in most cases. The cable has twist-proof, four-pin plugs with a locking nut for securing. Why four poles? I did not get an official answer to this question from Klipsch in time, but the assumption is that the frequency distribution for the slave is already done in the master. Other active-passive pairs in a multi-way construction, where the slave is connected with a conventional, two-wire LS cable, need their own passive crossover. In the Fives , the division appears to be active and possibly even digital in the master. Of course, this makes perfect sense from a sound point of view.

If you like, you can also add an active subwoofer. The power pack is integrated in the master. For the correct channel configuration, there is also a switch that determines whether the master should be on the left or on the right.

Klipsch The Fives Test
The rear of the passive one has only one connection for the supplied connection cable to the master. Also clearly visible: the bass reflex port in Tactrix form 
The D/A conversion of digital input signals takes place via an unspecified DAC chip with 24 bits/192 kHz. Four power amplifiers, all housed in the active master, take care of the signal amplification. Two of 20W each for the tweeters and two of 60W each for the woofers/midrange drivers. The titanium dome tweeters, tried and tested with a large horn attachment, are more than adequately supplied with 20 watts of continuous output power. Correspondingly more power is provided for the long-excursion woofers/midrange drivers, which also work on horn-shaped bass reflex openings on the back.

Klipsch The Fives Test
image credit: Klipsch

Of course, due to the active concept, we don't need to worry about the efficiency of horn loudspeakers in general and The Fives in particular. The tonal result will show whether we are dealing with typical horn representatives.

But first...

practical experience

With active loudspeakers at this price, one should not expect ultra-precious finishes and artisan processing quality. The Fives are no exception. Their housing made of MDF is comparatively simple. Nevertheless, Klipsch works with natural walnut real wood veneer as a finish. That makes something

Klipsch The Fives Test
The real wood veneer gives the Klipsch The Fives an exceptionally homely look and a natural feel. The workmanship is not entirely seamless, but this can only be seen on very close inspection

Setting up the compact Klipsch is a snap and largely self-explanatory. Using the example of a desktop setup, this is how it works: Place the boxes to the left and right of the screen or in the stereo triangle. The underside of The Five s has a cork layer to protect the floor space. For sound reasons, however, it is advisable to set it up on suitable stands or pucks for decoupling and angling. Then use the switch on the master to determine whether it is on the left or right. Then connect the cable marked "Speaker Wire" between master and slave. Connect USB cable between computer and master. Connect the power cable to the master. Finished.

When set up as a TV speaker, we recommend connecting via HDMI cable (included) or alternatively an optical Toslink cable (not included). The smartphone (or the Mac/PC) can of course be connected via Bluetooth.

Klipsch The Fives Test
image credit:
Not only the sound is transmitted from the TV via HDMI ARC, some control functions (on, off, volume) can be carried out via the TV remote control

Once the power cord is connected, the Klipsch The Fives are ready to use. There is no main switch. However, the boxes can be switched to standby using the remote control. With HDMI connection (if TV is selected as the source) they automatically switch to standby when the TV is switched off and also switch on together with the TV.

In case you're wondering why there hasn't been any talk of an app before... well, there is. The relevant app stores contain the free Klipsch Connect app, which was originally developed for the one-box models and the Klipsch in-ear headphones, but can also communicate with the Fives.

Among other things, the app helps with the coupling, which is just as easy via the BT settings of the iDevice. At least in the current version at the time of testing, the app for The Fives does not offer any additional functions such as switchable sound modes or equalizers. The most important feature:  Updates can be imported via the app, which happened once during the test.

Klipsch The Fives Test
Registration: Without providing your name, email, country and product, you cannot continue setting up the app

What bothers me is the forced registration, without which you cannot complete the app setup. At least the name, e-mail address, country and product are required to be able to use the app. If you don't like that, you can enter fake data - or leave the app alone. However, firmware updates are then denied. Voluntary registration would be nicer.

The operation of the speakers does not pose any riddles. There are two knobs on the master speaker. One switches the input, which is indicated by the LED, the other controls the volume. Both are also possible using the supplied remote control, but it also offers a standby button, mute, play/pause, subwoofer adjustments and a hidden feature. I'll come back to that in the description of the sound. Incidentally, I did not use a subwoofer in the test.


Klipsch The Fives Test
The included IR remote control is clear and offers access to all functions

Listen to Klipsch The Fives: 

Rock Me, Baby!

My very first reaction: The Fives sound rich and powerful. After a few tracks with low to medium volume, this impression hardened and the little Klipsch just seemed so fat to me that I started setting up bass correction via DSP in Roon.

However, another rummaging through the operating instructions revealed that the speakers have a "Dynamic Bass EQ", which turned out to be a loudness correction on closer inspection. So a volume-dependent adjustment in the bass range. And it is apparently switched on by default – or at least it was in my test samples. Which brings me back to the hidden feature mentioned earlier: To turn off Dynamic Bass EQ, press and hold the Sub button on the remote for three seconds. And boom! A Rubens figure becomes an athletic decathlete. Still powerful and by no means ascetic, but no longer as lavishly baroque.

Maybe the tuning of the "Dynamic Bass EQ" is a bit too strong and the level dependency is a bit too broad. Anyone who mainly enjoys background music at a low volume could definitely benefit from the circuit. A less audiophile audience may even want to fully engage with it. Since the Fives are not specifically aimed at high-end riders, it is understandable that the circuit is activated ex works. However, I prefer the neutral position.

Also striking: Contrary to the prejudice against horns, the mids and highs are largely free of discoloration and clearly resolved. It's dynamic and definitely has elegance. No trace of horn-typical hardness.

A little tip: The magnetic front cover is chic, but despite its coarse-meshed woven structure, it absorbs the finest highs. This applies to the vast majority of front covers, which is why I generally omit them. However, the fabric covers of the Fives can be attached and removed with a flick of the wrist and without fiddling, so that they can be operated one way or the other, depending on your needs and mood. The chassis mounted without screws and the visible parts of the baffle with a hammered look are not unattractive either.

Klipsch The Fives Test
The drivers, here the mid-bass driver, are connected to the baffle without visible screws 

Back to the sound experience. Of course, the Klipsch The Fives are not real full-range horns. Only the tweeters are amplified by the Tractrix horns (a Klipsch trademark). Their radiation behavior should be even over a relatively wide range – both horizontally and vertically. The tweeter horns are also reflected in the overall character of the boxes, which otherwise largely sound like normal, non-horn-reinforced, dynamic loudspeakers. Just with a good portion more verve in the upper mids and highs. The Klipsch really turn on and seem surprisingly effortless and effortless even at high levels.

The basic tone range cannot quite keep up with that. Here the relatively simple housing construction with its own sound (resonances) now and then adds its two cents. The deep bass only gives out at around 60 Hz, which is quite remarkable for a speaker of this size. A subwoofer can be added accordingly in larger rooms, for deep bass fans or generally to support film sound. The decisive point: The Fives are definitely among the rockiest, most rousing boxes of this size, design (two-way compact), and price range: real fun!

The stage depiction is also convincing. The Klipsch may not achieve the same imaging precision, depth, and airiness as a coax-armored KEF LSXOn the other hand, The Fives have more music bar flair and bring the listener closer to what's happening on stage. However, this does not predestine them exclusively for rock and jazz. Pop and electronic lovers alike will appreciate the direct, outspoken nature of the active Klipsch. I liked the Fives best as a supplement for the TV. Because they transport the dynamics required in film sound better than any other active speaker of this size. If the installation situation allows it, I would always prefer it to a soundbar.

Conclusion.

I can't sum it up any shorter or more succinctly: If the characteristics described above appeal to you and you're looking for all-around active loudspeakers in this price range, then just boldly grab them. The Klipsch The Fives do almost everything right, also in terms of practicality.

Whether as living room speakers for music enjoyment, as a significant sound improvement for the TV and better stereo alternative to soundbars, for the desktop - or simply anywhere where they can be set up in a few simple steps, The Fives is a real pleasure and make a homely Also looks good almost everywhere.

        Pros

Jumping, powerful sound
Versatile, practical connections
Wonderfully "rustic" design


Cons




App of no great use (except for updates)

Distributed by
Klipsch
www.klipsch.com

Price per pair (manufacturer's recommendation):
Klipsch The Fives:  900 euros Available
from Idealo, among others

Post a Comment

0 Comments