Review: Klipsch RB-5 Monitor

Category: Speakers

Family values in a speaker? yup. These smallest of the Klipsch speaker line fully carry on the great family tradition started by the Klipschorn. Rather large for a bookshelf monitor (and not suited for bookshelf placement due to their back firing port) and sporting a 6 1/5" woofer and tratrix front horn loaded tweeter these monitors give an audio performance worthy of speakers costing many times their price. These speakers can be found on the market for less than $600/pair and set on stands out into a room and provided with proper upstream electronics they are every bit the equal of speakers costing $1,000-1,500 or more, I kid you not. Transparancy and dynamics are the thing here, these speakers really get the microdynamics right. Klipsch made sure that these speakers give their owners a full dose of what attracts many audiophiles to horn speakers. These are fast, fast, fast speakers and highly efficient to boot (just shy of 100db) so combine them with a modestly priced high-end integrated (creek or audio analogue for example) and a good CD player (think Rega or maybe even Arcam) and Voila! sound that will knock your socks off! Not only you but your neighbors as well, these speakers can play at ridiculously high levels and still not congest, as they say...they rock! As do many horn speakers these do tend to beam a bit in the treble when played loudly but take that into account in placement and enjoy! These speakers will surprise you as well with their ability to play into a large space at impressive volumes without sounding out of their element. Low bass? Nope...but you will get down to the bottom of the 40s without any significant loss, place them carefully to gain some room reinforcement and you will get decent response into the mid 30s. As the littlest members of the reference series you get the careful voicing and high quality drivers of the flagship models, all you lose is a few hertz off the bottom and a few decibels of maximum output. Want more? these are marvelous combined with a 12" powered sub, and if you are thinking HT get the appropriate reference series surrounds and center channel for quite possibly the best HT setup you will ever hear! All in all, this is a classic "sleeper" speaker, almost missed in the broad Klipsch lineup (whose followers often think bigger is better) and most certainly not mentioned by the mags in comparisons with the more popular monitors. Do yourself a favor, audition a pair of RB-5s from Klipsch, you´ll be glad you did and they may just get you started on the slippery slope to "horny" speakers.

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Paradigm, Infinity, Polk, Red Rose, Bose