Klipsch RP-260 Reference Premiere Home Theatre Speakers Review
The very first speaker to wear the Klipsch name was made by hand in Hope, Arkansas back in 1946. Paul W. Klipsch built the horn himself out of a tin shed, and little did he know what the brand and his designs would go on to become in the decades that followed.
Being a music lover, Paul’s goal was to reproduce the excitement of a live orchestra performance in his home. In order to achieve this, he set out to design speakers with high efficiency, low distortion, controlled directivity and a flat frequency response. This led to the development of the Tractrix Horn and ultimately the XT Tractrix horn. This technology is claimed to produce a wider dispersion pattern, and “… a wider sound field, while also providing more latitude in speaker placement”.
A lot has changed since 1946, but the company still proudly stands in that sleepy little town, with their speakers reaching just about every continent of the globe today.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
The RP-260 carries the “Reference Premiere” tag, an entirely new line that promises to deliver “a completely unique home theatre experience”.
Selling at $6,199 RRP, RP-260 sits in the middle of their Reference Premiere range of home theatre speaker packs (also consisting of the $5,299 RRP RP-250 pack and the $6,999 RRP RP-280 pack). The RP-260 pack consists of the RP-260 floor standing speakers, RP-250C centre speaker, RP-240 S bipolar surround speakers and R112SW subwoofer.
While the speakers in this review are purchased as a pack, any speaker within the range can be purchased individually. There’s also the option to expand the system to 9.2.4, to cater for the new surround sound formats, such as Dolby Amos and DTS X. The Reference Premiere range are available in either a cherry or ebony finish.
Removing the grills from the Klipsch RP260 floor standing speakers left no doubt in my mind that Klipsch approaches speaker design differently to most of its competitors. Rather than the traditional driver array I have been accustomed to, I was greeted with Klipsch’s hallmark cerametallic woofers and horn loaded tweeters.
The RP-250C centre speaker (individual RRP $899) feature the cherry finish, and black front bezel. Unlike the RP-260 (but typical to most centre speaker designs), there isn’t the option to biwire the RP-250C.
The rear RP-240S speakers (pair RRP $1,298) are finished in a black brushed polymer veneer. While in a pinch you could stand-mount them, weighing in at 6kg each, it’s far more sensible, not to mention safer, to wall mount them with the screw mounted keyhole provided on the back of the speaker. Rather than direct radiating speakers (a single set of drivers facing towards the listener), the RP-240s are bipolar speakers with two sets of drivers angled away from the listener. I have always preferred this design, as it provides a more diffused sound-field from the rear speakers. However, if you prefer direct radiating speakers for your surround channels, there’s the option to use other speakers within the range.
Like the RP-260 floor standing speakers, the R-112SW subwoofer (individual RRP $1,650) is finished in cherry veneer, with a black front baffle. The R-112SW is a front ported subwoofer, with a 12” metallic long throw front facing woofer and frequency response of 24-125 Hz. There’s also the option to add the WA-2 Wireless Subwoofer kit (RRP $259), negating the need for long cable runs.
With an impedance of 8 ohms and sensitivity of 93db -97db across the range, these speakers are very amplifier friendly. While I chose to power them with an Onkyo N3030 receiver, there is no reason they couldn’t be matched to an entry level receiver. In other words, it’s not going to take much to get these speakers to play loudly!
As the RP-260F floor standing speakers are rear-ported, I found that they did need some room to “breathe”, benefiting greatly by being brought forward from the front wall. The RP- 250C centre was placed behind an acoustically apparent screen, just a tad above ear height. I decided to expand the system to 7.1 by adding a pair of RP-150S bookshelf speakers as rear surrounds and using the supplied RP-240S bipolar speakers as side surrounds.
Firing up the Reference Premiere Pack for the first time, I was impressed by how effortlessly they filled my listening room with sound. Best described as dynamic and involving the sound was also detailed with a strong sense of placement. If I had to use one word to describe how these speakers sound it would be exciting!
One of the hallmarks of a great speaker is its ability to draw you in. Listening to the percussion and brass instruments in the “Whiplash” Blu-ray was testament to this … so much so that I was subconsciously tapping my feet in time with the music. Switching to the diner scene, I could easily make out and place background noise and at times I could almost make out conversations being had at other tables.
Based on an incredible and moving true story, the “Lone Survivor” Blu-ray offers reference quality audio. Bullets and explosions were handled with a level of ferocity that planted me firmly in the massive sound field that the Reference Premiere Pack creates. To top this off, the sound still brought out every detail with ease and always sounded controlled without any sense of strain. The RS-112SW subwoofer ensured I felt everything as well, pumping out some serious (yet controlled) bass into the room. Adding a second RS-112SW I suspect would take already impressive bass levels to a whole other level and add even greater control.
The Reference Premiere Speakers effortlessly produce loud dynamic sound but the inner-child in me wanted to see just what the kit was capable of. At elevated sound pressure levels, likely much higher than a typical home cinema experience, the Klipsch Reference Premiere speakers lapped up the power without showing any strain or fatigue. I did start to find the sound level uncomfortable, but I suspect that they could play much louder if asked to.
While I wouldn’t describe the Reference Premiere Pack as being the most refined set of speakers I have heard, their sheer sense of dynamic range and ability to bring out detail makes for an extremely exciting home theatre experience. Ideal if you’re a fan of action movies and with that in mind, it’s no wonder that Klipsch speakers are found in many cinemas around the world.
While the sound was far more neutral than I expected, I suspect this pack would be well mated with a neutral sounding receiver or pre/pro.
For an investment of just $6,199, the Klipsch Reference Premiere speaker system is an affordable investment, much less than just a pair of floor standing speakers in many cases.
Klipsch is distributed in Australia by Powermove Distribution.
StereoNET would also like to thank Atmosphere Audio for allowing the use of their dedicated cinema room to review these speakers.
RP- 260F Front Floor Standing Speakers
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 34-25kHz +/- 3dB SENSITIVITY 97dB @ 2.83V / 1m POWER HANDLING (CONT/PEAK) 125W/500W NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 Ohms Compatible CROSSOVER FREQUENCY 1800Hz HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER 1” Titanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn LOW FREQUENCY DRIVER Dual 6.5” Cerametallic Cone Woofers ENCLOSURE MATERIAL MDF ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass Reflex via rear-firing Tractrix port INPUTS Dual binding posts / bi-wire / bi-amp HEIGHT 39.6” (100.6 cm) WIDTH 9.01” (22.9 cm) DEPTH 17.65” (44.8 cm) WEIGHT 49.5 lb (22.45 kg) FINISH Ebony, Cherry BUILT FROM 2015 3502 WOODVIEW TRACE
RP- 250C Centre Speaker
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 60-25kHz +/- 3dB SENSITIVITY 96dB @ 2.83V / 1m POWER HANDLING (CONT/PEAK) 125W/500W NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 Ohms Compatible CROSSOVER FREQUENCY 1800Hz HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER 1” Titanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn LOW FREQUENCY DRIVER Dual 5.25” Cerametallic Cone Woofers ENCLOSURE MATERIAL MDF ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass reflex via rear-firing Tractrix port INPUTS Single Binding Posts HEIGHT 6.81” (17.3 cm) WIDTH 18.5” (47.0 cm) DEPTH 9.96” (25.3 cm) WEIGHT 18.4 lb (8.35 kg) FINISH Ebony, Cherry BUILT FROM 2015
RP-240S Rear Bipolar Speakers
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 62-25kHz +/- 3dB SENSITIVITY 93dB @ 2.83V / 1m POWER HANDLING (CONT/PEAK) 75W/300W NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 Ohms Compatible CROSSOVER FREQUENCY 1500Hz HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER Dual 1” Titanium LTS Tweeters with Hybrid Tractrix Horns LOW FREQUENCY DRIVER Dual 4” Cerametalic Cone Woofers ENCLOSURE MATERIAL MDF ENCLOSURE TYPE Sealed INPUTS Single Binding Posts HEIGHT 11.61” (29.5 cm) WIDTH 10.38” (26.4 cm) DEPTH 6.93” (17.6 cm) WEIGHT 13.2 lb (5.99 kg) FINISH Black BUILT FROM 2015
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 24Hz - 125Hz MAXIMUM ACOUSTIC OUTPUT 118dB AMPLIFIER All digital AMPLIFIER POWER 300W / 600W DRIVE COMPONENTS 12” (30.5 cm) long-throw copper spun cerametallic, front-firing woofer ENCLOSURE MATERIAL MDF ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass Reflex INPUTS L/R line-level/LFE RCA jacks, Wireless WA-2 Port HEIGHT 17.38” / 41.4 cm WIDTH 15.5” / 39.37 cm DEPTH 18.25” / 46.36 cm WEIGHT 48.75 lbs / 22.1 kg FINISH Brushed Black Polymer Veneer BUILT FROM 2014 FEATURES Gain, Lowpass, Phase, Auto Power PHASE Switchable 0-180 degrees
As the owner of Adelaide based ‘Clarity Audio & Video Calibration’, Tony is a certified ISF Calibrator. Tony is an accomplished Audio-Visual reviewer specialising in theatre and visual products.