Ever since 1946, when Paul Klipsch started promoting his patented Klipschorn audio system, the corporate that bears his title has been inextricably linked with horn-based designs. As he found a decade earlier whereas evaluating horn-loaded and cone-based audio system, horns supply better effectivity and extra controllable dispersion.
Now, virtually 75 years later, the corporate continues to implement that philosophy in a variety of audio system, together with The Fives, a pair of powered, wi-fi bookshelf audio system that bespeak prime quality of their building and efficiency.
This evaluation is a part of TechHive’s protection of the best Bluetooth speakers, the place you’ll discover evaluations of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it’s best to take into account when searching for any such speaker.
Klipsch The Fives characteristic set
The Fives are pretty massive bookshelf audio system that measure 12 x 6.5 x 9.25 inches (HxWxD). The major speaker weighs in at 11.8 kilos, whereas the secondary speaker is a bit lighter at 10.7 kilos. As with most such wi-fi bookshelf techniques, the first speaker homes all of the electronics, whereas the secondary unit is nothing however a passive speaker. But in contrast to some such techniques, you may choose whether or not the first speaker is on the left or proper with a swap on the again, which makes placement extra versatile.
Each 2-way speaker features a 4.5-inch high-excursion fiber-composite cone woofer, the dimensions of which is shut sufficient to 5 inches to present the audio system their title. A 1-inch titanium LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) vented tweeter with 90 x 90-degree Tractrix horn is derived from the corporate’s lauded Reference Premiere sequence. The bass-reflex enclosure has a rear-firing Tractrix port, and it’s constructed from sturdy MDF with real wooden veneer. Also, the audio system include a good-looking magnetic grille-cloth cowl.
The built-in, custom-designed amplifiers present a complete of 160 watts of energy (320W peak), with every woofer receiving 60W and every tweeter getting 20W from their very own separate amp circuits. The most output is specified to be 109dB at a distance of 1 meter from the stereo pair, and frequency response is specified from 50Hz to 25kHz (no tolerance given), with bass extension right down to 46Hz at 35 p.c quantity.
One attention-grabbing characteristic is Dynamic Bass EQ, which is generally discovered solely in A/V receivers. Basically, the extent of low frequencies relative to your complete spectrum adjustments relying on the general degree you set—the decrease the general degree, the extra the bass is boosted to accommodate how the human listening to system perceives totally different frequencies at totally different ranges. This characteristic could be disabled utilizing the included IR distant.
Inputs abound on The Fives, all of that are discovered on the first speaker. For wi-fi connectivity, there’s Bluetooth 5.0 with help for the aptX, aptX HD, AAC, and SBC codecs. In addition, bodily digital inputs embrace optical Toslink, USB-B for connection to a pc, and HDMI ARC for connection to a TV.
To use the ARC connection, it is advisable to join the TV’s ARC enter to The Fives’ HDMI enter; as it’s possible you’ll know, the TV’s ARC enter sends audio knowledge to an exterior gadget along with accepting video and audio knowledge from a tool. In this case, you could join your supply units to the TV and use it to change between them, and you may’t use the TV’s HDMI ARC enter as an enter. If your TV doesn’t have an ARC enter, you should use its optical digital-audio output or line-level analog-audio outputs to hook up with The Fives. (You can read more about ARC in this story.)
Speaking of which, analog inputs embrace a 3.5mm stereo analog jack and a phono enter with two RCA jacks and a floor terminal; the phono enter may also be switched to line degree. Rounding out the connections on the again of the first speaker is an RCA subwoofer output, a USB-A port for servicing, a 4-pin connector that’s used with the included cable to hook up with the secondary speaker, and the AC energy receptacle. A Bluetooth button helps you to pair The Fives to a Bluetooth supply.
Using the Klipsch the Fives
The high of the first speaker gives two knurled knobs which can be embedded with solely a portion of every one extending above the floor. One selects the supply, and the opposite adjusts the amount. The knobs really feel very sturdy and substantial, identical to the remainder of the speaker.
The source-select knob has six white LED indicators subsequent to it. In addition to figuring out the chosen supply, the LEDs additionally point out the amount if you change it. In addition, the chosen supply LED blinks twice if you disable Dynamic Bass EQ and as soon as if you allow it.
The solely downside I had with this association is that I couldn’t see the LEDs when sitting straight in entrance of the audio system. I want there was an LED indicator on the entrance of the speaker to point the facility and Dynamic Bass EQ standing.
You may management The Fives with the included distant, which is small and easy. Along with an influence on/off button, it gives a play/pause button, quantity up/down, subwoofer quantity up/down, mute, and devoted source-select buttons, together with a Sub Reset button that resets the subwoofer degree to its nominal worth in addition to enabling and disabling Dynamic Bass EQ.
The free Klipsch Connect app for iOS and Android gives one other management choice for a number of of the corporate’s merchandise, together with The Fives. But the present model solely gives a setup routine, firmware replace, and product registration. At first, I didn’t wish to register the product because it’s a evaluation pattern, however the app wouldn’t transcend that time with out it, so I enter my information. The app gives a quick-start information with movies, which is mainly an enhanced model of the printed information.
As I performed with the app, I found that the audio system had firmware model 1.5.0 and model 1.5.2 was accessible, so I carried out the replace. The obtain took lower than a minute, whereas the method of updating the speaker took a number of minutes. This course of is much better than downloading the replace to a pc, placing it on a USB flash drive, and plugging that into the speaker.
Otherwise, the app isn’t very helpful. According to Klipsch, the app will likely be up to date with EQ and different features later this yr.
Performance of the Klipsch the Fives
As typical, I used the Tidal Master library as my supply materials taking part in by way of Bluetooth from my iPhone XS. Also as typical as of late, I began with some Jacob Collier—this time, “All I Need” from Djesse Vol. 3. This great observe follows the most effective custom of Earth, Wind, and Fire up to date for the 21st Century. On The Fives, the vocals have been super-clean, however the highs have been barely veiled, and the bass was only a bit bloated. Disabling Dynamic Bass EQ helped, however I couldn’t actually hear a lot distinction between on and off.
Next up was “Ojos Negros,” a brand new single by Paula Cendejas and Girl Ultra. This upbeat Latin observe has numerous electronics and deep bass, which once more was barely bloated on The Fives. The highs have been a bit laid again, however the vocals have been clean and clear.
Another new discovery for me is saxophonist Nubya Garcia. “The Message Continues” from her debut album Source is a primary jazz combo of bass, drums, electrical piano, and tenor sax. The bass is sort of distinguished within the combine, and as earlier than, it was a bit overblown on The Fives. The sax and piano sounded wonderful, whereas the highs within the cymbals have been a tad recessed.
Turning to some basic nation, I cued up “Devil in a Sleepin’ Bag” by Willie Nelson from his remastered album Shotgun Willie. The Fives sounded clean if a bit restrained, and as I had come to count on, the bass was a bit overblown. Willie’s voice sounded—effectively, identical to Willie.
For some solo piano, I used to be shocked to seek out Chick Corea taking part in classical literature dwell in Paris on Chick Corea Plays. I listened to Scriabin’s Prelude #4 from Op. 11, wherein Corea injects a jazz interpretation in a couple of spots. The piano sounded clean and cohesive, and I didn’t discover any bloat within the bass on this observe. The audio system nonetheless sounded a bit restrained, although.
Moving on to a bigger symphonic sound, I performed the finale from Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique as carried out by the Muncher Philharmoniker underneath Sergiu Celebidache. As earlier than, The Fives sounded clean and a bit restrained, particularly within the higher frequencies, with no considerable bass bloat as I had heard on different tracks. In my notes, I wrote that the audio system had a “sophisticated, polite sound.”
Comparing Klipsch the Fives to Fluance Ai60
During my listening periods, I performed every observe on the Fluance Ai60 wireless bookshelf speakers, reviewed here, as well as The Fives for comparative functions. The Ai60s have a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter in a shallow waveguide and a 6.5-inch woofer in a sealed cupboard, they usually checklist for $299.99, lower than half the checklist value of The Fives.
I positioned The Fives on high of the Ai60s, which labored out effectively, because the Klipsch audio system are a bit smaller. I set the Ai60s’ EQ to a flat response and disabled The Fives’ Dynamic Bass EQ, which sounded higher to my ear. Thanks to Tidal’s consumer interface, I used to be capable of swap between them seamlessly.
On each observe, the Ai60s sounded brighter and extra open than The Fives with crisper highs—in some instances, they sounded only a tad overbright in direct comparability with The Fives. For instance, on the Scriabin piano piece, they sounded ever-so-slightly strident. Also, the bass was cleaner, higher outlined, and deeper with no sense of bloating. The deeper bass is totally comprehensible, because the Ai60s’ low-frequency extension is specified right down to 35Hz, whereas The Fives are spec’d right down to 50Hz.
Overall, The Fives sounded smoother and extra refined than the Ai60s, although additionally a bit restrained within the excessive finish with barely overblown bass. By distinction, the Fluance audio system have been brighter and extra open with deeper, richer, cleaner bass that was higher balanced with the remainder of the spectrum. Some would possibly take into account the Ai60s to be considerably brash and splashy, extra like ear sweet and fewer subtle than The Fives, however this didn’t hassle me—in actual fact, I most popular the sound of the Ai60s total.
Bottom line on the Klipsch the Fives
The Fives are clearly a high-quality product, derived from greater than seven many years of speaker excellence. The sound is clean, refined, and complex, although it’s tipped barely towards the bass and away from the mids and highs. And the bass is usually a bit overblown.
The big selection of connection choices make The Fives well-suited for a lot of functions, together with Bluetooth, pc and TV audio, and even direct enter from a turntable. And the construct high quality is high notch.
At $799/pair, The Fives are usually not low-cost. But in case your style tends towards a refined sound, they might be effectively well worth the funding. On the opposite hand, in case you crave extra pleasure within the sound of your audio system, the Fluance Ai60 is a better option, and it’s lower than half the fee.