Klipsch RP600M HiFi Speakers Review
I recently undertook a group test on nine standmount HiFi speakers to try and find the best affordable standmount speaker under £650
Reviewing, by its very nature, is a subjective thing and lots of factors can influence perceptions. In order to minimise the external influences, my listening room is heavily acoustically treated with panels from GIK acoustics to manage sound reflections and the rooms behaviour. To take this a step further I use DIRAC Live to manage the frequency response of the speakers I am testing to undo what negatives effects their placement in my room may have. I also take this one stage further utilising Dirac Live as a tool to get the very best sound from the speakers.
In this review I compare the Klipsch RP-600M Hi-Fi Speakers with the Wharfedale EVO 4.2 and SVS Prime Bookshelf Speakers, which I have reviewed as part of this big speaker group Mega Test.
The Klipsch RP-600M are currently priced at £625, and are close to the group test threshold of £650. The RP600M is a very hyped speaker, especially with YouTube reviewers. For this reason I had previously avoided reviewing them but they as they very much fit into the group test criteria and I am very glad I did as I have a lot to commend them for and can see why they have received such praise.
The immediate visual impact from these speakers from the copper colour of the Cerametallic™ bass-mid driver and the Hybrid Tractrix® Horn based tweeter. Round the back there is a rear firing Tractrix® port. In terms of size, they are one of the larger speakers in this group test.
Even before firing them up the Klipsch RP600M stand out as different.
The bass from the 600M is in a word phenomenal, very fast, punchy and more like a small floorstand speaker than a standmount. The bass has real presence and scale and it provides a strong and powerful foundation for their overall sound delivery. For punch and impact the RP600M delivered the best bass of any of the speakers in this group test. The closest to them being the Wharfedale EVO 4.2. Well Done Klipsch!
Midrange and vocals, for reasons that will become clear, I am going to spend a lot of time discussing this. The midrange and vocal delivery from the RP600M really separated my head and heart.
Initially I found the mid-range and vocals to sound tweeter dominated, like a lot of vocals were being produced from the tweeter rather than the mid bass driver as I expected. The slightly raised tonality of the vocals with a slight nasality to them made me think the RP600M may benefit from a dedicated mid range driver or maybe a horn-loaded mid-driver it is Klipsch after all. When I took a closer look at the speaker specifications and took some measurements of the speakers frequency response in my room the reason for all of this became clear
The cross-over between the mid bass and tweeter driver is 1.5KHz which is unusually low for speakers of this type and size. As a comparison, the SVS Prime bookshelf speakers crossover at a more common 2.5KHz. Yes it only 100Hz difference but this matters because its at the extreme end of what a tweeter can do.
The crossover point is one of the key characteristic in determining how the 600M sound. From the in-room frequency response below there is an obvious dip in the 1.5KHz region of the crossover which when compared to the same measurement of the SVS Prime looks very extreme.
I initially and naturally wanted to use DIRAC Live to smooth out that big frequency response dip, paradoxically, it made the 600M sound worse not better. The midrange and vocal came too far forward in the soundstage, resulting in the RP600M measuring better but sounding shouty and brittle. Without the DIRAC Live correction the midrange and vocal recessed back into a better place. I ended up creating a custom DIRAC profile which made the 600M sound less tweeter dominated and more balanced overall. Potential customers should keep these characteristics of the RP600M very much in mind before making a buying decision and its a speaker I strongly recommend a demo. To be honest, the desirability of hearing a component in your own room applies to any component you buy.
In view of the technical issues with the RP600M, my brain was questioning if the sound from the RP600M could possibly be as good as my heart was telling me how much I was enjoying listening to them
I liked the engaging and energetic sound from the RP600M, even though the presentation was quite different from what I am used to there was something very compelling about it. and over time I found myself liking them more and more. There is just enough quality and refinement in their delivery, balancing their energy and liveliness, with fast and tuneful bass. Compared to the Wharfedale EVO 4.2, whilst both are excellent, they are really chalk with cheese speakers. The EVO 4.2 have a smooth and intoxicating delivery whereas the 600M, as I have described above, are more lively and energetic and engaged me in a totally different way.
The treble and upper frequencies from the horn, factoring in the low crossover point are what create this lively and energetic sound, however, the 600M sound quite mature and refined, with no exaggeration in their treble as wqe can see from their frequency response, very even and extended. This means raspy instruments sound raspy and symbols can be a little forward which works as the treble in the main is musical, controlled and refined. I like the treble presence from the RP600M it does not get lost when music gets complex and is not overly softened compared to the rest. These characteristics certainly work for me and the very managed the acoustics of my listening room.
The RP600M create a soundstage that is impressively wide and tall, placing instruments where they should be and creating space between them.
Build quality is good, not the best of the group but good enough and whilst visually they can only be a Klipsch, their look works for me. They have the usual magnetically held grilles which satisfyingly snap into place. The speaker has a good quality veneer finish and I appreciate the high quality speaker cable terminals. Carrying out the usual ‘tap test’ produces a disconcerting ring which clearly forms part of and, for this speaker is likely of benefit to the overall sound character
I am really pleased to have included these speakers in my group test so that I was able to spend some time enjoying them. The Klipsch RP-600M are not perfect and they definitely have a character sound which I think is the whole point, they are different and proud or proud to be different.
They are certainly not a one-trick pony speaker either, they are not only about a lively energetic sound there is a good amount of maturity to them as well.
Its very rare for me to be torn by a HiFi component and especially not by speakers. My brain strongly tells me that their design has some flaws that means I should not like them, but my heart tells me that I really enjoyed the way they make music really very entertaining to listen to. They will not suit everyone but they should certainly be on your audition list, definitely don't write them off for the wrong reasons as that would be a grave mistake.
Frequency Response - 45Hz – 25KHz ±3db
Sensitivity - 96db/1m
Normal Impedance - 8Ω
Power (Cont/Peak) - 100w/400w
An Essential Audition Award is granted in recognition of a products high performance but with a certain uniqueness that makes auditioning even more essential