Review : Klipsch RSB-14

A lot of sound pressure, little else

Klipsch has the highest sound pressure in the test. But the soundbar disappoints on sound quality.

Klipsch RSB-14
Klipsch RSB-14

Our verdict

When it comes to sound pressure, Klipsch is in a separate class. The user-friendliness of the Play-Fi multi-room is very good.
The sound quality does not measure up.
HDMI: 3 in/1 out (ARC)
Digital in: Optical
Network: Wi-Fi, ethernet
Wireless: DTS Play-Fi, Bluetooth (aptX)
Analogue in: 3.5 mm mini jack
Subwoofer: Wireless
W x H x D: 111.8 x 8.3 x 8.3 cm
Colour: Black

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Price: £ 8995

The RSB-14 is a very comprehensive soundbar, with three HDMI inputs that support all of the video formats, including the latest copy protection on Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. The wireless subwoofer is in place and the soundbar can be connected in a wireless multi-room setup thanks to DTS Play-Fi. This can be used across brands and can be grouped with similar products from MartinLogan, McIntosh, Onkyo and Pioneer, among others. The only thing required is that they support Play-Fi. Thus, this is a kind of competitor to Google Cast.
The soundbar is connected to the network by downloading the app Klipsch Stream. The user-friendliness of Play-Fi is very good, it’s easy to group several speakers into networks, and the Tidal interface is also very good, almost like the original Tidal app.

Sound quality

The surround sound feature on film is quite good. Here one gets a good impression of surround sound. And this is the test’s most powerful soundbar. It can project very loudly!
But there are some important problems. First, there is an audible whizzing sound from the speakers. But more importantly, the sound quality is not particularly good. The overtone area is fairly constricted, dialogue sounds coloured, and the bass area is particularly bombastic and masks the lower vocal ranges in the dialogue. Deadpool already sounds like he is mumbling as he talks behind his mask. It gets even worse when it is rendered by the Klipsch soundbar.
For film, we still want to assert that the RSB-14 works in an emergency. The big problem arises when you want to play music. Here, the bass range takes over, and it doesn’t help to mute the subwoofer, as there is a hump in midrange that colours the sound a lot. Do we hear an electric bass or a double bass? An electric piano or a grand piano? It’s not so easy to hear. It lacks overtones. It sounds quite simply woolly. It becomes somewhat clearer with the Dialogue button enabled for clearer speech. But acoustic music sounds hard, dark and not very engaging.
The soundbar can play almost absurdly loud, but that doesn’t help much. We don’t feel like throwing a party with this. Disappointing. Especially when we know that Klipsch makes so many other good products.

Conclusion

The soundbar from Klipsch is easy to connect and use, and three HDMI inputs are more than what most can boast. It is also the most powerful of the test. You can play very loudly with Klipsch RSB-14, and Play-Fi is not brand-dependent to work in multi-room.
It unfortunately doesn’t help much, because the soundbar simply does not sound good enough. The dialogue in film lacks resolution and music in stereo works poorly. The sound is quite simply woolly.

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