Review: Klipsch RSB-14

Lots of sound pressure, not much else

Klipsch has the highest sound pressure. 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 class of its own. The usability of Play-Fi multiroom is very good.
The sound quality does not measure up.
  • HDMI: 3 in / 1 out (ARC)
  • Digital input: Optical
  • Network: Wi-Fi, ethernet
  • Wireless: DTS Play-Fi, Bluetooth (aptX)
  • Analog input: 3.5 mm minijack
  • Subwoofer: Wireless
  • W x H x D: 111.8 x 8.3 x 8.3 cm
  • Color: Black
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Price: £ 899

RSB-14 is a very complete audio board, with three HDMI inputs that support all video formats, including the latest copy protection on Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. Wireless subwoofer is in place, and the soundbar can be connected in wireless multi-room setup thanks to DTS Play-Fi. This goes 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, this is thus a kind of competitor to Google Cast.

The soundbar connects to the network by downloading the Klipsch Stream app. The ease of use of Play-Fi is very good, it is easy to group several speakers in a network, and the Tidal interface is also very good, almost like on the original Tidal app.

Sound quality

The surround sound function on film is quite good, here you get a good impression of surround sound. And this is by far the test’s most powerful soundbar, it can play very loud!

But there are some important issues. First, there is an audible hissing sound from the speakers. But more importantly, the sound quality is not particularly good. The harmonic area is fairly closed, the dialogues sound colored, and the bass area is extremely swollen and masks the lower voice register in the dialogues. Deadpool sounds quite mumbling from before where he talks behind his mask, it gets worse when it is to be reproduced by the soundbar from Klipsch.

For film, however, we would argue that the RSB-14 works in an emergency. The big problem arises when playing music. Here the bass register takes over, and it does not help to dampen the subwoofer, as there is a hump in the midrange range that colors the sound a lot. Is it electric bass or double bass we hear? Electric piano or grand piano? It’s not easy to hear. It lacks harmonics, it simply sounds woolly. It gets a little clearer with the Dialog button activated for clearer speech. But it sounds hard, dark and unengaging on acoustic music.

The soundbar can play almost absurdly loud, but it helps so little. We do not feel like having a party with this one. 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 most can boast. It is also the most powerful in the test, you can play very loud with the Klipsch RSB-14, and Play-Fi is not brand-dependent for working in multi-rooms.

Unfortunately, it does not help much, since the soundbar simply does not sound good enough. Dialogues on film lack resolution, and music in stereo works poorly. The sound is simply woolly.

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