American company Klipsch has been developing speakers since the end of the Second World War. In that time, it’s made a solid name for itself that’s spread far beyond its domestic borders. Klipsch is an iconic American audio brand that offers everything from HiFi speakers to huge devices made especially for cinemas.
Klipsch is also known for its large monitor speakers equipped with impressive bass drivers and horn tweeters. The horn tweeter is the brand’s signature, and it’s also found in their smaller models, including these RP-600M IIs. These tweeters enlarge the soundstage and reproduce the finer details, delivering the realism that’s so sought after in high fidelity. In fact, many audiophiles swear by horn speakers. Through testing these Klipsch speakers, we’ll get a good idea of what the compact version of these tweeters has to offer.
Overview of the RP-600M II
The RP-600M II speakers have a classic look, especially in the black finish we received. When the fabric cover is in place, they don’t really have a particular signature aesthetic. Klipsch also offers the RP-600M IIs in a walnut finish.
The finish uses a vinyl veneer (i.e. fake wood), though we found the texture very realistic, both visually and to the touch. The acoustic mesh fabric is also very elegant, simply embossed with a bronze logo—the colour that’s synonymous with Klipsch.
Removing the speaker covers reveals the RP-600M II’s characteristic features. Firstly, there’s the Cerametallic woofer with a ceramic cone and bronze anodised finish. This is a signature feature within the Reference Premiere range which is lightweight and boasts a very high stiffness-to-mass ratio. The new motor structure allows for better power handling and damping, reducing distortion.
Directly above this, you’ll find the Klipsch Tractrix horn tweeter. The whole component is wider than the diameter of the woofer and is also wider than the previous generation for improved directivity. The vented tweeter housing helps prevent unwanted harmonics. This 25 mm tweeter, with its Linear Travel Suspension and titanium diaphragm, is vented (preventing distortion) and mounted in a silicone horn to control its dispersion.
On the rear panel, you’ll find the patented Tractrix bass reflex port. This port has custom-designed inner flares that help reduce air turbulence entering the port. This allows for cleaner, more powerful bass.
Using the RP-600M II
Klipsch has added a cork pad to the underside of the RP-600M II, and it takes up a good portion of the surface area for optimum stability. This means the speakers can be easily placed on a piece of furniture, shelf or stand without the need for other accessories. Plus, neither the speaker nor the stand will get scratched.
With a height of 40 cm, these speakers belong in the medium to large bookshelf category and will need to be placed in an appropriate, unobstructed place. Since they have a rear port, it’s best to keep them away from the wall. This will also help the horn tweeters reproduce a broad soundstage.
Klipsch doesn’t provide suggestions regarding the ideal room size for the RP-600M II. The frequency response starts at 44 Hz (+/-3 dB), which is pretty good for speakers of this size. We’d be inclined to use them in spaces around 20m² or perhaps a little bigger. Beyond that, you’ll need to switch to one of the Reference Premier floor-standing models, or maybe choose one of the many subwoofers in Klipsch’s catalogue.
Thanks to the horn tweeter and powerful woofer, the RP-600M II has a sensitivity of 94.5 dB. This means they can be paired with a modest power amp, although Klipsch recommends 100-400 Watts. The conventional impedance is 8 ohms. There are dual input terminals for bi-wiring and bi-amplification. This might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of speakers that cost under £1000 a pair, but it’s an option.
The Reference Premier range includes a total of four floor-standing models, two bookshelf models, three centre speakers and two surround & Atmos effect speakers. To maintain tonal consistency, the same ‘Hybrid Cross-Section Expanded Tractrix’ horn tweeter is used in all models. The diameter and quantity of Cerametallic woofers, on the other hand, varies. It’s therefore possible to create a home cinema setup with these speakers, from the simplest (5.1) to the most complex (7.1.4).
The Klipsch speakers took the place of our usual Dynaudio in an identical setup: They were placed directly on our enfilade-style stand and amplified by an Elac DPA-2 with 225 Watts of power per channel under 8 ohms. We used the Qobuz app on a Macbook.
Although the recording itself isn’t overly impressive, the presence of the vocals on Rachael & Vilray’s I Love a Love Song! album is impressive. Concentrated in the centre and completely free from harshness, the voices take shape slightly in front of the speakers, with the instruments forming the backdrop, replicating reality as authentically as possible. We also noticed a smoothness to the sound that’s unlike the Klipsch speakers of this level we’ve tested in the past. Something is clearly different, although there’s still a roundness in the upper bass (or is there a hollow in the midrange?). You’ll only need to turn up the volume a bit to get results that are more than convincing in this area—there’s no need for a subwoofer in small rooms.
The RP-600M IIs reproduce a wide soundstage that extends well beyond the two-speaker boundary, as we heard on Mac DeMarco’s latest album, Five Easy Hot Dogs. Each layer of sound has an excellent presence. The soundstage also has great verticality, and the instruments are clearly defined. Each element is precise in its reproduction without sounding over-defined. The tone isn’t the most faithful we’ve ever heard, though the warm signature sound that Klipsch has opted for never gets tiring to listen to.
On more complex recordings, such as Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the RP-600M II’s ability to reproduce a realistic soundstage really comes into its own. The soundstage demonstrates great depth, which allows the different sections of the orchestra to be easily distinguished. Often, the depth of a stereo speaker system is greater in the centre than it is at the sides. However, with these Klipsch speakers, the soundstage extends well behind the speakers. On the tonal side, the brass and string sections were a little less defined, though this is arguably a worthwhile trade-off considering the stunning soundstage.
The RP-600M II speakers have turned everything we thought we knew about Klipsch on its head. With this second generation of the Reference Premier range, the new horn tweeter still offers a great soundstage whilst also bringing a little softness and warmth. This is, however, at the expense of a well-defined midrange. Nonetheless, the entire sound spectrum is still pleasant, and the speakers offer a solid bass if you pair them with a good-quality amplifier. Its best feature is undoubtedly the incredible soundstage that instantly fills the whole listening room. Plus, the RP-600M IIs are really rather good value for money.