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Review: Klipsch R-15PM

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Review of the Klipsch R-15PM active bookshelf speakers, equipped with a 2 x 50 Watts amplifier, digital inputs, as well as a phono input and Bluetooth apt-X wireless receiver. These speakers come with a remote control but without acoustic covers. The KIipsch R-15PM bookshelf speakers are part of the Reference series and the first to feature an integrated amplifier. Klipsch’s goal was to design a pair of compact and autonomous speakers fitted with connectors which could cover a wide range of possibilities. All of it for an affordable price.

The type B USB input is compatible with 24 bits / 96 kHz audio stream which allows the speakers to handle digital music played from a computer (PC, Mac) or NAS, for example. The optical digital input can be used by many different sources such as a CD player, DVD player, Blu-ray player, HDTV, gaming console, etc. As for the Bluetooth receiver, it allows wireless streaming from smartphones, tablets and Bluetooth computers.

Klipsch R-15PM

The right speaker hosts the stereo amplifier, the left speaker is a passive model and should be connected to the active speaker.

Klipsch R-15PM: amplification

The Klipsch R-15PM are the first speakers from the Reference range to feature an integrated amplifier. Offering limited yet adequate power, the amplifier offers performances suitable for the bass-medium driver, which can handle 50 W in continuous power.

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Klipsch R-15PM: the drivers

The transducers used for these speakers are identical to the ones used for the Klipsch R-15M. The same 5.25″ bass-medium driver fitted with an IMG membrane (Injection Molded Graphite, or in other words graphite powder injected under pressure and covered with copper) is placed in a small air volume provided via bass-reflex. The frequency response in the lower end of the spectrum goes down to around 62 Hz as the resonator is tuned at a frequency of 54 Hz.

Klipsch R-15PM

The aluminium dome tweeter is placed behind a phase piece which is used to improve the dispersion of the sound wave.

The tweeter is an aluminum dome model mounted on a compression chamber and placed in the throat of a Tractrix horn. The acoustic horn acts as a mechanical amplification method and is used to increase the sensitivity of the tweeter in the lower end of the frequencies delivered. This method, combined with the proper electronic crossover filter make it possible to use a thinner and lighter dome in order to obtain a better transient regime.

Klipsch R-15PM

Back view of the tweeter through the resonator. We can see a heat sink which is the guarantee of good power handling and a coherent dynamic range at high volume.

Klipsch R-15PM: Bluetooth

The Bluetooth receiver is compatible with SBC and apt-X codecs. The former is universal and integrated to all transmitters while the latter offers a superior quality but is only available with smartphones, tablets and apt-X Bluetooth computers. We tested both transmission modes with a Meizu smartphone and a Macbook. As far as the important resolution offered by the tweeter is concerned, the difference between the two transmission modes is noticeable. The result is better when using the apt-X mode as it allows the speaker to deliver a better layered soundstage.

Klipsch R-15PM

The remote controls allows, among other things, to deactivate the small LED on the front panel of the active speaker.

Klipsch R-15PM: USB

Convenient, the USB input of the Klipsch R-15PM does not require the installation of a specific driver, regardless of the computer’s OS (Windows, Mac OS or Linux). The playback of stereo files (MP3, M4A, FLAC, etc.) is possible up to 24 bits and 96 kHz. This input is thus audio HD compatible. The Toslink optical input is also compatible with audio stream up to 24 bits and 96 kHz.

Klipsch R-15PM: analog inputs and outputs

The stereo RCA phono input is compatible with mobile coil cartridges. The RIAA preamplifier can be activated or deactivated to obtain an extra input, which is very convenient for connecting a CD player or a network player via a different input than the mini-jack line input. The listening experience is more realistic this way. It is also possible to adjust the level of this output via the IR remote control.

Klipsch R-15PM: adjustable output for subwoofer

Another positive feature is that Klipsch has thought of integrating an output for an active subwoofer. As the format of the speaker prevent the delivery of very low frequencies, the opportunity for pairing with a subwoofer is a good choice. The listening experience therefore becomes more authentic. The IR remote control features a level adjustment for this output.

Klipsch R-15PM

The terminals of the passive speaker

Klipsch R-15PM: test conditions

We listened to the Klipsch R-15PM with two Bluetooth sources connected to the USB port of a Macbook with an Audioquest Forest USB cable. The cable we used to connect the speakers was the one supplied, which can be simply attached to the terminals of the speakers.

Klipsch R-15PM

Four rubber feet are placed under each speaker

Klipsch R-15PM: sound signature and listening impressions

Bass: swift and clean, very responsive in the higher end of the spectrum without any excess, thus not affecting negatively the clarity of the low-mediums.

Medium: energetic low-medium, which benefits voices and fundamental frequencies of most string instruments.

Treble: slightly physiological, with an energy focused around 5 kHz and a little brightness beyond 10 kHz, probably a conscious choice from Klipsch for a smoother listening experience.

Klipsch R-15PM: conclusion

The Klipsch R-15PM bookshelf speakers are easy to listen to, by which we mean that they deliver an articulated and clear sound devoid of any harshness that flatters the ears. The integrated amplification will satisfy anyone who wishes to save room by not adding an amplifier and an external DAC. These speakers are an all-in-one solution to easily connect an HDTV, a turntable and a wireless source, especially for smartphones and tablets.

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

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