This week we reviewed the Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant speaker, a declination of the first Klipsch The Three speaker, now featuring Chromecast and Google Assistant. Voice control is now available, and it’s also possible to cast music from Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Google Play Music and many more apps for iOS and Android.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: acoustic design
The Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant speaker is acoustically identical to the previous model. Consequently, we find a class D amplification module delivering 60W RMS, with a maximum volume of 106 dB at 50 cm. In other words, this speaker meant for close-range listening can play really loud. It’s a stereo model, with two 2¼” full range drivers. However, the lows are entrusted to a 5¼” driver, charged by two passive radiators of the same size.
As a reminder, this technique allows for a wide frequency response in the lows, despite the speaker having a small enclosure.
The speaker can therefore keep a very reasonable size.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: say goodbye to DTS Play-Fi
The first Klipsch The Three Speaker included the DTS Play-Fi streaming protocol for listening to audio files and online music services. With the Three with Google Assistant, Klipsch has removed DTS and has, logically, integrated a Google Chromecast. A forced decision – it’s impossible to listen to music with Google Assistant without Chromecast – that nevertheless opens up more possibilities. Firstly, it is no longer necessary to use a proprietary application with the risk of updates being few and far between; the Spotify, Deezer, Google Play Music, Tidal and TuneIn applications for iOS or Android can be used directly. Better still, any computer running the Chrome web browser can cast music from a web page to the Klipsch The Three speaker. Furthermore, streaming with Chromecast is lossless.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: voice control
The Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant has a microphone (that can be deactivated) to intercept the user’s voice commands. As with all other Google Assistant devices, you simply need to start by saying “OK Google”. You can then ask the speaker to play a song, give you a weather report, create a grocery list, turn the smart lighting on in a specific room or even start playing a television series on Netflix (on a UHD Android TV). This is not an exhaustive list; the speaker can recognize hundreds of commands thanks to Google Assistant’s artificial intelligence.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: personalized music with Voice Match.
The different music services in which the Google Assistant searches for songs can be defined with the Google Home mobile app. This way, multiple users can pair their Google account to the Klipsch speaker, taking care to activate the Voice Match function. As a result, each user may use their own associated music service. This function is useful, as it prevents children asking for their favorite songs from affecting their dad’s recommendations on Deezer or Spotify.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: Multi-room
The Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant speaker can be incorporated into a group of speakers (the brand is irrelevant as long as they have an integrated Chromecast module) for a grouped or multi-room listening experience. For the latter, we recommend having a competent WiFi network that can support the load of connected devices, especially when smartphones and other connected devices are connected to the Internet. The Netgear Orbi can be a good solution.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: Bluetooth
The Klipsch the Three with Google Assistant is fitted with a Bluetooth receiver exclusively compatible with the SBC codec. Not really a deal-breaker considering that this type of speaker is not designed to ensure hi-fi quality listening. Moreover, using the Chromecast module results in a much better sound quality. Nevertheless, Bluetooth transmission can be a convenient feature when you have guests over, for example.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: setup
It’s really simple to set up the Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant speaker. You only need to install the Google Home application on a smartphone (iPhone, Android). The app will quickly detect the speaker and help you with its configuration. Within a few minutes, the speaker is ready to answer voice commands and play music.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: listening impressions
The Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant speaker’s restitution is identical to that of the previous model. The mids are punchy, sometimes biting, while the lows are energetic and benefit from a pleasant extension. In brief, a full and generous restitution, with a lot more character than the iconic models in the same category (Sonos One, Sony LF-S50G, Bose Home Speaker 500, etc.).
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: compared to…
Bose Home Speaker 500: the little Bose has a more delicate restitution, better suited to long listening sessions as it doesn’t monopolize the listener’s attention as much. It can’t play as loud as the Klipsch however. Voice control is handled by Amazon Alexa and there is a dedicated app for musical listening. Accordingly, Klipsch has the upper hand thanks to the flexibility gained with Chromecast.
Sonos One: for the same price as the Klipsch, you can have two Sonos One speakers for true stereo sound. The One (alone) rivals the Klipsch in the lows – it is even tighter – and is softer in the mids and highs. Voice control is handled by Alexa, but it’s possible to cast music from online music services (Google Play Music included). Sonos also has the advantage when it comes to multi-room streaming, thanks to the famous Sonos mobile app (iOS, Android). It looks like Sonos has been looking into the possibility of integrating Chromecast technology and the Google assistant in 2019, via a software update.
Google Home: Google has used two small passive drivers in addition to a full range driver to deliver punchy lows. But their size stops them from competing with the Klipsch speaker, substantially more generous and powerful. However, the very first speaker with Google Assistant remains an interesting choice for those looking for a model with great impact for its size.
Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant: conclusion
Integrated Chromecast and Google Assistant is an excellent idea from Klipsch. The Klipsch The Three speaker is very easy and pleasant to use, whether it be by voice control, or by using a smartphone. The energetic sound signature is appealing, and so is the Klipsch Heritage style finish, with an irreprochable wood veneer and acoustic fabric. The line, phono and USB inputs of the previous model are missing. If you’re looking for a smart speaker with a strong personality, the Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant speaker is a compelling option.
What we liked:
- The possibilities and convenience of Chromecast.
- The Google Assistant voice control.
- The dynamic restitution.
What we would have liked:
- The USB, line and phono inputs of the older version.
- The previous model’s Bluetooth aptX codec.