Review: Klipsch Heritage Groove

0
2012

The Klipsch Heritage Groove is the smallest portable Bluetooth speaker from the American manufacturer and has an amplifier output of 20W, as well as 8 hours of battery life. The Klipsch Groove cleverly combines the design of Klipsch Heritage speakers with Bluetooth transmission technology and a mini-jack input so that you can easily listen to music from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Now sold for 119 euros, will this mini Bluetooth speaker live up to Klipsch’s reputation? 

The Klipsch Heritage groove is Klipsch’s smallest portable Bluetooth speaker. It has an output power of 20 watts and 8 hours of battery life.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: the brand

Klipsch was founded in the late 30s when founder Paul Wilbur Klipsch began developing his first speakers inside a small hangar in Hope, Arkansas. Met with great enthusiasm from his audiophile friends, he decided to found his company to commercialize his first loudspeaker, the Klipschorn, in 1946. This exceptional patented model, which was developed to reproduce the emotion of a live concert at home, featured a large 15” low frequency driver paired with a 2” midrange driver and compression chamber. The highs were assigned to a 1” tweeter also placed in a compression chamber and Tractrix horn. This model was so successful that more than 70 years after its release, the sixth generation of this speaker is still in the American manufacturer’s catalog.

Paul Wilbur Klipsch in front of the first Klipschorn, released in 1946.

In 1957, Klipsch introduced the first version of the Klipsch Heresy loudspeaker. This model was made to accompany a pair of Klipschorns and deliver the center channel in high fidelity. This novel idea didn’t find an audience and was quickly abandoned in favor of a classic stereo configuration. The fourth generation of the Klipsch Heresy speaker is still available in the manufacturer’s catalog. For this fourth version, Klipsch took the main features of the Klipsch Heresy III, which impressed us during our review (read our review of the Klipsch Heresy III), and made a few improvements, such as the addition of a rear-firing port to make it even more effective.

The first Klipsch Heresy speaker was designed to deliver a central channel in high fidelity when used with a pair of Klipschorns.

After its success in hi-fi, Klipsch decided to apply its expertise to designing movie theater sound systems. It all began in 1980 when the brand designed a digital sound system for John Allen. In this system, each channel was reproduced by a Klipsch MCM loudspeaker, an exceptional model equipped with a 15” subwoofer, a 12” Tractrix horn-loaded midbass driver and a titanium Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter.

In 1980, Klipsch designed a digital sound system in which each channel was reproduced by a Klipsch MCM speaker.

The early 2000s were a pivotal moment for Klipsch. The American brand continued to produce its iconic hi-fi and home theater speakers, but expanded its product range to cater to new ways of listening to music. As a result, the brand now has an extensive catalog featuring hi-fi headphones, Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth earphones, soundbars, wireless speakers and portable Bluetooth speakers, which includes the brand’s smallest model: the Klipsch Heritage Groove that we are reviewing today.

The Klipsch Heritage Groove portable Bluetooth speaker has a design that is unique to the American brand.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: packaging & accessories

The Klipsch Heritage Groove comes in an elegant box inside of which it is securely held in place by polystyrene sheets. It comes with a USB-A to micro USB cable for charging and two AC adapters.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: presentation

As soon as we took it out of the box, the Klipsch Heritage Groove left no doubt as to its origins. The spirit of the American brand was evident, with a design strongly inspired by that of the speakers in the Klipsch Heritage and Klipsch Heritage Wireless ranges. The Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker features a genuine wood cabinet on the top and bottom panels. The other four sides are covered with an elegant acoustic fabric which is either heather gray for the walnut model or checkered for the black model. The fabric is embellished with a metal plaque of the brand name. 

The acoustic fabric of the front panel of the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker is embellished with a metal plaque sporting the name of the brand.

At the center of the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker’s top panel is a large aluminum plate featuring the control interface. This interface lets you turn on the Groove, adjust the volume, select the source (Bluetooth or mini-jack auxiliary) and answer phone calls. For the latter feature, the Klipsch Groove speaker houses a high-sensitivity microphone on the top panel. The microphone ensures high-quality voice capture for clear and intelligible phone calls. Unlike the brand’s wireless speakers such as the Klipsch The Three, however, the microphone is only used for phone calls and can’t be used to interact with voice assistants.

The top panel of the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker features a control interface for selecting the source (Bluetooth or mini-jack), adjusting the volume, starting the speaker or answering phone calls.

The most appealing thing about the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker is unquestionably its ultra-compact size. Weighing less than 1 kilo and measuring just 152mm in length, 127mm in height and 67mm in depth, this Klipsch Bluetooth speaker sits snugly in your hand and can easily be carried outside or from room to room.

The Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker is compact in size and fits easily in your hand so you can take it outdoors or carry it from room to room.

Underneath the elegant acoustic fabric, the Klipsch Heritage Groove Bluetooth speaker features a 3” aluminum cone full-range driver. The driver is loaded in a sealed cabinet and is paired with two passive radiators located at the back of the speaker to extend the low frequency response. Amplification is provided by a digital module capable of delivering up to 20 watts. Lastly, Klipsch has also built a DSP into the Groove to optimise the sound according to the volume.

The Klipsch Heritage Groove portable Bluetooth speaker features 3 drivers and a 20-watt amplifier. The latter is equipped with a DSP to optimize the sound according to the volume. 

Klipsch Heritage Groove: Bluetooth and mini-jack

The Klipsch Heritage Groove features a Bluetooth controller compatible with the SBC codec so that you can easily stream music wirelessly from any compatible device. Consequently, smartphones, tablets, DAPs and computers can all be paired with this Klipsch speaker to play music, whether it’s tracks stored in the device’s memory, internet radios or online music services. In addition to Bluetooth connectivity, the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker is also equipped with a 3.5mm mini-jack stereo analog input to connect sources that aren’t Bluetooth compatible. It is therefore possible to connect it to a television, a CD player or a computer, for example.

The Klipsch Heritage Groove portable speaker can be used in Bluetooth mode or in wireless mode via the mini-jack input to ensure compatibility with all sources.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: 8-hour battery life 

Because it is a portable model, the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker has a rechargeable battery so that you may enjoy your music outdoors. This 2200mAh battery offers up to 8 hours of battery life. When the battery is flat, it can be easily charged using the micro USB port on the back of the speaker. The cable can be connected to the included AC adapter or to any other USB port capable of delivering a voltage of 5V and a current of 2A.

The Klipsch Heritage Groove portable speaker has a rechargeable battery offering up to 8 hours of autonomy so that you can freely enjoy your music in your home or garden.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: listening conditions 

For our review of the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker, we streamed music via Bluetooth from an iOS smartphone and a FiiO M9 DAP. We listened to music stored in the internal memory of these devices, but also tracks on Spotify and Qobuz. It was very easy to pair the Klipsch Heritage Groove to the source. The procedure is activated by pressing and holding the speaker’s Bluetooth button for a few seconds. An LED indicator will then begin to flash, indicating that the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker has entered pairing mode. The speaker is now visible and ready to be paired via the Bluetooth settings on the smartphone or DAP. 

The Klipsch Heritage Groove portable Bluetooth speaker and the Sony NW-ZX100 DAP.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: listening impressions

When we first listened to the Klipsch Heritage Groove portable Bluetooth speaker, we were impressed by the volume it managed to produce despite having such a small enclosure. With the track Hit That Jive by Grammatik, the Klipsch speaker had a lot of character in the mids. The bass was pronounced, although it would have been nice if the Klipsch Heritage Groove had gone a little deeper to provide more substance in the low end of the spectrum.  

We were impressed by the volume that the Klipsch Heritage Groove portable Bluetooth speaker was able to produce despite its compact size.

At moderate volume, the Klipsch Heritage Groove speaker was dynamic and provided a pleasant sound with the song Summer Girl by Jamiroquai. However, the soundstage had a tendency to lose balance when the volume was increased. The tone of the British singer’s voice wasn’t as natural and the highest notes sometimes lacked softness and precision.

Klipsch Heritage Groove: compared to…

Klipsch The One II: the Klipsch The One II Bluetooth speaker is the Klipsch Heritage Groove’s larger sibling. It is equipped with a true 2.1 stereo audio system powered by a dual amplifier with a total output power of 60 watts. As regards to sound, the Klipsch The One II offers a more precise reproduction, deeper lows, more accurate highs and a soundstage that is more balanced overall, even at very high volume. However, the Klipsch Heritage Groove takes the lead in terms of compactness and versatility. It can be easily taken outdoors thanks to its small size and rechargeable battery, while the Klipsch The One II is much larger (322 x 155.6 x 133mm and 3.86kg) and runs solely on mains power.

Sony SRS-XB41: smaller, but 500 grams heavier, this Sony speaker is a serious opponent for the Klipsch Heritage Groove. It provides a powerful sound that will be very appealing to those who love strong bass. The tonal balance is also well-maintained, even at high volume. The Sony SRS-XB41 also has many other advantages, including a completely waterproof and dustproof design, a daisy-chain mode so that you can combine several speakers, and a battery life of 24 hours. Despite its extra 500 grams, it is a more suitable solution to accompany the user to the pool, the beach and on other adventures.

JBL Pulse 3: sold for the same price as the Klipsch Heritage Groove, this JBL speaker features a cylindrical design that provides 360° sound. As a result, it can be placed in the middle of the table so that all guests can enjoy the same sound quality. Music is reproduced pretty accurately, but can sometimes lack width due to the speaker’s mono design. In spite of this, the sound is generally more balanced. Finally, the JBL Pulse 3 also comes out on top regarding practicality thanks to its mobile app, compatibility with the Siri and Google voice assistants, light effects, and IPX7 waterproof rating, which means the speaker can be completely immersed. 

Klipsch Heritage Groove: conclusion 

With the Klipsch Heritage Groove, the American manufacturer offers an extremely compact solution that can easily be placed on a table in the garden or taken with you on vacation. However, it is important not to turn the volume up over 75% in order to enjoy accurate sound reproduction.

What we liked:

  • The design
  • The compact size
  • The hands-free feature

What we would have liked:

  • aptX Bluetooth
  • Better balance at high volume

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Traductrice et rédactrice avec des goûts très éclectiques en matière de musique et de cinéma. Lorsque je ne suis pas au travail, vous pouvez me retrouver en train de regarder “Lost in Translation” de Sofia Coppola pour la centième fois, ou d’écouter un disque de David Bowie, Kate Bush, Joy Division ou Daft Punk sur ma platine Rega Planar 1. Étant d’origine britannique, je suis également adepte de séries à l’humour absurde comme Monty Python’s Flying Circus et The Mighty Boosh !

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