Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Klipsch Reference II 5.1 Home Theater Speaker System

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In Use

I opened my evaluation with the Blu Ray of The Pacific "Chapter 9". Compared to Band of Brothers, The Pacific is much slower paced and more unsettling. It's just not as heroic feeling. This is probably indicative of the realities of each individual campaign. It appears that both of these HBO miniseries are historically accurate, which I like. My father was a Marine Raider in WWII and after watching The Pacific, I wondered "How in the world did he survive all those chaotic battles?" All in all, though, I preferred Band of Brothers over The Pacific. But in The Pacific, you do get to see both the passion and compassion in different people. It just takes too long to develop the characters.

Klipsch 5.1 Reference II speaker system for the Home Theater

The theme music set the stage right from the opening credits - the sound of the Klipsch Reference speakers was very promising. These Klipsch speakers were seriously dynamic with sparkling highs, excellent transient response and a very nice tonal balance. Dialog was nice and clean too. But there was a mild thickness in the lower mid-bass. The surround speakers really fleshed out the surround bubble. Take the night rain fire fight scene: The sound of the bullets in the air was amazing sounding. Could this be because of the WDST technology in the Klipsch RS-62 surrounds. Meanwhile, explosions had a satisfying weight, even through this little SW-311 sub. All in all, this was a top-notch performance. It was fantasmarific!

Klipsch 5.1 Reference II speaker system for the Home Theater

The next disc was the SACD of Bach Organ Works with Kari Vuola performing on the organ at the Naantali Covent Church in Finland. All I can say is that the sound over the Klipsch Reference speakers was good enough that I thought I could almost smell the candles and incense in the Naantali Church. I also felt that the surround envelopment was top-notch. The hard surfaces of the church interior were particularly illuminated. But I didn't feel that I could grasp the true size and height of the space.

In a piece like Track 6 "Sonata I Allegro" with its up-beat key and pedal work, I pictured Kari sitting there working the keys in my minds' eye. The Klipsch Reference II's had very accurate timbre reproduction. On Track 11, "Sonata III Vivace" rolled around; I almost completely melted into my chair, submitting to a fantastic performance. This system had an extremely balanced sound from top to bottom, very impressive. It is hard for me to think of a speaker system with a better price to performance ratio than the Klipsch Reference II's.

The bass wasn't the last word in extension or loudness on this pipe organ music. But the SW-311 was mighty impressive for its size. The bass was in balance with the rest of the system. It was enough to convince me that if your sub is more than about five years old, you should probably consider getting a new one. Subwoofers have come a long way in this time. Nowadays, small subs with long-throw drivers, substantial motor structures, high powered amps and auto EQ's can literally amaze you. And I could hardly believe how good this little sub was. Try auditioning one yourself. You might be impressed too.

Klipsch 5.1 Reference II speaker system for the Home Theater

I like the main theme of Megamind – evil must exist to give rise to good. It's a classic yin yang tale. The movie also toys with the concept of, "Once you have it all, what's left?" This modern animated film has good special effects and all that, but what I love about Megamind is the soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. There is so much fun music in this movie – AC/DC, Olivia Newton-John, Ozzy Osborne, George Thorogood, Michael Jackson . . . you get the idea. And I thought the Klipsch Reference II system had such nice layering in this music. I also liked the transparency on voices that I heard on this system. The bass from the small form factor of the SW-311 subwoofer was more than acceptable. The closing song in the finale was Michael Jackson's I'm Bad. This song had an awesome surround bubble.

Klipsch 5.1 Reference II speaker system for the Home Theater

I just love my Stevie Wonder Live at Last Blu-Ray. Stevie and his large band come right out and show everyone how to "do" music. And this disc has excellent picture quality too. It is amazing how far Blu-Ray can take the quality of a concert video over what we had just a few short years ago. Now all my old DVDs sound and look so cruddy. I drove the Klipsch Reference II's with an Anthem MRX-500 receiver. I engaged Anthem Room Correction (ARC) while watching this disc. With ARC engaged, the thickness in the lower mid-bass was vanquished.

The highs sparkled and there was a ton of detail in the music with first rate ambience. On the songs with an upbeat tempo like "Sir Duke", I wanted to dance along with the London audience. The bass lines were very nimble. This system, with the Anthem Receiver and the Klipsch Reference II speaker system, sound way better than you would think for the price. I mean the five Klipsch satellites retail for around $2,500 plus the sub retails for $1,500 for a total MSRP of about $4,000 for the whole 5.1 system. And another great thing about the Klipsch speakers is their high efficiency so that a receiver like the Anthem MRX-500 had plenty of juice for just about anybody. The only thing I didn't simply love about these speakers was the finish and the plastic trim. They are not to my personal taste.

One last point on the subwoofer – it was this sub where during the chase scene at the end of The Next Three Days the grille cover blew off and vaulted across the room. So it was powerful, but the bass was also clean and tuneful, sounding as if it rolled off starting around 28 - 30 Hz. Don't laugh when you see it, because this little sub means serious business.