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Klipsch RB-51 Bookshelf Speakers Preview

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Klipsch RB-51 Bookshelf Speakers

Klipsch RB-51 Bookshelf Speakers

Summary

  • Product Name: RB-51 Bookshelf Speakers
  • Manufacturer: Klipsch
  • Review Date: October 13, 2010 07:25
  • MSRP: $389/pair
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Executive Overview

Around late Spring of 2010, Audioholics did a Floorstanding Speaker Face-Off which included the Klipsch RF-62s. Participants in the speaker shootout seemed to rank the Klipsch very well, enjoying its clarity and high frequency definition as well as its deep bass response. Recently we were personally introduced to its "little brother", as it were, the RB-51 Bookshelf speakers. This speaker shares the same 3.5" x 2.5" Tractrix Horn and have a "deep throat" from which the high frequency, natural sound emanates and spreads into the listening area. Behind this horn lies a 1-inch titanium tweeter with a powerful neodymium motor structure that keeps it cool, and thus efficient, delivering excellent dynamics and highs that don't suffer from compression or lack of definition - even at loud volumes.

Klipsch RB-51 Bookshelf Speaker YouTube Review

The RB-51 also includes a 5-1/4 inch woofer for solid bass reproduction that dips down to 50Hz. That's not subwoofer frequency, but it's low enough to provide plenty of punch. The woofer is "Cerametallic" which is to say it is a hybrid ceramic and metal composition with an inverted copper dust cap. It's stiff, and that translates into accurate sound reproduction and less breakup distortion which ruins sound quality.

Klipsch matches its excellent drivers with equally impressive crossover components, and what we found on the RB-51 Reference Bookshelf Speakers was no exception. The crossover on the RB-51 is set at 2kHz, which is about right and ensures that the midrange driver doesn't have to overextend itself to produce the full frequency response this speaker is capable of. Klipsch even has custom internal wiring to make sure everything is up to its highest standards.

This bookshelf speaker is what's known as a bass-reflex design, which is to say it has a port on the back. Because of that, you won't want to place this speaker, ironically, on a bookshelf. The rear port will fire into the bookshelf and muddy up the sound. These speakers are meant to be placed on a stand or, if that's impossible, wall-mounted. Each speaker weighs 12 lbs, hefty and substantial and they are approximately 11-1/2 x 6-1/2 x 11 inches in size.

The Klipsch RB-51 Reference Bookshelf Speakers are priced at $389/pair and are available in a black woodgrain vinyl finish. They come with a low-diffraction, magnetically-attached grille. Honestly, though, these speakers are so beautiful we'd recommend leaving them off.

 

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Sugarbear posts on October 18, 2010 23:23
Apparently, “please get this thread back on topic” is really difficult to understand…
Marshall_Guthrie posts on October 18, 2010 19:24
gene, post: 759968
Guys lets not dwindle on the past. Mistakes were made on both ends and to be honest, I'd rather be friends with everyone if possible.

All of the people we had issues with at SVS are no longer employees there. Ed Mullen and Ron Stimpson are running a tight ship now and we are glad to be on good terms with them again.

Good to hear. I myself had not heard of the past incident and had to do some pretty serious googling to find out what exactly had happened. Maybe an update or to/delete of the post is in order to avoid folks like me stumbling upon it without all the facts?
gene posts on October 18, 2010 19:07
For those looking for context: http://forums.audioholics.com/forums…ght=svs+banned

Guys lets not dwindle on the past. Mistakes were made on both ends and to be honest, I'd rather be friends with everyone if possible.

All of the people we had issues with at SVS are no longer employees there. Ed Mullen and Ron Stimpson are running a tight ship now and we are glad to be on good terms with them again.
Marshall_Guthrie posts on October 18, 2010 18:40
InTheIndustry, post: 759961
Think about this for a moment…. You never really know who's on the other end of all of these posts claiming how “AMAZING” internet direct brand X or Y is. SVS was part of a huge scandal in that regard and on this site no less a few years ago (and lots of others, you can be sure).

For those looking for context: http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29188&highlight=svs+banned
InTheIndustry posts on October 18, 2010 18:21
GranteedEV, post: 759957
It's the same reason internet direct companies tend to not get reviewed in print mags.

On the grand scale, they're better bang for buck, and B&M companies don't want mediocre value being associated with their products. When you factor in all the overheads and markups brick and mortar products go through, you can certainly compete with other B&M companies, but not companies that aren`t paying those overheads.

Companies like Aperion, EMP, Salk, Axiom etc may feel confident in their product against things in the same budget price ranges of sub-2000, but as soon as you get to Hi Fi companies like Totem, Paradigm, DefTech etc, you have to add a certain amount in order to make a direct comparision. These companies prefer to compete with each other because they know that for value, ID companeis likely have them beat.

I`m not saying it`s a be-all-end-all rule, but it`s safe to assume that this is why those companies don`t send their products to Audioholics. I`m sure a company like Klipsch feels comfortable selling its boom and sizzle speakers to a person who doesn`t know much about a live performance that`s used as a reference. In last year`s Budget Floorstander shootout, we saw a clear divide between the trained listeners and the non-trained listeners… and we also saw the JBL speaker lose out rather unanimously even if it`s a relatively nice product for its price in terms of B&M brands.

I don't think B&M companies want AH to review their products. It`s not like AH is going around into factories stealing speakers to review them like the Grinch.

In fact one of the more recent speaker reviews I read on here was this one, which AFAIK is a B&M brand:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/speakers/floorstanding/pinnacle-bd-1000

Past Speaker Brand Reviewed by Audioholics.com That Are Primarily B&M

Triad
Jamo
RBH
THIEL
BG
PhaseTech
Atlantic Technology
Dynaudio

And that's just glancing through the bookshelf section. And no, I don't think AH went and pilfered any of these. lol! Manufacturers would send them these products to review.

Also, I don't know how many different markups you think B&M brands typically go through, or how much those markups are but I can tell you that it's not much different, and in some cases less, than any other product sold in a store.

And internet direct brands whole marketing shtick is their “value of buying direct from the factory”. And a lot of people blindly by into that hook line and sinker. Tell me, what value do AV123 customers feel at this point in time? I think there's a perceived value as well as a real one in some cases and on some models. But, as you pointed out, it's certainly not an absolute.

Think about this for a moment…. You never really know who's on the other end of all of these posts claiming how “AMAZING” internet direct brand X or Y is. SVS was part of a huge scandal in that regard and on this site no less a few years ago (and lots of others, you can be sure). How do you think some of these companies build their name and reputation? Answer: Spreading their own gospel by any means necessary on hobbyist message boards and comment sites all over the web. Don't think for a second that these companies don't have people crawling all over the web/forums dropping “Look at BRAND-XYZ, they're awesome.” posts any and everywhere. There are lots of Wizards behind lots of curtains, friend. Some very dirty pool is being played indeed.
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