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Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-440WF review:

Six surround speakers, zero speaker wires

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The Good The Klipsch Reference Premiere HD Wireless 5.1 Speaker System doesn't require an AV receiver or any speaker wires. Setup is dead simple, and it has an attractive design. The sound is well-integrated, offering deep bass and sparkling dialogue. The system is modular and can be built up over time.

The Bad Wired systems for less than half the price offer superior sound. The system lacks some standard features including Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio processing.

The Bottom Line For surround seekers who prioritize ease of setup, Klipsch's wireless 5.1 system is an intriguing option, but for the money we expected better sound quality.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

6.8 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Sound 8.0
  • Value 5.0

One of the biggest complaints about 5.1-channel speaker systems, beyond, you know, all those speakers, is the necessity of running speaker wire everywhere. With Klipsch's latest system, no speaker wires are required.

The RP-440WF surround set -- or to give its official name of the Klipsch Reference Premiere HD Wireless 5.1 Speaker System -- is a tidy all-in-one which offers ridiculously easy setup, and the cohesive home-theater surround sound only a matched multispeaker system can provide. No, it's not completely wireless, because you'll still have to plug each of the individual speakers into power outlets, and connect your gear to the base station via HDMI or whatever, but it's a heck of a lot closer.

The biggest drawback? The price. The $999 list is for one of the RP-440WF speakers, and you'll need at least two. The price of the entire system including all five surround speakers, sub and control center is $5000. For this kind of money, you can assemble a much better-sounding wired speaker system from Klipsch or ELAC or any of a dozen other speaker brands, and get a full-featured AV receiver to boot. Until the price of the HD Wireless 5.1 Speaker System comes down and the feature count goes up, it's just not worth it for most people.

Design and features

klipsch-rp440wf-01.jpg

Klipsch's new 5.1 system. the RP440WF.

Sarah Tew/CNET

While "WiSA" sounds like it could be a Jar Jar Binks' catchphrase, it's actually short for "Wireless Speaker & Audio." It's a new standard designed to simplify setting up a multi-speaker home theater by ditching the wires.

klipsch-rp440wf-16.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET


In Klipsch's system, it means you don't have to run wires from an AV receiver or amplifier to each speaker. Instead, each speaker has its own built-in amplifier and must be plugged into a power outlet. Sound is transmitted wirelessly from a small box Klipsch calls the HD Control Center ($499), into which you plug your components. It has four HDMI inputs (one with 4K compatibility), optical and coaxial digital, analog and Bluetooth.

klipsch-rp440wf-14.jpg

The system enables you to select the position of your speakers from the back of each speaker itself.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The speakers we received consisted of the slim, statuesque Klipsch RP-440WF towers ($1,999), largish RP-440WC center-channel speaker ($799), RP-140WM bookshelf/surround speakers ($999), and substantial RP-110WSW subwoofer. Based on looks alone, the Klipsch HD Control Center was a bit of a letdown -- it's a no-frills plastic slab. In addition, we had no love for the slender remote's nearly impossible-to-read control buttons.

klipsch-rp440wf-19.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET
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