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Klipsch SB 120 soundbase review: Klipsch SB 120 soundbase

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The Good Very good natural sound. Good volume levels available. Supports Dolby Digital 5.1. Bluetooth.

The Bad No subwoofer output. 3D mode just makes sound peaky.

The Bottom Line The Klipsch SB 120 is an under-the-TV audio solution for those who prioritise high audio performance over features.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

Review Sections

The Klipsch SB 120 is one of those TV enhancements best referred to as a soundbase rather than a soundbar. It is a well-built rectangular prism, 831mm wide, 336mm deep and 99mm tall. The depth gives it a substantial interior, all the better for sound reproduction. The solid build makes it safe for you to deposit your TV on top of it. Klipsch says that it is safe for TVs up to 45 kilograms. (For reference, a typical modern 55-inch TV isn't a great deal more than 20 kilos.)

This is clearly designed for connection to a TV -- with one useful extra. The two input connections are optical digital audio and analog stereo. You can switch between them. But the normal situation is that you'll plug the optical output of your TV into this input. You can set the TV's audio settings to permit Dolby Digital (sometimes called Surround) to be output because the SB 120 supports Dolby Digital inputs in addition to PCM.

The extra is Bluetooth, so you may not need to plug your portable music player into the analog input.

All the loudspeaker drivers are in a row across the front. Outermost are a pair of tweeters, 19mm aluminium dome ones. Klipsch as a company is famous for its horn-loaded speakers, going right back to the 1940s. These tweeters are indeed horn loaded, but they are extremely shallow, so I doubt that they do much in the way of improving the efficiency of sound transfer -- the main purpose of horns. Just to the inside of these are two mid-range drivers, each a 76mm unit. And inside of those is a pair of woofers. These are 76mm tall and 127mm wide for a larger cone area. They are called oval shaped, but they are more like rectangles with semicircles at each end.

The internal enclosure is bass-reflex loaded, with the tuned ports venting to the front. A row of controls occupy a small area, centred at the bottom front. There's a small remote control that comes with the unit, and you can program your TV's remote to operate the unit instead if that's more convenient for you.

(Credit: Klipsch)

In use

There's no doubt about it: Klipsch knows how to make loudspeakers. This unit sounded very good -- far better than it ought to have for the price. The sound was well balanced tonally except for the deepest bass registers.

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