X

Klipsch HD Theater 500 (photos)

The Klipsch HD Theater 500 is a stylish and compact 5.1 speaker system, but better-sounding systems are available at this price.

Matthew Moskovciak
Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.
Matthew Moskovciak
33549715-2-1333-OVR-1.jpg
1 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Klipsch HD Theater 500

If you're putting together a home theater on a budget, the first options that probably come to mind are sound bars and home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems, but that's too bad.

Budget 5.1 speaker systems like the Klipsch HD Theater 500 are available for less than $500, and once you pair them up with a competent AV receiver, they sound drastically better--it's not even close. Sure, the Klipsch HD Theater 500 has more pesky speakers to deal with, but their compact size and tasteful finish really won't tarnish your living room decor.

While the HD Theater 500 system certainly puts HTIBs and sound bars to shame, it fares less well compared with other 5.1 speaker systems available for less than $500. If you like to turn the volume up even moderately loud, the Energy Take Classic 5.1 sounds significantly better at higher volumes, and if you're OK with huge speakers, the Pioneer SP-PK21BS delivers truly outstanding sound for the price.

The Klipsch HD Theater 500 offers competent sound for a budget 5.1 system, but we like most of its competitors more.

33549715-2-1333-FT-2.jpg
2 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Satellite speakers

The satellites are just 6 inches tall, 3.6 inches wide, and 3.85 inches deep. The center is slightly larger, at 3.6 inches high, 9 inches wide, and 3.85 deep. Their curvy ABS plastic speaker cabinets are attractive and finished in a combination of satin and high-gloss black; the speakers all have removable black cloth grilles.
33549715-2-1333-SD-3.jpg
3 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Drivers

The satellites speakers feature horn-loaded 0.75-inch aluminum tweeters and a 2.5-inch midrange/woofer. The center speaker is a larger version of the satellites and features dual 2.5-inch woofers and the same horn tweeter. The horn projects the sound forward, reducing wall, floor, and ceiling reflections that you get with more typical dome tweeters and that benefits the sats' imaging accuracy. The horn design also increases the speakers' efficiency, which means you need a less powerful amplifier to push the system louder.
3e119caf-579d-4dca-9429-b782651af6d0.jpg
4 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Center channel

The center is slightly larger, at 3.6 inches high, 9 inches wide, and 3.85 deep.
Klipsch_HD_Theater_500_speaker_connectors_1.jpg
5 of 7 Klipsch

Cheap speaker connectors

Build quality of the speaker cabinet feels solid, but the speakers' plastic spring-clip wire connectors look and feel cheap. The spring-clips' grip on the wire doesn't feel secure, so even a moderate tug on the wire may pull the wire out. The clips only accept skinny bare wire ends, so you can't use banana plugs, spades, or pins.
33549715-2-1333-SB-4.jpg
6 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

Subwoofer

The built-in 100-watt amplifier's connectivity runs to stereo speaker- and line-level (RCA) inputs. The subwoofer looks huge compared with the miniature sats, but it's not that big for a subwoofer, measuring 13.9 inches tall, 12.5 inches wide, and 12.5 inches
Klipsch_HD_Theater_500_subwoofer.jpg
7 of 7 Sarah Tew/CNET

8-inch woofer

The HD Theater 500's matte black, vinyl-covered, medium-density fiberboard subwoofer has an 8-inch fiber-composite woofer mounted on its bottom panel.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra
magic-v2-2024-foldable-1383

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites
img-0368.jpg

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
Do You Know About These 17 Hidden iOS 17 Features?
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

Do You Know About These 17 Hidden iOS 17 Features?

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?
img-1599-2.jpg

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos