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Klipsch Icon SB 1 Soundbar review: Klipsch Icon SB 1 Soundbar

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I've been using a lot of soundbars lately, and after looking at a dozen or so, some with subwoofers, it was really nice to experience sound with a real subwoofer, with real deep bass. It was instantly noticeable, the moment I started playing some music. The fundamental frequencies of a kick drum (40 hertz or so) were there at full strength. So was most of the bottom octave on a piano (the leftmost key, A, on an 88 note keyboard has a fundamental frequency of 27.5 hertz). It wasn't a matter of the sound making me feel like that the bass was well balanced, but that it actually was, right down into the solidly deep regions.

The soundbar itself sounded very good combined with the subwoofer. The tonal balance was excellent and the dynamic performance — the ability to punch out audio peaks in the midst of other loud content — was also very strong. It was a pleasure to listen to the jazz stylings of Weather Report with this system.

Movie sound was also clear. The unit proved to support multichannel Dolby Digital sound in addition to stereo PCM fed via optical digital. It even handled 24 bit, 96kHz PCM. But with the Dolby Digital, it quite ignored the LFE channel, which is bit of a pity given the strong capabilities of the subwoofer that comes as part of the system.

There is what purports to be a surround mode invoked by means of the 3D control key. This mode did tend to widen the front audio stage a little, but at the cost of imposing an unrealistically honky lower treble on the sound, removing the rather natural-sound virtues of the bar in its two channel mode. What it didn't do was generate anything approaching immersion into a surround sound field, so it's something best avoided.

But leaving that off, the system went pleasingly loud, with clear dialogue on movies, and a clean sound stage on music.

My impressions were confirmed when it came to the bass performance. Measured up close, the 254mm subwoofer delivered cleanly all the way down to 30 hertz. That's actually deep enough to encompass the deepest C pedal of most large pipe organs (32 hertz).

Conclusion

The Klipsch Icon SB 1 soundbar is ideal for those who want high quality sound with strong and extended bass, and don't care so much for extra features like Bluetooth connectivity.

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