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Klipsch Quintet III review: Klipsch Quintet III

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The Quintet III includes four 8.3-inch-tall satellites and a 12-inch-wide center-channel speaker. The satellite speakers come premounted on a swiveling metal pedestal base that serves as a wall mount or as a stand for tabletop placement. Each satellite weighs 3.5 pounds, and their construction feels first rate. The matching center speaker isn't pedestal-mounted; you just plop it on or underneath your TV. The speakers' plastic cabinets have a dark-gray finish with medium-gray accents. The optional Sub-10 and Sub-12 subwoofers (sold separately) feature black vinyl finishes with titanium accents that complement the Quintet III both visual and sonically. Curiously, Klipsch doesn't sell extra satellite speakers for buyers with 6.1- or 7.1-channel systems; the Quintet III is sold only as a five-speaker package.

7.8

Klipsch Quintet III

The Good

The ultracompact five-piece Klipsch Quintet III surround speaker system utilizes a horn tweeter that offers great sound and ample volume. Its speakers are fitted with wall/shelf brackets for easy mounting.

The Bad

Klipsch doesn't sell extra speakers for expanding to 6.1 or 7.1 surround systems, and you'll need to purchase a matching subwoofer separately. Adjusting the speaker-subwoofer blend can be tricky.

The Bottom Line

The Klipsch Quintet III speaker system belts out a hugely impressive sound despite the speakers' small size.
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The Klipsch Synergy Series Quintet III Microsystem is the aptly named successor to the Quintet II system, the company's best-selling surround-sound speaker package of all time. In addition to its ability to play louder than its predecessor, the 5.0 surround-sound speaker system incorporates an upgraded tweeter and a slew of design improvements. The speakers are much too small to produce sufficient bass, so Klipsch recommends pairing the $500 system with its Synergy Series Sub-10 ($400) or Sub-12 ($500) subwoofers--adding the all-important .1 to your home theater.

Each magnetically shielded satellite employs a 0.75-inch aluminum diaphragm tweeter fitted to a MicroTractrix Horn that dramatically increases the tweeter's efficiency. That design feature allows the speakers to produce more volume per watt than conventional direct-radiating tweeters. It also controls the tweeter's dispersion, minimizing floor and ceiling reflections so that imaging is sharper and clearer. The 3.5-inch woofer's bass output is enhanced by the satellite's rear port. The center speaker features two 3.5-inch woofers and two ports.

With speakers as small as the Quintets, most manufacturers use inexpensive spring-clip speaker-wire connectors, so we were pleased to see the Quintets sporting burly binding posts. They more securely accept banana jacks, spades, or bare wire connections.

For this review, we used the Klipsch Quintet III with a Sub-12, and while it's a superb subwoofer, we had to invest an hour or so fine-tuning the sound to get the satellite and subwoofer to blend just right. Our Denon AVR-2807's bass management had to be set to a rather high crossover point (150Hz) to minimize the bass gap between the teensy sats and the humongous sub. Positioning the sub within a few feet of the front satellites also helped in that regard. In the end, we were reasonably happy with the matchup, but it wasn't perfect; as we played CDs and DVDs, there were times when the subwoofer or the satellites had too much or too little bass. In those cases, we adjusted the subwoofer volume to sound right with the disc.

It's amazing how big the Klipsch's small satellites sound. They didn't have to strain to belt out at a surprisingly loud volume, and their distortion remained much lower than that of most similarly sized speakers. Their treble has an open quality and clarity that we associate with much larger speakers. The Quintet III even has what it takes to fill large 400- to 500-square-foot rooms with sound.

Impressed with their stamina, we started our auditions with something really big, the King Kong DVD. We felt the heat of the jungle, and when Kong finally appears, his guttural, bellowing growls emerged from the Quintet III's center speaker with startling ferocity. The entire system unfurled an enveloping jungle panorama with remarkable depth. Of course, the Quintet III was ably assisted by a Klipsch Sub-12 subwoofer, which supplied the room-shaking bass. The blend wasn't perfect, and we sometimes wished the satellites fleshed out more middle bass, but it performed well enough to get us caught up in the movie.

The Klipsch Quintet III reproduced the big, pounding drums on the House of Flying Daggers DVD with exceptional clarity and definition. We were again surprised by the Quintet III's ability to disappear as a sound source; its imaging specificity was well above average. We can't think of another comparably sized satellite system that comes close to the Quintet III's abilities.

Listening to CDs in stereo usually reveals shortcomings in pint-size speaker packages, but the Quintet III again surpassed our expectations. Tony Bennett's lush Sings Ellington CD sounded refined, and the spread of the orchestral backing wasn't inhibited by the speakers' stature. On our Barry White CDs, the Quintet III subtracted more than a few pounds from his weighty presence, but we regained some heft by turning up the Sub-12's volume.

We ended our time with the Quintet III with the Led Zeppelin II CD. Switching back and forth between stereo and Dolby Pro Logic II surround, the sound was equally enjoyable. The little speakers' vivid presence seemed to bring out the best from everything we tried. We have no doubt that Klipsch's larger systems, such as the B-2 or the F-1, will produce even more impressive results. But for those who prefer smaller speakers--and aren't averse to investing some time in adjusting their audio system for the best sound--the Klipsch Quintet III speakers will provide remarkably dynamic and pure sound for music and movies.

7.8

Klipsch Quintet III

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8