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Klipsch R-10B review: Higher-end sound bar punches its weight

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The Good The Klipsch R-10B offers an instant upgrade to your TV and movie watching with dynamic sonic performance. Music sounds better than you would expect for a sound bar. Subwoofer offers deep, deep bass without breaking a sweat. More midrange detail than many devices at this price. Bluetooth receiver offers aptX support for better-sounding streaming.

The Bad If your phone doesn't support aptX, then Bluetooth can sound harsh. Overly miserly with only two physical inputs and no bass or treble controls. Not much of a looker with its plastic main speaker. No DTS support for its "3D Surround Mode."

The Bottom Line Although it's not as good a value as our favorite sound bars, the higher-end Klipsch R-10B offers excellent performance for both movies and music.

7.5 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 7
  • Sound 9
  • Value 7

While most people would probably spend under a thousand bucks on a TV, some are lucky enough to be able to spend a bit more. The higher-end Klipsch R-10B ($600/AU$999) is a sound bar for those lucky souls.

Like the Klipsch SB 120 sound base that preceded it, the Klipsch R-10B is a high quality speaker system with few frills, but plenty of thrills. It's a stereo sound bar which corrects an "oversight" on the behalf of the SB 120: it adds a subwoofer, and a wireless one to boot.

While very few add-on systems can boast being as adept with music as with movies, the R-10B manages it, with the subwoofer both adding heft to action movies and slamming rock tracks. It outperformed our favorite bang-for-the-buck bar, the excellent Pioneer SP-SB23W , on most of our tests.

Aside from price, the Klipsch's only real downsides are poorer-than-normal Bluetooth playback (if you don't have an aptX phone) and a lack of inputs. All told though, this is a pretty top-notch system with an emphasis on sound quality.

Design

klipsch-r-10b02.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

When it comes to looks you could say that the R-10B is the sound bar version of the cheaper Klipsch SB 120 sound base. Both speakers have a touch of the macho about them: a huge stylized 'X' emblazoned on a wire grille.

klipsch-r-10b01.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

The bar measures 40 inches wide, so it looks best when paired with a 46-to-50-inch television. Like most soundbars it is made of plastic, not wood. However the accompanying subwoofer is made of wood (MDF), and it is reassuringly weighty (25.1 pounds) if not all that large at 16 inches by 8.3 inches and 13.2 inches high.

The controls in the center of the sound bar are also identical to the sound base -- source, mute and volume -- and it has a similar LED display that glows one of three colors depending on the input.

klipsch-r-10b03.jpg
Sarah Tew/CNET

While the sound bar also comes with a credit card remote control, it's a teensy bit better looking than the SB 120's with a Klipsch orange color scheme. Use your TV remote instead, though.

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