Surround sound and spatial effects are the prime attractions of home theater, and Klipsch's wedge-shaped, remarkably compact RS-25 surround speaker will put you in the middle of the action. A 5.25-inch woofer fires straight ahead, while two side-mounted tweeters project a 180-degree arc of room-filling sound. The RS-25, which is in Klipsch's Reference series, is listed at $200 each.
The RS-25's woofer is a newly refined version of Klipsch's copper-colored Cerametallic cone. The anodizing process converts the aluminum's surface to ceramic, resulting in a stiffer, lower-distortion woofer. And the two titanium 1-inch horn tweeters increase efficiency so dramatically that the RS-25 can produce more volume per watt than a conventional speaker. The horn also controls dispersion, minimizing floor and ceiling reflections, so the RS-25's imaging is sharper and clearer.
The RS-25 comes in black matte or white vinyl with a matching cloth grille. The speaker is fairly small, weighing eight pounds and measuring just 6.6 inches high, 13.5 inches wide, and 6.75 inches deep. The rear-panel keyholes enable easy wall-mounting. We encountered only a minor snag during setup: we needed a good two minutes to remove the little caps from the gold-plated binding posts so that we could insert the male banana plugs. If you use bare speaker-wire leads or U-shaped spade connectors, you won't have to pry out the caps.
U-571 is a great World War II submarine drama. The scenes inside the sub are exceedingly well recorded, and with our RS-25s on duty, the sounds came from all around us. In our 5.1-channel system, which included Klipsch's RF-15 towers, RC-25 center speaker, and RW-8 subwoofer, the little RS-25s projected a huge sound field. It spanned our large room from side to side and reached all the way to the front speakers. The surrounds indeed generated one smooth arc of sound. If you run a 6.1-channel system with one or two RS-25s behind the main listening position, you'll hear a 360-degree circle of sound.
Willie Nelson's all-instrumental DVD-A, Night and Day, certainly sounded mighty fine. But though we enjoyed the RS-25s' seamless envelopment, Klipsch's wide-dispersion surround technology may not be optimal for multichannel DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD albums. Direct-radiating box speakers project straight ahead and produce more-precise surround imaging, so you might prefer Klipsch's RB-15 bookshelf models for multichannel music.