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Klipsch Reference Theater Pack review: Teeny tiny speakers will blow your house down

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The Good The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack offers excellent sound from a very compact set of 5.1 surround speakers. The included wireless sub has plenty of low-end muscle. Klipsch built in similar components to its full-sized speakers.

The Bad It's expensive for a small system, and not as attractive as some competitors. You can buy a better-sounding, full-sized system for the same money. The spring clips at the back of the satellites are a little fiddly.

The Bottom Line The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack offers impressive sound for such a tiny footprint, but lacks cinematic power compared to bigger-box speakers.

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

Any number of sound bar systems can significantly improve your TV's audio, but if you really want to take advantage of rear-channel surround sound effects, your best bet is still a separate AV receiver and 5.1 speaker system. Even though that means a room full of speakers, they don't have to be huge to create impressive sound.

The $999 Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is a perfect example. Each of its four satellite speakers is tiny, yet together they can fill a small or medium-sized room with a surround sound field that no sound bar or stereo system can match. Especially since Klipsch includes a hefty wireless subwoofer. 

At a grand, though, the Klipsch is a little expensive for what it does. It's also sonically eclipsed by larger systems, so it's really best for people who demand the smallest of satellites. If that's you, the well-matched Klipsch is worth a listen.

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack is available for $999, with Australian and UK pricing and availability to be confirmed. Expect somewhere in the realm of £999 and AU$2,200, though.

The Klipsch look

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Sarah Tew/CNET

While competitors are falling over themselves to produce Atmos-compatible surround sets, Klipsch is keeping it simple with a 5.1-only setup. The Pack appears to be an update on the older HD 500 with some important tweaks. 

The system consists of four identical satellites which feature those iconic, brassy IMG drivers in a 3.5-inch size combined with a 0.75-inch horn-loaded tweeter. The black, plastic cabinets are small, just 7.75 inches high, 4.5 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep. Like the more expensive Focal satellites we saw recently, the Klipsch features a set of spring clips, so don't expect to use 12 gauge or thicker wire unless you install pin plugs on the ends.

The satellites are paired with a center channel which loads a second 3.5-inch driver into a larger cabinet. Lastly, the package includes an 8-inch wireless sub set in a box roughly a foot square. The kit comes with a wireless transceiver for the subwoofer which you connect to the power and the LFE channel on your AV receiver.

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The wireless Klipsch subwoofer features an 8-inch driver.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Setup

The Klipsch Reference Theater Pack satellites are really tiny, so the speakers don't make much bass -- they're 3 decibels down at 110 Hertz, if you're keeping track. That means it's crucial your AV receiver's bass management/subwoofer adjustments are correctly set to at least 100 Hz for all the speakers. What's more, the speakers' sound is fairly directional, so we recommend aiming each of the five speakers toward the main listening position for best sound quality.

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