This functional-looking soundbar/subwoofer combi knows how to deliver the goods
Klipsch’s R-10B soundbar houses two 3in mid-range drivers and two 0.75in tweeters mated to dual Tractrix horns. These horns are filtered down from the Klipschorn, a legendary high-end floorstander which has been in continuous production for over 60 years. Yet while the R-10B might wow you with its sonic technology, visually it’s a different story. It looks about as cutting-edge as a rubber knife.
The woofer and 'bar do feel solidly built, though, which is arguably more important. The main unit is hewn from satin black plastic with a steel mesh grille. There’s no display window, just a series of buttons and an LED. The basic controls are duplicated on a mini remote.
The soundbar’s maximum power output is rated at 100W, whilst the sub, which has an 8in side-firing driver, maxes out at 150W. There are no DSP modes to play with but the R10-B sports Dolby Digital decoding and CD-quality apt-X Bluetooth audio streaming. Socketry comprises digital optical and stereo phonos, so no HDMI and only one digital input. You'll use your TV as a hub.
Plenty of soundbars are mounted on a table top or some kind of rack or stand, where they risk partially blocking the TV screen. Hence the fashion for models that tote slender or angular designs. Not so the R-10B, which measures 10.5cm tall. The wireless sub is probably easier to accommodate.
There’s nothing worse than a soundbar that needs constant tinkering to get the best out of it. Luckily, you can hardly tinker with the R-10B, and nor do you need to. Clarity and detail are the order of the day, especially with vocals and other mid-range sounds, and the woofer is the perfect Torvill to the soundbar’s Dean.
In Ice Age 4’s DTS-HD MA soundtrack, scenes where the landscape breaks up are underpinned by rich, resonant, controlled creaking, and when Scrat plummets to Earth he lands with a meaty thud. Explosions and sonic booms won’t rattle your chandeliers but the rumble of thunder and roar of a sabretooth tiger are a vast improvement over a TV’s speakers, and as the gang sledge down a mountain you can pick out the individual voices against the musical score and whoosh of the sledge on the snow. Scenes such as this, which have a broad dynamic range and multiple, varied effects, are coherently presented, with Klipsch's horn-loaded tweeters admirably lending impact to the high frequencies.
The bar’s 3D mode is a waste of time and quite unnecessary as the R-10B has a very good sonic dispersion. Sit almost anywhere with a view of the screen and you're catered for.
Overall, the R-10B may not be the most exciting product to look at or use but it delivers the sonic goods with panache and is ideal for a small to medium-sized viewing room. On the pricey side, though.
Price: £500 Approx
Highs: Balanced, distortion-free sound; well integrated (and wireless) subwoofer; Bluetooth streaming
Lows: Dull design; limited socketry including zilch HDMI inputs; sizeable form could make installation awkward
Drive units: 2 x 3in polypropylene mid-range drivers; 2 x 0.75in textile dome tweeters married to twin Tractrix horns
Connections: Digital optical; stereo phono analogue
Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD MA: No/No
Separate sub: Yes. 150W, 8in driver
Remote control: Yes.
Dimensions: 1,015(w) x 105(h) x 71(d)mm
Features: Dolby Digital decoder; Bluetooth wireless audio streaming with apt-X; 1.5m optical cable; rubber feet; wall-mounting template; 3D sound mode; wireless subwoofer
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