The horn speaker can be said to be the most classic design in audio history. It has lasted for a hundred years. Since 1946, the founder Paul W. Klipsch of the United States of America Klipsch began to create the first pair of legendary Klipschorn by hand. The audio company Klipsch still adheres to the research and development of the horn speaker nowadays. The most eye-catching part of RP-600M is the tweeter horn and bronze mid-bass woofer unit. The simple two-way design looks elegant and simple.
The Legend of the Klipsch
Klipsch, which has a history of more than 70 years, has never been far from the horn speaker. Back then, Paul W. Klipsch handcrafted the legendary Klipschhorn. At that time, even digital design had not yet appeared. He had to rely on paper and pen to calculate. He was creative. Klipsch’s horn, using the reflection of the room’s corner to strengthen the low frequency. The effect is far better than the traditional horn. Since then, Klipsch’s horn legend has begun.
Paul W. Klipsch set up an audio store in New York to sell his speakers in his first year of running the company. Continued to today, Klipsch has gradually expanded from the garage to today’s global company. From entry to high end, from portable headphones to speakers, Klipsch has a broad and complete audio product line.
The Reference Premium series is a new series launched by Klipsch in 2015. It can be said to be an evolution of the previous Reference II. The Klipsch RP-600M speaker belongs to the Reference Premium series. It was launched in 2018 and is the largest in the series. The RP-600M has a relatively better low-frequency extension because of the larger speaker cabinet. And the performance is almost like a small floor speaker.
The Klipsch Horn
Because of the horn design, the RP-600M has an outstanding working efficiency. The efficiency is up to 96 dB. That means that you can make the RP-600M achieve the desire sound pressure with a powerful amplifier. People have a prejudice against horns.
But some people think that high frequency spreading through the horns will cause sound staining due to the horns’ opening and materials’ side-effect. The appearance of the horn, although it can transmit the sound further, the sound will be distorted in frequency, which is different from the original sound, which is called sound staining. So not everyone likes horns. But horn speakers are highly efficient, louder, and have a longer transmission distance. There are inherent advantages of horns. As for the sound dyeing that horns produce, of course, they can rely on material science and technology to overcome.
The Silicone Composite Hybrid Tractrix Horn Tech
As an expert in horn speakers, Klipsch certainly knows the advantages and disadvantages of horns. They certainly see the problem of sound staining caused by the horn’s opening, so they continue to improve. Today, the Tractrix Horn on the RP-600M is the latest generation. The full name is “90°x 90° Silcone Composite Hybrid Tractrix Horn” looks excellent, but every word is the key to the technology.
Tractrix Horn is Klipsch’s technology when developing the Reference series more than ten years ago and later evolved into Hybrid Tractrix Horn. The inner part of the horn is round, and the outer part is a Tractcix horn, with a 90°x 90° horn opening.
Klipsch uses two horn shapes to strengthen the directivity and diffusion of high frequency. Silicone Composite represents the black material of the outer layer of the horn of RP-600M. It looks a bit like matte plastic, but it is a soft material when you touch it. This soft material does not reflect sound waves easily. The reflected sound of the opening can significantly reduce the sound stain produced by the horn structure.
The tweeter hidden in the Hybrid Tractrix Horn is a 1-inch titanium diaphragm tweeter. Klipsch calls it LST tweeter, which means “Line Travel Suspension”. The LST tweeter is also intended to reduce distortion and enhance music Details. The LST tweeter unit’s rear also adds a ventilation design to avoid interference from the air pressure behind the unit when the driver does the piston movement. It is also a design to reduce distortion.
The RP-600 M’s mid-bass woofer is a bronze-coloured diaphragm. Since the reference series’s launch in the early 2000s, the bronze-coloured woofer is like a Klipsch representative, and its appearance is highly recognizable. The RP-600 M’s mid-bass unit uses a Cerametallic diaphragm, a new word composed of ceramic and metal, meaning that Cerametallic diaphragm is a composite of these two materials.
Traditional mid-bass woofer diaphragms are nothing more than paper cones, metal, PP… etc. Most of them are single materials, and their rigidity and quality have their advantages and disadvantages, but they must also meet the requirements of high rigidity and lightweight. Now everyone’s consensus is composite materials, so RP-600M has caught up with the latest trend, using composite materials to make mid-bass woofer.
Other Design Features
The bass reflex port design is to enhance the bookshelf speakers’ low-frequency power. However, the bass reflex port of RP-600M is a creative design called Tractrix Port, which is located at the back of the speaker cabinet and is not circular. It is a bit like a long strip of air outlet, and there is a design similar to a horn opening around it. That is not to help the sound wave spread but to accelerate the airflow and reduce the airflow noise. The purpose is also to minimize the distortion.
As for the appearance, RP-600M has three finishes: ebony, walnut and piano black. You can match it with your home decoration according to your preferences. However, I always think that ebony and walnut would look more like classic Klipsch. The piano black is more eye-catching, but it is also easier to get dirty. The appearance is a very personal choice.
Easy to Drive
Thanks to the horn, the RP-600M can be easily driven, and the 100-watt integrated amplifier can make the RP-600M emit the sound pressure that lifts the roof. If the loudness exceeds the speaker limit, the sound is, of course, not good. The high frequency will become harsh. But when listening at a volume that is at the moderate range, the RP-600M still looks comfortable, and it won’t become stiff and irritating because of the louder volume.
The new generation of Silicon Composite Hybrid Tractrix horns has high-frequency horns, which have fast and direct musical details. At the same time, it relies on soft materials to absorb excess high-frequency reflections, soften the stimulation of high-frequency, and integrate richness.
I choose “Feeling Bad Blues” from the “Crossroad” movie soundtrack. The music is purely electric guitar solo. When playing, when the fingertip rubs against the steel string, the string’s vibration will resonate, producing a particular sound, which is sharper and more metallic.
Just like the title of “Feeling Bad Blues”, the slightly sharp fingertips rubbing the steel strings, like a melancholy entanglement, and the root notes played by the fingers are thick and warm, as if they are comforting melancholy. The high-frequency details of the RP-600M horn present a proper electric guitar.
With the direct and fast horn high-frequency feature, listening to rock music with RP-600M is quite enjoyable! Listen to the first track of “Marisa.” from the album “Dave’s True Story.”The opening is a beautiful electric guitar Solo. The arrangement and many heart-warming decorations elicit the sweet and high-pitched singing voice of the singer Kelly Flint. RP-600M presents the sound of electric guitar beautifully. It creates a direct electric guitar tone, which is in harmony with Kelly Flint’s pure and natural singing voice. Female vocals, electric guitars, and electric bass form a compact stage picture.
When I listen to the RP-600M, I let the speaker sound forward, and there is no toe-in. The center naturally forms a condensed and well-positioned sound field. In the same album, “Dave’s True Story,” listen to the fourth track, “Fever,” which tests the low-frequency volume and high-frequency transient response. “Fever” starts with the jazz drum’s Hi-Hat beat, and the electric bass supports the melody’s backbone. The details of the electric bass are fully presented. As long as the amplifier is powerful enough, the low frequency of the RP-600M will exceed your imagination of the bookshelf speakers.
Although the RP-600M is small, the particles of the electric bass are fully presented. As long as the amplifier is powerful enough, the low frequency of the RP-600M will exceed your imagination of the bookshelf speakers.
The Klipsch RP-600M has an excellent experience for listening to rock and roll. The sound is directly and vividly displayed. It is a typical horn speaker. The newly designed horn opening reduces the high frequency of the horn and brings out a thicker middle. The high-efficiency RP-600M can be driven well without too much power. The low frequency is rich and robust.
The overall performance is balanced, and the sound performance exceeds my original expectations. For beginners, RP-600M can be said to be A great starting point. The price is not high, and it is easy to match, and the sound performance is excellent value for money. It can be said to be the best recommendation for audio beginners.
Klipsch RP-600 Specifications
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 45-25kHz +/- 3dB
- SENSITIVITY: 96dB @ 2.83V / 1m
- POWER HANDLING (CONT/PEAK): 100W/400W
- NOMINAL IMPEDANCE: 8 Ohms Compatible
- CROSSOVER FREQUENCY: 1500Hz
- HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER: 1” Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid
- Cross-Section: Tractrix® Horn
- LOW FREQUENCY DRIVER: 6.5” Cerametallic Cone Woofer
- ENCLOSURE MATERIAL: MDF
- ENCLOSURE TYPE: Bass Reflex via rear-firing Tractrix® Port
- INPUTS: Dual binding posts/bi-wire/bi-amp
- HEIGHT: 15.69” (39.9 cm)
- WIDTH: 7.95” (20.2 cm)
- DEPTH: 11.85” (30.1 cm)
- WEIGHT: 16 lb (7.3 kg)
- FINISH: Ebony, Walnut, Piano Black
- ACCESSORIES: Rubber Feet (8)