Speaking of traditional horn speakers, the famous American manufacturer Klipsch is certainly a classic brand not to be missed. Don’t think that the old brand will only be conventional and conservative. In recent years, Klipsch has constantly been introducing new products in the earphone and speaker market. In addition to insisting on sound quality performance, it also shows its design beauty in appearance, providing new generations of audio enthusiasts with new products. The Fives introduced this time is an active design bookshelf speaker. Klipsch combines its classic elements with modern technology, and the artistry is more exquisite and delicate.
Exquisite and Delicate Appearance
The speaker cabinet has matte black and walnut two colours to choose from, which looks quite low-key. The metal panel on the top of the right channel speaker is very conspicuous. Two large metal rollers are installed on it. The diagonal engraving on the surface can increase friction and make rolling operations easier. The scroll wheel on the back is responsible for switching the input source, and there is a white LED light next to it to indicate the input. The scroll wheel on the front side is responsible for the volume adjustment, and the LED light will automatically display the volume when the scroll wheel rotates. The overall design is simple, clear and beautiful.
Different from the common black grill, The Fives uses two-colour thread to weave the grill to create a distinct visual sense. The metal Klipsch Logo is inlaid on the bottom right of the grille so that the speaker cabinet is not dull and monotonous. The grille adopts a magnetic design, so the front baffle of the so speaker does not need to be installed with fixing holes, which looks more flat and beautiful. While the user is listening to music, The Fives is also pleasing to the eye.
Tractrix Horn and Dual Amplifier
Klipsch still follows the four design principles of the founder Paul W. Klipsch: high efficiency/low distortion, sound diffusion angle control, wide dynamic range and flat frequency response.
The Fives bookshelf speakers are designed with two sound paths and two units. It is equipped with a 1-inch LTS titanium dome tweeter. The full name of the LTS is Linear Travel Suspension. Klipsch emphasizes that this design is effective in reducing distortion and improving treble details. A Klipsch signature 90°×90° Tractrix Horn is installed in front of the tweeter to improve efficiency and control the diffusion angle. The high-frequency extension can reach 25kHz. The Tractrix horn structure allows better coupling between the treble unit and the air, improves sound efficiency, reduces distortion, can control the divergence angle of the treble, effectively reduces the proportion of reflected sound on the space wall, and makes the audio image positioning more clear.
The lower woofer is a long-stroke bass with a 4.5-inch composite fibre diaphragm. With the Tractrix horn-shaped bass hole at the rear of the cabinet, The Fives has a low-frequency extension of 50Hz.
The Fives is an active bookshelf speaker. A dual amplifier drives each channel. The tweeter is equipped with an independent 20-watt output power module, and the bass unit is equipped with a 60-watt module. The total power of the left and right channels is 160 watts. The maximum peak value can reach 320 watts.
Rich Input Options
Another feature of The Fives is that it has a wealth of input options, the first is Bluetooth (5.0) input, which is convenient for users to play music through mobile phones/tablets wirelessly. Digital input includes one optical input and one USB input. The built-in 24bit/192kHz DAC can perform high-quality decoding. There are also two sets of analogue inputs, one is a 3.5mm mini-jack terminal, and the other is an RCA terminal. The RCA input can be switched to MM phone input. In other words, you can listen to the CD or vinyl.
The Fives even claims to be the first active speaker on the market that supports HDMI-ARC. When paired with a TV, you can use HDMI input. Of course, your TV’s HDMI must also have ARC (Audio Return Channel) function, which greatly improves the TV’s performance. Sound quality. But if you feel that the sound is not exciting enough when you are watching a movie, you may wish to use the Sub Out input terminal on the back panel to connect an active subwoofer to form a 2.1-channel system to enjoy a more powerful bass!
I think Klipsch has a big attempt to equip The Fives with HDMI ARC, making it a competitor to Soundbar. After listening to its music performance, I am pretty sure that most Soundbars are difficult to be on par with The Fives in terms of music performance. Summarizing the performance of The Fives in movie sound effects, I think it has three advantages and one disadvantage over Soundbar.
Let me first talk about its disadvantages. After all, it is a Hi-Fi audio product without virtual surround sound effects. So unlike Soundbar, The Fives cannot show virtual surround sound effects.
In terms of advantages, first of all, the connection between the two speakers is about 4 meters. That can be used to extend the distance between the left and right channel according to the listening environment. The front sound field is wider and stronger than the Soundbar.
Secondly, The Fives can show a focused dialogue. Listening to the sound effects of the movie in the sweet spot, the realism of the character dialogue is so strong that it will make people think that there is a central soundtrack speaker!
The third advantage is that The Fives’ mid-bass unit has a larger calibre than the Soundbar, and coupled with the horn, it is far more powerful to play movie sound effects than most Soundbars. If you want to enhance the low-frequency shock of movie sound effects, you can use one more active Subwoofer.
The Advanced Digital Electronic Module
In terms of electronic circuits, The Fives uses a digital audio processing circuit (DSP) as the core. The biggest advantage of this is that it can correct the time difference between the high and low sound channels (including phase), and can also trim the frequency response to a very flat To the extent that passive speakers can’t do it. Besides, The Fives DSP not only performs time and frequency response correction but also has Dynamic Bass EQ function. When this function is activated, The Fives will moderately strengthen the low frequency as the sound volume is lowered. Therefore, even in the middle of the night, it is quite Listening to music, the bass can still be heard clearly.
The Fives also uses DSP as a two-channel digital electronic crossover. After 192kHz/24bit digital-to-analog conversion, each channel uses a 20-watt amplifier to drive the tweeter and a 60-watt amplifier to drive the woofer. The Fives adopts electronic crossover and directly drives the driver unit in the power amplifier circuit. The total power is 160 watts, and the peak power is 320 watts. There is no passive component power loss (and no phase variation) between the two so that the maximum output sound pressure of the pair of speakers (total of the two channels) reaches 109 decibels. Generally, passive bookshelf speakers of similar size need to be driven by an integrated amplifier with 100 watts per channel to obtain such sound pressure. The Fives doesn’t even need to buy an amplifier, which can save a budget.
Listening to rock, hip-hop and electronic music with The Fives, immediately the listener to notice that this speaker has a low-frequency thickness and strength that surpasses its size, and it also has good control and quick response to the rhythm of pop music.
When listening to music, The Fives exhibits the distinctive characteristics of three horn speakers: the audio image in the centre of the front is condensed and strong, especially the vocals in the song. Moreover, its high pitch is emitted from the horn and adopts a narrow panel design, almost. There is no problem of high-frequency diffracted waves being reflected by the panel, so it makes it easy for the listener to feel that the sound field is deeper than most speakers. The third is that the clarity of the sound is hardly affected by the volume and distance. I tried to listen at a longer distance and a lower volume, and the horn can send the details of the high pitch to my ears. And it’s interesting that even if I turn on the volume quite loudly in the listening position, when I walk out of the listening position, I immediately feel a lot quieter. That is the advantage of horn technology: it will not be noisy to my family and neighbours.
The violin has a dense, fine tone and plenty of energy
The theme song of the movie “Schindler’s List”: Theme from Schindler’s List. The violin played by The Five has a dense and delicate tone, full of energy and full of penetrating power. Moreover, the sound and image outline of the violin is of moderate size, clearly condensed in the centre. Even in a low-volume or low-volume listening state, you can still hear the performance changes and the texture of the bowstring friction, vaguely containing a touch of air, and it sounds calm, quiet and beautiful.
Piano sound adds super bass to make it more authoritative
Change to piano performance, “Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 2”. The Fives’ voice is warm and thick. The scene when the orchestra is playing is stable, and the sense of hierarchy is clear and not blurred. The sleek and clear keyboard graininess is full and dense without losing the crystal texture. The moist lustre when it hits the treble sounds full of energy but not irritating.
However, the low-frequency momentum of bookshelf speakers is inevitably limited. So I connected the Klipsch R-8SW active subwoofer and paired it with The Fives into a 2.1-channel system. Listening to the same track again, the bass of the piano is more authoritative, as if it has the momentum of an acoustic speaker.
Klipsch R-8SW active subwoofer, the appearance is also low-key black, but the surface has more hairline processing to increase the texture. The speaker cabinet is designed with the bass-reﬂex via the rear-firing port, and the bottom of the cabinet is equipped with an 8-inch woofer with IMG (Injection Molded Graphite) diaphragm containing graphite. The diaphragm is very light and has high rigidity, which can achieve the purpose of reducing distortion. The low-frequency extension can reach 38Hz.
The vocals are warm and thick, and the details are naturally not exaggerated
Jennifer Warnes’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” album, the first track “First We Take Manhattan”. The rhythm of the bass drum in tune is easy to dive, while the snare drum is crisp and fast, with a clear and hearty grain. Jennifer Warnes’ mid-frequency vocals are warm and thick, and the details of the singing are naturally presented without over-emphasizing the labial and dental sounds, with a smooth sense of vocal lines. Jump to the third track “Famous Blue Raincoat”, the sound at the beginning of the saxophone is intoxicating, with a warm tone and a solid sense of energy. Warnes’ low voice seemed to be talking about his state of mind.
Is Klipsch The Fives worth buying? This speaker can be used in the living room to replace the Soundbar to express movie sound effects. It can use smart TV as a source to play streaming videos, streaming music (such as Spotify and YouTube MV), music and videos. You can also use your mobile phone to transmit via Bluetooth to The Fives play music. While using with a notebook, its sound quality is as good as premium headphones.
The Fives itself is a fairly complete sound system and does not require an amplifier. It is not easy to spend a similar budget to purchase a combination of “amplifier + speaker” and achieve the sound quality level of Klipsch The Fives. I think Klipsch The Fives is a cost-effective and affordable audio system. I strongly recommend audiophiles with limited budgets to give priority to this product.
Klipsch The Fives Specs
- SYSTEM DESCRIPTION: Powered Monitor (pair)
- FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 50Hz – 25kHz
- DYNAMIC BASS EXTENSION: 46Hz @ 35% Volume
- MAX OUTPUT: 109 dB (1M Stereo Pair)
- TOTAL SYSTEM POWER: 160W(320W Peak),60W LF, 20W HF
- HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVER: 1” (2.5cm) Titanium LTS vented tweeter with Tractrix® horn
- LOW FREQUENCY DRIVER: 4.5” (11.43cm) high-excursion fber-composite cone woofer
- ENCLOSURE MATERIAL: MDF with genuine wood veneer
- ENCLOSURE TYPE: Bass-reﬂex via rear-fring port
- INPUTS: HDMI-ARC with CEC/ Bluetooth® wireless technology/ Phono/ Line analog (with switch and ground screw terminal)/ 3.5mm analog mini jack/ USB digital/ Optical digital
- OUTPUTS: Single RCA line level output for connection to subwoofer
- HEIGHT, WIDTH, DEPTH: 12” (304.8mm) x 6.5” (165.1mm) x 9.25” (234.95mm)
- WEIGHT Primary: 11.8 lbs (5.35kg) – Secondary: 10.7 lbs (4.85kg)
- FINISH: Walnut / Matte Black
- VOLTAGE: 100V-240V 50/60Hz internal power supply with region specifc power cords
- INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: Region-Specifc power cord (2.0m)/ Remote control (with 2 x AAA batteries)/ 4-conductor speaker cable (4m)/ USB Type-B to USB Type-A cable (1.5m)/HDMI Cable (1.5m)