Test Report: Klipsch Gallery G-28 Speaker System Page 2

Setup

With each G-28 and G-16, Klipsch supplies a small stand that allows the speaker to sit horizontally or vertically on a tabletop or a taller stand. Wall-mount brackets are also provided, and the speakers have keyholes on the back for wall-mounting with standard screws.

I used screws to attach the G-28s to my wall, with one to either side of my 72-inch projection screen and another mounted horizontally right under the screen. I then attached the G-16s vertically to their included stands and placed them atop taller stands so that the tweeters were at roughly the height of my ears. Full-size binding posts — instead of the usual teeny spring clips found on many on-wall speakers — made connecting the cables refreshingly easy.

The Gallery speaker grilles are the coolest I’ve seen. They’re just thin black fabric with a steel rod sewn into each end. Magnets on the back of the speaker hold the rods in place and stretch the fabric across the drivers.

The SW-310 went into my room’s “subwoofer sweet spot,” the place where a single subwoofer sounds best from my listening chair. The Gallery Series manual provided no suggestion for a subwoofer crossover point. I found that 100 Hz worked pretty well; I didn’t want to pump any more bass energy than necessary into the G-28s, partly out of concern for the welfare of the tiny woofers and partly because I wanted to minimize vibration in the plastic enclosure.

Performance

The Gallery system may be slim, but it sounds gigantic. I noticed this characteristic not far into the Blu-ray of Road to Perdition, a period piece with a great soundtrack of hybrid Celtic/New Age music. (That combination isn’t as cloying as it might sound.) The instrumentation of the score sounded absolutely huge; my room suddenly seemed about 500% larger. The rainstorm that breaks out early in the movie sounded especially enveloping and realistic. I love me a good rainstorm in 5.1!

Utopia’s Redux ’92: Live in Japan on DVD sounded similarly colossal through the Gallery system. The tech-heavy band sounded bigger and more exciting than I can remember hearing on any past viewing of this disc, both because of the system’s room-filling sound and because of the SW-310’s potent reproduction of bassist Kasim Sultan’s lines.

But the somewhat bright mix sounded extra-bright through the trio of G-28s — voices seemed a little thin and the high-hat sounded extra sizzly. I noticed the same effect in the gunshots in Road to Perdition, and it sounds to me like a combination of a treble-heavy tonal balance mixed with a bit of distortion.

Certain voices sounded rather coarse and sibilant through the G-28s, yet others were quite natural. In the meeting in Chancellor Palpatine’s office in Chapter 4 of Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and the Jedi with the weird long head sounded harsh, but Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and Yoda (Frank Oz) sounded good. Same thing with singers: Canadian jazz/pop crooner Holly Cole sounded great, but Brazilian songstress Bebel Gilberto came across as a little rough.

Anyone looking for a compact sub that can deliver substantial output all the way down to 20 Hz needs to check out the SW-310. Movie after movie, I was amazed to hear this 13-inch cube whomp out the deepest sound effects in movie soundtracks, such as the car crashes in the opening scene of Final Destination 2. Even in a blind comparison with the much larger Cadence CSX-12 subwoofer, the SW-310 kept right up. It roughly equaled the CSX-12’s super-deep bass, although it couldn’t match the larger sub’s slamming performance in the midbass band. It’s not what I’d call an audiophile sub — it doesn’t have quite the punch or definition that a great music subwoofer needs — but for movie soundtracks and an occasional rock or pop CD, it’s killer.

In fact, the SW-310 sounds to me like it’s in a different class of product than the Gallery speakers. The G-28s start to sound a little bright and thin when you push them hard, but the SW-310 just laughs at you when you try to challenge it with your toughest soundtracks.

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