Test Report: Klipsch HD Theater 600 5.1 Speaker System

Everybody loves small speakers, and why not? Smaller is — often — easier to afford, easier to schlep home, easier to place, and easier to live with. Smaller also has certain acoustical advantages in achieving smooth response and in yielding the broad, even spread of sound that favors good imaging and an open, believable tone color.

But how small is too small? Some say there’s no limit, and at least one manufacturer (Bose) has had success with subwoofer/satellite designs whose sats are smaller than a pepper mill, let alone a breadbox. But as the front satellites of a speaker system become smaller, their ability to reproduce bass low enough to bridge effectively with the practical upper limits of a single subwoofer, at around 150 Hz (and ideally lower), becomes questionable.

Klipsch thinks it has found the sweet spot with its HD Theater 600 system

, whose four identical satellites are just about literally pint-and-a-half-size — the center speaker, with dual woofers, is about half again as long — and nicely finished in smooth black lacquer. Klipsch tells me that the 2.5-inch mid/bass driver in the 600 suite has been re-engineered to deliver better, more powerful, and slightly more extended bottom-range output, helping the diminutive speakers to blend effectively with the compact 8-inch sub that fills out the 600 system, at least as compared with the HD Theater 500 it supersedes.

Setup

Klipsch designed some simple yet quite clever plastic mounting brackets for the 600 sats, allowing for easy wall-mounting with plenty of rotation of the round-backed speakers for as much “toe-in” as might be wished. Stick-on feet are included for stand or shelf placement. I set the L/R sats on standard speaker stands in my usual location on either side of my TV, with the horizontally arrayed center speaker on my low center stand just below its bottom edge. The surrounds went on my regular high-placed shelves, flanking the listening position, while the sub, which is fairly hefty for an 8-incher, went in my usual woofer home just to the right of the right-front speaker.

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