I walked into this Klipsch room before the one I reported on yesterday, and I was a little disappointed to find a pair of Klipsch RP600-M loudspeakers ($549/pair in walnut or black, $649 for piano gloss) instead of something from the Heritage line. I have nothing against Klipsch’s other speaker lines, but I just don’t get as excited about them as I do a gorgeous pair of La Scalas or Cornwalls. For many years Klipsch has made more affordable speakers with this specific look, black cabinets, copper woofer cone, tweeter recessed in a waveguide inset, but the Klipsch RP600-M seems to mark a turning point for affordable speakers.
I know, I know. Every few years there’s a new king of the mountain when it comes to affordable loudspeakers–Wharfedale Diamonds, Elac, whatever else you got. I’ve heard most of those, and they deserve their stellar reputations. But I felt there was something different about the Klipsch RP600-M loudspeakers, a sound that captures many of the attributes we expect from high-end audio products such as a gorgeously open soundstage, pinpoint imaging, and deep bass that makes you say silly things like “they certainly punch above their weight class.” Evidently I’m not the only one impressed with this little speaker since the room was littered with recent copies of Stereophile with the RP600-Ms on the cover.
The Klipsch RP600-M loudspeakers were paired with an equally budget-minded system from Cambridge Audio that included the CXA60 integrated amplifier ($749), CXC CD spinner ($449) and CXN v2 digital processor ($899). LPs were played with a Pro-Ject Essential III Phono turntable ($349). All in all, the system cost just $5000, and that included the Klipsch C-Series Subwoofer C-310ASWi ($1,599). At first I thought oh, that’s why the bass is so deep. It’s not the $549 speakers, it’s the $1600 subwoofer. I was then informed that we were listening without the sub. Whoa.
My only issue was with the excessive toe-in applied to the Klipsch RP600-Ms, which made it a little tough to find the sweet spot. I’m sure they did this to enlarge the sweet spot, or maybe the RP600-Ms were designed to be placed that way. That just makes me want to grab a pair and play with them and see how great I can make them sound within the context of a much more expensive system. I’d ask to review a pair, but these are so inexpensive that I might just run out and buy a pair. The next time someone asks me for a budget speaker recommendation, something that happens quite often, I’m going to tell them to check out the surprisingly engaging Klipsch RP600-M monitors.