Klipsch Cinema 600 Soundbar Review
- Excellent 3.1-channel performance
- Powerful and well-integrated sub
- Simple to set up and operate
- Elegant and well made
- Optional surrounds
- Remote app
The not so good
- No lossless support
- Limited connections
What is the Klipsch Cinema 600?
The Klipsch Cinema 600 is a 3.1-channel soundbar that forms part of the company's new Cinema Series. The range is headlined by the Cinema 1200 (£1,449) with Dolby Atmos and a 5.1.4-channel system, followed by the mid-range Cinema 800 (£899) 3.1-channel soundbar with Atmos via psychoacoustic processing, the lower mid-range Cinema 600 (£549) reviewed here, and the entry-level 2.1-channel Cinema 400 (£379).
The model number relates to the amount of internal power, which means the Cinema 1200 has 1200W and so on. The new line-up includes Bluetooth, HDMI-ARC, a 10-inch wireless subwoofer (12-inch in the case of the Cinema 1200), and the Klipsch Connect remote app. All the soundbars use proprietary 90˚ x 90˚ Tractrix horns with linear travel suspension tweeters, with the Cinema 800 and 600 also offering the option of adding wireless rear speakers to create 5.1-channel systems.
The Cinema 1200 and 800 both offer full HDMI 2.1 connections, which means support for eARC, and passthrough of 8K and Dolby Vision. They also have built-in Wi-Fi with Spotify Connect and the ability to work with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. In addition, the Cinema 1200 delivers a genuine 5.1.4-channel immersive audio experience thanks to up-firing elevation speakers in the main unit and included wireless rear speakers.
The Klipsch BAR 48 soundbar delivered an impressive performance when we reviewed it in late 2019, but suffered from a lack of features. Let's see if the Cinema 600 can go one better this year.
Design, Connections and Control
The Klipsch Cinema 600 uses an identical design to the previous generation, and is essentially a black rectangular box that measures 1143mm wide, making it ideal for TVs with screen sizes of 55-inches and upwards. Klipsch offers the choice of stand or wall mounting, but you'll need a fairly wide TV stand for the former, and at a height of 73mm the Cinema a 600 might also block the screen. However, thanks to a pair of brackets at the rear, wall mounting couldn't be easier.
The overall design is simple, with the front dominated by a pair of exposed Tractrix horn-loaded tweeters either side of a wrap-around fabric covering. The tweeters are finished in brushed metal, with the controls located on top of the right-hand one, and there's a series of indicator lights in lieu of a proper display. The build quality is excellent, with the soundbar constructed from wood, and overall the Cinema 600 is an elegant-looking soundbar.
The Cinema 600 comes with a separate wireless (2.4GHz) subwoofer that has been designed to handle the lower frequencies. Thanks to a 12-inch downward-firing driver and a bass port, Klipsch claims the sub can get down to 28Hz. Like the main unit, it's made of wood, finished in black, and has a similar level of build quality. It sits on four feet to provide enough space for the driver, measures 360 x 470 x 370mm (WxHxD), and nicely matches the soundbar itself.
The Cinema 600 has a fairly basic but clearly labelled set of connections, located in a recessed area at the rear of the soundbar. There's a single HDMI-ARC (audio return channel) port, an optical digital audio input and a 3.5mm analogue input. There's no support for eARC (enhanced ARC), but that isn't an issue because the Cinema 600 doesn't support lossless audio.
The inputs are clearly labelled but basic, with HDMI-ARC, digital, analogue, and Bluetooth for a wireless connection
There’s also a connector for an IR extender and an RCA subwoofer output. The latter allows you to upgrade the wireless sub with a wired one if you feel the need, or even run dual subs. There's limited space in the recess, especially when you also have to fit the two-pin power cable in there as well, so those using thick cables might struggle. There's a USB port concealed behind the right-hand wooden end cap, and the only wireless connection is Bluetooth.
As previously mentioned, above the right-hand tweeter you'll find some basic controls for power, source and volume up/down. This year, Klipsch has also added the Klipsch Connect app for both iOS and Android devices. In the case of the Cinema 600, this is via Bluetooth and the app provides firmware updates, set-up guide with videos, one-tap access to support, and product registration. Klipsch will also be adding EQ adjustments soon.
The included full-size remote control is identical to the previous generation and sports a very useful motion-sensitive backlight. It offers all the buttons you’ll need to effectively set up and operate the soundbar – such as power, volume, and the various inputs, along with mute and a button for turning off the LED indicator lights. You can also adjust the subwoofer level and select the Dialogue, Surround, and Night modes.
Features and Specs
The Klipsch Cinema 600 uses a 3.1-channel speaker configuration, with the three front-firing speakers composed of three 1-inch soft dome tweeters mated to a Tractrix horn, and four 3-inch high output oval fibre composite cone woofers. The soundbar has a dedicated centre speaker, which should ensure dialogue remains clear and focused on the screen.
As the name suggests, the system as a whole has a combined 600W of amplification that drives all the speakers and the subwoofer. Klipsch has included three sound modes: Dialogue for increased vocal clarity; Night for reduced dynamic range when you need to keep things quiet; and Surround to virtually create the effect of rear speakers (or upmix to surround if the rear speakers are added).
The Cinema 600 can decode lossy Dolby Digital and DTS formats up to 5.1 channels, but if you want to create a genuine 5.1-channel system, you need to buy the optional Surround 3 rear speakers for £255 (although the Cinema 600 and 800 can also be bought as 5.1 packages). These speakers are connected using a pre-paired USB transmitter that is connected to the USB port concealed behind the soundbar's right-hand wooden end cap.
Set Up and Operation
The Klipsch Cinema 600 is designed as a ‘plug and play’ solution that quickly and simply upgrades the built-in audio of your TV. All you need to do is simply place the soundbar down in front of your TV, attach the included HDMI cable to the HDMI-ARC input on your TV, and then plug-in the soundbar and the subwoofer using the provided power cables.
It's easy to set up, with everything you need in the box, including an HDMI cable, a template and wall brackets
The sub should wirelessly connect to the soundbar automatically and, once connected, a blue LED glows at the back of the sub. If you prefer to wall mount, there's a pair of screws that are attached to the rear of the soundbar. You then attach two mounting brackets to the wall using the included template, and simply hang the soundbar onto the mounts.
If your TV doesn't support HDMI-ARC, use the optical digital input instead. The only wireless connection is via Bluetooth, but if you want to stream music all you need to do is pair the soundbar with your Bluetooth device. The soundbar has a series of coloured LED indicators that use combinations you're never likely to remember, and thankfully these can be dimmed or turned off.
If your TV supports HDMI-ARC use that connection, but if not you'll need to use the optical digital input instead
For testing, the following devices where connected to an LG 77C9 OLED TV: Panasonic DM-UB820 UHD Blu-ray player, Apple TV 4K and Manhattan T3-R set top box. The TV was connected to the Cinema 600 using HDMI-ARC, allowing audio from the three connected sources, along with audio from the TV's built-in tuner and video streaming apps to the soundbar. An iPhone X was connected via Bluetooth, allowing music to be streamed from Spotify.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 produced an impressive sonic performance, with a wide front soundstage that delivered detail, clarity, and scale. The use of horn-loaded tweeters results in a clearly defined acoustic image and improved speaker sensitivity. The three front channels are perfectly balanced, while the deep and powerful subwoofer is nicely integrated into the system as a whole, resulting in an overall delivery that boasts a natural sound, a solid mid-range, and plenty of energy.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 might be a soundbar, but with music it feels more like a high quality pair of loud speakers. The width of the cabinet allows for plenty of stereo separation, and the well-designed woofers and Tractrix tweeters ensure that the mid-range and higher frequencies are expertly rendered. The sub lays down a solid foundation of bass, and the wooden construction provides a richness that results in a system with excellent stereo imaging and tonal balance.
While the stereo imaging is excellent, the inclusion of a dedicated centre speaker ensures that dialogue also remains clear and focused on the screen. As a result, while the Cinema 600 lacks rear speakers (unless you buy the optional surround package), it is able to make full use of the front three channels and LFE channel to produce an expansive soundstage that retains plenty of scale, but thanks to the Tractrix horns also manages to retrieve all the high frequency definition.
Makes full use of its three channels and sub to produce an expansive front soundstage that retains plenty of scale
Watching a show like Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which has a lively 5.1 mix, the Cinema 600 does a great job of rendering the dialogue, music and sound effects – even if there is no sense of surround envelopment. The Surround mode doesn't really make a difference, but the Dialogue mode does help bring out the clarity in commentaries, voice overs and narration, while the Night mode makes it easier to to watch TV without disturbing the family, by levelling the audio and reducing the bass.
The Cinema 600 generally sounds quite balanced, even at low volumes, but is also able to produce a room-filing soundstage when required. There's plenty of available power, and you can crank up the volume with it distorting or sound harsh. When watching a show like Shadow and Bone, you might not be able to take advantage of the Dolby Atmos soundtrack, but the 'Fold' still retains a sense of scale, and the sub does an excellent job of handling the big bass moments.
Of course, the Cinema 600 can only do so much with three channels, and when watching a big Marvel movie like Black Widow, the subwoofer does start to show its limitations. The front soundstage remains spacious and detailed, dialogue is clear, and the upgraded subwoofer produces prodigious amounts of bass, ensuring the action scenes have plenty of low-end kick, but there's no sense of envelopment, and the lack of immersion makes the action less visceral.
Klipsch Cinema 600 Soundbar Review
Should I buy one?
The Klipsch Cinema 600 is a classy soundbar and subwoofer combination that's designed to quickly and easily improve the sound quality of your ultra-slim TV. It succeeds in this goal admirably, delivering a superior sonic performance from an elegantly designed and well-made system. The three forward-firing channels and powerful amplification ensure a wide front soundstage with clear dialogue, and there's plenty of hard-hitting bass from the 10-inch subwoofer.
Klipsch has chosen to concentrate on sound quality when it comes to the Cinema 600, which explains why it's a little light on features. This soundbar feels more like a high-end speaker, where the focus is on premium materials, genuinely transferable audio technology and wooden cabinetry. It's intended to replicate the acoustical signature of a larger pair of speakers as closely as possible, while remaining convenient to set up and operate.
The flip-side is that this soundbar lacks many of today's cutting-edge features like lossless and immersive audio. You get do HDMI-ARC, Bluetooth, a remote app, and the option to add wireless rear speakers, but otherwise you're restricted to lossy 3.1-channel audio. You can buy soundbar systems with more channels and features for the same money, but if you're looking for a great-sounding and easy-to-use soundbar, the Klipsch Cinema 600 is definitely worth a recommendation.
What are my alternatives?
If you like the idea of Klipsch concentrating on sound quality rather than features, the Cinema 800 is definitely worth considering. For the extra money you get lossless audio, Dolby Atmos decoding and HDMI 2.1 with 8K passthrough. If you have the necessary budget, you should also consider the Cinema 1200 – one of the few soundbars to directly compete with Samsung's HW-Q950A.
At a similar £599 price point the LG SP8YA is definitely worth considering, with it 3.1.2-channel system thanks to up-firing speakers and a wireless subwoofer. You get decoding for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, plus Meridian tuning, an AI-enhanced sound mode and Hi-Res Audio support. There's also eARC, Chromecast, AirPlay 2, and the ability to work with both Alexa and Google Assistant.
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