The desire among the AV community (at scale) seems to be wireless audio systems, which makes a lot of sense considering that wires are an eye-sore and for a lot of new home owners, the challenge of planning wiring and/or a lack thereof limits the kind of movie/music experience thats possible at home. Given these factors, we have seen a rise in the introduction of active HiFi speakers with models such as the KEF LSX, KEF LS50 Wireless 2, Dynaudio Xeo, Dali Oberon C (coming soon) and we expect many more to come along.
Having had the chance to experience and spend a lot of time with different powered speakers, our opinion has been that a wired system would be the superior choice that you can read more about here. However, every now and then, you come across something that forces you to recalibrate your perspective on things and that is exactly what The Fives did for us.
Most powered speakers have an app that you have to download to get the most of the system and in some cases the app is a required and essential component to operate the system. In our experience, systems that require apps for setup and operation are often a little clunky and difficult to work with. Since most speaker manufacturers aren't experts in the software department, the user interfaces aren't as well thought out as the speaker design and so the usability of the system comes into question and what makes The Fives stand-out is that there is no smartphone app that you need to download to setup or operate the system. The Fives is an uncomplicated plug and play device that looks great, sounds great and best of all — works reliably.
- Frequency Response: 50 Hz - 25kHz
- Tweeter: 1” (2.5cm) Titanium LTS vented tweeter with Tractrix®horn
- Woofer: 4.5” (11.43cm) high-excursion fiber-composite cone woofer
- Port: Bass-reflex via rear-firing port
- Amplification: 160W Total System Power (320W Peak). 60W LF, 20W HF
INPUTS AND OUTPUTS
The Fives feature the following inputs:
- HDMI-ARC with CEC - Easy connectivity to most smart televisions and given how slim televisions have become in recent years, you really do benefit from a dedicated sound system.
- Bluetooth 5.0 - Enjoy high-resolution wireless audio playback with support for AptX, AptX HD, AAC, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. Although, so far it does not look like it supports LDAC.
- Phono/Line Analog (including switch and ground screw terminal) - For the vinyl lovers out there.
- 3.5 mm Analog Mini Jack - Provides connectivity for any device with a 3.5mm output.
- USB Digital - A useful input if you plan on using your computer for USB Audio playback or a dedicated network streamer like a CXN v2 from Cambridge Audio.
- Optical Digital - Incase the HDMI way of life isn't something your television supports.
HDMI-ARC is the cherry on top and The Fives are probably the first to introduce this in a powered bookshelf speaker, hence, giving it the infamous title of "The Soundbar Killer”. eARC would have really knocked this speaker out of the park, but hey, its a start...
The Fives feature the following output:
- RCA Line-Level Sub Pre Out - If you have a large room and the bass on the bookshelf’s doesn’t seem enough for you, you have the freedom to hook up an active subwoofer via a subwoofer cable.
SETUP AND UI
The Fives are pretty straight-forward to get started with. The important thing to note is that the speaker with the input and output options is the primary speaker and it has a LR switch on it incase you happen to use it as the left speaker. This is important to get your stereo imaging correct.
For Bluetooth pairing, there is a PAIR button next to the LR switch that you need to keep pressed for the system to become discoverable. The rest of the inputs simply require to be plugged into the respective ports and selected via the tactile input selector knob on the top of the primary speaker.
Most Klipsch speakers feature an iconic copper finished woofer driver that have made the Klipsch speakers immediately recognisable, however, a lot of people prefer to use the provided speaker grills to keep the drivers safe and when that happens, the beauty of the copper drivers are often hidden.
The Fives don’t feature the same internal look for the driver, however, they do have beautiful looking grills and external finishes, which is what really matters at the end of the day. Available in a matte black and walnut finish (our preference being the latter), The Fives are a pleasant pair of bookshelf's to look at and would match most room interiors.
It's not everyday that you find a system that grabs you by the ear (in a good way). There was a lot of anticipation in the air when we first plugged in The Fives. We connected to the speaker via its Bluetooth input and knowing that speakers take a while to open up, we kept our expectations in check. The first song we played on The Fives was Holy by Justin Bieber (feat. Chance The Rapper) and the initial combination of the piano and vocals took us by surprise. The highs were silky smooth and very easy to listen to; and as the track progresses forward and the additional elements of the song start to kick-in, it felt like The Fives were painting a really beautiful picture of the music and our team was sold on it within the first minute.
Bass is a critical factor for all of us music enthusiasts. A little too much bass makes everything sound to boomy and not enough bass just takes the fun out of things. With The Fives however, you get something that Klipsch calls 'Dynamic Bass EQ', which essentially means that "you get powerful bass whether the listening volume is low, cranked up or somewhere in between" and with our time with this speaker, this technology works beautifully. Even though The Fives do feature a sub pre-out to be able to connect an external active subwoofer, we hardly feel the need for one and that speaks to how great this speaker is at presenting lower frequencies.
For amplification, The Fives are bi-amped (Bi-amping is the practice of using two audio amplifiers to amplify different audio frequency ranges, with the amplified signals being routed to different speaker drivers, such as tweeter, midrange and woofer — resulting in an greater clarity and output) with 60 watts dedicated to the woofer and 20 watts dedicated to the tweeter. Klipsch seem to have developed a beautiful crossover design that allows The Fives to sound incredibly well balanced and musical at even low volume levels.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The real question we have been asking ourselves is whether active bookshelf speakers can sound just as good or better than a dedicated wired setup and while technically The Fives aren’t truly wireless since it requires a proprietary 4-conductor speaker cable between the 2 speakers, we do believe that they have done a great job of pushing the HiFi world into one that is relatively less wired, bringing a whole new audience into the world of HiFi.
Retail Price: INR 94,800/-
What’s In The Box:
- The Fives (Bookshelf Speaker - Pair)
- Region-Specific power cord (2.0m)
- Remote Control (with 2 x AAA batteries)
- 4-Conductors Speaker Cable (4m)
- USB Type-B to USB Type-A Cable (1.5m)
- HDMICable (1.5m)
The Fives are currently available in limited quantities and if it is something you are actively considering, we recommend getting in touch with one of our AVXperts via WhatsApp or Apple Business Chat and our team will be happy to assist you.