Klipsch Soundbar 48 Review 2022: Is It For You?

Klipsch Soundbar 48 Review 2022 Is It For You

Looking for an affordable soundbar that can pack a punch? The Klipsch Soundbar 48 is a great option, delivering crisp, clear sound that will make your movies and music sound great. This soundbar is easy to set up and use, and it’s an excellent value for the price.

This Klipsch Soundbar 48 Review explores all the different options, how it sounds, how it compares to other models, and how much you can expect to pay. We also cover how it fits into a home theater setup and how it handles movies and music.

What is Klipsch BAR 48?

Klipsch’s latest venture into soundbars is the BAR 48, a 3.1-channel design that focuses on performance over features. Klipsch has been manufacturing soundbars since 2011, but these BAR 40/48 are the first to include aspects of its Reference range of speakers (such as the Klipsch Reference Premiere 5.1 system).

These new models are a complete refresh and reimagining Klipsch’s soundbar range-up. They’re more like active speakers, with built-in amplifiers, wood cabinets and grilles, and distinctive horn-loaded Tweeters.

The BAR 40 has a 2.1-channel layout, while the BAR 48 uses 3.1 channels. Both included a wireless subwoofer. However, the BAR 48 has more power and is more extensive.

What is Klipsch BAR 48

Klipsch Bar is a pioneer in the use of horn-loaded tweeters. They have been improving their sensitivity for more than 70 years. The BAR 48, reviewed here, should have superior audio performance to other sound bars.

This is especially true when the horn-loaded tweeters and powerful amplification are combined with an 8-inch subwoofer.

Because of its limited feature set, the BAR 48 must perform acoustically. Klipsch comes with a backlit remote control, but only one HDMI-ARC connector is available.

There’s no support for object-based audio or lossless audio. The price is also high; it retails at PS565 (September 2019). The BAR 48 will face stiff competition at this price, so it should sound good.

Pros

  • Excellent 3.1-channel performance
  • Subwoofer with integrated design
  • It’s easy to set up and use
  • You can also choose from optional surrounds

Cons

  • Design is a learned taste
  • No immersive audio support
  • No HDMI inputs

Design

Klipsch’s famed horn-loaded tweeters are used in the Klipsch BAR48. A pair is displayed on the soundbar’s front. The BAR 48 is a popular choice for horn-tweeters, but it’s not without its drawbacks. It’s not a good idea to try and cover your tweeters with a grille if you’re in the latter group.

Despite this, the wooden construction offers a unique advantage over other soundbars in this price range. Its width is ideal for larger TVs with screen sizes greater than 55 inches and its profile of 73mm.

Dark silver is used to finish the horn-loaded tweeters on either end of this rectangular black box. Klipsch offers interchangeable end caps that can be matched to your decor. This is a nice touch. The display is inaccurate, but LED indicator lights and some basic controls are at the top for volume, power, and input.

BAR 48 also includes a wireless subwoofer made from wood. It has a build quality similar to the central unit and a simple black finish. It has a significant 8-inch downward-firing driver and a bass port. It measures 302x410x410mm (WxHxD). The sub should automatically pair with your soundbar when you turn it on.

BAR 48 Sound Bar and Wireless Subwoofer Design

The remote control is full-size and backlit. It has all the buttons that you need to operate the BAR 48. You will find buttons for power, volume, and other inputs. Mute and a button to turn off the LED indicator lights are also available. You can adjust the subwoofer volume and select the Dialogue Surround sound and Night mode.

The connections are found in the recessed area behind the soundbar and consist of a single HDMI-ARC port and an optical digital audio output. There is also a 3.5mm analog input. A USB firmware update port is available. There’s also a connector to an IR extender and Bluetooth. The subwoofer output allows you to replace the wireless sub with a wired sub or run dual subs.

Design TL:DR: The large subwoofer of 8 inches and wooden construction are all positives. However, the horn-loaded tweeters and limited connections are an acquired taste.

Features

KLIPSCH 48 SPECS

  • Dimensions: 1211 (w) x 73%(h)x 86(d).
  • Configuration of the speaker:
  • Claimed audio power: 425W
  • Connectivity: HDMI-ARC, optical digital input; 3.5mm analog input; subwoofer out; Bluetooth connection

Klipsch’s BAR 48 is a plug-and-play solution that instantly and effectively improves the audio quality of your TV. The Klipsch BAR 48 is a simple speaker system with a 3.1-channel configuration.

Each of the three front channels comprises a soft dome tweeter measuring 1 inch, mated with a Tractrix Horn, and two cone woofers made from oval fiber composite cone woofers measuring 3 inches. A dedicated centre speaker will ensure that dialogue is clear and focused on the screen.

A separate wireless subwoofer manages the lower frequencies through an 8-inch downward-firing driver and a bass port. The system is separately amplified to provide detailed and dynamic sound performance. It also has 440W power.

Klipsch Soundbar 48 Features

Klipsch offers three sound modes: Night for a reduced dynamic range and increased vocal clarity, Dialogue enhanced vocal clarity, and Surround to simulate the effect of rear speakers. DTS virtual will be added to the company’s USB firmware updates, but there is no immersive audio at this time.

The BAR 48 can decode lossy Dolby Digital or DTS formats up until 5.1 channels. You will need the optional SURROUND3 rear speakers to make an accurate 5.1-channel system. These can be purchased for $249/PS265 and connected via a dedicated USB wireless transmitter.

The features are pretty much all there. Perhaps the most surprising thing is the absence of lossless Dolby TrueHD MA or DTS HD MA decoding. At this price, you would expect them both and Wi-Fi, intelligent features, and multi-room functionality.

Features TL:DR: While the 3.1-channel design has a powerful subwoofer and a dedicated center speaker, the feature-set is very limited. There is no object- or lossless audio support.

Setup and Operation

Klipsch’s BAR 48 is a plug-and-play solution that upgrades your TV’s built-in audio. Place the soundbar in front of your TV and attach the HDMI cable to your TV’s HDMI-ARC input. Then plug in the subwoofer and soundbar using the power cables.

The sub should connect wirelessly to the soundbar. Once connected, a blue LED will glow at the back. It’s very bright, so I recommend covering it with electrical tape. If you prefer, you can swap the included dark grey soundbar end caps for dark wood ones. For wall mounting, there are two brackets at the rear.

Klipsch Soundbar 48 Setup and Operation

You can connect the soundbar to your TV using optical digital audio input if your TV does not support HDMI-ARC. Bluetooth is the only wireless connection. However, if you wish to stream music, you can pair your soundbar with your Bluetooth device.

The soundbar features LED indicators for ARC and Dolby Surround, Night, Dialogue, Surround, Dialogue, Night, and Volume. These indicators can all be dimmed or completely turned off.

To test, I connected the following devices: a Panasonic DM-UB820 UHD DVD player, an Apple TV4K set-top box, and a Humax FVP5000T set-top box. Then, I connected my LG 65C9 via HDMI-ARC to the BAR 48. This allowed me to send audio from all three sources to the soundbar. I paired my iPhone X via Bluetooth to stream music from Spotify.

Performance

Klipsch BAR 48 is a soundbar that delivers the best possible 3.1 channel performance. It succeeds admirably in this regard. Klipsch knows how to make speakers and that knowledge has been applied to creating a soundbar that makes full use of its horn-loaded tweeters.

This results in a large and spacious front soundstage. The horn tweeters have a greater level of sensitivity, which allows for exceptional detail. It also has a full delivery, which produces a lot of detailed and dynamic performance.

The high frequencies are well defined, while the mid-range is rich in detail and clarity. The subwoofer provides a strong foundation for the entire system and adds deep bass.

This all means that the BAR 48’s music capabilities are awe-inspiring. Listening to Nick Cave sing O, Children with the effective woofers is an enjoyable experience. The tweeters pick out the rising chorus behind him and help to pinpoint it with precision.

This bar’s ability to create an atmosphere of joy is also beneficial for a more pop-poppy confection such as Lizzy’s infectious sleepwalking. These strengths are also available for TV shows. You can enjoy your favorite programming with a sound quality that surpasses any TV’s built-in speakers.

Klipsch Soundbar 48 Performance

The BAR 48’s most valuable asset is its dedicated center speaker. This ensures that the dialogue stays focused and clear on the screen. This soundbar can deliver your favorite game shows, news broadcasts, and the news with impressive accuracy.

The soundbar’s width distributes sound to both sides of the screen and creates excellent stereo separation. This allows music to be reproduced in excellent stereo imaging. The BAR 48 can also render effects with incredible precision by placing them across the room.

All these elements combine to create a captivating soundscape in front of the room for TV dramas or movies. A soundtrack such as Dunkirk has a visceral and dynamic quality that evokes emotions. You hear gunshots, the high-pitched whine of a Stuka diving-bomber terrorizes, and then there are explosions with a seismic kick.

The music is perfectly balanced on either side of your screen, and the dialogue remains clear and focused. There is plenty of headroom, and the sub-mines are the sonic depths. Surround presence is not available even when the Surround mode is activated. Klipsch’s wireless surround speakers are required to reproduce 5.1 mixes fully.

Performance TL:DR: The soundbar’s well-designed design makes it easy to set up and use. It delivers a remarkable 3.1-channel sound quality that will make your TV sound better.

Value

The Klipsch BAR 48 provides exceptional performance and is easy to use. It has a 3.1-channel soundbar that plugs in and plays. A superior tweeter and woofer design are combined with lots of power and an 8-inch subwoofer to create a stunning front soundstage.

The features are not as good as advertised. It doesn’t have a display or HDMI inputs and can’t even decode lossless audio.

What can you instead buy? The Sony HT-ZF9 can be a great alternative. The HT-ZF9 also has a 3.1 channel layout and uses psychoacoustic processing for Dolby Atmos support. You will be amazed at the value you get for your money when you add in two HDMI inputs and Wi-Fi, Chromecast, and the ability to use smart assistants.

The Samsung HW-Q70R, if your budget is more limited, is another option. The upward-firing drivers of this 3.1.2-channel soundbar support Dolby Atmos as well as DTS:X. Although it only has one HDMI input but passes HDR10+, it has Wi-Fi and works with Amazon Alexa. It also supports multi-room functionality.

What Are My Alternatives?

There are many options about the same price point, but the Sony HT ZF9 is the best choice. It costs approximately the same as the Klipsch BAR 48.

The HT-ZF9 also has a 3.1 channel layout and uses psychoacoustic processing to support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. It has Wi-Fi, Chromecast, and two HDMI inputs. This makes it an exceptional value for money.

What Are My Alternatives

Another excellent combination soundbar/subwoofer is the Samsung HW Q70R. It also costs approximately the same. However, this time, you get a 3.1.2 channel system that supports Atmos and DTS:X thanks to the upward-firing driver.

Although it only has one HDMI input but passes both Dolby Vision & HDR10+, it does have Dolby Vision. It supports multi-room functionality, Wi-Fi and works with Amazon Alexa.

Video

Conclusion

The Klipsch Soundbar 48 is an excellent-looking, compact soundbar that delivers on all fronts. While it does have some minor issues and isn’t quite as impressive for music listening as the other products in this roundup, it’s more than capable of bringing life to any movie or video game. The bass is solid, the Klipsch bar 48 sound is clear, and even sounds great for music.

The Klipsch Soundbar 48 is an excellent option if you’re looking for a compact soundbar that delivers on everything it promises. It’s great looking and is built to be easy to use. It even comes with many useful features that we didn’t expect, like WiFi connectivity and the ability to run Android apps through your TV.

Thanks for checking out our Klipsch review! Hooke Audio would love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback below.

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