Klipsch’s Premiere 600M; Speaker of the Year?

The Klipsch Reference Premiere 600M might startle you. It definitely shook me up, and I’ve heard a ton of speakers at all prices this year, and sure some of them sounded better than the RP 600M.

The Reference Premiere 600M is full of surprises, at every turn it’ll make you reconsider what a mid-size bookshelf speaker can do.

So I’m not claiming it’s the best sounding speaker I’ve heard, just that it’s the one I can’t shake loose. I kept coming back to it, prolonging the reviewing process precisely because it sounded so alive and visceral. Priced at $549 a pair in the US, £625 in the UK, and AU$1,500 in Australia the RP 600M is the Audiophiliac Speaker of the Year!

Tech details are out of the ordinary, and they include a 1-inch (28mm) titanium tweeter mounted in a Tractrix horn, which is a specialty of Klipsch: all of its speakers feature Tractrix horns. The horn allows the acoustic power of the tweeter to be tapped much more efficiently, so the tweeter’s output is greatly increased. There’s also a 6.5-inch (165mm) Cerametallic woofer. The spun cooper woofers look sharp!

Readers of speaker specs might raise their eyebrows when they spot the RP 600M’s 96 dB sensitivity number, that’s a lot higher than average. The high sensitivity allows the RP 600M to use a lot less power to play at a given volume level than most speakers. So it will sound great with low power amplifiers, and still sing with more power, the RP 600M has a 100 watt continuous/400 watt peak power handling rating. The rear panel hosts bi-wire speaker cable connectors.

Klipsch Reference Premiere 600M’s rear panel

The RP 600M is a ported design, but instead of the usual round port, this speaker features a Tractrix shaped port like the one for the tweeter. The RP 600M measures 15.7 x 8 x 11.9 inches (399 x 202 x 301mm), and it weighs 16 pounds (7.3 kg). Finish options run to a snazzy Ebony and more conservative Walnut (both are vinyl), and if you prefer something a little classier, move up to Piano Black RP 600M.

I teamed the RP 600Ms with my NAD C 316BEEintegrated amp and an Oppo BDP 205 Blu-ray player for almost all of my listening sessions. I squeezed in a few hours listening with a First Watt SIT 3 power amp, and that one took the RP 600M sound to the next level. The tone smoothed out and treble clarified, and vocal sounded more flesh and blood human. Lesson learned: feed the RP 600M well and it just sounds better and better. Low power tube amplifiers will likely be a sweet combination.

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