Foreword / YouTube Video Review
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The review on this website is a brief overview and summary of the objective performance of this speaker. It is not intended to be a deep dive. Moreso, this is information for those who prefer “just the facts” and prefer to have the data without the filler. The video below has more discussion.
Information and Photos
Specs from the manufacturer can be found here.
- 1” LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) titanium diaphragm tweeter with Tractrix® horn
- 5-1/4” Cerametallic™ cone woofer
- frequency response: 50-25,000 Hz (± 3dB)
- power handling: up to 75 watts RMS
- sensitivity: 92 dB
- impedance: 8 ohms
- bass-reflex design with rear-firing Tractrix port
- magnetic grille protects drivers and looks stylish
- furniture-grade walnut vinyl with scratch-resistant design and satin-painted baffles
- aluminum binding post speaker terminals with audiophile-grade internal speaker wiring
- cork pads on bottom add stability and security while helping decouple the speaker from surfaces
- dimensions 6-7/8"W x 13-9/16"H x 10-5/8"D
- weight: 13.1 lbs. (each)
- warranty: 5 years:
The current price is approximately $599 USD per pair.
CTA-2034 (SPINORAMA) and Accompanying Data
All data collected using Klippel’s Near-Field Scanner. The Near-Field-Scanner 3D (NFS) offers a fully automated acoustic measurement of direct sound radiated from the source under test. The radiated sound is determined in any desired distance and angle in the 3D space outside the scanning surface. Directivity, sound power, SPL response and many more key figures are obtained for any kind of loudspeaker and audio system in near field applications (e.g. studio monitors, mobile devices) as well as far field applications (e.g. professional audio systems). Utilizing a minimum of measurement points, a comprehensive data set is generated containing the loudspeaker’s high resolution, free field sound radiation in the near and far field. For a detailed explanation of how the NFS works and the science behind it, please watch the below discussion with designer Christian Bellmann:
The reference plane in this test is at the tweeter. I tested the speaker primarily with the grille off.
I did perform additional testing (grille on) and have also provided some data for the effect of turning the speaker off-axis in the Estimated In-Room Response. Additionally, I have provided some overlays of the Estimated In-Room Response of various kinds toward the end of this review. Please read the graphic titles of each for identifying what the data is for.
Measurements are provided in a format in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers (ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020). For more information, please see this link.
CTA-2034 / SPINORAMA:
The On-axis Frequency Response (0°) is the universal starting point and in many situations it is a fair representation of the first sound to arrive at a listener’s ears.
The Listening Window is a spatial average of the nine amplitude responses in the ±10º vertical and ±30º horizontal angular range. This encompasses those listeners who sit within a typical home theater audience, as well as those who disregard the normal rules when listening alone.
The Early Reflections curve is an estimate of all single-bounce, first-reflections, in a typical listening room.
Sound Power represents all of the sounds arriving at the listening position after any number of reflections from any direction. It is the weighted rms average of all 70 measurements, with individual measurements weighted according to the portion of the spherical surface that they represent.
Sound Power Directivity Index (SPDI): In this standard the SPDI is defined as the difference between the listening window curve and the sound power curve.
Early Reflections Directivity Index (EPDI): is defined as the difference between the listening window curve and the early reflections curve. In small rooms, early reflections figure prominently in what is measured and heard in the room so this curve may provide insights into potential sound quality.
Early Reflections Breakout:
Floor bounce: average of 20º, 30º, 40º down
Ceiling bounce: average of 40º, 50º, 60º up
Front wall bounce: average of 0º, ± 10º, ± 20º, ± 30º horizontal
Side wall bounces: average of ± 40º, ± 50º, ± 60º, ± 70º, ± 80º horizontal
Rear wall bounces: average of 180º, ± 90º horizontal
Estimated In-Room Response:
In theory, with complete 360-degree anechoic data on a loudspeaker and sufficient acoustical and geometrical data on the listening room and its layout it would be possible to estimate with good precision what would be measured by an omnidirectional microphone located in the listening area of that room. By making some simplifying assumptions about the listening space, the data set described above permits a usefully accurate preview of how a given loudspeaker might perform in a typical domestic listening room. Obviously, there are no guarantees, because individual rooms can be acoustically aberrant. Sometimes rooms are excessively reflective (“live”) as happens in certain hot, humid climates, with certain styles of interior décor and in under-furnished rooms. Sometimes rooms are excessively “dead” as in other styles of décor and in some custom home theaters where acoustical treatment has been used excessively. This form of post processing is offered only as an estimate of what might happen in a domestic living space with carpet on the floor and a “normal” amount of seating, drapes and cabinetry.
For these limited circumstances it has been found that a usefully accurate Predicted In-Room (PIR) amplitude response, also known as a “room curve” is obtained by a weighted average consisting of 12 % listening window, 44 % early reflections and 44 % sound power. At very high frequencies errors can creep in because of excessive absorption, microphone directivity, and room geometry. These discrepancies are not considered to be of great importance.
Horizontal Frequency Response (0° to ±90°):
Vertical Frequency Response (0° to ±40°):
Horizontal Contour Plot (normalized):
Vertical Contour Plot (normalized):
Horizontal Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Vertical Polar (Globe) Plot:
This represents the sound field at 2 meters - above 200Hz - per the legend in the upper left.
Impedance Magnitude and Phase
Harmonic Distortion at 86dB @ 1m:
Harmonic Distortion at 96dB @ 1m:
Dynamic Range (Instantaneous Compression Test)
The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.
The tests are conducted in this fashion:
- 76dB at 1 meter (baseline; black)
- 86dB at 1 meter (red)
- 96dB at 1 meter (blue)
- 102dB at 1 meter (purple)
The purpose of this test is to illustrate how much (if at all) the output changes as a speaker’s components temperature increases (i.e., voice coils, crossover components) instantaneously.
EIR: Versus RP-500M (v1)
EIR: Versus RP-600M II
Parting / Random Thoughts
As stated in the Foreword, this written review is purposely a cliff’s notes version. For details about the performance (objectively and subjectively) please watch the YouTube video. But a couple quick notes based on my listening and what I see in the data:
- RP-500M I is a marked improvement over the original (v1) version in terms of midrange detail. While, otherwise, the two models are close enough. That said, I’d much rather have this updated version for the increased clarity and accuracy over the original version.
- Klipsch is still rating their speaker sensitivity using a very unorthodox method of “In-Room, 2-pi”. Their specification states a sensitivity of 92dB but is actually closer to 85dB @ 2.83v/1m anechoic.
- The lifted treble isn’t enough to make you take immediate notice; it’s not sharp nor does it stand out (to the level that other speakers’ lifted HF do). However, once you turn the speaker off-axis about 30° the HF tilts downward a bit and is, in my opinion, much more enjoyable. I’d recommend toeing the speakers out for this reason. You will need to experiment in your room because too much toe-out in a lively room may result in more reverb than you’d like.
- The peak around 10-15kHz does cause synth music to sound quite strained at times. Keep this in mind if you listen to music with synthesized sounds as well drum kit music (hi-hats, especially).
- The speaker is better suited for moderate volumes at long distances. Especially if you want to listen to your music without a subwoofer or crossover on these to limit the bass. If you want higher output levels then buy the RP-600M I.
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