When friends ask me to name an audio company that "doesn't make any crap," Klipsch is always the first name out of my mouth. From the company's lowest priced offerings to its more wallet-pinching reference line, quality and superior sound quality reign supreme. Case in point: Many moons ago, I was gifted a pair of Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 computer speakers. Roughly 15 years and multiple moves later, they're still giving. The bass response and the coherence between the sub and satellites are truly remarkable, especially given the $149 price point. But alas, we're not here to talk about computer speakers of yore; we're here to talk about a pair of powered bookshelf speakers with some fresh 2016 tech sprinkled across their feature set.
The R-15PM monitors are part of the Klipsch Reference Line and retail for $499/pair. In this day and age, and especially in this product category, manufacturers simply must innovate in order to compete. In the case of the R-15PM, Klipsch wisely listened to the marketplace in terms of the vinyl resurgence and added what I feel is the most striking feature: a phono input. I'll dive into more detail on this feature later, but I wanted to make a point of it right out of the gate.
The R-15PM measures 12.5 inches high by seven inches wide by eight inches deep and weighs 10.3 pounds. Taken directly from the Klipsch spec sheet, each monitor features a one-inch aluminum diaphragm compression driver mated to a 90-degree by 90-degree square Tractrix Horn and 5.25-inch copper spun magnetically shielded IMG woofer. The built-in amp is 50 watts per channel, and frequency response is 62 Hz to 24 kHz, +/-3 dB.
Inputs are many. In addition to the aforementioned phono input, you get optical digital, USB, 3.5mm mini-jack, and Bluetooth connectivity. Conveniently for bass junkies, Klipsch also included a sub out. Lastly, Klipsch includes a handy remote that, while small, can handle all necessary functionality. Needless to say, the company has covered the bases and then some in terms of connectivity.
Simplicity is all the rage these days. Between the ubiquity of Bluetooth and the proliferation of soundbars and powered speakers, most people want to be up and running with as little effort as possible. Klipsch has embraced this trend, making setup of the R-15PMs very simple. The two speakers connect to each other via supplied speaker cable, and one needs to be plugged in to power the internal amplifier.
As for sources, I started by seamlessly pairing the monitors to my iPhone via Bluetooth. Next, I connected my trusty Music Hall MMF 2.2 turntable. Lastly, I connected my old-school Oppo DV-980H for CD and DVD playback. So that's three different music sources, all of which were ready to go in less than 10 minutes, including hassle-free vinyl playback. Sweet!
Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...