It doesn’t have to be difficult to get the greatest center channel speaker. All you have to do now is concentrate on the specifications that best fit your requirements. These days, center channel speakers include the latest technology that home theater audiophiles look for. Klipsch’s Reference Premiere series combines acoustic knowledge with cutting-edge technology to create the ultimate premium home theater and hi-fi listening experience. In this article, we will be looking at the comparison between two center channel speakers from the RP series, the 450c and 504c.
Klipsch 450c vs 504c: Differences at a glance
Both the Klipsch RP 450c and 504c share very similar specifications if we look at the table. Infact, it is almost impossible to tell them apart given how their audio specifications are entirely identical. Nevertheless, there are some subtle differences and changes in the newer models which is going to be discussed thoroughly. For now, let’s look at an overall difference between the two center channel loudspeakers.
The design of the speakers is quite similar. Both of the Klipsch speakers are available in black and walnut color. Whilst the Klipsch 450c offers a cherry color design, the 504c has an ebony color option. The Klipsch 504c is a little smaller compared to its competitor and weighs a little less too. Apart from these, there are not many notable physical differences among the two center channel loudspeakers.
When the audio specifications of both Klipsch loudspeakers are compared, it is seen that the specifications are exactly identical. The only big difference is in the driver construction of both the speakers, especially the high frequency driver. The Klipsch 450c includes a 1″ Titanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn which is further updated into a 1” Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid Cross-Section Tractrix® Horn in the Klipsch RP 504c.
Klipsch Reference Premiere 450c
- Dimensions 6.81 x 31.13 x 14.51 inches
- Weight 35.6 lbs
- Drivers 1″ Titanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn,
- Quad 5.25″ Cerametallic Cone Woofers
- Frequency Response 58-25kHz
- Sensitivity 97 dB
- Impedance 8 Ohms
- Power handling 150 W/600 W
The Klipsch Reference Premiere 450c is the perfect center channel speaker for high-performance multi-channel audio systems.
What’s inside the box?
The center channel speaker comes in a rigid packaging along with magnetic grilles which can be detached or removed from the speakers, four rubber feet to ensure that the base of the speaker remains protected when placed on the surface and user, instruction and safety manuals.
The Klipsch RP 450c are beautiful looking speakers that come in three different colors- black, cherry and walnut, allowing users the flexibility in customizing their sound system the way they prefer. These high end speakers, unlike most ordinary speakers, consist of a bass reflex cabinet composed of MDF. The cabinet is rigid and it helps to reduce panel vibrations because of the use of internal cross-bracing in the design. The bass reflex enclosure also includes a rear firing Tractrix port that transfer air from the cabinet swiftly and efficiently into clean bass response. The magnetically attached grille give the 405c a streamlined look and can also be detached from the polymer front baffle.
When it comes to build quality, the RP 450c are not behind. The MDF cabinet is coated with a durable polymer finishing that not only looks stylish and premium but also gives the speakers added strength combined with the internal cross-bracing. The speakers include sturdy binding posts which help to keep a secure connection from many different sources. There are also four adhesive rubber feet attached to the bottom of the Klipsch RP 450c which protects the speakers from any external damage.
Driver and Crossover Design
The real magic happens inside of the speakers. The crossover network is built of really high quality components and it includes proper internal wiring, polyester film-type capacitors and an air-core inductor. These features help to integrate the system and properly drive it.
Klipsch incorporated its hallmark horn technology in the Klipsch 450c. The 90 x 90 Hybrid Tractrix Horns are circular in shapre and include square horn mouths, a unique shape which ensures efficient transition of sound. The horn design also helps to improve imaging and dynamics in the higher audio frequency range. Since the horn is made up of compressed molded silicone rubber, the system is capable of delivering a clean and natural sound. The overall output is improved detail and accuracy in sound from increased damping. Behind the Tractrix Horn is a 1-inch tweeter composed of titanium. The tweeter incorporates linear travel suspension technology which has the function of minimizing distortion so that the audio produced sounds natural yet enhanced and detailed.
Klipsch RP 450c has four low frequency drivers. Each of the four 5.25 inch woofers are composed of copper colored cerametallic material which has durable characteristics. The cone is made up of anodized aluminum which gives it a dent resistant ability. These woofer cones have a very rigid construction and are surrounded with a layer of rubber giving them extra durability. The design of the woofers ensure that the lower frequencies are emitted with least possible resonance and maximum precision.
Klipsch Reference Premiere 450c stand out not only in terms of design and construction but also audio performance. The four cerametallic woofers and the one-inch hybrid tractrix horn tweeter blends together remarkably, working to provide the used an experience that he or she will never forget. The speakers exhibit an outstanding performance with the highlight being in the television dialogue clarity that will leave all watchers speechless. The entire sound system has been built in such a way that you do not feel like you are only listening to loud speakers, but you are being given an entertaining and thrilling experience.
One of the upsides of the design that is reflected in the performance is that the drivers are incorporated in the front of the speakers which means that the sound is directed towards the listener, giving them a loud and boisterous audio response. As we can see from the specifications, the continuous power handling of the center channel speaker is rated at 150 watts and the peak power is at 600 watts. As for the loudness of the speaker, it is due to the sensitivity rating of 97 dB which gives it high efficiency in pumping the sound.
Let’s look at the frequency range. The RP 450c can produce as low as 58 hertz of bass response. The drivers, which are the cerametallic woofers, have flared Tractrix ports which helps in efficient flow of audio and reduces air turbulence for smoother response. The bass response is very powerful and the system is packed up with just the right amount of thunderous boom for an enthralling movie experience. The LTS tweeter shines with its bright high frequency response. The highs are clear and sharp thanks to the linear suspension technology that Klipsch incorporates in theses speakers. The dialogue clarity is also a great feature that these speakers showcase. The speaker is also Dolby Atmos compatible, meaning that the listener will be able to experience cutting edge surround sound and be fully immersed into the music being played through the RP 450c.
Why you should get the RP 450c
Here are some of the bright sides of the RP 450c:
- These dynamic center channel speakers are built to last. From the exterior MDF cabinet to the aluminum woofers- the speaker is composed of highly durable materials.
- Klipsch RP 405c has a great design. The striking pop of color in the tweeters make the speakers stand out, yet they can blend in pretty easily with any interior.
- The speakers provide solid audio response and is useful for a wide range of music.
- Movie dialogue includes impressive clarity.
- RP 405c is easy to set up.
- The speaker is energy efficient.
- The speaker supports Dolby Atmos applications.
Reasons to avoid getting the RP 450c
You should definitely consider the following points before purchasing the center channel speakers:
- The speaker is a little large for its size, making portability difficult.
- There is not midrange driver in the RP 405c.
- Klipsch RP 405c could sound even better in terms of bass if a separate subwoofer was added to it.
Klipsch Reference Premiere 504c
The Klipsch Reference Premiere 504c is a center channel loudspeaker that helps to bring cinemas and music to life.
- Dimensions 6.81” x 31.13” x 14.46”
- Weight 34 lbs
- 1” Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid Cross-Section Tractrix® Horn
- Quad 5.25” Cerametallic Cone W
- Frequency Response 58-25,000 Hz
- Sensitivity 97 dB
- Impedance 8 Ohms
- Power handling 150/600 Watts
What’s inside the box?
The Klipsch Reference Premiere 504c is safely packaged into a solid box which contains many other components. There is an installed magnetic grille which can be removed from the speaker. Four adhesive rubber feet are also accompanied by the RP 504c to keep it protected from rough surfaces and scratches. Apart from this, there are instruction manuals, warranty and safety manuals found in the box.
Klipsch RP 504c has a quite standard design- meaning it looks pretty similar to most speakers in the market today. Nevertheless, it does incorporate clever design architecture that helps to improve its performance significantly in comparison to other models in the series. The center channel speaker is a rectangular box and is quite heavy, weighing at aound 34 lbs. The speakers are available in three different colors- ebony, black and walnut. Each model has a different colored MDF texture but the tweeters retain their flashy and magnificent touch of gold. The center channel speaker is composed of mainly MDF cabinet that has a vinyl finish with scratch-resistant design. MDF is used for improved sonic accuracy since it helps to reduce cabinet vibration. The black cloth grille is acoustically transparent and magnetic. There is also a satin painted baffle which has scratch resistant property.
The build quality of the RP 504c center channel speakers is impressive. Firstly, it includes MDF board for the construction of its body, a material that is not only scratch resistant but also very durable from heavy force. The textured wood grain vinyl coating keeps the MDF board protected from scratches and also adds a stylish touch to the speakers. The magnetic grille is built with strength and it helps to keep the internal components of the speakers protected. Lastly, the RP 504c is fitted with sturdy binding posts allow a number of different binding terminal connections such as pin-connectors, banana plugs, spade-lugs and bare wire. The rear tractricx port has custom designed inner flares for decreased air turbulence and smoother flow of audio for efficient bass response.
Driver and Crossover Design
The speaker features a well-integrated crossover design that incorporates all components such as internal wiring, air core inductors and capacitors all built with great quality materials which can last for a long time. The crossover frequency, according to the specifications, is around 500 hertz and 1500 hertz.
The high frequency driver is one of the important aspects of these 2.5 way center channel speakers. A 1″ Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with a Hybrid Tractrix Horn is used in the Klipsch RP-504C center-channel loudspeaker which is designed to provide detailed audio response with remarkable frequency response. Klipsch’s Tractrix horn has a circular throat that transitions into a square 90 x 90 mouth surrounding an innovative titanium diaphragm tweeter. This results in the wide sweet spot that is heart when you are listening to high frequencies. The horn is further composed of a molded silicone which adds to the strength of the speaker, reducing resonance and offering smoother frequency. Titanium is more lightweight and rigid compared to other metals such as aluminum and polymers so incorporating this material helps the driver to achieve maximum performance. The diaphragm of the tweeter includes a vented design that helps to reduce standing waves and produce smoother treble response. The LTS technology results in lowered distortion and thus overall improvement of the audio response.
Apart from the high frequency driver, the RP 504c includes four 5.25 inch cerametallic woofers. This material is able to withstand force and retain its shape when it delivers low frequency response. The woofer is further strengthened with a layer of copper wound voice coil to achieve efficient conductivity and low distortion.
The Klipsch RP-504C center channel speaker is ideal for big settings where the audience wants to focus on the action on the screen. It has a 1″ horn-loaded tweeter (unique to Klipsch) for incredibly accurate conversations and center stage sound effects, as well as four 5 14″ spun copper woofers for powerful bass and dramatic midrange tones. When paired, this fantastic speaker produces the clearest and most authentic sound conceivable. It also guarantees that fake reverb created by indirect sound bouncing off walls is minimized. This implies that the listeners will get the clearest, most detailed, most realistic performance possible.
Looking at the audio specifications of Klipsch Reference Premier 504c, we see that the center channel speaker is capable of producing frequency as low as 58 hertz and as high as 25000 hertz. The speaker has a sensitivity rating of 97 dB, meaning that it can get quite loud and its impedance rating of 8 Ohms allows it to deliver audio efficiently without resistance. With these speakers, the movie dialogue is crystal clear and there is not harshness to the audio response.
Reasons you should get the RP 504c
If you are thinking of purchasing the RP 504c, here are some of the great aspects of it that will convince you:
- The RP 504c has a modern design that is both effective and efficient
- Klipsch RP 504c has a great port technology that ensures minimum distortion and resistance to audio response
- The build quality of the speakers is impressive. The magnetic grille is not only removable but it is also very strong
- The speaker is very powerful and it helps to awaken the entire sound system
- It is an excellent addition to Klipsch reference home theater system in the sense that it matches many of the Klipsch RP speakers, so combining it with other speakers from the series would not be a problem
Reasons to avoid getting the RP 504c
Here are some of the reasons why we think you should reconsider your purchase decision:
- The speaker does not include bi-amp capability.
- Klipsch Reference Premiere 504c has a great audio response in both bass and treble regions but it slacks off in the midrange. The midbass is a little weak and has room for improvement.
- The speaker is very expensive when compared to 405c even though there are not many differences.
Here are some alternative options if you are looking for center channel loudspeakers.
Reasons to Buy
- Includes and optimized cabinet design that helps to reduce distortion
- Midrange audio response is crystal clear
- Unique- Q driver array design equalizes frequencies
Reasons to avoid
- Does not include magnetic grilles
The KEF Q650c are dynamic loudspeakers that offer a three dimensional sound image with its precise engineering in design. The seamless and sleek speaker cabinet is designed to reduce unwanted vibrations and resonance. The cabinet has been designed to include a centered array and isolated sealed chamber for increased audio clarity. The gold plated binding post terminals are located on the back of the Q650c and accepts banana plugs, spade lugs, bare wires. KEF Q650c does not include magnetic grilles and has to be purchased separately.
The drivers are located at the center of the cabinet for clear audio response. KEF incorporates a Uni-Q driver array in its speakers which helps to achieve maximum efficiency through a detailed, accurate and three dimensional audio output. The Uni-Q driver array includes a 1″ aluminum dome tweeter with waveguide for ultra-wide dispersion. The damped tweeter loading tube located inside the cabinet improves treble performance and reduces any distortion.
It also incorporates a 6.5″ midrange driver composed of aluminum cone structure for controlled bass response and lower distortion. The 6.5-inch low frequency driver also includes a 6.5″ Auxiliary Bass Radiator (ABR) which has an innovative rubber rear suspension that allows the speaker to deliver a deep bass with more excursion. The vented magnet assembly on a strong metal chassis and 50mm voice coil in the woofer give outstanding power handling.
Polk Audio CS10
Reasons to buy
- Versatile Dynamic Balance Proprietary design that allows flexibility
- Impressive bass response and surround sound audio
- Great speakers at a great price
Reasons to avoid
- Does not include midrange driver
The Polk Audio CS10 are outstanding center channel speakers with remarkable bass response at a reasonable price. The CS10 has a beautiful and versatile bass reflex ported design. The cabinets of the speakers are composed of MDF material, which is known for its ability to resist to unwanted resonance and offer smooth audio response. The speaker incorporates a narrow baffle geometry design to ensure that the speaker remains sleek yet delivers audio with maximum efficiency. Since the CS10 is smaller in size, it is lighter and is able to produce a clear and accurate audio response. Another part of the design is the critically tuned flared ports that minimize chuffing and enhance bass response. It also features a pair of gold-plated 5-way binding posts and a rear firing port. The self-adhesive rubber feet at the bottom surface of the speakers help to keep it protected from scratches.
Polk Audio CS10 center channel speaker includes a A 1.0″ silk dome dynamic balancing tweeter that offers a detailed treble response. In the crossovers of each tweeter, mylar bypass capacitors help to enhance the details in the audio and provide improved clarity. Apart from this driver, there is also a low frequency driver in the Klippel optimized loudspeaker.
Two 5.25″ bi-laminate composite (organic fiber) dynamic balancing drivers are used in the center-channel speaker, which are light and sturdy for deep bass response and minimal distortion. This design also disperses sound across a larger region, resulting in a larger “sweet spot.” Each woofer has a butyl rubber surround for great performance and longevity. The overall sound quality of the speakers is impeccable and if you are looking for surround sound, these should be a good option to spice up your audio experience.
Definitive Technology CS-9040
Reasons to buy
- Compact and minimal design
- Resonance free cabinet
- Balanced double surround system
- Bass radiators offer deep bass response
Reasons to avoid
The Definitive Technology CS-9040 is a stylish and compact speaker packed with lots of power for an outstanding audio performance. Minimalists will surely love the way that these speakers look because of their simple yet elegant design. The center channel speaker uses a resonance free cabinet that eliminates unwanted vibrations and offers sound that is distortion free. Moreover, the rigidity and internal bracing of the cabinet is also effective for smooth audio response with clean and powerful sound. The cabinet is decorated with an acoustically transparent cloth grille for added rigidity and protection. There are five-way binding posts that accept bare wire, pin connectors and banana plugs.
Definitive Technology CS-9040 includes a one 1″ annealed aluminum dome tweeter with silk surround for crystal clear and smooth treble response. The dome shaped speakers are composed of aluminum that helps them efficiently produce high frequencies with accuracy. One interesting fact about the center channel loudspeakers is that they are designed to play at a frequency higher than that heard by the human ear, thus imitating a sound that can be heard in the concert halls.
Apart from this, the CS9040 speakers also include two 4.5″ midrange cone woofers with BDSS technology. BDSS technology, more elaborately known as Balanced Double Surround System technology, works by enhancing driver excursion. It allows a smaller driver to produce bass output normally associated with a bigger speaker while maintaining the increased dispersion and midrange definition of a larger driver. The overall result is clear and accurate dialogue. The 8″ bass radiator provides deeper, more powerful bass without the need for a separate powered subwoofer.
JBL Arena 125C
Reasons to buy
- Compact floor standing design
- Lifelike soundstage
- Budget friendly
Reasons to avoid
- Bass response can be improved
The JBL Arena 125c are simple looking center channel loudspeakers that offers great audio response with lifelike soundstage. The angled side and top panels give the speaker a stylish contemporary look and a modern appeal. For increased efficiency and bottom performance, the center-channel loudspeaker uses a bass reflex cabinet with two rear-firing ports. The top panel has a black textured vinyl surface, while the side panels have a black wood-grain laminate. The speaker also includes a detachable grille that is composed of a cloth with silver plastic trim and binding posts that are gold plated for resistance from corrosion.
The speaker incorporates a two-way driver design. The whole design is integrated to include a single 1″ soft-dome tweeter and two 5.5″ polycellulose cone woofers and a crossover. The tweeter of the JBL Arena 125C center-channel loudspeaker has a High Definition Imaging (HDI) Waveguide technology. The tweeter’s capacity to generate lifelike clarity and precision is aided by the HDI waveguide.
One important feature of the JBL Arena 125c is the pairing feature which allows the speaker to pair with a subwoofer apart from the television as well. Overall, thespeaker lets the user enjoy dramatic and well defined sound and offers a lifelike soundstage.
Polk Signature Elite ES35 Slim
Reasons to buy
- Versatile and wall mountable design
- DTS and Dolby sound system compatibility
- High resolution audio
Built-in Dual Power Port technology
Reasons to avoid
- Distortion in high frequencies
The Polk Signature Elite E35 Slim is a versatile speaker that is perfect for home theater applications. The speaker features a flexible, wall-mountable design that allows the users to incorporate it as a left, center or right channel speaker. The cabinet is constructed with MDF and includes extra bracing with a thick front baffle for effective functioning. The speaker has a strong and rigid enclosure engineered to reduce internal standing waves inside the cabinet for minimized audio coloration. Furthermore, the ES35 features an anti-diffraction magnetic grille that is easily detachable and 5-way binding posts like most speakers do.
The 1″ Terylene tweeter is included in the design to produce crystal clear and detailed treble response for improved vocals in movies and music. That is not it- the Polk center channel speaker has Six 3″ Dynamic Balance mica-reinforced polypropylene midrange cone woofers. These woofers have butyl rubber surrounds, massive ceramic motor structures, and high-temperature Conex fiber spiders. This design ensures that the bass being delivered is clean, clear, and with improved linearity and reduced distortion. The two-way, phase-optimized precision crossover ensures that the Elite ES35 speakers achieve lifelike soundstage. Lastly, the speaker also features a Power Port technology with two specially designed rear-firing ports for smooth transition of air flow.
The Final Verdict
There are many things that one must consider whilst buying a center channel speaker– such as the size, placement, specifications and compatibility with other speakers and woofer devices. Whilst this may seem daunting, Klipsch makes the task easy by providing a whole line of premium center channel speakers- the Reference Premiere series.
Two of the speakers being reviewed in this article are very identical because of the similar characteristics that they share with all the speakers in the Reference Preimier series. The only notable difference is in the driver construction- 504 has a vented tweeter and it is a 3-way speaker whilst the 405c is a 2.5-way speaker. How does the tweeter being vented impact the audio quality? The vented tweeter imitates a port, meaning the lower frequencies produced by the tweeter offers more depth, reduces distortion and smooths out the crossover region. Another big difference is the price of the speakers, with the 504c being a little more expensive than the 450c.
Whether you should purchase the 450c or the 504c will depend upon how much you are willing to spend on a center channel speaker. The two speakers are nearly identical in terms of quality and both offer pretty similar features. If you are on a tight budget, getting the newer model just for the vented tweeter would not be a wise option. However, if you are dedicated to ensure that your home theater outperforms the rest, then you should definitely go for the 504c since it has a better overall audio performance.