Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C: Comparative Review of Klipsch Center-Channel Speakers

Klipsch is one of the most reliable and trusted brand with 75 year of manufacturing experience. Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C as center channel speakers, they vary in terms of price and overall performance.

The R-25C and R-52C are some of the best center channel speakers under $200. Klipsch speakers are recognized for their copper spun drivers. These center channel works on increasing efficiency and reducing any kind of vibration or resonance that can alter the original sound.

The efficiency of these speakers are outstanding and the build quality is satisfying. They all focus on clearing dialogues and other sound effects in movies or TV shows. Why choose Klipsch center channel speakers? The technology, build quality, material and expertise of Klipsch are quite reliable.

Klipsch uses its own patented technology like Tractrix horn or IMG woofer, and it continuously tries to improve driver materials and engineering only to get the best possible sound. If you don’t have budget limitations, you can choose the Klipsch R-34C for your center channel.

Product analysis:

This section will analyze the three best center channel speakers from Klipsch.

Differences at a glance:

 Klipsch R-34CKlipsch R-52CKlipsch R-25C
Total drivers533
Woofer driver3.5”5.25”5.25”
Frequency response82-21k Hz89-21k Hz82-24k Hz
Sensitivity96 dB95 dB98 dB
Crossover frequency1600Hz1630Hz1800Hz
Dimension5.2" x 26" x 6.2"7.3" x 18.75" x 7.6"7.25" x 18.75" x 7.25"
PriceCheck the latest price on amazonCheck the latest price on amazonCheck the latest price on amazon

Klipsch R-34C 

The Klipsch R-34C is a 2018 center channel model.

Product differentiator:

Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C, only the R-34C center channel speaker comes with Tractrix ports which acts as bass-reflex.

Speaker configuration:

Another visible difference seen while comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C is that, the R-34C has 5 drivers in total but the other two only has 3 drivers. It also has front-firing Tractrix ports which the other two doesn’t have.

The woofer driver size varies in the R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C Klipsch models. The R-34C has 1” tweeter and four 3.5” woofers.

Performance as center channel:

If we compare Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C, then we see that the R-34C has sleekest design. The height of the center channel speaker is shorter than the other two models but it is slightly longer. You can mount it on wall or place it under TV.

The speaker dimension and its performance make it the best slim center channel speaker among others. The advantage of having dual front-firing is that, it allows accurate airflow minimizing distortion.

It also makes the speaker placement flexible. All these three speaker models use the Klipsch patented Tractrix Horn technology. According to Klipsch, this unique technology works on precise details and make the music feel more lifelike.

When sound is emitted from the speaker, it goes in different direction and indirect reflection may cause artificial reverb. The Tractrix Horn prevents this issue and ensures sound is emitted and directed directly to the user.

LTS tweeter stands for Linear Travel Suspension. The tweeter is made from aluminium and it has Kapton Suspension. This suspension is lightweight and very firm which increases speaker efficiency. As a result, distortions are minimized and the details are more vivid.

Finally, the woofer uses Injection Molded Graphite (IMG) cones. The build quality is strong, rigid and they are lightweight. This material is capable of minimizing cone breakup that happens when cones move at low-frequencies, creating unwanted resonances.

Hence, the woofer produces excellent bass that is deep and tight. Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C, the R-34C has tapered crossover. The woofers work in low-frequencies, among them, one deals with the mid-range and tweeter.

As a result, acoustic interference doesn’t occur and this improves the audio quality of dialogues regardless of the sitting position. Klipsch uses MDF widely in its’ speaker cabinets. All Klipsch R-34C, R-52C and R-25C speakers are made from MDF.

The benefit of using MDF is manifold: it reduces vibration, prevent coloration, ensure good audio, and is a cost-effective solution. The speaker cabinet is also scratch-free and long lasting. Lastly, the dialogues become pronounced, clear, and the overall audio is natural and more lifelike.

Klipsch R-52C

This is a 2018 center channel of Klipsch that replaces the Klipsh R-25C.

Product differentiator:

Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C, the R-52C is available is less than half the price of R-34C.

Speaker configuration:

This speaker has the largest woofers among the three models. However, the speaker drivers fall to three from five. It has 1” tweeter and two 5.25” IMG woofer.

It has binding post terminals in which you can use banana plugs, pin-connectors, 10AWG bare wire, spade-lugs, etc.

Performance as center channel:

Similar to R-34C, this speaker uses Tractrix Horn which indicates the equitangential curve of the horn. Other commonly used horns suffer from resonances that are initiated by reflections at horn mouth. This causes coloration in sound.

Tractric Horn effectively eliminates resonance because of hemispheric soundwaves. Another reason why Tractrix Horn are popular is because, the horizontal and vertical dispersions are ideal for home theater applications and they are identical. The overall tweeter output is also increased.

The power handling of these three models is the same but other specs like frequency response or sensitivity varies. The large woofer drivers made from IMG will deliver vibration-free punchier bass. As expected, the R-52C produces clear dialogues while strictly removing any distortion, resonance or coloration.

If you are using an AV receiver to set up the speakers in your home theater, make sure to know the ideal crossover frequency.  For small to medium sized center channel, the frequency should be set to 80-100 Hz. If it is large in size, set the frequency to 60-80 Hz.

Denon, Marantz and Yamaha have some of the best AV receivers that you can use for your home theater. Make sure to match the number of channels in your home theater to the AV receiver. The receiver of amplifier should have speaker wire for connection.

The sound quality gives a clear boost in the dialogues of movies and if matched with right L/R speakers, the overall audio will be loud, distinct with higher efficiency due to driver materials. As expected from Klipsch speakers, the sound is a bit bright.

If you experience ‘hiss’ from the center channel, try tweaking the EQ of the receiver. The R-52C cabinet material is similar to R-34C. it also has a closed enclosure that causes easy placement. The speaker has magnetic cloth grille and the overall finish is sleek and classy to go with any room décor.

The Klipsch R-34C or R-52C center channel speaker will work best if used with Klipsch Reference series.  You can choose from: floorstanding speakers (R-610F/R-620F/R-820F/R-625FA), bookshelf speakers (R-41/R-51M), center channel speakers (R-34C/R-52C), and Dolby Atmos speaker (R-41SA). You can choose the Klipsch Reference home theater.

Klipsch R-25C

Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C, only the R-25C speaker is a 2014 model.

Product differentiator:

Klipsch R-52C is said to be the updated version of the Klipsch R-25C. comparing Klipsch R-52C vs R-25C, the R-25C costs less than the R-52C.

Speaker configuration:

If we compare Klipsh R-25C vs R-52C, we see the R-25C can get lower than R-52C in frequency and it has higher sensitivity. The tweeter, woofer materials are similar to R-52C and R-34C.

Another notable difference seen while comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C is that, the R-25C doesn’t include Kapton Suspension in the tweeter. It is used to increase efficiency.  The R-34C and R-52C has single binding posts that are gold plated but R-25C binding posts aren’t.

Performance as center channel:

The performance from R-25C is satisfying. It can deliver 60% of movie soundtrack that consists of dialogues mostly. The speaker size is almost similar to that of Klipsh R-52C and the materials used in build is also same.

The center channel has excellent imaging and dynamics. The horn tweeter and copper colored drivers   make it distinguishable from other speakers. Compared to other conventional speakers, this speaker has higher efficiency and it can get louder. The front soundstage is broader.

Based on performance and price, the Klipsch R-25C is one of the best budget-friendly center channel speaker that you can rely on. The cabinet has brushed polymer veneer finish and the build quality feels solid.

Klipsch R-34C, R-52C and R-25C, all these models come with rubber feet which you need to attach underneath the speaker. The rubber feet allow the speaker to sit firmly on any shelf or table and make sure no to stretch the surface.

This doesn’t come with mounting hole or accessories, but if you have space constraints, you can buy wood bracket separately for mounting. You can easily fit this into your small to medium sized living rooms.

You can use the Klipsch R-25C with the following: bookshelf speaker ( Klipsch R-14M, Klipsch R-15M), s surround speaker (Klipsch R-14S), floorstanding speakers (Klipsch R-24F, Klipsch R-26F, Klipsch R-28F), powered subwoofers (Klipsch R-10SW, Klipsch R-12SW).

Upgrade option: Klipsch RP-450C  and RP-500C 

You can choose one from Klipsch R-34C, R-52C or R-25C, or if you want to look for alternatives then look into Klipsch RP-450C or Klipsch RP-500C.

Quick comparison:

 Klipsch RP-450CKlipsch RP-500C
Manufactured on20152018
Power (cont/peak)150W/600W100W/400W
Drivers1" Titanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn
Quad 5.25" Cerametallic Cone Woofers
1” Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid Cross-Section Tractrix® Horn
Dual 5.25” Cerametallic™ Cone Woofers
Frequencry response58-25kHz +/- 3dB60-25kHz +/- 3dB
Sensitivity97dB @ 2.83V / 1m96dB @2.83V/1m
Dimension6.81” x 31.13” x 14.51”6.81” x 18.50” x 9.5”
PriceCheck the latest price on amazonCheck the latest price on amazon

Comparing Klipsh RP-450C vs RP-500C, we see that they vary in terms of drivers, power handling and price. The RP-500C is slightly costlier than the R-450C. they both are costlier than R-52C and R-25C.

Klipsch R-34C, R-52C and R-25C are some of the most widely used center channel speakers. However, the brand continues to improve their speaker lines. Klipsch RP-450C uses titanium diaphragm tweeter. It has square opening and uses Hybrid Horn technology.

This Hybrid Tractrix horn has a round throat and overall this design produces a broader sweet spot, music is directed towards the user with minimal amount of coloration. The horn is made of molded silicone rubber. This minimizes resonance and results in warm tone in high-frequency.

For low-end drivers, it uses Cerametallic woofers and the cones are made of anonized aluminium. The low-end is punchier and it can get lower than other Klipsch center channel speakers. The treble is clear, the mid-range is warm and overall the sound is powerful and pleasant.

Comparing RP-450C vs RP-500C, the RP-500C has smoother high-frequency and is smaller in size. So with space limitations, you can choose the RP-500C.  Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs RP-450C, the RP-450C uses Tractrix horn-shaped bass reflex port.

This is done so that the air turbulence is reduced and as a result the low-end will be punchier without any distortion. Similar to RP-450C, the RP-500C has tweeter and rear ported Tractrix Horn opening.

If you are currently facing any distortion at high volume, or you think the speaker produce muffled dialogues that are hard to hear, you can upgrade your center channel to Klipsch RP-450C.

Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs RP-450C, the RP-450C uses Tractrix horn-shaped bass reflex port. This is done so that the air turbulence is reduced and as a result, the low-end will be punchier without any distortion.

The Klipsch RP-500C is best for medium-sized rooms. The Hybrid Tractrix Horn technology incorporates mechanical filters. This produces a smoother response and acts as tweeter protection. It also has a vented tweeter that improves high-frequency accuracies.

It has an adjustable angle where you can tilt the speaker slightly in the case in the above or below your listening level. You can use the RP-500C to replace the R-25C or R-52C to get higher sound quality. does this mean the R-25C or R-52C sound bad? Absolutely not.

Pairing them with correct speakers and using them in small to medium-sized rooms will give the best results. Sound quality measurement is a matter of perception and both these speakers produce decent audio. The RP-500C has a satisfying sound with vivid vocals and deeper bass.

What to consider for center channel speaker upgradation?

If you have decided to upgrade center channel speakers make sure you understand the specs in order to decide for yourself.

Don’t mismatch

You will often see people using Klipsch center channel speaker with Polk bookshelf speakers or other brands, is it wrong? Absolutely not, while you can use speakers from different brands, it is not something we recommend.

We recommend not to mismatch speaker brands. If you are buying a Klipsch center channel speaker, look for Klipsch floor-standing speakers for a large room. Not only that, choose the speakers from the same series.

Why do we need to match the center channel to the mains? This is done to achieve a seamless front stage and to match tonality. With different tonality, the audio will sound different at different locations.

To have the best overall sound, the three front speakers should be sonically identical. So, always try to buy the front left, right and center channel from the same manufacturer and the same series as well.

Driver

Is bigger always better? Well, not in every case. While buying center channel speakers, you don’t need to look for larger woofer drivers. This is because we don’t want the center channel to produce deep bass and act as a subwoofer. It isn’t designed to do so.

Between speakers with two woofer driver sizes, the smaller woofer can act quickly and it helps to produce details. For tweeters, metal tweeters are known to add the ‘crisp’ in the audio than silk tweeters.

And finally, the number of drivers. If you have two speakers of the same sized drivers but one has two woofers, the other has four. Which one should you choose? While two woofers are not bad, four woofer drivers will be better. It will be capable of producing a broader sweet spot.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity refers to how loud a speaker can sound. Ideally, 90dB or higher is considered better if you are using the low-powered receiver. Speakers with a sensitivity of 95dB or above can play very loud.

Power

Look for RMS power in the specs sheet of the speaker. Make sure the receiver and RMS power match. Otherwise, if you give more power to the speaker and run it beyond its limit, you may permanently damage it. 

Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C: Center channel speaker placement

The speaker position holds equal importance in improving the sound quality. the ideal place of a center channel speaker is in the middle of the room and as close to the ear level as possible.

Klipsch center channel speaker manual gives you details on speaker placement by drawing diagrams. As shown in the image, you can place the center channel below or above the TV. You can place it on a shelf or wall mount it.

Try to angle the center channel up or down so that the drivers are directed towards the listener’s ears.

Parting Word

The Center channel is one of the primary components in a home theater. Users in busy surroundings or people with hearing loss often suffer to understand talk-show, movies, or TV shows’ dialogues, a center channel is a must for them. The Center channel mainly works on producing clear dialogues and vocals.

They also improve the sound and musical effects of movies and soundtracks. The speaker is responsible for 60-70% improvement of the audio. You can choose Klipsch R-52C or R-25C as entry-level center channel speakers.

Comparing Klipsch R-34C vs R-52C vs R-25C, the R-34C is costlier but performs very well. You can also look for upgraded models like RP-450C or RP-500C. Users complaining about their center channel being unclear or tinny, should you try to tweak the settings in receiver and use small center speakers for a small room.

The best center channel speaker should minimize any kind of sound coloration, have a flat frequency response and produce crisp and clear vocals. Other features like placement or matching of center channel with main speakers are equally important to receive optimum sound.

FAQs

Well, we are almost at the end of the article. and you can count this part as a well-wish from us. best of luck with your purchase!

Can a soundbar be used as center channel speaker? If not, why?

Soundbars and center channel speakers aren’t the same. Soundbars often have left, right, and center channels. The purpose and design of soundbar drivers aren’t the same as a center channel. Soundbars act a speaker system focusing on treble, mid-range, bass, and everything whereas the central channel speaker’s purpose is to focus only on dialogues and vocals.

Soundbars can’t be used as center channel speakers. It is firmly restricted to do so because each speaker has a different purpose. Technically, you can connect the soundbar as the center channel if the connections between the soundbar and receiver match. However, it is strictly prohibited because it can even damage the whole system due to compatibility issues.

What is phantom center?

The phantom center can be considered as a ‘virtual center channel sound’ which seems to come from the middle of the left and right speakers even though there isn’t any speaker in the center. Some people prefer a phantom center over a dedicated center channel. This is basically due to the psychoacoustic effect.

According to users, they feel to hear a wide sweet spot and more natural blending audio from the phantom center. It is also used as a center channel hack.  If you think the center channel is tinny or aren’t producing pronounced dialogues, then you can use the phantom center.

Here, you need to go to your receiver settings and turn off the center channel. If you do so, your receiver will create a phantom center.