Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M review and comparison

 What is the best alternative of floor standing speakers? This is the ultimate question you will ask yourself if you suffer from space limitations. The good news is, in the audio industry, there is a speaker to tackle every practical problem that you face.

Bookshelf speakers are the solution and Klipsch makes one of the best sounding speakers comprised of patented design and technology. Among many, the Klipsch RP160M vs RP-600M are rivalries that consumers often debate upon. This American company has more than 70 years of experience and expertise and develops general computer speakers, drivers, to high-end models.

The Tractrix Horn, copper spun woofer are some of the taglines by which audiophiles instantly recognize Klipsch. The RP-600M can be said to be an improvement over the RP-160M. with the RP-600M, Klipsch tries to focus on user complaints and weak points and resolve them.

A quick comparison between Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M

 Klipsch RP-160MKlipsch RP-600M
TweeterHard DomeHybrid Tractrix Horn
BaseAngledFlat
Cabinet materialMDF with brushed polymer veneer baffle finishMDF with satin painted baffles and scratch resistant finish (ebony/walnut)
MDF with hand-sanded mirror-like finish (piano)
Sensitivity95dB96dB
Dimension 16.67”x 8.81”x12.86”(H x W x D)15.69”x 7.95”x11.85” (H x W x D)
Suggest stand height24-2822-26
Drivers 1″ tweeter,
6.5″ woofer
1″ tweeter,
6.5″ woofer
Driver materialTitanium LTS Tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn, Cerametallic Cone WooferTitanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid Cross-Section Tractrix® Horn,
Cerametallic Cone Woofer
Frequency response 45Hz-22KHz+/- 3dB45Hz-22KHz+/- 3dB
Crossover frequency1500Hz1500Hz
Input Dual binding posts/bi-wire/bi-ampDual binding posts/bi-wire/bi-amp
ColorEbony, cherryEbony, Walnut, Piano Black
GrilleYes, removableYes, removable
PriceCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

From the table above, we see that there are several differences and similarities between Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M. Along with driver size, the frequency response and crossover frequency are the same. Both these speakers have a removable grille.

The speakers have dual binding posts that support bi-wire or bi-amp connections. To connect the speakers with an amplifier you can use 12 or 14-gauge cable.

While Tweeter, Base, Cabinet materials, and sensitivity are different.

Differences at a glance:

  • RP-160M has an angled base for better direction of the sound, RP-600M doesn’t
  • RP-600M has a vented tweeter that is durable and solves the problem of the standing wave. RP-160M doesn’t have this.
  • The finish of the cabinets isn’t exactly the same. While RP-160M ha MDF with ‘brushed polymer veneer baffle finish’. The RP-600M has a ‘furniture grade material’ which is also scratch-resistant.
  • The size of the RP-600M is smaller than RP-160M.
  • The sensitivity of these speakers is different.

Which is for what?

Both these speakers are ideal to place on stands or on open bookshelves away from the walls. You can use them as a stereo pair to listen to music of all kinds. Although the bass is tight and clear, they will not shake your walls so if you like the chest-thumping bass, then you can add a subwoofer.

Along with listening to audio tracks, both RP-160M and RP-600M are ideal to build a home theater.  You can use them for left and right channels in the home theater. They are capable of producing music for medium to large-sized rooms where you don’t have space to fit in a pair of floor-standing speakers.

While the RP-160M is preferred as front speakers, you can use the RP-600M as rear speakers as well. If you choose them for small rooms, due to the characteristics of Klipsch they might sound bright and sharp to you.

Klipsch RP-160M: Overall performance

The RP-160M Reference Premiere Bookshelf speakers are larger and heavier than normal bookshelf speakers but they are one of the famous speakers in the series. It uses patented technologies of Klipsch such as a 6.5″ Cerametallic woofer and 1″ Titanium Linear Travel Suspension tweeter with Hybrid Tractrix Horn.

The purpose of this tweeter type is to enhance the high-frequency response, imaging, and audio that doesn’t sound harsh, unlike the older model RP-150M. The improved tweeter also has a compressed molded rubber build that minimizes harshness. The woofer is light and incorporates in reducing cone breakup and distortion.

The speaker has two colors, a sleek cabinet that sits on an angled wooden base. Comparing Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M, the RP-600M doesn’t have this design. This is essential for directing sound towards your ear so that the placement doesn’t affect the sound quality.

Like other Klipsch speakers, the enclosure is made of MDF with brushed polymer veneer material. Overall the drivers and cabinet contribute to higher audio quality with optimum focus on clean and clear sound. The specialty of these speakers is that it makes you feel as if you are listening to the song at the venue.

Comparing Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M, we see that the frequency response is similar. Both of them have rear Tractrix port for bass which produces punchier bass eliminating any port noise. However, you can easily pair a subwoofer with them especially for large rooms.

The overall performance is extremely satisfactory with cleaner treble and smooth bass and neutral midrange. One of the most common complaints of consumers is that the Klipsch sounds harsh and this will probably be the case if you listen to them in small rooms. These powerful bookshelf speakers are ideal to fill large rooms.

For best results, you should place the bookshelf speakers on stands. For the RP-160M you should choose between 24-28inches so you can buy the Sanus BF24B 24 Inch Speaker Stands.

Klipsch RP-600M: Overall Performance

What is the main difference that catches your attention between the Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M? The answer is the vented tweeter.  The titanium material in the tweeter inside a cerametallic magnetic casing outperforms those of aluminum, polymer, or silk. A new vented design is implemented into the RP-600M.

Standing waves developed in the tweeter degrades audio quality. The purpose of the vented tweeter is to minimize these standing waves and deliver better high-frequencies. They contribute to producing lifelike audio performance with zero distortion. The new tweeter also produces cleaner sound compared to RP-160M.

The audio is more precise and balanced as well as clear when compared to the RP-160M. They make the music feel like ‘live music’. Also the treble, mid, and bass are decent and good. If you think the treble sounds bright, then use the magnetic grille for the speakers.

The 6.5-inch woofer is powerful enough for general bass lovers. But they will sound better if you pair a subwoofer with it, like the SVS SB-2000 Subwoofer. Along with that, you can add an Atacama Nexus-i Speaker Stands  23 inches.

You can pair a NAD C 316BEE integrated amp or an Onkyo TX-8140 Stereo Receiver with the speakers. The RP-600M sounds bigger than they physically are. You can use them as stereo speakers in a medium to large space or you can team it up with others to make a home theater.

The speakers focus on vocals or explosions in a move, individual instruments in a music-making it ideal for all. Due to the rear bass ports, both the Klipsch RP-160M and RP-600M are placement sensitive. The speakers generate a neutral frequency-response with high-resolution audio and better dynamics.

Which one should you buy?

If you already own a pair of RP-160M then, you may or may not want to buy the new RP-600M. Although the RP-600M is an improvement from RP-160M many users claimed they couldn’t find a difference.

If you don’t sit to analyze music critically, then chances are you might not find a difference. So instead of buying the new model, you can always go with a subwoofer to enhance the quality of the RP-160M.

On the other hand, if you looking to buy a new pair of speakers, then you should definitely buy the RP-600M because this one includes everything thing (sound quality) that RP-160M has. It has more premise imaging and soundstage as well as better treble and mid-range.

Are Klipsch RP-160M and RP-600M speakers placement-sensitive?

As these speakers have rear ports, they are placement-sensitive.  In different tests, it is seen that if you put the speakers directly in front of you without any angling, then they will sound quite bright. Whereas simply a ‘toe-in’ will change the whole scenario.

To begin with, the speakers can be placed on open shelves but it is recommended to place the RP-160M on 24-28 inch and RP-600M on 22-26 inch strands. If they are placed as surround speakers, it is recommended that the level of the speaker should be a little higher than the ear level.

The speakers should be toed-in with a separation of 6-15 ″ between them. The listening position has to be 1-1.5 times of the separation distance. The speakers should make an equilateral triangle with the user.

If you use them for rear speakers, then place them 2″ above the ear position. The figure shows a placement outline for the home theater setup.

What should be improved?

Both these speakers have a listed sensitivity of 95 and 96dB. However, the real test shows around 89dB. While the tested sensitivity is quite loud but the datasheet values should match with reality.

Although the speakers are powerful for their size and can get as low as 45Hz, they will not create ‘shaking-room’ bass. So you might need a subwoofer if you are a bass head. But it will increase the overall cost.

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Conclusion

Klipsch never fails to draw our attention to their signature products. They are famous for using their patented ‘Horn technology’. One problem is, the Klipsch speakers were always referred to as ‘bright’ by consumers. While keeping this in mind they designed the RP-600M with a re-designed tweeter.

Comparing Klipsch RP-160M vs RP-600M, we see that they are both bookshelf speakers with a rear bass port that you can use as Home theater. They both deliver better soundstage and a tonal balance with clear treble. While some users feel that listening to Klipsch made them feel fatigued, others say that they can’t stop listening.

They deliver a direct sound if placed correctly so that the audio is clear and precise. They are well-known to be lively loudspeakers that make music or movies feel like true-to-life. At this price range, both these speakers deliver a complete package for you.

FAQ

Q: Can I connect the speakers with the computer?

Answer: Both RP-160M and RP-600M are passive speakers. This means you need an amplifier or a/v receiver to connect with them. After that, you can use a 3.5mm jack to RCA cables to connect the computer to the speakers. They don’t come with any cables so you need to buy them separately.

Q: Can I use the RP-160M as desktop speakers?

Answer: you can place the RP-160M on desktop but they will be quite large and heavy for a desktop table. So you need to choose a large desktop to adjust their size. You can also use isolation pads when they place speakers on desktops.

However, you should know that these are not very small and compact bookshelf speakers and not ideally designed for desktops. They deliver quite powerful audio and they require a 6-15inch gap between them.

Q: How will the RP-600M sound at different volume levels?

Answer: Based on the sensitivity printed on the datasheet, the RP-600M will sound intense, powerful, and clear even at low volume. At high volume, you can be assured that these speakers will deliver undistorted audio.

Q: Is the RP-600M good for its price range?

 Answer: the RP-600M is the best deal that you can get at this price range. This is because of the clear and precise audio it can deliver. The speakers are designed to eliminate all the faults of their previous models.

They focus on better integration between tweeter and woofer as well as the ‘bright’ sound of it. These speakers have improved tweeter with the MDF cabinet to eliminate any resonance.

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