Without a doubt, you need to have good sound if you want to enjoy a really good home theatre experience. It’s no use having a huge screen with eye-popping visuals if your audio is tin-sounding and lacklustre. Many home theatre enthusiasts opt for a soundbar-based system, and I recently had the chance to test out and review two such systems: the Klipsch Bar 48 & Klipsch Bar 40 Soundbars. Here are my thoughts.
Klipsch Bar 48 & Bar 40 Soundbars out of the box
It’s a 48-inch soundbar with a pretty hefty subwoofer, so you can bet this is a big box. Once you’ve found your way inside (mine was taped up to within an inch of its life) you will find the soundbar, subwoofer, HDMI cable and power cords, plus a remote, batteries, and wall mounts. Inside the Bar 40 soundbar box is pretty much the same thing.
Klipsch Bar 48 & Bar 40 Soundbar design
Both soundbars are pretty much identical, except one is 48 inches and the other is 40 inches. The soundbar is a long rectangular box, featuring a pair of horn speakers at either end. The majority of the soundbar is covered in a black mesh, except for the exposed speakers. The soundbar is also made of wood, as is the large and solid subwoofer. That is a really nice touch, adding a luxury look and feel to the system components. And, using wood, rather than plastic, adds a warmth to the sound, in my opinion. The tweeters have a dark silver/burnished metallic finish, which adds another nice and elegant touch to the overall design. There’s no real display (except for the LED indicator lights), and at the top, on the far right, are some basic controls for power, volume, and input. You’ll find the connections located in a recessed area at the back end of the soundbar, offering a single HDMI-ARC port, an optical digital audio input, and a 3.5mm analogue input. There’s also a USB port for firmware updates, a connector for an IR extender, Bluetooth, and a subwoofer output.
There’s also a remote included in the package, with buttons for power, volume, and the various inputs, along with mute and a button for turning off the LED indicator lights. You can also adjust the subwoofer level with the remote, and select the Dialogue, Surround, and Night modes from your couch.
How to set up the Klipsch Bar 48 & Bar 40 Soundbars
The Klipsch Bar soundbars are designed to be “plug and play” so all you need to do is simply drop the soundbar in front of your TV, attach the provided HDMI cable to the HDMI-ARC input on your television, and then plug-in the soundbar and the subwoofer using the provided power cables. The subwoofer should wirelessly connect to the soundbar automatically and, once connected, will show a glowing blue LED light. If your TV doesn’t support HDMI-ARC, then you can connect the BAR 48 using optical digital instead. The only wireless connection is via Bluetooth, but if you want to stream music all you need to do is pair the soundbar with your Bluetooth device.
Now, prepare to be jealous, because I was also sent an additional set of two Surround 3 speakers to pair up with the Klipsch Bar 48 for a 5.1 surround sound experience. Setting these up was pretty simple, as well. Included with the two speakers and two power cords is a little do-ma-hicky that resembles a USB stick. On the right side of the soundbar, you’ll find that you can remove the end cap on one of the horn speakers. Inside is a recessed port for you to insert your little USB stick-like transmitter device from the Klipsch Surround 3 Speakers. From there, you just plug in the little speakers and they pair up easily with the soundbar.
How do the Klipsch Bar 48 & Bar 40 Soundbars sound?
Before I tell you about the sound experience. Let me go over the space I was using and how I set things up. I have an open concept downstairs area, with kitchen, dining room and living room all together. So, my home entertainment area consists of a 42-inch TV on the wall over my mantle, facing my couch, which sits about 9 feet away against a wall. I placed the soundbar on the mantle and the subwoofer on the floor to the left. If I had one of these, I’d have to move the subwoofer every time I wanted to light my fireplace. When I was using the Surround 3 speakers, I placed one to the left and one to the right of my couch.
First, I tested the 40-inch soundbar and subwoofer, and then the 48-inch system alone, and then added the two surround speakers. To be honest, other than the size of the soundbars, I could find no real difference between the two. I personally would go with the smaller one, as it looks better under my smaller television. But, these both offer a virtual surround mode, dialogue enhance mode, night modes and more. So, even without the additional surround speakers, these deliver an exceptionally detailed audio experience that really fills a room. Dialogue is clear and crisp, and the wide stance of the soundbar makes the left and right channels really pop. It’s almost too loud for my little space. My neighbours must have loved me reviewing these and testing how loud they could go.
Now, when you add in the two satellite speakers for a true 5.1 experience, you definitely take things up a notch. Adding the additional speakers to your Bar 48 brings the sound all around you for a truly immersive audio experience. Movies sounded clear and crisp, and there was lots of power in the low and mid ranges. Thanks to the beefy subwoofer, the bass sounds were also booming. It is such a difference between what you hear just from your TV speakers, that I am not sure how I can go back.
Ultimately, the Klipsch Bar 48 & Bar 40 Soundbar are great additions to your home theatre system. They are made from premium materials and deliver superior sonic performance, and they’re super easy to set up. Additionally, you can even just stream music to them through Bluetooth from any device… making them versatile and convenient, as well.