Klipsch RSB-8 Soundbar Review: Delivering the big movie sound you crave
Klipsch has been in the business since 1946, with over 70 years of experience in making speakers known for their pure “no BS” sound. For that reason, when they make a soundbar you can expect some terrific audio. The past few weeks I’ve had the chance to spend some time with the RSB-8 sound bar and wireless subwoofer from Klipsch, and if you want to know if it belongs in your home, then keep reading.
Soundbars by their very nature don’t offer much in the way of design. They are all the same basic shape featuring a long rectangle box with speakers inside and often include a separate subwoofer. The Klipsch RSB-8 soundbar and its wireless subwoofer follow this same design principle. The main speaker features a display in the middle with a little extra added flair with the Klipschorn detail as a throwback to the original Klipschorn speaker design.
The light up display shows which source you’re currently using and what modes you have enabled. There are also buttons on the front to switch source or control volume. However, most times you’ll opt for using the compact remote that came with the RSB-8. This provides you with full control over all the features of the RSB-8 including switching modes, volume control, enabling different sound profiles, and you can even disable the light up display if you find it distracting.
The Klipsch RSB-8 has a clean refined look, my only complaint being that it is a little too tall to be placed in front of my TV. When placed in front it blocked the infrared port making it impossible to use the TV remote. For this reason, I had to place the RSB-8 behind the TV after setting it up.
Ports and Connectivity
The RSB-8 offers plenty of connection options with a 3.5mm analog port, optical port, and HDMI 2.0 in and out port on the back. The HDMI ports support HDCP 2.2, 4K pass through, and ARC connections. There is also a USB port, power input, and WiFi setup button on the back.
The WiFi setup button is used in combination with Klipsch’s Stream app available for iOS and Android. This connects the sound bar to your WiFi network offering you higher quality streaming audio that can still be controlled directly from your phone without the limited distance of using Bluetooth.
Using Play-Fi technology music can be streamed directly from services such as Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Tidal, and more to the sound bar. This is also great if you have a large collection of local music because with the use of a DLNA server you can stream your collection to the RSB-8. The Play-Fi technology also provides a way to connect more Klipsch Stream compatible speakers together to play music throughout your home.
If you prefer Bluetooth connectivity or don’t plan on being over 30ft away from your sound bar the Klipsch RSB-8 has you covered there as well. Just pair your phone with it like any other Bluetooth audio device and play music from any source on your phone like usual.
Klipsch makes this super simple if your TV supports HDMI ARC. All you have to do is use the included HDMI cable to connect the soundbar to the ARC supported HDMI port on your TV, and then plug in the power cords for both the soundbar and subwoofer.
After powering on the sound bar it immediately finds and pairs with the subwoofer. Once everything is up and running be sure to turn on CEC controls by holding down the input and volume down button for three seconds. With CEC controls enabled you can control the volume with your TV remote and the soundbar will power on and off with your TV. You might also have to enable CEC controls on your TV as well depending on the model.
In order to access more advanced controls of the RSB-8 soundbar, you will need to use the included remote. The dedicated remote allows you to toggle on or off virtual surround mode, dialog enhanced mode, or night mode. The remote also provides you with a way to choose your input source, control the volume, power it on or off, and disable the LED display if you wish.
The control you get from a TV remote using CEC is limited but gives you all the basic functions you need for everyday use. You can turn the volume up/down, mute it, and the soundbar powers on or off along with the TV. This makes controlling the soundbar so easy that you don’t even have to think about it, and that’s exactly what you want from your home audio equipment.
The Klipsch RSB-8 features built-in Dolby Audio decoding, two tweeters for crisp highs, two woofers for a fuller sound, and a dedicated subwoofer for lots of bass. When you’re switching away from the tiny speakers on your TV, there’s no doubt that adding a soundbar will improve the sound. The biggest difference you will notice immediately is the added bass from wireless subwoofer. Personally, I like to crank up the bass for more impact when watching action movies. It might not be 100% accurate but it’s fun to feel the sound as well as hearing it. With the RSB-8 you will definitely feel the rumble — this subwoofer packs a ton of bass.
While the biggest difference will be in the action scenes with explosions, gunfire, and car chases. One aspect of the soundbar experience I hadn’t expected was how it enhances musical scores in movies. The background music often goes unnoticed, especially if you’re using TV speakers. The dialog and action often drowns out the musical score when using TV speakers. While using the RSB-8 sound bar I found the music came to life adding another dimension to movies. The composers and orchestras work very hard on scores for movies and it’s a shame to let it go unnoticed with those tiny speakers in your TV.
Overall, I really enjoyed the sound of the Klipsch RSB-8. It’s very loud, the bass is super strong giving your movies much more of an impact, and clarity was good. This might not be surround sound but it gives your audio a lot more dimension, and audio is half of the equation when it comes to enjoying your favorite movies and TV shows.
Different Sound Modes
Dialog mode, virtual surround mode, and night mode help you further customize your listening experience with the Klipsch RSB-8. If you find the action or music overtaking the vocals while watching content the dialog mode helps enhance the voices. This makes it easier to focus in on the conversations that you might be missing.
Virtual surround mode opens up the soundstage a bit and adds almost an echo like effect to the sound. It helps the sound feel like it’s coming from different angles and it feels a bit larger sounding.
Night mode is for, you guessed it, night time. A sound bar adds much more volume to your home audio as well as some powerful bass. The night mode setting turns off the subwoofer allowing you to enjoy the better sound without disturbing and waking others late at night.
A sound bar isn’t quite the surround sound experience that you could expect from a 5.1 or 7.2 system. However, not everyone wants to invest money in receivers and 6 to 9 speakers, not to mention running all that speaker wire and mounting speakers.
A sound bar is a great alternative for most people who want to add more bass and dynamic range to their favorite movies and TV shows, without spending all the extra money and collecting multiple speakers. The Klipsch RSB-8 is a full-featured sound bar offering great sound, plenty of options, and is simple to setup and use. If you’d like to pick up one yourself you can follow the links below to Amazon or Klipsch.Order from Amazon Order from Klipsch