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6 Reasons to Avoid a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos System at All Costs

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6 Reasons to Avoid a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos System at All Costs

Key Points

  • The Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system is a 5.1.4-channel home theater system known for its true Dolby Atmos sound.
  • The system may not be suitable for smaller rooms as it requires a lot of power and may not provide the best sound quality at lower volumes.
  • The Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system can be difficult to install due to the use of bare wires and binding posts.
  • The subwoofers in the system do not always power off in standby mode, which can be a minor inconvenience.
  • Optimally placing the speakers in the system can be challenging due to the unique construction of Klipsch speakers.
  • Klipsch’s documentation for the system is confusing and may not provide clear instructions for speaker placement.
  • Alternative options to consider are the Sony HT-A7000, JBL Bar 700, and Sony HT-A9, which offer different features and price points.

Why should you avoid a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system? Klipsch is one of the leading names in home audio and has been for decades now. The Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system is one of the most cost-effective ways to get true Dolby Atmos sound in your home theater space. However, some glaring design flaws come up when looking at these speakers.

If you’re on the hunt for a new Dolby Atmos sound solution, this set might be worth skipping entirely. Today’s review will cover some of the more glaring design flaws and gripes to be found with the Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system, as well as some suitable alternatives to fit your needs.

What Is the Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos Home Theater System?

The Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system is a 5.1.4-channel home theater system built with the future in mind. You’re getting a full surround sound setup with these speakers, alongside compatibility with Dolby Atmos with integrated height channels. The Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos has been the subject of rave reviews from home audio buffs and critics alike.

However, if there is one thing to be said about this sound system, it is a general lack of friendliness for less technically-minded users. As you’ll see through the course of this review, this is a great system on paper but it isn’t without its faults.

SpecsKlipsch Reference Cinema 5.1.4 Dolby Atmos System
Frequency Response90Hz to 20kHz for satellite speakers, 80Hz to 20kHz for center speaker, 32Hz to 120Hz for subwoofer
Sensitivity92dB for satellite speakers, 91dB for center speaker, 112dB for subwoofer
Continuous Power75 watts for satellite speakers, 75 watts for center speaker, 150 watts for subwoofer, 40 watts for height channel
Peak Power300 watts for satellite speakers, 300 watts for center channel, 300 watts for subwoofer, 160 watts for height channel
InputsGold-plated binding posts
Nominal Impedance8 Ohms
Crossover Frequencies2000Hz for satellite speakers, 1800Hz for center speaker

Reasons to Avoid a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos Home Theater System

With specs like those, you may be wondering why we say you should avoid a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos Home Theater System. However, we have six good reasons why you should take a look at the alternatives instead.

It Might Not Work for Every Room

Klipsch Reference Cinema
You want to pick a surround sound setup that fits your room.

Your viewing room is going to be one of the biggest factors in determining your choice of a home theater system. As such, you have to tailor your sound system choice to the space. The Klipsch Reference Cinema system is very much intended for larger rooms. A lot of this comes down to the speaker choices in the system itself. You’re going to be looking at quite a bit of power across the entire set of speakers.

For larger rooms, the speakers sound fantastic and can immerse you in the audio. However, if you’ve got a smaller room it might prove to be too much for the space. You could run it at lower volumes, but that isn’t going to give the best overall sound quality.

The Cost

You can find the Klipsch Reference Home Cinema for a steal if you’re diligent. However, issues arise if you’re buying it at full retail price. With an MSRP of $1349, this is very much a mid-range system. It might not be the best fit for more budget-conscious home theater enthusiasts. Now, for what you get, this is an astounding package.

The only thing missing is a decent receiver, which is an additional expense. That said, this isn’t a major dealbreaker. You’re getting quite a bit of power for a lower overall cost than most surround sound setups. If you have a tighter budget, a soundbar might be a better all-in-one fit for your needs.

Installation Can Be Difficult

Installing the Klipsch Home Reference Cinema system is not for the faint of heart. You’ll need steady hands and a lot of patience to get the speakers wired, for starters. Rather than opting for 1/4-inch or RCA cables, you’re left with bare wires. Now, for older readers, this isn’t going to be different from installing old hi-fi speakers. It does require a good deal of patience just to place the wires in the speaker.

If you’re looking for an easy setup, then you’re out of luck. The bare wires and binding posts are the only way to hook everything up with this sound system. Once you get the first done, it should be easier. It doesn’t take much to bend or bungle the wiring if you’re being too rough with the cables, sadly.

Subs Don’t Always Power Off in Standby

This is a minor complaint, but still a valid one. Most users are going to power down their subs after a viewing session. Many powered subwoofers come with the option of going into standby mode. After a period of time, the sub will power itself off and stop consuming power from the wall. The Klipsch sub doesn’t always power off, which is a minor quibble.

Now, there isn’t much for you to go about just getting up and powering the sub off. However, it is just great for peace of mind to have unused components power themselves off when playback finishes.

Optimal Placement Can Be Cumbersome

Klipsch Reference Cinema
Placing the Klipsch Reference speakers in an ideal location can be a time-consuming affair.

Klipsch has novel techniques when it comes to the overall construction of its speakers. This novel construction lends itself to a rather difficult time getting the optimal placement of your speakers. When you consider that you’ve got multiple speakers to contend with, this is going to be a chore at best.

The off-axis nature of most of these speakers sounds great when properly placed. However, getting to that point is going to take time and a lot of trial and error configuration to get the best overall results from your new sound system.

Klipsch’s Documentation Is Confusing

With the advent of the internet, pointing out the lack of good documentation seems silly. The first and best source for most installation purposes is going to be the manufacturer-provided documentation. Despite its stellar track record with home audio, Klipsch’s installation instructions for the Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system are unintuitive, to say the least.

The documentation has instructions for the proper installation of the wiring, which is great. If you aren’t the sort to read manuals before installing, you definitely should for the wires at the very least. The issue arises more with Klipsch’s suggestions on how to properly place the speakers. Your results will greatly vary depending on how closely you stick to Klipsch’s suggestions.

Alternatives to a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos Home Theater System

Here are three of our favorite alternatives to the Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos system.

Sony HT-A7000

High-End Choice
Sony HT-A7000 7.1.2ch Soundbar
$998.00
  • DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Vertical Surround Sound Engine
  • 360-degree sound mapping
  • Converts audio to 7.1.2 Ch automatically
  • 4K/120 and 8K passthrough for the best visuals and gameplay
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/27/2024 04:05 am GMT

If you’re looking for a soundbar that can go toe to toe with any surround sound setup, the Sony HT-A7000 is the one to choose. You’ve got 7.1.2 channels of audio for full Dolby Atmos compatibility. It might not push out the same spatially rich audio you’d see with a proper surround sound system, but this is a great compact solution for a room of any size.

The HT-A7000 comes with the option for an additional subwoofer and rear speakers. These come heavily recommended and can really increase your enjoyment of the audio as a whole.

JBL Bar 700

Popular Surround Sound Setup
JBL Bar 700: 5.1-Channel soundbar with Detachable Surround Speakers and Dolby Atmos
$899.95
  • Features immersive Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound
  • Features wireless detachable surround speakers
  • Built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Alexa, and Chromecast
  • 620W of output power
  • Includes 10" subwoofer
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/27/2024 04:08 am GMT

If you’re after a great all-in-one solution, the JBL Bar 700 is one of the few soundbars that comes with everything you need right out of the box. You’ve got detachable surround speakers you can place around your room, a subwoofer, and impressive sound quality as a whole.

The JBL Bar 700 is a more budget-minded solution when compared to the Klipsch Reference Cinema sound system. However, for its cost, it definitely punches well above its weight.

Sony HT-A9

Easy Connectivity
Sony HT-A9 7.1.4-Channel High-Performance Home Theater Speaker System
$1,996.00
  • Includes a 10-pack of cable ties, 1x nylon braided HDMI cable, 2x sound isolation pads, 1x 300W subwoofer, 4x Sony HT-A9 speakers
  • Supports wireless connectivity for a cable-free environment
  • Produces crystal clear highs and great bass reproduction
  • Supports Dolby Atmos
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/27/2024 04:08 am GMT

Do you want to just ditch the cables entirely? The Sony HT-A9 might very well be the best solution for your needs. This is a higher-cost sound system when compared to the Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos package, but you’ve got an additional two channels of audio to use.

As a speaker bundle, this is a versatile and compact set. You won’t have to be worried about cable management during the installation process. They get quite loud as well, meaning you’re not going to have to reach and crank the volume to hear dialogue or the current score for your favorite football team.

Closing Thoughts

The Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos home theater system is one of the best around in its price bracket. There are a few odd issues to point out, which could very well be dealbreakers for some users. That said, if you’re able to grab one of these bundles on a decent sale, it could be worth the investment.

Best Alternatives to a Klipsch Reference Cinema Dolby Atmos Home Theater System

1. Sony HT-A7000
2. JBL Bar 700
3. Sony HT-A9
  1. Sony HT-A7000 7.1.2ch Soundbar
    $998.00
    • DTS:X, Dolby Atmos, Vertical Surround Sound Engine
    • 360-degree sound mapping
    • Converts audio to 7.1.2 Ch automatically
    • 4K/120 and 8K passthrough for the best visuals and gameplay
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/27/2024 04:05 am GMT
  2. JBL Bar 700: 5.1-Channel soundbar with Detachable Surround Speakers and Dolby Atmos
    $899.95
    • Features immersive Dolby Atmos 3D surround sound
    • Features wireless detachable surround speakers
    • Built-in Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Alexa, and Chromecast
    • 620W of output power
    • Includes 10" subwoofer
    Buy Now on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/27/2024 04:08 am GMT
  3. Sony HT-A9 7.1.4-Channel High-Performance Home Theater Speaker System
    $1,996.00
    • Includes a 10-pack of cable ties, 1x nylon braided HDMI cable, 2x sound isolation pads, 1x 300W subwoofer, 4x Sony HT-A9 speakers
    • Supports wireless connectivity for a cable-free environment
    • Produces crystal clear highs and great bass reproduction
    • Supports Dolby Atmos
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/27/2024 04:08 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need an amplifier for the Klipsch system?

You’ll need an amplifier or receiver for it, yes.

Does the Klipsch system have support for Dolby Atmos?

Yes, it has full support for Dolby Atmos.

Is the Klipsch system a good buy?

If you have the patience and time to set it up, then yes.

Does the Klipsch system use RCA cables to connect the speakers?

No, it uses bare wires which are then fed to a binding post.

Can I use the Klipsch system for gaming?

You absolutely can.

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