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6 Reasons Why I Would Avoid a Klipsch The Fives Powered Speaker System

bowers & wilkins

6 Reasons Why I Would Avoid a Klipsch The Fives Powered Speaker System

Key Points

  • Klipsch The Fives bookshelf speakers have some serious deficits that make them worth avoiding.
  • Loudness doesn’t necessarily mean quality sound, and reviewers have found that higher notes suffer with The Fives.
  • The Fives are powered speakers, which limits their use options and requires dealing with cords and wires.
  • Several reviewers have reported connectivity issues with The Fives, including intermittent Bluetooth connection and problems with HDMI ARC features.
  • A recent firmware update has caused performance issues with The Fives, and users have reported poor customer service from Klipsch.
  • The Fives are expensive, with a price tag of nearly $1,000, making them less attractive compared to other alternatives.

Bookshelf speakers like the Klipsch The Fives powered speaker system are popular for their placement versatility and quality sound. Unfortunately, The Fives have some serious deficits that make me shy away from considering them. Review the six reasons I would avoid a Klipsch The Fives speaker system and make your own judgment. 

The Info on Klipsch The Fives 

Klipsch evidently decided to use the same odd naming convention as their brand for their bookshelf speakers. In addition to The Fives, there are The Sixes, The Sevens, and The Nines. A higher number means a larger speaker with greater dimensions, a wider soundstage, more powerful output, and a higher price. This places The Fives on the bottom rung of available bookshelf speakers from Klipsch. 

The Fives measure 12 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches and weigh 22.5 pounds (both speakers). They are available in Walnut veneer or Matte Black finishes. They boast a frequency of 50Hz-25kHz and a maximum output of 109dB. Klipsch calls The Fives “The Most Versatile Powered Speakers on Earth.” However, my reasons to avoid a Klipsch The Fives speaker set may cause you to doubt their claim. 

Reasons Why I Would Avoid a Klipsch The Fives Powered Speaker System 

Other reviewers have found plenty of reasons to buy Klipsch The Fives bookshelf speakers. I’m just one who found several reasons to avoid them and keep shopping. 

Loud Doesn’t Mean Quality Sound 

Avoid Klipsch The Fives
High decibel output does not translate into high-quality sound.

Klipsch The Fives boasts 160 watts of power and 109dB of sound, which is admittedly quite a bit for bookshelf speakers measuring only 12 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches. However, loudness doesn’t translate into quality sound. Many reviewers comment on the deep bass, even at low volumes. The Fives also features a bass boost, but most commenters said they turn it off to improve sound quality. 

Great sound isn’t only about deep bass. There are other notes and sounds along a wide spectrum that are equally critical to the total sound experience. The Fives include some premium components for producing a good sound, but higher notes seem to suffer. Consequently, connecting these speakers to your TV or a home entertainment system will leave you disappointed. 

The fact is, any brand can only cram so much sound-producing capacity into a one-foot-tall, half-foot-wide space. I admit that Klipsch The Fives can crank it up, but discerning listeners want more than simply ear-shattering decibels. 

Powered Speakers Restrict Your Use Options

Avoid Klipsch The Fives
Powered speakers require cable connections that limit your placement and convenience.

Klipsch The Fives are powered speakers. They require a power input to function. This usually means connecting to an amplifier or equalizer of some sort. The Fives only require one speaker to be connected to a power source, but the other speaker must be connected to its mate. This translates into one cord running to the first speaker and another cord running to the second speaker. 

Modern users tend to lean more towards simplicity, and powered speakers limit this propensity. The Fives boast various connectivity options, but only one of these is wireless. The others require a cord to the media source. Your entertainment setup will need to place the speakers where they can produce the best sound quality while also finding a way to hide all the wires. 

Of course, you can just run them and let them hang haphazardly, but dangling cords can present more problems than a terrible aesthetic. Tripping hazards and possible electrical interference are two issues that come immediately to mind. The Fives are not the best choice if you need a plug-and-play option. 

Connectivity Issues 

Avoid Klipsch The Fives
Many reviewers cite Bluetooth connectivity problems with Klipsch The Fives.

While we’re talking about connectivity, several reviewers on numerous websites cite terrible connection experiences with The Fives. The Bluetooth connection can be intermittent or drop entirely. A significant few even encountered problems connecting their Bluetooth devices at all. Fortunately, there are multiple wired connection options available, but this only subtracts from the system’s convenience. 

Other problems arise with the HDMI ARC features that allow you to control your TV and speaker output with a single universal remote. Users connect their media source to their TV via HDMI, then connect the TV to The Fives via HDMI ARC. Unfortunately, some TVs don’t have this HDMI ARC connection port. And some reviewers found the remote performance spotty. 

The Fives also boasts control features through the Klipsch Connect App. Download the app to your smartphone, adjust inputs, bass, treble, and volume, and even help find the best speaker placement. Many reviewers claim the app is inadequate for making these adjustments and prefer to use the remote or the on-unit controls. 

Problems with the Firmware Update

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The latest firmware update from Klipsch has caused problems.

An often-repeated complaint on many review sites was that a recent firmware update completely ruined the speakers’ performance. Verified buyers complained about increased connectivity problems, poorer sound quality, and other issues with connecting The Fives to various media devices. 

Connected to this issue are the serious problems they also reported getting a fix from Klipsch customer service. Users cited a poor response from the customer service live chat and when speaking with a representative over the phone. This is a serious issue for such an established and well-known brand like Klipsch, and one I hope they fix quickly. 

One or two complaints are to be expected; however, several reported across numerous review websites are reasons for concern about the quality of the product you are buying and the company’s commitment to your complete satisfaction. 

The Fives Are Expensive 

Avoid Klipsch The Fives
A new set of Klipsch The Fives is almost $1,000.

I don’t consider myself a cheapskate; I’m willing to pay for something that is worth the cash. That said, Klipsch’s The Fives is just too expensive for me. At just under $1,000 for a pair of foot-tall speakers, that is entirely too much when other, better options are available. You might find a used or refurbished set on Amazon (if you can catch them available), but even then you can expect to pay $500 or more. 

Klipsch is admittedly a high-end brand boasting superior build quality and a long entertainment industry history. But I’m not the type of consumer who is willing to pay for some employee’s retirement from purchasing a single set of speakers. Most buyers of bookshelf speakers consider $1,000 a high price to pay when, for a little more, you can purchase an entire home entertainment system with multiple speakers and connection options. 

Lack of Availability

Avoid Klipsch The Fives
New Klipsch The Fives are frequently out of stock.

Last but not least, at the time of this writing, all I could find were used/refurbished The Fives speakers. Even then, only the Matte Black finish was available; the Walnut veneer was out of stock on Amazon with the message “We don’t know when or if this item will be back in stock.” New products were not even available from Klipsch. Buyers eager to try these bookshelf speakers will be disappointed as they search vendors and the Klipsch site for a new set. Klipsch offers to inform you via email when they become available again, but there are no published estimates of when more will be ready for purchase. 

Better Alternatives to Klipsch The Fives 

I recommend these popular products if you need more affordable, reliable, and practical alternatives to Klipsch The Fives. 

KEP T301 Satellite Speakers 

Premium Choice for Surround Sound
KEF T301 Satellite Speaker Pair
$892.98
  • Low-profile design is only 1.4-inches thick
  • 75 watts and 8 Ohms impedance
  • Stands and wall-mounting hardware included
  • 5-year product warranty
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 02:10 pm GMT

These exceptional speakers are a thin 1.4 inches thick but feature double-layered mod-range drivers, an aluminum fully-vented tweeter, and an ultra-low profile bass driver. Their frequency response is 80Hz to 30kHz, and they are easily mounted on walls, tables, or the floor. They are a premium choice for surround sound systems

Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition Speakers

Elegant and Reliable
Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary (Red Mahogany)
  • Bass driver: 6.5"
  • Tweeter: 1" soft dome
  • Mounted on a rigid diecast chassis
  • Ultra-coherent, seamless sonics 
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Wharfedale is a pioneer in great sound products. This 85th Anniversary Edition speaker set produces 100 watts of power and 88dB of sound. Somewhat less expensive than The Fives, they still offer better reliability and an elegant hand-veneered Red Mahogany finish that is perfect for an 80s throwback aesthetic. 

Fluance Ai40 Bookshelf Speakers

Great Sound and Easier on the Budget
Fluance Ai41 Powered 2-Way 2.0 Stereo Bookshelf Speakers
$249.99
  • 5-inch drivers
  • 90-watt amplifier
  • Compatible with TV, PC, Phone
  • Subwoofer output
  • RCA and optical inputs or connect via Bluetooth 5.0
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/02/2024 02:15 pm GMT

Fluance Ai40 self-powered speakers stand out for their clear sound and complementary bass. Each speaker is sealed, not ported, for even better sound quality. Ai40 speakers have a 5-inch woven glass fiber woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter that exudes exquisite sound quality. They are Bluetooth-compatible and much easier on your budget than many comparable options. 

1. KEP T301 Satellite Speakers 
2. Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Edition Speakers
3. Fluance Ai40 Bookshelf Speakers
  1. KEF T301 Satellite Speaker Pair
    $892.98
    • Low-profile design is only 1.4-inches thick
    • 75 watts and 8 Ohms impedance
    • Stands and wall-mounting hardware included
    • 5-year product warranty
    Buy Now

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

    03/02/2024 02:10 pm GMT
  2. Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary (Red Mahogany)
    • Bass driver: 6.5"
    • Tweeter: 1" soft dome
    • Mounted on a rigid diecast chassis
    • Ultra-coherent, seamless sonics 
    Buy Now on Amazon

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

  3. Fluance Ai41 Powered 2-Way 2.0 Stereo Bookshelf Speakers
    $249.99
    • 5-inch drivers
    • 90-watt amplifier
    • Compatible with TV, PC, Phone
    • Subwoofer output
    • RCA and optical inputs or connect via Bluetooth 5.0
    Buy on Amazon

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

    03/02/2024 02:15 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

What are bookshelf speakers?

Bookshelf speakers are smaller units designed to be set on tables or bookshelves and save space. They typically include smaller woofers and tweeters with technology to produce high-quality sound.

Where did Klipsch The Fives get their name?

Klipsch names their bookshelf speakers by numbers. In addition to The Fives, there are The Sixes, The Sevens, and The Nines. A higher number means a larger speaker with greater dimensions, a wider soundstage, more powerful output, and a higher price.

Can I buy a set of Klipsch The Fives right now?

Maybe or maybe not. As of this writing, they were out of stock on the Klipsch site and Amazon, with no reported date for restocking. A few refurbished sets are available on Amazon.

Can I connect to The Fives via Bluetooth?

Yes. However, many online reviewers complained of problems with Bluetooth connections, especially after downloading a firmware update.

Are Klipsch The Fives expensive?

In my opinion, yes, especially considering the issues I share in this article. I recommend some other, more affordable options.

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