Klipsch R-51PM Review
We tested the Klipsch R-51PM active stand mount speakers, which achieve very good dynamics at relatively low volume levels.
The American Klipsch has managed to get its customers used to easy-to-drive high-efficiency loudspeakers that can be combined with almost any amplifier, regardless of the power or current efficiency it has. However, it should not be forgotten that on the wave of growing popularity of active loudspeakers, compatible with many different types of signal sources, nowadays many manufacturers also have such loudspeakers in their catalog, which are a perfect complement to the offer.
The Klipsch is no exception, as it has several active speakers in its catalog. Still, the two budget models R-51PM and R-41PM from the Reference Powered series are particularly noteworthy. The tested R-51PM speakers are slightly larger and more expensive than the smaller R-41PM. However, their special feature is their versatility with various audio signal sources.
- Easily reach high volume levels.
- Dynamic, lively, and effective sound with fast bass and precisely reproduced stereo.
- Very well equipped with various connectors, including Bluetooth, controllable with remote control.
- Boosted upper bass, sometimes losing a bit of control.
Modernity in a nutshell
You could say the Klipsch R-51PM is such a contemporary benchmark among low-cost active speakers, offering the versatility to handle multiple audio sources. The tested active monitors support are not only classic analog devices through analog stereo connectors, but they can also be combined with a turntable equipped with a magnetic MM insert. Also, a portable analog player is equipped with a signal cable, which is terminated with a 3.5mm coaxial stereo plug. However, the possibilities of these small active Klipsch loudspeakers do not end there, as they can also be combined with quite a large range of digital devices. Furthermore, thanks to the optical input, we can digitally output the signal from the TV to improve its sound.
There is also a USB-B input, thanks to which the user of these loudspeakers can send the signal coming from the computer without the need to amplify the signal. Furthermore, the manufacturer also added an adapter cable from the USB type B connector to the end based on the USB type A socket, thanks to which music can be played from other digital media. Also, the RCA output for an active subwoofer seems to be an excellent solution because the stereo R-51PM loudspeaker system can always be supplemented with an active woofer, which is understandable.
After all, due to the limited range of these loudspeakers in the bass band, many people may lack the bass range’s power, mass, and depth. As if that was not enough, the manufacturer used a Bluetooth receiver in these speakers, thanks to which we can send music to them from a smartphone or tablet.
The set also includes a convenient and nicely designed remote control, so without moving from the place, we can adjust the most important parameters of the loudspeakers, such as:
- The selection of the currently supported signal source.
- The volume level, independently for the loudspeakers and
- The active subwoofer (if, of course, we will decide to enrich the system with this type of unit).
- As well as many other functions, such as options related to controlling music tracks.
The most important feature of the tested loudspeakers is that an amplifier is built into it – specifically in one of the loudspeakers. Then, the signal is sent to the other via a loudspeaker cable and classic terminals – this is a standard solution for most active loudspeakers. So, one loudspeaker is an active version of the other passive. Still, it does not change that the whole set of loudspeakers should be considered active because it is completely independent of an external amplifier.
This naturally brings many advantages because the R-51PM user receives a set of loudspeakers capable of working with many audio signal sources simultaneously without spending additional funds on purchasing an external amplifier. Naturally, such a set of active loudspeakers, for obvious reasons, excludes experiments with the use of external amplifiers, thanks to which we can create the sound character of our stereo set. If this does not suit us, we can choose a model.
Klipsch R-51M, which are identical to the tested R-51PM, but do not have a built-in amplifier, so are passive loudspeakers. Their price is lower. So, is the purchase of more expensive active loudspeakers worthwhile? Let’s consider that the R-51PM has a solid class D amplifier built-in, and they can do this, thanks to a rich set of connectors, to handle many different types of analog and digital signal sources. Their higher price is fully justified, and I can say that is attractive.
As I mentioned earlier, the R-51PM model, like the R-51M, is equipped with an identical speaker set. So here we have a classic titanium tweeter supported by a Tractrix horn and a conical mid-woofer that is confusingly similar to the Cerametallic diaphragms due to the copper color. However, it is an IMG material, i.e., graphite, used on a large scale by this American manufacturer, especially in cheaper loudspeakers.
Both loudspeakers are equipped with a bass-reflex resonance tunnel and classic rectangular boxes covered with vinyl foil, which looks like a wooden equivalent of natural veneer. Particularly attractive are the canvas grilles with the canvas texture referring to the models from the 1970s, but a modern fixing solution was used here – an extremely comfortable and, above all, elegant magnetic system.
The set also includes various types of cables (including optical and speaker cables) and anti-vibration rubber pads that should be used to stick the bottoms of the speakers.
Exploding with the rhythm!
While listening to these active loudspeakers, combined with a CD player and via Bluetooth using a smartphone as a source with the Tidal music service, they showed their claw, especially dynamics. After all, the R-51PM have a class D amplifier and a two-way, highly efficient loudspeaker system supported by a dynamic bass amplification system, so the fact that they offer an above-average energetic presentation did not surprise me.
Moreover, listening to different genres of music through these loudspeakers provides a lot of experience. The sound is fast, compact and you can get an irresistible impression that these small R-51PM sound with great ease, even when they have to work at high volume levels.
The treble range is detailed, tangible, and has that note of nonchalance characteristic of horn speakers. On the other hand, the upper region of the acoustic band is not overly reproduced and does not dominate excessively over the mid-frequency range. However, we must remember that the tube used in these speakers is not as technologically advanced as those used in the more expensive series of Klipsch columns. These are hybrid tubes combining two elements that differ in shape for optimal energy in the treble and color and natural sound. Therefore, the treble range is reproduced with a little more nonchalance. On the other hand, the sound of the R-51PMdoes not lack the characteristic heat that we deal with in the case of most of the loudspeakers of this American manufacturer.
The midrange is decisive, clear, and tangible, thanks to which listening to jazz, and even classical music, sounds good through these loudspeakers and with a lot of realism – at this price level, of course.
When it comes to the bass range, the first thing to remember is that Klipsch is not a Paradigm, and in this case, we will not get a huge bass out of these small and inexpensive speakers. Yes, the bass is abundant, sometimes too much, but only in the middle and upper regions. At the same time, these loudspeakers lack a range to the lowest bass, which is not surprising, considering the size of the boxes and speakers that reproduce, among other things, the brass band. Fortunately, the manufacturer anticipated it, and thanks to the signal output for the active subwoofer, the user of these speakers can always expand the system with an active woofer unit, extending the bass band to the lowest parts.
Good to know
The growing demand for active loudspeakers shows how fast this audio market sector is developing. Just a few years ago, it was rare to find active loudspeakers in the offer of individual brands. Today the situation has improved significantly in this respect, as many manufacturers are competing fiercely, supplying the market with better equipped and more refined designs, the best example of which is the active R-51PM speakers.
In their case, the manufacturer has made every effort to ensure that they are compatible with the widest possible range of various music signal sources. The R-51PM are not only capable of playing music from the still popular CD player, turntable, portable MP3 player, etc., they can also cooperate without any problems, with external physical carriers, and most importantly, with a desktop computer or laptop. Many music fans played from a smartphone should be pleased that the R-51PM has a built-in Bluetooth module, so you can transfer music from music services to them or use music files stored in the smartphone’s memory.
Conclusion on the Klipsch R-51PM
The Klipsch R-51PM active loudspeakers will fulfill their role wherever we want to save time on system configuration and use compact and minimalist two-channel audio sets that do not take up too much space. The built-in class D amplifier effectively drives high-efficiency loudspeakers, thanks to which you can achieve good dynamics even at low volume levels with the help of the R-51PM loudspeakers. Furthermore, thanks to the wide range of connectors (analog and digital) and the Bluetooth module, the versatility in using various music signal sources is impressive in the case of the R-51PM.