Klipsch Cinema 600 soundbar
“The powerful and precise Cinema 600 is a soundbar for everyone who likes it loud.”
High quality materials and surfaces
Easy to set up and use
Effective dialogue modes
Powerful and precise sound
Subwoofer not challenged
Mediocre virtual surround mode
The soundbar market is huge, with models ranging from tiny TV speakers to monstrous, multi-device home theater replacements, priced anywhere from $ 100 to over $ 1,000. Somewhere in the middle you should be able to find a system that offers powerful, room-filling sound, easy setup and use, and a price that doesn’t make you rethink your life choices. That void falls into the $ 500 Klipsch Cinema 600, a 3.1 soundbar system with one of the largest subwoofers we’ve seen.
Does the Cinema 600 satisfy? Let’s check it out.
What’s in the box?
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The Cinema 600’s L-shaped box is an awkward beast you might want to recruit a friend for – the courier who delivered our test model nearly injured himself with a dolly while negotiating our front steps. Inside you will find the soundbar, the subwoofer, two power cables, an HDMI cable, wall brackets with a template, a remote control with batteries and the operating instructions. A lot of styrofoam is used to protect the components, but the rest can probably be roadside recycled if you don’t keep them.
The company designed its soundbars to attract your eyes just as they do your ears.
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Klipsch is obsessed with making its speaker technology visible to everyone. The distinctive copper drivers are so diverse that many people never bother installing the included black fabric grilles that come with Klipsch products. So it’s no wonder the company designed its soundbars to attract your eyes as well as your ears.
Black stained wooden end caps, accents made of brushed metal and a black fabric grill exude a restrained, high-quality atmosphere. The exposed tweeters at the ends, framed by Klipsch’s signature Tractrix horns, are possibly more polarizing. Personally, I don’t want visual distractions that take my eyes off the screen while watching TV, so I prefer subtle sound bars. These silver plastic horns are hard to ignore if they catch even the slightest trace of room light. The Cinema 600’s design is harder to sell for me, but I think Klipsch fans won’t mind at all.
At 45 inches wide, the soundbar is in the long side category, but it’s height that could be an issue. If you are almost five centimeters tall, there is a possibility that part of the screen of televisions with very short stands or feet could be covered. Measure your setup carefully, unless you plan on wall mounting the pole (which is easy thanks to the hardware included).
The control buttons for power supply, source and volume are located at the top right in the bar under a small display on which the status of the individual functions is shown. It’s convenient to have them, but the play / pause and mute buttons feel like obvious omissions.
The wireless subwoofer is, I’ll just say, freaking enormous. It stands over 18 inches tall and is over a foot wide on each side. You probably shouldn’t put objects on it or use it as a stool, but it’s nice to know you could – it’s ultra-solid, with the same furniture-grade black wood as the soundbar, with an uninterrupted frame on five sides.
Klipsch recommends placing it near the front of the viewing area – on a wall or in a corner – for a stronger bass effect. However, due to its size, this may not be possible in every situation.
Setup and connections
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Setting up the Cinema 600 is a breeze. Connect the soundbar to your TV using the HDMI cable provided or your own optical or analog cable, then plug the soundbar and subwoofer into the appropriate sockets. That’s it, you’re done. Note, however, that in the manual, the soundbar must be connected first and then the subwoofer. This makes the pairing sequence between the two components much smoother.
The included remote control is well designed and impressively lit so that it can be easily viewed in a darkened room.
Using the bar’s HDMI ARC connection will allow your TV to control volume and mute. However, like many sound bars, some audio formats that require HDMI ARC are not supported (such as Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos). It also lacks an HDMI input to use as a passthrough. So if your TV has limited HDMI ports, you can use an optical cable instead. You’ll lose volume and mute, but don’t worry, there is a workaround – the soundbar can be set to respond to your TV or cable box remote control.
In addition to the optical and HDMI connections, you get an analog socket and Bluetooth for wireless streaming from a smartphone. Each input can be selected using the buttons above or the remote control. This means that you have up to four sound sources easily accessible.
The connection ports are located in a very small cavity. So if you want to run cables to each cable, you may have to play around with the order so they don’t bump into each other.
The Cinema 600 also has a USB port behind the right end cap, which is mainly used for firmware updates, but can also be used to play audio files from a USB stick or hard drive. I haven’t tested this feature.
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The included remote control is well designed and impressively lit so that it can be easily viewed in a darkened room. A motion sensor will light up as soon as you record it. Deeper functions such as bass level, surround mode, dialogue enhancement and night mode are easily accessible via special buttons.
Whether it’s Hollywood blockbusters or the latest original TV series from HBO or Netflix, the sound is punchy, precise and energetic.
It’s completely intuitive, but I’m not crazy about the bar of LED dots on the front of the soundbar as an indicator of what’s happening. As a volume indicator it works perfectly, but once you switch to surround or dialog mode you need the manual to interpret point sequences. It’s like morse code. Klipsch should consider shipping the Cinema 600 with a display-equipped remote control, as Vizio does with its mid-tier and flagship soundbars. The last thing you want to do while watching a movie is digging up a manual.
The Cinema 600 is a 3.1-channel system, ie you get three loudspeakers (left and right front channel and a center channel) and the subwoofer. This is a near-perfect setup for people who just want a lot better sound than their TVs can produce. It gives you excellent stereo separation while providing crystal clear dialogue through the center channel.
Whether it’s Hollywood blockbusters or the latest original TV series from HBO or Netflix, the sound is punchy, precise and energetic. And wow, this system gets loud when you want it – without a hint of distortion. After all, 600 watts is a lot of power.
The four dialogue modes successfully improve speech intelligibility, which I have relied on for dialogue-intensive shows like The Crown.
Overall, it’s an extremely fun TV sound system. But there are two areas that I found less than great.
First, you’d think that with a subwoofer this big, low-end bass rumble would go off the charts. But even when the bass level is at its maximum, low frequency effects are seriously attenuated. Some of this can be traced back to where I placed the subwoofer – in the middle of my viewing wall, not in a corner. But I don’t think that should make that much difference. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of bass, but it feels like it is produced by less than half the size of the device that comes with the Cinema 600.
Second, you can activate a virtual surround mode which theoretically expands the sound beams coming from the bar to achieve the equivalent of a full 5.1 surround system. Using this mode definitely increases the width of the soundstage, but at the same time it breaks the high frequencies and pulls back the midrange. The effect actually smooths the sound instead of making it more immersive.
On the plus side, if you want a true 5.1 system, you don’t have to choose between great 3.1 and mediocre virtualized surround sound. The Cinema 600 can be expanded with Klipsch’s wireless Surround 3 speakers ($ 250 per pair), or you can purchase them together as a bundle in early 2021.
The music in the Cinema 600 is also very dynamic (this surround mode should also be avoided here). Modern studio-produced tracks like The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights or Beck’s Uneventful Days sound particularly good, while older material isn’t quite as lively, but is still fun.
Klipsch delivers a lively and loud 3.1 home theater soundbar in the Cinema 600, which has good connections and a well-designed remote control.
Is there a better alternative?
There’s no shortage of excellent soundbar options for the same $ 500 price as the Cinema 600. The LG SN7Y is a 3.1.2 system that delivers Dolby Atmos decently from a single bar, and the HT-G700 from Sony is possibly the best at Klipsch and LG when it comes to virtualized surround sound. Any of these soundbars will likely prove more satisfactory than the Cinema 600 from a multi-channel standpoint, but if you’re looking for clean, powerful sound, Klipsch is hard to beat.
How long it will take?
Klipsch is known for high quality equipment and the Cinema 600 is a well built system that should last for many years. Klipsch grants a one-year guarantee on the electronics and a three-year guarantee on the housing and woofer components.
Should you buy it?
Yes. While the Cinema 600 isn’t as impressive as some soundbars, its performance and precision make it deserve a spot on your shortlist.