Klipsch Reference RVX-54 Home Theater Speaker System [AIG Archives]

      Date posted: April 14, 2008

Klipsch RVX-54 Group

RVX-54 Front
Sugg. Retail: $2470 pr (CAN)
Size: 49″H x 7″W x 6 1/2″D

RSX-4 Surround
Sugg. Retail: $460 pr (CAN)
10 1/2″H x 5 1/2″ W x 7 1/2″D

RVX-42 Centre/LCR
Sugg. Retail: $695 ea (CAN)
Size: 26″H x 5 3/4″W 4 1/2″D

RW-12 Subwoofer
Sugg. Retail: $940 (CAN)
Size: 19″H x 14 1/2″W x 19″D

Manufacturer: Klipsch Audio Technologies,
3502 Woodview Trace, Ste. 200, Indianapolis, IN
46268 USA (317) 860-8721 FAX 860-9170

From the Fall 2005 Issue

This speaker system from Klipsch puts together several models from their Reference Series with similar or identical drivers, and makes for a floorstanding front pair, with compact surrounds and a matching centre channel, along with a quite compact subwoofer. They’re designed to match the new generation of flat screen video displays, including, plasma, DLP and LCD rear projection, and other variants of compact, less deep monitors.

Various iterations of this system can be put together, since the RVX-42s can be used in 4s or 5s for a compact system, while the RVX-54 can be used in 5s for a serious projection TV sound system, in both cases with the RW-12 sub. And various other combinations will easily come to mind, and Klipsch offers several on their web site.
Klipsch RVX-54 Lifestyle Shot
The RVX-54 is a floorstanding tower of modest footprint with a sensitivity of 98 dB/watt/metre, ported at rear with 4 bass/midrange drivers and a horn-loaded titanium dome tweeter. The horn is a new design, called in the online literature, “an integral round 90 degree MicroTractrix Horn and four 5.25″ (13.3 cm) magnetically shielded, Cerametallic cone woofers.” The speaker has a circular base that makes it stable on floor or carpet, and supplied rubber feet can be supplanted with supplied spikes. The RVX-42 is a kind of miniature version of the 54, which is exceptionally versatile in its mounting options: it can be a floorstander, or be mounted laterally on its base to be on top of a TV. A pair of 4″ bass/midrange drivers flank the MicroTractrix horn tweeter, and the enclosure is ported on either side. Sensitivity rating is a more modest 94 dB.

And then we have the RSX-4s, which are very compact using the same tweeter as the rest, with one 4″ woofer/midrange driver. Their mounting options are many, able to be stood up, wall-mounted or ceiling suspended, and a small wrench is supplied with each to facilitate mounting, the attached stand/bracket able to be configured for any option.

The foundation of this Klipsch system is the RW-12 subwoofer, which features a “BASH digital hybrid amplifier” with “340 watts continuous” and ” dynamic power [of] 825 watts”. It is claimed to offer a level of 113 dB at 30 Hz/1 metre, so it should kick ass pretty good, to use the vernacular. There are both speaker level and line inputs, including a third LFE RCA input.
Klipsch RVX-54 Frequency Response
Looking at the measurements, we might as well start with the RW-12. In its highest crossover setting, it has quite wide range response which is very smooth, this being the lowest curve at left, which is +/-2 dB from 20 to just over 100 Hz. The mid and lower crossover settings actually boost frequency response below 60 and 40 Hz, respectively, though the highest setting seems to best match the rest of the system; interestingly enough, this setting has surprisingly wide broadband response, with energy down only 13 dB in the midrange, and still holding up at -16 dB at 10 kHz. The RVX-54 shows very smooth response (top), with a gradual rolloff below 200 Hz. Overall, it’s +/-3 dB over most of the audio range, with particularly strong high end energy to 20 kHz. Even at 30 degrees off axis, response remains very smooth, though down in level by about 5 dB. These speakers have excellent dispersion, and should sound very similar at any point in a room. The main response differences are in bass extension.

At bottom we see response for the RSX-4, which rolls off a little more in the upper octaves, and has a slightly more prominent midrange between 1 and 2 kHz, which is probably an asset in a surround speaker As with the other HT speakers, I listened to a combination of musical materials and soundtracks, and was impressed by the ability of these Klipsch speakers to disappear in the dark, with seamless integration and a thoroughly enveloping soundfield. The subwoofer is exceptional, with almost bottomless bass reach, and quick, powerful overall sound.

They were also very natural and dynamic with music, the RVX-54 a particularly revealing reproducer. Though it needs a subwoofer because of its limited bass power (down 10 dB at 50 Hz), this speaker has the special dynamics and micro-dynamics characteristic of high sensitivity loudspeakers.

And, speaking of sensitivity, one of the virtues of this Klipsch system is, of course, that it does not need a lot of power, and can be driven by modestly powered electronics, though they should be quiet and of high audio quality. Even tubes are an option if they fulfill these criteria. Though more expensive than some of the HT speakers reviewed here, the RVX- 54 system justifies its cost in refinement, power, and overall excellence.

Andrew Marshall

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