Audio

Classic look with modern sounds

Music quality is powerful and top-notch. The Three's wooden enclosure brings a warm, resonant body to music tracks, breathing life into tracks.
Music quality is powerful and top-notch. The Three's wooden enclosure brings a warm, resonant body to music tracks, breathing life into tracks.PHOTO: KLIPSCH

American audio firm Klipsch is riding hard on its vintage-speaker designs with its latest Bluetooth speakers, The Three, and its smaller brother, The One. Both combine a classic, heritage look with modern audio technology.

Consumers who like the company's famous vintage-looking speakers, but who have baulked at the price point, should warm up to the mid-priced offering of The Three, which provides quality sound and a handsome decorative piece for the home.

The Three, while technically Bluetooth speakers, is so much more than that.

There is a whole host of wired and wireless connection options, which allows you to connect it to a turntable, computer, CD player, smartphone or tablet.

There's an included USB cable to hook up to a PC and a phono pre-amp port for sweet analog turntable tunes. But doing away with the clutter of cables is what gives The Three its charm.

It's designed to be unobtrusive yet eye-catching and, in that respect, Klipsch has produced another winner.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $699

    DIMENSIONS: 35 x 17 x 20cm

    WEIGHT: 4.7kg

    DRIVERS: 2 x 57.15mm full-range drivers

    PASSIVE RADIATORS: 2 x 133.4mm

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The speakers are placed within a wooden enclosure, available in either a light brown walnut finish or an elegant dark ebony veneer. Both colours ooze class, making the speakers a natural fit for Scandinavian-themed minimalist decor filled with wood and industrial decor.

The copper knobs on the top panel are tactile and responsive, and just feel premium in your hands.

Bluetooth pairing is a breeze, and both Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX codec support let users stream high-resolution music files. The speakers come with a remote control to adjust volume, skip tracks and toggle between inputs.

Music quality is powerful and top-notch. The Three's wooden enclosure brings a warm, resonant body to music tracks, breathing life into tracks. Audiophiles will be satisfied with The Three's support of 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio formats.

The speaker grille of The Three, which extends from the front to its sides, opens up the soundscape and gives off a spacious vibe.

Bass is pleasingly punchy but with a slight tendency towards boominess at higher volumes. Midrange tones tend to be somewhat overwhelmed by the lower register at those volumes, resulting in a slight loss of detail.

But at reasonable volumes, The Three plays beautifully across the spectrum, with crisp mid-tones and resonant, impressive bass which make for an immersive, enjoyable listening experience.

It is no slouch when it comes to volume either. I was able to crank it up without hitting noticeable distortion, although it led to some complaints from my family members who wanted some peace and quiet.

Another wireless capability is through Wi-Fi, enabled by the Klipsch Stream app available on both Android and iOS. This is where The Three frustrates - it took many repeated attempts to get it properly connected to my smartphone.

The app can be quite fickle and the success of my connection seemed quite random - an issue which other users have raised online as well.

It's a shame, as The Three was clearly designed for wireless use, and to run into such problems with the app dampened what was otherwise a great experience.

•Verdict: The Three wins out in sheer elegant design and incredibly rich and detailed music quality, but issues with Wi-Fi connectivity may give some buyers pause.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Classic look with modern sounds'. Print Edition | Subscribe