Klipsch storms its way onto our Best of the Best list
Every portable computer, from the brawniest desktop replacement to the tiniest netbook, has one thing in common: terrible speakers. There’s no shortage of powered speaker systems on the market—some of which are very good—but what’s the point of using a laptop if you have to tether it to a box to get good sound?
Klipsch has a better solution: The ProMedia 2.1 Wireless uses a USB transmitter to send audio from the host PC to the speakers over the airwaves. The speakers themselves are all hardwired, with the amplifier tucked inside the subwoofer. And lordy, what a subwoofer it is. There’s a 6.5-inch long-throw, side-firing driver housed inside a bass-reflex enclosure with a front port. The sub cabinet also houses the wireless receiver and the 200-watt amplifier that powers all three channels. Klipsch claims line-of-sight range of 30 feet and our experience backs that up. If you’re looking for a wireless audio system that will send audio from a computer in one room to speakers in another, this isn’t the right solution.
If you don't need the wireless feature, give the original ProMedia 2.1 a listen; Klipsch says the two systems look and sound alike, and the wired model is 50 bucks cheaper.
The two-way satellite speakers consist of 25mm polymer tweeters mated to Klipsch’s well-known MicroTractix horn. Mids are produced by three-inch long-throw drivers. The right-hand satellite cabinet houses a master volume control and a separate control for bass volume, a 1/8-inch headphone output, and a 1/8-inch auxiliary input. This input provides +6dB input sensitivity to compensate for the low output voltage that many portable digital media players deliver; take heed if you’re feeding it from an AC-powered source. The satellites can be mounted on either the included desktop stands or on a wall using an optional Klipsch accessory (model WB-1 wall brackets, which sell for $22 a pair).
We predict few people will go the wall-mount route. You could splice more wire to the hardwired speaker cables that connect the satellites to the subwoofer, but there’s no way to lengthen the 10-foot proprietary control cable attached to the right-hand satellite. There is no remote control, either included or available as an optional accessory, but that’s not all that uncommon for speakers in this price class.
We like our bass like we like our beef—served up in thick, juicy slabs—and the ProMedia 2.1 Wireless certainly didn’t disappoint on that score. The subwoofer was a kick with games (exploding Left 4 Dead Boomers practically pushed us back in our seats), but we also auditioned the system with a range of music (everything from Lucinda Williams to Herbie Hancock) and it managed to deliver a tight and coherent bottom end with everything. The satellites are a touch bright for our taste, but that just reminded us that we probably didn’t need to crank the volume quite so high. Most people will use these speakers as near-field monitors, but they filled our 13x9-foot media room with well-balanced sound and plenty of headroom to spare.
These are great speakers and they’re reasonably priced; they’ve certainly earned a spot on our Best of the Best list.
Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 Wireless
Wireless connection to audio source; beefy bass response; powerful and efficient amplifier.
Hardwired cables in satellites; no way to lengthen right sat cable.