Returning my RP-600Ms

itsjjp

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This is my first post and I'm not a true audiophile per se, but I know a good sounding system when I hear one. I have hundreds of CDs and had a basic consumer system, so during the pandemic I decided to assemble an entry-level Hi-Fi setup to better enjoy my music.

I'm running a Onkyo C-7030 CD player through a Bellari PA-550 pre-amp and a Rotel RB-951 amp. I had a set of Sony SS-CS5s for a few years, and was impressed with the sound for such affordable speakers. More recently, I added a Polk PSW108 sub and that made a great difference. That is the best sub I've heard for music at under $500. Clean, accurate and natural sounding bass with more than enough punch. With bass, I'm more about augmentation vs. domination.

In January, I saw that Crutchfield was blowing out the first gen RP-600Ms for $349.99, so I ordered up a set and sold my Sony speakers. I've run the Klipsch speakers for around 25 hours now, and just can't get nearly as excited about them as all the positive YouTubers have been on them. I'm running them straight btw, sub isn't connected. I'm using pro 14-gauge wire with proper connections, the RPs are on good stands, and I've tried various positions. I hear details I've never heard with the SS-CS5Ss, but I'm simply underwhelmed overall. I have to increase the bass gain to where it mucks up the vocals, the highs can be harsh, and something just seems off in the crossover. While the SS-CS5Ss were flatter and lacked midrange, I'd take their clarity over the RPs in a minute.

I contacted Crutchfield ahead of their 60-day return policy, and they were of course happy to honor a return. For replacements, I have a set of Wharfedale Diamond 12.0 speakers on order -currently back-ordered so I have some time to change my mind.

I've since learned that Klipsch recommends 100 hours of break-in time whereas most online sources state 20-30 hours is sufficient. So question 1 is what's your view on speaker burn-in? Btw, I felt the Sony and Polk products sounded nice right out of the box. Question 2 is do Klipsch speakers require more break-in time for some reason?

Back to the Wharfedales... Yes, the 12.0s are small and only go down to 70 hz, but the plan is to reconnect my sub which has a 80 hz starting point for crossover, making it an ideal paring. From reviews, I expect the 12.0s to provide accurate sound with great mids and a better soundstage than the SS-CS5Ss, and the Polk covering 35-80 hz should round it out nicely. I'll be paying full price for the 12.0s to make the swap, but in my mind it seems like my best option. I don't have it in me to stick Crutchfield with the Klipsch, get a refund, and shop elsewhere. I know I can get plenty of great used speakers for $350...

I've seen the upgrade video on the RPs, and am not about to spend $320 more to modify 'em. I don't have the time, experience, or energy for it.

Anyway, am I not giving the Klipsch drivers a fair shake, or am I just not a Klipsch fan -or at least not a fan of RP-600Ms?
 

itsjjp

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I've experimented with anywhere from 12 to 24 inches from the wall and with varying degrees of toe. Speakers are around 12' apart. When I get to where it's less harsh, it's also less clear. Room is about 16'x16' in the main listening space. Carpeted floor, low ceiling -a standard 8' basement with drywall ceiling so it's more like 7.5'.
 

Gray

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Question 1 is what's your view on speaker burn-in?
That brains adapt to a change in sound - far more than a speaker changes sound.

In particular, when you're very familiar with a sound signature - even a more 'correct' new speaker can sound very wrong.

I don't know whether your speaker is more tonally correct - but its tone obviously doesn't suit you - so I doubt your brain will be able to adapt.
 
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My2Cents

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"So question 1 is what's your view on speaker burn-in?"
I think that it makes a small improvement, but not as drastic as you are suggesting your bass issue is.

"Question 2 is do Klipsch speakers require more break-in time for some reason"?
Klipsch states around 100 hours, that's what most manufacturers seem to say for most speakers.

I think that if you tried a different amp (a new budget integrated amp. perhaps) you might get more satisfactory results... but I have no idea what your listening room environment is like or what your listening tastes are.

PS there's a 'quiet' way to burn speakers in if you need to:
https://www.selby.com.au/blog/brand-new-speakers-heres-how-to-burn-them-in
 
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daytona600

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RP600ms are budget speakers , but do not sound very good with budget components
with excellent / well matched source/amps they are superb and sound like $10,000 speakers

 
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itsjjp

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I agree that his pre-amp / power amp is probably the weak link in the chain and will not get the best from these speakers.
I doubt that the Diamond 12.0's are going to sound very good either! (but will sound different).
The Rotel may well have leaky caps and other issues and I'm not really sure what the Bellari's design goal really is... (it seems to be more of a phono pre-amp / headphone amp)?
I don't imagine the Rotel has leaky caps as it sounded great before. I checked with Bellari before buying the PA-550 and they assured me it would work well with my setup -and it did. While they say it's most noteworthy achievement is improving the sound of streaming formats, they said it will perform as well as if I had a matching Rotel preamp if not better -despite its small size. And again, it sounded great with the Sony SS-CS5s.
 

My2Cents

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I don't imagine the Rotel has leaky caps as it sounded great before. I checked with Bellari before buying the PA-550 and they assured me it would work well with my setup -and it did. While they say it's most noteworthy achievement is improving the sound of streaming formats, they said it will perform as well as if I had a matching Rotel preamp if not better -despite its small size. And again, it sounded great with the Sony SS-CS5s.
Following up on Daytona's comment here's an interesting article re the RP600M's:


"If you’re looking for a bass heavy two-way loudspeaker, the Klipsch RP-600M will get you part of the way there... If you’re looking for subterranean bass response that will rattle your walls, the RP-600M's are going to leave you hanging somewhat; what you get instead is quick, tuneful bass that is somewhat on the lean side depending on your choice of amplifier"
 

itsjjp

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Following up on Daytona's comment here's an interesting article re the RP600M's:


"If you’re looking for a bass heavy two-way loudspeaker, the Klipsch RP-600M will get you part of the way there... If you’re looking for subterranean bass response that will rattle your walls, the RP-600M's are going to leave you hanging somewhat; what you get instead is quick, tuneful bass that is somewhat on the lean side depending on your choice of amplifier"
Yes, it would seem a tube amp would work much better with the RP-600Ms. I did enjoy the bass in those at higher volumes and with the bass gain up, but there reached a point to where it mucks up the mids. And certainly I like to listen at moderate levels as well.
 

itsjjp

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Yes, it would seem a tube amp would work much better with the RP-600Ms. I did enjoy the bass in those at higher volumes and with the bass gain up, but there reached a point to where it mucks up the mids. And certainly I like to listen at moderate levels as well.
Also, I'm not necessarily looking for a bass heavy speaker so much a broad and balanced range on a budget. I thought I could lose the sub with the RPs, but not anymore.
 

My2Cents

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Well, good luck with the Wharfedale's
Bear in mind that the Sony SS-CS5's are a $120 pair of speakers.
The Diamond 12.0's (being 4" speakers) will most certainly need your sub. and I think you will waiting a long while too!
If you are shopping on 'price', perhaps try a pair of Polk ES20's? They have 'em is stock.
 

My2Cents

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I've experimented with anywhere from 12 to 24 inches from the wall and with varying degrees of toe. Speakers are around 12' apart. When I get to where it's less harsh, it's also less clear. Room is about 16'x16' in the main listening space. Carpeted floor, low ceiling -a standard 8' basement with drywall ceiling so it's more like 7.5'.
A 'standard' basement where I live has concrete walls. If it's 'finished' they just stud the concrete and put up drywall (with perhaps a bit of insulation in between).
Sadly, the resulting 16' x 16' x 7.5' drywall lined 'box' is possibly one of the worst listening environments that you can create.
Any bass that the speakers do create (especially when you turn up the volume, or in your case the bass on the pre-amp) will bounce around the room and interfere with (and overpower) all the mid and high frequencies) but you still won't hear the bass, the whole sound just becomes a muddy mess.
 

My2Cents

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.... in fact, a good 'budget' system (say $2,000) in a very well designed and treated listening room can sound waaaay better than a $10,000 system in a bad space!
and I think I've said this a million times! ROFL
 

itsjjp

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A 'standard' basement where I live has concrete walls. If it's 'finished' they just stud the concrete and put up drywall (with perhaps a bit of insulation in between).
Sadly, the resulting 16' x 16' x 7.5' drywall lined 'box' is possibly one of the worst listening environments that you can create.
Any bass that the speakers do create (especially when you turn up the volume, or in your case the bass on the pre-amp) will bounce around the room and interfere with (and overpower) all the mid and high frequencies) but you still won't hear the bass, the whole sound just becomes a muddy
 

itsjjp

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The room isn't bad, considering its dimensions and potential challenges you've noted. I play the drums and have a small jazz kit in the wing ahead of the main listening area. Basement has wood framed walls and ceiling with insulation everywhere. I did that because of the drums. It's the most comfortable room in the house and the acoustics are as good as said space allows. The thing to keep in mind is that I had better sound from theoretically lesser drivers.
 
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itsjjp

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Update, I replaced the RP-600Ms with Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2s -and reconnected my Polk PSW108 sub. Out of the box performance has been impressive. I much prefer these over the RP-600Ms as well as the SS-CS5Ss, and I'm only 2 discs into it.
 
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