Photos by Tony Cordoza
Up against the wall! That's the marching order being given to speaker designers by companies that want to offer systems to complement flat-screen TVs. With cabinets barely exceeding the 3- to 4-inch average depth of most plasma or LCD sets, some new speakers incorporate this directive literally. Others, like the quintet of satellites in Klipsch's Cinema 10 system, strike more of a balance between high performance and interior design-friendliness. They may not be up against the wall, but they do make an effort to integrate with it.
The $1,545 Cinema 10 consists of four Klipsch Reference series RSX-5 left/right satellites, the RCX-4 center speaker, and the RW-10 subwoofer. The look of the L/R satellites and center could best be described as amorphous - there's not a single hard edge or line in their molded ABS plastic cabinets. This rounded, tapering design helps make them inconspicuous, especially when they're wall-mounted. The speakers come in black or silver and have cast-aluminum front baffles and matching black or silvery cloth grilles. Of course, they also feature Klipsch's patented horn-loaded tweeter - a new circular design that's meant to provide wide dispersion no matter where the speaker is installed.
Flexible mounting options.
Although I didn't wall-mount the satellites, that's the type of installation they were designed for. A supplied template helps you drill the holes to screw the base plates to the wall. (The same plates serve as stands, as in our photo, if you don't wall-mount the speakers.) The template even has a bubble level attached to ensure that the plates line up right! A ball-joint socket between speaker and stand lets you swivel the speaker in any direction you want - once you've aimed it toward the listening area, you simply tighten the screws around the socket to lock it in place. Klipsch suggests that this type of wall-mounting gives the best of both worlds: speakers that are conveniently located on the wall, but with cabinets that aren't attached to it, which can degrade performance.
Standing next to the rest of the system, the RW-10 subwoofer looks like the odd man out. A traditional black box with a faux-woodgrain finish, it bears no resemblance to the other speakers outside of the Klipsch logo. The ported sub has a 10-inch driver powered by a 200-watt amp. It has both speaker- and line-level inputs and a separate RCA-jack LFE (low-frequency-effects) input that lets you bypass the sub's internal low-pass filter when using the crossover in your receiver. Other controls include auto-power on, variable phase and low-pass filtering, and a handy-dandy volume control located on the side where it can be quickly adjusted.
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