First Look: Klipsch The Fives are slick bookshelf speaker alternatives to a soundbar

(Image credit: Future)

Let’s face it – unless you’ve got a recent, souped-up, top of the line Philips or Panasonic OLED TV, each with a fancy built in audio system, the sound quality from your television is probably going to be a bit lacking. If you don’t fancy forking out for a surround sound system, the answer is usually to invest in a soundbar to boost your set’s audio credentials.

But Klipsch, with its soon-to-be-released The Fives speakers, is looking to offer an alternative. Rather than popping a soundbar in front of your TV, what if instead you had a pair of active speakers either side of it? And what if they were equipped with a HDMI-ARC connection, specifically designed for making the most out of whatever you’re watching on TV.

(Image credit: Future)

Left and right

Offering genuine stereo separation and the promise of being able to control them using just your TV remote thanks to that HDMI-Arc connection, the Klipsch could be the versatile, relatively-subtle-looking lift your TV’s audio needed.

(Image credit: Future)

Though the point of TV-focussed separates may not seem immediately obvious, there’s lots to like about the Klipsch The Fives. With wooden cabinets set to be offered in matte black or woodgrain effects, and with a choice of fabric or metallic front plates, the speakers are built with good looking interiors in mind. 

Of course, that’s all pointless without some decent innards to pair them with, and the Klipsch The Fives squeeze in a beefy woofer and 1-inch tweeters – which should be enough to carry vocals cleanly as well as some rumbling bass from tunes or movie soundtracks.

Weep for Wi-Fi?

Physical dials on the top let you control volume and jump between TV HDMI, Bluetooth, optical, USB, 3.5mm analog and phono source inputs. That last one is particularly interesting – unlike a soundbar, you can match these speakers with a turntable without the need for a separate phono preamp. 

(Image credit: Future)

It’s a level of versatility that your average sounder set-up just won’t offer. What is sadly missing however is Wi-Fi, so be prepared to keep your phone’s Bluetooth connection handy, or to have all your audio apps installed on your smart TV's platform.

Pricing and availability are still being finalised, but the Klipsch The Fives should be on sale by Q2 2020, with a price point south of $800.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.