Klipsch came to CEDIA 2017 intent on making its mark in the custom integration space. It introduced 50 new products at the show, including four lines of architectural speakers that are directly aimed at the CI industry. The new CI-friendly speaker lines—Custom, Designer, Professional Reference and Professional Reference Premiere, are designed to simplify installation and offer several price/performance tiers to choose from.
The Custom and Designer series speakers offer tool-free installation using a patent-pending system called SkyHook. It promises to reduce installation time by as much as 75% versus speakers that require a screwdriver to install.
Rather than spell out all the specs, you can click on each model name and it’ll take you to Klipsch.com where you can read up on each speaker’s capability.
The Custom Series consists for four 2-way models: The 6.5″ CS-16C II in-ceiling, 8″ CS-18C in-ceiling, the dual-tweeter CS-16CSM in-ceiling, and the CD-16W in-wall. All of these models are 8-ohm speakers with 40-watt power handling.
The Designer Series contains six 2-way models—four in-ceiling and two in-walls. These models feature higher power handling than the Custom series, as well as more features like aimable tweeters in some models. They share the SkyHook tool-free installation method.
Designer Series in-ceiling models are as follows: The DS-160C is a basic 6.5″ concentric design, the DS-160CSM is a 6.5″ with a dual-tweeter extra wide-dispersion design, the DS-160CDT is a 6.5″ unit with an aimable tweeter, and the DS-180CDT is an 8″ model with an aimable tweeter. The Designer Series in-wall options are the 6.5″ DS-160W and the dual 5.25″ 2-way DS-250W LCR.
Next up is the Professional Reference Series. These do not offer tool-free installation; instead they use a 2-part contractor-friendly system called SecureFit that is all about achieving a consistent high-quality result. For example, SecureFit isolates the speaker from the wall, and also ensures that the clamps are not over-tightened, which risks cracking drywall.
Here’s a close look at the SecureFit bracket
These Pro-designated models have higher sensitivity than equivalent models in the Designer and Custom Series.
The Professional Reference Series offers a wide range of options. There are three in-ceiling options, five in-wall options, and three subwoofer options. Here are the Professional Reference in-ceiling models: Pro-14RC (3.5″), Pro-16RC (6.5″) and Pro-18RC (8″). For in-wall applications, the Pro Reference Series offers: Pro-14RW (3.5″), Pro-16RW (6.5″), Pro-18RW (8″), Pro-24RW LCR (dual 3.5″) and Pro-25RW LCR (dual 5.25″).
There are several Professional Reference subwoofer options: The Pro-800SW is an 8″ sub with a small-aperture opening for stealth installations. The Pro-1000SW is a 10″ sub that fits between studs and works in both new construction and retrofit applications. And finally, the Pro-1200SW is a 12″ subwoofer with an MDF enclosure that’s only 3.5″ deep that’s designed for new construction applications.
At the top of the 2017 Klipsch CI speaker heap you’ll find the Professional Reference Premiere Series. There are five models, two in-ceiling options and three in-walls. These speakers feature aluminum “Cerametallic” woofers and 1″ titanium-dome tweeters with Tractrix horns. They share the high sensitivity of the Professional Reference models but up the ante in terms of materials and design.
The Pro-160RPC is a 6.5″ 2-way in-ceiling design whereas the Pro-180RPC in-ceiling features an 8″ woofer. Then there are the three in-wall models: The 6.5″ Pro-160RPW, the 8″ Pro-180RPW, and the dual 5.25″ Pro-250RPW LCR. At the show I demoed Professional Reference Premiere speakers doing their thing while Johns Wick: Chapter 2 played. The system was doing a good job and easily overpowered the noisy show floor.
Since these are custom install speakers, they do not carry MSRPs. If you want them, you have to call a custom install firm that is an authorized dealer for an estimate. Also, these speakers all ship with grills.
All in all, a big move by Klipsch to directly serve the CEDIA market with a broad line of what appear to be thoughtfully designed products. It may not be what gets AVS Forum home theater fiends the most excited since these are architectural speakers, but at least with the Professional Reference and Professional Reference Premiere lines you are getting the exact same technologies that make Klipsch standalone speakers such a popular choice among AV aficionados.