Klipsch Cinema 600 Soundbar Review

hcc_recommendedSteve May ponders the value of Dolby Atmos, when faced with Klipsch's Cinema 600 soundbar

The Klipsch Cinema 600 puts forward a compelling argument for old-school sonic theatrics. With its distinctive horn drivers (a brand speciality), gutsy subwoofer and dynamic power plant, this mid-ranger compensates for a lack of Dolby Atmos and Wi-Fi smarts with its well-constructed wall of sound.

It's not that the American audio outfit has anything against Dolby Atmos, it just expects you to pay more for the privilege. The Cinema 600 sits above the brand's entry-level Cinema 400 model, but below its two Dolby Atmos 'bars, the Cinema 800 and Cinema 1200. Typically selling for £599, the Cinema 600 therefore appears expensive, given the way Atmos (sometimes in virtual guise) has found a home on soundbars at half the price. So let's investigate.

Substantial Build
This soundbar is a big beast. At 1.15m wide, it'll be a good match for 65in screens. The partnering wireless subwoofer is similarly large, and not something you'll easily hide amongst your decor.

Yet what strikes you about the Cinema 600 in addition to its size is its substantial build and breath-of-fresh-air styling. It looks classically smart with its nearly all-consuming cloth wrap, but the left/right horn tweeters escape the fabric shield, instead sporting a premium brushed metal effect. And while some rivals are going all in on curved synthetic cabinets, Klipsch's wood enclosure isn't afraid to rock a right angle or two.


Klipsch's subwoofer is elevated by four inset feet to give the down-firing driver room to breathe

To the right, above the tweeter housing, are physical buttons for power, input and volume. The Cinema 600 has no onscreen display, and communicates to the world with a single red LED, which borders on the antisocial. There is a remote, of course: a simple, ergonomically styled zapper which lights up when picked up. Sitting comfortably in the hand, it offers volume and subwoofer level controls as well as Dialogue, Surround and Night sonic presets.

Serious Intent
The Cinema 600's driver array comprises three of Klipsch's Tractrix tweeters, a technology that's trickled down all the way from its top-of-the-range Reference Series loudspeakers. There are then four 3in fibre-composite bass/mid units, one each left and right, and two either side of the central tweeter. This LCR array faces forward with serious intent.

The wireless subwoofer is also beefy, housing a 10in down-firing driver within its wooden, ported cabinet.

This 3.1 package has a Bluetooth wireless connection, but beyond that is fairly limited feature-wise. In addition to a single HDMI ARC connection and digital optical audio input, there's a 3.5mm analogue jack. But there are no separate HDMI inputs, nor Wi-Fi/Ethernet, USB or Chromecast/Apple AirPlay talents.

While the 600 isn't Dolby Atmos enabled, it does know a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack when it hears one. Consequently, the ensemble can be upgraded with optional Surround 3 rears (which sell for around £255), creating a full horizontal 5.1 sound spread; unfortunately these weren't supplied for review.

A Rush Of Energy
Having lived with the Cinema 600 for a while, I'd say it's at its best with high-octane blockbusters. This system delights when driven hard.