Klipsch Music Center 3 Review – Are the KMC 3 Portable Speakers Worth the Price?
Wireless speakers are a growing trend and the sheer number of choices available to consumers in this competitive niche market can make choosing the best wireless speaker a difficult challenge to say the least. While there a literally hundreds of manufacturers putting out wireless speakers under an even larger number of brand names, it’s worth checking out any new wireless speaker put out by one of the best brands in audio equipment: Klipsch.
The newest device from the audio powerhouse is called the KMC 3, named after the Klipsch Music Center Series of concerts. The wireless speaker was specifically designed to create a musical profile that is reminiscent of a live music venue and features a bunch of technology that makes this unique sound possible – for a price. The KMC 3 is available for $400 so it may be out of reach for some audiophiles but make no mistake about it, the KMC 3 is worth every penny if you are looking for big sound and the portable convenience of wireless speaker technology.
Overview of the KMC 3
Featuring an internal subwoofer, 130 watts of peak power, aptX encoding, and Klipsch’s promise of a “powerful, full bandwidth sound”, it becomes clear very quickly that the KMC 3 isn’t just any wireless speaker platform.
Carrying Case: The speaker comes with its own carrying case constructed from heavy-duty cardboard that uses a magnetic flap in the front to close the case and has a handle on top for traveling with the speaker. The case works but does have a tendency to pop open from time to time so take caution when transporting the unit from one place to another.
Attractive Design: The speaker itself has an attractive matte finish, rounded edges, and a deep black grill with gold accents for the regal look you would expect from the Klipsch brand. Also found in the box are a small instruction booklet, a power adapter, and small remote control unit.
Power Source: The unit also operates on 8 D batteries but no rechargeable battery option is available at this time. According to Klipsch, the KMC 3 can operate for an impressive 26 hours on batteries at the default volume level and eight hours at full volume.
Intuitive Controls: The top of the speaker pane contains capacitive control buttons including power, Bluetooth, and volume controls. On the back of the speaker are inputs for AC power, auxiliary input (3.5mm), and a USB port for charging a cell phone or other small electronic device.
Inside Specs: Looking inside the speaker is where the fun really starts. A set of 15 watt 2” aluminum diaphragm drivers as a well as 35 watt 5.25” subwoofer are responsible for the sound output of the unit. The sub crossover point is set surprisingly high at 380Hz but the total frequency range of the system is an impressive 45Hz – 25KHz. By the way, that’s about 4KHz higher than the human ear can even detect.
Bluetooth: The KMC 3 drivers are bi-amped and the signal is fed through Klipsch’s proprietary digital signal processor (DSP). Wireless transmission is made possible through a Bluetooth unit equipped with the aptX codec to ensure CD quality audio.
Packs a Punch: The KMC 3 is probably one of the loudest wireless speakers on the market that still sounds good even when pumping out music at a maximum of 105dB. This small speaker has absolutely no problem filling a large room with incredibly clear, rich sound.
Weight: The KMC 3 weighs in at nearly 8 pounds, so it definitely isn’t the lightest wireless speaker on the market but it is rather small and easy to carry with dimensions of 17” long and 5.5” deep.
If there is one thing that can be said about the audio quality of this speaker, it’s that the bass response is truly impressive. If you like bass, you will instantly fall in love with the KMC 3. The bass output of this speaker can be classified as lush, rich, and beautiful and even when the bass overpowers the rest of the sound spectrum, the speaker still sounds amazing.
Across a variety of musical genres, the KMC 3 performed extremely well. Overall, the midrange and bass are dark and almost have a tube-style warmth to them (probably due to the crossover range of the subwoofer). This dark sound is perfectly contrasted by the precise treble tones created by the aluminum drivers.
Even when playing acoustic tracks, the audio profile of this speaker is impressive. The KMC 3 can render the precision and resonance of any music genre with ease. No distortion, no clipping, just clean sound throughout the volume range no matter what kind of music is vibrating from the speakers.
Perhaps the only issue with this speaker found during testing was that under extremely heavy bass lines, a high pitched whistling noise can be heard from the rear of the unit. This is caused by high velocity air being forced through the bass ports on the back of the speaker and although this didn’t happen very often, it could become annoying if plying heavy bass lines is your thing. A simple fix for this problem could be as simple as lining the bass ports with small pieces of felt but hopefully this is an issue that Klipsch will address at the manufacturing level in the near future.
The ability to use D batteries to power this unit on the go is a plus but a rechargeable battery would have been a much better way to go. Still, 26 hours of continuous play that default volume isn’t bad for a battery-powered speaker with this level of dynamic range and in the KMC 3’s defense, no other wireless speakers of this caliber have the ability to run on batteries at all.
Plenty of bass and a perfectly complimentary treble range set the Klipsch KMC 3 apart from many of the other so-called wireless speakers on the market today. Combining style with an audio punch that is sure to be noticed by anyone listening to the unit, Klipsch has done an excellent job creating a portable speaker system that lives up to the venerable Klipsch reputation for both build and sound quality.
- Extremely powerful bass with no distortion even at maximum volume
- Warm, rich bass and midrange frequencies
- Precise treble accuracy
- Convenient design can be transported easily
- Use of batteries makes the device completely portable with cordless operation times of up to 26 hours
- Midrange frequency seemed a little too dark and overall lacks presence
- Bass is often overpowering (although the sound quality is still good even with the added bass)
- 8 D batteries required for cordless operation (there is no rechargeable battery option offered by Klipsch at this time)
The Klipsch KMC 3 is a serious contender for the title of bets wireless speaker but there are some areas where it could have performed slightly better. If you want a high-quality sound with lots of bass, the KMC 3 is an excellent choice. If, however, you want to maintain the subtle nuances of your favorite music, the KMC 3 can struggle to keep things as clear as competitive wireless speakers such as the Sony BTX500 which tends to render the complexities of music slightly better than the Klipsch speaker. You can check out the latest pricing here.