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Klipsch Bar 48 Soundbar Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Updated Sep 30, 2019 at 09:00 am
Klipsch Bar 48 Picture
6.4
Mixed Usage
7.1
Dialogue/TV Shows
6.2
Music
6.0
Movies
Channels
3.1

The Klipsch Bar 48 is a mediocre sounding 3.1 soundbar setup that lacks bass, even if it has a subwoofer, but has a decent overall sound with stereo content. This configuration also means it doesn't support height channels and Atmos for an immersive surround sound experience, and it will also downmix all 5.1 content. It also lacks HDMI In inputs and can't play uncompressed files. On the upside, the setup is fairly stylish, especially the wooden sub, and it's decently well-built. It also has a Dialogue Enhancement feature to help make voices clearer, especially at a lower volume, and it can also get very loud, which is great for large rooms or crowded environments.

Our Verdict

6.4 Mixed Usage

Mediocre for mixed usage. The Klipsch Bar 48 has a bright sound profile that won't be great for bass-heavy music and movies. It also lacks support for height channels, and won't give you an immersive listening experience since it's going to downmix surround sound content. The Bar 48 soundstage is also a bit disappointing and fairly narrow. It will perform best with stereo voice-oriented content like podcasts and audiobooks.

Pros
  • Decently well-built.
  • Discrete center channel.
  • Stylish wooden design.
Cons
  • Lacks bass.
  • Poor surround performance.
  • Few connection options; no HDMI In inputs
7.1 Dialogue/TV Shows

Decent for dialogue and TV shows. This soundbar has a fairly bright sound profile that lacks bass but performs accurately in the mid-range. It can also get very loud and supports a Dialogue Enhancement feature to get an even better listening experience, especially at lower volumes. You can also stream content from a smart device easily via Bluetooth, like podcasts and audiobooks.

6.2 Music

Mediocre for music. This soundbar has a very bright sound profile. Although it has a subwoofer, it lacks sub-bass and is overall disappointing with music, especially with bass-heavy genres. Its soundstage is also smaller than the bar and won't compare to tower speakers. While it can get very loud, which is good for large rooms and crowded environments, the Bar 48 distorts and doesn't reproduce a clean sound, even at a normal and moderate listening volume.

6.0 Movies

Mediocre for movies. The Klipsch Bar 48 lacks bass and won't give you an immersive feel as it doesn't do well with surround channels. The soundstage is also fairly narrow and it doesn't have height channels. All 5.1 content will be downmixed to stereo due to its 3.1 configuration. It also lacks a room correction feature, so it might perform differently depending on your room. On the upside, it does fairly well with content on the center channel due to its discrete localization.

  • 6.4 Mixed Usage
  • 7.1 Dialogue/TV Shows
  • 6.2 Music
  • 6.0 Movies

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The Klipsch Bar 48 is a 3.1 soundbar from Klipsch's 2019 lineup. It's a more dialogue and TV show-oriented soundbar, but you can also buy separate rear speakers to get a more immersive 5.1 surround variant. Klipsch offers a lot of different home audio setups, but the Bar 48 and the Klipsch Bar 40 are the two 2019 soundbars they offer; the latter one is a more budget 2.1 setup without a center driver. Klipsch is supposed to release more high-end models before the end of the year if you prefer waiting for their full line-up; however, for now, the main competitors of the Bar 48 are LG SL8YG and the Samsung HW-R650.

Design
Design
Style - Bar

The Klipsch Bar 48's bar has a unique style. Its front and top are covered in a mesh-like fabric that can get easily dirty or damaged. The two ends of the bar contain the speakers and are made of solid plastic. The two sides have a wooden cover. You can choose between brown and black covers, as both are included in the box. The buttons that control the bar are found on the top of the right speaker, along with a very small screen.

Design
Style - Subwoofer

The subwoofer is fairly large and is made of wood. It looks like a box that stands on four small feet that lift it slightly from the supporting surface. The port and the speaker are on the underside.

Design
Style - Satellites

There are no satellites on this setup.

Design
Dimensions - Bar
Bar Width 47.8" (121.5 cm)
Bar Height 2.9" (7.3 cm)
Bar Depth 3.3" (8.5 cm)

The bar is rather wide and it won't fit between the legs of the stand of any 55" TV. Because of this, you'll have to place it in front, and you might need a wider table. It isn't too tall and won't obstruct the view of your screen unless you have a TV that sits flush on the table, like the Sony A9F.

Design
Dimensions - Subwoofer
Sub Width 11.9" (30.3 cm)
Sub Height 16.2" (41.2 cm)
Sub Depth 11.9" (30.3 cm)

The subwoofer is large and you might have to make special arrangements so that you fit it somewhere where it won't be in the way. Thankfully, it connects wirelessly to the bar, so cable management shouldn't be an issue.

Design
Dimensions - Satellites
Sat Width N/A
Sat Height N/A
Sat Depth N/A

There are no satellites in this setup.

Design
Back - Bar
Bar Mounting Type
Proprietary

The back of the bar is fairly common, with one opening in the middle for the inputs and the power cable. You'll also find the holes for wall-mounting on the back. It's made so that you can use the included mounting plates and screws to wall-mount the bar flush to the wall.

Design
Back - Subwoofer
Enclosure
Ported

The subwoofer's back is unique, as the port is on the underside. On the back, you only see a pairing button and the power cable jack. The number of screws on the metal plate stands out. Unfortunately, the power cable mounts in the middle of the back and will stand out.

Design
Back - Satellites
Sat Mounting Type
N/A

This soundbar setup doesn't have satellites.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The Klipsch Bar 48's build quality is decent. Its bar is mainly covered with fabric that can easily get damaged or dirty, and the speakers are enclosed in solid plastic on the sides and have a wooden decorative cover. You can choose between brown and black covers, as both are included in the box. Although the subwoofer is wooden, the entire setup doesn't look very premium. Nevertheless, we don't expect you to have any issues with its build quality.

Design
In The Box
HDMI Cable Length
5.0 ft (1.5 m)
Digital Optical Cable Length
N/A

  • Manuals
  • HDMI Cable
  • Remote & Batteries
  • 2 extra side covers for the bar (brown color)
  • Wall-mounting adapters

Sound
6.2
Sound
Stereo Frequency Response
ST Slope
0.54
ST Std. Err.
3.35 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
59.1 Hz
High-Frequency Extension
17.2 kHz

The Klipsch Bar 48's stereo frequency response is mediocre. This setup, which has a subwoofer, lacks a good amount of bass and the bass range isn't that extended. This results in a disappointing lack of thump and punch. Its sound profile is on the bright side and is slightly uneven. This won't be ideal for movies and bass-heavy music genres.

Sound
Stereo Raw Frequency Response
6.5
Sound
Stereo Soundstage
Crosstalk Error
2.84 dB

When listening to the Klipsch Bar 48, the soundstage feels just okay and slightly disappointing. The bar is fairly wide, but the soundstage doesn't sound very large. On the upside, the soundstage is focused and not diffused, which is good because objects seem to be coming from a more accurate pinpoint location rather than a general area.

7.7
Sound
Stereo Dynamics
ST SPL @ Max Volume
101.9 dB SPL
ST DRC @ Max Volume
3.83 dB

The Klipsch Bar 48 is a very loud soundbar, which is great for use in large rooms or crowded environments. Unfortunately, there's a bit of audible compression at max volume. However, its performance is still good considering how loud it gets, especially compared to other 3.1 soundbars we've tested, like the LG SN6Y.

8.0
Sound
Stereo Total Harmonic Distortion
ST Weighted THD @ 80
0.26
ST Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.55

The Klipsch Bar 48's THD performance is excellent at a normal listening volume (around 80dB) and the bar won't produce audible harmonic distortion. However, when pushed at max volume, there's a jump in THD, especially in the bass and mid ranges.

8.9
Sound
Center
C Localization
Discrete
C Slope
0.47
C Std. Err.
2.83 dB
C SPL @ Max Volume
100.6 dB SPL
C Weighted THD @ 80
0.35
C Weighted THD @ Max Volume
2.47

This Klipsch soundbar setup has an excellent center channel performance on surround content. Due to its 3.1 configuration, the Bar 48 has a dedicated center speaker, which results in a more clear and accurate audio reproduction of the dialogue in movies. However, the general sound profile is still a bit bright because it lacks bass, but there isn't much bass on center channels, to begin with, so this shouldn't matter too much.

4.6
Sound
Surrounds
Sr Localization
Stereo (Downmix)
Rears
N/A
Sr Slope
-0.89
Sr Std. Err.
3.63 dB
Sr SPL @ Max Volume
99.9 dB SPL
Sr Weighted THD @ 80
1.38
Sr Weighted THD @ Max Volume
4.37

Performance is quite poor when sending surround content to this bar. The 3.1 Bar 48 downmixes surround sound content, resulting in poor localization, which doesn't sound as real as a discrete localization. This means that sound will feel like it's coming from the front instead of getting an immersive listening experience. The sound profile is fairly dark and bass-heavy, and the bar has bad distortion at max volume.

0
Sound
Height (Atmos)
H Localization
N/A
H Slope
N/A
H Std. Err.
N/A
H SPL @ Max Volume
N/A
H Weighted THD @ 80
N/A
H Weighted THD @ Max Volume
N/A

This soundbar setup doesnโ€™t have height channels and doesnโ€™t support Atmos.

5.9
Sound
Sound Enhancement Features
Room Correction
No
Dialogue Enhancement
Yes
Auto-Volume/Night Mode
Yes
Subwoofer Level Adjustment
Yes
Bass Adjustment
No
Treble Adjustment
No
EQ
No
Surround Level Adjustment
No
Rear Level Adjustment
N/A
Height Level Adjustment
N/A
Virtual Surround
Yes

The Klipsch Bar 48 has sub-par support of sound enhancement features. It's missing Room Correction, which means this soundbar may sound differently depending on your room. There's also no way of customizing your sound profile to your liking, unlike other 3.1 soundbars such as the Samsung HW-T650. On the upside, you have a Dialogue Enhancement feature to make voices clearer and an Auto-Volume/Night mode to uniformize the level of different types of content you listen to. You can also easily adjust the amount of bass coming from the subwoofer, which could be useful for some considering that by default, the Bar 48 lacks bass.

Connectivity
Connectivity
Physical Inputs - Bar
Optical Audio In
1
HDMI ARC
1 (shared)
HDMI Out
1 (shared)
Full HDMI In
No
Analog Audio In 3.5mm (Aux)
1
USB for Files
1
Ethernet
No

The Bar 48 has a very basic set of physical inputs. It has the common Optical In so it can receive 5.1 surround sound, but it's limited to one shared HDMI port between HDMI ARC and HDMI out. On the upside, you can connect older mp3 players or your phone using the soundbar's Analog Audio In port, and it can also decode files on a USB stick.

7.1
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - ARC
eARC
No
Dolby Atmos
No
Dolby Digital
Yes
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
Yes
DTS:X (eARC only)
No
Dolby TrueHD (eARC only)
No
DTS-HD MA (eARC only)
No
5.1 PCM (eARC only)
No

Over ARC, the Klipsch Bar 48 only supports the Dolby Digital and the DTS formats which, however, allow the bar to decode content with surround sound. These formats are the most common ones, and most content on streaming platforms or Blu-rays is encoded using one of them. If you're looking for a 3.1 soundbar that can support eARC and Dolby Atmos content, check out the LG SN8YG.

0
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Full HDMI In
Dolby Atmos
No
DTS:X
No
Dolby Digital
No
Dolby Digital Plus
No
DTS
No
Dolby TrueHD
No
DTS-HD MA
No
5.1 PCM
No

There's no Full HDMI In in this soundbar setup. Because of this, the more advanced audio formats canโ€™t be reproduced.

10
Connectivity
Audio Format Support - Optical
Dolby Digital
Yes
DTS
Yes

Both sound formats that are usually passed through Optical are supported. As long as you use an optical connection, you shouldn't have issues with content that supports Dolby Digital or DTS, so you'll be able to decode surround sound.

6.0
Connectivity
Wireless Playback
Bluetooth
Yes
Wi-Fi
No
Chromecast built-in
No
Apple AirPlay
No

The soundbar can connect to modern devices using its Bluetooth connection. This makes it easy to enjoy music from your phone or tablet.

Connectivity
Other Input Specifications
4k @ 60 Hz Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 10 bit Passthrough
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 Passthrough
N/A
HDR10 Passthrough
N/A

Unfortunately, due to the lack of Full HDMI In, you can't use this soundbar as a hub for your other devices.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Subwoofer
Sub Wireless
Yes

The subwoofer connects wirelessly to the soundbar, and the only wire youโ€™ll need is the power cord. The pairing button is at the back of the sub.

Connectivity
Connectivity - Satellites
Sat Wireless
N/A

There are no satellites on this soundbar.

Additional Features
Additional Features
Interface
Display
Yes

The interface consists of a small screen over the buttons that displays the input source and the surround setting. There are also some LED lights on the front side that indicate the status of the bar.

Additional Features
Bar Controls

The bar's controls have very basic functionality. They control the power, the volume, and the selection of input sources.

Additional Features
Remote
Universal Remote
No

The remote that accompanies the Klipsch soundbar allows you to control all the features of the setup. It has some nice preset modes to help you optimize your listening experience, and it's worth noting that you can control the volume of the subwoofer independently.

Additional Features
App
App Name N/A
iOS No
Android No
Acts as the Remote
No
Controls Soundbar's Settings
No
Casts Device Files
No

No app pairs with the Klipsch Bar 48 soundbar. For a similar 3.1 soundbar that has a dedicated app, check out the LG SL6Y.

Additional Features
Other Features
Power Saving
No
HDMI CEC (TV Remote Control)
Yes

Unlike most soundbars, there's no sleep or auto-off feature, which can be annoying at times especially if you care about saving energy and you forget to power it off. On the upside, the bar supports HDMI CEC, so you can have some basic control from your TV remote.

Compared to other soundbars

The Klipsch Bar 48 stands aside by its unique design and looks rather than its performance. Unfortunately, even with a dedicated subwoofer, it lacks bass and its overall performance is quite disappointing. See our recommendations for the best soundbars, the best soundbars with a subwoofer, and the best soundbars 5.1.

Bose Soundbar 700
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Although we didn't test the Bose Soundbar 700 with a sub and satellites, it performs noticeably better than the Klipsch Bar 48, which has a subwoofer. The Bose 700 has a great and wider soundstage and a better stereo frequency response. The Bar 48 lacks sub-bass even with a dedicated subwoofer, which is disappointing. The Bose 700 can also be upgraded easily, which will more than likely help its overall performance.

Sonos Playbar
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Sonos Playbar, which was tested without a sub and satellites, is a better performing soundbar than the 3.1 Klipsch Bar 48. Although it doesn't have a sub like the Bar 48, the Playbar has better stereo performance and a more neutral sound profile. It also has a wide soundstage due to its configuration, but doesn't get as loud at the Bar 48. On the other hand, the Bar 48 has an ARC port and supports DTS, which the Playbar doesn't have. However, the Playbar is noticeably better-built and feels more robust.

Samsung HW-Q60R
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Samsung HW-Q60R is a better soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48. It has a better overall audio reproduction performance and has a slightly wider soundstage as well. This 5.1 setup also has an Samsung Acoustic Beam, which is somewhat like up-firing speakers to help give a better surround experience. The Q60R also has Full HDMI In ports, which the Klipsch is lacking. On the other hand, the Bar 48 has a unique design and style, and it also can get louder than the Q60R.

Sonos Beam
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

Even without a Sonos sub and satellites, the Sonos Beam is a better soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48 that has a dedicated subwoofer. The Beam is very well-built, is smaller and performs better. Its soundstage is wide and it also has many sound enhancement features. On the other hand, the Bar 48 can get noticeably louder and supports DTS, which the Beam doesn't do.

LG SL6Y
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The LG SL6Y is slightly better than the Klipsch Bar 48. While they're both 3.1 soundbars with a dedicated wireless subwoofer, the LG feels better built, is smaller, has an HDMI In port, and has a dedicated companion app which can be used as a remote control. On the other hand, the Klipsch has less artifacts when played at full volume.

LG SN8YG
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The LG SN8YG is a better overall performing 3.1 soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48. The LG feels slightly better built, it has a more thumpy, bass-heavy sound profile that's fairly neutral, and if you don't like it, it has a lot of sound enhancement features so that you can find the right sound for your needs. The LG can also support Atmos as well as eARC content thanks to its Full HDMI In port, and it also has an integrated Google Assistant feature so you can use voice commands to control the soundbar. The Klipsch, on the other hand, has a slightly better surround sound performance, and it has less harmonic distortion at a normal listening volume.

Samsung HW-T650
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The Samsung HW-T650 is a better soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48. Its sound profile is neutral and well-balanced, making it ideal for a variety of music and movie genres. The Klipsch is lacking in bass and has a rather bright sound, so it doesn't reproduce the low thump and rumble of action-packed movie scenes or bass-heavy music genres. It also doesn't have any sound customization features, and it doesn't have an HDMI In port. 

LG SN6Y
SEE PRICE
BestBuy.com

The LG SN6Y is a more versatile 3.1 channel soundbar than the Klipsch Bar 48. The LG produces more bass, has more sound enhancement features, and has a full HDMI-in port so you can use it as a hub between your TV and home media devices. However, the Klipsch gets much louder, which makes it worth considering if you need something for parties or a very large room.

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