STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ natural, clean reproduction
+ rich, deep, punchy bass
+ lots of features, micr included
+ good SPL reserves
- No app control
- Battery life only 8h
- could sound a little more energetic
Sound: tonal balance / transparency8.6
Sound: Bass / Dynamics9.0
Ease-of-use / Connectivity9.2
The portable party speaker Klipsch Gig XXL does not just mark the bigger brother of the Gig XL, which we have already reviewed. It seems to be rather a direct competitor aiming at the pretty popular JBL Partybox 110: a floorstanding, tower-like, battery-powered Bluetooth speaker being about 55 centimetres tall. It comes with a bunch of useful features like a wired microphone.
Just looking at the specs, the Klipsch Gig XXL has to take a bit of a back seat to the JBL partybox 110: just 8 hours of battery life instead of 12, no splashwater protection, and no app control. In return, the Klipsch Gig XXL is pretty lightweight at an unbeatable-in-its-class 8.2 kg, which makes it seem just about portable on the handle.
Two mature bass drivers
Klipsch, known for its pretty powerful horn tweeters, is equipping the Gig XXL with pa pair of unusually large bass drivers: they are positioned one above the other in baffle, each measuring a whopping 6.5″ (18 centimetres) in diameter. To make the most of the Gig XXL’s baffle, a pair of 2″ (5-centimetres) mid/tweeter cones are added, sitting next to each other. As a matter on consequence, we do not find any stereo circuitry here: The Klipsch Gig XXL is a purely monaural speaker. However, electroacoustic theory is teaching us that a generous arrangement of several drivers narrows down the directivity ensuring a more focussed sound. It is better not to lay the Klipsch Gig XXL on the side. Although it would probably do its job here, unlike many competitors it does not offer rubber feet or alike on the side resulting in pretty ugly scratches easily.
Klipsch boasts a whopping 113 decibels SPL at a distance of half a meter with a lower cutoff frequency reaching 50 Hz. That would be really amazing, but also burns up a lot of power. In return, the battery lasts “just” 8 hours.
Tower of Power
With 55 centimeters, the Gig XXL is not particularly a compact speaker. The sturdy-looking plastic case can nevertheless be carried quite well. There are no wheels, and they are not necessary. That said, we found a handy slot where you can hook smartphones or smaller tablets.
Ease-of-use we could classify as intuitive and practical: There is no app control, for example. In return, the Klipsch Gig XXL offers pretty intuitive controls. In addition to the classic rotary knob for adjusting the master volume, there is also a separate control for the mic level. Somewhat smaller knobs control the volume of the instrument input (for an electric guitar, for example) as well as the reverb for the mic channel solely. This makes the Gig XXL a potential choice for street musicians as well.
Easy to use
The playback controls of the Bluetooth party box are mostly intuitive and self-explanatory as well with separated buttons. The bass mode is the only possibility to alter the tonal reproduction emphasizing the low bass for open-air operation. The light button is flipping through four different illumination patterns – from disco light to slow ambient one. If you want to activate or deactivate the additional strobe flashes, you have hold the button for a while. Then only the two multicolored LED rings around the woofers perform their respective program. Of course, the light can also be deactivated completely. This also saves the battery.
There is no display, but a self-explanatory and pretty useful 5-segment battery level indicator. Bluetooth connection or pairing mode are easily recognizable as blue light or flashing. Bluetooth 5.0 or analogue input are the 2 standard options as well as a USB flash memory slot. However, the latter does recognize solely WAV or MP3 files.
Two units of Klipsch Gig XXL can be wirelessly paired to form a true stereo pair. If a larger party is your thing, you can connect even more party speakers via the analogue outputs and inputs – but solely via cable.
This is how the Klipsch Gig XXL sounds
Unlike the compact Klipsch Gig XL, we started the listening test in closed rooms this time. Right from the start, the big tower delivered an almost outrageously lush bass that played crisply and punchy, but never boomy. Sure, it didn’t deliver the last hertz of depth and the last room-filling pressure of a club P.A.. But listening to techno, rock and funk was pretty impulsive and fun.
The Gig XXL also produced clean treble and unusually balanced mids – as long as you were sitting more or less in the sweet spot. The directivity of the dual driver system made the sound a bit droopy outside the dance floor. Unfortunately, this also applies vertically, which is why placing it on the floor is not particularly a good idea. The Gig XXL likes shows optimum performance when pointing more or less in the direction of the listener´s ears. This also meant that the speaker could always be located quite clearly as a monaural source. If you expect room-filling sound and stereo ambience, you should already think about buying a second unit.
Up to medium SPLs, we were pretty impressed how natural, well balanced and precise all frequencies were reproduced. Especially when compared to party beasts like the JBL Partybox 110, which showed a bit more energetic, sometimes slightly discolored treble. This said, music like hip hop, techno and alike sounded somewhat more adrenaline-fueled on the JBL and rather relaxed on the Klipsch. However, the Klipsch Gig XXL clearly stood out when it comes to dry beats, rock, funk and all sorts of handmade music.
Verdict and alternatives to the Klipsch Gig XXL
The Klipsch Gig XXL hits the point with a tonally well-balanced, rich sound and punchy bass. A significant advantage over other similarly shaped party speakers: it is still portable coming in at a weight of just 8.2 kg. However, the competition is pretty strong: The JBL Partybox 110 sounds a bit groovier and more compellingly energetic like a party P.A., and also offers more features as well as longer battery life and splash water protection. The Mackie Thump Go 8 might be your choice when aiming over longer distances and feeling the need of a more professional mixer section. However, for all sorts of handmade and voice-oriented music, the Klipsch is first choice.
Klipsch Gig XXL: Specifications
- Retail price: approx. 400 dollars/pounds/euros
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 27.5 x 55 x 29 cm
- Weight: 8.2 kg
- Features: analogue AUX input, instrument input, microphone included, 8 hours battery life, light /strobe function
- More at: klipsch.com
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