STEREO GUIDE verdict
+ full-fledged playback, comparably rich bass
+ tonally balanced, reasonable clarity
+ given its size quite convincing max SPL
- Sound somewhat dependent on angle
- not the ideal outdoor speaker
Sound: tonal balance / transparency7
Ease-of-use / Connectivity8.2
Sound: Bass / Dynamics7.2
Price / Performance8
The Klipsch Heritage Groove is a product that seems to have fallen out of time: While other manufacturers of mobile bluetooth speakers introduce camouflage looks, tool-like rubber protectors and a lot of plastic, we seem to have a result of fine craftmanship on the desk. Showing an angular,retro speaker with a genuine wood veneer in a promo pic next to the pool is some evidence of non-conformism.
But Klipsch wouldn’t be Klipsch if they didn’t manage to make their now 75-year-old “mid-century design” even in the smallest mobile speaker credible. Like the Klipsch Heritage Promedia 2.1, which we reviewd recently, the latest Groove is marketed under the Heritage sublabel. So we expect most Heritage Groove will probably end up on stylish shelves or coffee tables. Although the battery promises an 8 hours of independent playback, the angular, well-executed enclosure is less likely to fit into a backpack. Of course, you shouldn’t expect it to be waterproof or dust-protected in either the walnut variant with gray grille or the black one with stylish metal mesh.
Made for interior design
For indoor use, you might find it useful that a power supply is included. As well as an analogue AUX In (3.5 mm jack), which marks the second source option besides Bluetooth.
The clearly arranged keys on the top looksvaluable, and the operation does not pose any challenge to the user either. The two source selection buttons for Bluetooth and AUX are really practical, as well as a button for answering incoming phone calls.
When it comes to the acoustic concept, the Americans focus on maximum sound quality instead of effects: A 3″ cm aluminium cone on the front turns out to act as a fullrange driver. Two lateral passive compound drivers support the lower bass. That ´s it. No tweeters, no pseudo-stereo. A digital DSP combined with a 20 watts amp is supposed to provide tonally balanced as well as dynamic sound reproduction. However, the found the stiff diaphragm of the rather big full-range driver to cause some directional focussing resulting in narrower sweet spot than competitors with a tweeter might offer.
This is how the smallest Klipsch ever sounds
The grown-up, full-bodied sound is especially surprising when you look at the Klipsch Heritage Groove from the side. How does such a bass come out of such a flat enclosure only measuring 2.5″ in depth?
When reviewing it, we found its perfect timing, grip and speed in the music to be far above its size class, and the bass can also be called substantial. We did not really miss a tweeter whenever the Heritage Groove was pointing towards the listeners, as resolution was detailed and pretty appealing. If you didn’t put on too complex music like classical or jazz, or took a seat at an unfavorable angle to the frontal full range driver. In both of the latter cases, of course, transparency reached a limit. However, the clarity of the treble is still sufficient for pop, rock and electronicmusic.
Even listened at surprisingly high SPL, the Heritage Groove retained its clarity and remains undistorted, even if it tends to sound rather small under free-field conditions. Thanks to the rubber feet, it won’t slip off the shelf even during headbanging sessions.
Conclusion and alternatives to the Klipsch Heritage Groove
Purely in terms of sound from a mobile speaker, there are alternatives. JBL´s Flip 6 for example, offers superior battery life, is waterproof and outdoor-tested rugged design. Although we found the JBL to offer more resolution and a wider listening angle, the Klipsch Heritage Groove is a bit more harmonious and homogenious in sound.
Tough competition is Marshall´s Emberton 2 is offering similarly premium retro design, waterprotection, versatility, stereo imaging and superior battery life. But still – if you want to go for maximum of dynamics and tempo in sound, go for the Klipsch.
Klipsch Heritage Groove: Specifications
- Retail price: 170 dollars/pounds/euros
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 15.2 x 12.2 x 6.7 cm
- Weight: 990 g
- Features: analog AUX input, hands-free microphone
- More at: klipsch.com
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