STEREO GUIDE verdict
With the new Klipsch Nashville, Klipsch is focusing on outdoor suitability for small Bluetooth speakers. Its successful app makes up for the rudimentary, not optimally recognizable control buttons on the device. The sound is balanced and decent for the small dimensions. However, the small Bluetooth speaker is priced in a larger class.
- quite full sound with contoured bass
- Sound detaches well from the small housing, especially open-air
- Long battery life, sturdy workmanship, waterproof
- No analog input
- Dynamic response slowed down at higher levels
Sound: tonal balance / transparency7.4
Sound: Bass / Dynamics7.4
Ease-of-use / Connectivity8.2
Price / Performance8.5
Looking ahead to next summer, US manufacturer Klipsch is launching its smallest speaker system to date: the battery-powered Bluetooth speaker Nashville. It is to be the middle of a new series of outdoor loudspeakers. The briquette-shaped Bluetooth speaker replaces the previous Groove and Heritage Groove models in terms of size and price range. But the new model is neither a plastic box nor a retro gem: its exterior, with its sturdy perforated plate and smooth rubber coating, clearly indicates its intended use: pure outdoor, whether lying down or standing up! Too bad there is no loop for a carrying strap.
According to the specifications, it is already in an excellent position: up to 24 hours of battery life, IPX67 water and dust protection, hands-free operation and a promised 50 Hz bass are an announcement. Due to its price and weight, it has to compete with the JBL Charge 5, even if it is a few centimeters longer.
The design and acoustic concept remind us more of the retro classic Marshall Emberton II anyway. But it definitely looks more independent.
Omnidirectional without stereo
In the data sheet, the manufacturer proudly refers to the two amplifier channels, each with an RMS output of 10 watts, and the 360-degree dispersion. However, anyone hoping for a spatial stereo image based on this data could be disappointed: The Klipsch Nashville radiates to the front and rear, but obviously an identical mono signal.
It passes this on to two full-range speakers, each 6 centimeters in size. They are both placed on the right side of the housing, so the stereo image would not be very good anyway. The angular passive cones for the bass are located on the left-hand side of the front and rear baffles.
Connectivity and operation
Music only comes in via Bluetooth 5.3, which in our experience promises the best stability and range. The USB-C port on the right-hand side of the casing is well hidden behind a rubber cover, but is only used for charging.
The four buttons at the top control the standard functions on/off, Bluetooth connection, quieter and louder. They are somewhat difficult to recognize. There is no playback control like on the Marshall Emberton 2. Instead, we found a small hole for a hands-free microphone and a battery indicator with five LED segments, which should be really helpful in practice.
More in the Klipsch Connect app
Finally, we found the classic playback control in the Klipsch Connect app (for iOS and Android). This is necessary anyway when setting up the Bluetooth connection and it all works quite smoothly. Sometimes it took a few seconds to connect or to transmit new EQ settings.
The 3-band equalizer integrated into the app allows the sound to be adjusted quite well to the respective spatial conditions and tastes. Otherwise, the functions are limited.
This is how the Klipsch Nashville sounds
The Klipsch Nashville’s bass was convincing right from the start – and that’s absolutely not a matter of course for this speaker size! Not only does it sound quite deep, but it also remains crisp, balanced and confident when things get a little louder. Especially with acoustic instruments in rock or jazz, the Nashville seems much bigger than you would have expected.
If you sat exactly at right angles to the full range driver in the front or rear baffle, the treble reproduction was also quite convincing. However, the high tones seemed to be emitted quite strongly bundled. If you leave the rather narrow ideal range, voices quickly sounded somewhat squeezed, and the sound image could become somewhat annoying depending on the recording.
This effect was further enhanced by the somewhat slimmer basic tone, which can be boosted with the app’s mid-range control.
The omnidirectional dispersion also revealed both light and shade: the sound image detached itself quite well from the small Klipsch. However, if it was too close to the rear wall, it could sometimes appear phased and squashed.
Conclusion: Nashville, Marshall Emberton II or JBL Charge 5?
In terms of price, the Klipsch is even more expensive than the premium Bluetooth speaker Marshall Emberton 2 and the two mobile JBL models Flip 6 and Charge 5. In terms of bass, dynamics, level and treble resolution, the JBL Charge 5 is so far ahead of all its competitors that we would prefer it for most applications. If the extra centimeters can still be accommodated in terms of space.
Technical data Klipsch Nashville
- Manufacturer’s suggested retail price: 180 Euro
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 17.8 x 7.8 x 8.1 cm
- Weight: 970 g
- Battery life up to 24 hours
- Special features: Bluetooth 5.3, app control, IPX67, front/rear radiation, stack mode, hands-free system
- More at: klipsch.com