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SB3's: how are they??


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Well, since nobody unbiased replied, let me tell you how a paid soldier of the Klipsch army feels about the SB-3:

Really good bass for a bookshelf speaker. The new SB series and all new Klipsch models make use of very large ports to offer improved bass dynamics and reduced distortion. It really works and it is easy to compare by listening to last series of 8" 2-way Klipsch bookshelf which had same size box and woofer with smaller port diameter. Sounded good at lower levels but at peaks or higher average levels, the bass thinned out. SB-3 solves this one.

The HF driver in the Synergy series is very nice in quality and uses an aluminum dome. Generally speaking, the SB-3 is just not as revealing / resolving as the Reference RB-5 of similar size but double price. That speaker competes nicely with well regarded bookshelf speakers in the $2000 price range.

If you're looking for a laid-back, kinda ambient sound, Klipsch SB-3 (or other Klipsch) is probably not the best choice. If you want front row center type presentation and wish to be highly involved in the music or movie, this hired gun can think of nothing better anywhere near the price.

Now, any body NOT paid by Klipsch want to offer opinion? I know this bulletin board is more populated by fanatics who dabble only in our upper end models, but surely some one has input. I promise to stop calling you surely.

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I have some experience with the KSB (last gen) line of bshelves. I had the 2.1's and 1.1's for surround and I agree with Bobs summery. They are excellent speakers, but the bass thins out at higher volumes.

I have only heard the SB series at a retailer so I can't comment on them much. However, Bob sounds like an honest guy so i would take his word for it. This topic (SB3 vs RB5) has been debated here before and the consensus is that at their respective price points, they are both excellent speakers.

Have you/can you listen to them in your area?

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now all of our ears are different so take this with a grain of salt.

I had an opertunity to try out the sb2,sb3 and the rf-3's. To be entirely honest i was disappointed with the sb-3. Bass was there but it was too far lumpy for my tastes. It seemed to muddy up the whole sound. This lumpiness (best i can describe it) was less apherent on classical recording but i didn't like it at all on rock. Quite honestly i thought the sb-2 was a better sounded speaker. It may not go quite as low as it's bigger brother but i think it sounded much better over-all.

Then....i lugged in two monsterous boxes during a snow storm....pushed them up the stairs and the rf-3's came to be mine. they are more money...and i had to re-arranged my room around them....but they are really, really good. if you can afford the RB-5's...that might be your best bet.

<begin predication>

One of the speakers that klipsch announced at CES is the RB-3....which we're guessing is an RB-5 but in the plain finish. That would put it closer in price to the SB-3 and i'm sure much, much better.

hope this helps - Chris

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Originally posted by Cruzer:

I demo them 3 times a week and sell every single one of them. I love to do side by side comparisons with the competition and always wins hands down, according the costumers...

So, that sounds great!! What speakers are you comparing the SB-3's with??



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I LOVE the SB3s. I really, really did NOT like the 3.1 predecessor. The SB3s are an entirely different speaker. I have listened to them at Tweeter and at a friend's house and never thought the bass sounded boomy at all. In fact, I think they come pretty darn close to the RB-5s! If you check the archives on the BB, though perhaps in a different forum, you'll see an earlier rave by me about this speaker.

Let me make a confession:

For my main, living room system, I still have the KLF20s, C-7s and S-6s, driven by a five channel rotel power amp and Sherwood Newcastle pre/pro. I love this system for music and for movies (primarily music), using a Sony S7700 DVD player for DVDs and CDs and a Rega Planar 3 for LPs and a Nakamichi tape deck for fun.

But in my bedroom, I have a, *gasp*, "high end" non-Klipsch set-up (if you check the archives you'll see I was struggling with this decision a while ago -- I've been reluctant to report what I bought). Anyway, my bedroom system is a Rotel RCD971 CDP, NAD 533 TT with Creek phonostage, Nakamichi tape deck (er, yes, I have two), running through a Krell KAV300i integrated amp, which is driving B&WCDMSEs. Expensive, but fun, and I really do like the way it sounds (that little Krell monster makes the B&Ws explosively dynamic -- really, you'll have to believe me). But, as I already said, this is an expensive system!

So, the point of my confession is that a good friend of mine bought as his main system an NAD C740 receiver, NAD C540 CDP driving a pair of Klipsch SB3s. It sounds AWESOME, WONDERFUL, MUSICAL AND DYNAMIC. It cost him about one third of what I paid for my amp, cdp and speakers. For me this is a fun hobby, and the market has been good for me over the past few years, and I like the Klipsch system in one room and Krell/B&W system in the other. They both sound great. But if you want an amazing pair of bargain speakers, get the SB3s. You cannot lose. They remind me in a way of the KLH and Advent speakers of the 1970s, NOT because they sound at all alike, but because they are so much better than the should be for the price. I had a similar reaction to the Cambridge Soundworks Model 6s, which are an old fashioned accoustic suspension design two-way bookshelf for under $300 these days. But the little Klipsch stomps it. A gem.

Now, if you have more $$$, I would go for the RB-5s, which I love even more and which are also a bargain. If you have even a bit more $$$ and quite a bit of room, go for the KLF20s, which are still one of my favorite speakers out there. I'm keeping mine until the new high end series of Klipsch speaker comes out (soon, I hope, eh Bob?). But if you are on a budget and short on space . . . well I've made my point enough already!

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I compared them against Bose, JBL and Infinity, again won hands down. The company that was distributing Klipsch for the military market will no longer do it. WE NEED HELP!!! to keep this fines speakers available for US serving overseas....



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Oh yeah, I should point out what I compared them to when I auditioned them:

Boston Accoustic C9 (I think that's the right designation -- it's their best bookshelf and pretty close in price). I like the Klipsch sound more, but depending on whether you like a more laid back or more forward sound they were both nice).

Mission bookshelf (don't know the designation, but close in price) -- the Klipsch won hands down.

Klipsch RB5 -- the winner, but more $$$. The SB3 still sounded good side by side I thought.

Sonus Faber Concertino -- very nice, but very different, and more than twice as expensive.

I have not compared them side by side with my B&W CDMSEs, but it wouldn't be a good comparison because (1) the sound is very different and (2) the Krell would most likely sound AWFUL through a horn loaded speaker, and (3) the B&W would sound slowish through a less powerful, lower current amplifier.

This is a fun hobby, eh?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just picked up a pair today after auditioning them against Polks and JBLs. Because of their incredible sensitivity rating, each time the salesman switched the console from another speaker back to the SB-3s, the presence just soared. It wasnt just the presence, though...They seemed clearer and more distinct....I feel that against the Polk R series, these just buried them..The comparison with the JBL Northridge and Studio series was closer, and if they had the same sensitivty, it might have been closer. But, as it is, the SB-3s just blew away any of the others...Hence, I brought 'em home...I overpayed, paying list at a store which had all the others discounted, but since they sound so good, I dont even mind that much.....These are simply great speakers, and outplay many towers costing considerably more.

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I can tell you that I have a pair of SB-3's and they sound brilliant. I have been very pleased with the overall performance, but what else should we expect from Klipsch...they are certainly the best in the business. I looked at the SB-2's but I wanted a little more base depth (but realize that I also have the KSW-10 for that added assitance). You cannot go wrong with Klipsch (and no I don't work for them...I'm just an avid listener)

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I am listening to my SB-3s right now, to Blue Oyster Cult. They sound great! I must reveal that I am using them as surround speakers with a pair of KG4.5's in the front. But still, I have the sound distribution set to give the SB-3s their full share and I think that they really hold up. High loud guitar and heavy bass both hit me from front and back as laod as I can stand it without any distortion. The bass in particular just seems to be coming out of the walls and floor. I guess you can say I'm happy with my two month old SB-3's. (I got them primarily for music, but they sound great as home theater surrounds as well.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,

Thanks for all of your replies on these speakers. I finally purchased them myself:

for $280 instead of the list price of $450! They are so good!! Bass is especially nice.

They are very unforgiving with poor recordings though. I listened to my cd of Beethoven's 9th and it sounded terrible; asked a friend to bring over what I knew was his excellent 9th cd and the sound was tremendous.

All-in-all, a great buy!

Dale G.

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