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Klipsch The Fives vs R-51PM (2022): Comparing Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Between the Klipsch The Fives and the Klipsch R-51PM, many would say there’s no competition, as the former is technically miles ahead. Both are excellent powered bookshelf speakers in their own right, though. Despite lagging behind in comparison, it’s hard to go wrong with the latter. In fact, it has a few advantages worth considering—aside from a lower price tag, that is.

We compare the two to outline how The Fives is pretty much the better option for most folks, but at the same time, we’ll also highlight the strong points of the R-51PM to show why it’s still a decent pick.

Klipsch The Fives vs R-51PM Comparison Chart

ModelKlipsch The FivesKlipsch R-51PM
 Klipsch The Fives vs R-51PMKlipsch The Fives vs R-51PM
PriceCheck Price at Klipsch.comCheck Price at Klipsch.com
Frequency Response50 Hz to 25 kHz68 Hz to 21 kHz
Drivers1″ tweeter with Tractrix horn, 4.5″ woofer1″ Tractrix Horn, 5.25″ woofer
Maximum Output109 dB107.3 dB
Bass Extension46 Hz at 35 percent volume49 Hz at 35 percent volume
Enclosure TypeBass-reflex via rear-firing portBass-reflex via rear-firing port
Power160W, 320W peak120W, 140W peak
ConnectivityHDMI-ARC with CEC, Bluetooth 5, phono/line analog, 3.5mm jack, USB-B, opticalBluetooth (version unspecified), phono/line analog, 3.5mm jack, USB-B, optical
Dimensions (W x H x D)6.5″ x 12″ x 9.25″7″ x 13.3″ x 9.12″
WeightMain: 11.8 lbs
Secondary: 10.7 lbs
10.6 lbs
ColorsWalnut, Matte Black, McLaren EditionBlack

Audio Quality

All in all, the Klipsch The Fives sounds better than the Klipsch R-51PM.

Klipsch The Fives vs R-51PM Audio Quality
Top view and the back of the Klipsch The Fives (in photo).

First off, let’s get into the Klipsch The Fives’ specs. The pair has a frequency response range of 50 Hz to 25 kHz, and its drivers are made up of a 1-inch titanium Tractrix horn tweeter and a 4.5-inch fiber-composite cone woofer. Moreover, it has a maximum output of 109 dB and 160W of power that peaks at 320W.

Meanwhile, the Klipsch R-51PM has a frequency response that ranges from 68 Hz to 21 kHz, and it’s equipped with a 1-inch aluminum Tractrix horn tweeter and a 5.25-inch copper-spun IMG woofer. Its max output is rated at 107.3 dB, and its total system power is 120W with a peak of 140W.

The takeaway here is that The Fives has a wider frequency response range, and because it goes farther in the lower end of the spectrum at 50 Hz as opposed to 68 Hz, it can provide a deeper bass. Also, it’s capable of producing more sounds and providing more details overall because of its higher 25 kHz limit as compared to 21 kHz. With a larger power capacity, it can get louder too.

App and Connectivity

Only the Klipsch The Fives has Klipsch Connect support.

Klipsch The Fives vs R-51PM App and Connectivity
The back of the Klipsch R-51PM (in photo). Notice how it lacks an HDMI port.

In terms of controls, the Klipsch The Fives’ app, namely the Klipsch Connect for Android and iOS, gives the pair the edge. On it, you can toggle modes such as Night and Dynamic Bass and change input source, but more importantly, you can access the EQ settings, which has five presets and a customizable three-band EQ. Unfortunately, the Klipsch R-51PM doesn’t have an app, but just like The Fives, it has a feature-packed remote control.

Both have a wide range of connectivity options, including Bluetooth, phono/line analog, a 3.5mm jack, USB-B and optical port. However, The Fives has a newer Bluetooth version, particularly Bluetooth 5. Klipsch doesn’t specify what version the R-51PM has, but it’s presumably older. Additionally, only The Fives has an HDMI-ARC with CEC, making it more convenient to use with a TV since you won’t need any extra cables or remotes.

Design and Placement

The Klipsch R-51PM has a shorter depth, making it easier to position than the Klipsch The Fives.

Klipsch The Fives vs R-51PM Design and Placement
A look at the Klipsch The Fives McLaren Edition (in photo).

The Klipsch The Fives’ size is 6.5” x 12” x 9.25” in width, height and depth, respectively. On the other hand, the Klipsch R-51PM measures 7” x 13.3” x 9.12”. Put simply, the former is narrower, but the latter is shorter in depth, which matters here because they have rear-firing ports. 

Typically, this kind of speaker requires more space between its back and the wall behind it, as you run the risk of making its bass sound overboosted. In other words, putting it too close to a wall will cause it to reflect sound. The R-51PM has the upper hand in this regard because it’s easier to position and won’t stick out as much.

Now the Klipsch The Fives black and walnut are its basic color options—basic because there’s a McLaren Edition available. The R-51PM is available only in black. For the record, both speakers have removable magnetic grilles.

Verdict

The Klipsch The Fives is easier to recommend to most people, but the Klipsch R-51PM still has its audience.

In summary, the Klipsch The Fives is better in a lot of ways. For starters, it has a wider frequency response range, better sound, an app to adjust its EQ settings and an HDMI-ARC port. However, it’s on the expensive side. That’s where the Klipsch R-51PM comes in as a decent and cheaper Klipsch The Fives alternative. Though it may be relatively lacking, it’s easier to find a spot for it because of its shorter depth, and it has a slightly bigger woofer to boot.

FAQs

📌 Is the Klipsch The Fives worth it?

Yes, the Klipsch The Fives offers excellent sound performance and customization with its equalizer, which is adjustable via its app. It also has Bluetooth 5 and a ton of ports, providing more than your usual powered bookshelf speaker.

📌 Are Klipsch The Fives loud?

Yes, the Klipsch The Fives can get loud. It has a maximum output of 109 dB, and its power is rated at 160W with a 320W peak.

📌 Does the Klipsch The Fives have Wi-Fi connection?

No, but the Klipsch The Fives has an app and plenty of connectivity options, including an HDMI-ARC, phono/line analog, 3.5mm jack, USB-B port, optical jack and Bluetooth 5.

📌 How do I connect the Klipsch The Fives to a TV?

The Klipsch The Fives can connect to a TV via HDMI-ARC, phono, optical or aux.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.