Stereocheck Reviews:

Klipsch Cinema 400: A simple but powerful soundbar

Unlike most plastic soundbars, the Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar is made from high-quality wood. The Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar has a 2.1 configuration and is equipped with proprietary speakers, as...

Klipsch Cinema 400
Klipsch Cinema 400

Unlike most plastic soundbars, the Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar is made from high-quality wood. The Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar has a 2.1 configuration and is equipped with proprietary speakers, as well as separate amplifiers for the drivers of each frequency band. The soundbar features 19mm soft dome tweeters housed in a patented Tractrix horn (90 x 90 degrees). Also, in each channel of the speaker there are two LF/MF speakers with a diameter of 3 inches, the diffusers of which are made of composite fiber. This solution made it possible to obtain good saturation and depth of bass without significantly increasing the height of the soundbar body.

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A wireless subwoofer is responsible for reproducing the lowest frequencies in the Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar. It is equipped with a 6.5-inch speaker and is made in a damped MDF housing with a bass reflex. Due to the fact that the bass driver in the subwoofer is directed towards the floor, the distribution of low frequencies in the room is more uniform, and the choice of the optimal location for the subwoofer is simplified. The wireless connection between the soundbar and subwoofer is already configured at the factory, so it takes up minimal user space. 2.4GHz wireless technology automatically connects the soundbar and subwoofer together. There is also an LFE subwoofer output, which means you can add a second subwoofer or simply replace the stock wireless subwoofer with a more powerful model.

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The Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar features one HDMI input and one 2.0 output with HDCP 2.2 support, as well as optical and analog inputs. In addition, this model also features built-in Bluetooth with support for the improved aptX audio codec for direct signal input from compatible portable devices.

The built-in DSP allows the Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar to enjoy different sound settings, as well as the ability to limit its dynamic range when watching TV late at night. The soundbar is also equipped with a Dolby Digital decoder for accurate processing of digital multi-channel audio. With punchy sound and a wide stereo image, the system is also great for listening to music.

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The Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar is of high quality and, given the relatively low height of the case, will not block the IR receiver of most TVs if placed on a stand in front of it. The soundbar can be hung on the wall; a stencil for correctly marking the mounting holes is included in the kit.

Despite the fact that this is the smallest model in the Cinema family, it can significantly improve the sound quality of even a modern advanced TV. Thanks to proprietary Klipsch technologies, the compact and inexpensive system should not disappoint in terms of functionality, design, or sound quality. It’s time to see this in practice. The range of soundbars these days is huge, which is not surprising – the fashion for thin television panels is in full swing, and it is almost impossible to place a decent sound system in them. As a rule, acoustics manufacturers, when creating their models, focus on large screens – in a solid-sized design, advanced technologies can be implemented to the maximum, and it is easier to obtain a convincing sound picture. But for owners of modest TVs, the suitable range is not so wide, and the price is much more important – who will buy a speaker that is more expensive than the display?

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Klipsch has very solid soundbars in the Cinema series, incl. with a control application and support for Dolby Atmos, but we will first take a look at the simplest one, Cinema 400, recommended for TVs with a screen up to 50 inches. Architecture – minimal, 2.1, i.e. a couple of channels in the speaker itself plus a subwoofer. When looking at the internal structure of the soundbar, the question arises: why didn’t the developers integrate center channel speakers into it, because there is more than enough space for them in the case. The answer is simple: in order not to increase the cost of the design (in addition to the speakers, another amplifier would be needed), a much more effective solution was found, which I will tell you about later. The tweeters of the right and left channels are located on the opposite flanks of the long (101 cm) body. They are installed in horns with a proprietary Tractrix configuration, providing a 90-degree polar pattern. both in horizontal and vertical planes. Tweeters with special linear suspensions
sound a band up to 20 kHz. Next to them, closer to the center, oval midrange drivers with composite fiber diffusers are installed.

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The standard subwoofer measuring 30 x 41 x 41 cm is wireless, but the manufacturer does not say what protocol the signal is transmitted through and with what quality. It is only known that the communication frequency is 2.4 GHz, and the maximum distance is 9 meters, which is quite sufficient for almost any room. The 8-inch driver with a rigid diffuser and a wide concave suspension is directed downward, and, with the support of a bass reflex, starts working at 35 Hz. The total power of the system is 400 W, the maximum sound pressure is 99 dB. Very good for such dimensions.

The soundbar has a built-in Dolby Digital decoder and a signal processor, which contains algorithms for three sound field configurations – SUR (Surround), DIALOG and NIGHT. We’ll figure out how they “work” while listening. Modes are selected from a small remote control, from which the desired input is also activated and the volume is adjusted (separately for the bar and subwoofer). Its level is displayed by a column of LEDs on the right side of the soundbar; if desired, this indication can be turned off from the remote control. There are five inputs: linear 3.5 mm, USB (for flash media), TosLink, HDMI ARC and Bluetooth interface. The presence of HDMI ARC allows you to control the soundbar and TV from one remote control, and even if the TV does not support this protocol, its remote control is not so difficult to reprogram. How to do this is described in the instructions for the Cinema 400. The connection with the subwoofer is established simply: after turning on the system, you need to hold the PAIR button in the rear niche of the soundbar for three seconds. By the way, you can connect any active subwoofer to it via a linear cable with RCA terminals. If the TV is mounted on a wall bracket, then the soundbar can be hung under it; for this, it has mounting holes on the back.

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We tested the Cinema 400 in its standard configuration, feeding it a signal from a media player via HDMI via a TV. The selection includes music videos, trailers with spectacular sound, film fragments (I would have watched some in their entirety, but I didn’t have time). For starters, the SYML track, “Clean Eyes” in SUR mode. One feels not just stereo, but a kind of three-dimensional volume with a spatial layout of virtual sources. If you sit a couple of meters from the screen, the sound slightly covers even from the sides. On the musical tracks of the biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” one can feel the concert volume and the characteristic features of the sound of instruments. The mids and highs are like those of a decent music center; Klipsch tweeters are traditionally very good. The directional pattern is wide, it is quite possible to listen to music even with three people. The bass level can be easily adjusted so that the tonal balance does not go down too much. True, the lower mids are slightly weakened, which is why the percussive drive in the range of 80 – 120 Hz is not always enough.

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But when watching movies – no problems. On “Backdraft,” the roar of fire and the roar of collapsing beams are conveyed very impressively, and against this dense background, the speech of the firefighters is absolutely intelligible. Cinema 400 adequately conveys the atmosphere itself – tense, emotionally rich. The striking power of the system could be assessed in the combat scenes of the movie Fury. The shots of tank guns, machine gun and machine gun fire, the roar of engines and the clanging of tracks are quite adequate. At least, there were no semantic gaps even in the most intense fragments of the soundtrack. The subwoofer is really effective, stably creating low-frequency support for the entire sound panorama.

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Now about the solution that made it possible to do without a central channel in this soundbar. In DIALOG mode, the processor mixes both channels so that the sound comes from the center of the screen, and the frequency range at the edges is slightly cut off. The result is improved speech intelligibility and expressiveness—ideal for watching news or talk shows. If you select the NIGHT mode, the low-frequency component will be noticeably weakened and the dynamics will be slightly tightened. But even at the same time, neither the general information content nor the depth of space is lost. When connecting to a smartphone via Bluetooth, there is no particular loss of quality.
Music sounds quite comfortable, with quite acceptable detail and a light upper range. Yes, the Cinema 400 set is quite simple, but the Klipsch Reference nameplate is on it for a reason: if the sound bar is not overloaded in level and the subwoofer is not driven into the very corner, you will not notice any serious shortcomings. This is a strong entry level, and a good start, as we know, is already half the battle.

Features of the Klipsch Cinema 400 Sound Bar

Sound pressure 93 dB
2 x 0.75 inch tweeter, fabric dome, in Tractrix 90 x 90 degree horn
2 x 3 inch woofer, fiberglass cone
Subwoofer 6.5 inch woofer, fiberglass diffuser, directed to the floor
Inputs HDMI (2.0/HDCP 2.2), analog (mini-jack 3.5 mm), optical, Bluetooth 2.0
HDMI outputs (2.0/HDCP 2.2)
Output power of the entire system 60 W (continuous), 120 W (peak)
Frequency range 30 Hz – 15 kHz
DSP modes Virtual Surround Mode, Dialog Enhance Mode, Night Mode
Dolby Digital decoder yes
Dimensions (W x H x D) 1014 x 73 x 86 mm (soundbar), 240 x 359 x 240 mm (subwoofer)
Weight 3 kg (soundbar), 5.5 kg (subwoofer)