Klipsch RP-280 Atmos System

Klipsch RP-280 5.1.4 Dolby ATMOS System – Home Theater Speaker System Review

Do you need ceiling speakers to experience Dolby Atmos? Not if Klipsch has anything to say about it.
By Ben Jacklin

To achieve a true 360 degree sound in your home, you need ceiling speakers. Right? Well, the answer to that question might be “no.” The revolutionary Klipsch RP-280 continues to push the boundaries of what 360 degree sound can be, and how you can achieve it without requiring structural changes or needing to hang speakers from your ceiling.

Brutish Bass and Balanced Treble

Before looking at the immersive functions of the speakers, it’s a good idea to look at the frequency response, balance, and overall sound. It’s as impressive as you would expect.

The home cinema experience is enhanced by the brutish subwoofer. The R-115SW can set you back $800 when bought separately, and it’s easy to hear the appeal. The 15-inch cone rumbles with every low-end thud or muscle car motor in the movies, but it is perfectly balanced for your music needs too, as we’ll discuss.

The set of RP-450CA center speakers and RP-260F floor standing speakers bring elegant high-end sweetness to the audio, too. The crisp audio they produce is as good as any other immersive system in the range, with balanced reproduction of frequencies up to and beyond 20 kHz.

Without any additions, this system would be perfectly respectable. It wouldn’t be “Atmos” though, without the stunning work done by the speakers that steal the show…

Klipsch RP-280 Atmos System

The RP-140SA “Elevation” Speaker

This speaker is doing the heavy-lifting. The manufacturers describe it as “in a league of its own” and when it comes to ceiling-facing speakers, we’d tend to agree. The Klipsch RP-140SA speakers feature controlled directivity. What this effectively means is that the sounds that are high in the audio field are fired up from the speakers, into the ceiling, and back down to you.

Listening to an action film and it feels like the sound of that helicopter is coming from right above you? That’s because it is.

These speakers transform this system from a great 360 sound to an amazing Atmos experience. For movies, straight out of the box, it sounds like a cinematic experience.

You need to run these speakers through an amplifier, and it’s worth doing your research here, otherwise you might end up with an amp that really doesn’t do them justice or provide the power that the RP-280 system needs for that clear and crisp audio.

The Music Test

Many of our readers are here with music in mind. Does this Klipsch system live up to expectation when you bring music into the equation?

Tested with the 25th anniversary Atmos mix of Automatic For The People by R.E.M. this speaker system has the chance to show its crispness and clarity, along with the breathtaking mixing on this album. The clear and crisp highs and jangling guitars swirl around the room in ways you never thought possible with the original album. Michael Stipe’s gravelly voice shines through, and the Atmos mix shows in all its glory.

To fully embrace all of the functionality of these speakers, go for an album written with Atmos in mind (like Lifelike by A Bad Think), or an immersive mix for a film.

A well-produced mix can show you just how mindblowing home audio can be with such a modern and forward-thinking speaker system like the Klipsch RP-280. The upward-firing speakers are a revolutionary step.

Interested in purchasing the Klipsch RP-280 Home Theater System? Support IAA by using this link!

About the Author

Ben is a writer and musician from the UK with a background in music technology. He writes about engineering and production, musicianship and music equipment for a number of publications including his own site, subreel.com