Klipsch KMC 1 Portable Wireless Music System Volume Variability

4/5/2014 11:52:17 AM

The world really doesn’t need another Bluetooth-powered wireless speaker. But that fact is not stopping the likes of Klipsch (and others) from taking a shot at making one. Klipsch brings their portable wireless contender into the ring in the shape of the KMC 1. The name is an abbreviation for Klipsch Music Center, while the number 1 is to differentiate it from its larger sibling, the KMC 3.


Description: Klipsch KMC 1 Wireless Speaker Black

The Klipsch Music Center KMC 1 system is the ultimate portable music speaker.

Much like the KMC 3 which we reviewed previously, the KMC 1 comes with what Klipsch describes as a “soft peel paint” finish with metallic accents. For all the fancy nomenclature, the speakers really feel like plastic.

The KMC 1 is intended to be portable but there seem to not be many design elements that help it achieve this, aside from the built-in lithium-ion battery. There is no real way to carry the KMC 1 in your hand, and while it is small enough to easily fit in a backpack, the speakers are deceptively heavy.

As is standard for most high-end wireless portable speakers today, the KMC 1 allows for playback via Bluetooth. To increase user convenience, Klipsch has included has made the speakers NFC-compatible. The NFC tag is prominently located at the top surface of the product and is demarcated with rubber padding. It works as expected and a couple of seconds of contact is all that is required to pair your smart device with the KMC 1 via NFC. For wired playback, a 3.5mm port has been provided. The KMC 1 also features a USB port, which can be used to charge your smart device as long as you have the requisite connecting cables on hand. Unfortunately, that’s all the USB port does.

One good thing about the KMC 1’s size is that Klipsch can fi t in some decent hardware. Dual 2.5-inch drivers are tasked with handling the sound output, while a pair of 3-inch passive radiators helps flesh out the low end of the audio spectrum. Overall, the KMC 1 has a total amplifier power output of 40W, and this is evident in the decibels the speaker delivers. The KMC 1 is capable of filling a medium-sized living room with sound that is audible, although we found the volume to be slightly lower than optimal.

Description: Klipsch KMC 1 Blue Portable Music System

Small in stature with remarkably large sound, the system employs dual 2.5" full range drivers enhanced with dual 3” passive radiators for deep, musical bass.

Klipsch products are known for their warm tone and the KMC 1 follows this tradition. The strongest suite of the wireless portable speakers is its lush mid-range. At volumes above 50 per cent, the middle frequencies shine through and dominate. But when the volume drops below the halfway mark, the body of the audio dissipates and the overall rendering of music sounds hollow. This is due to the fact that the passive radiators only seem to kick in when the decibels are high. While its center channel is strong, the soundstage is constricted, which means that if you are not listening to the speaker head-on you can expect audio quality to be merely so-so.

Description: Klipsch KMC 1 Portable Speaker - Black

The KMC 1 keeps any smartphone, most tablets and other music sources charged with its USB input (cable not included) and plays virtually any non-Bluetooth music source with its 3.5mm input (cable not included).

Klipsch prices the KMC 1 at $399, which isn’t really cheap. We would classify the audio performance of the speakers as above average as long as the volume levels are high. This makes the speaker perfect for outdoor use. But if you want a wireless portable speaker for personal use indoors, you (and everyone else around you) better like it loud.


·         Drivers: 2.5-inch drivers 3-inch passive radiators

·         Amplifier power: 40W

·         Frequency response: 65 Hz to 18,000 Hz

·         Special features: NFC

·         Price: $399



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