Customer Review

178 of 190 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice product, but won't replace a full-sized stereo system., January 5, 2012
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This review is from: Klipsch G-17 Air Wireless Sound System (High Gloss Black, 1) (Electronics)
Disclaimer!! Audio "quality" is ultimately a subjective notion that depends greatly on personal taste, room characteristics and recording quality, among other things. While this review represents my own experience with the G17, prospective buyers would be wise to test this system in person, with their own music, before drawing any definite conclusions.

I purchased this unit as soon as it became available. I'd been looking for a complete, compact audio solution for my NYC apartment and, being a satisfied owner of other Klipsch audio products, I decided to try it out. The room I wanted to use it in is small, maybe 10' x 12', so I though the G17 may be the right size for what I needed. Basically, I had three criteria: sound quality, physical size, and input/connectivity options. While the size of the unit is certainly compact, it was the sound and lack of input options that ultimately led me to return the product for something different altogether.

First off, the presentation of the G17 was good. The included cotton gloves were a nice touch that prevented me from smearing finger prints all over the very glossy unit. It's very nice looking and the magnetic grille cover is clever and works well. The build quality is excellent. The unit fairly hefty and very stable...no vibrations, etc. The size of the G17 is perfect for small spaces and being able to wall-mount is an option I would have taken advantage of had I kept it. It was very, very easy to set up and I was streaming music from various Mac's and my iPhone (4, not 4S) in 15 minutes or so.

Here is where I was torn on the G17. The sound is good overall...very crisp and clear sounding with ample amounts of bass (mid-bass, anyways.) Instrumental recordings were dynamic and lively and vocals sounded crisp. However, the midrange was weak. Because much of the "oomph" in the music I enjoy lives in the midrange frequencies, I was left feeling unsatisfied with the lack of power and "weight" in the sound. Due of the airy top-end and weak mids everything sounded rather "light" and somewhat small, regardless of what music I played. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not what I was looking for. The G17 is not an ideal audio solution if you like to "feel" the weight of, say, electric guitars in rock music. Guitars in particular live in the midrange, so I was left feeling uninspired. There was a genuinely surprising amount of bass coming from this thing which sounded quite good. But understand that this is achieved by increasing the amount of "mid-bass", or, the highest end of the bass frequencies. It is physically impossible for such a small enclosure with small woofers to pump out true low-end bass frequency so if you're expecting anything along the lines of what a sub-woofer provides, prepare to be disappointed. Low-end rumble and thumping kick drums are not happening here. That said, there is a good amount of tight low-end that will satisfy many listeners. Now, because this is a single sound bar, don't expect anything in the way of stereo separation. Again, it's just impossible to recreate stereo imaging and/or the wide sound stage achieved through two speakers set apart from each other. Basically, the G17 has a rather one-dimensional sound when compared to just about any pair of stereo speakers that have at least 6 feet of separation between them. But I suppose that's to be expected so I can't knock it there.

The other gripe I had was lack of input options. Yes, I know, this is an Airplay device and it works well as such, but for $550 I would have liked some kind of physical input option other than the 1/8" analog input. Because I had the G17 situated below my HDTV, I wanted to use the Klipsch to run audio from the TV. My TV has a headphone jack which I connected to the G17, but the sound was weak and thin...really not a marked improvement over the built-in TV speakers, which surprised me. I know it wasn't made for this purpose, but I wasn't looking for much... just a decent improvement over the stock TV speakers, really. While TV audio was better with the G17, it was not nearly good enough to justify the price.

I realize now that I expected too much from the G17. Partly because of the premium price, I was hoping for audio characteristics that the laws of physics would never allow. To sum it up, the G17 sounds good and will work well for someone looking for a compact, simple airplay solution, but those looking for a big, powerful sound to replace a stereo system need not apply. I ended up going with the Audioengine A5+ speakers w/ S8 subwoofer and an external DAC (highly recommended for digital music, really improves sound quality) paired to the optical connection on my Apple TV2 for airplay streaming. Granted, this is a more expensive and larger system, but there is simply no comparison. The Audioengine setup sounds truly phenomenal and completely blows away the G17 (and everything else priced comparably) in every conceivable way. It also sounds wonderful running audio from my TV via RCA inputs. With this, my set-up for digital audio is now complete and I am very satisfied with the results.

In conclusion, the G17 is a nice-sounding, easy to use airplay solution that may be perfect for some, but it simply cannot achieve the level of sound quality, stereo imaging and power that a pair of good quality bookshelf speakers and a sub woofer will provide (Which, through the process of evaluating the G17, I realized is what I was really looking for.) Because my decision ultimately came down to my own tastes, and because this is an airplay system and not a full audio system, I went with 4 stars instead of 3.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 3, 2012 5:50:19 AM PDT
A. Stone says:
So I need airport express to use these speakers or I can use them directly from my ipod touch?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 17, 2012 8:51:35 AM PDT
Matt says:
You need to have both devices connected to the same WiFi network, as airplay works through wifi. It can be your existing home network, if you have one. You don't need an apple airport router, specifically.

So, once the g-17 is set-up it will play music directly from your iPod touch via airplay, but only when both devices are connected to the same wifi network.

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 12:32:33 AM PST
Garrett says:
Dude, review the product for what it is. This thing is the size of a football. I don't expect it to put out THX 7.1 sound and the bass equivalent to a 15" sub. If I test drive a Ford Focus four banger, I don't expect it to perform like a Porsche 911 GT3.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012 9:55:36 AM PST
Matt says:
Well, I thought I did that. I was trying to be clear. Honestly, there are plenty of people out there who don't know what to expect with a product like this.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 5:56:37 AM PST
Mambo dancer says:
Your response was on the money. I was thinking the same thing!

Posted on Dec 15, 2012 12:58:35 PM PST
Fred says:
It seems to me that you could have connected your TV via an RCA to 1/8" y-adapter cable. Am I missing something?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2012 1:49:57 PM PST
Matt says:
I tried that as well, using a the cable you mention to connect to the RCA-out on both my TV and DVR. This sounded a little better than using the 1/8"-out in the TV but not nearly good enough to recommend using the G17 in this manner. Of course, it was not designed for this purpose so I didn't count it against the product in the rating I chose.

This thing would be great for music in an office set-up or something like that. But it's not fit for entertainment center, multimedia use. It's a one-trick pony, basically.

Posted on Feb 21, 2013 12:06:39 AM PST
dom says:
$220 today as the deal of the day... sorry to all who spent $500

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2013 4:06:13 AM PST
Dr. Paul says:
He did. This product is over $500.00 full retail price. You're dreaming if you think that a person doesn't have the right to expect that these speakers will sound way better than their size would otherwise indicate. You know what? If he paid $100.00 for the speaker, I would agree with you. Some customer expectations can be a real bitch! But read all the hype surrounding this product, all the advertising propaganda Klipsch writes about it. I haven't heard the speakers, but assuming the review of the sound is accurate, he has a right to be disappointed and pissed off. These speakers cost as much as many of the lower grade surround sound SYSTEMS. So, yes, they had better sound amazing.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2013 8:38:38 AM PST
areaman714 says:
I agree Dr Paul. Matt clearly stated that it was a fine speaker with caveats that don't make it worth the retail price that he paid for. I agree with your price comparison to some of those low grade surround systems for the same price. I have heard the Energy and Pioneer systems and they do sound fabulous for their price points! I think Matt's review saved me from biting on these today even with this very good deal of the day price.
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