Klipsch B-3 Synergy Series Bookshelf Loudspeaker - Review

Klipsch B-3 Synergy Bookshelf Loudspeakers
Klipsch B-3 Synergy Bookshelf Loudspeakers. Photo from Amazon

Introduction to the Klipsch Synergy B-3 Bookshelf Loudspeaker

There are literally thousands of loudspeakers on the market, and many times the choice, despite all the technical specs, is determined by how they sound to you. If you are looking for new set of bookshelf loudspeakers for your stereo or home theater, and you have never experienced a horn loaded loudspeaker, then you have to check out the Klipsch Synergy B-3.

Despite its modest price and small size, the B-3 really delivers where it counts: sound quality.

Description and Specifications

The Klipsch B-3 is a horn loaded bookshelf loudspeaker featuring 5-inch Tratrix horn and bass reflex design. Technical specifications include:

1-inch aluminum diaphragm tweeter with frequency response up to 23khz (+/- 3db).

High-frequency crossover at 2,000 Hz.

6.5-inch long woofer, combined with rear port, delivers bass response down to 55HZ (+/-3db)

Highly efficient with a sensitivity of 93.5 db (2.83 volts at 1 meter).

Power handling is rated at 85 Watts RMS and 340 watts peak

Magnetically shielded for home theater use.

Setup and Use

In evaluating the Klipsch B-3, I used the speakers in two types of setups, two-channel stereo and a full home theater configuration with and without a subwoofer.

Other audio components used this review included:

Yamaha CR-220 stereo receiver.

Yamaha HTR-5490 and RX-V1500 AV receivers.

Technics SL-PD888 and Denon DCM-370 5-disc CD Changers.

Kiss DP-470 DVD Receiver

Samsung DVD-HD931 DVD Player.

Yamaha YST-SW205 Subwoofer, Optimus LX5II compact loudspeakers w/Linaeum tweeters, and Klipsch C-2 Center Channel loudspeakers.

It's All in the Listening

I found the B-3's loudspeaker equally at home in both a two-channel stereo configuration or as part of the larger home theater system with the addition of a subwoofer.

Although Klipsch also sells companion center and surround sound channel speakers with slightly different designs, I found that 5 or 7 B-3s can be used in a surround configuration, if positioned properly.

The benefit of the B-3's horn technology was very evident in vocal performances. The subtle, intimate breathiness of Norah Jones on "I Don't Know Why" was superb and the standout vocal performance of Sade on "Smooth Operator" jumped right out into the room.

Not only did the B-3's exhibit very good performance on mid-range vocals, but in subtle details as well. One example was that some of the background details on the classic Cream recording, "Disraeli Gears", normally indistinct, were revealed quite well.

On the home theater front, the B-3's worked quite well as both main, center, or surround speakers, when compared to one of my standard surround setups. The fast recovery time of the B-3's were adequate to the task of the several DVD clips I used, including clips from "Master And Commander", "Kill Bill" Vols. 1 and 2, "The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, "Moulin Rouge", and "Chicago".

The only drawback with the B-3's in a home theater setup is that the lack of low bass response does necessitate the use of a subwoofer.

However, this is to be expected with bookshelf speakers and I don't consider that a fault with the B-3's. On the contrary, the B-3's very good upper bass response actually filled in the gap between them and the subwoofer very well, providing an even sound transition at the crossover point between the B-3s and the Yamaha YST-205 sub.

Whether listening at low or high volume levels, I found that the B-3 delivered clean, clear sound, especially in the mid-range and high frequencies. With music, vocals distinctively stand out, and background details don't get lost. Although it doesn't deliver the lowest bass frequencies, its bass reflex design delivers powerful upper bass that is clear and not muddled.

Final Comments

What makes the B-3 really stand out is the use of a Horn for the midrange frequencies. Horn technology is highly efficient and durable, which means that such speakers can be used with amps as little as 5 to 10 watts-per-channel, to today's high powered AV receivers.

Basically, the benefits of the B-3's are as follows:

Horn loaded combined with bass reflex design, the B-3's deliver a full, balanced, and distinctive midrange, without overwhelming the highs and lows.

Distinct upper bass performance that doesn't muddy out. In addition, ​the upper bass response makes for a smooth transition between the B-3's and a subwoofer, when used in such a setup.

However, despite the pluses of the B-3's, I found that the Speaker grills difficult to fit on. In fact, the speaker grills and a speaker grill connectors seemed rather cheap.

There are bigger speakers, there are more expensive speakers, and there are better speakers at higher prices. However, the Klipsch Synergy B-3 proves that a good speaker doesn't have to be big or expensive.

After spending big money on your other components, don't make loudspeakers an afterthought. Before making your final loudspeaker purchase choice, I recommend that you give the Klipsch Synergy B-3 a listen.

Official Product Page

NOTE: Klipsch has discontinued production of the B-3 bookshelf loudspeakers, but they may still be available used via third parties. For a look at Klipsch's current bookshelf loudspeaker offerings, check out their Official Bookshelf Loudspeakers Page