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Klipsch RB81 II Bookshelf Speaker Review

First Impressions

When you set your eyes on the Klipsch RB 81ii bookshelf speakers, you can tell there’s something distinct about them. First off, contrary to what you may anticipate from the pictures, they arrive in a beautiful, rich walnut finish – not cherry. Moving past their aesthetics, it doesn’t take much time to realize there’s more to these speakers than meets the eye.

However, it’s essential to note that these speakers are sold individually – something I initially overlooked and only became aware of after receiving just one speaker. After ordering the second piece, I could begin my musical journey with the Klipsch RB-81ii.

Sound Quality and Performance

Regarding sound quality and performance, the Klipsch RB-81ii bookshelf speakers have outdone themselves. After ample burn-in time, they transform into a tangible manifestation of pure musical magic. These speakers can produce fantastic, clear sound at all volumes, which has made listening to music an immersive experience.

The bass is robust and accurate, filling the room with a palpable sonic presence. However, those seeking exceptionally prominent bass might need to fine-tune the speakers with a sound equalizer for the best results. On the other side of the spectrum, the high-frequency response is clear but could sometimes sound too sharp or granular. There’s something precise, maybe too exact, about the sound they produce, which might not appeal to everyone’s ears. Perhaps, in larger rooms, the sound would have a bit more space to ‘mature.’

The mid-range presence is also praiseworthy. Compared to the other speakers I’ve tried, these Klipsch speakers fill in the gaps, harmoniously tying the trebles and bass together. The result is a well-rounded sound that is consistent throughout, regardless of your position in the room. The stereo effect is steady, almost creating a cone of sound that remains unaffected even if you move toward the back of the room.

Visual Appeal and Space-filling Sound

There’s no denying the visual appeal of the RB81 II. The blend of the sleek design it garners and the fantastic sound quality it offers amplified the room’s acoustic ambiance. Considering the room layout, when adequately mounted on stands and placed, these speakers can create pure magical music that leaves you with goosebumps and your jaw in awe.

Efficiency and Power Handling

One aspect that impresses me about these speakers is their efficiency. Whether used for a small room setup or a larger living room setting for a house party, the Klipsch RB-81ii speakers have an incredible ability to stay clean without needing a lot of power to drive them. Indeed, it is a feature that highlights their value for money, proving their worth in varying listening environments.

However, unless you want to bother your neighbors or entice the whole street to a block party, you will be well-served by a less powerful amplifier. These speakers have a wide headroom regarding volume, which is a testament to their quality design and construction.

Klipsch RB-81

On the Downside

Among the few downsides one might encounter is that the highs on the speakers might feel slightly granular, almost too clean and crisp. For a small room setup, the lows might seem a bit loose, probably due to the ported design of the speakers.

Overall Performance

Regarding quality and performance, these speakers have filled in many gaps left by other brands in the market. Despite minor nitpicks on the sound quality, taken as a whole, the Klipsch RB81 II offers a unique audiophile experience that proved to be quite satisfying for me. However, one should remember to verify if they’re buying a pair or a single unit before purchasing.

Pros and Cons


  • Impressive sound output at all volumes
  • Great bass and mid-range presence
  • High efficiency – don’t need a lot of power to drive them
  • Beautiful walnut finish
  • Sold individually, providing flexibility


  • The high-frequency response can be too sharp for some listeners
  • Speakers are sold separately, which can be confusing and lead to incomplete purchases
  • You might need a pleasing EQ to optimize the bass output


The Klipsch RB-81ii bookshelf speakers blend remarkable audio performance, efficiency, and tasteful aesthetics. Despite a few nitpicks, these speakers can hold their ground against competitors from more premium lines within Klipsch’s stable products. Whether you’re an audiophile or a casual listener, you will appreciate these speakers’ hat-tipping performance.

Bass Response
The Klipsch RB-81 deliver impressive bass response. The speakers offer deep, full and punchy bass that is quite remarkable for a bookshelf speaker.
Treble Detail
While these speakers offer clear highs, some users found them to be a little sharp and harsh, especially when used in small rooms. However, they did appreciate the speakers' ability to reproduce all the metallic elements in the music.
Midrange Clarity
The Klipsch RB-81 offer decent midrange clarity. The speakers are able to produce a clear, clean and balanced sound at all levels.
The Klipsch RB-81 are beautifully designed speakers that users felt would look great in their homes. Some even stated they would have been pleased with them regardless of their color.
Sound Quality
The sound quality of Klipsch RB-81 is fantastic, as per many users. From their capacity for high sensitivity to their good bass and clear highs, these speakers offer a high-fidelity sound expected of an audiophile unit. These speakers also seem to improve with time as they break in.
Value for Money
With their high-quality sound and build, the Klipsch RB-81 offer good value for their price. They are a little on the expensive side, but users felt the outstanding performance justified the cost.
Total Score
Rating Summary
The Klipsch RB-81 manage to propose a delightful balance of impressive bass response, clear highs, and decent midrange clarity, all packed in a beautiful design which users can't help but appreciate. While they lean toward the pricey side, most users agreed the performance they received was good value for the amount spent. The bass response was particularly commended, especially considering the compact size of these bookshelf speakers. The highs are clear, however some found them a little too harsh, especially in smaller rooms. Despite this, the speakers' capacity to reproduce the different elements in the music was appreciated. Midrange clarity, although not mind-blowing, was decent, satisfying most users. The sound quality was widely celebrated, from high sensitivity to balanced audio, and even seemed to grow better as the speakers were given time to break in. Users were taken by the design of the RB-81, appreciating the aesthetic touch they added to their surroundings. Altogether, the Klipsch RB-81 seem to offer a well-rounded package of sound quality, design and value for money.