Klipsch Reference (R-14PM, R-15PM) Powered Bookshelf Speakers Review

Last updated on: 10-5-18
Bottom Line: powered speakers that are truly designed to replace full fledged passive home theater speakers. Heavily discounted now with newer generation versions in their stead, won’t be available for that much longer. If you really don’t want to deal with a receiver, either of these are a great option at a competitive price. We strongly recommend adding a subwoofer, which is easy to do.

Important Specs Overview

Speaker Typepowered, 2-way, back ported(<--same)
Max Output103 dB @ 1m(not specified)
Response Range80 - 20k Hz62 - 24k Hz
Woofer Size4 in5.25 in
Unit Dimensions (w x d x h)6 x 8 x 10 in7 x 8 x 13 in
Unit Weight7 lb10 lb
Warranty1 year (electronics), 3 years (parts)(<--same)

Review And Discussion

When it comes to speakers that are as loud and powerful as it gets for the size and price, Klipsch is often the winner, and we’re glad they’ve taken that trend into developing powered versions of their reference bookshelf speakers.

The obvious advantage of powered/active speakers is that you don’t need to set up or pay for a receiver – these you can just plug right into the wall, then to your source component either via Bluetooth or a standard cable, then you’re ready to go.

The usual trade off, though, with powered bookshelf speakers is that they tend to be less powerful than comparable passive speakers, usually limited to near field listening via a computer or desktop setting. Klipsch’s powered reference speakers, however, are plenty powerful for a full fledged party or home theater setting, boasting over 100 dB of output @ 1 meter (be careful – that’s in the realm of ear damage, just fyi).

The response floor of the larger 5.25 inch version is OK while that of the smaller version is not all that great, so the bass on these will probably lack without a subwoofer. Klipsch speakers tend to focus on loud treble anyhow, and 2 way bookshelf speakers are not really designed to reproduce the full range of bass. The good news is both of these have a line out to connect a subwoofer – a rather uncommon feature of powered speakers – and is something which would be easy to add since most home theater subwoofers are powered as well.

The design is the same as their passive counterparts, the R-14M and R-15M (reviewed here), and while there are minor aesthetic differences between the two, the build is the same. Each has a horn tweeter and a metallic woofer made out of the same proprietary blend. While Klipsch has an excellent 5 year warranty on their passive speakers, they only offer 1 year of coverage on the electronics of their powered speakers (3 years for parts), which is pretty bare minimum for the price.

Our Overall Take, As Compared To The Competition

It’s nice to see one of the major audio companies make powered bookshelf speakers that are truly designed to replace passive home theater speakers. The R-14PM and R-15PM are both heavily discounted now since they’ve been replaced with newer generation versions (now reviewed here), so now’s as good a time as any to get them. We recommend just getting the bigger 15s since they’re not all that much more expensive.

Get the Klipsch R14/15pm on Amazon

See our current picks for the overall best budget bookshelf speakers