Backstage: Klipsch, the iPod, and ProMedia Ultra 2.0 | iLounge Backstage


Backstage: Klipsch, the iPod, and ProMedia Ultra 2.0

picThough the reasons won’t initially be apparent, 58-year old speaker house Klipsch is about to stage two product releases worthy of a sigh of relief for iPod fans. This is being covered on Backstage because the first product isn’t iPod-matching – unless you’re thinking of the U2 iPod, that is – but come January and February, Klipsch will be remedying that.

We’ve been playing with a set of the company’s ProMedia Ultra 2.0 speakers, the lowest-priced ($99.99) system in Klipsch’s well-received family of ProMedia products. The 2.0 designation denotes that they consist of two freestanding speakers and no subwoofer, which distinguishes them from Klipsch’s subwoofer-laden ProMedia 2.1 ($149.99) and ProMedia GMX A-2.1 ($149.99), as well as the five satellite and subwoofer ProMedia Ultra 5.1 ($349.99) and ProMedia GMX D-5.1 ($299.99) systems. For more on the PMU 2.0 system, and the future of Klipsch and the iPod, click on Read More.

High-Concept, Low Price

With so many higher-end options available from Klipsch (say nothing of its competitors), here’s why the ProMedia Ultra 2.0 is important: at the same time as competitors have raised the price bar for dedicated iPod speaker accessories without commensurately improving their performance, Klipsch is dropping its anchor (for now, at least) at the lower end of the market. Respected for its accurate and impressive full-sized speaker systems, the company is marketing the 2.0 as a stylish, accurate and low-priced alternative to Altec, Bose, and JBL offerings for the iPod, emphasizing that they provide comparable or greater accuracy and lower-distortion sound than these significantly more expensive competitors. And though the 2.0 system was unquestionably designed as general multimedia speakers, linked mostly with the iPod by marketing, Klipsch has hinted that the low-cost, high-performance philosophy will carry over into very near-term dedicated iPod products, as well.

The first ProMedia Ultra 2.0 speakers are jet black in color, though Klipsch is planning a silver set for release in February, and suggesting that silver will be a better color match going forward for iPod-compatible accessories than white plastic. Each plastic speaker stands nearly 10.5

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Sounds like a great alternative to the overpriced SoundDock. You should review this on the main site—there have been plenty of reviews of things like headphones that aren’t directly marketed as iPod accessories. In fact, more powered speaker reviews in general!

Posted by mattwardfh in Texas on November 22, 2004 at 4:59 PM (CST)


The review will eventually go up on the main site. Maybe we’ll put it up as provisional until the silver ones show up.

We’ve used the recent iPod-matching headphone reviews (Etymotic/Sony) to explain that our older reviews of non-matching hardware were largely done in the absence of dedicated iPod alternatives. It is sort of hard to draw the line between what belongs in the official iPod reviews section, but we’re working on it.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 22, 2004 at 5:08 PM (CST)


too bad its only 30watts, it would be great if it could pump out something more powerful that could make it more competitive with a small stereo system. After all these days you dont really need a cdplayer, amp, radio, etc. with iTunes, an iPod, and internet radio you can replace the annoying and costly stereo systems

Posted by organicaudio in Toronto, Canada on November 23, 2004 at 12:27 AM (CST)


I find it amusing that those of us willing to spend $250 - $500 on a wonderful toy like the iPod think that the SoundDock is overpriced.

We are all in the market of luxury goods, much of which sells not on strict price point but less tangible elements of style and function.

Having spent $300 for my iPod, $150 on cases and accessories (so far) and untold thousands on my music collection, I would hardly feel justified quibbling over a lousy $200 difference in speakers - money that can be made in a few hours. In this end of the market, we buy for quality and aesthetics - and I don’t want anything that even vaguely resembles PC speakers in my living room!

Me? At home I plug my iPod into any one of the 3 stereos via a regular 1/8 inch jack. I am not about to give up access to my radio, LPs and CDs, not yet.

Posted by BradPDX in Portland, OR USA on November 23, 2004 at 11:23 AM (CST)


If the SoundDock’s style and functionality were worth the $200 premium over the Creatures, I could almost agree.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on November 23, 2004 at 12:31 PM (CST)


In regards to the “only 30 watts” comment. As a Klipsch owner, I advise you not to worry about that. Every Klipsh speaker I have heard can blast out sound with very little power. You can expect them to fill a room with ease.

As former bose owner (waveradio + lifestyle 5.1) I can say that all my Klipsch products absolutely destroy anything bose has ever made, and they do it for less money. I will be utterly astonished if these PMU 2.0’s don’t sound multitudes better/louder/clearer/crisper than an overpriced bose waveradio –one of which met its fate with my trash compactor.

I would highly suggest you stay away from bose-anything. The sound they make for the price they sell it at is laughable.  I’m guessing (strongly) that this klipsch PMU 2.0 will best the SoundDock all day long. Of course I cant really say that until I hear the two side by side, but I’m will to bet that if the 2.0’s were white , then the author of this article would have said they sounded better. – sorry, but Jeremy focused on the color, rather than the sound, a little too much.  Other than that, I truly appreciate the review, especially because it’s the first for this product anywhere, and it had some great pictures. Thank you Jeremy.

And in response to BradPDX’s reply, I could not agree more about quality speakers. My reference speakers surly dominate any PC system. But there are PC speakers today that will impress almost anyone. Most notably are the Klipsch Ultra 5.1’s and CreativeLabs Gigaworks, which will best almost any home theater in a box including any bose 5/6.1 system. (Yes, I have done the tests myself in this case)

And in all fairness, the Klipsch 2.0 Ultra’s were not designed for the ipod. They were created to meat market needs at the 100 dollar price point in multimedia speakers. Klipsch has never sold a pair of speakers for this cheap before. If you really want better sound, Klipsch as well as many other companies, offer 150, 200, or 300 dollar solutions. Granted they may not be portable, but lets be real here, if portability was your priority, would own a pair of quality ear buds or headphones. 

Posted by Fa04u12 on November 29, 2004 at 1:11 AM (CST)


i’ve actually had nothing but great experiences with Bose products, experiencing my friends various stereo systems.  They are just able to create sounds more clearer than other companies.  I once listened to a trance cd i admitidly got off the net (to see if i could somehow stand the thumping of trance).  And on my sound system that was ultimately my problem it gave me a bloody headache to listen to the entire trance cd.  But when i shoved it into my friend’s iMac and pumped it thru his amp and Bose speakers it was like it was a totally different cd.  In fact i ended up buying the cd for him for xmas cuz it was a great way to show off his speakers

Posted by organicaudio in Toronto, Canada on November 29, 2004 at 1:28 AM (CST)


I don’t want ruin this thread, so i will just post this, rather then explain.


Posted by Fa04u12 on November 29, 2004 at 4:15 PM (CST)


Back on topic:

Jeremy, can you compare the new klipsch 1” multimedia tweeters to the older 0.75” multimedia tweeters found on the ultra 5.1 or gmx line?

Posted by Fa04u12 on November 29, 2004 at 4:40 PM (CST)

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