I recently dove into a fun comparison, Klipsch Cinema 600 vs Samsung HW-Q900T which is better?, and found the Klipsch was not quite up to snuff when it came to delivering a true surround sound experience. Still, it had some clear strengths that had me wondering. How would the average person, sitting in a typical living room, and with a nice TV feel about this soundbar system? Would they notice the differences that stood out in my review or would they find the overall performance perfectly acceptable?
All of this introspection came on the back of an earlier review. This was the “Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Samsung HW-Q950T Which is better?”, and with a fuller surround sound experience the Cinema 1200 had a clear, though pricier, advantage. With that review, I’ve now pulled back the covers on half of the Klipsch Cinema series. Next up is the Klipsch Cinema 400 so let’s have some fun and match that up to the Cinema 600 in the “Klipsch Cinema 400 vs Klipsch Cinema 600, which is better?” side by side test.
To start with, the Cinema 400 is more of a stereo soundbar than a surround sound system even though it comes with a separate bass speaker that is large and deeply responsive. What it doesn’t have is a center channel, making this a 2.1 channel system, and that definitely limits its surround sound performance.
However, this is a Klipsch, completed with a pair of patented Klipsch horns on either end of the bar that help this bar perform better at some levels than even the most highly rated surround sound systems and it’s this that makes this comparison so interesting.
Another point of interest with both of these soundbars is the price point. Both come in at less than $500 and with the Cinema 400, you will spend half that amount. Considering how well they perform, this ensures both of these soundbars deliver solidly on price vs performance and at a level that should make other soundbar manufacturers envious.
They manage this because they are, as they’ve always been, focused on delivering great stereo performance and when that is accomplished the benefits of surround sound can begin to fade away. Plus, both the Cinema 400 and the larger Cinema 600 just fit better in midsize and smaller listening spaces where the soundstage will naturally be limited by the physical space these soundbar systems need to fill.
So, for those that want the most from a limited budget or who are looking for a more balanced movie/music listening experience, both of these soundbars are well worth considering.
Klipsch Cinema 400 vs Klipsch Cinema 600 Side-by-Side
Neither the Klipsch Cinema 400 nor Cinema 600 is a surround sound system. Both offer what Klipsch calls a virtual surround sound experience that is good but certainly can’t compete with a true Dolby 5.1 or Dolby Atmos-supported system.
Klipsch uses a combination of firmware and software to simulate a reasonably decent surround sound experience that comes very close to a true surround sound 5.1 listening experience but they both come up way short on the Atmos side of the listening experience. In fairness, Klipsch doesn’t even pretend to deliver anything like an Atmos experience.
Keeping in mind that Dolby Atmos creates an envelope of sound by using all of the individual speaker drivers in a system independently to create movement across the soundstage, these two soundbar systems just do not bring enough to that soundstage to work.
This is more the case with the Klipsch 400. This soundbar has a total of 4 speakers. Two are visible, placed at either end of the soundbar. These are the Klipsch-unique Tractix Horns and they are arguably better speaker drivers than you’ll find in most any other soundbar. They are the tech that put Klipsch near the top of the audio world and they continue to keep them near the top.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 shares these same horns but they are just a bit larger and put out a bit more power. The quality of the sound they deliver is indistinguishable from its slightly smaller sibling. Both are, as they always have been, impressive in the range and clarity of the audio they push out.
Both place a mid-range woofer just to the inside of the horns and in the Klipsch Cinema 400, that’s it. The rest of the bar provides acoustical space only. This means this 2:1 soundbar has no center channel and that’s one of its most significant drawbacks. Without the center channel to provide clarity in the center of the soundstage, the dialog can get a bit tough to discern.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 steps things up a notch by adding three speakers in the center of the bar. This includes a tweeter that is flanked at either side with an additional woofer. This creates a true center channel (3:2), and with it, dialog becomes much clearer. This gives the Cinema 600 a very clear edge over the Cinema 400 for movie watching but when it comes to music, both perform at a near equal level.
The sound quality these soundbar systems deliver when listening to music is very similar, where the center channel really doesn’t add all that much. That’s a completely different story when it comes to watching movies. The Klipsch Cinema 600 is leaps and bounds better in this category. The center channel adds depth and clarity that is impossible for the Cinema 400 to match without any center channel to work with.
In terms of size, the Klipsch Cinema 600 is slightly longer than the Cinema 400. Both will look great with any TV that is 55” or less. For larger TVs, they may both look a bit dwarfed but even then, that probably won’t be much of a problem until you get too much larger TVs of 70+ inches. There is a table a bit further on that provides the specifics.
Both soundbars come with a wireless subwoofer and while the subwoofer that comes with the Cinema 400 is a bit smaller at 8”, they both deliver powerful bass lines. The subwoofer that comes with the Cinema 600 is 10” but unless you have them side-by-side, you probably won’t notice the difference.
They both reflect the Klipsch tradition of building high-quality cabinetry for all of their speakers, with solid wood construction. The wood grains are matched and the final finish brings out all of the qualities that make wood cabinetry so satisfying to both see and feel.
These subwoofers are downward-ward firing so they need to be placed on a solid surface. If you have carpeted floors the carpeting will absorb and dull the impact these subwoofers have the potential to deliver. If you look at the Klipsch promotional material for these you’ll see that they are sometimes placed inside a cabinet. While they don’t say so, this is likely how they are creating that solid surface the sound needs to reflect off of.
Both the Klipsch Cinema 400 and Cinema 600 are powerful enough to fill an average to small living room with rich sound. As reflected in the numbers, the Cinema 400 is a 400-watt system, while the Cinema 600 moves that of to 600 watts. The result however is insignificant. While you’ll be able to run the volume up a bit higher in the Cinema 600 that bar is also driving 3 more speakers so the volume difference isn’t all that noticeable. Don’t expect either of these soundbar systems to overwhelm anything other than the smallest rooms and don’t expect them to fill rooms that are a bit larger than average or that has a ceiling that is higher than 8 or 9 feet.
As you would expect, both soundbars have a dedicated remote and both can also be driven with the Klipsch Connect app. The remote that comes with the Cinema 600 is slightly larger but can still easily get lost between the cushions of your couch. The remote that comes with the Cinema 600 is backlit so watching in the dark is easier. They also come packaged with all of the required wires and wall-mount hardware.
You’ll find an excellent review of the Klipsch Cinema 400, presented by Techno Babble that digs into the nuts and bolts of this soundbar and makes a decent attempt at giving you a sound test.
|Klipsch Cinema 400||Klipsch Cinema 600|
|2.1 Channel||3.1 Channel|
|8” Subwoofer||10” Subwoofer|
|Wireless Subwoofer||Wireless Subwoofer|
|400w Output||600w Output|
|No WiFi Support||No WiFi Support|
|Dolby Digtal||Dolby Digital|
|No HDMI in||No HDMI in|
|1 HDMI Out||1 HDMI Out|
|HDMI ARC||HDMI ARC|
|Optical digital I/O||Optical digital I/O|
|Bluetooth, Klipsch Connect App||Bluetooth, Klipsch Connect App|
|No voice assistant support||No voice assistant support|
|Bluetooth streaming only||Bluetooth streaming only|
In terms of the specification, there is almost no difference at all between the Cinema 400 and the Cinema 600. These are both basic by design and the result is a performance that is very much what I expected from these two soundbars. Nothing stands out as outstanding nor is there anything that is significantly disappointing. They are exactly what they appear to be – moderately priced soundbar systems.
Comparing Sizes – Klipsch Cinema 400 vs Klipsch Cinema 600
|Klipsch Cinema 400||Klipsch Cinema 600|
|Width||39.9 inches – 101.4 cm||45.1 inches – 114.5 cm|
|Height||3.0 inches -7.6 cm||2.9 inches – 7.3 cm|
|Depth||3.4 inches – 8.6 cm||3.3 inches – 8.5 cm|
|Width||12.0 inches – 30.5 cm||14.3 inches – 36.3 cm|
|Height||16.3 inches – 41.5 cm||18.4 inches – 46.8 cm|
|Depth||12.0 inches – 30.5 cm||14.3 inches – 36.3 cm|
The only size difference between these two soundbars is with the subwoofer. If you are going to install this as a shelf unit, the Cinema 600 subwoofer is likely to be a few inches too large. Even the Cinema 400 can be a bit too big so if you are setting this up in a room with a carpeted floor you may need to look for an alternative soundbar system. You may want to consider the Samsung HW-Q900T, with its side-firing subwoofer instead. You can find my comparison review of it with the Cinema 600 here – Klipsch Cinema 600 vs Samsung HW-Q900T.
You can find the Klipsch Cinema 400 on Amazon for $329.00. It’s also available on eBay for $259.00. Both are new. eBay also offers some refurbished and pre-owned Cinema 400’s but the price difference is too small to make those worthwhile.
The Klipsch Cinema 600 is available on Amazon at $500 on eBay at the same price. If you’re interested, the Klipsch Cinema 600 can be extended by adding 2 satellite speakers as well. They add about 50% more to the total cost but they improve performance dramatically. You’ll find both Amazon and eBay offer these packages at about $850.
So, the addition of a center channel adds just $150 to the cost of the soundbar. That’s not bad given how much more you’ll get out of the Cinema 600.
With the addition of the center channel speakers, there is zero doubt that the Klipsch Cinema 600 will outperform the Klipsch Cinema 400 in every way. With music, the level of performance will be closer to balanced but even there, the Cinema 400 comes up just a bit short.
The question then is, can your budget support the additional cost of the Cinema 600. If not, don’t be all too concerned. The Klipsch Cinema 400 will still kick up your movie-watching experience quite a bit when compared to the TV speakers alone and at as little as $259, that makes this system well worth the money.
If you can afford the additional cost, the Klipsch Cinema 600 also delivers great value for the money. It won’t be the most immersive surround sound experience but with the unique Klipsch Tractix Horns it stands up very well against every other soundbar system in this price range.
If your budget can handle it and you want a real surround sound experience, have a look at my review of the Klipsch Cinema 1200 vs Samsung HW-Q950T. These do add a significant amount to the total cost but with surround sound that is real, the listening and watching experience is brilliantly better.
There are some great alternatives as well. Consider the Bose Smart Soundbar 300 that stands up well against the Q900T and the Klipsch Cinema 1200. It doesn’t have a separate subwoofer but still, it seems to play well against these two.
We’ve also compared the Klipsch against Yamaha – Yamaha Yas-209 Vs Klipsch Cinema 600, among others. Take some time to read through it as well. It will expand your range of choices and might just convince you to invest a bit more in your surround sound system.
Stay tuned for more soundbar comparisons.