Howdy folks, today I am taking a break from looking at soundbars and putting them head to head, and instead, we have this Klipsch and JBL contest to go through together. I love the Klipsch The Fives speakers and the JBL LSR 305 are held in very high regard so I thought it would be a fun matchup. 99/100 I am always very impressed with what Klipsch offers when it comes to sound. A while back I wrote many articles like this Our 4 Best Vintage Speakers for Metal Music in 2021 and a set of Klipsch speakers would regularly feature on my articles like this.
We are going to break this down into a few different categories that I feel are important to discuss when looking for a set of new speakers. I am going to give my honest opinion here and at the end of the day, my opinion is what this is! So, make sure you do as much homework as possible before throwing your money down on a set of speakers.
We are going to start this article off by looking at how much money you can expect to be paying for either of these. I always like to know how much money I am spending and that is why we are starting off with the price.
Klipsch The Fives:
These are quite expensive for a set of speakers, but they are also very, very high quality. So, they are expensive, but Klipsch The Fives are far from being overpriced. These come in two different colors and that does actually make a difference in regards to the price, well currently on Amazon it does. The matte black version of these speakers is currently listed at $649 and the walnut version is listed at $779! That is quite a difference, over 100 bucks just for a different color of wood. There are some amazing deals for these speakers on eBay. You can get both colors for around the 500 bucks mark which is excellent value for money if you ask me.
JBL LSR 305:
Next up we have the JBL LSR 305 which comes in three sizes, each one with its own price. The version we are looking at today is the 8-inch version which Amazon currently has listed at $232 which is not a bad price at all. You may think that in comparison to the Klipsch, this is a steal. However, that price is for only one speaker, so you will have to buy a second and that then puts the price closer to The Fives. The 6-inch version is currently listed at $164 and then we have the 5-inch version listed at $155, but again, that is only for one speaker. If you look on eBay, the prices for all versions of this are all over the price, so much so that I would not even be able to give you a rough idea. I have seen some that go for 50 or so less than Amazon and others that are asking way more.
Hmm, while the Klipsch The Fives are more expensive, I feel that you are getting a better speaker for your money with those. To be fair, the offering from JBL is great and certainly cheaper, but for me, I just feel that I would be getting more bang for my buck with what Klipsch are offering.
I know that some people could not care less about what their speakers look like, but for me, it is very important. That is why now we are going to look at what these speakers look like, how they are made, and how you can connect your turntable or whatever it is you want these for to them.
Klipsch The Fives:
I did mention just before that the Klipsch The Fives comes in two colors, but I am just going to be looking at the black version. These have that Klipsch style about them, by that I mean that they manage to look cool and stylish at the same time. Have a look at this cool The Fives by Klipsch | Unboxing and Overview video that really does show off these speakers very well. The dimensions of the speakers are 9.3 x 6.5 x 12 inches so they are a decent enough size and they are certainly going to look cool (no matter what color you decide to go for) when they are out on display in your home.
The build quality of the Klipsch The Fives is just incredible. They are made with a very solid wood and they do have a fair bit of weight to them. When I took these out of the box, I was very impressed with how they felt. The black matte version I looked at have a very 80s kind of vibe to them. The solid grille on the front is held in place by magnets and I got a kick out of the Klipsch logo each speaker had on the bottom corner. Now, speaking of the grille, it is a kind of white/silver design and this is something that I am sure some people are going to love and it does go very well with the black wood, but I do think that the grille on the walnut one does look better. I think for the matte black speakers, Klipsch would have been better off using a black grille or a really chrome kind of silver.
On the top of the speakers is a dial for the volume and a dial for the source you want it to be on. This is a very handy, but it does also come with a remote control. As well as your power port on the back, you have your various hookups on the back too. There is a USB port in case you ever need to update the firmware of the speakers. There is an HDMI Arc, phono in, line in, subwoofer port, aux port, optical port, and a USB audio port as well. No matter what you want to hook these speakers up to, you are going to be covered by what this is offering you. It is worth noting that these do also support Bluetooth connectivity as well.
JBL LSR 305:
The JBL LSR 305 is going for what I feel is a more contemporary kind of design. If you look at this JBL 305P MkII Unboxing – Great Deal video, you get a good look at the speaker from pretty much all the important angles. It has a pretty impressive stature about it, coming in at 16.5″ x 10″ x 12.1″. Once I took it out of the box, I was overall, very impressed with just how solid and well built the speaker was. I love black speakers, I would pick black every time over wood or silver. However, while the majority of the body has a kind of matte black design the front has this very glossy look to it. Do not get me wrong, this looks awesome, but in my experience, any speakers or home theatre equipment like this will become a real magnet for dust so that is something to keep on top of.
Also, there is no grille on the front of the JBL LSR 305. Sometimes when you see an image of a speaker online, they take the grille off so you can see what is behind it. I thought that this might have been the case for this, but nope, there is no grille here at all. I know that some people like their speakers to show off the “tech” a little bit or feel that they even sound better without a grille, but I am 100 percent a grille man and think they should have given one here. Even if it was like the one that comes with the Klipsch The Fives, where it is magnetic so it can come on and off.
The back of the speaker is pretty barebones. It offers you balanced XLR and 1/4″ TRS as far as its input types go, but that is it. You have your volume dial on the back of here and also there is a boundary EQ and an HF trim switch on here too. There is no Bluetooth connectivity or anything like that, to be honest, if you ask me, connecting these to a computer seems like what JBL was going for with the design of these speakers or for those that want something a bit more professional. For the price, there is just not enough meat on the bone here for me.
Man, this is such a tough call for me. If the Klipsch The Fives had a black or even a silver grille, I would have given them this round no questions asked. However, while that grille is very well made and great in its own right, the color just does not really do it for me. The JBL LSR 305 on the other hand has a bit of a glossy thing going on and there is no grille at all on the front of here. I think I have to still give this to The Fives, even though I am not a huge fan of the grille on the front. They are built a little bit better and overall; they do have a more “me” kind of style. Still, I could see why someone else would pick the JBL’s. Also, the fact that the Klipsch has way more connectivity options also helps give them the win.
The final round in our battle is the most important one and that is us looking at the sound these produce. These are both held in pretty high regard so I am excited to give my own thoughts. Plus, any excuse to listen to some more music or watch some movies is always cool in my book.
Klipsch The Fives:
No matter the price range of the speakers or soundbar in question, Klipsch always takes the sound their products produce very seriously and that is true for the Klipsch The Fives. Just take a quick look at this Klipsch The Fives _(Z Reviews)_ Best Sounding Klipsch? video and you will get a better idea about why so many people love these speakers. As is the case with any good speakers, you do need to give these a bit of breaking in for them to get to their best. The first thing I tried with this was a record, Contraband by Velvet Revolver, man I wish this band lasted longer. This is actually a really prized piece in my vinyl collection and it sounded great when pumped through The Fives. Right out of the box, these were nice and loud, and even before they were broken in, I was creeping that volume up louder and louder and it held its own and the sound quality was fantastic.
If you were to use these for movies, you will probably want a subwoofer like this Klipsch R-100SW 10″ Subwoofer for example to give you a more movie theatre sound kind of thing going on. Still, for movies, this is great I actually watched a couple of episodes of Cobra Kai with the wife as we get ready to watch the new season on Netflix and the sound quality was great. The vocal clarity was more than fine and I think that these speakers offered a nice and balanced kind of sound, but there is a real raw power here too which did kind of take me by surprise if I am being honest with you.
I am a soundbar guy these days for my movies, if I am being honest with you, but for music, this really are something special. I do not think it would matter what kind of music you were listening to with these, you would be very happy with what you are experiencing. From something nice and smooth like Duke Ellington & John Coltrane to something a bit more gritty like Snoop Dogg, you are going to be very impressed with how it sounds through these speakers.
JBL LSR 305:
What really drew me to the JBL LSR 305 was the reputation it had online. There are many positive reviews on Amazon and many good video reviews like this JBL 305P MKII – 5″ Pro Studio Monitors one here. Which ties into this being a speaker that is more aimed at “professionals” than someone like me who wants to use it for movies and music. The overall sound quality from this speaker was great, right out of the box, even without your usual breaking in period I was impressed here. I listened to Foo Fighters – Greatest Hits which is a go to album of mine if I want something I know for sure I like and I am in a bit of a “meh” mood. I found the level of bass and the overall power to be pretty great actually and I was rocking around the study where I was testing this out.
My wife is a huge Ed Sheeran fan and for Christmas, I got her his latest album, Ed Sheeran = on vinyl (I am trying to get her more excited about vinyl), and while it is not my cup of tea. The more “harmonic” stuff sounded just as good as my loud rock music did when pumped through this thing. For someone that likes to dabble in music production on their computer or who is a DJ, I think this is the kind of speaker (well you will want two) that I think could be very beneficial for you.
As far as movies go, I only tried playing Netflix through it as I had it connected to my computer. I ended up watching a couple of episodes of Stranger Things a show I love and I have seen a ton of times and played through various different speakers and soundbars. I was impressed overall at how it handled it. I do not think I would ever in a million years recommend this speaker to someone looking to get the theatre experience at home if I am being 100 percent honest with you.
I actually ended up using both the Klipsch The Fives and the JBL LSR 305 a few days apart so I think I am in a pretty good position to compare the two of them. While the JBL LSR 305 is great and produces some very nice sound, I have to side that side by side, Klipsch for me is the clear winner here. It is kind of hard to explain, but they just offered a more real and raw kind of sound, plus the JBL is a single speaker (unless you buy two of course) and that certainly did factor into me liking what Klipsch was offering more. For the average person looking for a great set of speakers for their home, the JBL just does not offer the ease of connectivity that type of person is going to want in my opinion.
What Is The Best?
I had a lot of fun playing around with the Klipsch The Fives as well as the JBL LSR 305. If you actually read the article and did not just zoom down to the bottom of this showdown to see the verdict, you already know how this is going to go. I think that in their own way, both of these are great and good value for money and I can see why both of these are popular and held in high regard by those who have them. I think that the majority of the time both Klipsch and JBL offer great products. Still, I do have to say for me personally, Klipsch The Fives is getting their hand raised as they stand tall triumphantly in victory. It is not that the JBL LSR 305 is bad or anything like that, I just think that The Fives are offering you far more.