The Klipsch Nashville is a Bluetooth speaker that is extremely small and compact yet still promises great things. At least, that’s what the manufacturer claims. Our test showed why it can’t completely fulfil this promise.
- Quite neutral sound
- Dust & waterproof according to IP67
- Can also be used for phone calls
- Can be used as a power bank
- App connection
- SBC codec only
- Buttons not illuminated
- Perforated grille partly uncleanly processed
- Perforated grille partly improperly made
The well-known US speaker manufacturer says it wants to set new standards with the “Klipsch Music City” series. To this end, Klipsch is launching three portable Bluetooth speakers that aim to celebrate the “essence and vibrant heritage of some of the most influential music cities in the USA”. Alongside the Austin, the smallest, and the Detroit, the largest, Klipsch are now launching the medium-sized Nashville speaker.
Klipsch Music City: similarities
Austin, Nashville, Detroit – all three models come with IP67 certification and are not only waterproof under certain conditions (30 minutes in water up to one metre deep) but also protected against dust and dirt. In addition, all these models use the latest Bluetooth version, 5.3, with a range of up to 12 metres. The manufacturer has not disclosed which codecs are being used, but a look at the system settings on a Google Pixel 6a showed that the Klipsch Nashville that we tested only uses SBC.
This speaker can memorise up to eight devices, and the Nashville also supports multipoint: We were able to connect both an iPhone and an Android smartphone to the Nashville at the same time; although you cannot play two streams simultaneously, you can switch back and forth quite easily by pausing one device and then playing on the other.
The three models all support a “Broadcast” mode, which allows you to connect up to ten speakers – but they all have to be in the same model series. You can also create a stereo setup by adding another speaker of the same model.
An integrated microphone allows you to use the Klipsch Music City speakers as a hands-free speakerphone, and with up to 10 watts of charging power, they also act as a power bank for charging your smartphone battery.
However, the Nashville is the only model in the series that has neither a carrying strap (like the Austin) nor a shoulder strap (like the Detroit).
The Klipsch Connect app
Of course, connecting with an app is a must. The “Klipsch Connect App” for iOS and Android takes care of typical management tasks such as firmware updates or equaliser tweaking. However, minimalism is the order of the day here, as there is not much more you can do in this rather old-fashioned-looking app. Thankfully, it is possible to deactivate the somewhat loud start-up noise on this speaker.
Klipsch Nashville: technical details
The Klipsch Nashville’s dimensions are 78mm x 178mm x 81mm and it weights approx. 970 grams. The built-in amplifier delivers 2 x 10 watts, and the speaker is equipped with two 2.25-inch full-range drivers, which are supported by two passive bass radiators. The Klipsch Nashville can reproduce frequencies in a range from 60 Hz to 20 kHz. However, there seems to be some disagreement here: while the press release talks about a frequency response of 55Hz – 20kHz and the German spec sheet mentions 50 Hz – 20 kHz, we found a specification of 60 Hz on the US website. This was confusing and needs to be resolved as soon as possible.
It is supposed to be possible to achieve 360-degree sound by placing the drivers opposite each other. You can read about whether and how well this works in the “Sound” section below.
The manufacturer claims a battery life of up to 24 hours of music playback from a single charge, with the Nashville taking around 1.5 hours to fully charge. To do this, the speaker uses up to 18 watts from a correspondingly powerful power supply unit, which is not included in the package. The fully recyclable cardboard packaging also comes with a USB-C cable that is approx. one metre long, not three metres long, as incorrectly stated by the manufacturer.
Klipsch Nashville: design, workmanship & operation
This speaker has a sturdy design and has a perforated grille cover at the front and rear; a thick, cross-ribbed rubber band runs around the speaker for protection and separation. However, this ribbing ensures that the mobile speaker will always tilt slightly when placed on a flat surface (table, shelf, etc.) during operation. Behind the perforated grille cover, the black fabric protects the innards, but the workmanship of the cover could have been better: If a perforated grille like this is bent or creased, it invariably results in uneven edges and distortions. This becomes especially apparent where the manufacturer’s logo has been pressed into it.
The controls and status indicators are located on the top: Power button (which also activates the temporary battery indicator), Bluetooth pairing button and volume up and down – and that’s all. You can neither switch through equaliser pre-sets nor start or pause playback here – making it similar to the Soundcore Motion 300, which retails at a price that is around 100 euros cheaper.
The slightly raised buttons, which incidentally have a very pleasant pressure point, are not illuminated. When you’re using the speaker in the dark or in low winter light, the contours are so blurred that, for example, you have to feel around to find the button that actually reduces the volume.
Even at the maximum volume level, the Klipsch Nashville does not distort – this speaker is not thrown off its stride by either energetic sub-bass or mid-range guitar solos. Of course, due to its design, a speaker of this size will sacrifice some of its precision. And this was certainly the case at moderate volumes.
In direct comparison with the similarly sized Soundcore Motion 300, the Klipsch Nashville was able to reproduce the subtle details of Amber Rubarth’s “Strive” more clearly. Long reverb tails and instruments that were low in the mix were also reproduced with astonishing vividness. This was due, not least, because of the rear-facing speaker. Although the manufacturer talks about 360-degree sound in this context, we did not perceive the three-dimensionality in this way. It was true that this created a wider sound, but you should not expect to get 360-degree sound in the sense of “immersive” or even “spatial audio”.
The bass was natural and defined in the EQ neutral position, but lacked a certain “impact” when listening to modern dance tracks. The mids, on the other hand, were powerful so that vocals and lead guitars were reproduced clearly and were unadulterated. The upper frequency range did not seem capped, and hi-hats were reproduced in exactly the same way. So, sharply mixed hi-hats might lead to faster listening fatigue at higher volumes.
With the equaliser set to zero, the playback qualities, therefore, seemed quite clean, but I found it all a little too sterile. Fortunately, there are four sound curve pre-sets, sorted by genre, as well as an individual setting option. My favourite settings were “Bass +3”, “Mids -1” and “Treble -1”.
The Klipsch Nashville left us with mixed feelings: While the sound was quite clean for its size, it was the supposedly minor details that spoiled the overall impression – especially when you consider the price. For example, the speaker tilts slightly when put on a table, and you have to feel around for the unlit buttons when using the speaker in semi-darkness. We felt that the Klipsch Nashville lacked value, considering the RRP of 179 euros, due to its poorly realised perforated grille. With all due respect, Soundcore managed this better with its much cheaper Motion 300.
- Ear couplingLoudspeaker
- Frequency response (headphones)60 - 20.000 Hz
- Weight without cable970 g
- Cable length100 cm
What's in the box
- USB-C charging cable
- BT codecs: SBC
- BT version: 5.3