It's never a good idea to second-guess speaker makers. Take the Klipsch (opens in new tab) RB-10s: as they're part of the same range as the RB-81s, seen in a past test, we were expecting a couple of brutes.
Instead, the RB-10s turn out to be very compact. Their dimensions almost insist you put them on a bookshelf, one either side of a midi system.
That would be to sell the RB-10s short, though. They're not the most capable design, as we shall see, but they're still a big upgrade on any speakers you might get with a £300-ish all-in-one.
Far from immodest sound
And while we were surprised at their modest dimensions, their immodest sound didn't surprise us at all.
We started with Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children but, to be honest, your choice of source material is neither here nor there.
The RB-10s grab music by the scruff of its neck and give it a good shaking – the excursion of that 10cm driver may be unnerving at first but the Klipsches remain entirely in control, dealing out a brash, energetic and entertaining sound at all times.
They positively relish playing loud, exhibit credible dexterity when the going gets complex, and extract a meaningful amount of detail from recordings too.
Blustering bass is rather blunt
There's decent integration between the hard-working driver and the titanium tweeter hiding behind the elaborate horn arrangement, a solid soundstage and the sort of dismissive dynamic ability that's de rigueur among American loudspeakers.
A listen to Dub Syndicate's Stoned Immaculate exposes the RB-10s' blustering low end as a rather blunt, monotonal instrument that can hamper the lower reaches of the otherwise-poised midrange, and a harder sound when cranked up.
The Klipsches have cheerfully traded subtlety for bungee-jumping thrills and, for some listeners, that'll be an entirely worthwhile trade-off.
So if your budget and room dictate an affordable, dinky speaker and your tastes run to the upfront, you'll find a gregarious partner in the RB-10s.