If you love audio, you're probably already familiar with names like Klipsch and Onkyo, but rarely have the two crossed paths. Thankfully for audiophiles, that's about to change with Klipsch's new Flexus series of soundbars, subwoofers and satellites that use bespoke components made by Onkyo.
The lineup, which includes the Flexus Core 100 and 200 soundbars as well as the Sub 100 subwoofer and Surr 100 surrounds made their debut at CES 2024 — and we were able to get a private listening demo of what could be some of the best soundbars of 2024.
According to a Klipsch representative, "all of the non-passive components" — amp included — are made by Onkyo, hyping the quality control of the legendary Japanese audio brand. The products are due out by April of this year with further innovations to the lineup coming sometime in the future.
Onkyo-powered soundbars? Yes, please
Onkyo is probably most frequently associated with audiovisual receivers (AVRs, for short), which has been the brand's bread and butter for the last few years. AVRs use a pretty complex series of power amplifiers and surround-sound decoders, both of which are crucial for soundbars.
The two soundbars Klipsch are showing off at CES, the Core 100 and Core 200, both take full advantage of their Onkyo components, offering clearer sound and lower latency to the wireless surrounds. Impressively, the lower-cost of the two bars — the Core 100 — will only cost $299 while the more expensive Core 200 will come in at $449.
The demo we heard started with a scene from The Super Mario Bros. Movie where Mario squares off with Donkey Kong. There was a real focus on dialogue clarity demonstrated perfectly first by Cranky Kong and then, at the end of the clip, Diddy Kong. Klipsch has long been known for its emphasis on upper-mid-range audio, and that was on full display with the Core 100.
That said, it was lacking some real punchy bass.
Demo two was a clip of Jurassic World Dominion where we could here the thump of a dinosaur's feet as it encircled a helpless Bryce Dallas Howard. Out of the box the Core 200 has a 3.1.2-channel configuration, but then you can tack on up to two separate subwoofers and a pair of satellite speakers for full 5.2.2 surround sound.
But you might want to wait for more spatial audio
The only real downside to the new soundbars — and this very easily could be chalked up to the high ceilings of the demo space we were in — was that the height channels sounded a bit anemic compared with the rest of the mix.
When asked if there were further plans to enhance the lineup with up-firing satellite speakers in the future, Klipsch couldn't comment, but it did seem like something to that effect could be in the works sometime in the future.
For folks looking for a solid surround sound setup from a soundbar, a sub and a pair of satellite speakers, the Onkyo-powered Klipsch Flexus system hits all the right notes — but those looking for a full 7.1.4 system with more spatial audio aptitude, you might want to look elsewhere or wait for some eventual innovations to the lineup.
Check out our CES 2024 hub for all the latest news from the show as it happens. Follow the Tom’s Guide team in Las Vegas as we cover everything AI, as well as the best new TVs, laptops, fitness gear, wearables and smart home gadgets at the show.
And be sure to check out the Tom's Guide TikTok channel for all the newest videos from CES!
Get the BEST of Tom’s Guide daily right in your inbox: Sign up now!
Upgrade your life with the Tom’s Guide newsletter. Subscribe now for a daily dose of the biggest tech news, lifestyle hacks and hottest deals. Elevate your everyday with our curated analysis and be the first to know about cutting-edge gadgets.
Nick Pino heads up the TV and AV verticals at Tom's Guide and covers everything from OLED TVs to the latest wireless headphones. He was formerly the Senior Editor, TV and AV at TechRadar (Tom's Guide's sister site) and has previously written for GamesRadar, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade. Not sure which TV you should buy? Drop him an email or tweet him on Twitter and he can help you out.