High-impact bookshelf speakers

The top-of-the-line Klipsch® RB-81 is sure to please music and movie lovers alike with its combination of solid construction and powerful performance. From complex music passages to the demanding soundtrack of an action movie, you'll enjoy exceptionally rich, balanced sound.

Horn technology for dynamic performance

Grille off

The RB-81 uses a horn-loaded tweeter. A flared opening in the enclosure projects high frequencies toward your listening area and prevents sound waves from simply spilling out in all directions. It's the same principle that makes your voice easier to hear when you cup your hands around your mouth. This horn design brings out details in everything you listen to, while reducing reflections that can color the sound. The horn also improves dynamics and efficiency, for powerful, "front row" sound that remains crystal-clear at all volume levels.

Cabinet construction

High-tech construction

The RB-81's woofer dishes out smooth midrange and articulate, well-defined bass. Klipsch makes the woofer cone out of anodized aluminum, so it's strong yet lightweight. A rigid cabinet with resonance-fighting internal bracing houses both the woofer and the tweeter. It all adds up to remarkably accurate reproduction of all your music and movies.

Build a complete Klipsch system

You can build a great stereo system using the RB-81s and a subwoofer. Or, team them with other Reference Series speakers for high-impact home theater.

Recommended center channel speaker: Klipsch RC-62.
Recommended surround speakers: Klipsch RS-52.
Recommended subwoofer: Klipsch RW-10d.

Product Highlights:

  • video-shielded
  • bass-reflex (ported) design
  • frequency response 46-23,000 Hz (±3dB)
  • 8-ohm impedance
  • sensitivity 97 dB
  • handles up to 150 watts
  • Tractrix® horn with 1" titanium tweeter
  • 8" Cerametallic™ woofer
  • woodgrain vinyl finish
  • 9-1/4"W x 19"H x 12-13/16"D
  • warranty: 5 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
Priced each

    Why choose bookshelf speakers?

    Bookshelf speakers may be small in size, but they can deliver surprisingly big sound. Some ultra-compact models even fit on a desktop. Most are right at home in tight spaces like shelves, so they're usually good choices for your home theater's rear channels. For the best performance, try placing bookshelf speakers on solid speaker stands to help the sound really "open up." If you want full bass impact, add a powered subwoofer and enjoy punchy sound that's as deeply satisfying as that of floor-standing speakers.

    Klipsch Reference Series RB-81 Reviews

    Average Customer Review:

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    Surpassed my expectations!

    Written By Lester, High Desert, CA on Friday, July 11, 2008

    Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

    The Klipsch Reference Series RB-81 Speakers are a sonic wonder. I can't say enough good things about them. The soundstage is superb while individual instrument and vocal placement in the stereo field is pronounced and articulated.
    I use them for stereo music and also as the right and left speakers in my larger 7.1 system.
    Take some time to properly set these speakers up and it will pay off big time! Get them at the correct height for your listening position,. Make sure they are the same distance apart from each other as you are from them , forming a triangle. Once you hear them in the 'sweet spot' you will truly experience 3D sonic bliss!. These speakers are very efficient and you'll notice your amp doesn't need to be turned up as high. They sound equally as good at both higher and lower volumes. The sound they put out is of absolute quality. My only advice would be if your primary musical interests lean towards hip hop you may wish to add the matching subwoofer for even more bass response.
    With a 5 year warranty these speakers are a big winner in my book. And dealing with Crutchfield is always a pleasure. I'm stoked!

    Hands-on research

    What's in the box?

    Download owner's manual

    • Black two-way bookshelf loudspeaker
    • Detachable magnetic grille
    • 4 Self-adhesive rubber feet
    • Owner's Manual
    • Warranty Card
    • Klipsch Design Principles brochure

    Features and Specs

    Enclosure Bass Reflex
    Video Shielded Yes
    Tweeter Type Tractrix Horn
    Tweeter Size (inches) 1
    Midrange Size (inches) N/A
    Woofer Size (inches) 8
    Woofer Composition Cerametallic
    Woofer Surround Rubber
    Power Range 20-150
    Sensitivity 97 @ 2.83V dB
    Impedance (Ohms) 8
    Frequency Response 46-23k Hz
    Connector Type Binding post
    Bi-amp Inputs Yes
    Height (inches) 19
    Width (inches) 9-1/4
    Depth (inches) 12-13/16
    Weight (pounds) 30
    Mounting Bracket Included No
    Recommended Stand Height (inches) 24-28
    Parts Warranty 5 Years
    Labor Warranty 5 Years

    Product Research

    Overview: The Klipsch Reference Series RB-81 is a two-way bookshelf loudspeaker which delivers high-performance sound using Klipsch's advanced technologies, world-class materials and elegant design. The RB-81 employs a single 8.0-inch woofer and a Tractrix horn-loaded 1" titanium tweeter in a bass reflex cabinet.

    Driver Technology
    Enclosure Design
    Mounting Options

    Driver Technology

    Tractrix Horn Tweeter: The Klipsch RB-81 features a 1-inch titanium-diaphragm compression driver inside a square Tractrix Horn for smoother high-end response with greater extension, enhanced imaging and more powerful dynamics. The 1-inch titanium tweeter features a large ceramic motor structure to provide a unique combination of precision, clarity and effortless power. The Tractrix Horn delivers a 90-degree wide by 60-degree high dispersion pattern for a broader sound-stage.

    Cerametallic Woofer: The 8.0-inch woofer of the RB-81 bookshelf loudspeaker features Klipsch's distinctive, copper-colored Cerametallic material. Made with an anodized aluminum, this cone is strong and dent resistant. The anodizing process converts its inner and outer surfaces to ceramic. The outcome is a rigid cone with superb damping characteristics that will not flex or resonate at frequencies within the woofer's operating range The 4-inch woofer also employ a rubber surround for added durability.

    Crossover Network: The Klipsch RB-81's crossover network is constructed using extremely high-quality components including top-of-the-line internal wiring, polyester film-type capacitors and an air-core inductor to ensure signal purity and proper driver integration.

    Enclosure Design

    Bass Reflex Enclosure: The 8.0-inch Cerametallic cone woofer and 1-inch titanium diaphragm compression driver are mounted in a Bass reflex enclosure which features a front-firing port. The bass reflex enclosure features a MDF cabinet finished with a Black Ash wood-grain vinyl. The enclosure uses a low-diffraction sculpted cast aluminum front baffle to improve sound dispersion and features improved internal bracing to prevent unwanted resonance.

    Magnetic Grille: The bookshelf loudspeaker features a removable magnetic grille which easily snaps into place over its cast-aluminum front baffle. The speaker can be used with or without its grille in place.


    Dual Binding Posts: The speaker has two sets of  binding posts connected by jumpers. Using the dual binding posts, you can bi-amp or bi-wire the speakers.

    Mounting Options

    Magnetically Shielded: The Klipsch RB-81 bookshelf  loudspeaker is magnetically shielded to prevent video interference.

    Mounting: The speaker also comes supplied with four self-adhesive rubber feet so you can sit the speaker on a stand or shelf securely. The rubber feet add approximately 0.3125" to the height of the speaker.

    Placement: The Reference Series bookshelf loudspeaker is designed to perform well in a wide variety of locations but you will get the most out of the speaker by following these simple guidelines.

    • Place the front left and right speakers on shelves or stands with their tweeters at approximately ear height for a seated listener. When used surround sound speakers, they normally perform best when placed slightly higher than ear level.
    • The bookshelf loudspeakers should be equal distance from the floor and the wall behind them. It can also helps to have the left and right speakers at different distances from their nearest side walls. This sort of staggering helps smooth the bass range.

    Note: The Klipsch RB-81 bookshelf loudspeakers are packaged and sold individually.

    Our Product Research Team

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