When I first laid eyes on the Klipsch Music Center (KMC 3), I didn’t really know what to think. A portable speaker dock for a mobile device, the KMC 3 connects either via Bluetooth or through the standard 3.55 mm earphone jack (male-to-male cord included).
But I was thrown a bit by the design. With its long flat base and curved top, it reminded me of a ghetto blaster from the ’80s.
I almost felt like I should break out a red leather jacket, ripped jeans, Wayfarer sunglasses and a Kangol Tropic Enfield hat, then strut down Yonge St., clutching the speaker to my ear, as I listen to The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Of course, if I did that, I’d probably be beaten up.
And it would likely hurt my arms, as the KMC 3 is not that light. At 18.3 cm high by 43.2 cm long by 14 cm deep, the Klipsch device is probably about only a third to half the size of an old-school boombox. But at 3.5 kg before you add the 8 D-cell batteries, it’s a little cumbersome to cart around.
The audio system also comes with an AC adapter. If you are indoors, you can plug it into the wall and not worry about the batteries draining on you. And there’s even a USB port so you can charge your mobile device.
(Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this USB port can’t be used to sync the devices. It’s only for charging.)
Music playback is impressive. The KMC 3 consists of a 35-watt 5.25″ subwoofer, with two 15W 2″ root-mean-square full-range drivers. It offers a clean, bassy sound. As the speakers are grouped together, you’re not going to experience anything like a stereo in surround sound. But it’s a far better amplifier than your standard dock, which often has the quality of computer speakers. The music reverberating throughout the room is clear and undistorted even at full volume.
When connected via Bluetooth, you can control your mobile device’s music player with the KMC 3′s remote control. And it works pretty well most of the time. In addition to a button to connect and disconnect from Bluetooth, the remote has all the controls you would expect: power, volume up, down and mute, track forward and back (which double as fast-forward and rewind, respectively, when you hold them down) and play/pause. (When the device is connected by audio jack, only the power and volume controls work as those are the only buttons that correspond directly with the KMC 3.)
When my Samsung Galaxy S3 was paired via Bluetooth, I occasionally had problems getting the play/pause button to work. Pausing worked fine, but getting the song to play again sometimes took a few tries. But all the other buttons worked fine.
In fact, the only real complaint I had with the KMC 3, was with the difficulty in getting the battery in the remote control. It took several tries to open the remote to insert the lithium battery it shipped with. In fact, my roommate had to use a combination of her longer nails and a screwdriver to pry it open. But as lithium batteries last for years and remotes require little power to operate, it’s likely not an ordeal you’ll have to go through more than once.
Klipsch also offers a free app KlipschAir, which has a feature called KlipschCast, which allows multiple people create a joint playlist for the KMC 3 with their iPhones. As I am an Android user, I did not have the ability to test out the app, but the ad is certainly entertaining.