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Klipsch’s Onkyo-powered Flexus modular home theater sound system starts at $349

Klipsch Flexus Core 200-based system.

During CES 2024, Klipsch gave us a sneak peek at its new collaboration with sister brand Onkyo: a modular, soundbar-based home theater system called Flexus. While not all of the details from CES have been kept intact, today is available from Klipsch itself as well as various retailers, starting at $349.

Here’s how the Klipsch x Onkyo Flexus system breaks down.

The Flexus system consists of two soundbar models (Flexus Core 100 and Flexus Core 200), a wireless subwoofer (Flexus Sub), and a set of wireless surround speakers (Flexus Surr). You can mix and match these components as they communicate wirelessly via a 2.4GHz system called Klipsch Transport technology.

Oddly, Klipsch Transport technology isn’t built into either of the Core soundbars. It needs an accessory dongle that ships with both the Flexus Sub and Flexus Surr. The dongle is snapped into the back of the Core soundbars, and you only need one to manage all of the Flexus accessories. So, if you buy both the Sub and the Surr, you’ll have a backup dongle if you ever need it.

Using a dongle is meant to make the setup process easier, according to Klipsch’s senior product manager, Andy Spalla. Apparently, the company’s research revealed that folks found other wireless systems harder to use.

Onkyo’s role on all of the Flexus products, says Spalla, was the design of the amplifiers and electronics. Onkyo’s Osaka, Japan team also oversaw the design process and quality control process, which included over 1,000 points of testing between Onkyo and Klipsch teams.

Flexus Core 100, $349

Klipsch Flexus Core 100-based system.

The Flexus Core 100 soundbar is the entry-level for the new Klipsch system. It’s a Dolby Atmos-capable 2.1-channel compact, 28-inch wide soundbar with 100 watts of power. Sound is produced via a pair of front-firing 2.25-inch aluminum cone full-range drivers and a pair of up-firing 4-inch paper cone woofers. Despite the up-firing nature of those woofers, they aren’t used to create height channel audio for Atmos content — the Core 100 virtualizes the center, height, and surround Atmos channels.

As with many soundbars from companies like Sony, Bose, and Sonos, the Core 100 has an HDMI ARC/eARC input to receive sound from a compatible TV, but there is no secondary HDMI port for external devices. At CES, Klipsch originally said the Flexus soundbars would support “8K Ultra HD,” but apparently, this was only intended to imply that the soundbars are compatible with 8K TVs and not that they are capable of passing through 8K video.

You also get an optical input that works with digital audio devices like CD players and as an alternative to an HDMI ARC/eARC TV connection, with Dolby Digital 5.1 compatibility. The back panel also sports two USB connections, but they may not work quite the way you expect. The USB-C port is used for software updates and for playing music from external storage devices (you’ll presumably need an adapter, given that most of these devices still use USB-A), while the USB-A port is reserved for the Klipsch Transport dongle.

Supported file formats from the USB-C port are 16-bit MP3, WAV, and FLAC files.

An IR input on the back lets home automation systems like Control4 access the soundbar, but there’s also an IR receiver hidden on the front, making it compatible with most universal remotes.

Finally, there’s a wired subwoofer output that can be used on its own or in tandem with the wireless Flexus Sub 100. In fact, the Core 100 can theoretically drive two Sub 100s wirelessly, plus a third sub using the wired output, should you care to go nuts with low-frequency sounds.

The Flexus Core 100 isn’t Wi-Fi enabled, so you won’t be able to stream directly from music services or use casting technology like AirPlay or Chromecast. But it does have a Bluetooth 5.3 connection (with SBC and AAC codecs) for wireless streaming from smartphones and other devices.

Included with the soundbar are wall-mount brackets, an HDMI cable, and a Bluetooth backlit remote control.

Flexus Core 200, $499

Klipsch Flexus Core 200 soundbar.

A step up from the Core 100 is the Core 200, a Dolby Atmos-capable 3.1.2-channel full-size, 44-inch wide soundbar with 185 watts of power. The front-firing drivers are composed of four 2.25-inch aluminum cone full-range units and a single, centrally mounted .75-inch horn-loaded tweeter. As with the Core 100, the Core 200 gets two 4-inch upfiring woofers plus two 2.25-inch full-range drivers for height channel effects.

Despite using the same woofers as the Core 100, Klipsch says the Core 200 can go slightly lower in terms of frequency range — 43Hz versus 45Hz on the Core 100.

It has the same set of inputs, outputs, and accessories as the Core 100.

Flexus Sub 100, $299

Klipsch Flexus Core 200-based system.

The Flexus Sub 100 is an almost perfect cube at 13.38 by 13.19 by 13.75 inches, with rounded corners, a very convincing wood-look vinyl surface, and a 10-inch woofer. It’s powered by a class-D amp that can manage an average of 80 watts, with 160 watts of peak power.

That setup lets it deliver frequencies as low as 26Hz. Most folks will likely use the Sub 100 with Klipsch’s wireless transport, but it also has a wired input. This means you could also use it with other systems that have a wired sub output, but there are no independent level or crossover controls.

Flexus Surr 100, $249

Klipsch Flexus Surr 100 surround speaker.

These wireless surround speakers are very small at just 6.75 inches tall, 4.1 inches wide, and 4.3 inches deep. Each has a single 3-inch full-range driver with 50 watts of power.

Around the back is a standard quarter-inch threaded insert that can be used with various wall-mount or speaker stand products (or you can just sit them on any surface using their rubber feet).

Inside the manual for the Core 200 is a reference to the Sub 100 and Surr 100 mentioned here, but there’s also a reference to a Flexus Sub 200 and Surr 200. Klipsch hasn’t officially commented on these products, but it’s clear from the images that these will likely push a full Flexus system to a 5.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos system that competes with the best from LG, Samsung, and Sonos.

We’ve received a Flexus Core 200, Sub 100, and Surr 100 for testing and we’ll be able to share a full review in the coming days, so make sure you come back soon for our thoughts.

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Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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