Klipsch, the famous Loudspeaker manufacturer has been evolving a lot than just being a loudspeaker manufacturer, getting into niche segments since the past 2-3 years. The powergate is one of these interesting new products which is a highly versatile product to say the least. It can be used as a traditional stereo amplifier, USB DAC, Headphone Amplifier, Wireless Streamer and used to play back form audio sources via network accessed in a room. We were pleasantly surprised to know that it has been launched recently in the Indian market. The Indian Distributor, M/s. Cinerama Pvt. Ltd.(Cinebels) very kindly sent us a unit to review and play with.
The powergate came packed in a fancy printed plastic coated cardboard box which shows the powergate picture and shares quite a bit of the details on it on the box itself. The powergate comes packed in foam/plastic bags and is ensconced in an egg crate type paper mache cradle, with a compartment in the side having all the relevant cables as stated below. 1 post card sized leaflet which indicates how one can expand their wireless streaming experience with other klipsch products and a small instruction booklet with a warranty leaflet, safety instructions booklet and a spotify leaflet that is folded to the size of the instruction booklet, all packed together in a mini plastic bag. The quality of the packing indicates that they can be re-used for quite a number of times, which is good since one would like to carry it around keeping its small size form in mind.
Contents of the box were as follows:
Power Cords (3 pin & 2 pin)
3.5 Aux Cable
USB A to B Type Cable
Remote Control with 2 AAA Batteries
We received our powergate in black color which is shiny at the front end and side edges, whilst the top and rear is a matt black finish. The front panel consists of a power button, a source selector button on the left side, a large volume/mute control/sub woofer gain dial in the centre and a 3.5mm head fone jack to the right. When powered ON, a red dot to the right of the volume dial which is essentially the stand by light goes off and the left side of the volume dial lights up in a white light with the blue tooth pairing light flashing continuously till the input is selected and a spotifiy connect icon lights up in white on the right side of the volume dial. One will find the following inputs light up once the relevant one is selected by pressing the input button(Wi-fi, Bluetooth, Aux, USB, Phono, Digital) The sides are lightly ribbed with perforations in between to ventilate the heat generated from within. We found the ventilation is rather inadequate as the power gate does get quite hot when in use for a couple of hours especially when the volume is over the half way mark. The rear end consists of (From left to right) Top Left to Right Ethernet Input, Ethernet Output, USB Service Port, USB Audio Input, Optical Input, WiFi Setup LED, WiFi Setup Button, Speaker Wire Binding Posts (L & R), Power Input Bottom Left to Right Phono/Line Input (L & R), Phono / Line Switch, Ground Screw Terminal, Auxillary Input, Analog Output (L & R), Subwoofer Output The remote is a nice slim one with all the buttons nicely spaced out and placed appropriately.
Build Quality: 4 stars
• 2 x 100 watt class D amplifier
• Wi-Fi connectivity for Klipsch Stream wireless multi-room audio integration
• USB Audio (Type B Connection)
• Bluetooth® wireless connectivity with AAC and apt-X decoding
• Phono pre-amp / RCA analog audio
• Optical (TOSLINK)
• Remote control
• 192kHz / 24-bit D/A Converter
• Headphone Output (3.5mm)
• Subwoofer Output
• Line level Pre-amp output (RCA analog)
We tried a variety of gears along with the Klipsch PowerGate, namely:
Oppo Sonica DAC
Cocktail Audio N15
Amphion Helium 410
Heco Victa Prime 202
Merlin TSM BME
Nordost White Lightning
Nordost White Lightning
USB: Nordost Purple Flare
We threw the PowerGate straight into the deep end of the test by pairing it with a variety of partnering electronics, hoping that it will show us a weakness or 2. At the end of the day, we expect a product with the Klipsch name to be ready for taking abuse. That the PowerGate took the challenge well and performed admirably well in most situations, bears as testament to its abilities. The only negative we found with the PowerGate was that it heats up quite a bit! Surely being class D, that should not be the case but it does heat up a lot which makes us think otherwise. Having hardly any sort of ventilation built into its case makes matters worse and is surely not a good sign for the longevity of the product. We observed the heat issue getting aggravated when we pushed the volume up for sustained periods of time(3-4 hours at a stretch) which could indicate that the PowerGate does not like to be played at higher volumes for long periods of time. We brought up this issue with M/s. Cinebels who assured us that it could be an isolated case with the unit we received for reviewing as none of the other PowerGates they tested had heating issues. We sincerely hope that is the case as the PowerGate is a good product indeed.
The PowerGate is an extremely versatile product. It can be used as a traditional 2-channel stereo amplifier, having a phono stage, a USB DAC, Subwoofer out or as a Headphone Amplifier. It can also be integrated with the Klipsch Stream Wireless Multi-Room Audio system for playback of the audio sources via your network in your room. The small form factor and light weight also helps in one being able to carry it around and make the most use of it. At Rs.68000/-, it does seem to be a tad overpriced but the features it offers does make it a viable option for today’s requirements of wanting the features as desired.