Saturday, August 23, 2014

Product Review ~

(£2500/$4000)

In 1946, Paul W. Klipsch, audio and physics genius; launched the Klipschorn loudspeaker, one of the most famous and influential speakers ever. The only speaker design to remain only slightly changed in 65 years, Klipschorns are amazingly efficient speakers. They can be driven with a mere 12 watts of power and produce a sensitivity of 105dB at 1 watt/ 1 meter. I have owned a pair since 1987 and I must tell you that many times I have looked to other manufacturers as technology has changed, you know like an audio geek will do, but you will have to pry my Klipschorns out of my dead arms. Klipschorns are manufactured by hand in Hope, Arkansas, just as they have been since 1946. Since I purchased mine, Klipsch has changed the tweeter from a 3” horn to a 1” Phenolic diaphragm compression driver, personally I like the original horn sound slightly better. It sounds a little more natural to my ears, though it does not deliver as high a range as the new driver, both versions spec 33hz to 17khz +/- 4dB.

I must admit to you Ride with the Devil enthusiasts that like the other 4 senses, hearing is very subjective to each person. So when purchasing a speaker system, trust your own ears and ask to demo a system in your listening environment and with your own personal taste in music. What may sound great in a sound room at the dealer, can sound dramatically different in your entertainment room. Many dealers will happily let you demo speakers in your home and when buying a premium speaker, you will be smart to ask for that. What has really amazed me with my Klipschorns over the years is the sound space that the speakers make. If you close your eyes and spin around, it is difficult to point at the speakers within the room, the sound is that full. Now Klipschorns are not for everyone, they need to be placed in the corners of the room and a fairly large room at that. Currently I have mine in a 3.6m by 4.2m (12’ by 14’) space with a vaulted ceiling, by far the best room I have used them in. Also the speakers weigh in at a massive 79.4kg (175 pounds). I find the Klipschorns very well suited to play metal to classical equally well, the bass is always solid and the midrange horn really brings out a fat clean guitar and is very crisp. One unique design feature of the Klipschorns is that the bass driver, a large 38.1cm (15”) reflects off the front birch plywood case and the sound reflects back out the rear of the speaker, and being in a corner creates a very natural live sound quality. And loud, even with a tube amp of relatively low output, these speakers can scream.

The listening mode that I really believe my Klipschorns excel at is with a recording on vinyl. That rich analog sound is reproduced flawlessly. I often find myself on the couch with an old live Who or Clash recording, eyes closed, imagining they are playing on stage in front of me. With timeless design, cabinet beauty, hand craftsmanship, and no bull shit, the Klipschorns are Futzer approved.

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