Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
The brightness stereotype is true.
on September 1, 2018
I labored over buying a pair of speakers ... I mean I did hours of research over days. I am new into the world of vinyl and have invested more than I want to admit in the hobby this far. I bought a Fluance rt-81 turntable paired with a Sony receiver (soon upgrading to a Tube Cube 7 tube amp). I didnt want to break the bank on speakers bec as use my go as l is to upgrade to the real quality stuff once I see where this hobby goes. So $300 was my limit for speakers.
I had it down between Fluance Signature series, Edifier, Polk and a few other brands. Klipsch came into the picture because so many great reviews appear on so many sites. And they have a pretty good reputation and lineage. American company too, which scores them points although I'm not foolish enough to think they too dont outsource labor to China these days.
The biggest fear I had was so many reviews mention Klipsch speakers are bright and harsh sounding. Long story short ... they kind of are. I wont lie and say that I'm not fairly disappointed by their harsh sound. But at this price point, I wouldn't know that any other brand would be any different. I got a fantastic price during their 'black Friday in April' sale. I paid about $120 for a new pair. I'd have tried the Fluance had the Klipsch been full price at $170 or $200.
Klipsch have a big horn at the top. It looks more like a loudspeaker youd see at a stadium designed to move a lot of air and broadcast a loud sound. Even at 1/4 volume, these will bounce off the walls in my fairly big living room. The room is filled with sound and unfortunately not in a great way.
If you dont have an amp where you can play with the treble and bass, you may be in for an uncomfortable listening experience. We have been conditioned over time to expect loads of bass when we listen to music. Between Beats headphones and subwoofer theater packages, the average music listener hears songs much different than probably intended by the artist. In fact, if you listen to an album from the 60s such as The Beatles vs. the modern day remasters, you'll notice anything made in the last 20 years is literally inundated with booming bass. Original albums were less bass heavy and most people heard them through speakers on built in record players until the hifi movement of the 1970s.
So back to Klipsch ... the harshness is real. I almost boxed these up and returned them the first time I heard them out of the box. Terrible stuff. I let them break in listening to albums for about 24 hours of music before they relaxed a bit. They never really got rid of that 'in your face' loudspeaker type of forceful sound. On my computer system with a mini subwoofer I can listen to music all day. After 2 or 3 albums on the Klipsch, I'm ready for a break. Maybe a subwoofer will help but that means I'll have to give up the tube amp as I have no subwoofer port.
In fairness, as bright and harsh as they are ... the sound is smooth. Vocals and jazz music are crisp. Once you get into some music with bass or complicated instrumentals, you might be in some trouble. The bass (lows) can get a bit muddy at loud levels. (a sub $300 receiver could also be to blame for this) ... however anytime the volume goes past 1/2 the dial turn I am like a dog with a whistle. I cant stand the sound ... even if its Hendrix, The Doors or The Stones. Harsh. Bright. Yuck.
So in summary ... buyer beware. Had I to do it over, I'd have rolled the dice on another brand. Klipsch speakers are cool for some music but other music (anything complex) is completely destroyed by these. Motorhead is ruined forever for me. I honestly cannot fathom these get close to 5 star reviews. I guess it's true that these are love them or hate them. I'm somewhere in between. I tolerate them. But I wont be upset at all when I move on to a better speaker. It wont be a Klipsch most likely. It's not a bad speaker but it's just not for me.