Klipsch RF-7 Main / Stereo Speakers Reviews

Klipsch RF-7 Main / Stereo Speakers

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Worth every penny and then some

Jan 22, 2007 (Updated Jan 28, 2007)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

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Pros:Incredibly accurate sound, will fill the largest room.

Cons:Will show up weaknesses in DVD players, CD players, TV tuners, etc.

The Bottom Line: If you are looking for main speakers for under $2000, give these a listen. You won't be hearing "the speaker," you'll be hearing what's on the DVD or CD.

I bought a pair of Klipsch RF-7's after reading a lot of reviews and forums on the internet. I bought them without hearing them. No local hi-fi shops had them available and I wasn't all that impressed with what I did hear at those shops. I wanted something that would fill a 1200 square foot room with authority and I didn't see anything that I thought would do that like the two 10" woofers and the large compression horn in the RF-7's.

My biggest concern was that they would be too "bright" or "harsh" because I did find some opinions that they are so. When I installed them I found they were great for watching TV and viewing DVDs. They clearly had a very flat frequency response all the way up to well above my hearing range and sounded great. But, all of my CDs with any amount of high frequency content (cymbols, tamborines, violins, etc.) sound ed awful. The higher frequencies were indeed quite harsh.

I tried using the Equalizer in my home theater preamp/processor to roll-off the high end but this didn't improve the sound quality. Long story short, I eventually realized that if this problem occurred only with my CD player, maybe the problem was in the CD player. I re-wired my system so my preamp/processor was providing the D/A (digital to analog) conversion instead of the CD player. Instantly my problem was solved. There was no problem with the speakers or the Adcom amp or the preamp/processor that was driving them. The problem was a poor quality D/A converter in my Sony CD Carousel.

I suspect that others that complained about these speakers being "harsh" were simply hearing a problem in their system that most speakers will not reveal. My previous mains were four-way Marantz HD-880's, very high-end speakers from the late 70's and even they had not revealed this problem.

Anyway, I now have the best sound I've ever heard from a home theater system. The speakers are very accurate and will play very loud (as you might expect from two 10" woofers and a very large compression horn).

Like most of the Klipsh line, the RF-7's are very efficient. Their sensitivity is 102 db. That means they require only a fraction of the driving power that typical speakers (with sensitivity in the 88 to 95 db range) require. For instance, speakers with 93 db sensitivity require 8 times more power than the RF-7's do for the same room-filling sound. Though I'm driving the RF-7's with an amp that has 150 Watts RMS per channel, I have had them on an amp that puts out only 60 Watts RMS per channel and that amp had far more power than was necessary to fill my 1200 square foot room. You don't need a big amp for these speakers, just a decent quality one.

The RF-7's are heavy. I have the black ash finish. It is very high quality (real wood with ebony stain) and very durable.

You will want to set your RF-7's to "large" in your receiver or preamp processor because they are relatively flat down to about 30 Hz. I have a high-end Equalizer made by Audyssey Labs that tests the speakers in place and advises whether there is any benefit to crossing over to a sub. It tells me there is no benefit. I've tried crossing over to the sub and it does not improve the low frequency performance, mostly because there is rarely any content below 30 Hz in the main channels (and virtually never in music). Avoiding the vagaries of a crossover more than compensates for any lack of response below 30 Hz. I do use a sub for the LFE effects channel, of course.

I've mated the RF-7's with Klipsch Reference 3 series center and surround channels. The drivers in the 3 series are smaller but quite similar otherwise and have exactly the same sound and so match the timber of the RF-7's extremely well (as should be the case when you buy different sizes speakers from the same speaker line). When I use the noise generator in my preamp/processor to test the five channels, all five sound alike (my previous center sounded quite different, though it was a much less costly brand/model). If I had it to do over I would probably buy a 7 series center channel, but I'm not unhappy with the RC-3 center channel. It does well enough in the large room.

These speakers made a huge improvement in my home theater. The only further improvement came from the Audyssey Labs Equalizer that corrects room acoustics (or more accurately compensates for room acoustics). Most rooms have three dominant "modes," one associated with each dimension. Unfortunately all three fall in the frequency range of a man's voice (and the low end of a women's voice). The equalizer also compensates for absorption or lack thereof at all frequencies as well as the effects of hallways and the like. Turning the equalizer on not only makes voices much clearer but greatly improves music (sound stage, clarity, etc.). I thought with the quality of the RF-7's that Equalization might not be so important, but it's benefits are even more evident with the high quality sound provided by the Klipsch RF-7's.

I love these speakers. My only caution is that you WILL hear everything that comes out of your TV tuner or your DVD player or your CD player and so these must be fairly high quality devices to sound good with the RF-7's.

Recommend this product? Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 1400

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