To call a basic series a reference, a manufacturer must be sure of the quality of its products – the public does not forgive empty statements. Acquaintance with the Klipsch R-610F , the youngest model from the Reference line, showed that in its price group these speakers can really be taken as a starting point – in terms of a number of characteristics.
However, even in the most successful acoustics model, you can always find something that you would like to improve. The younger “references” with their only 6-inch woofer lacked depth of bass and the ability to sound large spaces, which provoked a repeated appeal to the representative of this line. Namely – to the older model Klipsch R-820F.
Double the size
If you put the younger Klipsch R-610F and the older Klipsch R-820Fs side by side, you can decide that they belong to different lines – the speakers differ so much in appearance and dimensions. With the same brutal design and structural elements, the 820s look more massive, solid and larger. They give the impression of real monsters capable of sounding stadiums.
If we talk about numbers, then the senior speakers are almost twice as powerful as the low ones and, moreover, have a higher sensitivity, so the specifications fully meet expectations. As for the bass depth, the Klipsch R-820F has it by as much as 10 Hz: 35 versus 45. Provided that the character of low frequencies that the younger model demonstrated, the result should be fantastic.
More horn, more sound
Acoustics Klipsch R-820F is equipped with three emitters: one tweeter in the proprietary Trastrix horn and two mid-low-frequency drivers of 8 inches or 20 cm caliber. look so different.
In both columns, the size of the horn is the same as the size of the speaker, which means that the horn of the younger model has an opening of about 16×16 cm, while the horn of the older model opens up to 20×20 cm. What does this give in practice?
In addition to balancing the visual image of the speakers, this obviously affects the sound as well, increasing the distance to the listening point and increasing the response of the HF link, reaching its performance up to the level of the amplified mid / LF link.
Except for the acoustic design, the tweeter design is similar to that of other Reference Series models. The rigid aluminum dome is mounted on a resilient suspension of Kapton material, which provides a linear diffuser travel and an exceptional combination of high detail and high overload capacity.
Two in one strip
The situation is similar with the mid-woofers – no special changes except for the dimensions. These are the same proprietary speakers with lightweight and durable graphite composite cones mounted on a classic rubber surround.
The flange of the emitter performs the function of a shallow horn-waveguide, eliminating re-reflections and scattering of sound arising on the surface of the front panel of the acoustics, and most importantly, from the refraction of sound waves on the edges of the case.
The phase inverter is also designed as a horn, the task of which is to eliminate turbulence, which creates side-tones, distortions and time delays when reproducing low frequencies.
The circuit for switching on the emitters is pure two-band. Obviously, the developers decided to prudently adhere to the principle of “do no harm” and simply scaled the two-way design to work perfectly in shelf units and junior floor stands.
The two-lane design explains the lack of a second pair of terminals for biumping / bi-wiring – according to the developers, in this configuration, this is an unnecessary and ineffective measure.
Indeed, in this situation, amplification is a much more reasonable investment of funds, because large Klipsches require 150 watts of power on a constant basis and can digest up to 600 watts at peak. Here you can no longer do with a modest “integralist”, as it was the last time. You need to look for something more impressive.
Past listening experience with the Emotiva amplifier has shown that brands go well, both sonically and aesthetically, and last but not least, in terms of pricing. Therefore, when choosing partners for the Klipsch R-820F, it was decided to change the amplifier model, but not the manufacturer.
The Emotiva A-300’s stereo powerhouse , delivering exactly 150 watts into an 8 ohm load, seemed ideal. In addition, it has a damping factor of over 500, which allows you to expect the same ideal low frequency control.
The proprietary preamplifier Emotiva PT-100, which also played the role of a DAC and a phono amplifier when working with an analog and digital source, made up a couple of the assistant. The set was formed interesting – it remains to listen to what came of it.
Let’s start by confirming quite obvious facts: having the same design as the younger model, the Klipsch R-820F acoustics have the same key properties. They are narrow enough so as not to create a large number of first reflections, do not limit the user in terms of the landing height, but to form an ideal picture, they must be oriented strictly to the listening point.
And to get the perfect surround soundstage, you need to provide a symmetrical pattern of reflections behind and to the sides of the listener. Or you can simply drown out these zones, sacrificing volume for focus and clarity. The clear and controllable directivity of the radiation of these columns gives the widest field for experiments, while eliminating many typical problems.
Another constant component of Klipsh: composure, rhythm and dynamics of sound. The speakers sound really energetic and perky, thanks to which they perfectly reproduce classical rock and metal, jazz and funk, Latin rhythms and electronic dance music. All the music in which energy is important sounds very exciting.
The entire discography of Daft Punk – from the era of minimalistic experimental techno to the disco renaissance – is listened to literally in one breath. And under Rage Against the Machine, you can discreetly smash a dressing table or some other piece of furniture. In this case, I recommend immediately switching to Bob Marley. Relaxes.
High detail, especially in the upper mids and highs, is what I expected from the Klipsch R-820F by default, but the older model with a higher-end amplifier path exceeded those expectations. The sound was not only detailed and accurate across the entire range – it also had a certain nobility and the same attention to small nuances and accuracy of timbre reproduction that was lacking in the younger setup.
As a result, the sound of intricate freejazz and improvisational music became really interesting and exciting, and the timbre-rich voices of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong in duets from Porgy and Bess turned out to be especially lively and soulful. And it was just a regular CD release! And listening to jazz or acoustic music from vinyl on these speakers is a special pleasure. The wholeness, warmth and fluidity of sound is felt literally physically.
The bass depth of the Klipsch R-820F turned out to be noticeably deeper than that of the mini-floor speakers – but at the same time there is no feeling of protrusion, the dominance of the lower register. The bass notes are simply better heard, and the lowest ones do not lose weight against the background of the middle and upper bass.
Due to this, the sound of a double bass or a symphony orchestra is perceived completely differently. The feeling of scale, fullness and fundamentalness when listening to the Klipsch R-820F is exhaustive, I don’t want to add or subtract anything. And it’s especially nice that the bass of the big floor speakers is just as clear, focused and fast.
A powerful amplifier with a high damping factor and a large room also contributed to this, but also made it clear that the acoustics themselves do not buzz or suffer from bass hypertrophy. This means that if such problems are identified, their cause should be looked for in the acoustics of the room, because bass is the same frequency range, the direction of which no horn cannot set.
Despite the fact that the acoustics and the amplifying circuit belong to the same series, the sound of the younger Klipsch floorstanding speakers with an integrated Emotiva amplifier is extremely difficult to call identical to what I heard with the Klipsch R-820F and a two-unit amplifier.
In the older configuration, not only bass and power have been added, the sound class has grown significantly. More details and shades appeared in the music, the presentation became nobler, more sophisticated, and the macrodynamics were beyond praise. Such changes more than cover the difference in price and even exceed expectations in some aspects.
At the same time, all the advantages noted in the sound of the younger Klipsch R-610F model have been preserved in full: a realistic and comfortable top, a three-dimensional scene, rhythm, the ability to perfectly reproduce energetic music and predictable behavior in a room.