Klipsch RF-15 review: Klipsch RF-15

  • 1
3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Svelte tower speaker; two-way design featuring twin 5.25-inch woofers and a 1-inch horn tweeter.

The Bad Deep bass is missing in action.

The Bottom Line While the RF-15's highly detailed sound will wake up your home theater, you'll need Klipsch's RW-8 to fill out the low end.

7.4 Overall
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 7.0

Klipsch's sleek RF-15 tower achieves a home-theater ideal. The speaker is sufficiently large to deliver enough gusto to rock our world, but its slim lines don't offend our finely attuned sense of decor. And at $299 each, the RF-15 is the company's least expensive tallboy design. That said, if you're looking for a little more low end, you'll have to bring a subwoofer into the mix.

The RF-15's vinyl-wrap, cherrywood finish is pleasant enough but not terribly convincing; the other option is black ash. The sturdily constructed medium-density-fiberboard speaker stands 36.9 inches tall and weighs 37 pounds. All in all, the design is rather attractive and modern-looking.

Only 6.75 inches wide, the tower would be considerably precarious if it weren't for the molded-plastic stabilizers extending from the speaker's base. Klipsch includes spikes for carpets and rubber bumpers for hardwood or tiled floors.

The grille stays in place with magnets rather than iffy plastic pins. We expect that level of design detail on only high-end models, so it was a nice surprise on such an affordable tower.

The RF-15 tower is the kingpin of Klipsch's RF-15 home-theater system. The rest of the package comprises the RC-25 center speaker, a pair of RS-25 surrounds, and the RW-8 subwoofer.

The RF-15's titanium 1-inch tweeter is rather unusual. It sits in the mouth of a square Tractrix horn, which increases efficiency so dramatically that the loudspeaker can produce more volume per watt than conventional direct-radiating tweeters. The horn also controls the tweeter's dispersion, minimizing floor and ceiling reflections for sharper and more-exacting stereo imaging.

The tower's twin copper-colored, magnetically shielded 5.25-inch woofers are Cerametallic: the aluminum-anodizing process converts the cones' surface to ceramic. The idea is that the rigid Cerametallic cone won't flex or resonate, thereby making the sound cleaner and more accurate than that of conventional plastic or all-metal woofers. A flared rear port provides additional bass output. All of the RF-15's internal wiring is Monster cable.

Speaker specifications don't usually tell you much about sound quality, but we do rely on the sensitivity rating. If it's greater than 90dB, the speaker is ideal for use with low-power receivers. With its 96dB rating, the RF-15 can kick butt with as little as 50 watts. Moreover, it can handle upward of 100 watts continuously and a peak power of 400 watts.

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