Klipsch has refreshed its entire Reference Series speaker line from the ground up. The fourth-generation product line includes a total of 20 new speakers: 5 floor-standing models, 3 bookshelf speakers, 3 surround models, 3 center channels, and 6 powered subwoofers. Klipsch eschews bundling, instead selling its speakers "à la carte," letting its base audience of knowledgeable audio enthusiasts cobble together custom stereo and surround configurations. Virtually all of the new models employ Cerametallic aluminum drivers and titanium tweeters mated to Klipsch's trademark Tractrix horns, and the models decrease in size, price, and features within each respective product line. All the new models are slated to be available by the end of January 2006, with the exception of the subwoofers, which should hit in March. Like most of Klipsch's product line, the Reference Series speakers will be available through established audio dealers and home integrators--don't bother looking for them online.
Highlights are as follows, boiled down from Klipsch's press release:
Floor-standing speakers: The RF-83 ($2,500 per pair) and RF-63 ($1,800 per pair) will be available in either a cherry or black real wood veneer finish. Both feature three main drivers (8-inch woofers on the RF-83, 6.5-inchers on the RF-63). The RF-82 ($1,000 per pair), RF-62 ($800 per pair) and RF-52 ($600 per pair) feature only two woofers. All of the new Reference towers utilize a "taller, narrower, and deeper" design that Klipsch touts as more modern (read: it will look swanky next to your new flat-panel TV).
Center-channel speakers: The center speaker handles nearly all the dialogue in a surround-sound configuration, and Klipsch has three new models to handle the job. The RC-64 ($900) sports four 6.5-inch woofers and biwire inputs, and it's available in cherry or black real wood veneer finish. The smaller RC-62 ($450) and RC-52 ($300) utilize only two woofers.
Bookshelf speakers: Far smaller than the floor-standing towers, bookshelf models can be employed in smaller spaces, either as primary or surround speakers. The RB-81 ($700 a pair) features a single 8-inch woofer and front-firing port; rear-firing ports, by contrast, would preclude placement in tight-fitting cabinets. The RB-61 ($450 each pair) trades down for a 6.5-inch woofer but also includes the front-firing port, while the RB-51 ($350 a pair) utilizes a 5.25-inch woofer.
Surround speakers: Klipsch's three new WDST (Wide Dispersion Surround Technology) speakers are intended for use as side- and back-surround speakers in a 5.1-, 6.1-, or 7.1-surround setup. They utilize a unique triangular design with each face of the wedge incorporating a woofer and horn tweeter. The result, according to Klipsch, is a 180-degree hemisphere of sound that more fully envelopes the listener. The RS-62 ($1,000 a pair) uses dual 6.5-inch woofers, while the smaller RS-52 ($700 per pair) employs dual 5.25-inch woofers. The more diminutive RS-42 ($450 a pair) uses 4-inchers.