We hopped on the Eurostar last week for a splendid 24-hour jaunt to the land of snails, frogs and other popular clichés: France. In a peculiar room, dripping with cold champagne and hot French waitresses, we got our hands on the epic new flagship floorstanding speakers from Klipsch -- the Palladium P-39F.
These three-way cabinets deliver sound below 500Hz via three 228mm (9-inch) aluminium, Rohacell and Kevlar hybrid woofers. Sound between 500Hz and 3kHz comes courtesy of a 114mm (4.5-inch) inverted aluminium diaphragm, and above 3kHz (to around 24kHz) by a 19mm titanium tweeter. These are all backed by neodymium magnet arrays, with a rated sensitivity of 99dB.
And as is the Klipsch way, both the mid- and high-frequency drive units employ proprietary horns -- which listeners typically love or hate.
Interestingly nautical is the P-39F's boat-shaped fibreboard cabinet. This 30mm-thick build is purported by Klipsch to offer a more rigid stance, in part due to some 'extensive internal bracing'.
Certainly a session in a suitable room would give us a chance to examine the qualities of this speaker more carefully, but for some bizarre reason the pair on demo to us last week were coupled up to an admirable valve-driven amplifier, but also a pair of standard CD turntables and curiously cheap-looking interconnects.
But despite the questionable source of music, and the room full of chattering journalists, the 400W P-39Fs half-managed to demonstrate a powerful sound, with a prominent mid-range and a sweet high end. Judging performance in these conditions, however, is about as fair as judging how a car handles on a road covered in ice.
Yet one thing was clear: the power existed behind these speakers' drivers, just waiting to be unleashed. If you'll excuse a brief excursion into animal-based metaphor, imagine if a pigeon were to use his wings alone to push two fully grown pigs out of his nest. That would be one powerful bird, worthy of our admiration; so are these speakers.
For those of you with great warehouses full of cash to throw at seriously high-end speakers, you can order a pair of the P-39Fs as of now for £14,000 a pair. Plenty of hands-on photos are over the next few pages. -Nate Lanxon
Here's one of the floorstanding behemoths, standing on a floor. A French floor, to be precise, in a room thoroughly incapable of demonstrating this beautiful speaker to its fullest.
Here's that boat-shaped action we mentioned earlier. Just to remind you, the speakers are on sail now.
A tweeter and mid-range driver. No matter how good these are, they'll never makesound any less like a live beaver going through a grinder.
One of three identical woofers.
Towards the rear are three exhaust ports. These feature on the right-hand side of the right-channel speaker, and on the left-hand side of the left-channel speaker.