I've been listening to my new to me Fortes for a little over a week. Horns stir strong opinions on both sides, and if I'm being honest I never considered Klipsch an "audiophile" brand. I was actually very happy with my B&W CM5s (now for sale if someone is interested), but I wanted to try something different. I found the Fortes at what I thought was a good price and the owner was close enough for me to audition. Needless to say, I brought them home even though the audition room was less than ideal. I'm glad I took the chance. These things reveal more than I've ever heard from music that I know well. Do they image as well as the B&Ws? No, but they're pretty close. The British speakers also have a little more definition as well. For me, where the Fortes excel is in involvement. They bring you into the music. If you're not familiar with it, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will The Circle Be Unbroken was recorded with minimal engineering, as I understand it everything was mastered straight to two tracks. The result is an intimate, natural sound. The three-album set captures the conversations of some iconic bluegrass artists between songs that really adds to the experience. Why am I telling you all this? Cause I was there. Practically speaking. These speakers put me in that place. In chorus sections, I could pick out individual voices. These Fortes have had their caps replaced, so perhaps that's a factor. I also have the luxury of a dedicated listening room without any compromises in speaker or seating placement—I don't think you can exaggerate the importance of that when it comes to good sound.
On the downside, these speakers revealed an annoying hum in my turntable that wasn't so apparent before. I had to add an additional ground wire to the tonearm because the sound was more than I could bear. Also, some records just don't sound so good anymore. I think I'm finally hearing a truth that was obscured before. Despite that, these 1985 vintage speakers have impressed me beyond what I was expecting. Here is the gear I use with the Fortes:
Marantz TT15S1 with Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge
Marantz PM15S2 Limited Edition integrated amp
Adcom ACE-515 AC Enhancer
Kimber speaker wire cut to shortest length possible
Coming soon: 4wpc Spud