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Nothing like the REAL test of hearing them for sure. I am retired, but also broke :)). Dennis Murphy and Paul Kittinger both worked on the SALK SoundScape 12's, which go for $14K per Pair. Take a hard look at the URL = http://www.philharmonicaudio.com and you will see his PH3 specs. He has the PH3's for $3K per Pair, which is hard to beat for a Flat Reference Speaker, but again I really need to hear them, as I have heard the RF-7II's and they sound Excellent to me. Dennis has 15 plots for your review, and I would like to see all more expensive spkr. mfg's. put out their "Anechoic" chamber plots, since we are spending a ton of cash on these types of Reference line speakers, so I want the specs, not like BOSE that will not give you their specs. W/O specs no $$ for those Mfg's. Period. As if the Mfg's. are proud of their speakers and want you to purchase them, they should put out their specs, either bad, good, or great as the case may be in my mind.

If you compare the Salk SoundScape 12's to the PH3's you will see a FLAT Speaker across the Audible Spectrum - for sure on-axis, and off-axis does not roll down until around 10KHz. and up at 45 Deg. off-axis. To me I want to start with specs and more specs, then I will audition them lastly.

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Hmm. In looking over those graphs, I'm struck by a couple things. I'm sure they are flatter and smoother than what the RF7II can pull off. But I also can't help but notice the relative lack of sensitivity, and wonder how that plays out as the output increases. Even at 40 watts input, they're only hitting 104db. That would take a mere two watts for the RF7II.

How high can the Philharmonics be pushed before compression sets in? How would the measurements look at 100 watts input, or 200 watts? How do you think they would do trying to realistically reproduce the full dynamics of heavy percussion, or a symphony orchestra playing Mahler's 5th, or some full throated opera, at full reference levels? Unsurprisingly, the Philharmonic's published specs omit such high spl situations, where the weaknesses of their design are exposed.

Despite the lack of perfectly smooth, flat freq response, the upper limits of the Klipsch is going to be in the 120db range before compression sets in, where the Philharmonic is probably starting to distort around 110db (guesstimate) and probably banging the poor little Revelators voice coil by 115db. Below those respective levels, where one would actually be listening to them, the distortion with the Klipsch is going to be relatively lower due to the fact the drivers are operating so low in their performance envelopes. PWK's philosophy may be old, but it is as valid today as it ever was; distortion is inversely proportional to sensitivity, with high sensitivity resulting in uninhibited, clean dynamic capability. Throw in controlled directivity, and reasonably (sort of) flat response, and you get the Power, Detail, and Emotion of real music.

Now, the whole name of the game with this endeavor can be characterized as either a quest for the perfect reproduction of the signal, which I would argue is an elusive yet worthy goal, and a good tool to separate the wheat from the chaff when shopping around, or the convincing simulation of live musicians present in the room. For me, the unrestricted dynamics of horns/high efficiency gets me closer to the second characterization than overpowered, overworked lower efficiency systems ever seem to. The system I have downstairs measures flatter than my Klipsch, I've RTA'd it to find out, but doesn't quite capture the essense of live music the way the Klipsch do.

Horns are typically a love 'em or hate 'em affair, so if you liked the RF7s, you're one of us. Welcome to the madness. Next thing you know you'll be playing with tube amps!

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Well, second pass. I lost the previous writeup, as we had a Power Brown-out and everything went crazy like a near death experience here, PC included. [:@]

I can not compare the RF-7II's to the PH3's, as I still to date do not have the bench test plots like I do on the PH3's. I can not answer your question on the PH3's when compression sets in either, but will ask Dennis Murphy of Philharmonics that one for sure, good question.

I listen to music at 75db SPL for the most part unless some friends come over and bring the brewskies, then I might go up to 90db or a little better, blowing some real smoke into the RF-82II's being driven by the Emotiva XPA-5 (200 W/Ch.) amplifier. But even if the PH3's produce 104db SPL at 40W, then we gain 3db for a doubling of power, so at 107db we need 80W, and at 110db we would need 160W, but gosh I never push my SPL level above 100db here ever! Otherwise, I would not be able to hear who the neighbors called, let alone "The Man" at the front door. [;)]

The RF-7II's with dual 10" woofers, and the horn, must use the horn for Mid-Range and of course the tweeter high frequencies being a Two-Way design. Do you know what the Xover's are for the RF-7II's, and whether it has a ML-TL built in as well?

Most people go and just audition speakers and say they sound good, and then buy them, without ever looking at specs especially graph bench test plots first, and looking into the design of the speaker (Transmission Line, Xovers and their component types, 2-Way, 3-Way, Power RMS and PEAK, etc.), which I need being an Engineer first, then I will audition them second.

Now, I have Auditioned the RF-7II's and I like them very much for a speaker that I can buy for around $1K each. I would and will soon audition the Paradigm S6's Signature Series, but those are around $2.5+K Each, and the PSB Synchrony Ones as well. So far though, the PH3 data looks the best, and Dennis Murphy is one of the best in the world for Xover designs, and Paul Kittinger who did the Transmission Line design is world renowned also -- If you look at the Salk SoundScape 12's you will see a lot of those two individual's fingerprint on them at $7K Each. Certainly a big step up from the RF-7II, PH3's, S6, or Sync. Ones, more like in the Salon 2 league.

So I am not going into Tubes... staying solid-state here with the EMO amp, and the Denon 4311 AVR which totally rocks and gives me the ability to grow with the AVR up to 11.2 if I ever decide to go with that many speakers, of which I doubt, since I am more into music and I mostly listen to it in either STEREO Mode, and/or MultiChStereo Mode also driving the 5.1(2) system here.

I love the uPnP DLNA feature on the 4311, and the ability to listen to .flac files off my big Multi-Terabyte drive. To me, if the recording is great I want it in .flac lossless format, and if I have to listen to .mp3's I want them encoded at 320kbps which does not sound to bad, just not as good a lossless .flac or .wav. I don't even turn on my Technics TT as I can not listen to all the pops, crackles, rumbles, clicks, etc. that occurs in the vinyl stuff -- I am totally digital here for sources, and have left the analog domain years ago.

The signature of the Klipsch speakers are pretty much the same comparing the RF-82's to the RF-7's at version 2. But, I am dying to hear what the PH3's sound like, and hopefully soon will hear them, as I have yet to see a speaker in the $1.5K Each class that can approach the specs of the PH3's. If you know of one that can approach it, I am ALL EARS, send me the data ... ok.

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Dennis, without proof, I'm guessing the RF-7 II would have comparably worse measurements than the Philharmonic. If you're holding out in the hope that they measure better than the Philharmonics, save your time and just get the ones with published data. Since this is the actual Klipsch forum, I'll stick up for the home team, I'll give it one last try.

How about an analogy. How about comparing a Lexus LFA and a 1960s AC Shelby Cobra. The Lexus is state of the art, top-shelf performance, a thorough implementation of the latest and best technology. The Shelby is a brute, old technology, all motor and not much else. Now which one will be more fun to drive? A tough call, but you can't say that the Cobra experience wouldn't literally grab your attention and provide a truly visceral experience.

Seriously, aside from absolute measured specs, the choice between the two seems highly room and use dependant. Pick one, kick back, and get back to enjoying the music.

Like I said, I've heard Salks, which are probably pretty close to Murphy's designs. They were very superbly neutral, but way more polite than Klipsch. WAY more polite. Meek even. While they softly caress you, Klipsch reach out and grab you, shake you, and demand your attention.

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These two speakers are totally different animals. If you like the PH3 you will not likely enjoy the RF7II.

The Scan Speak drivers are very good but low efficiency, especially when you have to smooth their rough edges. The B&G Neo8 is very good also but requires a lot of crossover work to smooth out the huge peak. The RAAL ribbon appears to be very good also though has a 5+db rise. All of this can be taken care of with a lot of crossover parts. Bottom line is that the crossover parts and smoothing required to balance and kill the rough edges sacrifice efficiency and dynamic range. The PH3 may be an excellent speaker but will be running out of gas when the RF7II will be just getting going. The 8" cone unless used in a small room would definitely require a sub to move the air. Likewise the RF7II may not be blooming at the lower levels.

That all said, Klipsch usually doesn't smooth the rough edges hence the plots are usually not free from humps and dips lending itself to a more dynamic higher efficiency speaker. If you were good with crossovers you could make the RF7 look very similar on paper but it is very unlikely going to look even close out of the box.

Last thing is I would be skeptical of measurements like posted including the port speed and such as some are just computer modeled and some are smoothed significantly. I would only trust them if they were done and provided outside the product's website.

Again, two totally different animals. Make sure to pair them with the appropriate electronics and listen for yourself. Don't believe everything you see, just what you hear.

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Thanks go out to Peter Z. and Skibum both.

Since I could not answer your questions I asked Dennis Murphy who as you know designed the Xover for the Salk SoundScapes ($14K/Pair) and of course the Philharmonic Audio PH3's, and he states the following:

Per Dennis Murphy:

"Hi I think the short answer to these questions is that the
Philharmonics were not designed to compete with Klipsch. My goal
was to design a speaker that could produce the full breadth of the
frequency spectrum with minimal coloration and a realistic sound stage, all in a cabinet of
reasonable size.

In order to achieve useful bass response down to
22 Hz with only one (very expensive) woofer, sensitivity was the
first attribute to suffer. I don't claim that the 3's can hit 120
dB gracefully, nor do I particularly want to be in the same room
with a speaker that is producing that sound pressure. I've played
in symphony orchestras at full cry for most of my life (and have to
take off for a rehearsal very shortly), and to me the 3's reproduce
the experience satisfactorily. They produce more undistorted sound
than I or my neighbors can tolerate. That said, I don't recommend
them as stand-alone speakers (without subs) in a Home Theater system
that will be asked to reproduce cannon shots and prehistoric animal
charges at house-shaking and ear-piercing volumes.

I just finished
a design that can do that using Volt drivers from England, but I'll
still take the 3's for accurate sound reproduction of music. I do
understand the importance of wide dynamic range, and the 3's will
equal or surpass most speakers in that regard thanks to the
extremely rugged design of the Revelator woofer. But they are not
at the top of the heap in that regard. Cheers, Dennis"

I am aware that this is a Klipsch forum, and I have invested a lot of monies into my Klipsch's, and just want to upgrade my FL/FR towers for a speaker that will give me total Accuracy across the full audible spectrum - and that is my goal to listen and hear it all from a well recorded source for maybe around a total of $4K / Pair or less. In the near term not buying yet, but someday the Klipsch RF-82II's of which I like, but just wanting to get something different up front, will end up as Wides and be replaced with another Mfg./Model for Fronts, driven off the Denon AVR-4311CI and Emotiva XPA-5. I think there is a point of dimenishing returns on dollars invested vs. the sound quality of the speakers for FL/FR stereo mode, with a couple subs.

Also, the ScanSpeak 8" Woofer is 88db (2.83V/1M), and the Neo8 High Performance WideBand Planar Magnetic Xducer is 93db (2.83V/1M), and the RAAL 70-10D Ribbon Tweeter is 92db (2.83V/1M), so I would not classify any of these drivers as not being Sensitive, granted not like the RF-7II's at 101db overall and the PH3's are at 85db overall, so yes there is a big difference in power required to achieve the same SPL levels, but what the real question is what level (SPL) do we really listen to music at, maybe 80 or 85db for most sources, before someone says "Turn it Down"!

I feel the difference here is put nicely as the variance between "Polite and Accurate Musical Coloration" maybe vs. "Wide w/ Accent Punch". However, we can use all the words in the stack, all that said will just sit back for now, and enjoy the Klipsch RF-82II's for the time being.

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Per Dennis Murphy:

"Hi I think the short answer to these questions is that the

Philharmonics were not designed to compete with Klipsch..."

Like we're saying, apples to oranges.

FWIW, I want my speakers/system to be without a hint of compression up to 100db, even if I rarely listen that loud. Some recordings with exceptional dynamic range demand it, even if average levels are 75db or lower. I sit about 12' or more from the speakers, so to get to 100db at the listening position may require them to hit 110+db at 1m. That is not even remotely a concern with Klipsch. Ruler flat response, or wide dynamic range, pick your poison.

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So what fruit do you enjoy BEST Big Smile for sure you would have to taste both first to make your determination.

Only the whole cornucopia will do. Does a wine connoisseur only enjoy one particular vintner? Multi-systems here, two I would consider top-notch for my mid-fi budget. Klipsch get the most air-time.

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Also, the ScanSpeak 8" Woofer is 88db (2.83V/1M), and the Neo8 High Performance WideBand Planar Magnetic Xducer is 93db (2.83V/1M), and the RAAL 70-10D Ribbon Tweeter is 92db (2.83V/1M), so I would not classify any of these drivers as not being Sensitive, granted not like the RF-7II's at 101db overall and the PH3's are at 85db overall, so yes there is a big difference in power required to achieve the same SPL levels, but what the real question is what level (SPL) do we really listen to music at, maybe 80 or 85db for most sources, before someone says "Turn it Down"!


Sounds like you need to build your own speaker and find out how much goes into the crossover. If you start with a very efficient, very accurate driver such as several of the ribbons out there, maybe a Aurum Cantus G1 and say PHL mids, you can minimize the crossover components and have all the punch in the world.

Starting with a 92/93db mid that has a significant peak to be tamed among other things,makes you eat components in the crossover and typically loose dynamic range with the compensation. Basically PH3's sacrifice efficiency to get (theoretically) textbook frequency response

Start with a 100db+ highly accurate/flat driver equals less parts in the crossover, less dynamic compression and higher overall quality of sound.

Enjoy whatever your next purchase is just make sure flat and polite don't equal boring or you will be back.

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I am not at that level yet, and maybe never but I do enjoy all the details of what makes a quality speaker, and your right on that the Neo8 Mid driver does have a nasty peak to be tamed at 12kHz. or so. Dennis Murphy uses 19 components (L/R/C) for his Xover design for the three drivers. Your right on the money, that the Philharmonic Audio PH3's do sacrafice the overall sensitivity (85db for 2.83V/1M) for a very flat "anechoic" chamber measurement of SPL vs. Freq. for On and Off Axis concerns indeed. In fact, when I look at the Klipsch Palladium P-39F, they have larger and more peaks and valleys for on/off axis than the PH3's, and that is Klipsch's best at $20K per Pair. What does that say when that is Klipsch's BEST SPEAKER (not putting it down, just looking at their factual data in comparison to other Mfgs/Models)?

Your right on, if Flat and Polite is Boring then I will not purchase the PH3's -- but if I hear what I think I will hear from them considering a very clean source recording from a lossless .flac or .wav file, pre/pro/amp of good quality, then I might go that direction and be happy for a few years.

Wow, look at the NHT Absolute Zero's at +-0.94db listening window five point average from 200Hz. to 10kHz., and they used to be $150 ea. now they are $200 each. Might just want to buy a pair of those for back room!!

Only time will tell, as I have a friend that will be getting his new PH3's in about 45 days from now or so. He then can compare them to his Linkwitz-Orion's, Revel Salon 2's, and KEF 201/2 which ALL are out of my league for cost per box, maybe excluding the KEF's, driven by Denon Flagships.

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Wow, your friend has some pretty damn expensive gear. You just need to hang out over there more often, and let HIM keep spending HIS money! Since he sounds like a guy with constant upgraditis and good taste, just buy his old speakers when he replaces them with something even more expensive. (That's an approach that many here on the Klipsch two channel forum follow, and we save a bundle!)

His Salons are kick *** in all reagards, genuinely top-notch.

The linkwitz: great engineering and thought behind them, but $14K for a DIY kit speaker? Really? That's kind of ridiculous. Minimum of six channels of amplification. Minimum of 6' from back wall for the dipole trickery to really work. Too much complexity, hassle, and placement restrictions if you ask me. I think I'd rather own old Quad 57s than those anyway.

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At this point I have not put the Cornwalls into the equation, but that being said how flat are they w/in the average listening window?

For those that are interested in looking/researching the Philharmonic Audio PH3's, there is a thread on Audioholics dot com -- just search for Philharmonic and join in if interested. I am not pushing any Mfg. or Model, just researching what mfg. makes a speaker for a reasonable cost like (<$2K per speaker) that shows characteristics w/in the listening window average for on and off axis horizontal and vertical that will be w/in a couple db plus or minus -- basically flat across the 20-20kHz. audible domain -- and so far this research has led me to the Philharmonic Audio speakers -- just so happens Dennis Murphy designed the Xover for them and Paul Kittenger the ML-TL at 66 inches, 3 Way with Planar Ribbon technology.

If someone has a speaker that meets this criteria, I am "ALL EARS", and please do let me know.

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I told him I would be glad to give him $2K for ea. Salon 2, but he just got them a few months ago -- I guess I will have to wait for a while. Your right on, he keeps buying/selling and has the upgradis always searching for the BEST, but now it is what is the BEST for the MONEY -- I guess he realizes times are tighter now! Heck he has more in his speakers than I have in my Automobile.

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At this point I have not put the Cornwalls into the equation, but that being said how flat are they w/in the average listening window?

By your admittedly tough criteria, I think the situation is essentially similar to the RF-7 II. I don't think they would pass the bar you've set. I doubt they would be any better than the Palladium measurements you saw.

Subjectively, I've never heard a Heritage series speaker I wouldn't take over a Reference series speaker. I have not heard the new RF 7 IIs, but I have heard several others, including an in-home audition of RF82s. My old fortes smoked 'em, so bad it made me slightly embarassed for Klipsh on the new offerings. So I feel Heritage is a clear and distinct, and satisfying, step up. They are more detailed and revealing in the midrange, less shouty and piercing (RF7s are supposedly better than 82s here), just more even keeled and transparent all around.

Cornwalls are HUGE, too. About twice the size of my fortes.

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How does that old audiophile adage go? I spent all that money only to find out I didn't have to spend all that money to get great sound. Something like that. For your sake, I hope your friend doesn't figure that out until you get the Salons or some other of his cast-offs! Maybe he'll get off that merry-go-round, as the Salons fall into that "last speaker you'll ever need to buy" category. The Philharmonics you're considering are of that caliber. To lots of us here, Heritage is the answer. Once you taste the fat milk, you never want to go back to skim.

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