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My Thoughts After Comparing the RF-7, RF-7 II and RF-7 III


Youthman
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7 hours ago, MetropolisLakeOutfitters said:

I'd be surprised if all that on the top end was distortion artifacts.  

Well no, it wouldn’t be. They are, after all, different loudspeakers. 

 

To understand what I’m talking about, you would have to pull the Mylars and sand cast resistors, and replace them with higher quality equivalents. Measuring with a microphone probably wouldn’t reveal a difference, but you can sure hear it. 

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11 hours ago, MetropolisLakeOutfitters said:

 

For whatever it's worth and for whoever didn't see this from a couple days ago elsewhere, I measured the RF-7II and 7III in an apples to apples comparison recently.  I had the microphone close to the horn, I backed it up to the listening position, I even took them outside, always the same amp, same position, same settings, same everything.  No matter what I did, there was always a significant bump in the response at 1.8-1.9 khz on the RF-7II comparatively.  Certain Tom Petty riffs were more annoying and twangy on the 2's, maybe due to that spike in the low treble I mentioned. 

 

More importantly, literally everything above about 5.5 khz had a pretty solid 3 usually 4 db boost on the RF-7II.  String attacks, cymbal shimmers, strings strapping the frets, all were significantly brighter on the RF-7II.  If there was no material up there it sounded normal, pretty similar.  Some voices were nearly identical between the two.  Bass measured very similarly.  There was a dip around 420 hz on the RF-7II which is right where a calculated standing wave ought to be, and isn't there on the 3's probably due to the slanted internal baffle, which I thought was interesting.  I'd be surprised if all that on the top end was distortion artifacts.  

 

I must have missed your original post on this.

 

Did you post frequency response plots in a different thread?

 

Would love to see the II and III plotted on the same graph for each mic scenario.

 

Very interesting and thanks for doing this!

 

Your measurements might explain why I feel that I need a couple dB of treble knob reduction on the II's, but can run the III's with tone controls flat, and they sound balanced in the higher frequencies.

 

BTW, Mark H. at AVS has a pair of III's in for a pro review.  He has not posted the review yet.

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On 6/12/2018 at 10:16 AM, adam2434 said:

 

I must have missed your original post on this.

 

Did you post frequency response plots in a different thread?

 

Would love to see the II and III plotted on the same graph for each mic scenario.

 

It's below, 1/12 smoothing.  A few things to note. 

1. Right when I started measuring I realized that I had rebuilt my laptop and had deleted all of the calibration files that I got from Cross Spectrum.  I copied the sensitivity factor from the files on MiniDSP's website since mine is older and Cross Spectrum wasn't doing sensitivity at the time, hopefully they are accurate but I haven't verified SPL against an independent source yet.  It was loud since it was outside and I was trying to overpower background noise.  

2. I usually use the HDMI output going into my receiver.  This was taken outside and I didn't want to haul all that stuff around so I used a smaller amp and the headphone jack.  I can't guarantee that my sound card is calibrated.  The RF-7III's have a nice looking rolloff on the graph but I can't guarantee that's accurate.  

 

3. I was getting some dips / nulls in the midrange due to reflections no matter what I did, and I didn't want to haul them down the stairs out into the yard, so I'm not even going to post the midrange since it was messy.  I was mostly just interested in the treble anyway.  

 

That being said, just pay attention to the trends.  No matter how I measured, no matter how close, inside or outside, there was always a significant hump at 1.8-1.9 khz, and everything above around 5.5 khz was a pretty steady 3-4 db brighter on average.  Both of these are noticeable when listening, depending on the source of course.  String attacks and strings slapping frets is just significantly brighter on the 2's and things like Tom Petty's guitar was more twangy and annoying on the 2's.  The 3's sounded more natural and pleasant.  

 

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  • 1 month later...

Nice video. Sounds like you had a lot of fun making it. Your listening area Is much larger than mine and I'm sure contributes significantly to the difference in opinion we have on the RF7 series as a whole.   As my room is much smaller than yours, the forte IIIs works considerably better in here but I do no feel I am sacrificing anything on SQ or output(the bass slam on these suckers is tremendous).  I'm sure the rf7 can play louder and believe me I like to crank tunes from time to time as well.  Anyhow, always fun to do a shootout and I believe you did a solid job comparing with what and how you were able to. Strong work.  

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On 2/12/2018 at 11:38 PM, ACV92 said:

Great review Youthman.  I feel confident in getting myself a pair of II's for sure.  Will fit my budget better than the III's.  Should be a significant upgrade from the old 5.5's I've been running for over 20 years now.  Curious, did you run them straight, or bi-amp them?  The Marantz receiver that I have allows for bi-amping.  Benefit, or none?  Thanks again.

I would really like to see a side by side test of the RF7 II vs the KG 5.5 with new caps and a ti compression driver.

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8 minutes ago, Westcoastdrums said:

I do no feel I am sacrificing anything on SQ or output(the bass slam on these suckers is tremendous).

A lot of guys say the Forte III have tons of bottom end.  Room acoustics must play a huge role in that as I felt the Forte III did not have the slam that I desire.  My room is 15' x 25' with 12' ceiling and opens up to the kitchen, breakfast nook, dining room and home office so I'm sure that has a lot to do with it as well.  I liked what I heard from the Forte III but they just sounded smaller and didn't have the bottom end I need in my setup.

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Like you, unless I have as small a pair of speakers as heresys, I am unable to run a sub due to lack of space.   I cheat in the low end by having my listening position against the back wall which surely boosts bass response by a minimum of 3, more than likely up to 6 dB I would guess.  I can adjust for this by pulling the speakers away from the back and sidewalls.  I suppose I trade some imaging for this, but I am very satisfied in that department as well.   Even my Forte I OUTSIDE have bass that can be felt.  I am quite surprised you felt a lack of bass response.   In the past I had some ridiculous car audio systems and I am well aware of what INSANE, take your breath away bass is haha. I can vouch for the RF7 series having more bass.  Of course, surface area of four 10" woofers.  

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22 hours ago, adam2434 said:

This is the first pro review I've seen on the RF-7 III.

I believe that Cory ( @MetropolisLakeOutfitters) posted the better part of a "better than professional review" just above. 

 

If you also throw in step and phase measurements, directional coverage plots, and some modulation distortion plots, I believe that you've got a lot more than any pro review will usually tell the prospective buyer.  These are the measurements with which the human hearing system strongly correlates sound quality (especially frequency response).  When performing subjective listening trials between the two loudspeaker types, the measurements will round out the information above, and will inform the user more quickly as to what is actually different between the loudspeaker types. 

 

It also seems to me that simply EQing the RF-7 II like the response of the RF-7 III in order to partially compensate for the central tendency of average mastering EQ applied to recordings by genre type (such as the following plot) will reduce any differences in the sound between these two loudspeaker types--such that you'll be hard pressed to hear any differences between them in listening tests:

 

Heavy Spectrum vs EC 268-1 from Chapman.PNG

 

 

Also note that the 1.8-2.2 kHz area is the source of the "fundamental flaw of stereo" (i.e., not mono) that occurs due to the distance between your eardrums and the earlobes.  Having a little excess SPL in this very narrow band will slightly brighten the sound to compensate for this binaural psychoacoustic effect if you're listening on-axis to each pair of loudspeakers in a fairly well acoustically damped room--but only if a center channel isn't being used to fill the center while playing stereo tracks, like PWK recommended using a bridged mono La Scala or Belle between two Khorns. 

 

Chris

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On 7/26/2018 at 11:08 AM, adam2434 said:

RF-7 III pro review by AVS staffer was posted.  Glowing to say the least...

 

https://www.avsforum.com/review-klipsch-rf-7-iii-floorstanding-speakers-review/

 

This is the first pro review I've seen on the RF-7 III.

 

The reviewer certainly liked it!  From the link, directly above:

 

Quote

 

Conclusion

If you want it all—great looks and performance and craftsmanship—in speakers built in the USA (yes, using some foreign parts)—then the Klipsch RF-7 III speakers are absolutely one of the best deals out there. Then again, they are among the best speakers out there, period. There’s a reason Paul Klipsch has the word “bullshit” on his tie, and printed on buttons he wore and flashed: There are no magic speakers. There’s only physics and science, and at the end of the day the RF-7 III delivers incredible sound at any volume level because it possesses spare capacity when it comes to dynamic range that is not present in lesser speakers.

 

 

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  • 2 years later...

Thought I’d bump this after moving from a Marantz SR-7010/MM-7055 combo to a Marantz SR-8015 beast powerhouse AVR with Toroidal transformer on my RF-II’s.

 I’ve had a few months of listening. My first Marantz setup sounded outstanding, however the 8015 has taken it to a different level in power, headroom, precision, dynamic range, midrange, vocals, musicality, warmth and overall presentation of sound. 
 

I watched @Youthman vids comparing the RF-7 lineup and read reviews on the 7-II’s comparing the 7-III’s citing the improvements in a smoother top end. I will just say that what I experienced with my 7-II’s on my previous setup, I could somewhat understand the sentiments of brightness (although less than the version 1’s), even though the first Marantz setup was still less bright than Denon, Yamaha etc.

 

The final verdict…. With the SR-8015 running Direct mode via HEOS Amazon Music Ultra HD and FLAC, the RF-7II’s sound like totally different speakers at mind blowing volume with no harshness or distortion whatsoever. I am now hearing background voices and subtle nuances I had not heard in tracks before. I’m enjoying re-listening to my old collection of tracks. I feel like I am not listening to music but experiencing it. Music no longer sounds loud as if it’s screaming at you through the horns, yet enveloped in the sound even at high levels. Ear fatigue is no longer there. I now run downstairs to listen to music instead of 4K movies as the 7-II’s have now turned into "musical" speakers instead of just "home theater" speakers perfect for movies. I could put up good money that they are now on par with the Polk LSI series, B&W, and other speakers that have been dubbed "musical", yet have that deep impact and visceral slam down low the others can’t match!
 

Some is contributed to the powerful flagship built in Japan piece of machinery that is the Marantz SR-8015, some is HEOS which streams higher bitrate than Airplay, and some is Amazon Music HD which by the way sounds better than Apple Music lossless. My point is that I wouldn’t trade these 7-II’s in for anything now, I believe they are perfect, not bright like the version I’s yet clear and precise but not mellowed out like the version III’s.  Your equipment and source has a profound effect on your speakers.

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This needed a bump. Nice review!

10 hours ago, miliellie111 said:

Thought I’d bump this after moving from a Marantz SR-7010/MM-7055 combo to a Marantz SR-8015 beast powerhouse AVR with Toroidal transformer on my RF-II’s.

 I’ve had a few months of listening. My first Marantz setup sounded outstanding, however the 8015 has taken it to a different level in power, headroom, precision, dynamic range, midrange, vocals, musicality, warmth and overall presentation of sound. 
 

I watched @Youthman vids comparing the RF-7 lineup and read reviews on the 7-II’s comparing the 7-III’s citing the improvements in a smoother top end. I will just say that what I experienced with my 7-II’s on my previous setup, I could somewhat understand the sentiments of brightness (although less than the version 1’s), even though the first Marantz setup was still less bright than Denon, Yamaha etc.

 

The final verdict…. With the SR-8015 running Direct mode via HEOS Amazon Music Ultra HD and FLAC, the RF-7II’s sound like totally different speakers at mind blowing volume with no harshness or distortion whatsoever. I am now hearing background voices and subtle nuances I had not heard in tracks before. I’m enjoying re-listening to my old collection of tracks. I feel like I am not listening to music but experiencing it. Music no longer sounds loud as if it’s screaming at you through the horns, yet enveloped in the sound even at high levels. Ear fatigue is no longer there. I now run downstairs to listen to music instead of 4K movies as the 7-II’s have now turned into "musical" speakers instead of just "home theater" speakers perfect for movies. I could put up good money that they are now on par with the Polk LSI series, B&W, and other speakers that have been dubbed "musical", yet have that deep impact and visceral slam down low the others can’t match!
 

Some is contributed to the powerful flagship built in Japan piece of machinery that is the Marantz SR-8015, some is HEOS which streams higher bitrate than Airplay, and some is Amazon Music HD which by the way sounds better than Apple Music lossless. My point is that I wouldn’t trade these 7-II’s in for anything now, I believe they are perfect, not bright like the version I’s yet clear and precise but not mellowed out like the version III’s.  Your equipment and source has a profound effect on your speakers.

Thanks!

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