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Oside

Need Advice - Center Speaker without an Amp?

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Howdy Klipschters: 

 

I want a 3.1 set-up with 8" Floor Speakers as the "center-piece," plus a Subwoofer, and a Center Speaker, because I am more concerned with stereo music listening than for watching movies in surround. Also, wireless is a goal, but my primary concern is trying to do this without an amp. I'm ready to make the leap to go amp-less which should be possible with all of the features in the R-28PF. It is going in a small room, so I know this is plenty of power for the space. I'm sure we'll see more options from klipsch and other mfrs for going amp-less soon and is the natural progression of the tech, but we're not quite there yet.

 

I think a pair of R-28PFs should work , but the problem is probably going to be the Center Speaker (CS). The R-28PF will manage a powered sub and I'm not concerned about the few cords required so far.  Unfortunately, Klipsch has no Powered CS - so I'm left with 2 options to make this work: 1) can I somehow get enough power and audio signal from the internal amps in the Floors or Sub to run the CS? or

2) find a way to make the Wireless CS - the RP-440WC - work with the other 3 without needing to buy the HD control Center because I'm not even sure the control center would work with only the RP-440WC being in the Wireless series.

 

The easy option would be to buy the wireless 3.1 set-up, but I don't like the floor speakers in that set.  Does anyone know if the R-28PFs and Sub will work with the klipsch wireless control center if I got one of those? Or, would it work to run only the CS straight off of my TV?

 

Any tips greatly appreciated.

 

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In case anyone was wondering, I just got off the phone with Klipsch and got an answer to my question: No. 2.1 is the best you can do with the powered speakers.

 

The speakers in the powered series are intended as a stand-alone system, with the option to add one subwoofer.  Nothing else can be added and there is no way to cobble together a surround system by adding a center channel or side, rear, or satellite speakers.   I asked if it would work if I got both the R-28PF and R-14PM and the guy said that there is no way to sync them together. 

 

Even if I could sync the speakers, I'd be very limited on inputs.  There is only one rca (phono) input on the powered speakers, so I'd need to switch out cables to change sources. That is also the only input for a pre-amp or equalizer, etc. which will only work on the source, rather than the total output.

 

I'm probably going to get components so that I'm not limited. . .  But, still thinking about going 2.1 with the powered speakers.  Has anyone used the R-28PF or R-26PF for watching TV/movies? How does it sound? Is dialogue clear and at appropriate levels compared to the rest of the soundtrack?

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You're better off getting the Reference Premier line for speakers, the R series is just not worth the money, all things considered.  There are the WiSA speakers which are wireless ready that you could use if you're concerned about wires, but you'd still have to have them plugged into the wall, not sure it's going to benefit you much.

 

What kind of budget do you have?  What are you trying to accomplish?  What sources do you plan on using?  What ratio of movies and music will you be listening to?

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3 hours ago, The History Kid said:

You're better off getting the Reference Premier line for speakers, the R series is just not worth the money, all things considered.  There are the WiSA speakers which are wireless ready that you could use if you're concerned about wires, but you'd still have to have them plugged into the wall, not sure it's going to benefit you much.

 

What kind of budget do you have?  What are you trying to accomplish?  What sources do you plan on using?  What ratio of movies and music will you be listening to?

 

Thanks for replying. I have a fair amount of flexibility both in my setup and budget. That said, I always look for deals and don't always need the best and newest. I guess I'd consider myself a low-end audiophile. Sound quality is important, but I don't see myself ever spending more than $3000 - $4000 on a pair of speakers. I've done enough damage through 25+ years of DJing and concert-going and I doubt I could tell the difference. Basically, I'm building my primary system and want some flexibility with adding on because I'm not getting the entire thing right off the bat.

 
My main concern is quality of stereo music listening. I got into HiFi before there was surround sound and I prefer the traditional 2-speaker set up over a surround configuration for music. I will be watching movies with this system, so I'll probably end up with some surround components, but those will be my final purchases and I'm not interested enough to care about Atmos or the latest fad. Given this, my first needs are the two main speakers and a receiver/amp/dac of some sort to power speakers and accept inputs including Bluetooth or Chromecast. Next is center speaker and subwoofer. I'm looking to buy the 3.1 now and will then wait a few months or years for the rest. I'm not opposed to buying used and will probably get on Craigslist and some forums to see what is out there because I wouldn't mind a nice pair of Fortes or Lascalas if I don't find what I'm looking for new.
 
The final consideration is space, which is why I need flexibility to add on. My current place is small and this will be going in a 12' x 13' room that opens to  a 12' x 12' kitchen with nothing but 5 ft of bar counter dividing the two rooms, however, no stereo equipment will be going in the kitchen.  I'm currently looking for a new place but it will be anywhere from 1 to 18 months before I move. That is why I was hoping to start with the R-28PF with a subwoofer and center speaker because I wouldn't need to buy an amp and could save that for my next place where the system will be completed and the surround components are added and I would have a better picture of my amp/receiver needs. So, I may get the 28PFs & sub and call it good until I move, or I might buy components after a few days of research and thinking. I haven't heard the 28PFs, so I'm going to look for a store that has them in my area (San Diego) and see what I think after listening.
 
TL;DR - I'm looking for a 3.1 in the $1500 - $3000 range with the ability to add on later. The floor speaker pair is where I want the best quality out of everything going into the 3.1.
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My big beef with the R-28PF's that you're referencing and the 26's as well has to do with the quality of the parts used.  They're not bad, but they're not of the same caliber as the rest of the Klipsch lineups.  They're entry level, just designed to put the name out there.  They don't have the chutzpah - if you will.  So my concern is you're going to get these and not only immediately want to upgrade, but you may find yourself dissatisfied.  The R series Reference (those of us who have been around call them Icons or Synergy still) use aluminum tweeters, IMG woofers, have cheaper crossovers and don't use veneer finishes either.  Amps with Klipsch go one of two ways, people either really love them or really hate them.  I am especially skeptical of the newer gear, simply because the more mass produced gear that its in has weaker QC.

 

As for your setup - it's good that you're open to use and refurbished.  You can make some real magic happen for little green by going this route, and I'd encourage you look at Craigslist and even eBay for speakers.  You are in the ballpark of a 3.1 setup featuring the RC-7 and RF-7 with your budget - used.  You may even score II's at the upper end.

 

For an AVR, I too don't go for the latest and greatest, simply because that's where most of the problems are with new equipment. I suggest a model from Integra which can be had now at a very handsome price on Accessories4Less:

https://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/intdtr503/integra-dtr-50.3-7.2-ch-x-135-watts-thx-networking-a/v-receiver/1.html

 

You might opt for a step higher or lower model...this one will give you decent power to all channels, and will at the very least give you a good solid 135 Watts when in stereo.  It has preouts in the event you decide you want more power, HDMI for newer components, and has plenty of surround features for you to mess around with.  Audessey is a love or hate thing.  Most people love it, I hate it.  I'd rather let my own ears decide what sounds good, but if that's your thing, it is an option.  I have a 40.3 as well as one of their stereo receivers and love them both.  I've been slowly moving away from AVR's but the Integra models I have are going to be staying with me for a while.  Good EQ and built to handle music very well.

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21 hours ago, The History Kid said:

My big beef with the R-28PF's that you're referencing and the 26's as well has to do with the quality of the parts used.  They're not bad, but they're not of the same caliber as the rest of the Klipsch lineups.  They're entry level, just designed to put the name out there.  They don't have the chutzpah - if you will.  So my concern is you're going to get these and not only immediately want to upgrade, but you may find yourself dissatisfied.  The R series Reference (those of us who have been around call them Icons or Synergy still) use aluminum tweeters, IMG woofers, have cheaper crossovers and don't use veneer finishes either.  Amps with Klipsch go one of two ways, people either really love them or really hate them.  I am especially skeptical of the newer gear, simply because the more mass produced gear that its in has weaker QC.

 

 

Generally, I agree with this and when it comes to large purchases, I tend to go for quality and products built to last a long time. But I'll tell you why I think the PFs make sense: If I had any quality speaker, RF-7 IIIs for example, there are so many places outside of the RF-7 where you will make the sound worse. You need to power the RF-7s and may get mains noise, if you bi-amp like the PFs' that is two sets of wires and connectors to degrade sound from the amps, both amps have power cords to pick up mains noise, you need to choose the right amps, make sure they work well with each other and the RF7s. Next is inputs, which also have mains cords and cords going to the RF7s and also need to be well matched and EQ'd for the RF7s.  

 

Even though the RF7s are higher quality in materials and the PFs may have less expensive materials, but they were at least chosen by Klipsch engineers and everything except the source (computer playing digital files using the PFs "sound card") has been dialed in by klipsch engineers to be the best possible AND all but 1 mains cord is eliminated. I have to think that this accounts for a lot. That's why I need to listen to them this weekend somewhere.  My best friend is an audiophile - we were roommates in college when he got the first klipsch i ever heard (I can't remember the model -  they look like a smaller version of Fortes, but with only one horn.) and he's heard the R-28PFs and said they sound much better than any R-28F he's heard which lends support to my theory because they should theoretically sound the same. It makes sense that a klipsch engineer is going to get better sound out of it than me, plus the elimination of so many cords and connections.  Have you heard the PFs by chance? Do you think my theory makes sense or are those factors not so difficult to overcome?

Quote

As for your setup - it's good that you're open to use and refurbished.  You can make some real magic happen for little green by going this route, and I'd encourage you look at Craigslist and even eBay for speakers.  You are in the ballpark of a 3.1 setup featuring the RC-7 and RF-7 with your budget - used.  You may even score II's at the upper end.

 

Yeah, I've been thinking about the RF-7s, too.  

Quote

For an AVR, I too don't go for the latest and greatest, simply because that's where most of the problems are with new equipment. I suggest a model from Integra which can be had now at a very handsome price on Accessories4Less:

https://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/intdtr503/integra-dtr-50.3-7.2-ch-x-135-watts-thx-networking-a/v-receiver/1.html

 

You might opt for a step higher or lower model...this one will give you decent power to all channels, and will at the very least give you a good solid 135 Watts when in stereo.  It has preouts in the event you decide you want more power, HDMI for newer components, and has plenty of surround features for you to mess around with.  Audessey is a love or hate thing.  Most people love it, I hate it.  I'd rather let my own ears decide what sounds good, but if that's your thing, it is an option.  I have a 40.3 as well as one of their stereo receivers and love them both.  I've been slowly moving away from AVR's but the Integra models I have are going to be staying with me for a while.  Good EQ and built to handle music very well.

 

I've never seen that webiste before - looks awesome. I like the product descriptions - they have the info you really want, compared to Amazon and other that are clearly not formatted for us.  Have you ordered from them? Are they legit?

 

Is 135W is the smallest amp you would suggest in terms of watts per channel? I might go for one that only handles up to a 5.2 surround because I won't go beyond that and save a few bucks. I like the preouts for add'l amps.  My only other concern right now is an EQ of some type. I like knobs from years of DJing and I'm probably going to use a mixer at some point, but I'd like to have an EQ with a remote, too. Getting digital files from various sources makes an EQ essential almost.  Do any amps/receivers have decent built in EQs that you know of or do you prefer a separate component - or just go full auto and not think about it?

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What you say about the RF-7 III is true, but there's a catch.  Engineers build those speakers to sound good - period.  The R-28PF and the engineer selection - yes and no.  Remember it is a mass produced product designed for the younger crowd and generally made with much cheaper parts to keep cost down.  It doesn't conform to the same quality standard as the RF-7's will, which I believe outweighs any pros they may provide over a passive speaker.  They choose a cheap amp that sounds "good enough", not the best.  If it was the best, there wouldn't be so many problems with the amp boards giving out or simply not working on the PF models, and there are quite a few.

 

Do they sound better? Maybe. . But they absolutely do not sound as good as a pair of RP series or RF series passives paired with a good amplifier.

 

I now have made 4 purchases through A4L, including the model just below the 50.3 and have loved every purchase.  They are legit, and have great service and prices.  Do not get hung up on WPC.  That Integra puts out probably 135W x2 and maybe 60-75W x5.  It will be plenty for say the RF-7's which only need 1W to produce over 90 dB of sound from 3 to 6 feet away.  Quality few watts are more important than quantity poorly rated watts.  The Integra I've linked has excellent EQ, and I've found that I can run them flat with little EQ and get the results that I want.

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All great info, Kid. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge. You saved me a lot of reading to catch up. I acquired my first system between 1990-1993 and it was mostly Kenwood (don't laugh - Kenwood's premium lines were decent back then), then upgraded to paradigm speakers, which I later blew with dj equip, then just started using my dj equip for music the past 15 years, so I'm a little behind on what's what these days in home components and it helps to hear from someone who's been paying attention.

 

I'm going to take a listen to the PFs just to satisfy my curiousity, but after taking a quick look on Craigslist today, I'm probably going to go for some older higher-end speakers. I had time for one search of "klipsch" and before getting through 20 of the countless returns, I'm seeing pairs of Epic CF3s, KG 3.5,  SF-1, KSP-300 all under $500.  One benefit of living in such an expensive market - lots of rich people wanting to make room for new shit.  

 

I know klipsch have always been extremely efficient compared to other speakers, but I see countless audiophiles every time I do some reading who insist that the older klipsch need big, dedicated amps and I'm a bit cynical of that crowd because $20,000 anything doesn't make sense to me and there's as much status as there is science in these discussions - but the sheer amount of people I've seen make that comment makes me curious if I should monoblock if I do get some older speakers.   Where do you land in that debate?

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1 hour ago, Oside said:

All great info, Kid. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge. You saved me a lot of reading to catch up. I acquired my first system between 1990-1993 and it was mostly Kenwood (don't laugh - Kenwood's premium lines were decent back then), then upgraded to paradigm speakers, which I later blew with dj equip, then just started using my dj equip for music the past 15 years, so I'm a little behind on what's what these days in home components and it helps to hear from someone who's been paying attention.

 

I'm going to take a listen to the PFs just to satisfy my curiousity, but after taking a quick look on Craigslist today, I'm probably going to go for some older higher-end speakers. I had time for one search of "klipsch" and before getting through 20 of the countless returns, I'm seeing pairs of Epic CF3s, KG 3.5,  SF-1, KSP-300 all under $500.  One benefit of living in such an expensive market - lots of rich people wanting to make room for new shit.  

 

I know klipsch have always been extremely efficient compared to other speakers, but I see countless audiophiles every time I do some reading who insist that the older klipsch need big, dedicated amps and I'm a bit cynical of that crowd because $20,000 anything doesn't make sense to me and there's as much status as there is science in these discussions - but the sheer amount of people I've seen make that comment makes me curious if I should monoblock if I do get some older speakers.   Where do you land in that debate?

The knowledgeable Klipsch people on here would say just the opposite, the older Klipsch speakers require less powerful amps.

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3 hours ago, Oside said:

All great info, Kid. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge. You saved me a lot of reading to catch up. I acquired my first system between 1990-1993 and it was mostly Kenwood (don't laugh - Kenwood's premium lines were decent back then)

No laughing - I started my experience with components and home theater with a Kenwood HTiB system featuring the "epic VR-414" (a lemon would have sounded better).  The sub in that system survived until 4 years ago, I bought it in...oh...2001, I wanna say.

 

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 I'm probably going to go for some older higher-end speakers. I had time for one search of "klipsch" and before getting through 20 of the countless returns, I'm seeing pairs of Epic CF3s, KG 3.5,  SF-1, KSP-300 all under $500.

 

Good choice.  The Epic CF-3's are some amazing speakers, and you will find a lot of people swear by them.  The CF-4's are some of the most sought after floorstanders from what I've understood.  They are great speakers and would treat you extremely well.  The SF-1, I'd advise the more refined SF-2 or SF-3, or the KSF-8.5 or 10.5.  The 2 and 8.5 are similar versions of each other, just as the 3 and 10.5 are.  They are some very decent quality Synergy speakers, and I will continue to argue that they are superior to the newer Synergy's, Icon's (there are exceptions), and Reference.  The KG 3.5's I have not heard, but I own a pair of 1.2's and 2's and love them.  Some people swear by the 4's too, and the 4's are also known to respond well to upgrades.  The KSP-300's I have a running joke with a few people on here over the series, but don't have anything personal against them.  I think you'd get better sound performance out of a dedicated home theater subwoofer, but the KSP's are decent speakers.  One caveat to them is they are known to break occasionally (a little bit more than they should, though they are aged now), and may require some end-user intervention.  I don't know of the repairs to be huge, but it might require more input than any of the rest of the mentioned speakers.

 

Under $500 you may also find Heresy widely available, and I will push someone towards them every time when money allows.

 

 

Quote

I know klipsch have always been extremely efficient compared to other speakers, but I see countless audiophiles every time I do some reading who insist that the older klipsch need big, dedicated amps and I'm a bit cynical of that crowd because $20,000 anything doesn't make sense to me and there's as much status as there is science in these discussions - but the sheer amount of people I've seen make that comment makes me curious if I should monoblock if I do get some older speakers.   Where do you land in that debate?

 

Do or don't.  Your room and preferred listening levels will dictate that.  I have a pair of Heresies running on an Integra DTR-40.3 in a 3.1 configuration where they might be getting fed 90 WPC.  That doesn't make them sound weaker than the RB-5's I have getting 200 WPC, or the RSX-5's I have getting 60 WPC.  I fall on the side of skepticism with quantity of watts.  I think that you need a good quality amp that provides good quality power over a big inflated number of watts.  If it doesn't sound good to me below my appreciating sound level, it's not going to sound good at the sound level I want to achieve or beyond.  I'd rather fall short of my sound pressure goal and have outstanding quality than to have the sound level without the quality, especially on horns.

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6 hours ago, Ceptorman said:

The knowledgeable Klipsch people on here would say just the opposite, the older Klipsch speakers require less powerful amps.

 

Glad to hear - that was my take as well. Efficiency made klipsch a stand-out through the analog years, so it doesn't make sense to me that you'd need huge power to make them sound right.

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