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celioguim

Klipsch speakers x Classical Music

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Hello friends!

 

I'm trying to find out how Klipsch speakers respond to classical music, opera etc. I'm planning to buy a complete set up for a surround system, Dolby Atmos with the RF-7's in the front, RC-64 III center channel etc. I read that those speakers are amazing when it comes to rock and rock, pop music etc, but I don't see many people talking about classical music.

 

What it's your opinion?

 

Thanks!

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Depending on the source and your electronics, it will sound as if you are there amongst the throng, with the luxury of being in your own listening room.

Spectacular with classical music...Klipsch...welcome.😊

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13 minutes ago, celioguim said:

Hello friends!

 

I'm trying to find out how Klipsch speakers respond to classical music, opera etc. I'm planning to buy a complete set up for a surround system, Dolby Atmos with the RF-7's in the front, RC-64 III center channel etc. I read that those speakers are amazing when it comes to rock and rock, pop music etc, but I don't see many people talking about classical music.

 

What it's your opinion?

 

Thanks!

People seem to be much more shy about writing and talking on classical music than the other, non-classical kinds, so that's one reason.  Classical threads rarely go anywhere for that reason, IMO.  Occasionally something very well known like Adagio for Strings will get extended commentary, but that's too rare. 

 

While it appears that classical isn't appreciated here, you'd be surprised at how extensive forum members' knowledge and understanding is!  Lots of classical lurking on the Forum!

 

Klipsch reproduces brass, percussion and woodwinds very well, strings a little less so.  (Competitors that reproduce great string sound may not do as well on other instruments.)  Pipe organs are great for playing over K-horns.

 

The PWK admonition of using very good equipment (sound sources including cartridges, electronics!) especially makes classical sound better.  So will very smooth crossovers and drivers.  I especially like my AK-4 X-overs for that reason.  All the most recent generation of Heritage speaks fill that bill IMO. 

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33 minutes ago, LarryC said:

Klipsch reproduces brass, percussion and woodwinds very well, strings a little less so.

Play a lot of classical violin music (and opera) on my Heresy I's, Cornwall I's, Forte I's and KPT-904's ... always VERY impressed by the tonal quality of the strings :D  Maybe it is the wine that I have "WITH IT." 

Cheers, Emile

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1 hour ago, celioguim said:

Hello friends!

Oops ... @celioguim ... welcome to the forum :D 

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One chart that I put together a couple of years ago refers to the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" vs. my own CD collection, broken down into relative percentages by genre (my CD collection is the blue bars).  Perhaps this will begin to answer your question.  The book's relative percentages by genre closely follows Rolling Stone magazine's 500 greatest albums list.  You can see for yourself where the problem lies:

 

1001 Albums Genre Comparison.gif

 

Fully 1/3 of my music collection is classical, and I listen to those recordings every day.  Classical 5.1 Blu-Ray music video discs and music-only discs (not included in this count, above) are absolutely spectacular on my setup. The best recordings that I own are all classical recordings--by far.

 

Secondly, horn-loaded loudspeakers (i.e., the type for which Klipsch is noted) reproduce greater music transients much more faithfully than direct-radiating loudspeakers.  This is actually much more important for classical than for other genres of music.  Here is a breakdown of the average dynamic range of the different genres of music (measured) as per a JAES article from the late 1990s. The popular genres shown in the chart below will now measure even lower average dynamic range (crest factors, or average-to-peak values) than what is shown in this chart:

 

Ave Dynamic Range by Genre.PNG

 

Chris

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AWESOME Dr. Chris :D 

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Granted, my Khorns are not original in that I use a different squawker, tweeter and midrange horn, but the crossover is a DIY version of the first A-network (and the bass bin is totally original) and I think classical music goes very nicely with my Klipsch (just listened to some Bach piano music - superb!) - but I also noticed that the better the rest of my equipment has become, the more enjoyable listening has become - but that applies to all other genres as well.

But them you ask about more modern Klipsch models and here I admit I have no listening experience at all.

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Where have all the flowers classicists gone?  

 

@celioguim, welcome to the forum!  I know you are not asking about Klipschorns, but they are what I know best.  I use them as my main L and R for both classical music and Home Theater.  They are wonderful for both, but more about that later.

 

I know very little about the RF7s, except what I read on the forums, but they reflect most of the same Klipsch points of view as the Khorns. .  The original RF7s (I assume that is what you are talking about) are very sensitive -- 102 dB, 2.83v, 1M probably an in-room spec, with 98 dB AES anechoic, 2.83v, 1M (a guess based on info I have seen on the forum, including from Klipsch staff).  Even at 98 dB sensitivity, they should provide THX's peak reference level (105 dB for a few moments), at 13 feet, at about 40 true watts per channel, in a 3,000 cu. ft. room or less.  N.B. inside, not outside, you lose about 3 dB for every doubling of distance, so you can't go by the 1 meter figures; outside, the figure is approximately 6 dB for every doubling of distance.   By true watts, I mean specified (or tested) with all amplifier, pre-pro or AVR channels operating to properly stress the power supply, 20 to 20,000Hz, at 8 ohms, at low distortion (like < 0.08% or below).  The reason for caution is that several AVR companies have been fudging their specs, not outright lying, but using measurement standards that are easier to reach than the ones I mentioned above.  What this boils down to is that if you go solid state, you will probably buy an AVR of 100 or more true watts per channel.  I'd be tempted to get either Marantz or Denon, in order to get Audyssey.  If you do, be sure to get Audyssey XT32 and one that is compatible with the new Audyssey app.

 

My Klipschorns perform beautifully with classical music.  My Belle Klipsch is equally good, but the bass goes away just below 60Hz (the Belle is flush mounted).  With both, as LarryC said, everything is excellent, except the strings.  I should say "the strings, sometimes.  What's the deal with the strings?  They are reproduced with amazing clarity.  Bass viol, cello and viola are fine, although I have heard one speaker that captured the "woody" (for want of a better word) sound a bit better -- a Bozak.  Solo violin is usually quite good, and has provoked comments like, "Man that's clear!."  But, both solo violin and massed violins can be a bit harsh.  I should say that this is probably not due to rough frequency response.  With Audyssey and room treatment my Khorns are now flat-ish through the critical high range of violins [+/- ~~ 0.8 dB from 800 to 16K, or +/- 2.5 dB 275 Hz to 16K].  The bass is deliberately boosted below that.  Horn loaded drivers have a reputation of having very low modulation distortion, as well as the other, less important, kinds.  I have the recommended high ceiling and thick rug, as well as absorbers (as recommended by Chris A) on the nearby side walls near where the midrange horn spills out sound on the walls.  So why do the violins sound a bit harsh on a minority of CDs?  They sound fine on most recordings.  Here is a hint: I have never heard a harsh violin through the Khorns while playing a Blu-ray of a movie made after about 2000 CE.  Movie sound is big budget stuff.  Classical recordings are not.  Movie people take their time, and usually record in specially engineered rooms with which they are intimately familiar.  The Blu-ray medium we take into our homes (either DTS HD Master, or Dolby Digital True HD) is a very Hi Fi medium, IMO.  So, I believe it is a minority of the Classical recordings themselves.  Klipsch speakers are very revealing. Some other speakers, including some "High End" speakers are not particularly revealing, but prettify and veil the sound.  

 

The RF7s, Klipschorns, La Scalas & Belles, and the new Forte III should all be capable of the high Dynamic range the chart Chris A posted indicates for classical music.

 

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Soundtracks 0%... that's some funny shyte right there.

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You definitely will not find better speakers than Klipsch for classical.  At least for mere mortal prices.  The bigger, particularly with horn loaded bass sections and low cut off mids/treble.  

More constrained budget or space requirements, RF7's should do.

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To my ear massed strings are the most difficult thing for a speaker to reproduce. Individual violin solos much less so. In addition to the quality of the source equipment, I believe the room, i.e. reflections, rugs, bare walls, distance from the speakers etc, effect classical music moreso than other less demanding forms of music. Just my opinion, YMMV.

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3 minutes ago, RT FAN said:

To my ear massed strings are the most difficult thing for a speaker to reproduce. Individual violin solos much less so.

 

From my demastering efforts I've found that full orchestra recordings are usually more boosted in the 1-5 kHz region.  Boosted violin sections above 1 kHz via mastering EQ always sound steely to my ears. There is usually a crossover in the 1-5 kHz region that introduces phase shifts and other disturbances that are audible for mass strings.

 

Just as frequently, the cellos and double basses are rolled off starting at 450 Hz at around 3 dB/octave--which is the reason why so many people leave their bass tone control turned up to partially compensate.

 

Chris

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Thanks for the info Chris, I will give the tone controls a spin! I am not a huge classical fan, maybe 50 or so cds. Not all of which are the greatest pressings, that might contribute to my perception of what I hear.

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Very interesting info, Chris! But with some finetuning I managed at last to make the old Heifetz recordings (on CD though) sound a lot more like a real violin - and not just steel strings (which I think he used in his later (stereo) days). So even with Khorns it can be done.....

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8 hours ago, RT FAN said:

To my ear massed strings are the most difficult thing for a speaker to reproduce. Individual violin solos much less so. In addition to the quality of the source equipment, I believe the room, i.e. reflections, rugs, bare walls, distance from the speakers etc, effect classical music more so than other less demanding forms of music. Just my opinion, YMMV.

 

My mileage does not vary appreciably from yours,  even though this is a very much a YMMV kind of thing.   I n my room, strategically placed absorbers and diffusors, plus the natural kind like a rug, and many bookshelves with the books and diffusing pottery, art objects, occasional absorbers behind the books/objects, nothing between the Khorns (no equipment racks, etc.) in their wall plane (thanks to advice from Chris A.), plus the center channel modified Belle Klipsch is flush mounted into the wall, into a structure that bumps out into the other side, all make Audyssey's job a lot easier ...  I think ... massed strings on some CDs are still a problem.  See below.

 

7 hours ago, Chris A said:

 

From my demastering efforts I've found that full orchestra recordings are usually more boosted in the 1-5 kHz regionBoosted violin sections above 1 kHz via mastering EQ always sound steely to my ears. There is usually a crossover in the 1-5 kHz region that introduces phase shifts and other disturbances that are audible for mass strings.

 

Just as frequently, the cellos and double basses are rolled off starting at 450 Hz at around 3 dB/octave--which is the reason why so many people leave their bass tone control turned up to partially compensate.

 

Chris

For some problem recordings, both classical music and movies (usually older) I switch from Audyssey Flat (my usual setting) to Audyssey Reference (just plain Audyssey).  This imposes a dip at, and just above, 2KHz, called "midrange compensation."  Another Chris, Chris K. of Audyssey said he never heard a speaker it didn't improve.  I don't go that far, but it does help violins sound less steely, if the recording is too shrill.  The same setting rolls off the extreme highs, providing -2 dB at 10KHz, up to -6 dB at 20KHz, but since most of our listening and movie watching is for older audiences, I don't think that is what is helping.  With test frequencies above 13K or so, there is no guarantee of my hearing them.  Sometimes I move my head a little, and say to myself, "Oh, there it is!" 

7 hours ago, RT FAN said:

Thanks for the info Chris, I will give the tone controls a spin! I am not a huge classical fan, maybe 50 or so cds. Not all of which are the greatest pressings, that might contribute to my perception of what I hear.

 

7 hours ago, dubai2000 said:

Very interesting info, Chris! But with some finetuning I managed at last to make the old Heifetz recordings (on CD though) sound a lot more like a real violin - and not just steel strings (which I think he used in his later (stereo) days). So even with Khorns it can be done.....

Heifetz sounds fine on my Khorns and Belle flush mounted center with the Living Stereo SACD 3 channel recordings.  They are remasters, but the ones I've heard seem to be good remasters.  

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I listen to classical music and opera.   

 

I prefer tube amps with my RF-7II.

 

My basement 4.2 system can deliver a near-live-classical-concert-experience.  Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II.  A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7.   Subwoofers:  SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW.  These four tower speakers plus two subwoofers provide plenty of acoustical power in this average size listening room.  (I sit approximately 10 feet from the speakers.)  Collectively, they total four 1 ¾” titanium compression drivers mated to Tractrix horns, eight 10” woofers, one 15” powered subwoofer, and one 16” powered subwoofer.  (I recognize the RF-7II are small compared with Klipschorn and Jubilee, but the RF-7II (plus 16” subwoofers) are the largest speakers I can accommodate.)

 

Source:  Oppo UDP-205.   The Oppo UDP-205 provides "bass management" - i.e., a built-in crossover, and a connection for a powered subwoofer.   With Oppo's bass management, the low frequencies are off-loaded from the main amp and speakers, thereby facilitating greater overall dynamics.  

 

Here's the tube amps that I have in this system:  Scott 272 (EL34), Inspire “Fire Bottle” SE Stereo Tube Amplifier HO (single-ended-pentode (SEP) power amp currently equipped with 6L6GC), Scott 222C (7189), McIntosh MX110Z tuner/preamp, Fisher KX-200 (7591), Scott 296 (6L6GC), Pilot SA-260 (EL34), Scott LK150 (KT88).   A patch panel allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp(s) I want, and F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo, and a power amp to the MX110Z (if I choose to have a pre-amp in the audio chain).  

 

I love classical music, which involves natural instruments performing together live in their intended venue (i.e., symphony hall or opera house).   IME, the RF-7II are capable of reproducing this natural sound, when driven by the right tube amps.  I experience no listener fatigue when using the right tube amps with my RF-7II.    (IME, RF-7II can sound harsh with solid-state amps, and can sound bright with KT88 tube amps.)    Recently I’ve been watching/listening to surround-sound Blu-ray video recordings of classical concerts, and I find that RF-7II and two stereo tube amps (one for L&R, one for center and single rear) provide excellent audio quality.  

 

 

 

 

 

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In addition to many multi-channel Blu-ray opera and ballet recordings, and multi-channel Blu-ray of individual classical performances, following are some classical Blu-ray box sets that I think are excellent, and represent a great value:

 

41+EYqMSRUL.jpg

 

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61Lk0bYLR7L._SY445_.jpg

 

 

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P.S.  There are of course also many multi-channel classical SACDs.  Here's a few that I highly recommend:

 

81Z+JEOw5jL._SX425_.jpg

 

51lRMS+ZQSL.jpg

 

5191r7tBQ2L._SX425_.jpg

 

These  classical SACDs sound fabulous with RF-7IIs in a surround-sound system, when driven by tube amps.   (My Oppo UDP-205 universal disc player provides multi-channel pre-amp functionality, including bass management.  No AVR needed.)

 

Bottom line:  Klipsch speakers and tube amps go together like peanut butter and jelly - particularly for classical music - including multi-channel SACD and Blu-ray.

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You stimulated a neuron firing with your posted pic of disc covers...

 

I demastered a Chandos CD some time ago (The Black Knight...Elgar). The final demastering EQ curve turned out to be pretty wild--the worst that I remember seeing in a classical recording.   Apparently I wasn't the only one that had issues with what I was hearing: https://www.amazon.com/product-reviews/B000000AYM/ref=acr_dpx_hist_3?ie=UTF8&amp;filterByStar=three_star&amp;showViewpoints=0

 

If they can do that to a CD, they can certainly do it to a multichannel SACD.  I'd be skeptical of the as-mastered condition of that Rachmaninoff recording-especially choral--they uniformly roll-off the bass on choral recordings.

 

I've also found the same problem, but with lesser magnitude, with Decca CDs and BDs, i.e., boosted harmonics above 1 kHz and rolled-off lows below 450 Hz.  I've got a couple of ballet BDs that are a little difficult to listen to.  I suppose that the practice of introducing significant levels of mastering EQ to classical tracks must be culturally acceptable in that locale. 

 

FYI only.

 

Chris

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