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Klipsch R-41M Bookshelf Speaker Review (from Audio Science Review)


Chris A
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The owner of the ASR forum ("amirm") recently acquired a Klippel Near Field Scanner (NFS) system.  If you were to pull out your checkbook to pay for one of these, you'd spend something like $100,000 (USD).  So this is a pretty big deal.  Apparently the first loudspeaker that he reviewed for the ASR forum is the Klipsch R-41M ($149 per pair from Amazon).  Here are the results, which will knock your socks off, so at least hang onto your hat:

 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/klipsch-r-41m-bookshelf-speaker-review.11566/

 

klipsch-r-41m-booksehlf-speaker-audio-re

klipsch-r-41m-booksehlf-speaker-back-pan

 

klipsch-r-41m-booksehlf-speaker-spinoram

 

Note that the guy "amirm" isn't too keen on understanding where "good enough" meets "better", so understand that he tends to make mountains out of molehills--a lot.  This is especially true when he reviews electronics (particularly DACs--where he regularly argues about SNR+distortion performance that's more than 60 dB below the noise floor of the best home theater room available---120 dB(SPL) ).  It's also true for his review of the R-41M (but whose review presages many future reviews on at least low cost loudspeakers), although some points that he makes are worth paying attention to.

 

Enjoy!  (...I know I did...)

 

Chris

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Well, I don't believe he measured "it" wrong, but I do think that he's overwhelmed with what he did measure, and lacks the experience of a journeyman loudspeaker design engineer to make choices from among the "zits" that he measured.  I believe that even he (amirm) would agree that is a major factor in his audio measurement journey. 

 

He apparently uses relative standards (i.e., how well did "x" do against all the other widgets I've measured in a particular chosen measurement type--which is not a very good way to do business), and lacks judgment in the basic areas of audibility of the measured differences and the tradeoffs that must be made in order to get to a certain price point ($150 per pair of loudspeakers WITH PROFIT MARGIN INCLUDED is below my personal threshold for doing much of anything in terms of loudspeaker design).  I think that the author of that thread over at ASR consistently loses track of what he's doing, but that's just my opinion...

 

Chris

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So what we have here is yet another Klipsch speaker test review which is less than desirable. But the funny thing is reading owner's reviews for the R-41M @ Crutchfield is like 95% thumbs up. Ditto on Google 4.8 out of 5, total of 1817 reviews. Now we are talking about a $200 pair of bookshelf speakers.

 

So what are we to conclude from this? The test data is valid (utilizing a $100,000 test apparatus and extensive testing procedures) and peeps have no clue what a really good bookshelf speaker really sounds like? 

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6 hours ago, Marvel said:

Everyone on that site seems to HATE Klipsch. I had to stop reading the comments, as the majority of my experience with Klipsch products has been great.

Klipsch is apparently gathering an increasing following, especially lately with the redesigned Heritage series (KHorn, La Scala, Cornwall, Heresy), the bookshelf series (but not really the least expensive R41M), and the Reference Premier home theater series.  Those that like them REALLY like them.  The main difference is directivity control above 1-2 kHz (horn loaded), and higher overall sensitivity than competing brands.  That means lower modulation distortion (i.e., PWK's law of higher efficiency = lower distortion). 

 

It always seems odd to me that the "audiophile reviewers" don't realize this, and fail to recognize what it means: Klipsch is designing to a different set of requirements.  They don't get it.  Toole's "requirements" aren't gospel, it seems. There are apparently other approaches to loudspeaker requirements that generate high buyer satisfaction. 

 

Chris

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For the price point, I thought the in-room response was pretty good. let’s get real here, these things cost peanuts. 
 

Imagine working at a place like Klipsch, and a senior engineer walks over and says, “we need a near field monitor with a 4” woofer, designed primarily for desktop systems. You have $32 to work with.”

 

The FR measurements are forgivable, those distortion measurements are not. Terrible. I’m not the biggest fan of those cones. 

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He acquired a $100,000 test rig, and the first speaker he tested was one of the least expensive models from a hugely popular speaker company.

 

Then I noticed that one of his ASR forum cheerleaders/major contributor/donor appears to be a dealer of some high priced esoteric loudspeakers. I think I see where that is going (on the ASR forum).

 

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He pays for the return shipping. I know he likes to review equipment t that is not expensive to ship, and if a person lives in his area he will measure and review big , and or heavy equipment t.

Sent from my SM-T830 using Tapatalk

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Litmus test ... a pair came on the used market here recently ... didn't last 24 hours.  So, measurements are one thing, market acceptance maybe another in this case?  Especially when economies turn south folks look to the lower end and/or preferably DIY or fix & repair.  I predict a whole genre of DIY'ers who do updates on these and other bookshelf speakers and turn them into Jube-lite!

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On 2/24/2020 at 2:28 PM, Khornukopia said:

He acquired a $100,000 test rig, and the first speaker he tested was one of the least expensive models from a hugely popular speaker company.

 

Then I noticed that one of his ASR forum cheerleaders/major contributor/donor appears to be a dealer of some high priced esoteric loudspeakers. I think I see where that is going (on the ASR forum).

 

 

Your comment is straight on. Talk about overkill for testing a $200 speaker eh? On the other hand, I have read some interesting articles on that site and others that are more science and data oriented. One of those regarded USB cables and testing of the variety of USB audio cables out there. In a nutshell, there are many who are paying far more for a USB audio cable than they need too, and they showed the science behind it. I'm a data kinda guy. I also trust my own ears (which at my age are nowhere near as accurate as they were in my teens) and spending wisely is a necessity now as I reach retirement. I will never own a pair of $6000+ speakers nor will I run out buy something that is a bargain big box speaker. Got to keep things in perspective I guess.

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26 minutes ago, Badger_Erich said:

 

Your comment is straight on. Talk about overkill for testing a $200 speaker eh? On the other hand, I have read some interesting articles on that site and others that are more science and data oriented. One of those regarded USB cables and testing of the variety of USB audio cables out there. In a nutshell, there are many who are paying far more for a USB audio cable than they need too, and they showed the science behind it. I'm a data kinda guy. I also trust my own ears (which at my age are nowhere near as accurate as they were in my teens) and spending wisely is a necessity now as I reach retirement. I will never own a pair of $6000+ speakers nor will I run out buy something that is a bargain big box speaker. Got to keep things in perspective I guess.

 

Read your first two sentences. The audio reproduction testing should be the same (standardized) for a $100 speaker or a $10,000 speaker. Testing reveals how accurately a specific loudspeaker reproduces a given input signal or signals (and its distortion levels which is really important). In the end one should judge the speaker on its test data results and end cost. And a personal audition hopefully. 

 

It is not a linear cost vs reward in home audio loudspeakers. After a certain level, you pay really large increases for relatively small gains imo. 

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Just now, polizzio said:

 

Read your first two sentences. The audio reproduction testing should be the same for a $100 speaker or a $10,000 speaker. Testing reveals how accurately a specific loudspeaker reproduces a given input signal or signals (and its distortion levels which is really important). In the end one should judge the speaker on its test data results and end cost. And a personal audition hopefully. 

 

It is not a linear cost vs reward in home audio loudspeakers. After a certain level, you pay really large increases for relatively small gains imo. 

 

My comment was more of "why go to that effort?" for a $200 speaker. Not the testing method itself.

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6 minutes ago, Badger_Erich said:

 

My comment was more of "why go to that effort?" for a $200 speaker. Not the testing method itself.

 

And i agree with you on that. Actually they can be had new right now @ amazon for $138 a pair shipped, on sale. You read the comment stream on his thread, it makes one wonder if it wasn't set up to assail Klipsch. He could have chosen something other than a really low budget bookshelf speaker. Would have been great is he did testing/review on the RP-280F or the new Heresy IV. Or even the moderate cost RP-160M bookshelf.

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44 minutes ago, Deang said:

He did measure the equally inexpensive Pioneers, which came out much better. Based on measurements alone, I would buy the Pioneers. 
 

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/pioneer-sp-bs22-lr-bookshelf-speaker-review.11303/

 

Designed by Andrew Jones. Same guy who designed my Elac Debut 6.2 which i collectively own two pairs purchased on sale. My desktop speakers powered by a really nice low cost chinese amp. Jones knows his stuff for sure!

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  • 8 months later...

This is a personal preference rather than a case of awarding 'best' status. Do your own research, read the reviews online on https://asksound.com/best-bookshelf-speakers-under-500

My favorite bookshelf is the klipsch rb-5 lls but it should be noted that I dont have a lot to compare them to. None the less for 175.00 which is what I paid I think they sound awesome they are also beautiful in their pristine cherry wood cabs!

Edited by blissann
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