Common wisdom has first getting the best speakers one can afford and then the electronics that have synergy with it. I’ve done that all my audiophile life, with Quads, Dahlquist, Magnepans, Martin Logans and Focals.
I did not succeed in achieving the realism and sense of presence I was looking for until I met PS Audio following the purchase of the Focals 1038be. Or so I thought, because the final chapter was yet to be written. The Focals were followed by a P15 regenerator, the Directstream DAC, BHK Preamp and 250 amp, along with power cables, interconnects and speaker cables of near royal blood from Audioquest.
I don’t think I single-handedly kept the American economy going during the pandemic but I came close to taking the family down to near the poverty line. It was worth it. We didn’t go hungry and I discovered that the usual speakers-first process can be later reversed, with superbly voiced gear in synergy leading us to the right speaker for our tastes.
The aesthetics were trying. With the grills on, the Forte IVs appear to be halfway-handsome boxes. Without them, upon close viewing, they look like they were made in someone’s basement by an amateur carpenter. However, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Many audiophiles find them hot. Perhaps for me butt-ugly is not the right descriptor; lovably industrial is kinder and more accurate.
It all happened by serendipity.
In one of the many video conversations with friends while in Covid jail, someone brought up how much they liked Klipsch speakers. I had no intimate knowledge of Klipsch except for rumors that they were bright, inaccurate, loud and more for partying and public gatherings than serious music listening. I did not think much of them as audiophile speakers.
Being one to take risks and having more curiosity than my cat, I ordered a pair of RP-600M from Crutchfield for my office system. Just like PS Audio, Crutchfield makes taking chances a fairly painless and inexpensive proposition. For some reason, the first tunes I streamed through that tweeter horn coincided with a sudden interest to reacquaint with the music of my native country.
As soon as Cuban icon Celia Cruz sang a few notes and the percussion kicked in, my aging hips could not help but gyrate. That’s after two hip replacements. Playing high school and college football was not kind on the body, but muscle memory is hard to erase. Those Klipsch horns made the percussion as real as I remember from childhood. I’d love to see Paul shake his hips to Cuban rhythms.
I dared for more and replaced my main system’s Focals with another model of the Klipsch Reference Premiere series, the larger RP-8000F. After a few days of non-stop play I was hooked enough to return the towers and get the only other Klipsch horn speaker I could fit in my living/listening room. My spouse kept repeating “Not another” while I said “Who knows if I will live another month?”
It took three restless days for the new Forte IVs to arrive and about a week more for them to really start singing. I’m lucky not to share wall space with any neighbor in my condo village. I had to be yanked to bed late into the night several times to separate me from my music.
Friends from my audio club brought their gear, hoping to court the Forte IVs into synergy. However, it seemed those horn beauties had already built quite a monogamous relationship with the PS Audio family, and in less time than it took Aaron Rodgers to propose to Shailene Woodley.
If you don’t yet have as much synergy between your speakers and PS Audio gear as you would like, try being a relationship buster and give the Klipsch Forte IVs a try. It could turn out to be a bust, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. You could find musicality you did not know existed.
In his YouTube review of the Forte IV, Andrew Robinson acknowledged the imperfections of the speaker. The Forte IV is far from a favorite of students from measurement-centric Audio Science Review University. But he found it to be magical, stirring the emotions in a way that few other speakers can claim. I had a hard time knowing what he meant until I heard them, with PS Audio gear.
Dare to arrange a new marriage. Unlike in real life, it really is painless, nearly free for the dating and a mere $4,500 for tying the knot. You may not consider Klipsch worthy of a mighty Class A PS Audio rig, but hearing is believing. Stream Celia Cruz’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” and you’ll know first-hand why life, and being an audiophile, is indeed a carnaval.