A Marriage Made in Audio Heaven

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.


Congratulations! May you enjoy them many years in good health and happiness.


Love CC, so powerful. Even named by eldest daughter ‘Candela’ :slight_smile:

Congrats! I don’t own any Klipsch speakers but have lusted after them ever since hearing a set at a party a very long time ago.


A fave:


Coming from a Cuba born American, Celia was special. Some of her music is amazing…

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Lust is the start, Baldy. I’ve heard it said that love and marriage would not be possible without a good deal of lust to power through the barriers.


I should not be surprised some forum members know of her. She brought plenty of flavor to many lives and well-deserved being called the “Queen of Salsa.”

This stage is her home on many nights:


Are Klipsch speakers and PSA electronics a well-known synergistic pairing? I’m asking seriously, wondering if a bunch of PSA amp owners pair with the Klipsch Heritage line? Don’t necessarily recall reading about it previously.

My brother is seriously considering Cornwall 4 and PSA wasn’t jumping to front of mind as a natural partner but hmmmm …

Hi, kzk, to my knowledge it is far from being a well-known synergistic pairing. That is one reason I wrote the post. Last night I put my Focals back on line again and it took just a few minutes to confirm I had made the right decision going to the Klipsch Forte IV.

There are a lot of variables to consider. Which of these variables has the most influence in developing Klipsch synergy is way above my pay grade. The point I wanted to make is that PS Audio voicing appears to be a good fit for the latest generation of Klipsch speakers. I’ve tried the fit with the RP-600M, RP-8000F and now the Forte IV, all with similar results.

By results I mean that even with the smallest of Klipsch speakers I feel the music. When my friends hooked up their very fine gear, some Class A components, to the Forte IVs that emotional connection was not there. I fully realize emotional connection is difficult to grasp, until you feel it.

The only way to truly know if you can have synergy is to order a pair of Klipsch from their Reference Premiere line or go up to the big boys. The Forte IV is the smallest and most easily maneuverable of the big boys if you don’t have the space. Yet, it still has the big sound and makes the emotional connection.

Klipsch technology has been improving steadily to the point where, in my experience, it can take advantage of the PS Audio gear resolution. If their speakers can sound magical (on well recorded material), I wanted to encourage others who may not have experimented similarly to at least give the match a try. There’s everything to gain and very little to lose.


Then you are doing a great service posting your findings- many thanks!

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I’ve rotated two pairs of speakers in and out of my system for a few years; a pair of Maggie .7s and a pair of Harbeth C7ES3s. I was having an itch to try yet another brand in my system (McIntosh integrated, PS Audio DSD senior, Matrix X-SPDIF 2) just for the hell of it and found a deal on an open box pair of Klipsch RP-5000F speakers on eBay for cheap. I decided to try them out on a lark, thinking that I’d just sell them if they turned out to be the joke I was expecting them to be. Well, was I surprised! I’ve had them in my system for over two months now and they’ve become part three of my rotation.


Good for you. Don’t you love to be surprised?


and isn’t it nice to have a choice of speakers to use as well :slight_smile:


My system is in an unused bedroom and so I’ve been able to discreetly mark the floor with tiny letters that represent the first letter of each speaker so that I can quickly and easily move them back into their ideal positions. It makes things so much easier to swap them out this way.


yes i have masking tape on the floor (second living room) - my wife waggled her eyebrows but said nothing. she does what she likes in the first living room so all is cool :wink:


ah yes, rather more subtle than this -

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You really have to look to see mine.


Mine too, badbeef. Whenever I need a lift…