Klipsch Heresy IV Speaker Review

ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic Chief
Note: As always, I am sharing the link to my review because copy/pasting all the text, photos and formatting would take me way too long.


I just posted my review (objective with some subjective) of the Klipsch Heresy IV. I know that there are gonna be pitchforks for anything negative I say about these speakers but I liken these to Bose in that there are people who love them and there are people who hate them. My review is not the former; not necessarily the latter. But more borne from the desire to understand what the performance is and how that relates to my own subjective impression (I ALWAYS listen before I begin measuring). But if nothing else, you fans of the Klipsch sound can get a better understanding of what it is you're hearing. ;)





 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Spartan
Thank you, Erin. If nothing else, you've helped reaffirm my dislike of the Big K. :)
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
I know that the Klipsch engineers can do better, and my feeling is that they were locked in an ancient design and told to do the best that they could within the overall design established in 1957. These results is pretty much what I would have expected, in fact, I guessed it might have been even worse. I have heard the older Heresys and wasn't a fan then and doubt that these newer Heresys would turn that opinion around.
 
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ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic Chief
Someone shared this in the Klipsch forum and I’m already taking a beating. Apparently I’m a novice, my measurements are questionable and I don’t know what to listen for. People get downright defensive over this stuff. Like it’s life or death. It’s not my fault I didn’t like the way the speaker sounded. Its not my fault the measurements indicate mediocrity on a $3k/pair speaker. That’s Klipsch’s issue. If they deem that this sound is what their customer wants then that’s fine. But it’s evident to anyone with ears that they have a very different sound to them that is not intended - nor can be mistaken - for “accurate”. This isn't rocket science (I would know).

So, to those of you from the Klipsch forum reading this thread, let me clear up a few things that you guys are saying (assuming) about me because I won't do this more than once:
  • I love horns. Have them in my home theater. JBL Pro speakers with horns half as big as this overall speaker height. DIY'd cabs with 15-inch mid/woofers. Sensitivity >98dB (legit; no Klipsch numbers). Ran actively via a Rane RPM88 and a stack of Crown amplifiers. Additionally, I ran BMS speakers (go look them up, they're top flight pro-audio most haven't even heard of) in my car for a few years. Along with 10-inch midbass in the kicks and 15-inch subwoofers. And it won sound-off competitions. ;)
  • I have a lot of experience measuring speakers. I am a beta tester for Klippel. They don't just give that status to anyone. ;)
  • I am meticulous when it comes to measurements. I take literal days to measure speakers. I don't have a NFS or anechoic chamber but my results are comparable with those and provide high resolution down to 20Hz increments (better than quasi-anechoic measurements). Your favorite audiophile magazine is doing it wrong. I promise you. And I have proved it numerous times in this forum.
  • I listen first. I never measure first. Measurements don't influence me. In nearly every case I can think of, the measurements align with my subjective impressions almost 100%. I may misinterpret things or be off by 1/3-octave (still good enough to get a good score in SoundGym training software) but it's pretty telling and to the point that I could practically trust the measurements "blindly".
  • If I wanted to shill these speakers I could do that. I could probably make a lot of money off Amazon affiliate links doing that as well. But then I'd be just another person on YouTube without a conscience or without a legitimate understanding of how we hear what we hear.
  • I name specific frequencies I hear. I don't just say "midrange" and hope for the best or hope that no one calls me out on it.
  • The data is my accountability token. If I get something wrong, then I can look at the data and get an understanding of what I misinterpreted. And so can you.

If you have a problem with the data then take it up with Klipsch. If you have a problem with what I heard then take it up with Klipsch. This speaker is a niche speaker with a niche sound. It's not an accurate speaker. It really is that simple. And I don't see how anyone can think that. Seriously. That's not a joke or a crack at others. That's a legitimate concern I have about this whole "audiophile" review community. Shedding light on them is gonna ruffle a lot of feathers. But if the end result is we are all wiser, we get better sound and reviewers quit causing us to spend money on something that isn't what we will get (like they did the guy who loaned this speaker to me for test, seriously) then we'd all be in a better place.

Hopefully that clears some things up.

- Erin


Here's an "in progress" picture of my HT when I was building the false wall to hide my speakers behind the screen. This obviously isn't the "final" picture. Things were shifted a bit, some clean-up of the foam... the usual. Everything is now covered in black grille cloth. See? I like horn speakers. Good ones, that is. :)
 

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ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic Chief
YouTube video is posted. Don't shoot the messenger! :)

 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
Going by the specs they sure will play loud with little power. Never owned or really ever seriously listened to any Klipsch speakers so I can't comment on the sound.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Spartan
So, you're saying that not blindly liking something without question is...good? :)

Good to know I've been doing it right all these years.
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic General
Someone shared this in the Klipsch forum and I’m already taking a beating. Apparently
You committed an act of heresy. What did you expect?

Yeah, it's a cult over there. But they like what they like.

I'd love it if you got hold of a pair of Radio Shack Mach 2's or Mach 3's and they wound up measuring better!
 
davidscott

davidscott

Audioholic Samurai
Anyone here ever own a pair of the flagship Klipschorns? Never heard them but they were considered state of the art back in the day.
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Full Audioholic
Anyone here ever own a pair of the flagship Klipschorns? Never heard them but they were considered state of the art back in the day.
A friend of mine bought 4 of those big corner jobs the make there huge ,powers them with big mono block amps he called me over to recommend a center to match them I was at loss for recommending anything . Had to use a dolly to get them in his house . He found them on craigs list .
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Anyone here ever own a pair of the flagship Klipschorns? Never heard them but they were considered state of the art back in the day.
Keep in mind that 'back in the day' means 1947 with the Klipschorns.
 
Mark E. Long

Mark E. Long

Full Audioholic
Keep in mind that 'back in the day' means 1947 with the Klipschorns.
Lol sorry for the bad response I really don’t know the timeframe my buddy’s were made I do know there large and do sound good and I’ve never researched much about them .
 
ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic Chief
But people were still swearing by them in the 70s when I first got into HIFI.
People still swear by Bose 901's today, too. Not being snooty. Just making the point that people's reference can vary wildly from person to person. For any number of reasons. And usually it's not for legitimate accuracy/reproduction.
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
I know that the Klipsch engineers can do better, and my feeling is that they were locked in an ancient design and told to do the best that they could within the overall design established in 1957. These results is pretty much what I would have expected, in fact, I guessed it might have been even worse.
Pretty much nailed it.

The boxy aesthetic and recessed baffle is a diffraction nightmare, just look at the jagged response. A flush baffle with rounded edges would greatly improve that.

Even modest internal bracing would quell cab resonances.

Another vestigial quirk is designing specifically for corner placement, which may have been customary in 1953, but will result in inadequate bass and tipped up response if you place them away from walls or up on stands. So throw in adequate bsc, and tame those unruly mids while you're at it, to get a more linear, room- and ear-friendly tonal balance.

How about the directivity match between the woofer and mid horn? Maybe a smaller diameter woofer, larger format horn, and appropriate crossover frequency can achieve that. Heck, why stop there, let's simplify things and make it a two way.

I think the results would be very much like the Jeff Bagby designed F12 Tempest kit speaker. They're just as sensitive as Heresies but otherwise vastly superior in every which way. Why Klipsch doesn't employ similar basic improvements is a mystery. I think a better performer might actually sell better.

@MrBoat built a schnazzy pair of Tempests, and isn't too far from @ErinH . I would love to see a full suite of measurements from those just to compare with the Heresy. Battle of the Garage Speakers! (They are no longer available in kit form, so probably not of much interest outside those of us who built them.)
 
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gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Note: As always, I am sharing the link to my review because copy/pasting all the text, photos and formatting would take me way too long.


I just posted my review (objective with some subjective) of the Klipsch Heresy IV. I know that there are gonna be pitchforks for anything negative I say about these speakers but I liken these to Bose in that there are people who love them and there are people who hate them. My review is not the former; not necessarily the latter. But more borne from the desire to understand what the performance is and how that relates to my own subjective impression (I ALWAYS listen before I begin measuring). But if nothing else, you fans of the Klipsch sound can get a better understanding of what it is you're hearing. ;)





But but Andrew Robinson says these are the bestest speakers ever with the bestest bass extension too. Surely you're mistaken? ....I know, don't call you Shurely.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Anyone here ever own a pair of the flagship Klipschorns? Never heard them but they were considered state of the art back in the day.
I would think they would measure better than the big K
 
ErinH

ErinH

Audioholic Chief
But but Andrew Robinson says these are the bestest speakers ever with the bestest bass extension too. Surely you're mistaken? ....I know, don't call you Shurely.
Hey, just don't call me Eric and we're fine! :p ;) :D
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Pretty much nailed it.

The boxy aesthetic and recessed baffle is a diffraction nightmare, just look at the jagged response. A flush baffle with rounded edges would greatly improve that.

Even modest internal bracing would quell cab resonances.

Another vestigial quirk is designing specifically for corner placement, which may have been customary in 1953, but will result in inadequate bass and tipped up response if you place them away from walls or up on stands. So throw in adequate bsc, and tame those unruly mids while you're at it, to get a more linear, room- and ear-friendly tonal balance.

How about the directivity match between the woofer and mid horn? Maybe a smaller diameter woofer, larger format horn, and appropriate crossover frequency can achieve that. Heck, why stop there, let's simplify things and make it a two way.

I think the results would be very much like the Jeff Bagby designed F12 Tempest kit speaker. They're just as sensitive as Heresies but otherwise vastly superior in every which way. Why Klipsch doesn't employ similar basic improvements is a mystery. I think a better performer might actually sell better.

@MrBoat built a schnazzy pair of Tempests, and isn't too far from @ErinH . I would love to see a full suite of measurements from those just to compare with the Heresy. Battle of the Garage Speakers! (They are no longer available in kit form, so probably not of much interest outside those of us who built them.)
Baffle diffraction shouldn't be a big deal where the mid and tweeter are horn-loaded. I don't think cabinet bracing is the problem either. I think part of the problem is that it's a three-way in a small cabinet that forces it to have sub-par waveguide geometry. I think a big problem is horn diffraction resulting from the shape of the waveguides. They should have went with a two-way speaker with more room for a good waveguide, much like the Tempest. Something else that the engineers may have had to wrestle with is staying true to the sound of the older Heresys, and that would have forced them to adhere to a rocky frequency response in the first place. But with such a crude frequency response, I don't understand how this speaker is priced at $3k, unless there is a huge markup.
 

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