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Thread: Budget Klipsch Speaker Shock!

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,717
    I'm Hugo.

    Default Budget Klipsch Speaker Shock!

    After a good few months listening solely via headphones (Denon AH-D7000) I have become somewhat hooked on the inherent time and phase purity of single driver transducers; and I find that I cannot listen happily to most multi-driver speakers which often complex crossover networks. In time, I will try a pair of Omega Compact Alnico Monitors, which even have 'proper' whizzer cones, but for now I just need something small and musical for those times when I don't wish to make a conscious decision to sit down with the 'phones.

    Justin at Sevenoaks in Norwich suggested the little Klipsch R-51M bookshelf speakers a being unusually musical little things with a really basic crossover. These speakers look hideous and feel pretty cheap with a lightweight vinyl-wrapped cabinet, but they do cost only 249, so I bought a pair. Well, blow me if Justin was right - these things might have a very slightly coloured sound perspective (probably the lightweight cabinet) but other than that they have a nice sonic balance and do musical timing and resolution better than most speakers that I can recall, at any price. The 'tractrix' horn tweeter is a little gem and the top end dispersion is excellent - they image beautifully. Had it not been for the recommendation, I would never have given these little Klipsch speakers a single glance, except in revulsion, but they are a minor audiophile bargain.



    https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/products/R-51M

  2. #2
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: East Riding of Yorkshire

    Posts: 4,499
    I'm Shaun.

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    Very good to hear. I had a pair of KG3.5's back in '97 powered by a 300B SE amp and they were a very good match. Lovely sound and sensitivity.

  3. #3
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,372
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ammonite Acoustics View Post
    After a good few months listening solely via headphones (Denon AH-D7000) I have become somewhat hooked on the inherent time and phase purity of single driver transducers; and I find that I cannot listen happily to most multi-driver speakers which often complex crossover networks. In time, I will try a pair of Omega Compact Alnico Monitors, which even have 'proper' whizzer cones, but for now I just need something small and musical for those times when I don't wish to make a conscious decision to sit down with the 'phones.

    Justin at Sevenoaks in Norwich suggested the little Klipsch R-51M bookshelf speakers a being unusually musical little things with a really basic crossover. These speakers look hideous and feel pretty cheap with a lightweight vinyl-wrapped cabinet, but they do cost only 249, so I bought a pair. Well, blow me if Justin was right - these things might have a very slightly coloured sound perspective (probably the lightweight cabinet) but other than that they have a nice sonic balance and do musical timing and resolution better than most speakers that I can recall, at any price. The 'tractrix' horn tweeter is a little gem and the top end dispersion is excellent - they image beautifully. Had it not been for the recommendation, I would never have given these little Klipsch speakers a single glance, except in revulsion, but they are a minor audiophile bargain.



    https://www.henleyaudio.co.uk/products/R-51M
    I agree with you completely. I am on my second pair of Omega speakers. I bought my current ones directly from Louis (Mr Omega) when I was in Connecticut a couple of years back. They were a custom design, built by Louis in 48 hours so I could take them away. They are similar to the Super 7 monitor but with Alnico drivers. The single point design brings a level of coherence close to my Magneplanar speakers but with none of the problems of driving a low impedance load. The Omegas are easy to drive and sound great with SET amps. I am sure that the Klipsch sound great, but the Omegas are in a different league.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,717
    I'm Hugo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
    I agree with you completely. I am on my second pair of Omega speakers. I bought my current ones directly from Louis (Mr Omega) when I was in Connecticut a couple of years back. They were a custom design, built by Louis in 48 hours so I could take them away. They are similar to the Super 7 monitor but with Alnico drivers. The single point design brings a level of coherence close to my Magneplanar speakers but with none of the problems of driving a low impedance load. The Omegas are easy to drive and sound great with SET amps. I am sure that the Klipsch sound great, but the Omegas are in a different league.
    That’s very good to hear. I cannot hear the Omega Compact Alnico Monitors before buying, but I suspect that it’s worth splashing out for those, over the Super 7 which I may at some point get to hear over at Divine Audio.

  5. #5
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,372
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ammonite Acoustics View Post
    That’s very good to hear. I cannot hear the Omega Compact Alnico Monitors before buying, but I suspect that it’s worth splashing out for those, over the Super 7 which I may at some point get to hear over at Divine Audio.
    The standard drivers sound excellent but the Alnico drivers are significantly better. There is a weight and fullness to the Alnicos that is very special. I am constantly surprised at the "slam" that can be achieved with such a small driver. The Compact Alnico Monitors are not that compact and are larger than my custom units. I think you will be astounded when you hear them and see how small the drivers are in relation to the big sound they produce.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

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    I'm Hugo.

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    The little Klipsch R-51M speakers now have some hours on them and I have a better handle on what they do well, and what they don't do well! Leaving aside the paltry 249 RRP, these little things portray musical textures almost like nothing else and are hugely enjoyable. Seldom have I hear the character of piano resonances done as well as with these little speakers, but the same thing applies across all sorts of instruments and music genres. They are quick and follow a rhythm beautifully, and with a simple recording go fairly deep with a nicely defined and tuneful bass which really suits 'A Jazz Portrait of Frank Sinatra' by Oscar Peterson.

    The R-51Ms start to come undone when cranked up and given complex full-scale orchestral stuff where dynamic crests and peaks result in a somewhat 'compressed' and 'messy' feeling. Indeed, while they will play loud, that's not particularly nice and they are definitely at their best at lowish volumes, which is a nice trait in my view (how many small speakers do low volume stuff really well?).

    So, for someone who needs a small, cheap speaker that plays simple classical, jazz etc at modest volumes, the little Klipsch R-51Ms deserve a listen. For larger scale classical and head-banging rock, there are better choices than the R-51M, but within their comfort zone these speakers are unexpectedly delightful, and so inexpensive.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2010

    Location: Bristol, since 1978. Current house since 1996!

    Posts: 648
    I'm Chris.

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    A thin case need not be a negative. My Ocellia Calliopes have a pretty thin shell, on purpose, to release the energy. AND they have no cross-over.
    I got into full range speakers via a set of Zigmahornets I made http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/z...gmahornet.html
    ...from polystyrene! Which must also release the energy pretty well, being 95% air?
    Did you ever listen to big Klipsches? I had the big ones for 20 years.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Chris.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

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    I'm Hugo.

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    I live in a small house, so big Klipsch speakers will never fit in here!

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

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    I'm Hugo.

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    Fortified with a Lyngdorf TDAi-2170 digital amplifier and RoomPerfect room optimisation system, the little Klipsch speakers impress even more. RoomPerfect has a way of extracting much deeper and better controlled bass from any speaker (a customer has simply stopped using a sub for this reason); and while the tiny Klipsch speakers won't threaten the foundations, there is now a much more palpable standard and quality of bass. These are true budget speakers, of course, so let's be realistic about the limits of their sound envelope, but for what they are, they are amazingly musical. Still butt-ugly though.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jul 2017

    Location: Kent

    Posts: 472
    I'm Paul.

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    The horn looks too big for the box which don't help with the looks and did they really need that colour woofer? I suppose you can just leave the cover on and hide all that tho.

    Not suprised they sound decent though. There's something about horns that normal tweets can't match imo.

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