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Klipsch KF-28 Floorstanding Loudspeaker First Look

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Klipsch KF-28

Klipsch KF-28

Summary

  • Product Name: KF-28
  • Manufacturer: Klipsch
  • Review Date: May 26, 2011 05:30
  • MSRP: $899/pair
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Buy Now
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 35Hz-23KHz ± 3dB
Low frequency extension 32Hz
POWER HANDLING 150W RMS / 600W Peak
SENSITIVITY 98dB @ 2.83V / 1m
NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 ohms compatible
CROSSOVER FREQUENCY 1800Hz
HIGH FREQUENCY DRIVERS 1" (2.54cm) Aluminum diaphragm compression driver mated to 90° x 90° square Tractrix® Horn
LOW FREQUENCY DRIVERS Dual 8" (20.3cm), magnetically shielded IMG woofers
ENCLOSURE MATERIAL MDF (medium density fiberboard)
ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass-reflex via front-firing port
INPUTS Dual binding posts / bi-wire / bi-amp
HEIGHT 43.25" (109.9cm) with feet
WIDTH 9.5" (24.1cm)
DEPTH 16” (40.6 cm)
WEIGHT 59lbs (26.8kg)
FINISHES Black Ash vinyl
BUILT FROM 2011

Executive Overview

Last year I reviewed the Klipsch Icon V series of speakers. These are speakers that were created specifically for Best Buy. The Best Buy crowd isn't the same as the Audioholic one but they do overlap (particularly when the Best Buy crowd can't figure out how to hook up their system). I found the Icon V series to perform well at moderate volumes but fatiguing as they got louder. The floorstanding speakers had a sort of strange aesthetic with a horn-loaded tweeter easily exposed and a nearly impossible to remove grille covering the rest of the drivers. Klipsch and Best Buy, knowing that their consumers are expecting constant updates to products that don't really need them, have released a new line. Again, this is a Best Buy exclusive line of speakers. The Icon line.

No, you didn't read that wrong, it is the Icon line. They've gone from Icon V (which I always read as Icon 5) to just Icon. Perhaps its a reboot. Like Batman Begins, Mortal Kombat, and Star Trek.

Klipsch and Best Buy have gotten away from the unique aesthetic of the Icon V line in favor of the more traditional top to bottom grille covering the iconic (pun) Tractrix Horn technology horn-loaded aluminum tweeter and dual IMG 8" woofers. The bottom of the grill has a cutout to reveal the new Icon logo. This allows you to remove the grilles (which look to be held on magnetically to me) and still have the logo visible.

grille     Icon_back

As you'd expect with a horn-loaded design in general and Klipsch speakers specifically, the Icon KF-28 are extremely efficient at 98dB at 2.83V/1 meter. The enclosure is a bass reflex design with a front facing port near the bottom and is constructed out of MDF. On the back there are dual binding posts for bi-amping or buy-wiring (for those with extra amps and nothing to do with them since the speakers surely won't need it). The speakers stand an impressive 43.25" tall (with feet), 9.5" wide, and 16" deep and weigh 59 lbs. You can get the Icon speakers in any color as long as that color is a Black Ash vinyl wrap.

Klipsch is claiming a 35Hz to 23kHz +/-3dB which is very impressive if it is true. Especially at the $900 a pair price point. It would be very competitive with even the Internet Direct companies if they could do it cleanly, at a reasonable volume, and without any major dips or humps in the frequency response. The speakers are 8ohm compatible and can take up to 600 watts (that means they can get LOUD). Klipsch claims that the KF-28's can fill a medium to large room with "powerful, lifelike performances" and that they play "louder with less distortion than the competition." I'm tempted to take them at their word on the second point, the first I'd have to hear first.

The Icon speakers in general sport a number of improvements including a new logo (mentioned above), new foot design, and a new finish (we're guessing what is "new" is the "Ash" part and the removal of the furniture grade top-cap). The drivers have been re-engineered and the crossover has been re-worked.

If look take a look at my Icon V review, you'll notice a lot of similarities between it and the Klipsch improvements and their overview page for the Icon KF-28 speakers. I've put them in a table for you:

Icon V Review Icon Improvements
Fatiguing at higher volumes with music Accurate, non-fatiguing sound provides hours of listening pleasure
Baskets are stamped (rather than cast) which is a little disappointing at this price point Listeners will discover re-engineered drivers
The crossover is mounted directly to the plastic dual binding post housing and has average quality parts Combined with a new crossover system
Midrange a bit thin Fills medium to large rooms with powerful, lifelike performances
The outriggers at the bottom of the speaker look like they are indented into cabinet but they aren't. They are held in place by two screws and have a round plastic foot. This seems to be an odd choice. New logos and feet

We're not saying they paid that much attention to the review but if you read my objections in the original review, a consumer might think they they'd changed everything that was wrong. And perhaps they did, we won't know until we get a hold of them. But remember, a speaker designed for a big box store has to have a significant profit margin built in. 

Conclusion

Klipsch is a huge name in speakers and their partnership with Best Buy surely isn't hurting how well known they are. I reviewed their Icon V line a while back and found them to be fairly good if a bit pricy. We expect something similar from the revamped Icon series. Sporting updated just about everything from aesthetics to crossovers, the new speakers resemble to old in name only. Will a floorstanding black box of a speaker sell at Best Buy for $900 a pair? Only time will tell.

For more information, please visit www.klipsch.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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