“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Klipsch RP-8000F Tower Speaker Review

by March 22, 2019
Klipsch RP-8000F Tower Speakers

Klipsch RP-8000F Tower Speakers

  • Product Name: RP-8000F Tower Speaker
  • Manufacturer: Klipsch
  • Performance Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Value Rating: StarStarStarStarStar
  • Review Date: March 22, 2019 20:00
  • MSRP: $ 1199/pair - Base price: ebony or walnut finish, $1500/pair - gloss black
  • FREQUENCY RESPONSE 32-25kHz +/- 3dB
  • SENSITIVITY 98dB @ 2.83V / 1m
  • NOMINAL IMPEDANCE 8 Ohms Compatible
  • HIGH-FREQUENCY DRIVER 1” Titanium LTS Vented Tweeter with Hybrid
  • Cross-Section Tractrix Horn
  • LOW-FREQUENCY DRIVER Dual 8” Cerametallic Cone Woofers
  • ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass Reflex via rear-firing Tractrix Port
  • INPUTS Dual binding posts / bi-wire / bi-amp
  • HEIGHT 43.12” (109.5 cm)
    WIDTH 10.90” (27.7 cm)
    DEPTH 17.56” (44.6 cm)
  • WEIGHT 60 lb (27.2 kg)
  • FINISH Ebony, Walnut, Piano Black


  • Neutral, accurate response
  • Nicely controlled dispersion
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Above average sensitivity
  • Copper tones on gloss black is very slick looking


  • Listed 98dB/2.83v/1m sensitivity spec does not give context (non-anechoic)


Klipsch RP-8000F Introduction

It has been a while since Audioholics haRP8000 pair hero2.jpgs reviewed a Klipsch product, and we thought that their refresh of the Reference Premier line would be an ideal time to take a look at what Klipsch has been up to in the loudspeaker world. Today, we take a look at the RP-8000F floor-standing speaker. We have opted to go with the Piano Black edition because we can appreciate good looks as well as good sound. These speakers are Klipsch' highest-end  conventional tower speakers next to the RF-7 III. Klipsch has Dolby Atmos speakers that are a bit pricier, but we would rather focus on fundamental performance rather than Atmos embellishments since the sound character of these speakers will largely be determined by the base design. The cost of the standard RP-8000F is about $600 each, but the Piano Black finish of our review pair brings that pricing up to $750 each. These are moderately priced tower speakers and in a highly competitive price bracket. So what do the RP-8000F speakers bring to the table to make them a compelling offer in a market that is crowded at this price point?


RP8000 pair front.jpg      RP8000 pair full grilles2.jpg

The RP-8000F is a bit larger than most tower speakers, but it is not gigantic as tower speakers go. With the grille on, our piano black RP-8000F is a gleaming, tall, black box. With the grille removed, we are presented with Klipsch’s hallmark copper cones and Tractrix horn-loaded tweeter. As always, the speaker has a lot more personality with the grille off. The feet are just rails that hold the speakers at a slight upwards tilt, so it does not stand at a perfect 90˚vertical angle. The frame of the cones has a copper ring around them, and there is a copper ring within the Tractrix horn; these rings add a nice bit of refinement.

Also adding a touch of class is an increased beveling of the edges moving up along the speaker’s height. The piano black finish, slightly angled stance, and gradual beveling give the speaker some style even with the grilles on. These touches along with the elegant copper rings lend it a degree of sophistication that makes this tower speaker look more attractive than many of the Klipsch speakers I have seen in the past. In fact, this is the nicest-looking Klipsch speaker I can recall seeing except for the discontinued Palladium series that were far more expensive. The overall effect is of something that is debonair yet powerful, almost like a well-heeled MMA fighter. The large 8” woofers and horn-loaded tweeter give it an undeniably muscular cast that can’t be ignored but they are implemented in a very attractive manner.  

Design Analysis

As a large tower speakRP8000 tweeter close up7.jpger with two 8” woofers and a horn-loaded tweeter, the RP-8000F is bound to be a relatively powerful loudspeaker for home audio. More acoustic firepower is always a good thing, but what about the sound quality? There is a lot in its design to suggest that great care was taken into making the RP-8000F into a very high-fidelity speaker. Let’s start our discussion of the RP-8000F’s design with an attribute of speaker design that Klipsch has long been known for: the horn.

In horn-loaded loudspeakers, the geometry of the horn shape plays a big role in determining its sound character. The RP-8000F uses what Klipsch calls a “Hybrid Cross-Section Tractrix” horn. This geometry looks to be shared by all the Reference Premiere line but is different from the previous standard Reference line that also used a tractrix horn. I would guess that this new geometry offers some significant improvements over the older Tractrix horn shape since Klipsch has entirely abandoned that design in favor of its “Hybrid Cross-Section” tractrix design. A Tractrix is a geometrical term which signifies “the Catenary Involute described by a point initially on the vertex” to use one (very technical) definition. It is a shape that is used in loudspeaker horns under the assumption that the emerging pressure waves expand out from the transducer diaphragm as a spherical wavefront. As the wavefront exits the horn, it will constantly be at a perpendicular angle to the edges of the horn. This supposedly helps to reduce horn related anomalies such as odd reflections in the horn itself and also diffraction effects. 

RP8000 tweeter close up9.jpg 

Klipsch has divided the RP-8000F horn into two sections by the copper ring embedded into the horn. The inner section is a conical plastic piece which serves as the throat of the horn, and the outer section, the mouth of the horn, is a softer silicone piece that takes on a more orthogonal shape. The softer silicone material of the mouth is used to avoid bell resonances in the horn. The throat of the horn is a round conical shape in order to reduce early diffractions as the soundwave leaves the tweeter diaphragm. The squarish mouth shape governs its dispersion pattern. A 1” titanium dome tweeter is used to load the horn, and it uses what Klipsch calls the ‘Linear Travel Suspension’ system which is a carefully designed suspension that allows for larger excursions of the moving assembly before the suspension thwarts linear motion thereby incurring distortion. Titanium seems like a natural choice for the diaphragm material since the horn-loading and lower crossover point might be more than softer dome types such as fabric could withstand. The rear chamber of the tweeter is vented to allow backwave energy to better dissipate instead of being reflected back into the diaphragm which would also increase distortion. The tweeter motor uses a ferrite magnet instead of neodymium, and this can help reduce effects of thermal compression since the larger surface area is able to radiate more heat than the smaller surface area of a neodymium motor.RP8000 cone close up.jpg

Two large 8” woofers take the bass duties as well as some of the midrange. Klipsch has named the woofer’s cone composition ‘Cerametallic.’ This seems to be an aluminum layer that has been hard anodized to form a ceramic coating which is stiffer than the aluminum substrate and also dyed a copper color. The ceramic coating makes the cone stiffer than pure aluminum thereby pushing breakup modes to higher frequencies that are easier to filter out by a crossover circuit. The aluminum layer provides a light but strong platform for the ceramic layer and also provides additional damping due to the differing densities of the materials. I can’t be sure of how well it works versus a plain aluminum cone, but I am sure Klipsch would not go through the trouble of anodizing all of their cones if the effects were insignificant. 

For deep bass, the bass drivers load a sRP8000 rear.jpghort, rectangular port that is flared on both sides using a tractrix geometry like the horn. I can’t think of a reason why a tractrix shape would have an advantage over a typical flare shape in a port, but it probably isn't significantly worse. I think that maybe someone over at Klipsch really likes the word ‘tractrix.’ The port is mounted right above the terminal cup that has dual 5-way binding posts for those interested in bi-amping. As I have said in previous reviews, I don’t believe that bi-amplification is a useful feature for conventional home audio speakers of this type, but Klipsch’s marketing research probably concluded that was a feature that consumers wanted, so they threw it in there. At least it’s not doing any harm except for a slightly higher cost.

I was not able to get a good look at the crossover since it wasn’t easy to disconnect from the rest of the speaker, but it uses a 1,750 Hz crossover frequency with a 4th order electrical high pass and a 2nd order electrical low pass that combine with the natural response of the drivers to give an approximate 6th order acoustical response. The horn-loading of the tweeter allows a much lower crossover frequency than traditional non-horn-loaded speakers since the horn provides more acoustic impedance against the diaphragm, or, to put it another way, the air within the horn provides more pressure against the tweeter diaphragm since it can only travel in a narrow, enclosed space instead of a free, open area. That extra force against the tweeter allows far more efficient low-frequency output from it because the greater pressure is a better match for the tweeter’s density than the more open air of a flat baffle.    

RP8000 outdoors4.jpgThe cabinet is a fairly heavy construction and comprises the vast majority of the speaker’s 60 lbs weight. The paneling and bracing all use ¾” thick MDF. There is a series of cross braces and also two vertical braces running up the sidewalls to reduce panel resonance. There is also a generous amount of stuffing filling the cabinet. As was mentioned before, instead of normal feet, the RP-8000F uses some cast aluminum rails that hold the cabinet up at a slight angle. Even with the slight angle, this tall tower speaker has a very stable stance. In fact, it feels more planted to the ground with better stability than most other tower speakers I can remember using. I wouldn’t mind seeing other manufacturers start using this type of feet.

The overall design of the RP-8000F suggests a speaker that is highly efficient and also one that has a relatively narrow directivity for a home audio speaker. The large size, large woofers, and horn-loaded tweeter should make for a high-sensitivity design. The large woofers and horn-loaded tweeter should also do a lot to restrict the sound to a tighter dispersion pattern than the typical speaker using domes or AMT tweeters on a flat baffle or that might be mounted in a shallow waveguide for some controlled coverage. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the ‘sweet spot’ or listening area is small, but it should make for a sound that is less affected by acoustic reflections from room surfaces. But, to get a sense of its sound character, let’s do some listening…

Listening Sessions

The RP-8000F recreated this performance with a naturalism that defied Klipsch’s reputation as a ‘rock’n’roll’ speaker brand.

In my 24’ by 13’ (approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with stand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall, and equal distance between speakers and listening position. I used various toe-in angles during listening and settled with the speakers facing the listening position directly. Listening distance from the speakers was about 9 feet. Amplification and processing were handled by a Pioneer Elite SC-55. No room correction equalization was used. At times, subwoofers were used to supplement the bass with an 80 Hz crossover frequency. A speaker of this nature (horn-loaded) will change its sound character for listening at different angles more so than typical designs, so owners are encouraged to experiment with different toe-in angles to see what works best for their preference.

Music Listening

An album which came hJimmie Lee Robinson.jpgighly recommended that I listened to on the RP-8000F speakers is ‘Remember Me’ by Jimmie Lee Robinson. This 1998 blues album by the now deceased blues veteran Robinson is impeccably recorded and is an essential part of many jazz enthusiasts’ collections as well as many other audiophile’s libraries.  Most tracks are simply Robinson’s vocals along with his acoustic guitar playing. Robinson’s soulful lyrics and expressive singing are well-matched by his masterful guitar playing, and the intimate recording captures his performance in exquisite detail. The RP-8000F speakers reproduced this album admirably. This recording is done near-field, so the listening impression is that Robinson is playing right in front of the listener. The RP-8000F speakers convey that impression; they put the listener at the microphone and catch the all of the details of Robinson’s voice, whether he becomes gravely at low-pitched notes or more graceful in higher octaves, or when he chooses to whistle instead of sing. Guitar playing is rendered with exactitude as well, and the RP-8000F brings out the sound of the entire instrument, so we not only hear the strings but the sound of the body and fretboard being used as percussion as well. Imaging was precisely focused with Robinson’s voice positioned a tad off center to the right as though he were playing to the side of the listener by a few feet. ‘Remember Me’ is not a complex recording but it is a very high-fidelity one nonetheless, and the RP-8000F provided a terrific retelling of Robinson’s musical story. I am sure that any blues fans would be quite happy with these speakers.

Another album I listened to with the RP-8000F speakers was ‘Gothic Voices: ThGothic Voices.jpge Spirits of England and France.’ It’s a 1994 album performed by the Gothic Voices group, a male choir specializing in early music, so much of the music performed here was composed from 1300 to 1500. Being such old music, it is all sung in either Latin or French. The Gothic Voices ensemble is comprised of five tenors and two basses, but these pieces weren’t written for a large group, so no track has more than five singers. Some tracks have an instrumental accompaniment in the form of a medieval fiddle. The performance is simple and elegant, yet the compositions are surprisingly complex for such old pieces. This recording from the Hyperion label is quite beautiful and pristinely arranged; the vocals, as captured in the Boxgrove Priory Church in the UK, are delicately rendered and unadorned with anything except for the modest reverb of the church location. The RP-8000F recreated this performance with a naturalism that defied Klipsch’s reputation as a ‘rock’n’roll’ speaker brand. The precision of the soundstage and timbral veracity of the performers were spot-on, and nothing felt exaggerated or ‘livened-up’ by a spectral tilt that one would expect from speakers built for more raucous content. Even when voices of the same range sang simultaneously, they were still distinct entities that were imaged with well-defined locations across the soundstage. The acoustics of the church where the performance was recorded were recreated with an uncanny tangibility, as though my listening room had transformed into an ancient chapel. The RP-8000F speakers surprised me with their ability to reproduce ‘The Spirits of England and France’ with such a refined touch. They might be marketed as a ‘rock’ speaker, but on this album the RP-8000Fs revealed themselves to be a plain old ‘good’ speaker.       

For music on a larger scale, I listened to an orchestral album from the TeTime Warp.jpglarc label called ‘Time Warp,’ an early all-digitally produced in 1984. This album was an audiophile essential in its day and was widely used as a demo disc for promoting the compact disc technology on account of its wide dynamic range. In fact, there is a warning in the inner sleeve that damage could result to the speakers and other components if the album is played back at high levels. The music is comprised of orchestral covers of science fiction-themed music, such as pieces from ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ ‘Star Trek,’ and ‘Star Wars,’ as performed by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. On account of its wide dynamic range, I elected to play this album loud since the speakers’ design suggested that they could handle that. While this recording was made in the mid-’80s, I would never have guessed it was that old, on account of its superb sound quality. The RP-8000Fs had no trouble with the elevated levels at which I listened, and the overall reproduction was rather spectacular. This recording makes use of some very deep bass frequencies, and the Klipsch speakers had no trouble on that front. In fact, I don’t know that the addition of subwoofers would have added much at all. When asked to bring the bass, the RP-8000Fs could really thump. The brass, at high volumes, had a visceral, startling effect, much as they do in reality. The textures of all instruments were reproduced with remarkable detail and clarity. And again, the soundstage sounded authentic and well-defined. For those who like their orchestral music with some bombast, the RP-8000F speakers can deliver ‘in spades’ on that front, and they do so without distorting the tonality of the instruments. Owners of these speakers owe it to themselves to give this ‘Time Warp’ a spirited listen for a sensational musical experience.

When asked to bring the bass, the RP-8000Fs could really thump.

To see how these speakers do with more conventional studio recordings, and somethQuantum Physics.jpging that was deliberately loud and brash all the way through, I listened to ‘Quantum Physics’ by Current Value. ‘Quantum Physics’ is electronic music from the Drum’N’Bass subgenre which means very rapid breakbeat percussion, heavy bass lines, jarring synthesizer lead instruments, and ominous dialogue samples from movies and documentaries. This music is a heavily-compressed and unrelenting assault on good taste, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So, with the volume cranked high, and with a pre-emptive aspirin, I dove into ‘Quantum Physics’ with the RP-8000F speakers knowing full well the fatigue that would ensue by the album’s end. The RP-8000Fs were able to blaze through this album nicely, and given my previous listening experience with them, I had no reason to think they would do otherwise. However, I was surprised how easy it sounded at this output level. Many speakers with a bright sound, as Klipsch speakers have historically had, can be hard on the ears at high levels on this type of music, especially in the snare drums, which can sound too loud with ‘forward’ sounding speakers. That was not the case here. This kind of music is spectrally dense, so when one frequency range is replayed at a hot level, it can be heard, and I didn’t get a sense of that with the RP-8000Fs. These speakers could pound out the bass without any problems as well. Those two 8” woofers did get a workout, but I never felt that they became stressed or couldn’t keep up with the load. If I had used the plethora of subs that I normally would for a recording of this type, I could probably have achieved much hotter levels of bass with a smoother response, but the RP-8000Fs managed enough bass output to keep it at an even level with the rest of the frequency range. It is not surprising that the RP-8000F speakers could competently play loud and coarse music, but they did surprise me with how balanced their presentation was, and this music was much less abrasive due to that.

Movie Listening

One movie that I watcheSamsara.jpgd with the RP-8000F speakers was the 2011 wordless documentary ‘Samsara’ by Ron Fricke. This movie is a compendium of shots from around the world that are strung along with a musical score to form a theme about the spiritual unity of mankind, so the scope of the movie is massive, and it is appropriately filmed in 70mm. Since it is such a universal theme, it makes sense that it uses no narration or dialogue. The sound mix of this film is almost entirely music, but there are also effects sounds to match some of the scenes. The music itself, composed and performed by Michael Stearns, Lisa Gerrard, and Marcello De Francisci, is as epic as the cinematography and subject matter. Stearns is no stranger to these cosmic, larger-than-life scores, as he had previously made the music for other Imax-type features such as ‘Chronos’ and ‘Baraka.’ This movie is best played loud in the tradition of Imax/Omnimax sound, so the question was, could the RP-8000F speakers replicate that nearly monumental experience? In a word, the sound reproduction was marvelous. I watched this with subwoofers and center speaker disengaged, so it was essentially a 6.0 system with the RP-8000Fs taking the entirety of the front stage and also low-frequencies, and they proved to be more than up to the task. The soundtrack uses a variety of exotic instruments and vocal work, and the Klipsch speakers were as adept at rendering the subtleties of the plethora of voices as it was with the grandiose sounds such as volcanic lava flows and enormous Tibetan bells within Buddhist temples. Lisa Gerrard's sonorous vocals and Michael Stearn’s sweeping synthesizers were given a depth and breadth that befitted the colossal 70mm Imax source material. Watching ‘Samsara’ with the RP-8000F speakers demonstrated their proficiency at projecting a huge soundscape if called to do so. 

Another movie that I watched with the RP-8000F speakers was the 2017 science fiction Ghost In The Shell.jpgopus ‘Ghost in the Shell,’ a remake of the classic 1995 animated film. A giant-budget action movie like this normally have plenty of material that a high dynamic-range speaker would shine with, and indeed ‘Ghost in the Shell’ does, with a multitude of scenes featuring all kinds of futuristic mayhem, such as cyborg gun fights, virtual reality espionage, and a spider-like tank blowing up a city block with heavy machine guns and missile launchers. Also prominent in the sound mix is the pulsating electronic music score by Lorne Balfe and Clint Mansell, which uses a lot of bass-heavy analog synth sweeps and arpeggiated melodies (sadly, this score was never commercially released but was leaked and can be found online without too much digging). I watched ‘Ghost in the Shell’ at a high volume level to let the RP-8000F speakers shine and immerse me in this technologically hyper-advanced world. The Klipsch speakers vividly brought life to the strange and fantastical setting of ‘Ghost in the Shell.’ Action scenes were given a sense of solidity and tactile impact. The music took on a nearly physical sensation as well, as the RP-8000Fs reproduced the electronic instruments with meticulous definition. Dialogue intelligibility was never a problem, and to assure myself that this was because of the RP-8000F speakers, I had left the center speaker out of the system as it was with ‘Samsara.’ In the end, I found ‘Ghost in the Shell’ to be a great demonstration of the RP-8000F’s attributes: a wide dynamic range and a clear, balanced sound.

Klipsch RP-8000F Tower Speaker Measurements and Analysis


RP8000 outdoors testing3.jpg

The Klipsch RP-8000F speakers were measured in free-air at a height of 4 feet at a 2-meter distance from the microphone, with the microphone raised to a 7’ elevation that was level with and aimed at the tweeter center. The measurements were gated at 5-milliseconds. In this time window, some resolution is lost below 400 Hz and accuracy is completely lost below 200 Hz. Measurements have been smoothed at a 1/24 octave resolution.

 RP8000 waterfall response 3D.jpg

RP8000 waterfall response 2D.jpg

Klipsch RP-8000F Horizontal Response +/- 100 degrees

The above graphs depict the Klipsch RP-8000F’s direct-axis and horizontal dispersion out to a 90-degree angle in five-degree increments. The first thing to note is how remarkably flat the direct axis response is. For all of Klipsch’s reputation of having sizzling hot treble, it just isn’t here. This is a very neutral response. The region between 1.5 kHz and 4 kHz does have an approximately 2 dB shallowness, and that slightly recessed upper midrange might make the speaker sound slightly bright compared to a totally neutral response, but it wouldn’t be very noticeable otherwise. In fact, in my listening, I wouldn’t have characterized the speaker as ‘bright’, although not ‘warm’ either. It sounded neutral to my ears, and that is basically what is being displayed in these measurements. What’s more is that this midrange recession happens right below the range where most treble tone controls attenuate, so those who want a warmer sound can simply bring down the treble tone control by a few dB. One small blemish that we see in these graphs is there is a null around the crossover point that ends up turning into a fairly high Q dip at far-axis angles. This isn’t really a serious flaw since it is not a very wide bandwidth dip, and it doesn’t subtract much until one is very far off-axis, but I don’t think very many people are going to be listening to these things at angles greater than 50 degrees. It is an imperfection, but it isn’t likely to be very audible.

We do see some interesting diffraction effects occur off-axis at very high frequencies, and these may be coming from the interior of the horn. They are not likely to be audible at all for a variety of reasons. One reason is that they are far too narrow bandwidth to make a serious difference, and another is that, as diffraction effects, they change in frequency at different angles and different distances, so they would not be a persistent tonal effect. They also occur at such high-frequency bands that many people are not very sensitive at that range and wouldn’t be able to discern small ripples of such modest amplitudes. They are an interesting acoustic effect to observe in measurements but are not likely to mar the sound. The bottom line for this set of measurements is that the RP-8000F is showing itself to be a relatively accurate loudspeaker.   

RP8000 polar map.jpg 

Klipsch RP-8000F Polar Map of Horizontal Response +/- 100 degrees 

The above graphs show the same information that the preceding graphs but depict it in a way that can offer new insight regarding these speakers’ behavior. Instead of using individual raised lines to illustrate amplitude, these polar maps use color to portray amplitude, and this allows the use of a purely angle/frequency axis perspective. The advantage of these graphs is they can let us see broader trends of the speaker’s behavior more easily. There is a lot of good news in this polar map of the RP-8000F’s horizontal response. We can see that the hybrid tractrix horn does a pretty good job of controlling dispersion all the way up to nearly 16 kHz. Between 15 to 16 kHz, the tweeter is beaming pretty hard, so it is not really interacting with the horn anymore. That is not a big deal since not many adults can hear well at such high frequencies, but those who don’t want to miss this range should listen within a +/- 15-degree angle of direct axis. The horn keeps dispersion pretty stable within about 35 degrees of direct axis from about 2 kHz and above, with some minor flares near the bottom of its passband. Although there is waistbanding around the crossover frequency of 1,750 Hz, the 8” woofers are otherwise well-matched in directivity to the horn in this region in that they do not make for a dramatic shift in dispersion around the crossover point. An advantage with a relatively narrow dispersion pattern like this is that these speakers will not be as adversely affected if they are placed near a sidewall since there isn’t as much lateral acoustic energy to reflect off of nearby surfaces. The dispersion pattern here isn’t absolutely perfect, but it is pretty good, and the result is that listeners should experience a fairly consistent sound anywhere within a 30-degree angle of direct axis, which is an angle that will cover most listening positions in a normal room.

 RP8000 bass response2.jpg

Klipsch RP-8000F Low-Frequency Groundplane Response 

The above graph shows the Klipsch RP-8000F low-frequency response that I captured using groundplane measurements (where the speaker and microphone are on the ground at a 2-meter distance in a wide open area). In this response, we see a very slight roll-off from 200 Hz to just under 50 Hz, and 40 Hz is clearly the port-tuning frequency. In other speakers of this price class, we have seen a more aggressive roll-off down to port tuning so that the speakers do not risk overloading the low-frequency response of room and so the low end of their +/-3dB spec has largely been with room acoustics factored in. Klipsch seems to subscribe to this strategy but not nearly to the same degree, so their anechoic low-frequency response is less tapered off than other tower speakers in its class. The disadvantage is that a small room or congested area might boost the low-frequencies to an unnaturally bass-heavy sound. Klipsch may be betting that few people are going to place large tower speakers with dual 8” woofers in a small room, which is a sensible bet to make. With this kind of bass response, users may want to keep these speakers away from corners and side walls for the most natural bass sound.

The solid bass response down to 40 Hz means that for most types of music, the addition of a subwoofer is not needed. Room acoustics will likely take that response down a bit lower as well, and few types of music dig lower than the upper 30 Hz range. Pipe organ aficionados and bass-heavy electronic music fans may still want to use subs, since those music types do dip under the tuning frequency of this speaker. This kind of extension will not be able to capture all of the deep bass in many modern action or science fiction movies either. Nonetheless, the RP-8000F is a fairly capable speaker for low frequencies. 

 RP8000 Impedance.jpg

Klipsch RP-8000F Impedance and Phase Response 

The Klipsch RP-8000F is a high-fidelity speaker that faithfully reproduces the sound of the source content.

The above graphs show the electrical behavior of the Klipsch RP-8000F. Klipsch specifies this speaker with a nominal impedance “compatible with 8 ohms” which is a fairly ambiguous spec. I take that to mean you can safely use this speaker on amplifiers that are only rated for 8-ohm loads, and that is largely true. There isn’t much here that would be problematic for most amplifiers. The impedance minima occur at 160 Hz with 5.17 ohms, but the phase angle isn’t too severe. A more challenging point may be the port tuning frequency at 40 Hz which sees a 5.7-ohm impedance dip at a steep phase angle. That may be tough on feeble amplifiers if you crank them hard, but even an amp in a mid-range AVR should be able to handle these speakers without much of an issue. The use of a subwoofer here would make these speakers a much easier electrical load by alleviating the amplifier of having to power the port frequency range.

What helps to make the RP-8000F an easier load than many other speakers is its above average sensitivity. I measured its sensitivity as 92.1 dB for 2.83v at 1 meter. That isn’t bad; it’s better than most speakers in this type and price class. However, it is significantly below what Klipsch specifies for it which is 98 dB for 2.83v at 1 meter. That is quadruple the sensitivity that I measured. Klipsch is using an in-room estimation of sensitivity that factors in a quarter-space environment over a greater distance. It is true that the in-room sensitivity would be increased, but I think that should be stated in their specs if that is their reasoning for their sensitivity rating. We've seen this discrepancy in other Klipsch products so it doesn't seem to be a statistical outlier in how the brand rates sensitivity of their products.


As a speaker brand, Klipsch has faRP8000 pair full flash2.jpgshioned and honed a reputation for themselves that the RP-8000F doesn’t quite live up to- and that’s a good thing, in my opinion. The RP-8000F is better than a mere “rock’n’roll” speaker. It is a high-fidelity speaker that faithfully reproduces the sound of the source content. Users who want a signature ‘rock’n’roll’ response of hot treble and hot midbass may want to use an equalizer with these speakers. These speakers look a lot more aggressive than they sound, thankfully. Without the grilles, they have an almost muscle car look. Historically speaking, muscle cars could go fast in a straight line but didn’t have great handling otherwise. An analog in the loudspeaker world might be something that can get very loud but doesn’t have a very linear frequency response. In both cases, what is missing is control over all of that power. This is not at all the case with the RP-8000F.

Before wrapping this review up, I will enumerate some of the pros and cons of this product, and, as always, I will start with the cons. There are only two, and only one concerns the RP-8000F itself. The first is that the crossover doesn’t quite provide a perfectly seamless transition from woofer to tweeter. It isn’t terrible, and it isn’t even likely to be very audible, so this complaint might be totally academic, but I think that perhaps the crossover could be made so that the woofer/tweeter transition is nearly invisible so that there is no off-axis evidence of it. That might require a much more complex crossover which would raise costs considerably though, so it might be a case of diminishing returns, but it would be a nice touch, even if only for merely theoretical benefits.

RP8000 tweeter close up5.jpg

The other ‘con’ in our pros and cons list concerns its sensitivity spec, which is rather inflated on the face of it. This is not a 98 dB/2.83v/1 meter sensitive speaker, and it’s not even close to that level. But here my beef is with Klipsch’s marketing and not the speaker itself. Its sensitivity is just fine at 92.1 dB for 2.83v at 1 meter, and as I said before, that is above average. The speaker itself is very good, but this reported spec is not accurate by the norms that sensitivity is normally reported. This is a powerful speaker that few owners will ever drive to the maximum limits of their amplifier, so the sensitivity spec doesn’t need to be represented in this misleading manner. If Klipsch wants to emphasize that aspect of the speaker, they just give the true sensitivity spec some context.

Let’s now go over some of the highlights of the RP-8000F. The first, as I have mentioned, is the neutralRP8000 outdoors8.jpg sound. This speaker does not significantly emphasize any particular frequency band and has a tonally balanced character. Furthermore, it has fairly good directivity control with good off-axis uniformity, so non-direct axis sound correlates nicely with direct sound. That means that it will have the same tonal balance in a 60-degree angle across the front of the speaker. It also means that reflected sound will not be dissimilar to direct sound, so a gob of acoustic treatments are not going to be needed to make it sound better. To put it simply, this is a speaker of very good sound quality that sounds good with any content.

Aesthetically these speakers also look good, at least in the gloss black edition that we have in for review. That gloss black is a $300 surcharge for the pair over the standard RP-8000F finish, but that premium sure does make these speakers look slick. The standard edition looks fine and might be a better value if money is tight and the buyer’s highest priority is the sound. Those using these things around a projection screen might want to think twice about the gloss black finish as well, as this kind of finish reflects light back into a projection screen pretty easily.

Their dynamic range is very good, as one would imagine given their design. They can get loud with even modest amplification, my griping about the inflated sensitivity spec notwithstanding. They have punchy and deep bass with a true anechoic response that is solid down to 40 Hz. The RP-8000Fs are not a very taxing electrical load either, and most amplifiers are suitable for driving them.RP8000 logo.jpg

The RP-8000 might look like a muscle car, but it drives like a sports car. It is a well-engineered, well-crafted loudspeaker whose performance doesn’t quite match its aesthetic. It looks like it was made for ear-splitting, loud music, but the fact is it handles all content with finesse and equanimity. Klipsch aimed for accuracy as a performance target and has largely achieved it. I commend Klipsch for that and hope they continue making speakers this good.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
About the author:
author portrait

James Larson is Audioholics' primary loudspeaker and subwoofer reviewer on account of his deep knowledge of loudspeaker functioning and performance and also his overall enthusiasm toward moving the state of audio science forward.

View full profile