Review: Klipsch RP-8000F

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With their Klipsch RP-8000F speaker, the American manufacturer promises an even more precise and dynamic sound, just as suitable for hi-fi as it is for home theater. With its new components, is the 2018 range the best?

Test Klipsch RP-8000F

Klipsch, the esteemed American brand founded in 1946, has made horn-loaded drivers their trademark. The acoustic horn design was invented in a time where amplifiers only worked with tubes and rarely had more than 5 Watts of power. In these conditions, it’s difficult to accurately reproduce the detailed nuances of a musical piece. Placed directly onto the drivers, the horn increased output tremendously. With the arrival of solid-state technology, amplifiers became infinitely more powerful and the horn soon became obsolete. Well, except for Klipsch…

Klipsch RP-8000F: the advantages of horn technology

Previously used with each of their speaker’s drivers, horns are now only combined with tweeters in order to meet the public’s expectations in terms of design. To be fair, horn loaded woofers did make speakers look rather like storage cabinets. The Klipsch Tractrix horn boasts a square shape and is placed directly on top of the tweeter.

Its main quality is that it enhances the small driver’s efficiency in the mid range, which is usually entirely covered by the bass driver.

The tweeter’s cone is much lighter, which results in unparalleled clarity and precision. This is an essential quality as the human ear is so sensitive to medium frequencies.

Test Klipsch RP-8000F
The hybrid Tractrix horn designed by Klipsch enhances the efficiency of the titanium tweeter.

Another of the Klipsch RP-8000F’s advantages: the mids and highs fade less with distance. This is particularly valuable in a large living room, as the sound restitution keeps its balance and energy.

Klipsch RP-8000F: Cerametallic driver

The Klipsch RP-8000F speaker is fitted with two large 8” drivers to reproduce lows. Their cones benefit from Cerametallic technology, which combines ceramic and copper.

Extremely rigid and with hardly any distortion, this cone ensures a particularly accurate restitution of low frequencies.

Because of the speaker’s large size, the air volume allows a frequency response down to around 30 Hz, which ensures a generous and lively delivery of lows at high volume. The drivers are loaded in a bass-reflex enclosure featuring a Tactrix port. Because the port is rectangular and flared, it prevents any airflow noise at high volume.

Test Klipsch RP-8000F
The Klipsch Cerametallic cone is fitted with a long-excursion, flexible surround in order to reproduce the lowest frequencies.

Klipsch RP-8000F: design

The Klipsch RP-8000F is characterized by its wood effect vinyl finish, cut from a single piece and assembled seamlessly. Grained and textured, it’s also pleasant to the touch. There are no mounting holes on the front and the drivers each have a copper colored frame. The acoustic grill that comes with the speaker is magnetic. Lastly, the support legs direct the speaker very slightly towards the listener.

Test Klipsch RP-8000F
The Klipsch RP-8000F’s fabric grill is magnetic.

Klipsch RP-8000F: new tweeter

Although the bass drivers didn’t go through any major updates, their features have been altered to coincide with the changes brought to the new LTS horn-loaded tweeter. The shape of the Tractrix horn has been modified slightly in order to match the new titanium tweeter perfectly. The 1” dome tweeter is fitted with a linear travel suspension and is paired with an improved phase plug. The manufacturer’s goal is to provide the listener with a more dynamic and enjoyable sound.

Test Klipsch RP-8000F
The Klipsch LTS tweeter is positioned behind a phase plug which improves its directivity.

Klipsch RP-8000F: specs

The Klipsch RP-8000F is the high-end model from the new Reference Premiere 2018 series range. It’s characterized by its high power handling capacity and a considerable sound level, especially in the lows. It has a sensitivity of 98 dB/W/m and its frequency response is stated to be from 32 Hz to 25 Hz. Theoretically, even a modest amplifier can drive this speaker adequately.

Klipsch RP-8000F: listening impressions

Listening to this speaker is a unique experience thanks to the breadth of the soundstage. Despite a pair of 8” drivers, it isn’t the depth of the lows that’s the most striking, but the spacious delivery in the highs, with just enough punch to credit strings and wind instruments, for example.

The richer and more complex the sound, the more the RP-800F’s qualities shine through.

When it comes to home theater, it’s a blast. The slightest nuances (breathing, rustling fabric, etc.) are extracted from the sound take and expertly positioned, contributing to an incredibly realistic soundstage. At high volume, the speaker doesn’t seem to be pushed to its limits and when the audio track calls for a lot of bass, the speaker keeps up without stumbling and captivates the listener with its authority.

Klipsch RP-8000F: compared to…

Tannoy XT6F: not quite as substantial in the lows, the Tannoy XT6F ensures a more balanced delivery in the low-mids and mids. The highs are also silkier. The Klipsch RP-8000F packs more punch.

Elipson Prestige Facet 24F: less transparent in the highs, the Elipson doesn’t keep up as well in the lows either, despite having large drivers. The French model is calmer, but less serene at high volume.

Jean-Marie Reynaud Emma: the JMR floorstander is in a different league altogether, with a more intimate restitution that concentrates more on mids and high-lows. The JMR dances while the Klipsch boxes.

Klipsch RF-7 MKIII: the “big sister” features the same technologies, but delivers an incredibly richer and more open sound in the mids, thanks to a bigger tweeter. Its analytic capacity and dynamic range are flooring.

Test Klipsch RP-8000F
The name of the Klipsch speakers’ range is now inscribed onto the horn.

Klipsch RP-8000F: conclusion

As the smaller version of the Klipsch RF-7 MKIII, the Klipsch RP-8000F is a captivating speaker that allows you to be totally immersed in the music and, by extension, in movies and TV series. The speaker has impressive analytical qualities and ensures a particularly realistic sound restitution.

What we liked:

  • The precise restitution
  • The analytic capacity

What we would have liked:

  • Nothing else

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