Sales of wireless speaker systems are predicted to rise by over 70 per cent by 2016 compared with 2012, and few AV and speaker manufacturers dare ignore such a potentially lucrative sector, especially at the high end.
Klipsch truly announces itself in this sector with the Stadium music system, which offers a colossal 400W of amplification in a unit with a footprint not much bigger than a briefcase. As a premium product, the AUD$2,999 Stadium unsurprisingly covers all the streaming bases with AirPlay as well as aptX-quality Bluetooth, plus a raft of digital and analogue inputs. It eschews a display window, which looks neat but means you depend on using a control app for status information. Acoustic tech comprises two horn-loaded linear travel suspension tweeters, aluminium diaphragm midrange drivers with Faraday rings, which reduce distortion, and dual, horizontally-opposed, long-throw subwoofers with Tractrix ports. The question is can the Stadium’s generous bass response blend coherently with its insanely overpowered stereo speakers, especially with the inherently narrow stereo image?
The latest addition to Klipsch’s ultra high-end Palladium series is the P37F, which is the least tall of its premium floorstanders but will set you back AUD$13,598 for a pair. Like its stablemates, the P37F has a distinctive design with zebra-grain Linia wood veneers that stand out like, well, a zebra in your front room. The spec includes a Tractrix horn for extended high-frequency response and a second 90º by 60º acoustically dampened Tractrix horn coupled to the midrange driver. Three low-frequency drivers employ 7-inch hybrid cone woofers, powered by a unique three-part neodymium magnet structure with dual stabilizing rings that reduce nonlinear flux.
Titanium tweeters with linear travel suspension are also to be found on the mid-range Reference RF-7 floorstanders, somewhat less ostentatious in appearance than the Palladium series, and much more affordable at AUD$5,998 a pair. Now in its fifth generation, Reference II speakers have re-engineered drivers and a new crossover system, plus of course, Tractrix horn technology, which delivers Klipsch’s trademark sound of high output from less energy, reduced distortion and a large soundstage with well-defined imaging.
Panasonic has just revived Technics and Klipsch has also turned back the clock with its Cornwall III, a full-range model which saw first active service from 1959 to 1990 and has been reborn with improved drivers but remains faithful cosmetically to the original. Built by hand, it’s available to order for the sum of AUD$7,398 per pair.
When it comes to in-wall speakers aesthetics play a much smaller role and performance is paramount so Klipsch has secured THX certification for its range of architectural speakers. With an 8-inch aluminium woofer and 1-inch titanium dome compression driver mated to a square Tractrix horn, the AUD$1,729 KL-7800-THX should work well with multi-channel movies and music, playing up to reference levels in rooms of 85m3. Two vertically-stacked Tractrix horn-loaded tweeters optimise the AUD$1,229 KS-7800-THX for surround sound work. In-ceiling models in the range comprise the identically priced KL-7502-THX and KS-7502-THX. They both feature dual 5.25-inch Cerametallic woofers with damping characteristics that aim to deliver consistent bass response regardless of the installation or ceiling air space and the KS model doubles up on the high frequency drivers to deliver a broader soundstage. The price of the KL-7502 and KS-7502 model is $1,649.