Reviewed by: Erik Berthelot (AudioPhile)
Review Date October 8, 2009
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Value Rating 5 of 5
I had waited a long time before upgrading my RF-3II’s which I was really happy with since 2003. At the time the RF-83 were not available yet and the RF-7′s was really what I would have wanted, had I had the money to buy them. But side by side with a real-time switch, the RF-3II only sounded like a smaller version of the RF-7′s and I was ready to accept the small difference in sound as opposed to a huge difference in price.
Then one day I go to my favorite audio place and there they are, tall, deep, somewhat slimmer, but OOH so warm but SOOO powerful, the RF-83′s which instantaneously knocked my socks off. They were too expansive for me, I just said to myself “hey buddy, you need to make more money to afford these”.
For months I would go to that store, bring a CD, stay for an hour and just enjoy the ride. The amp driving was just a little theater receiver by Marantz of the 4000 series, and it was already so sweet to my ears.
I bought a pair 3 months ago and also upgraded my receiver to a Marantz SR7002 (from an old Denon 1802). The mix of the two is simply wonderful. These speakers literally disappear, making you forget on-the-spot that you are listening to horn-driven speakers. My dad owns a pair of RF-7′s and comparing the two, I have to say the RF-83 better suits my listening needs, with smoother and higher highs and more precise mids. The high-compression drivers on the RF-83 really makes for a punchier, drier bass and yet is able of lower hz than the RF-7. I do NOT need a SUB to enjoy anything stereo anymore. The bass from these speakers is simply “what it should be” and anything more would simply be decadent.
They need a big room to be at their best, however. I would simply go with the RF-63 with a smaller room.
I used to think nothing could get any better than the RF-7′s until I heard these, I tell you. Long periods of listening would actually tire my ears with the RF-7′s as opposed to the RF-83′s which you simply forget and just enjoy the music with only my own time being the limit. I took out old stuff I was tired of listening just to re-discover it on the RF-83′s and what a pleasure. Words don’t do justice.
They are the main speakers of my old theater setup which (still) consists of the RC-3II, RS-3II and RCW-5800 for the sides and two RW-12D for the subs. Having a dedicated KSW-10 sub for the center channel allows me to keep the actual setup for movies and BOY does it ever blow me away!!! I really enjoy this setup.
Klipsh must learn how to finish the job, though. The veneer on top of these speakers is at best flimsy (they say furniture-grade!!!) and for a speaker of that price, well… Every veneered corner has little chips that come off just by being there. My RF-3II (not even veneer!!!) did the same, so on that level, they have not improved.
However, the cabinets are really stirdy and feel strong. No boomyness whatsoever on the RF-83′s, they just tell what the music wants to say. Everyday I come home, I want to just sit down and enjoy them.
When you read that “they just take everything you throw at them”, well, IT’S TRUE. They do NOT show signs of harshness when played at loud volumes, and to be honest, when some stuff you know by heart so well, I actually got scared at times, thinking “should I bring the volume down for this part?” but NO, not at all. They are strong, heart-punching speakers with a pure and flat response that will rock your world as much as it is rocking mine right now.
I listen to SACD classical music (I’m a classical musician), Progressive rock, Blues, Jazz, well, it would be easier to simply say I listen to everything but country and folk… No offense, it just does not move me.
By the way, these babies are heavy…
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