03 September, 2010

Review: KLIPSCH Heresy

Review: KLIPSCH Heresy I
Much as I like planar speakers and electrostatics, there is something adamant, even belligerent, about the beliefs their followers have in their superiority in transparency. Is that true?

Let's not talk about those people who, for their own idiosyncratic tastes far removed from musical norms, get really (unduly) mediocre results out of their ESL's or Maggies. That's more than half of the users. Let's compare with the better ones.

Recently, in my living room, I put my Heresy I on 24" stands and in the same position as my MMG (see previous article). I drove it with MX-110 and SUN SV-2A3 and the result stunned my Western Electric friend (call him E).

My pair of Heresy I has at least an alnico midrange, and most likely is all-alnico. There are some all-alnico units out there and there are many variations. Note several things about the various Heresy's:

--The tweeter and midrange drivers of the Heresy I and II are different from the other models in the Classic series, ie, La Scala, Belle Klipsch, Klipschorn, Cornwall. They can be alnico or not.

--The earlier Heresy's, alnico or not, here called I, surely have sturdy real wood cabinets. The later versions, II's and the current III's are made of MDF.

--The drivers of II are still substantially the same as later I's, but III's have different tweeter (titanium) and bass drivers. Specs-wise, each version is superior to the earlier one, but sound is another matter.

Driven by the 2-3 wpc 2A3 amp, sound of the treble and midband are more transparent than even the very fine MMG. The transparency is also allied to a most palpable presence that the Maggies cannot emulate. My very spoiled WE friend, who happens to be a dealer of used equipment who has heard much of hi-end, paid the Heresy the highest possible compliment: "marvelous speakers! Sounds like the WE 755!" Now, that's the most famous full-range on earth (though often really ruined in sound by the incorrect treatment they get from HK people). In terms of soundstaging and presence and transparency, it gave the MMG a run for its money, only losing a little in bass extension and clarity.

The biggest challenge the Heresy user has is how to get more bass out of them. In the living room bass is decidedly lean, but not bad. In the small study problem is as great. A lower placement helps. Read the Klipsch site. The Heresy started out as a third channel speaker that compliments the gargantuan Klipschorn. For much of its life, it was meant to be placed on a small wedge-shaped stand that time-aligns it on the floor as well as uses the floor for bass reinforcement. It is obviously the bass issue in modern home use that necessitates the re-design of III, with its more prodigious bass output. Nevertheless, if you are not a bass freak, with some patience, a reasonable balance can be obtained. e.g., the bass strong 2A3 is a better match than the leaner 300B.

Nonetheless, a superior pair of speakers that emulate fullrange, easy to drive and loads of fun. What a bargain! E is looking for a good pair...:-)

More pics of actual units in my home shall be added later.

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