The Klipsch RF-63 is big. Measuring forty-six inches tall and nearly 20 inches deep, the 81-pound tower is clearly the Hummer of sub $2K floorstanders. And trust me, you don’t have to be an audiophile to appreciate the sound quality that sort of heft produces.
Like nearly every Klipsch speaker ever made, the RF-63 features a Tractrix horn, but in this case the horn is mated with a professional-grade 1.25-inch titanium diaphragm compression driver. Horn loading has several advantages over conventional direct radiating tweeters. The horn focuses the tweeter’s dispersion, reducing image smearing floor and ceiling reflections while also dramatically increasing efficiency; and the horn lowers the tweeter’s distortion. Yes, I know that all sounds like so much marketing hype, but in this case it’s absolutely true.
The RF-63 also employs three copper-colored 6.5-inch high-output woofers. The speaker is an extremely efficient design so it can rock the house with moderately endowed power amps, but each RF-63 can also handle as much as 700 watts.
The cabinet comes decked out in real cherry wood or black veneers, and uses extensive internal cross-bracing to minimize panel vibrations that would color the sound. The RF-63, like the original and still-in-production Klipschorn, is crafted in Hope, AR. The speaker discreetly bears the signature of the tester/quality control person on its rear panel.
The RF-63 will rock your world. Dynamics are freewheeling and the bass is huge, yet controlled. There’s an effortless quality to the presentation that’s hugely appealing. The horn tweeter allows cymbals and, naturally enough, brass instruments to sound “live.” The RF-63 also has the rare ability to sound equally satisfying when played softly, at more moderate volumes, and way, way up. On the downside, there was a trace of “cupped hand” horn coloration detectable on orchestral music.
I’ll cut to the chase, with Led Zeppelin’s awesome sounding How the West Was Won DVD-A [Atlantic] cranked way up, I was sold. The RF-63s were sounding like a massive concert PA system in my living room—correction, a great-sounding PA system. Zep’s dynamics were all there, and John Bonham’s drums in particular rocked and rolled with a vengeance. I was having such a grand time I played “Black Dog” louder than my usual, and then louder still, eventually hitting 105 decibel peaks. That sort of extreme volume is beyond the capabilities of many much more expensive high-end speakers, but the RF-63s didn’t seem to mind.
Switching over to classical music with the Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 SACD [Telarc], I felt the RF-63 did a fine job capturing the music’s large and small dynamic shadings, but the soundstage dimensions were reigned in a tiny bit. Strings sounded a touch steely at times. Still, the Tchaikovsky’s emotional pulse came through loud and clear.
If you crave big speaker sound, look no further. The RF-63 kicks butt, but may not be the best choice for classical music lovers. Built in the USA, sporting Klipsch’s signature horn design, it offers a unique combination of high performance sound, value, and it’ll sing when mated with low or high power, tube or solid-state amplifiers.