Originally Posted by Zen Traveler
Understood. I gave my opinion that I think there is a bigger difference in speakers and that if I had it to all over again and could have afforded it at the time I would have spent the extra money and got the RF-7s and RC-7. Fwiw, there is no wrong answer just different ways of looking at it.
I used to be slightly obsessed with going and listening to different speakers and when I decided to go with Klipsch, auditioned them every chance I got including making it a mission to do so. This lasted almost 5 years. I got my first Synergy system because it was the best bang-for-my-buck within my budget...Well, my budget after I found out the difference in spending $3,000 for a home theater was over twice the enjoyment of spending $1,000 which at the time I thought, "why bother."
I then was able to financial afford more and wanted to get the most I could out of our Home Theater given I spent so much time in it. Then came multichannel music and my enjoyment increased exponentially. To make a long story short, after I got the RF-7/RC-7/RB-75s and dual RSW subs kept auditioning speakers but didn't find any that compared for the price I paid.
I went on to audition the THX line and the RF-83/RC-64 along with the lower end models that came out so I would have some knowledge of the sound of the lower end as well as to find out if the upper end would be an improvement. I found that all of the lower end Reference line was comparable to the newer ones coming out.
Insofar as the THX lines were concerned they sounded alot like my speakers with the dual THX subs but felt the RF-38/RC-64 were a warmer speaker and did not think they were as crisp as the RF-7/RC-7...The last lower end models I auditioned were the RF-62/RF-82/RC-52 and realized the similarities in the Reference models (with similar specs and drivers) and lost interest in auditioning because I could tell no difference. I didn't compare the newer RF-7II/RC-64II for several reasons, but suffice it to say everything I was reading was that Klipsch brought them in the market because of the success of the original models.
Of course YMMV, but wanted to share my experience. That said, the larger Heritage speakers would be where I'd go for an upgrade if I had the space and then it would be in the used market because of budget.
I think you have a lot of valid points Zen, and I also think as a whole you've heard many more Klipsch speakers than I have, at least in more ideal scenarios. My dad had Klipsch speakers when I was growing up, and if I had a proper listening only-room a set of Heritage's would certainly be on my short list. He had speakers not now known as Heritage, but still very quality speakers, the last of which being a set of Forte's that he still owns today. Excellent bass for a decently sized cabinet, though I'd love to hear something like a Khorn or La Scala as certainly it would improve upon that speaker in every which way - they are just quite expensive these days and absurd to buy new.
This is certainly a hobby where everyone can have different feelings and beliefs, and if people can believe that a garden hose power cable to their $5K CD player improves their system in a meaningful way you can certainly rate not-quite top-end Klipsch Reference lower than 8/10 compared to RF7/RC64 II's.
That said a lot of people love the RC-62 and I can see why. When you directly compare it to the RC-64 (I literally laid the RC-62 on top of the RC-64 when listening) it's exactly the same depth, with the same drivers and the same space per driver. You can actually see that the 2 drivers match up with the inner 2 drivers of the RC-64, and the extra space for the additional 2 drivers is exactly proportional, it's like when you see a V6 that was made out of a V8 engine design, where the cylinders and configurations are exactly the same, just 2 less cylinders (drivers). Even the power ratings are in line of this thinking. The biggest difference among the 2 is the larger compression driver as you stated, 2 additional drivers and the more obvious wood veneer exterior and made in USA of the RC-64. My set up is demanding on a center channel being that the mains are 13+ feet apart, creating a triangle at the MLP of roughly equal distance. Even with that in mind, the RC-62 did a very remarkable job.. though the additional 2 drivers does help fill the wide gap in my soundstage and I don't think most people would have that issue.
There are of course way more differences between the RB-81 and RF-7, in fact I doubt they share a single exact component though of course the overall design is certainly similar and very Klipsch. Again it has the smaller compression driver, far less cabinet space, and one 8" versus 2 10"s. But those huge differences become less huge when using dedicated subwoofers for sure. I personally listen to stereo music in Pure Direct, full range with no bass management. Of course the RF-7 II's aren't rated to go below something like 33 hz, though I feel that it's more natural sounding this way but perhaps I wouldn't feel that way with better subwoofers (dual RW-12D's for now, I'm sure upgradeitis will have me with something else soon). In "full range" it wasn't even a contest between the two, but that's a specific requirement of how I generally listen to music and could be overcome by simply running them small with a subwoofer for most people. Running them that way, the differences became much harder for me to tell apart between the 2, and for someone more value oriented or space challenged, as long as it's set to small I feel it gets you real close to the sound I get with my RF-7's.
The 1.75" vs 1" compression driver I feel is the largest difference between each of the speakers. I do feel that the 1.75" compression driver is clearer and more dynamic, I'm just not of the mindset to say IT'S 100% BETTER or something crazy... I don't think it makes the speaker twice the speaker, but instead feel it adds additional performance akin so say a base Corvette and Z06 Corvette. It's already fast, but the Z06 is there for those who want that last bit of performance and will pay for it. Personally, made in the USA means something to me so either way I'd be willing to pay more for the RF7 system (and love the wood veneer vs. vinyl!).
Thanks again for your thoughts Zen.