Well, I can tell you that Audyssey helped the sound of them a LOT whereas we get no such major improvements with higher fidelity speakers.
Audyssey helps anytime you have acoustic balance issues at the microphone. "Higher fidelity speakers" do NOT solve room problems or improper setups. Only acoustics and proper setup solve them. This shows me that they were set up incorrectly and there were room acoustics issues. Physics dictate the directivity of horns means less room interaction compared to a conventional speaker that sprays energy everywhere. This is why the Ultra 2 sounds better in a wider variety of rooms than most speakers. Bad room acoustics screw them up less by definition but bad acoustics are bad acoustics no matter what system is in there.Yes, but they hold up on music and do this thing we call 'imaging'.
Okay, but they do this thing we call "impact" and "dynamics" which is far more important than some vague thing that usually isn't a true representation of what the actual sound event really was like. I was just at a big band concert last night and believe me, I wasn't sitting there thinking to myself that the drum kit sounded vague and diffuse and I couldn't tell if the drummer was 5 feet or 10 feet back from the horn section Instead, I was enjoying the impact and the feel of the drums, the bite of the horns and the dynamic swings. Real life dynamics is the thing that actually makes live music sound live, and that is an area where most consumer loudspeakers fall woefully short. It is also something which is incredibly important in creating a movie soundtrack properly. There is no "imaging" in a multi-channel theater soundtrack...instead there are huge dynamic swings, proper channel tracking and consistent channel to channel tonal balance, which the Ultra 2 system does far better than most other speakers mentioned in a custom theater install. Approaching a multi-channel system design strictly from an audiophile perspective is a mistake I made for a long time too.Depends on the PSBs. The Platinums weren't my cup of tea either as they are too forward for my tastes, but the Synchronies absolutely kill any Klipsch speaker I've heard and are incredibly 'dynamic' and yet relaxed and smooth at the same time.
They were the Synchronies. Not impressed.NHT's T5 and T6, unfortunately discontinued, were well beyond the quality of the Klipsch system for around half the price as well.
I know somebody who used to sell NHT and I had a chance to hear them twice. NHT at least tried to make a system that does what horns do...control the directivity by reducing the amount of output off center. Unfortunately, the inefficiency of the drivers worked against them and they just couldn't project dynamics. Funny thing is, you liked them yet they had the very same issue you complain about with the Ultra 2...the image remained inside the plane of the speakers (proving once again that imaging is as much a factor of room acoustics, phase errors and side wall bounce as it is actually information in the recording).
I think we just have different tastes. IMO, the Klipsch starts with a bad design, manages not to completely suck, but charges twice what it should cost. There's no high-end drivers or cabinets there or fancy wood finshes to make the speakers cost so much. It's just another example of why I think Klispsch is second only to Bose at being overpriced. Remember how Klipsch completely destroyed Mondial after buying the company, raising the prices, dropping the quality (literally dropping amp weights to almost 1/2 the original design) and basically putting them out of business?
Different tastes? Whatever gave you that impression!
Mondial was in serious trouble before Klipsch came along. They were a 2 channel company in the period where everybody was transitioning to home theater. I give Klipsch credit for trying to make a go of it and the original Mondial guys for knowing when to get out. As for the Bose comment...please.
My perception is that the Klipsch uses very expensive horn compression drivers modeled on expensive commercial cinema drivers (I have the price list, trust me, they are not cheap). They are oversized way beyond most normal home speakers which explains why they are capable of such huge amounts of output. The woofers are also likewise ridiculously overbuilt and expensive to be able to meet Ultra 2 specs. The cabinet is plain for a very good reason, it is designed to blend in and be hidden in a custom home theater. No reason to spend on some fancy wood when it will be hidden anyways behind a screen. Build quality wise, pick one up. They are bricks as anybody who has had to mount a quad of KL-525s up on a wall will attest. Also a good testimony...in the 4 years I've been selling them, I've had one in field failure...just one. It was a KW-120 subwoofer driver and the victim of an overzealous volume knob in a huge room. Not a single compression or midrange driver failure. Trust me, my clients aren't shy about cranking them up. Maybe it is because I put enough power to them BUT, even if Klipsch were the best most amazing thing ever, with 97dB efficiency, vs speakers we sell that are 85-87dB efficiency, they literally use 1/10th the power that the speakers we sell use to achieve the same volume. And that means they will also distort with approximately 1/10th the power too. Excursion is excursion, no matter how little power it takes to get it to its limits. Being more efficient doesn't necessarily mean louder.
Being efficient doesn't mean the speakers can get louder, but the Ultra 2 system can because the system is designed for high output levels. That is part of being able to meet the rigid Ultra 2 spec. Fact is, the Klipsch, and most other really good theater speakers, will get louder. They don't compress where most speakers run into serious thermal and driver compression, blunting the dynamics swings. With a higher efficiency system, properly powered to an accepted dynamic standard, I know I can keep the speaker well in the lower distortion range at high dynamic peak levels. It is always within the SOA. No more having to deal with delicately engineered expensive tweeters that blow up after a few years of being constantly at the edge of the envelope (thank god!). No more having to hear from that client who bought Revel Ultima Gems from another dealer and is now on their 4th tweeter and what do I think about a different cable that will roll the top end off. There are limits obviously. This is why I only spec the Ultra 2 system up to about 6000 cubic ft. Above that, you need a system with higher dynamic headroom like the Danley Labs, in order to remain in the SOA and keep the dynamic headroom standard at the seats.
Hey, you are never going to like Klipsch. Heck, I didn't like Klipsch until I had a good amount of personal experience with the product and finally grasped the proper approach to them. You have a bad opinion of them based on a few experiences, no doubt. So be it. We have different opinions of what makes a system proper, that is obvious. Ultimately it is the customer who decides what is best for them. In my book, I can get them far closer the the theatrical experience and what I've heard in production facilities with the Ultra 2 system in a wider variety of spaces than any other speaker package I've ever sold. A quick scan of the forums will reveal a near universal happiness and a tremendous amount of enjoyment with the system and ultimately, that is what it is about. The owner and listener comments, universally positive reviews, acceptance in the industry and low numbers of used systems compared to the number sold show folks love them. Free country...you can disagree all day long but it won't change the fact that my clients and those who own the system continue to be happy.
Amplifier wise. Most of my installs are in larger, acoustically treated spaces. My demo spaces are large. Perhaps that is why we notice the benefits. Again,as I stated before, people should TRY it and judge for themselves.