Klipsch Forte III review


Klipsch Forte III

MSRP $1,799.99

“The Klipsch Forte III delivers incredibly good performance with a beautiful vintage aesthetic.”


  • Beautiful classic style

  • Bold lows, pristine highs

  • Huge soundstage

  • Built to last

In the same way that it’s hard to relate to your affluent friends clinking lightning-fast 0-60 times while driving their sports cars in the center lane, most audiophiles don’t have much fun talking about actual music. As cultural connoisseurs of tube wattage and lossless digital audio files, high-end buyers often use music as a means of sampling equipment, rather than enjoying absorbing the songs themselves. As such, it’s easy to see why many models in the $4,000-a-pair speaker segment seem designed for people who pour themselves small amounts of expensive whiskey and spend hours discussing impedance on Internet forums. That’s what makes the Klipsch Forte III, the new American iteration of the beloved 1985 Forte speaker, so special to us: They’re made for people who put their music first.

The new Forte III is a collection of vintage throwbacks for those of us who want to blast The Rolling Stones while smashing an air guitar and spilling cheap beer all over ourselves. They offer the kind of thick sound that will bathe you in the warm throaty tones of Stevie Wonder as you sip your morning coffee or pump AC/DC into your bloodstream as you do push-ups on the floor. Best of all, it won’t make you think about the thickness of the cable or through which amplifier you listen to them, but will overwhelm you with the pure pleasure of the music itself. If these speakers were a car, they’d be one of those gold Corvettes driven by astronauts—and fresh off the assembly line.

Video review

Out of the box

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up the Forte III is that they’re quite heavy. You’ll need help moving the cardboard box containing each 72-pound speaker near your listening area before removing the various layers of protective coating, and then you’ll get your first glimpse of what will seem like a very familiar sight to fans of vintage stereo speakers — especially those from those of us who have experienced the company’s previous Forte and Forte II models.

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Features and design

Shaped like large wooden rectangles with an off-white lambswool fabric, the new speakers look like they could have sat in your grandfather’s living room spinning Frank Sinatra records for decades. That’s not to say they aren’t stunning; each set of Forte III speakers comes with cabinets that are handcrafted in Hope, Arkansas, and the craftsmanship is immediately apparent. In fact, each pair is matched so that they look almost identical to each other when sitting side by side.

Our review set featured a beautiful distressed oak veneer, but you can also get the Forte III in black ash, natural cherry, or American walnut. Several special edition colors are also available for a little more money.

The speakers themselves are 36 inches tall, 16.5 inches wide, and 13 inches deep, making them a great addition to any living room or listening space. They are also perfectly designed to place tweeters at ear level for those relaxing on the couch or in an armchair.

The warmth, depth and complexity are astounding.

The rear of the Forte III reveals two sets of binding posts for optional bi-amping or bi-wiring, as well as a look at one of the key upgrades Klipsch made to its best-selling model from the mid-80s: a massive 15” passive woofer replacing a smaller radiator found on the original model for a more powerful bass response. Underneath the magnetically attached grills you’ll find a black bafflie with three black actuators. A single 12-inch bass driver is placed toward the bottom of the cabinet, with two titanium-diaphragm drivers above it — an updated 1.75-inch midrange driver and a one-inch tweeter driver.

Those siren-filled speakers are a key element of the classic Forte sound – and a hallmark of Klipsch speaker design, in general – and we welcome their return in this model. Although a somewhat polarizing technology in the audiophile universe, the “classic” Klipsch sound is often associated with a lively top end that avoids distortion, even at high volumes.


Our review team listened to the Forte III speakers over several months, playing nearly every format and genre of music through Naim Uniti Atom, Yamaha R-N803, and Peachtree Nova 220SE amplifiers, and pitting the speakers against other high-quality amplifiers. high-end options like the Bowers and Wilkins 702 Series 2 and the Paradigm Persona B.

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To make a long story short: we are in love.

These speakers swallow every genre with a smile.

It is very difficult to describe the perfect blend of faithful reproduction and vibrant color that manifests itself inside such good speakers, but we can say that the simultaneous warmth, depth and complexity with which these updated classics handle the sound is nothing short of stunning. No matter what you’re listening to or how you’re listening to it, every song you play through these speakers becomes a profoundly enjoyable experience. The Forte IIIs are incredibly good.

Not only can you practically reach out and touch the upright bass while listening to Lou Reed Walking on the wild side — most other speakers in this price range can do this — it’s the way the speakers gently warm up everything in the soundstage, making every element of the sound buttery but not overwhelming any instrument also a lot of coloration.

It’s not just about making you sob like classic ballads like The Eagles Desperate come as if the band were playing on stage 20 feet in front of you, it’s that the speakers somehow make every note more vibrant and passionate than you’ve ever heard them before.

klipsch-forte-iii-speakers-2018-review-6.jpg?fit=720%2C720&p=1Image used with permission of the copyright holder

Compared to other expensive floorstanders like the B&W 702 Series 2, the Fortes offer a similarly sparkling treble response, but their punchy bass easily beats the B&W, thanks to the 15-inch radiator on the back and its 12-inch active bass driver. However, these are not speakers with excessive bass. They are penetrating and precise.

Every note, every phrase, every subtle mixing technique, it’s all right there in front of you, but where the B&W offers a crisp HD feel, the Fortes somehow blend in just the right amount of 72mm film grain.

Very few speakers seem explicitly designed to deliver musical pleasure, and with their nimble agility and warmth, the Forte III swallows up any genre with a smile. Feed them Kendrick Lamar’s DAMNED. and you’ll be bathed in near-perfect bass response and clean hi-hats between passionate vocal attacks. Feed them an album by Ahmad Jamal’s classic jazz trio Ahmad’s blues, and you’ll be swaying to every intricate brush stroke and piano tickle. Feed them Purple rain and let Prince’s heartbreaking vocals melt you into a multicolored puddle on the floor.

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It’s hard to count the songs I’ve never heard sound better on any other set of speakers. It’s embarrassing to admit, but during the few months we’ve had review units in the Digital Trends A/V room, I’ve wondered how soon we’ll have to send them back with the same sadness I once associated with a friend’s summer camp. There isn’t a single set of speakers that I personally want to own more; On sheer smile-to-song ratio, the Forte III ranks somewhere up there with putting up a bouncy castle in your listening room.

Warranty information

Klipsch offers a five-year limited warranty against defective materials and workmanship on all of its passive speakers.

Our download

The Klipsch Forte III offers a nearly perfect blend of new-school finesse with old-school charm, easily ranking among the best speakers to ever grace our listening room.

Is there a better alternative?

While speakers like the Bowers and Wilkins 702 Series 2 compete on price, Klipsch is the only major manufacturer we can think of that offers reissues and custom versions true to its classic design aesthetic. If you’re looking for the same vintage audiophile sound, you may want to look to a vintage set of Klipsch Forte or Forte II, Dynaco A-29, Acoustic Research AR3a, or Large Advent speakers to get what you’re looking for.

How long will it last?

Given Klipsch’s long history of producing excellent quality speakers, as well as the longevity of this particular product line, we expect the Forte III to last for generations if properly treated and maintained every ten years or so.

Should you buy it?

That. The Klipsch Forte IIIs are easily among the most fun speakers we’ve ever tested, offering classic style and tone that you can pass down for generations. You might pay a pretty penny upfront, but the existential question clearly remains with these speakers in particular: Can you really put a price on musical happiness?

Editor’s recommendations

Categories: GAMING
Source: newstars.edu.vn

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