Are Klipsch or Usher and Upgrade for Me?


I've been rolling with a 15 year-old HT speaker system consisting of Infinity speakers: CC-3 center, Overture 2 L/R, and RS-3 bookshelves for surrounds. At the moment I'm using an ACI Titan II sub in the HT setup, but it may move to the two-channel system.

I've been considering upgrading. I happen to live near a Crutchfield store (for now) and heard both the Klipsch Reference II series and the new Reference Premier series as well as a PSB setup.

I've also heard great things over the years about Usher Audio's speakers, but it looks like their floorstanders are more than what I'm willing to pay for my HT right now, and the bookshelves might not be up to performing L/R duty in a HT. The Be-616 DMD looks intriguing, though.

I am a tad concerned that the Klipsch will not be a huge upgrade over my Infinity system. The Klipsch setup I'm looking at would be the RC-64 II, RF-7, and whatever the matching bookshelves are.

Any thoughts on whether the Klipsch will be a substantial upgrade over what I have now, and how it would compare to an Usher setup at the same price point? What alternatives should I consider for crystal clear dialog, good off-axis response, neutral and accurate tonality, and capable of easily handling the dynamic range necessary for HT duty?

It has been quite a while since I last posted; I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the hobby!

Best,
HC
aggielaw
Everything is going to be setup/system dependent. Off axis response? - good luck with that, as the horn speakers are going to be beamy throughout the midrange/treble. If you want good side to side dispresion, you need apply elsewhere.
That said, the Klipsh's work very well for many HT applications, but you must sit within their "dispersion window", is key.(which is workable for several seats, suprisingly) Aiming them properly is also part of the deal, and the Klipshies do their best in aiding in acoustics, by reducing reflections horizontally and vertically -thus allowing more direct sound to be heard vs reflected (later of which smears imaging, and fuzzies up the joint! -not good). This is a big PLUS with rooms, like most, that have minimal acoustical treatments spread around, or less than ideal setups.
K horns are also nice and dynamic and punchy, have high dynamic efficiency, require little power to make em sound stout, have very good detail in mid/treble, and are highly intelligible for dialog. I like them for HT setups in most rooms on a budget, as they just fit in and work so well in so many aspects critical to HT applications! ...yep, I do.
Another key - you NEED to run most of these speakers crossed over at 80hz to a powered sub, for maximum dynamic range and efficiency! Yes, you can get away with full range, for modest listening in most setups..just not balls to the wall, properly done ones, IME (ask THX Lucas ..Stick with active subs for demanding lower register)
I also find the best sound for music/HT duties with em is with a tube amplifier somewhere in the chain, however...smooths out the treble, which is invariably a bit bright and forward on these horns, however. Of course, a good EQ can balance with the right gear, too. This works fine for HT, yes. (last word here, is I never liked any of the Klipsh's sold through Best Buy over last 10 years!)
As for your other speakers you considered?...never heard em.
I think the Klipsch RF-7II/RC-64II combo with the matching RS-62II's will be a huge upgrade for HT(IMO) and can hold it's own with music. Calling this setup dynamic is an understatement. Don't know much about the Ushers. Oh, and the RF-7II speaker system is not of the Best Buy kind(maybe at one time sold at Magnolia though), thank goodness.

Bill
Before you buy horn speakers, you should spend some time with them. They're not for everyone. If you're not used to them, it may be a difficult transition.
If I could give just only piece of real honest actual sound advice at all, I would probably tend to go with whatever the exact opposite suggested recommendations are by Zd542!!
Can't stress this point emphatically enough, actually. .this from years of careful research and calculated trial and error results, no less. Oh yeah..horns rule!(lol! .no actually you do need try anything first, course) Just messin w yaz! Lol Anyway, maybe that helps . . it does for me
Hmm. Thanks, guys. That's food for thought. One of the reasons I'm looking to upgrade is I need speakers that sound good in a variety of rooms because I move every couple years. For some reason I assumed the horn would have superior horizontal dispersion. If it's inferior to a dome that would give me less flexibility rather than more.

Thanks again!
"One of the reasons I'm looking to upgrade is I need speakers that sound good in a variety of rooms because I move every couple years. For some reason I assumed the horn would have superior horizontal dispersion. If it's inferior to a dome that would give me less flexibility rather than more."

Its not really better or worse, as much as it is different. Horns just have a sound that not everyone likes. Its not room dependent either. Its no different than any other design. If you like them you can usually make them work, and if you don't no amount of tweaking will make it right.

If you're not sure about horns and you can't afford to take a loss, its worth mentioning that very few audiophiles actually use them. The largest subgroup, by far, are people that are into low output tube amps. They use horns because they're so efficient. Also, those amps are usually rolled off quite a bit in the highs, making horns much more listenable.

That said, you could be part of the group that loves horn speakers. Nothing wrong with that. My only caution would be to make sure before you buy a pair so you don't loose money on a mistake.
I see it this way, if Aggielaw's main use for these speakers is HT, then IMO horns are the way to go. There must be a reason that most commercial movie theaters use horn loaded speakers. As a matter of fact Klipsch and JBL pretty much own the commercial theater business with all new construction Regal theaters(since around 1998) using Klipsch Pro speakers exclusively. As far as I know, a good portion of AMC theaters use Klipsch Pro.

I am by no means suggesting horn loaded speakers are the best for HT applications, but it sure appears that they(JBL, Klipsch) are doing something right for big theater companies to use them so often.

Bill
I wasn't trying to talk him out of anything, I was just being realistic. Not everyone likes horns. Also, I don't see an equal comparison with a movie theater. Its just a different application. A movie theater needs to fill a huge space at very high volumes. Its really not feasible to use something other than a multi channel PA system. If conventional speakers were used, you would need a lot more of them. But the real problem would be driving them. Amps for less efficient speakers would cost a lot more. A movie theater is forced to use the equipment that it does. Someone putting together a home theater has more options.
Zd542,

All true in what you said. I am a bit of a horn head so a little bias here going on.

I am currently(8:41pm ET) watching(listening) to the first Transformers(plain vanilla DVD) movie as I type on my PC which is off axis and 25 feet from the front soundstage(Klipsch RF-63's/RC-64), and the dynamics are rediculous in my 6000ft3 room.

Just a little something else to add.

Bill
Willand, I would not be guided by the taste of American Theater Chain management.
Few months back I went to see an opera in the "Live from the Met" series at an AMC venue.
The Klipschs were truly wretched, sound was so bad I had to leave in 15 minutes.
"I am currently(8:41pm ET) watching(listening) to the first Transformers(plain vanilla DVD) movie as I type on my PC which is off axis and 25 feet from the front soundstage(Klipsch RF-63's/RC-64), and the dynamics are rediculous in my 6000ft3 room."

You definately have the right speakers. I'm not questioning that at all. But like I said in my other post, I'm just trying to give the OP some info that may help in his search. He may find that Klipsch is the right speaker, and there's nothing wrong with that.
"If you're not sure about horns and you can't afford to take a loss, its worth mentioning that very few audiophiles actually use them. Zd542 (LOL!- can't afford to take a lose!! ..BIG BUCK EXPENDITURE HERE!!!.. how does one survive the resell process, I ask!?!! DOH!)

"My only caution would be to make sure before you buy a pair so you don't loose money on a mistake." Zd524 (we wouldn't want that to happen..might drive em right out of the hobby al together! -Stick with Lotto tickets, maybe??)

..not a big deal folks!. You try a pair of $100 used Klipshies, and compare to your fav budget (or better) monitor at the house! then you can know something you didn't already. HEY, IT'S A HOBBY FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD! THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND, I SAY! lol.
"..not a big deal folks!. You try a pair of $100 used Klipshies, and compare to your fav budget (or better) monitor at the house! then you can know something you didn't already. HEY, IT'S A HOBBY FOR CRYIN OUT LOUD! THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND, I SAY! lol."

Have no fear. If he does what you suggest, he will be throwing caution in the wind. Does it really make sense to buy a different pair of speakers and demo them instead of the ones you're actually going to buy?

""My only caution would be to make sure before you buy a pair so you don't loose money on a mistake." Zd524 (we wouldn't want that to happen..might drive em right out of the hobby al together! -Stick with Lotto tickets, maybe??)"

Correct. Why wouldn't that be the case? Do you think people leave the hobby because of all the good choices they make, or the bad ones?

Aggielaw,

The only reason I responded to Avgoround's post was for your benefit. He hates anyone who doesn't have the same opinion as him. If you've never seen any of his posts, you should know that the only reason he enters a thread is to ruin the experience for everyone. If you want to see what I'm talking about, you can read some of his other posts, but from this point on, I won't be responding to anything else he says. He can't be reasoned with under any circumstances.
Lol! Zd542, .I dont hate anyone. I poke fun in jest at you, Zd542! Its fun and, besides, you deserve your torment based on past postings, even to present! And still, I even agreed with u that this guy should audition first to see if its for him, silly!
Besides, its fun to disagree n be controversial, don't u think? ...otherwise no one is hardly posting responses in the HT section any more! No really. Its getting sparse. Don't u agree? (Everyone posts on the amp\preamp section of gon, it appears -Like 2xs more than next closest section -loudspeakers?- and 5xs as many threads than HT sec!!) Cause apparently amps are far more important to sound quality than even the loud speakers themselves!.. which isn't true. ..see the people here are silly! I just proved it.
My 2 cents. There are many Klipsch owners (horn owners) that are, audiophiles, in so many ways. However, being one, and knowing many, one thing comes to mind. Our group of people are, music listeners, first. Anyone not knowing what I am talking about, will just not " get it ". Horns, especially properly designed and executed ones, do one thing correctly, or, more correctly, than other designs. They present dynamics, in a way, that other designs cannot. My reference, for over 40 years, has been live, unamplified music. Many speakers, of every design, have passed through my living quarters, and all have failed in this regard. Horns do have a " projection ", that does require proper room set up, proper ancillary equipment, and proper listener distance, no different than other designs. I can easily say, many mega buck systems I have heard (some owned ), sound dull and lifeless, even though, other audio parameters have been met. After so many years of designing, and owning, a plethora of equipment, and sound systems, I have been lucky enough to find "what I am looking for ". Thank you all, for your time. MrD.
"Our group of people are, music listeners, first. Anyone not knowing what I am talking about, will just not " get it "."

So, in order to get it right, we have to think just like you and use the same equipment. Thanks for clearing that one up.

Something tells me that you would be good friends with Avgoround (See the post right before yours). You 2 think alike.
Zd542, you need to get a life. Obviously, I hit a nerve with you, insulting you in some way, making you feel inadequate, a realization, that you are not a music listener, or, something of that nature. Get over yourself, and, as I said, "YOU, do not get it ". Enjoy ! Mr.D.
Avgoround, here's your new best friend. You guys already have 1 thing in common. You both have an extreme dislike for me. Although, and I can't believe I'm even saying this, but you have better taste in audio equipment.
The RP-280F is world class.
If you can grab some older Klipsch for a good deal, can make some great HT speakers on the cheap. You will likely need to update the crossovers, but that is easy and cheap to do yourself, ordering through Crites. If you can twist a screwdriver, and hold a soldier gun, you can do it for less then $30 a speaker for the caps.

KLF 30's/KLF-20's/CF-3/RF-7's all great HT speakers. Hard to beat them for what they can be bought for these days.