Klipsch Heresy IV - not what I was expecting

I haven't felt the need to share my thoughts on a piece of audio equipment for some time. About 2 months ago, I purchased Heresy IV speakers kind of on a whim to hear horn speakers. With no local dealers, I bought them on Amazon with the thought that I can just return them if I didn't like them. At just 45lbs a piece, repackaging them would not be a big deal either. Most of my speakers have been monitors (Reference 3A mm de capo i, Merlin TSM mxr w/ Master RC networks, B&W 805 D3) with a Prima Luna Dialogue Premium integrated running EL34s and Berkeley Alpha DAC with an Auralic Aries Femto music server. My music tastes are wide ranging digital so long as the recording quality is very good.

Over the years, I had several folks cup their hands around their mouths to describe horns so I had a somewhat negative view going in. I had never heard horns prior. In hindsight now, the differences between my other monitors are more subtle -- some image a bit better, some had better low base control, extension, dynamics, etc. But with the Heresy's the music sounds very different from the others. It is more immediate and present (and fun). Some sounds actually startle me. They are not harsh and do not sound like "cupped hands". The Heresy's do not image as well as my other monitors - can't get that barking dog on "Amused to Death" to sound like it's coming from behind me -- but their imaging is still pretty good. It's just more of a larger but less delineated presentation. The Heresy's bass does fall off around 45Hz but my JL audio fixes that, as it does with my other monitors.  The bass down to 45Hz is tight and fast.

I bought the walnut version and its book matched veneer is high quality. One minor aspect that is a bit disappointing -- the feet are just cheap metal grommets which I think are unfitting for a $3K speaker. I'm not sure if Klipsch felt spikes were unnecessary based on the speaker's design? And yes, it's a bit weird that these speakers are designed to sit on the floor and angle up.  As a result, the entire soundstage is lower than my stand mounted monitors. Also, be forewarned that the cabinet doesn't have that "dead to the knock" sound that I'm used to with some of my speakers but again, I'm not sure the (ported) design requires it. Anyhow, I just wanted to share my experience with these speakers which was so vastly different (and satisfying) from what I was expecting. 
Some people like 'em - and some don't! I confess that I have a pair of Heresy Mk1's. But I'd rather listen to my vintage Altec's and JBL's! 
Raise them off the floor and place them on a good pair of solid stands ( remove the stands from the Heresy IVs ). You can even use some concrete building blocks found at your local Lowes or HD. Mid horn at ear level, no angle. Set up properly, they will create the dogs barking behind you ( I hear this on my Heresy IIs, and on my Lascalas ). Room acoustics can also rob you of this effect.
My Heresy IIIs sit on slightly squashed (I rotate ’em from time to time to spread the squash, so to speak) Vibrapods with stick-on felt on the floor side so they can easily slide around on my wood floors for positioning. I sit 8 or 9 feet away and the tilt is fine for me with an excellently positioned soundstage (surprisingly, since I’ve always been an "ear level" tweaker with the many other speakers I’ve owned) image in the proper area up and in front of my earballs. I actually tried stands with the risers removed and thought they just sounded wrong (even with my 2 REL subs) as clearly they’re designed for the floor tilt presentation...put ’em back and much prefer them that way. Used an Isotek test CD and there’s a track where the sound goes around behind you...worked like a charm.
Once a rumor starts on these boards, it seems to never die. "Horn speakers are very colored and sound hollow -like cupped hands." and "Thiel speakers are very bright" or "B&W diamond tweeters are bright and fatiguing". I found all of these to be untrue. Former owner: Klipsch La Scala II and Thiel 2.4SE. And current owner of B&W 804D3. Trust your own ears.
It doesn't hurt to experiment with raising the speakers up, but, when properly set up, the image seems to float above these speakers even though the drivers are fairly close to the ground.  Raising the woofer up and away from the floor increases the likelihood of a midbass suckout from the reflection of the sound off the floor cancelling the sound radiating directly from the driver (longer path length of the reflection causing it to be out of phase with respect to the direct sound).  If you want more information on this, look up the "Allison Effect."
I need to get to the local dealer and hear the IVs. Wondering if they sound different from IIIs other than extended ported bass.
My brother owns these and I can tell you for sure ,they sound decent in stock form just unscrew the back panel ,the upgrade 
we give the speaker transforms them ,the drivers are good ,but the connectors are cheap,and the Xover very low grade all made in China which is shocking for a $2k monitor. The olderKlipsch Always mounted the Xover on a plywood board ,not it is direct behind the woofer stacked on levels which makes the Xover upgrade much more difficult . That being said upgrading the Xover substantially improves the imaging and tonal realism. Something
to think about. 
I want to hear them as well---I have a tube preamp and SS amp. What speaker cables are you using?
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and observations. I won't give up on getting better imaging with my Heresy's now that I know it's possible! 

bluorion, I use Acoustic Zen Satoris for speaker and Magnum MA for IC.
Could you please compare them to the de Capos?
I have some Klipsch Quartets on another system and de Capos on my main system.  Very different sound like them both
I have Crites speakers which took me a long time to get set up right.  I also added room treatment.  Now I have imaging galore!.  I have a feeling the Heresy is the same.  I heard them at a dealer powered by a Lumin integrated.  They were not as open sounding as the Paradigm monitor or Tannoy.  To be fair these were $6-7K speakers. 
Somehow the midrange seemed "more right" when I put the Heresy IIIs back on their risers of my floor...obvious bass reinforcement happens with this configuration and with my 2 subs integrating perfectly it's all good...I've thought the bass without the woofers on is very "honest" and lacks frequency spikes...a good thing...roll in the subs and it's amazing.
I've just placed an order for a pair in Walnut for a second system in a medium-sized room (15 x 22 x 8 ft).  Next is to think about amplification.  I've always been solid state on my main system (Ayre), but for these I am looking for a tube integrated or perhaps a Schitt Aegir with the Freya+ tube pre.  If I do go with the tube integrated, I'd really like to get something made in the US - just my personal preference.  Anyone ever try a Frenzel stereo amp?
Nice review, and welcome to the first of what I hope will be a long lasting appreciation for Klipsch horn technology speaker design. The engineering, especially of the "Heritage" Klipsch speakers, is outstanding and leading edge, even though the concept goes back to the mid 1900s with Mr Paul W Klipsch!
ALL of my speakers are Klipsch! Belles and Cornwalls make up a 2 pair "surround sound" system in my casual living room, w/a RSW 12 to handle the lowest notes.
My theater room is a 9.1 system, with 3 KLF-30 Legend series speakers across the front, a pair of Heresy front side surrounds, KSP-S6 bipolar rear side surrounds, and a pair of SA-3s doing temporary rear surround duty. I had a RSW-15 doing the deepest bass, but with a failed amp and no replacement available, I can’t complain because my Definitive Technology Trinity Supercube sub is THE best subwoofer for music and movies that I’ve EVER heard, and I used to work in the industry.
Klipsch! So good it Hz!
I am old school, cone/NEO magnet  woofers/midbass/ dome NEO Magnet tweet.
I want real life sound stage/reproduction,,,not something that sounds * like* the real thing. 
IOW what is etched on the cd disc, this should be voiced via the componemnts,,, speakers are the main component,,,
Speakers are everything, at least, . I've heard 100K Jadis systems on a  EU audio show room, Youtube vid,,and the system sounds like  Class F,,not even Class D,,,here you have all Class A components dragged down to Class F all due to Class F crappy sperakers. 
That antidote is only to show how essential speakers are ina system. Sorry you did not drive to audition 1st. 
Heck they are only $50 lbs each,,try to ship them back at a  restock fee loss. Thats what i'd do...There must bea  30 day money back guarantee. 

Just got my Heresy IVs in this morning and am now “working” through the break in process. If they are similar to the IIIs they are replacing it shouldn’t be too long a process. 
So far the bass is the biggest difference and really helps lend a more solid foundation to the presentation. Rear port doesn’t seem to have slowed the bass any.

I would say initial feel is more coherent top to bottom and a larger soundstage (huge). Such a fun speaker. Tonight I’ll switch from my Luxman solid state to some tubes and see what we have there.
I'm using a Luxman 505uXII and just purchase the Heresy IVs.These are the first Klipsch I've owned. Lost my Vandersteen's in the Harvey flood and have been using Martin Logan ESLs since then with a Yamaha 760. Perhaps I'm bored with the MLs I don't know but I had a 3K budget and these were getting good reviews so I scheduled a prvt appt at a local audio dealer and took a pair home. So far I'm very pleased with the sound, especially the soundstage which seems to open up much more than I could ever get with the ML's. I've heard some instruments on tracks that I never noticed previously. You mentioned using a tube. Can you share what you're going to use? 
Thanks for sharing your experience @lofgren 

I just added a set of Forte3's yesterday after trying a few other and could not be more impressed with the Klipsch horn sound.  It seemed most of the opinions I had heard had similar complaints - shouty, bright, fatiguing etc. But after some digging there are a lot of users who really enjoy them.  
I've only had them setup in my room for a day but so far i'm very happy.  Tons of dynamics, texture and a very energetic listen.  Pairs well with my Luxman 507uxII.


This may have no bearing on anything, but I heard a pair of Cornwall III speakers being driven by a Mcintosh 252 and I thought it didn’t sound good at all. Sound was confined and not free from the speakers. Definitely didn’t disappear and sounded somewhat closed in.  It was right after I heard the big Paradigm Persona floorstanders and that probably ruined me. 

Maybe the new Heresy IV sounds way better.

I'm glad you're finding happiness with the H4's.  They're beautiful, classically "American" loudspeakers.
Tremendous fun being exposed to different genres of speakers. With exposure one realizes that no one speaker/genre does it all, and that there is much to love about each technology. 

Regarding the cupped hand analogy, the reason it persists is because it's true. Moving from speakers with different drivers, it is easy to hear the smaller source, the wave guide, etc. compared to other technologies, such as the extreme opposite, the panel. Maybe there is less of the cupped hand sound, but it's obviously inherent in the technology as compared to others. When you can switch in the same day from one to the other it's obvious. I'm not interested in debating my observation.  :) 

And now for an Easter gift! You want to really have some fun? Get creative. Every smallish speaker I have ever used I put atop stands. No biggie; others have suggested. However... turn them sideways! Try them with tweets inside, and try them with tweets outside. Also, work with the baffle slope by putting devices under the speakers to change it. Have some fun! You will be amazed at the changes to the soundstage when you use them either Portrait (normal) or Landscape (alternative placement)! Disregard negative people who howl about inappropriate use. Use these speakers however you wish. It's your ears, your speakers, your room! Imagine how fun it would be to have an alternative sound stage in a moment's change! If you follow my advice you have at your disposal the means to enjoy several expressions of sound. 

Have fun reading at Dagogo.com, in 3 articles regarding the following speakers about my experiments with Portrait and Landscape speaker positioning, first with the Daedalus Ulysses, then with the Magnepan .7, and finally (and best) PureAudioProject Trio15 Horn 1. 

I agree. If everyone was given the same ear shape, brain, and hearing? I mean, if all eardrums were uniform, then perhaps we could come up with the GOAT speaker.

it’s like “how would you like your steak cooked?”

my speakers need to know?

I don’t like the new midrange horn design (completely different from the IIIs which have an interesting compression "tunnel" and strange pointy phase plug with titanium diaphragm) in the Heresy IVs after trying a new pair hoping they’d "break-in" or something...gave up and sold ’em and kept my IIIs which simply sound much better.

I am blessed to have mine mounted 2’ off the ground. The Heresy 4’s base sits inside the 3” walls of foldout tray tables, ever so perfectly… like they were made for them. Midrange is at ear level! Absolute bliss. Hearing music in songs that I never knew was there. 


Wow, someone who listens to ATD: I have played ATD through many systems and found the dog in the back comes and goes(as does other intentionally out of phase easter eggs; the piano, the little girl/boy?, in the last cut the sports car now going from left to right behind you, etc), depending on speaker positioning. Try bringing them out ~ 3"- 6" at a time, and let me know when you nailed it.

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