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By your description, I am assuming these are RF-35's? Yes they do play loud and clean. In my years of owning Klipsch(Reference, Heritage, and other lines), I have never experienced the dreaded honkyness or shrilling sound that has been attributed to their "reputation".
You mention the midrange and Klipsch did improve upon that with the Reference IV RF-63's which I have enjoyed since May 2008. Smooth, dynamic, and big sounding with great punch.
Thanks for responding. These are the RF 3 model from circa 2001 era. TNT audio (Italian) gave these a stellar review, claiming they were a bargain at twice the price. Anybody know the pecking order with these Klipsch. The model they replaced? The model that replaced these? As for the midrange, the intergration between the horn and the other drivers is seamless, which is often the main culprit. These are a phenomenal value in the used market. Unfortunately, they are quite large + heavy, so shipping is questionable. Anybody know where I could locate spikes (size) or original speaker cones? Parts express?
A buddy of mine had the RF-3's for a while and he thoroughly enjoyed them.
A rough pecking order of discontinued Klipsch Reference.
Reference I & II
RF-3, RF-5, RF-7
RF-15, RF-25, RF-35
RF-52, RF-62, RF-82, RF-63, RF-83
Looks like these guys are a good source for woofers.
Got a pair of Klipsch RP-160m, it sound so neutral, flat, dynamic, which I think has some benefits and some shorcomings, for drum music perhaps need a little bit more softer, for treble it's a little bright senstive to some recordings or gears, and even ears, nevertheless it's a great speakers for the price, for long listening still LS3/5a British style speakers
"Besides the reference series, what other dual 8 towers would be somewhat comparable in performance?"
Not much outside of the Reference series can you find dual 8" woofers except for the lower model Synergy or re-badged Best Buy Icon models.
Tell your buddy to look for a pair of KLF-20's which have dual 10" woofers, 1.5" horn loaded midrange, and a 1" horn loaded tweeter.
Also, maybe look for a pair of KG4's. They are too big to be considered bookshelf speakers and too small to be considered floorstanders. Dual 8" woofers, horn loaded tweeter, and single 12" rear passive radiator.
Where is your friend located?