Klipsch Icon WF-34 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Reviewed

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klipsch_wf_34-review.gifIntroduced in June of 2008, the Klipsch Icon W series adds a healthy dose of refinement and sophistication to the modern, aggressive Klipsch product line. It provides furniture-grade finishing, lots of technology, and elegant styling that pushes the Klipsch name into more areas of houses in more kinds of neighborhoods. The Icon W line offers two floorstanding models (WF-35, WF-34/reviewed here), a bookshelf speaker (WB-14), a center channel (WC-24), and a surround speaker (WS-24).

Additional Resources
• Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a subwoofer to pair with the WF-34.

The WF-34 ($1199 per pair, MSRP) features a one-inch titanium diaphragm compression tweeter mated to a 4.5-inch 80 degree by 80 degree XT Tractrix horn, crossed over at 2.7kHz to three 4.5-inch triple-woven fiberglass cone woofers with ceramic motor structures, all encased within a dual-ported bass-reflex enclosure composed of an exotic, non-endangered Berlinia veneer from West Africa, finished in gorgeous Espresso or Cabernet finishes. The XT Tractrix technology alters the surface geometry of the horn with four flower-shaped "bumps" to create a wider dispersion pattern than that usually provided by horns. The design employs two oval-shaped ports on the rear, fitted beautifully into the cabinet with sloped plastic fittings. Ditto for the dual pair of 5-way gold-plated binding posts.

Klipsch says that Berlinia is a sister veneer to Zebrawood and is often featured on luxury goods. Whatever it is, it looks downright fantastic, and certainly gives the WF-34 a luxury goods feel. Even the grill has a slick touch of its own, attaching via magnets with no visible fasteners on the baffle. Measuring 40 inches high by 6.5 inches wide by 9.5 inches high and weighing 33 pounds, the WF-34 provides a beautifully slim footprint and has some nice heft to drag around. Overall, the fit and finish of the WF-34 easily rank with the very best in its class, and even with some in the classes above it.

Sound
The WF-34 presents a nominal 8 ohm load with a very high 95.5dB efficiency. The speaker sounded optimally even with average power sources, although it did sound just a hair better when paired with better quality amplifiers.

The WF-34s threw a very deep, wide soundstage with crisp imaging that stretched beyond the speakers. The sound exhibited less directivity than do traditional horn speakers, with a larger sweet spot. The top end had a noticeably less edgy quality than typical Klipsch designs, but still provided lots of detail. It stayed coherent with the lower frequencies, added a nice zing to the presentation , and only very rarely sounded too crisp overall. The highs blended wonderfully with the midrange frequencies, and carried over a lot of detail. The WF-34's midrange lacked the honkiness typically associated with horns, with an open, fast quality that brought a lot of inner detail to vocals and piano as well as good body and even some richness. The high-to-mid transition and overall spectrum really excelled and brought some impressive levels of transparency and speed considering the speaker's price.

Into the bass, the WF-34 maintained its excellent detail and speed, and played pretty low considering the "smaller" cabinet size (it's not really that small). The bass exhibited punch and good volume, and stayed very much in time with the higher frequencies, a critical issue given the top end's terrific performance. The ultimate lack of extension took a back seat to the ability of the bass to complement the sound perfectly and bring its own crisp, musical qualities to the presentation. The WF-34 sounded even better when moved closer to walls, as the loading made the bass a bit more substantial with a lot of material, especially large scale classical tracks. The WF-34 upheld the Klipsch tradition of playing effortlessly at higher volumes, even when powered by average receivers and amplifiers.

Click to Page 2 for The High Points, The Low Points and The Conclusion.

HTR Product Rating for Klipsch Icon WF-34 Floorstanding Loudspeakers

Criteria Rating

Performance

3

Value

3.5

Overall

3.5

Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.


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Overall, the WF-34 provided a fantastic level of performance for its very affordable price, performing wonderfully over all types of material and excelling with acoustic and classical tracks (Don't worry, as a Klipsch it won't in any way disappoint with slam, bam and wham stuff. But you can listen to your Beethoven with pride when your friends leave.).

High Points
• The WF-34 offers a very pleasing sonic blend of refinement, dynamics, and musicality, exhibiting terrific individual sonic qualities and a great ability to bring them together.
• The WF-34's fit and finish will impress even the snobbiest of buyers, with rock solid, beautifully finished cabinetry, tight seams and edges, and top quality parts.
• The WF-34 provides a monitor-type sound in a bigger package that will appeal to higher end buyers.

Low Points
• The WF-34's treble sounded a bit too hot every now and then.
• The WF-34's bass lacked ultimate extension.
• The WF-34 does not come in a pitch black finish, although the still very dark Espresso finish looks great.

Conclusion
The WF-34 brings an awesome amount of value to this very competitive sector of loudspeakers. It combines the typical Klipsch dynamics, zip, and power handling with speed, detail, and an amount of refinement and transparency very rarely seen even close to the price. It should appeal to both sides of that spectrum, as well as to those wanting pop with some flair, and vice versa. It's very much a bigger version of the excellent WB-14, which should guarantee it a long stay in the market and a legion of very happy owners. You should definitely audition the WF-34 before deciding to buy loudspeakers close to its price. It will likely surprise you and emerge as a serious candidate.
Additional Resources
• Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Find a subwoofer to pair with the WF-34.


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