Klipsch Icon WF-35 Floorstanding Loudspeakers Reviewed

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klipsch-wf35-review.gifIntroduced in June of 2008, the Klipsch Icon W series adds a healthy dose of refinement and sophistication to the impressive and a bit, uh, modern and 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/reviewed here, WF-34), a bookshelf speaker (WB-14), a center channel (WC-24), and a surround speaker (WS-24).

The WF-35 ($1499 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 2.5kHz to three 5.25-inch triple-woven fiberglass cone woofers with ceramic motor structures, all encased within a very solid 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-35 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 43 inches high by 7.25 inches wide by 11.75 inches high and weighing 41 pounds, the WF-35 provides a slim footprint and has some nice heft to drag around. Overall, the fit and finish of the WF-35 easily rank with the very best in its class, and even with some in the classes above it.
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The WF-35 presents a nominal 8 ohm load with a ridiculous 97dB 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-35s threw a very deep, wide soundstage with crisp imaging that stretched beyond the speakers. The design toned down the trademark Klipsch zippiness, but the speaker's crisp top end helped the imaging render some very vivid outlines. The top end still exhibited some heat, but much more naturally and in rhythm with the rest of the presentation. Moving into the midrange, things got a little interesting. The detail ramped down just a smidge although the sound interestingly didn't thin out much throughout the band. This didn't stick out and bring the whole feel down at all, but it did render vocals and piano a little cloudy, especially on acoustic and classical tracks. The mids did keep pace very well with the entire spectrum, though, and sounded better overall with rock and electronic music. The bass picked up the ball, however, and ran with it, sounding great across all material. It blended punch with extension, and brought a lot of speed to the table even with the port in the mix. The bass rounded things out beautifully, and provided a solid foundation at all times. The WF-35 sounded a little cleaner further away from walls, with the sound thickening up a little too much when moved closer. The WF-35 sounds much bigger than even its big cabinet would imply, and, of course, plays at ear-splitting volumes without breaking a sweat, in the Klipsch tradition. The detailed and refined treble (yes, it's a Klipsch) and excellent bass more than make up for the merely good midrange, and push the WF-35 into a solid recommendation.

Read about the high points and the low points of the WF-35s on Page 2.

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