In 2008, Klipsch launched their Icon V series, an affordable loudspeaker line designed in collaboration with Best Buy, available only through Best Buy. Its models provide a slim, contemporary look intended for use in today's modern home theaters. The line consists of two floorstanding models (the VF-35 reviewed here and the VF-36), one bookshelf model (VB-15), one center channel (VC-25) and one surround model (VS-14).
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The models certainly look unique and somewhat modern. Their slim width allows for easy placement, and the yawning horn features a silver tweeter in its center, but no grill. They have a wood veneer top plate to go along with the black woodgrain overwrap used on the rest of the speaker. Weighing in at a hefty 43 pounds and measuring 42 inches high by 7.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep, the VF-35 keeps a pretty low profile. The design features a 1-inch Aluminum dome tweeter mounted in a 4.5-inch square 90 degree by 90 degree XT Tractrix horn, coupled to three 5.25-inch fiber-composite woofers, crossed over at 1.9kHz. Klipsch claims that "altering the surface geometry of the tweeter equalizes the speed of sound waves from the horn and smoothes the dispersion pattern." In plain English, that means that they changed the shape of the tweeter to compensate for the typical directivity and lack of dispersion of a horn design. The horn also has a nice, four-cornered, "flower" look with the tweeter sparkling silver in the center. As with four of the five models in the series, a non-removable grill covers the woofers on the VF-35. While the company claims it did this to protect the woofers, it seems a bit peculiar given the propensity of many users to remove the grills to improve the sound and, sometimes, appearance. The VF-35 employs a flared front port, and a single pair of five-way binding posts. Overall, the VF-35 provides a good level of fit and finish.
The VF-35 presents a nominal 8 ohm load with a 96dB efficiency. They achieved optimal sound quality even when driven by average receivers and power sources, and only improved marginally when the power quality rose a notch.
The VF-35s threw a moderately deep and wide soundstage, and had average imaging properties. As with other horn-based loudspeakers, it didn't offer a particularly large sweet spot. The top end sounded a bit brittle and, although it offered some detail, it put an overall hard edge on the entire presentation that affected transparency. The midrange had a lean quality and lacked warmth, but piano and vocals managed to retain some flow and stay in time with the top end. Vocals on rock and electronic music had a nice zip and punch. Heading into the bass, the VF-35 packed a good punch and extended pretty well.
Read more about the sound of the VF-35 on Page 2.