Klipsch Heresy Review
Klipsch Heresy: Vintage Ear Candy
I had always heard of the legendary Klipsch "Heritage" speakers as being some of the best from any era: the Klipschorn, La Scala, and Heresy. Each one of these big cabinet speakers was first made in the 1950s, and can still be ordered hand-made from Klipsch's Arkansas foundry. Such is the respect for these designs, that the Klipschorn, La Scala, and Heresy have had little more than cosmetic upgrades over their nearly 60 years in production.
Order a pair of Klipschorns from Klipsch today, and they'll set you back a cool $3,000. The Heresys? When all is said and done, they'll cost you almost $1,400 shipped to your door. And you won't find the prices much lower on eBay or Craigslist. Just as these speakers haven't changed in 60 years, the prices don't change much from new to used, either.
So I was ecstatic when I found a pair on CR for $300. I immediately drove the hour to get them, and I was rewarded with a pair of pristine Heresy I's. They were old enough that their foam woofer surrounds would have rotted away. But Heresys don't have foam surrounds - they have paper surrounds - meaning the cones and surrounds will last pretty much forever.
I demoed the Heresys in the seller's living room, and then again in my living room, paired with a set of CSW SW1 powered subs. Note to my first-time readers: I almost always use a pair of high-quality subwoofers in my setup, even when running 2-channel stereo, and even when using big, full-range speakers such as the Heresys. Why? Because no matter how big your speaker and amp, a powered sub always takes strain off the amp and main speaker, improving the sound.
The Sound: Scintillating
I found the Heresys to have a good, flat response down fairly deep; they do boast a big 12" woofer and huge cabinets, after all. But all along the band, one word describes their sound best: clear.
Yes, the Heresy's pack 2 horn-loaded drivers: a small tweeter and a mid-range horn as well. One of my friends think the metal horns make for harsh sound, but he's letting his knowledge of the speakers' design cloud his reactions. These speakers are not harsh in the slightest. There is not a single bump in their audible response, as far as I could tell. Anybody who hears harsh tones from Hereseys is in a too-small room with no sound damping and too many reflections.
Paired with the CSW SW1 subwoofers, and with all the bass energy below 400 Hz taken away from the Heresey's and my 100 wpc Adcom stereo amplifier, the Heresey's came into an ultra-realistic quality of sound. Further proof that good subs can improve the sound of any speaker.
They sound perfect. However, when compared side-by-side with another high-end speaker in my living room - the McIntosh XR-14 - the Heresy's sounded like they lacked a little mid-range warmth. When I switched back to the Macs, however, they seemed to lack high-end detail and that hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck feeling that the Heresys provide by the bucket. Which one is better? Both!
If you find a good pair of Heresy speakers (I, II, or III) for less than $600, buy them.