Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

 The Power of Klipsch

The history of Klipsch is so great that the concept of "retro model" in relation to the products of this brand becomes very, very extensible. For example, the legendary Klipschorn was born in 1945, and the Klipsch Forte model, which will be discussed today, is much younger: its first version appeared in 1985. But in the third decade of the 21st century, both models look equally old-school.

The main beauty of Klipsch retro models is that the company's engineers do not have to remember anything and reproduce long-lost technologies - all these speakers with authentic vintage design are updated, albeit not often, but still regularly.

Moreover, each new generation is being finalized using modern technologies and with an eye to current requirements for sound quality. It is for this reason that Klipsch Forte IVs are not quite the speakers they seem at first glance. But first things first.

The same Klipsch

Klipsch Forte IV speakers are made in the USA in Hope, Arkansas, which adds a lot of value to them. If we were talking about typical columns, "columns", especially inexpensive ones, the issue of production would be frankly secondary.

But with the Klipsch Heritage line and the Forte IV in particular, it's a different story. This is where you just want authenticity and “that same Klipsch”. Marketers subtly felt this moment, and here Forte IV fully meets expectations.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

Solid-sized "cabinets" classified as floorstanders look the same as Klipsch did 30 or 40 years ago. The brutal retro design of the front panel with rectangular horns can be softened with colorful fabric grills.

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By the way, it turned out to the touch that the material was not wool or linen at all, as it seems from afar, but some kind of synthetics with a rather rare weave of the thread. Such grills provide good mechanical protection and at the same time are much more transparent to sound than analogues with dense natural fabric.

When it comes to finishing the cabinets, expectations are also completely justified: this is a lively polished wood, warm and very pleasant to the touch. The veneer sheets are matched according to the pattern not only on the case of one speaker, but also in a stereo pair - and two speakers from the set look like twins with mirror symmetry. The interior looks impeccable, and I remind you: produced and hand-polished in Hope, Arkansas, USA.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

All sorts of nice little things and accents complete the look of the Klipsch Forte IV. On the back wall there is a sticker with the personal signature of a quality control engineer. The connection terminals are very strong, powerful, completely metal - a purely American approach, no plastic nuts! These and other details, combined with the general monumentality of the form, create a feeling of good quality and solidity.

Hi-tech horns

Horns are the backbone of Klipsch's foundations. Having once chosen this direction in the development of acoustics, several generations of engineers did not deviate from it for a moment, bringing the ideas of Paul Klipsch to perfection. The process has not stopped to this day.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

Precision, now computer-based calculations allow even more precise control of the operating parameters of branded horns. And every significant change in their design is necessarily patented.

One of the latest is Mumps technology, which adds complexity to the shape of the classic Tractrix horn with additional lugs to smooth out its inner edges. This technology is implemented in the large Klipsch Forte IV mid-range horn and allows you to achieve a more solid and homogeneous sound at the listening point.

The midrange driver has also been updated - according to the manufacturer, now it sounds more detailed and dynamic. At higher frequencies, a more classic-looking horn is installed, and a smaller driver with a titanium diaphragm and a new phase equalizing body is hidden in its center, giving better sound focusing.

Double punch

The Klipsch Forte IV woofer is an absolute classic of the genre. Large, 12-inch, heavy-duty cellulose cone mounted on a corrugated fabric surround. Such speakers do not have a large working stroke, but thanks to the elastic suspension they sound extremely accurate and are not at all inclined to smear bass or confuse notes. In a word, they prefer quality to quantity. But there is one caveat.

It doesn't take an expert in acoustics to understand the simple fact that a large speaker installed in a large closed box will inevitably vibrate the walls of that box. And, by the way, "singing" cabinets are often the main secret of vintage speakers' musicality.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

By introducing randomized coloration across a wide frequency spectrum, their enclosures not only reduce detail and wash out the sound, but also make any music delivered warmer, livelier, and timbre richer.

And only when the acoustics developers were convinced that the timbre saturation provided by the cabinets had nothing to do with the real content of the reproduced recordings, a modern engineering trend appeared to muffle the cabinets and create the most rigid, acoustically inert structures.

At the same time, it is possible to completely drown out a case the size of a Forte IV, even with the use of modern technologies, only by making its walls 5–10 centimeters thick. Realizing this, Klipsch engineers took a completely different path: unable to completely eliminate unwanted vibration in a closed case, they decided to redirect it and use it for good.

Therefore, a significant part of the rear panel was occupied by a passive radiator. It is larger than an active speaker - it has a caliber of 15 inches. The diffuser of the passive radiator has the same texture and rigidity as the active one, but is equipped with a more modern-looking rubber suspension. At the same time, the elasticity of the suspension and the course of the diffuser for both emitters are almost identical.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

As a result, all the energy that could shake the walls of the case, generating overtones, began to go to the buildup of a passive radiator. It is quite possible to feel it by simply placing your hand on the body of the working acoustics. And, of course, the very fact of having an additional woofer on the rear panel had a positive effect on both the depth of the bass and the scale of the sound stage.


Coordinating the not-so-simple set of active drivers found in the Klipsch Forte IV provides a crossover built using technologies borrowed from the company's most famous and respected models: Klipschorn and La Scala. It is a high-slope filter built with high-end components and has exceptional transparency for the music signal.

The performance of the Klipsch Forte IV will delight any audiophile: 100W of power into 8 ohms is accompanied by a record-breaking 99dB of sensitivity. This allows you to drive huge speakers with almost any amplifier, with the exception of frankly weak models.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

So we managed to put together a very interesting test setup. Sources include a Lyngdorf CD-2 CD player and a Music Hall mmf-11.3 turntable with a Manley Chinook phono stage; tube amplification - Manley Stingray II. All components of the system are distinguished by a high quality class, which is quite consistent with the acoustics.

The amplifier has a lively and expressive sound with a good reproduction of the scale of the sound stage. In addition, it does not have the dynamics problems that some tube devices do, and 40 watts of output power in ultra-linear mode was more than enough to drive the Klipsch Forte IV confidently at any volume.

To the depths of my soul

The first question that arises when one looks at the Klipsch Forte IV is: “won’t these speakers be noisy, like those loudspeakers that are usually hung on poles?” And, of course, there is cause for concern: this model has plenty of mouthpieces.

And if at the upper frequencies such a design will surprise few people, then the horn in the middle is not common, which is just alarming. The setting is heated and tube-enhanced vinyl. Literally all the stereotypes are gathered in one setup — you don’t know what to be more afraid of!

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

In order not to be tormented by doubts, I put on the record of Amy Winehouse - “Frank” and ... I do not notice any of the expected negative effects. There is no horn coloration, no “warm tube sound”, nothing of the kind is even hinted at. Without hesitation, I switched to AC / DC - again all the sounds are in place. Then, for contrast, I took the Dire Straits record “On Every Street” - the same result.

At the same time, the system definitely has its own character: the sound turned out to be very assertive, dense and energetic. This played a plus when listening to AC / DC, perfectly conveyed Amy's energy, cheered up "Calling Elvis", but at the same time did not spoil the sound of slow and minor things at all - the delicacy and refinement in the sound were preserved. And the eponymous composition "On Every Street" caused crowds of goosebumps thanks to the system's good dynamic range, which perfectly reproduced the smooth development of the melody from piano to forte.

The strength of acoustics, as well as other components of the system, is exceptional transparency in every sense of the word. The nature of the vinyl release and the degree of deterioration of the records were clearly visible, but at the same time, a maximum of lively emotions and realistic musical images were extracted from each recording.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

It’s impossible not to stomp to the beat of “Thunderstruck”, Amy, as if alive, stands with a microphone very close, in the semi-darkness of the stage, Dire Straits hits hypnotize and fascinate with a combination of melodic intricacy and spiritual simplicity, in which Knopfler is so good.

In order to exclude the influence of the “magic of vinyl” on the process, I switched to the “soulless figure” in the face of the Lyngdorf CD2. There is undoubtedly a difference in sound - in particular, the upper frequencies began to be drawn more clearly, the bass gathered and condensed a little.

At the same time, the degree of musicality has not decreased at all, and the ability of the system to involve in listening is still impressive, leaving no chance for a detached analytical perception of music. When used with a digital source, the Klipsch Forte IVs just as successfully combine powerful drive and the ability to bring out the most subtle and delicate music.

Additional factors

During the audition, it turned out that the grills on these acoustics are not at all a random element, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of sound. Their presence and absence gives two different characters of the stereo image.

Without grills, the stage moves closer to the listener, and the sound character is brighter in the middle frequencies. With grills, the entire sound picture is pushed back a little, the feed becomes more even and comfortable, and the most curious thing is that there is no loss of detail, rather, on the contrary, intelligibility improves in some moments.

My preference is the sound with grills, which, however, can be said about the aesthetic side of the issue. The horns and paper woofer look chic, but with colorful retro grills, the veneer sides of the acoustics are combined better, and the visual image is more complete. However, back to the sound.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

The better and more interesting the recording, the more interesting the system sounded. This can make a Klipsch Forte IV user a very discerning music lover. I've always liked the sound of Dire Straits first presses and much less all the other remasterings. During testing, I was once again convinced of my preferences.

As for the choice of musical genres, the user is not limited in this Klipsch Forte IV. Not only jazz, rock and classics are subject to these speakers - high-quality electronic music sounds excellent, metal, complex experimental genres are also reproduced without problems.

And if music has a soul, an essence, an idea, Klipsch Forte IV will help you hear and feel it in every detail. It can not work out only with some areas of popular music - the compression and simplicity of melodies get bored pretty quickly.


Preparing for the test, I subconsciously expected to see and hear something specific with a pronounced vintage flavor, suitable for a narrow circle of connoisseurs and for a limited set of musical material. See - saw.

Klipsch Forte IV with Manley look impressive and harmonious, but the spectacle is really an amateur. And as far as sound is concerned, the fears were not confirmed on any point. No genre, no coloring - only positive emotions.

Klipsch Forte IV Floorstanding Speaker Test

The main observation is that no matter what sounds, there is absolutely no desire to switch the track halfway. Even the music that I cannot call “mine” and rarely listen to in everyday life, I wanted to listen to the end.


Detailed and expressive sound, high sensitivity, quality finish


Large dimensions, specific design

Features klipsch Forte IV

  • High-efficiency loudspeaker
  • Three-way design utilizing a 12” woofer and horn-loaded midrange and tweeter
  • All-new K-702 midrange compression driver, featuring a polyimide diaphragm, mated to a modified Tractrix horn featuring our patented Mumps technology
  • The titanium diaphragm high-frequency driver features an all-new wide dispersion phase plug to provide exceptionally even high-frequency dispersion
  • Designed and assembled in the USA


Klipsch Forte IV

Klipsch Forte IV Specs

Frequency range: 38-20,000 Hz

Impedance: 8 ohm

Sensitivity: 99 dB

Sound pressure: up to 116 dB

Number of bands: 3

HF driver: horn, 25 mm titanium dome driver

Midrange driver: horn, 44.5 mm polyamide dome driver

Woofer: paper cone 305mm

Passive radiator: paper cone 380 mm

Power: 100W

Dimensions: 419 x 914 x 220 mm

Weight: 32.7 kg

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