Klipsch forte II what league are they in?

Read some good things on the net about these. Fine, but do these play in the same league as the likes of harbeth, proac and reynaud or are they just a really good, middle of the road, fun, plays loud, good bass, economical, musical, party speaker? Are they a serious audiophile speaker by comparison with the others?
About 20 years ago I used to dream of owning them one day. I used to go the local Good Guys electronics store a couple of times a month just to look at them. Never heard them outside of the store...they were driven by Adcom electronics at the store. They sounded very good to me then. I have no idea what I'd think of them today.....my ears have become a lot more discriminating since then.
If you can get a pair in nice condition that hasn't been abused,they are quite good.Very easy to Drive too..Can sound a little boomy and round if not brought out into the room..Sound great with tubes and Vintage elelctronics..I ran a nice pair of Forte 2 with a Vintage Sansui Au 517 Integrated Amp and worked very well..Not the best imaging but has great "Boogy Factor".. Sound great with Blues,Jazz and Rock........
Several years ago a coworker brought over his newly purchased pair of Fortes to see what they would sound like on a high-end system and in a dedicated treated sound room. We set them up and played around with positioning to give them their best shot. We were amazed at how crappy they sounded compared to my 8" 2-ways. Very boxey sound with bass all bunched up around 50Hz. Sizzly highs, vague imaging...just a disaster. No they are not in the same league as the other speakers listed in your post - don't bother. Sure they could "boogie", but as far as acuaracy and involvement, they failed miserably.
Listen to your ears. IMHO the Quartets sound even better. I have a pair in mint condition that I rarely use but do not want to get rid of. Quartets, Forte, Chorus, are all great speakers. I used a 7270 McIntosh SS Amp hooked to a C-1 Carver Pre, and the Quartets sounded great. Then I went to tubes Cary V12R Amp Cary SLP98P and they sounded fantastic, so I will always keep them for the future. Good luck, and I hope you can find good pair. It will be money saved. Why pay for hype? polk432
They are great cinema speakers. If driven with the right electronics they can sound pretty musical as well.

As far as what league they are in I would say the big leagues for movies and in the middle of the pack for music.
I just picked up a pair of these to use with some SET amps I'm building.

I used to HATE Klipsch speakers, but thought I'd give them a try anyway.

They are kind of temperamental and must be matched with the right amp & cables. Tubes are best.

They didn't sound that great with my Berning 270 on low feedback, but on High/Normal feedback they sounded great! They also sounded really, really good with the 2 wpc output from my Bottlehead SEX amp. (building the 8 wpc Paramounts).

Adding Cardas SE 11 cables (made especially for high sensitivity speakers) improved the sound even further.

Over at the Klipsch forums I was directed to a guy named Bob Crites who sells replacement titanium tweeter diaphragms (only $50 pr).

Huge improvement in the tonal balance and smoothness of the speaker and only took 15-20 min to install the diaphragms.

On Bob's advice I also replaced the caps in the crossover with Sonicaps and had another nice improvement in soundstage width, depth, and definition.

I'd say they are up there with the some of the better speakers. I like them and the wife likes them too which is rare that she said anything at all about them.

She usually ignores my stereo adventures but gave an unsolicited thumbs up to these speakers.
I have a pair of Fortes I bought when I was in the army in teh 80s. I love those speakers. Can't bear to sell 'em. I've had a number of pairs of speakers since then but the Fortes are not bad. Mid-fi is about right. I think you have to like the horn sound. But I use them in my second system now and everyone says Klipsch sound good with tubes so I'm thinking about buying tube amp for them. Still for what good ones go for on ebay 500~700 dollars you can't really go wrong.
Ok, took my whole system to a guys house who was selling a pair of forte 1's. Relative to harbeth super 5's, hplp3's, nautilus 805's, merlins and de capo i's, regrettably i was disapointed. Their strong point was pace and timing but their timbre seemed off to me and they also seemed to be "noisy", probably due to the unbraced cabinets and materials. Other things too but i wont mention them. Based on my listening experience i would say they at best are midfi. Not for the serious audiophile. Having said all that they did have some decent qualities to them.
You haven't heard how good Klipsch speakers can sound until you've heard them with upgrade xovers. It's not even close! I liked my stock Klipsch speakers and lived with them that way for 6 years. I then upgraded the xover networks with better parts, a simple and straight forward upgrade that takes me an evening or two, and these speakers now are in a completely different league. I would never own Klipsch speakers without the xovers upgraded with better parts.
Everybody sell your merlins,harbeths and b&w's and get the klipsch's with the modded crossovers!
You can laugh all you want. I've owned Vandersteens, Aerial 10T, Dali's, PSB's, Inner Sound and a bunch of others that don't come to mind right now. First of all it's a misnomer that Klipsch need to be used with tubes, they can work wonderfully with SS. I have a pair of Forte I's, they sounded good but grainy when I first got them, I replaced the caps in the Xover which made a large improvement. The Klipsch do some things that other speakers simply don't do like dynamics and pace and rythym, set up properly with tilt back and toe in they image suprisingly good, they also benefit from good speaker cable. You want some volume, go ahead they will coast when other speakers will be popping their woofers. They have a fullness of sound that audio weeny approved speakers will never have. No they are not perfect, no speaker is, if your priorities match up with the Klipsch they are a lot of fun. The bonus is they can be used with low powered tube amps. If you are into music you may love them, if you are into sounds then don't bother. For what they sell for I will keep these around and upgrade the tweeter diaphrams next then damp the horns and the woofer basket. If you can find a pair at a good price you will always get your money back if you don't like them.
I'm not laughing. I'm suspending judgment. I have heard them only in their stock form. I have not heard them with the mods people talk about. I am open but skeptical as to the degree in which mods can transform this speaker. Even with the mods the cabinet materials/design and drivers remain the same. Compared to the other speakers listed i would give them a 5/10 and the others a 8.9/10 I have researched them a bit and was hoping they would be a pleasant bang for the buck. One thing i read was how one guy packed plastercine around the plastic horns and he claimed too the difference is significant. So with plastercine, new crossovers maybe, maybe not. Who knows it might have floated my boat, it might not have but with my excellent gear and in its stock form , relative to other speakers i've heard , what i heard , turned me off to them. That was my experience, it might not be someone else's. I prefer rather to take my gamble with smaller manufacturer's who love music and who build speakers 9 to 5 365 with an obsession. Speakers like that sometimes yes, do cost a little more. No, i am not "into sounds" i am an audiophile. I love good timbre, tone, dynamics, sweetness, accuracy, dynamic range, transient speed,prat, soundstaging and musicality as a means to an end. Which is enjoying the music. I dont have a lot of money. I drive a ratty 82 civic worth 500 but own a amp that retails for 11,000 dollars and believe that i have my priorities in tact. In its stock form i give it a 5/10. I have formed no conclusions in its modified form nor am i commenting on a modified forte because i have no basis on which to form those conclusions, only educated guesses and speculation. At this juncture i dont want to persue modifying a klipsch forte. I bet some of the classic klipsch built under the original designer using real wood have some real nice qualities to them. I'm happy you found a speaker you really enjoy. All the best to you and happy listening.
There are a few points that nobody has brought up: First, you can get a pair of Fortes for $400 or even less, if you're patient (as I did just a few months ago). This is simply not true for the other brands you mentioned - and if you want a floorstanding speaker, not monitors, the delta only increases.

Second, the Klipch Forte is 98db efficient, making it a great match for low-powered tube amps - AND bass goes down to 32 Hz.

To me, this is an important point: If you are looking for an efficient speaker (let's say over 96db, just for the sake of argument), and you don't want to spend more than $500 on speakers, your opportunity set is quite limited to begin with. If you want bass, it shrinks even faster: while there are full-range, single driver speakers in that range that supposedly have plenty of bass, I have not been satisfied with the ones I've heard with my gear in my room.

You can always add a subwoofer (as many of the manufacturers actually recommend) but that'll put you over $500 pretty quick! I have not seen anyone ever recommend adding a subwoofer to enhance the bass of the Forte - it doesn't need it! Additionally, many sub-$500 speakers can take a while to sell, whereas if you look at historic prices on Audiogon and ebay, you'll see that Fortes tend to hold their value and sell reasonably quickly.

I love the midrange of 300b tubes and I love rock music. With the Fortes I have absolutely no complaints - I can listen to the White Album and hear Paul just fine. The midrange is great, especially with vinyl. I don't hear the brashness some people complain about when they talk about horns. Both Miles Smiles and Paranoid are fun to listen to, although I absolutely agree that they need to be positioned away from the wall to sound good.

As for whether it's hi fi vs. mid fi, I frankly don't care. To my ears, they sound great with the music I listen to and the equipment I have. If you like tubes, rock, and bass, and you like owning a speaker that's easy to sell if you want to try something different, it is unlikely that there is a better speaker for a similar price.
If you have not replaced the caps in the crossovers yet I suggest that you do, it makes for a nice improvement.

Hi Phill,

Thanks for the suggestion. I've been interested in doing a small DIY project, but frankly I haven't soldered anything in a few years. Is it easy to do?

It's more intimidating than it is hard, if you have the square cup (binding post cup) I can help walk you through it. There are other options also, Bob Crites among others makes new replacement crossovers or you can send the crossovers off to bob and have them rebuilt. if you decide to do it yourself Bob has a crossover upgrade kit with Sonicaps, he charges around $50.00 for the kit, Bob is also of help if you run into trouble while doing the rebuild. Where do you live, I could help you if you are close to the Atlanta area. I would also go to the Klipsch Forum, there is a lot of info at this site. Let me know if I can help.

I have a pair of Klipsch Forte's that are in pristine condition. I bought them back in 1986 along with a Denon Int Amp. They sound great and the cabinets are honest to goodness wood not partical board with wood veneer. They've been sitting in my living room for the past 10 years and I don't think I've used them more than a dozen times since I got my first computer. I give the walnut a good rub down with furnature oil every year or so I guess you could say they've been pampered.
I just bought A pair of Forte 1s ,Let me tell you if you listen to Massive Attack Beck etc. for $300 .00 they blow away anything in that price range. I have owned everything from Acoustat to Vandersteen including Magnepans ,Tylers Hawthorne Alon// Listen Don"t Read a review and buy advertising they sound good with all music
There are many professional musicians, including myself, who feel that horn speakers, driven by tube electronics, are the closest thing you can get to the sound of live music. High-end sound does not have to come at a high price. I have a pair of Klipsch Cornwall 2's myself, and have also heard the Belle's and the Klipschorns, which are also great. The smaller ones aren't quite as efficient, and I haven't actually heard them, but I bet they sound almost as good. I would go for it if I were you. By the way, I do like the sound of the ProAc Studio 140's, which is the only one of theirs that I have heard, but I like the horns even better.
The Klipsch Original Forte, and the Cornwall 2 are amazing speakers.
Especially when the crossover caps are upgraded, and the titanium diapraghms installed from Bob Crites.
I had Klipschorns, found them bright, and coloration from the folded horn ruled them out for me.
NO speaker is perfect, it is all a compromise.
The nice thing about buying a used Klipsch Heritage speaker is they are easy to re sell, if they dont work out.
Just like a used Harley Davidson, buy them right, and you can unload them if your room dont like em.
The titanium diapraghms are easy to install, and only 60 dollars for a pair.
New caps about 50 dollars, plus a little enjoyable time spent restoring them.
The Cornwall 2's are less amp fussy, the original forte's can be a little bright, not hard, just real vivid, they need a dark sounding amp IMHO, like an NAD, or tubes.
There is just "something about" a high efficiency speaker of low distortion.
I've had several of the classic Klipsch loudspeakers over the years -- the classic stuff is good audiophile level. Mind you, NOT any of their newer lines, after the company was sold in 1989 to distant family, Klipsch became "commercial" and mid-fi.

Once when helping a friend move, we stopped his moving truck at my place and hooked up his B & W 801D in my system -- my Klipsch Chorus II were clearly more resolving and more articulate of micro detail. Though the B & W were more dynamic and extended, strings sounded muddied by comparison.

My poor friend was so blown away at how much more "real" the Klipsch sounded (and PO'd considering the price difference), that instead of moving his B & W's into his new house, we traded them to a local HiFi shop for a set of Sound Labs which I then became jealous, but that's another story...
Regarding Learsfool remark: "...There are many professional musicians, including myself, who feel that horn speakers, driven by tube electronics, are the closest thing you can get to the sound of live music...", that says it all. Own Cornwalls & Belles. Looking to upgrade / trade Heresy 1's for Forte II's (hoping to hook-up with a Forte II-owning "downsizer"). Thing about Heritage Klipsch is you're right there in the club (or concert hall, or fourth row center in the audience) when they're paired with good electronics. I use Scott LK 72 (299D / 7591) with the Cornwalls & 222D (7981) with the Belles. Both int. amps were rehabbed by NOS Valves. Both pairs of speakers contain upgraded with Crites mods - crossovers & tweeters. You can get away with a portable CDP with little degredation of SQ & realism. Just saw LCD Soundsystem at Phila. Naval Yard. Known to play loud, but alway uses best PA gear available. Went back home (after my hearing returned two days later) & listened to Mr. Murphy's CD recordings on the Cornwalls. Like being back at the show - a little frieghtening how similar. Will eventually go the Cornscala route, but these'll do for now. To sum up, if you like the dynamics & undistorted volume levels of sound systems found in high-end clubs, you'll like Klipsch Heritage stuff.
Just got some Forte IIs a couple months ago for $320. Basically, traded a cartridge and some cables from my closet. Black, some scuffs and minor scratches, but good corners and edges. Used them almost exclusively with my 12wpc Tamp-20 t-amp so far.
Love them! High end? Who cares?!
Looking forward to slowly upgrading with Crites, cabinet mods, and damping the horns. But right now, I'm having great fun. "Fullrange" with real bass with an amp I got for $64 (including shipping) off ebay! Brings new meaning to the Subdude's song "Poor Man's Paradise"!

Congrats on the Forte II's. I changed out my diaphragms in my Forte's to the Crites Tites and really enjoy the higher extension and detail. Huge bang for the buck mod.

Just scored a mint pair of Quartet's in oak oil for $100.00. Christmas came early for me about 2 weeks ago.

Enjoy your toys,

Now I'm just jealous. I was actually looking for Quartets, thinking of the slightly more manageable size, and perhaps bass output for my room. Now you tell me you got a sweet pair for $100? That -is- a Merry Christmas!
I own Klipsch Forte 1's. I power them with a newly recapped, fully serviced Sansui 8080DB, and the quality of the sound emanating from the Fortes is nothing short of amazing. Bass for days, clear and crisp highs, and mids accurately reproduce voices, not harsh in the least. Everyone recommends Crites mods, but I will leave them alone for now. They are that good. I listen to all types of music, and for me, they are quite simply the very best speaker I could afford or hope to afford for that matter. I paid $300 for mine, and have heard of those paying much more. No buyer's remorse here, whatsoever. I can't think of a better match for my Sansui. Amazing. I have little experience with other comparable brands in their range, but with their reputation and resale value, I'm sure they were a good choice, and they will no doubt stay right here for a long long time. Well-pleased.
I found a pair in excellent shape locally, oiled walnut, Forte I's. Makes my headspin how many sub 3k speakers these put to shame! Was not a Klipsh disciple before but am now. If the amplification is refined, esp tubes, the sound is ridiculous. They play in the big leagues for sure.

I have heard several of their models and this one has more air and overall openness than some of the others. It only takes a few minutes to know you are hearing musicians the way they are SUPPOSED to sound. Compression is diminished to where the dynamics have a chance. Long term listening has been satisfying at a level I would not have dreamed of. Find them, cherish them.
I have Alon mkIIs, PMC fb1s, little Swan M1s with ribbons, 25 year old original Wharfedale Diamonds, small Missions almost as old. I have owned Quad 12Ls, Tylo Reference Monitors, Totem 1s, larger Mission monitors, B&Ws and others. Paper, plastic, kevlar, reflex, transmition line, passive radiator, polycarbonate, soft, fabric, silk, metal, ribbon, horn loaded...
All these speakers and many more (higher up the ladder) I have heard have their charms, their strengths, and weaknesses. My Klipsch Forte IIs are a very fun listen and can be made to sound wonderful with the right set-up. I dont care if anyone considers them high end or not. And getting them for what most Agoners consider a reasonable price for one set of ic cables tickles me to death!
Without a doubt, one of the best "bang for the buck" speakers little money can buy. If you can find a pair for $200.00, buy them. $500.00, buy them. Love mine and have used them with 200w/ch B&K amp, NAD receiver, Denon 105w/ch integrated, and Marantz 52w/ch vintage receiver. All combos were great. IMO.

Speaking of Klipsch..I have some 1987 Belles for sale for a very reasonable price.Finish is medium oak in 8 condition.
There are a pair of Fortes or other Klipsch somewhere in my future.

The Klipsch are a design that I believe can make some very nice music for reasonable cost using a totally different approach than the speakers I run currently and like.

I usually cannot resist trying something different on occasion. That's why I keep more than one pair of speakers in multiple rooms around. Variety is the spice of life!
My brother-in-law once asked me why anyone would have more than one pair of speakers. I told him not everyone has a best friend who owns a high end store and is there to guide him. And allows him to freely trade things back and forth. Not to mention the best friend discount. For instance, his buddy brings over several phono preamps, power amps or preamps and they audition them together. "Do you like the Cary, the Blue Circle, or the VTL? Take these speakers home and tell me what you think." He has no idea how lucky he is.
I suspect they are in teh major leagues but more like the Toronto Blue Jays or the Atlanta Braves and perhaps not quite the Yankees, Red Sox, or the current day Phillies.
Very nice speakers once you upgrade them-really a must IMHO-caps and both tweet and midrange diaphram.
I would opt out on the Klipsch K-53 Ti diaphram/driver if you ruunning the stock autoformers-they don't sound right. The Crites mid diaphrams are fine, and work well with the stock type-or Crites crossovers.
Personally I prefer the Quartet's as they seem to do 98% the Forte's do in a smaller package.
IMHO sems to have less of that 'boxy' sound, and bass is much tighter.
I would also recommend a through sealing of the cabs/drivers to elminate bass bloom.
Solid cabs-but they do leak on the occasion.
Used with a low powered tube amp (in my case a Decware SE34I.2+) there are very few speakers that can compete with the Klipsch Heritage line of speakers for under $1000. The end of a long 15 year high-end audio journey for me. I've probably spent $100,000 dollars on audio stuff and I've ended up with a $4000 system that sounds incredible.
Well Tempered Labs Classic, EAR 834p, Deware Zen integrated, Cardas cabling, tweaked Forte IIs. Maybe I'll try the La Scalas someday....
Forte's, Cornwalls or above (within the Heritage line). If you don't think they sound great, you're probably thinking too much. I, too, have owned and listened to many speakers, but after three decades, came back to Cornwalls last month.

I had them ready to go for a New Year's party. Everyone was dancing. Enjoy the music.
I own Forte I's,bought last summer on CL for peanuts. For me, they are a one way ticket from audiophilia. Now I don't listen to the gear and wonder how it would sound if.... Instead, I spin the tunes and relax into in the music. It really is a nice place to be, not worrying about having to upgrade anything or dropping silly money on cables or other tweaks.

Previous audiophile brands (not knocking any of them): Thiel, Magnepan, Paradigm, Chartwell LS35a, Spendor, Snell, and others.

I power them with a vintage Marantz receiver.
I just bought a pair of Forte ll's and really am shell shocked at how wonderful these speakers sound. I am a huge fan of horn music, whether classical, jazz, funk, and so on.. rock with horns.. and I think vocals sound best through horn driven speakers. Having the two horns to me added the dynamic range that was not in other single horned speakers I have owned. What really blew me away was the bass response.. not just the volume of bass, but the CLARITY of the low end. I am a bass player, and as an electric bass player, any great bassist worth his salt KNOWS that you need a 15 inch woofer in your cabinet. I don't care what the modern tech guys argue about smaller coned long throw subs... they just ain't the same my friends. A 15 inch speaker is going to move air in a different way.. and if you want proper sound replication... you need a 15 inch woofer to properly re create what the original microphone diaphram picked up from bass guitar coming out of a fender bassman cabinet or similar set up. I would argue that acoustic bass also sounds much more REAL coming out of a 15.

I don't like powered 15 inch woofers. The 15 inch passive radiator is the way to go. It was a great invention and should be in any serious audiophile's speaker stack. Pushing the speakers back into the corners is the right way to do it. This way you really get the walls working for you. I have owned Bella's and heard Cornwalls, and as far as detail .. the Forte ll leave those others in the dust. These are incredibly musical speakers that should be able to contend with just about anything out there from any era.

I am using these with vintage restored Scott Tube amp, and Music Hall with a Goldring cartridge. Silver stranded cables.

It's a really simple yet solid set up.
Picked up a pair of oak-veneered Forte II's from a pawn shop about 15 years ago for around $120, cabs have some dings on the corners but drivers, xovers & sound is flawless. Ended up giving them to my daughter for Christmas a couple of years ago along with my old Onkyo system. Negotiated a trade with her today for a pair of Mirage 790s; I'm planning on using the Fortes with my Knight KA-55 integrated tube amp and Thorens TD-160 for a nice little living room system. I like their balance and accuracy, as well as the way they handle jazz, classic rock, blues, speedmetal, blues, industrial, bluegrass and most anything I throw at them...
I have owned fortes, have heard forte 2's, and own Quartets. I love to talk about this trio of vintage Klipsch speakers. I have used them with NAD, Acurus, Onkyo, vintage Marantz, vintage Denon, B&K, you name it, and come away amazed every time I hear them. Klipsch forte II's are the middle child in the Quartet, forte II, Chorus II, family and I think they are the most balanced of the three. Very hard to beat at their used prices.

With about 10wpc from 20' on my deck, "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" sounds incredible. My moronically cheap T-amp/Playstation 1/ Forte II combo still amazes me!
$81 source and amp...people just shake their heads...
I have had them all too. 40 years of trying to find the "holy grail" I am not going to mention the brands as not to offend folks. Got a little curious about tripath amps and that led me to Forte II's. I have had great SS and tube amps but this T chip amp is fascinating. Topping 20. Not worth a crap on low efficiency speakers but paired with speakers 96db/w/m or greater, "holy smokes". $75 amp with $500 Forte II's will embarrass some $4000 systems enjoyed by people on this forum.
I bought a nice looking used pair of Forte IIs about a year ago and liked them, but didn't love them. I decided to buy all of the Crites upgrades (midrange and tweeter diaphragms, crossovers) to see what would happen. They made all of the difference in the world. Now they do everything well. Clear, clean, dynamic full range sound. No harshness in the treble. Remarkable! They're as good as, or better than, any other speaker I've ever owned (Thiel, Fried, Paradigm, and many others).
They are a bargain at their used price. If they were re-issued they would sell new for over $3000. Also a great online community and suppliers of hardware for upgrading crossovers, drivers, etc. Probably easier to get parts for a 20-year old Klipsch than a 5-year old Mirage speaker.
I like mine well enough… I have speakers by B&W (600 series) and Martin Logan (SL3) as well… for Rock and Loud music the Forte IIs are awesome and beat the others in my list… and do not need much power… great if you are on a budget (but DO use a high current amp)… SO I would say they are major league players… but need the right amp… (not an expensive one)… bang for the buck they can't be beat. The Martin Logans are better for Jazz and vocals… but can't play as loud… and need a MUCH better amp… both high current and wattage to sound good and that is a tough combo… and room size and placement is a bigger issue with the MLs… Klipsch seem happy in the corners and not too fussy otherwise…