Klipsch Speakers

I have a pair of Klipsch Forte IVs, they are bright will a tube amp really help? 


Speakers aren't likely bright.  Your system is more likely bright. Speakers are reproducing what goes into them.   DaC?  Preamp? 

Some preamps or DACs have the ability to turn the voltage down, that will reduce brightness.

Some less expensive DACs sound great but they are bright.  My schiit BFII is that way (2nd system).



Klipsch are forward lively sounding speakers.Forward lively sounding components driving them can be too much of a good thing.Sweeter more laid back dacs or pre amps are a good place to begin researching.

Try Nordost speaker cables.  Even better, replace the passive with an  active x-over and use Nordost cables.. It will change everything.

My personal experience with KHorns is limited to the La Scala but from forum exchanges I know that Klipsch speakers have in general certain problems like too bright  etc.

Good tube amps with linear frequency response will not change the sound of these speakers. However, you can adjust the brightness and other nasty things with a good parametric EQ if you know how to use it. Probably the cheapest and easiest solution.




I have them hooked to a Naim Uniti Atom, should I get rid of the Naim? Anyone have any suggestions on what to pair them with….I only airplay all my music..

Klipsch, that’s the speaker company which has so much treble, ear splitting, searing, extremely painful, headache inducing sound the horns make.

in Klipschs decense we’re powered by Adcom.  Monos around 1992

The following is lifted from another post and was written by me.

I’m not suggesting that anyone do this, but it has worked for me.


"I’d like to share my recent experience. The binding posts on my Klipsch Forte 4 are always coming loose. As I was planning to replace the cheesy pound-in metal caps (like you find on a chair leg) with spikes, I decided to open the binding post panel and tighten things up as long as the speaker was off its base.

This is what I found: 1. speaker wires were reversed on one of the woofer’s binding posts (positive on negative and vice versa). 2. Discovered that Klipsch is using .002 inch/thick stainless steel strips as "extenders", that bridge the distance from the binding post to the wire that goes to the crossover. These strips are approximately 3/4 X 1/4 inch (and .002, two thousands inch thick). I replaced these (8) strips with beefier solid copper copies. To my ears, the copper extenders made a world of difference. Sound is much less strident at volume, soundstage width and depth increased dramatically, sound is more natural and organic, and instrumental identity and imaging has improved.

As far as the always-loose binding posts, the easiest solution is to use banana plugs on your wire.

For spades, the most you can do is drop the BP panel (six screws) and tighten the inside nut of each post, with a small screw driver inserted in the hole of the outside post. This is as tight as it will ever be. I’d advise against Locktight as it may hamper contact and reduce the audio signal. Once the binding post assembly is tight, reassemble everything and NEVER tighten the large nuts more than finger tight when you connect your speaker wire (any tighter will just re-loosen the assembly).

IMO, this binding post design is, to be polite, bad engineering.

Please note: These improvements while using a 14 year old Onkyo HT receiver. I can’t wait to hear what a good tube amp will sound like!

The good news is that the Forte 4s are much better speakers than I thought!"

I have the same problem with the binding posts coming loose so I use a good banana plug also.

has anyone a option with the PrimaLuna tube amps?


Tube power may help since a few roll off a bit. You could try more toe-in an EQ or maybe some room treatment to get a proper balance to your sound.

I hear you, I have moved these things around so much it’s crazy lol

I was thinking about a equalizer but don’t know if messing with the sound is the answer…


The drivers used in Klipsch loudspeakers are not very sophisticated/expensive, you cannot expect them to sound as good as some very well-designed modern drivers. It sounds like you don't like what you are hearing and in that case, it might be time to move on. 

Some tubes are a bit softer than others, so it depends, but they’re likely easier on your ears than most solid state. That said, there are a lot of things in your audio chain that can come across as brightness and cause ear fatigue, and your speakers and internal components are certainly among them.

I’d also consider other speakers, or upgrading the wire and any cheap crossover components inside your Klipsch. Make sure your wires and cables are decent too.


Back in the late 1970's-early 1980's I worked at a shop that sold (among other brands) what are now referred to as Klipsch Heritage speakers; I always liked them, but never bought them for myself, as I found them to be too bright for my taste.  They definitely must be driven by a "smooth sounding" amp.  If you can borrow an amp you are considering to see if that makes the Forte's match better with your ears, I'd recommend you do that...if you have a local dealer that will do that.  I've found that Klipsch Heritage speakers mate well with McIntosh amps, if that's a possibility for you.  Tube amps should also be a good option to consider.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State..all the stores I remember 15 to 20 years ago have gone a way. That’s a shame. So it’s online only…so maybe coming from you I shouldn’t give up…Do you have a recommendation for a McIntosh amp? I was looking on their site, probably a tube choice.

   I think you have too many variables in play for a single solution. If I may ramble a little. The Klipsch Heritage series has a distinct sound, tubes will improve it, but it’s still Klipsch and will always be bright and lack bass. Also your room acoustics have a huge impact on your overall sound. I’m also amazed @dweller ‘s experience with his Forte’s, that’s hugely disappointing. I have Heresy II’s in the closet that I ran with SS, then tubes. I used subs, rolled tubes and played with cables. I improved the sound , but I still don’t care for them. But keep in mind , many listeners enjoy the Heritage line and that’s great. I would ignore the haters and would consider jumping onto the Klipsch specific chat site and seek a solution for your Forte’s. After reading what dweller said, I’d at least look inside. If there’s any way you could home demo some gear, you could get a better idea of what to do with your direction with speakers and amp. Keep in mind system synergy and room dynamics. On the older Klipsch speakers , crossover rebuilding and diaphragm replacement is a must. In closing I would consider looking inside your speakers. Eliminating any silver cables, and play with speaker placement. I’d also experiment with dampening on and around the mid and tweeters, with tape and soft materials. These are things that are basically free and might yield some insight. Good luck and happy listening. 


A tube amp might help, but your room would be the first place to start. I’ve been a tube guy since the early eighties, but just last year I bought a solid state amp and I’m very very happy with the sound. The room it’s in has wall to wall carpet, a lot of my hard surfaces are covered and some sound absorbing panels on the walls and it makes a huge difference!

All the best.

Have you run them in 200 hours?  If not, that is a big start.  Other than that, a Schiit EQ or the Bellari EQ will solve your problem. 

I have the klipsch forte iv all round they are a pretty good speaker.dweller is right the binding posts  come loose have to retighten from the inside. I took the metal caps off and installed the iso acoustics gaia ii. As for brightness they are a bit forward. I saw a YouTube video where the guy removed the horn an tweeter,and put dynamat on the for damping which he claimed to help. I think in the end though your equipment will determine how they will perform. Klipsch recommends low watt output tube amps,I’m using a Mac 462 Aesthetix sig.pre-amp,but have not been able to try as my preamp is been upgraded haven’t gotten it back yet. Dweller where did you get the copper strips from? 

I have tried for 50 years to 'like' Klipsch speakers, I have always failed.  I have listened in stores, at shows, in Klipsch demonstrations and friends homes. I have listened with solid state, tubes and hybrids of all possible configurations and prices. They, to my ears, have been universally awful. If you don't like them changing amp, speakers, rooms, treatments, sources, cables and anything else will make no difference. They will, to you, continue to sound bright beyond belief.

I would suggest using tube amplification from the same era as the speakers, such as Conrad Johnson mid range amps, which were renowned for rolling off highs.

Check with online stores and inquire about a home demo. Many offer a trial period and could offer suggestions as to what pairs well with your Fortes. Demo a couple amps and if not happy , try different speakers. 

Yes I have run them in, after wasting some cash on these speakers, my budget for new speakers is $10…

ATC powered comes to mind… Amphion Argon 7LS 

the Naim Uniti Atom might work with Focal being they merged… 

anyone have any ideas… I listen to everything except jass and country 

I have several models of Klipsch Heritage. I have pulled the horns and used dynamat on all, and I now use a 45 watt tube amp. I have also used some vintage ss amps, Bryston, and even a 6 watt tube amp. I have Thiel, Vandersteens, Ohms, B&W, Advent, but I generally listen to one of the Klipsch. Never owned the Forte but consider dynamat on the horns, place them right, and you should get some great sound and not be forced into a high dollar amp due to inefficient speakers. I mostly stream and CD Earl Klugh, Mark Knopfler, James Taylor type music. I am also old and probably have lost some hearing, not a perfectionist nor an audiophile, so YMMV. Seriously you can make them work. Don’t give up. Good luck.

I own both Forte III’s and Forte IVs and can absolutely attest to several things. First, Klipsch horns can sound bright in certain systems. I had this problem with current McIntosh solid state, and it required tone control usage to get rid of the harshness. On vintage solid state and tubes I have found the Fortes to be magnificent, thus my decision to buy a second pair when the IVs came out. I am currently running one pair of Fortes with vintage Citation I and II tubes. The other is being pushed by a Marantz 8B. I have also played the Fortes on a Fisher 800c. In all instances, tubes are amazing. I’ve also enjoyed the Fortes with a slew of vintage SS receivers, like Sansui, Pioneer and the like. But in my experience there is truth to the saying, “tubes love horns.” All in all, the Fortes provide excellent value for the dollar IMO. If you have brightness, pair em with something else, or at least employ tone control. 

So I have a pretty interesting take in this thread.  Here’s why. I actually started reading this thread while waiting for my daughter to help me unbox a brand new pair of Cornwall iv’s.  I only listened to the forte iv’s before purchasing these.  They sounded absolutely amazing in the listening room coupled with an anthem amp.  So the theory that klipsch heritage need or want low power is totally out the window.  I’ll be honest after reading the replies here I thought “dang, did I make a mistake buying these? Was I suckered by their listening room, high dollar amp, Dax, streamer, cables and a perfect room!”   Well after unboxing those Cornwall iv’s I hooked them up to a Yamaha avantage RX-a3080 just to break them in while they finish painting my dedicated theater and listening room.  As I turned the receiver on I was fully expecting to hear exactly as described here.  Bright, overrated, horny, crappy sound.  Well I can tell you. That’s not what I heard.  I’m my living room with a Yamaha receiver and airplay off of my iPhone they still sounded great.  No brightness. No horniness. Nothing as described by the other posters here. I’m certain their ears are different.  I’m certain yours are.  But I also believe as Carlsbad said.  If you are hearing brightness I’m sitting here with a just ok receiver and horrible room listening and so far liking speakers that have been out of their boxes so far around 30 minutes.  

That’s interesting galvarado69, maybe it’s the Naim Uniti Atom, I have a old Yamaha receiver collecting dust in the garage, tomorrow I will hook that up and see what happens…

I have a pair of Cornwall II’s from 1977. Have driven them with both tube and ss. I don’t find them to be bright. And I can’t  stand bright speakers. Try another source?

I have La Scalla’s and found Cambridge Edge Monos and an Edge NQ to be a good combination.  I do have a Canton sub for anything below 65Hz.  I find them to be anything but bright, and a joy to listen to.  

I have La Scalla’s and found Cambridge Edge Monos and an Edge NQ to be a good combination.  I do have a Canton sub for anything below 65Hz.  I find them to be anything but bright, and a joy to listen to.  

I have a pair of Forte IV’s that was connected to an NAD M33 Int Amp and found the sound to be thin and bright. I then was able to acquire a McIntosh MA352 hybrid integrated amp and it changed everything! I found that positioning the speakers made accentuated the bass and balanced everything out  I added a KEF KC62 sub and it’s now an incredible system. 

Using a Bluesound Node feeding a Chord Mscaler to Chord Qutest.

This system is in a small room 14’x12’ home office and it’s where I spend a lot of time and listen at low levels most of the day and then crank it up. I listens to Jazz, electronic, classical and a bunch of other genres  

I have another more upscale system and the forte IV’s w my current set up are so pleasing  

Hope you find the pieces to make you love them  

ps-I was never a Klipsch fan 


@silverfoxvtx1800 ,  Can you tell us about your system components, room, and listening preferences?  

I have La Scalas powered by a McIntosh tube preamp and amp setup. No brightness at all to my ears. 

The system is simple which maybe was a bad idea, the Naim Uniti Atom a two streamer,dac and 40 watts hooked to the forte IVs. 

THE room is 12ft wide and I sit about 13 ft from everything, carpet with lots of my wife’s quilts on the walls…

I try to listen to everything except jass and country…

I have found that horns made from plastic or metal can ring enough that some people hear them as bright or brash. Any brand of horn mid or tweeter can have this ringing.  I put damping material like Dynamat on the backs of these horns with great results. No other changes made and the bright bite is gone. 

Yes that sounds like the thing to do but countless posts on this thread have people not having this problem rite out of the box…

@fmer - I fashioned them from copper pipe. Later, I learned about some copper anode strips (on Amazon) which would be MUCH easier to work with.


You need some tin snips (or a break press) to make the actual strips then drill a 9/64 hole and slide it over the binding post screw. you can use the existing stainless steel strip as a model.

Another alternative is to find a copper "ring" terminal with a small enough hole and solder this directly on to the wire which goes to the crossover (eliminating the need for the strip). I couldn’t find a terminal with anything smaller than 1/4 hole.

Note: Using the ring terminal probably voids the warranty. I saved all the strips so I can replace if new owner wants them. Also, the (stock) Fortes sound good at low volume but were melting my ears when cranked up.

You probably didn’t take a picture of what you did?

This what customer service said..


dweller Thanks for the info I definetly will make the change and report back after I do some listening. Installing the iso GaiaIi made a good amount of difference. 

Sorry to hear you're getting less than great results.   I have had the Forte IV since they were launched.   I used them with a pair of Quicksilver Mid Mono amps and they sounded great.  40 w Push-pull,  plenty of power.    In my medium room I barely used a few watts.   I switched gears and had a 300b amp built, sounds amazing to me.  

I tried my brother's 200 w Acurus amp.....   not a good match.    Agressive , kind of in your face.   I believe it is a synergy thing with these speakers

I have the Cornwall IVs and run them with a tube amp. Even after tube rolling I found them to be a bit too bright - the problem I had with them from the beginning. A few weeks ago I bought an EQ and wow does it make a difference. I‘m bringing up the lower frequencies up just a bit (63Hz, 125Hz and 250 Hz), between 0,5 and 1dB, so not much at all, and the result is astonishing. The sound is so much fuller - and surprisingly the highs don‘t bother me a bit anymore. Sometimes I even bring them up a tiny bit.
So maybe that‘s an idea worth taking into consideration with the Fortes too.

I had problems with bright sound with various speakers until I treated the room.  No  more brightness hearing Pioneer stand-mounts, Monitor Audio floorstanders, Vandersteen floorstanders, or B&W floorstanders.

Problem solved.

Hope that can help you too.

I have Forte IVs driven by an Elekit 300b tube amp, and they're absolutely balanced and dynamic at any volume. When driven by the Rogue Sphinx Class D hybrid they are more treble forward, so systems matching is critical. I demoed the Fortes and Cornwalls with PrimaLuna integrateds and that was also an excellent match for the Klipshes.

One thing that was an issue was choice of speaker cable - when trying to drive these with a cable made from Mogami wire I found that the Fortes sounded etched, thin, and too bright. Using a run of 12 gauge Belden OFC speaker cable provides a full, balanced sound. I assume this is the combined capacitance/inductance values of Mogami not playing well with my system.

@silverfoxvtx1800 - Assuming the "no picture" comment was directed to me, I do have a picture but don't know how to get it into a post. If you know, please explain. Thanks