The High Call of Distant Pipes – A Review of the Klipsch R-14PM

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The R-14PM is tuned for neutrality, with an emphasis on clarity and detail. It’s lean and energetic, tight and controlled. Everything just pops in a happy, enthusiastic fashion. There’s a hint of warmth in the balance, but mostly, Klipsch is aiming for a high-resolution, revealing render.

Treble is the star of this show. It has a brightness to it that boldly draws your attention. I wouldn’t say it’s harsh or fatiguing, yet some may wish for a smoother, warmer high-end. This is definitely where the R-14PM gets its affinity for detail. It’s sharp and energetic, with solid sparkle. Still, Klipsch does a great job of balancing its highs so as to blend fairly well with the rest. Yes, it stands out. “Star of the show”, I believe I said. But it’s not aggressive.

High-range extension is excellent. Apart from twinkle, there’s also a lot of air on the stage, creating breathable atmosphere between instruments. It feels spacious and uncluttered. Treble sounds coherent, with a nice linear progression upward. There may be a small peak in the lower-treble, but it’s artfully done.

Vocals are on the small-side, but tightly packed, and oh so detailed. They have brilliant clarity and articulation. They’re like little suns in the center of the presentation, burning brightly. Note density is decent, though not a priority for Klipsch. Still, enough body exists that you can’t accuse the vocals of sounding thin.

Mid-range instruments have fantastic definition and attack. Electric guitars have satisfying crunch. Acoustic strings possess sweet vibrancy. Again, there’s that pinch of warmth which adds a seductive tonal richness that makes the difference between natural and unnatural. The R-14PM sounds decidedly natural.

What the bass is doing is quite interesting. On one hand, there isn’t a ton of it. But on the other, it’s rather bad-ass. The lows are buttoned-down, tight as f**k, yet strike with a vengeance. There’s leanness to it, but not anemia. More like… fighting trim.

These sub frequencies can manage grandeur when called upon, effortlessly filling the space with rumble and boom. They are well-textured and delve good and deep. They have delicious timbre and smoothness. Still, they do lack a certain organic flavor in exchange for the disciplined control Klipsch exercises over the whole arrangement.

Resolution seems to be pretty high on the R-14PM, as does transparency. I’m not sure if soundstage is something you talk about in speaker reviews, as I imagine a lot of it has to do with the placement of the monitors. I will say my imaging test showed good tracking all through the space between left and right. On the whole, these came across as highly proficient, technical performers.

Doing a thorough comparison with speakers requires a better setup than I have. It takes too long to hook them and up and take them down. The hassle is such that I can’t go back and forth like I do with headphones, marking every subtle difference.

I will, however, give you my brief impressions on how the R-14PM compares to the Emotiva Airmotiv 4s.

The Airmotiv is all around warmer. The treble is smoother and warmer, with less sparkle. The mids are bigger, thicker, and lush. The bass has a rounder, fuller quality. There’s an emphasis on mid-bass, and lots of sub-bass. The balance is all about natural, organic richness, without sacrificing clarity. Details and resolution are excellent, though they’re not shoved in your face as much. It might not be the fairest description, but the 4s sounds more musical. The Klipsch, more analytical.

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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

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