Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-8000F II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review (2023)

Klipsch RP-8000F II Introduction

Wewere pleasantly surprised by the Klipsch RP-8000F when we reviewed that towerspeaker back in early 2019. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better than we wereexpecting. It had a neutral response and tonally balanced sound, and that wassurprising coming from Klipsch, who had garnered a reputation for hot trebleand bass for an aggressive ‘rock’n’roll’ sound. Their tractrix waveguide alsodid a good job of giving the tweeter a nicely even dispersion throughout itsbandwidth so that the speaker had very good directivity control. In otherwords, there wasn’t any flaring of acoustic energy at an odd angle that wouldhave degraded the in-room sound. The crossover circuit didn’t do the best jobat blending the tweeter and woofers, especially off-axis, but given thespeaker’s strengths, that was a very forgivable flaw, especially consideringthe price. All-in-all, we found the speaker to be an outstanding value for atower loudspeaker pair.

Klipsch RP-8000F II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review YouTube Discussion

RecentlyKlipsch has revamped their Reference Premiere series, now in its seventhgeneration, and they sent us the successor to the original RP-8000F named theRP-8000F II. While the same basic design remains the same, some importantdetails have been changed, and the price has also been substantially raised. Inthese times of rising inflation, the price hike is understandable, but what arewe given in return? Has the RP-8000F been significantly improved, or is theRP-8000F II just a coat of paint on the original? Let’s dig in to find out…


TheRP-8000F II is not a small floor-standing speaker, but it isn’t huge either. Itcan be had in two finishes, ebony or walnut. We received the ebony pair, whichhas a black woodgrain veneer except for the front baffle which has a satinblack finish. The wood grain is really a vinyl imitation, but it is notapparent unless given a very close inspection. The satin black baffle serves asa nice contrast against Klipsch’s trademarked copper metallic cones. The frameof the cones has a copper ring around them, and there is a copper ring withinthe Tractrix horn; these rings add a nice bit of refinement. There is a slightchamfer around the edges which helps to give the RP-8000F II a slightly softerand sleeker look. There is a copperish Klipsch badge in the lower part of thespeaker with or without the grille. The top front of the speaker is almostcompletely taken up by the waveguide for the tweeter, and the geometry from asquared waveguide to a round one as it moves inward adds an interesting visualelement. The grille hides all of this copper, and with the grille on, theRP-8000F II just looks like a tall black box with a slight backward lean. Thefeet are black aluminum rails that give the speaker its slight backwardtilt.

Style-wise,there hasn’t been much change over the last version except that the waveguideis now a bit larger. Unfortunately, the RP-8000F II is not available in a glossfinish unlike the original which was a pretty slick-looking speaker. A glossfinish might have added two or three hundred dollars per speaker, but it wouldhave been a nice option to have. Overall, the RP-8000F II is not a bad-lookingspeaker at all, and the copper accents help to give it some personality.

Design Analysis

At aglance, the basic overall design of the RP-8000F II looks almost exactly likethe original: a vented enclosure of the same size and two 8” Ceramatallicwoofers and a horn-loaded tweeter. But while the RP-8000F II has manysimilarities to the original RP-8000F in design, when we take a closer look,there are some notable differences that are bound to have an effect on theresultant sound performance. However, for a description of the similarities, Iwill just borrow passages from the review of the original where things have notchanged. Such is the case with the horn-loaded tweeter.

In horn-loaded loudspeakers, the geometryof the horn shape plays a big role in determining its sound character. TheRP-8000F II uses what Klipsch calls a “Hybrid Cross-Section Expanded Tractrix”horn. A Tractrix is a geometrical term that signifies “the Catenary Involutedescribed by a point initially on the vertex” to use one (very technical)definition. It is a shape that is used in loudspeaker horns under theassumption that the emerging pressure waves expand out from the transducerdiaphragm as a spherical wavefront. As the wavefront exits the horn, it willconstantly be at a perpendicular angle to the edges of the horn. Thissupposedly helps to reduce horn-related anomalies such as odd reflections inthe horn itself and unwanted diffraction effects.

The RP-8000F II horn is divided into twosections by the copper ring embedded into the horn. The inner section is aconical plastic piece that serves as the throat of the horn, and the outersection, the mouth of the horn, is a softer silicone piece that takes on a moreorthogonal shape. The softer silicone material of the mouth is used to avoidbell resonances in the horn. The throat of the horn is a round conical shape inorder to reduce early diffractions as the soundwave leaves the tweeterdiaphragm. The squarish mouth shape governs its dispersion pattern. A 1”titanium dome tweeter is used to load the horn, and it uses what Klipsch callsthe ‘Linear Travel Suspension’ system which is a carefully designed suspensionthat allows for larger excursions of the moving assembly before the suspensionthwarts linear motion thereby incurring distortion. Titanium seems like anatural choice for the diaphragm material since the horn-loading and lowercrossover point put excursion demands on the tweeter that might be more thansofter dome types such as fabric could withstand without physically deforming.The rear chamber of the tweeter is vented to allow backwave energy to betterdissipate instead of being reflected back into the diaphragm, which would alsoincrease distortion. The tweeter motor uses a ferrite magnet instead ofneodymium, and this can help reduce the effects of thermal compression sincethe larger surface area is able to radiate more heat than the smaller surfacearea of a neodymium motor.

One difference between the RP-8000F IIhorn and the original is that Klipsch has widened the horn so that the mouthalmost reaches the edges of the front baffle. The larger horn should help tolower the frequency where the horn can control the directivity of the sound. Itshould also reduce any diffraction effects coming from the front baffle of thecabinet.

Two large 8” woofers take the bass dutiesas well as much of the midrange. Klipsch has named the woofer’s conecomposition ‘Cerametallic.’ This seems to be an aluminum layer that has beenhard anodized to form a ceramic coating which is stiffer than the aluminumsubstrate and also dyed a copper color. The ceramic coating makes the conestiffer than pure aluminum thereby pushing breakup modes to higher frequenciesthat are easier to filter out by a crossover circuit. The aluminum layerprovides a light but strong platform for the ceramic layer and also providesadditional damping due to the differing densities of the materials. I can’t besure of how well it works versus a plain aluminum cone, but I am sure Klipschwould not go through the trouble of anodizing all of their cones if the effectswere insignificant.

One improvement Klipsch has done to thewoofers over the previous generation Reference Premiere speakers is theaddition of shorting rings. As their name implies, shorting rings short out theinduced current that is caused by the voice coil’s motion in the magneticfield. In loudspeaker drivers, we just want the motion of the voice coilwithout the side effect of the induced current. This induced current reducesthe bandwidth of the driver by making it less sensitive in upper frequencies,and it also increases even-order harmonic distortion. So the addition of theshorting rings should increase the upper-frequency sensitivity and reducedistortion.

Klipsch specifies a 1,630Hz crossoverfrequency between the tweeter and woofers which is a bit lower than theprevious generation, and this may be due to the larger horn allowing thetweeter to play a bit lower. That crossover frequency is right around wheremany 8” cones would normally start to narrow dispersion, so it looks like asmart handoff point to the tweeter. There is a fourth-order electricalhigh-pass filter on the tweeter and a second-order low-pass filter on thewoofers. The RP-8000F II has dual binding posts that can be bi-amped orbi-wired. I don’t think that is justified in this speaker, and it probablyshouldn’t be used in a typical setup. With a listed power-handling spec of 150watts continuous, these speakers wouldn’t really handle much more wattage thana mid-level AVR can put out, providing that the power isn’t spread out overnine other speakers in a surround sound system. Klipsch has also put in apass-through binding post for an Atmos module to be easily added to the top ofthe speaker without a wire trail. While that probably didn’t add too much morecost to the speaker, I don’t think it was a worthwhile inclusion since mostAtmos module speakers are very poorly designed and are not worth adding to anysystem, but that is a rant for another article.

The cabinet still uses ¾” thick MDFpaneling and bracing like the previous iteration, but it has had a lot ofinternal redesign over the previous generation. One big change is that each ofthe woofers is given its own compartment that is sealed off from the rest ofthe speaker. Each of these compartments has its own port. Since that subdividesthe cabinet into two compartments, the modal frequencies of those chambers areraised and so no longer have as much bandwidth. Panel resonance also becomesmore easily addressable by basic bracing and internal damping, and there is ahealthy amount of Dacron-type stuffing on the interior. The internal bracingnetwork is fairly complex, and since there are now solid braces throughout theenclosure, this should be a pretty inert cabinet.

The ports are still a Tractrix shape seenin the last generation of Reference Premiere speakers. This is pretty sillysince the reason that the tweeter waveguide uses a Tractrix shape has nothingto do with how a loudspeaker port works. I think Klipsch just likes puttingtheir branded design cues all over their products, but there is no reason why aTractrix port would work better than a standard flared tube that I could knowof. It is essentially just a flared slot port with a silly marketing name.Nonetheless, it probably works just fine for its intended purpose. The additionof the second port may increase the level of port-generated output beforeturbulence sets in.

The feet are extrusions on an aluminumrail. They are pretty solid and give the speakers a nicely stable placement onthe floor. Users should be careful about moving the speakers on hardwoodflooring, because these feet could scratch that type of flooring if the speakeris slid on a floor instead of being lifted up and moved. Klipsch might want toconsider adding some kind of soft-padding accessory for the bottom of the feetfor those with hardwood flooring. The grille uses magnetic adhesion and issimply some acoustically transparent fabric draped over a thin plastic frame.Unlike more substantial grilles, it doesn’t cause much diffraction from theframe, although it wouldn’t offer much protection from heavy objects coming atthe front of the speaker with any significant force.

The big changes over the original RP-8000Flook to be the enclosure re-arrangement, the addition of the second port,improved drivers, and the larger waveguide. While the speaker looks verysimilar to the previous version, these changes look to be more of a redesignthan just a quick refresh. But, much like the original, the RP-8000F II stilllooks to be a formidable speaker with some serious dynamic range. Let’s see howit does in practice…

Listening Sessions

In my 24’ by 13’(approximately) listening room, I set up the speakers with a few feet ofstand-off distances between the back wall and sidewall and equal distancebetween speakers and listening position. After some experimentation, I angledthe speakers with a time-intensity toe-in where the speakers’ aim crosses infront of my listening position. The listening distance from the speakers wasabout 9 feet. No equalization was used and no subwoofers were used.

Music Listening

Themost important duty of a loudspeaker is undoubtedly the faithful rendition ofhuman vocals, and one album that would serve as a good test of that is AviKaplan’s recent release “Floating on a Dream.” This studio album cleanlypresents Avi’s strong basso profondo range voice, and the recording as a wholeis magnificently recorded and mastered. “Floating on a Dream” is Americanamusic with a strong country music vibe. It is not an overproduced studio entitybut rather a personal expression given top-notch sound engineering. I listenedto this album on Qobuz in a 96kHz/24-bit resolution.

TheRP-8000F II could image Avi’s voice with pinpoint accuracy, especially after Ipositioned the speakers for a time-intensity toe-in where their aim crosses infront of my listening position. This is where I had the best results forimaging with the original RP-8000F speakers on account of their narrowdispersion. This type of placement mainly benefits listeners who do not have anequidistant listening position from both speakers, but it can still yield amore precise image for those who are in the ‘sweet spot’ with equal distancesbetween the speakers. (For those who want to know more about time-intensitytrading, Audioholics discusses it in this Livestream presentation: Finding the LoudspeakerSweet Spot). I tried the RP-8000F IIs with no toe-in as well as a toe-in thatangled them to face my listening position directly. With no angling, thespeakers could still image well but it was broader imaging and less precise.Angling the speakers to face the listener directly tightened up the imaging,but angling the speakers inward even further really sharpened the imaging. As Iangled the speakers inward, the soundstage did shrink a bit since there werefewer acoustic reflections from the speaker to its closest sidewall. I decidedthat the trade-off of a broader soundstage for more precise imaging was worthit for these particular speakers.

Backto the album itself, the RP-8000F IIs gave a rich, full accounting of “Floatingon a Dream.” Avi’s deep voice sounded natural and correct. As noted before,imaging was pinpoint precise when it was mixed to sound as such. In somepassages, a chorus effect was added, and his voice expanded across thesoundstage as a multiplicity of voices, and the RP-8000F IIs contrasted thesingle voice against the chorus effect beautifully. Tonality was very good;instruments and vocals sounded balanced and even. Bass was present and strongwithout being overwhelming. While I don’t remember every detail of the sound ofthe original RP-8000F, I do remember that it was a bit bass-heavy in a way thatthis generation is avoiding, at least with this album. Every track wasenjoyable, and I did not notice anything off. I would say that anyone into folkor Americana has a safe bet with the RP-8000F IIs.

Fora recording of human vocals on a much grander scale, I found another terrificrecording on Qobuz in Bach’s “St. John Passion” that was released on DeutscheGrammophon earlier this year. This performance was conducted by the renownedSir John Eliot Gardiner and performed by the Monteverdi Choir along with theEnglish Baroque Soloists in the historic Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, England.Given such a high caliber of talent involved with this project, the recordingquality is, of course, sublime, but what is surprising about that is thisperformance was recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, and all of theperformers were physically distanced from each other so as to reduce chances ofinfection. Nonetheless, it still sounds fantastic, and one would never guessthat the recording conditions had some unusual compromises. I can see thisrecording becoming the modern reference point for Bach’s epic oratorio.

Despitemy aggressive inward positioning of the RP-8000F IIs, they still managed toproject an expansive choir that stretched across the front of my room. Solovocalists were given well-defined positioning within the soundstage, and thevocalists’ placements in duets and trios were always crystal clear. Therecording as a whole sounded tonally balanced, and individual instrumentalistsand vocalists sounded even. While Klipsch is known for a spectral tilt ofelevated bass and hot treble, I didn’t get a sense of that with the RP-8000FIIs. However, the original RP-8000Fs had a fairly balanced sound as well,except perhaps for a somewhat elevated bass response (that was also aconsequence of my own room acoustics; in a larger room, the bass would havebeen better tamed).

TheRP-8000F IIs shined in the crescendos, which is what I would have expected. Thedynamic range of this recording was very wide, ranging from quiet, intimatepassages to the force of the orchestra and choir going full bore, and theRP-8000F IIs handled everything with aplomb. The RP-8000F speakers acquittedthemselves very well with this recording of St. John Passion,” and classicalmusic lovers are bound to enjoy what these speakers can do for their musiccollection.

Takinga one hundred eighty-degree turn from the liturgical music of Bach, I found anobscure but interesting album of experimental electronic music titled “LifeStrategies” from an artist named Event Cloak. This music layers arpeggiatedsynths and spoken word samples into rapidly flowing compositions that somehowevoke a sense of calm despite its heightened tempo. Event Cloak’s playful useof stereo imaging and inventive exploration of sound is what drew me to thisalbum, and I wanted to hear what this otherworldly music would sound like on aset of powerful, full-range speakers like the RP-8000F IIs.

Thesoundstage of “Life Strategies” as presented by the RP-8000F IIs was envelopingyet precise. Warm synth pads stretched across the width of my room, whilesyncopated samples and sequenced lead synths meticulously danced across thestage with rapid panning effects. The many stereo effects employed by EventCloak were reproduced with exactitude by the Klipsch speakers. The soundsthemselves, largely generated by synthesizers, were given such a full body andrich detail by the RP-8000F IIs that they vividly realized the musical worldbeing constructed by the artist. The many layers of sound were all easy todiscern on these speakers no matter how bizarre or radical the music would get(such as in the final track, “Situation Comedy”). I am guessing this album islikely heard mostly on headphones where the stereo effects would be quiteextreme, but I would recommend trying it on speakers that can prevent asoundstage as competently as the RP-8000F II speakers for a more tangiblepresentation.

I never heard anything resembling distortionor compression from these Klipsch speakers.

Tosee what the RP-8000F II speakers could do when pushed hard, I threw in TwoFingers’ “Fight! Fight! Fight!” This 2020 release of electronic bass music ismeant to be played loud, but the problem with that is many sound systems aresimply not capable of playing these tracks loud without going to an earlygrave. The bass is massive, and unless your system can move some serious air,it will not be able to recreate the full glory of these tracks. However, thisis not just party music; the rhythms and basslines that Two Fingers conjure areartful and innovative which elevates this music beyond typical dance music.With the proper sound system, it’s loads of fun to listen to, and it also allowsyour woofers to really stretch their legs - maybe to the breaking point.

Withtwo 8” woofers, I didn’t doubt that the RP-8000F IIs could do bass butlistening to “Fight! Fight! Fight!” at a loud level proved they could do itwithout shirking the dynamic range. While they didn’t dig quite as deep as asubwoofer, they did have the mid-bass punch one would have expected from a sub.The treble and upper midrange had a snap that could make me wince at a loudenough level. A track that serves as a lesson in wide dynamics is “ZX Rhythm”with its bouts of percussion and bass separated by a gentle reverb. Thefollowing track, an absolute bruiser on bass titled “Zero Face,” made thewoofers visibly move for its duration, but I never heard anything resembling distortionor compression from the speakers. The RP-8000F II could easily get louder thanI could tolerate, so I wasn’t blasting them at maximum levels, but I wasplaying them at a level that most people seldom would, and they didn’t break asweat. If you are looking for speakers that could sound good as an intimatetwo-channel system as well as handle a house party, these are a great option.The RP-8000F II is a high-fidelity headbanger’s choice.

Movie Watching

The Klipsch speakers gavethe mass battle scenes a proper big screen sound.

Onemovie I had not yet seen was the 2018 war movie “12 Strong.” This movie ispurportedly based on a true story of a special forces team that attempts toform a partnership with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan shortly after theSeptember 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Naturally, they find their missionfraught with danger. With lots of shooting and explosions, this big-budgetHollywood actioner promised to capitalize on the wide dynamics that Klipsch isknown for, but would the RP-8000F II live up to Klipsch’s reputation?

Thefirst scene that expresses the RP-8000F II’s dynamic range is the Chinookchopper ride deep into enemy territory. The rapid ‘whoomping’ of the helicopterblades thundered in my home theater room with subwoofer-like force on theRP-8000F IIs. The speakers also provided an authoritative boom for the many airstrike bombardments on enemy positions. The crackling of the many Kalashnikovand M4 rifles were sharply rendered by the Klipsch speakers. The plinkingricochets of bullets and shrapnel were also relayed with a potent snap.Artillery strikes and grenades gave a palpable thump. The Klipsch speakers gavethe mass battle scenes a proper big screen sound. Lorne Balfe’s dutiful butunmemorable orchestral score was also reproduced with the epic scale andbombast that was called for by the sound mix. Dialogue intelligibility wasnever a problem, at least for the English-speaking characters that I couldfollow since my Pashto is a bit rusty. In the end, I enjoyed “12 Strong” andfelt that the RP-8000F II speakers were definitely a good choice to watch itwith.

Oneinteresting new release I watched with the RP-8000F IIs was the latest EdgarWright film, “Last Night in Soho.” I have been a big fan of Wright ever since“Shaun of the Dead” and consider his Simon Pegg/Nick Frost trilogy to be modernmasterpieces of cinema. “Last Night in Soho” did not look to be comedic unlikeWright’s previous films, but it did promise to have an intensive sound mixfilled with music much like Wright’s other films. This movie is about anaspiring fashion designer who moves to London and shortly thereafter starts tohave vivid dreams about a ravishing singer in a nightclub in the 1960s. Herdreams start to take a darker turn after her waking life begins to unravel.

the RP-8000F IIs gave the twisted sound mixenough energy to become truly nightmarish.

“LastNight in Soho” turned out to have a very busy sound mix, indeed, but theRP-8000F IIs were able to keep the many layers of sound clear andapprehensible. At times there could be 60s pop music mixed with non-diegeticambient music with dialogue and effects sounds all occurring at the same time,and it never became incomprehensible despite the complexity. Many of the scenestaking place in the entertainment district of 1960s London could be quitespectacular in the detail and scale of the sound mix. Notable scenes includeour protagonist's first venture into the past and her 1960s alter ego's musicalnumbers. As a horror film involving a dream life, the movie would takepsychedelic turns, and when it did, the RP-8000F IIs gave the twisted sound mixenough energy to become truly nightmarish. Dialogue intelligibility was never aproblem, and Edgar Wright’s witty banter was always easy to follow. The soundmix was so impressive that after seeing the movie I checked to see what awardsthe movie received and was not surprised that it was nominated for and won aslew of sound design and music use awards. It’s a movie that ought to bewatched on a capable sound system, and thankfully that was the case when Iwatched it with the RP-8000F II speakers.

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Klipsch Reference Premiere RP-8000F II Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review (14)

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Hugystyle posts on May 02, 2023 03:06

shadyJ, post: 1600742, member: 20472
I would restrict Audyssey to only address low-frequencies. This speaker's crossover is good enough, so its best not to tamper with it, especially with an automated EQ system.

That s what I thought thanks a lot for the confirmation !

shadyJ posts on May 01, 2023 16:41

Hugystyle, post: 1600672, member: 99786
Hey there ! I see the crossover of the speaker is at 1630hz and i was wondering if i should remove the audissey mid range compensation that occur at 2000hz. It can potentially decrease overall quality if i am not wrong. What do you think ?

I would restrict Audyssey to only address low-frequencies. This speaker's crossover is good enough, so its best not to tamper with it, especially with an automated EQ system.

Hugystyle posts on May 01, 2023 07:22

Hey there ! I see the crossover of the speaker is at 1630hz and i was wondering if i should remove the audissey mid range compensation that occur at 2000hz. It can potentially decrease overall quality if i am not wrong. What do you think ?

conducator posts on March 01, 2023 15:13

Hi there from Italy, I have a couple of RF82II, 33Hz-24KHz 98dB and I bet they sound pretty similar to RP8000fII. I was used to have a wonderful Heco The Statement speakers and “downgraded” to these Klipsch but even if I lost something in the bass area I found great presence, clarity and a very bold sound with Klipsch. But I have to say that most of us don't consider our ears as a part of the hardware, with all their pros and cons. Give your sound the right equalization and these Klipsch will surprise you avery time you listen to them. I play my music through pc, on a versatile Pioneer SC-LX87, connected to the built in usb Pioneer DAC, apply the Fletcher Munson curve of equal loudness to fit human ears limits through Equalizer Apo and the Voxengo Marvel GEQ plugin, a quantum leap is inevitable.

shadyJ posts on November 27, 2022 03:07

Hugystyle, post: 1581001, member: 99786
The fact to limit equalization above a given frequency. The audissey app give you this option. This great video explaining this between other things

On a side note for shady, i am also still iterating on imaging vs treble. Right now i toed in the speakers and decreased treble tonality. Is it a viable approach ? Or it s better to keep native treble and not toe in at all ? I have 3 meters between each speaker and 3 meters between speakers and listening spot.
Thx for your help !

To answer your question, the short version is that if you want the strongest treble, angle the speakers to face you directly. The further away from you that the speakers are facing will taper off treble energy- that isn;t a bad thing, but rather just a matter of personal preference. It can also affect imaging. The more inward that you face the speakers, the sharper the imaging can become, but that might come at the cost of spaciousness and envelopment.

The long answer to your question is contained in these videos that Audioholics did with Matthew Poes. Those videos are worth watching, especially since you have more controlled directivity speakers.

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