Since the first home cinema system was invented in 1974, technology has raced forward. The possibility of combining high-quality video with surround sound to mirror the cinema experience quickly caught on.
However, to create a great sound, you need great speakers. And in this in-depth Klipsch R-26FA Review, we’ll look at a product that has taken sound to another level.
In speaker and audio circles, Klipsch is well-known. They are creative and innovative and manufacture quality products. If you don’t know them, let’s take a minute to find out more…
Originally from Arkansas, they were established in 1946. They are now based in Indianapolis. All of their designs and assembly are done in either Indiana or Brooklyn in New York. Some of the manufacturing or assembly work is sometimes outsourced overseas.
In recent years they have established themselves in the audio world. And they are especially known for their speaker systems and their impressive designs. More on this later.
They are one of the companies that audiophiles go to if they are looking to upgrade their systems. And this applies particularly to their range of speakers. Surround Sound systems are just one of their ranges, and the Klipsch R-26FA is one of those. So, let’s take a closer look at it.
This is a speaker designed to enhance your Surround Sound system at home. It is the Reference series version of one of Klipsch’s most important speakers, the RP-280FA, and is one of the best surround sound speakers on the market.
At the top of the cabinet is an elevation channel. A tweeter and a woofer that point in an upward direction. This speaker not only delivers the sound towards you, but it also fires it off the ceiling via this top-loaded extra. This is design helps accommodate the built-in Dolby Atmos system. So, it’s going to give you a complete cinema experience at home.
Klipsch has always ensured their speaker designs have controlled directivity. It has been an important part of the acoustic design that has made them so popular. Besides their recognition of the importance of performance, they also understand the need for great aesthetics. Klipsch is noted for the way their speakers look. And this is a great example.
As we mentioned earlier, Klipsch designs and engineers all of its products at home. There are, however, times when there is a need to outsource certain production activities. This speaker is one of those assembled in China. So, let’s look a little closer…
Like most speaker cabinets these days, this is built from MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard. MDF is a combination of dense resin mixed with real wood fibers. It has its advantages when used for building speaker enclosures.
It is well-damped acoustically. This will make it an ideal material for speakers, but it is not as stiff as real wood. Bracing is, therefore, necessary internally. Distortion levels will be low if it is braced properly. This is because unwanted vibrations are one of the main causes.
This is one of the best floor standing speakers on the market and is quite a size. It measures 39 inches tall by 7.8 by 16.25 inches and weighing 52 pounds. It is finished in an attractive and neutral brushed black polymer veneer. A contemporary design. This means it will fit into the vast majority of home color schemes.
Front-firing bass port…
It is a bass-reflex design with a front-firing port. There are also two front-facing 6.5-inch IMG woofers. These have the traditional Klipsch patented copper spun design and are magnetically shielded.
To ensure the Klipsch look is maintained, there is a one-inch tweeter with an aluminum diaphragm. This sits in the Tractrix horn above the woofers. If you wish to use it, there is a front grille. This is strong yet flexible and is removable, of course.
Elevation speakers for Dolby Atmos…
Recessed into the top of the cabinet is a further tweeter in a Tractrix horn and a copper spun woofer. These are set at an angle, allowing them to bounce sound from the ceiling. As a result, this is one of the best Dolby Atmos speakers on the market.
Aesthetically pleasing and well-made, there can be no complaints about the quality of the build or the styling. Also, these have a small speaker grille if you prefer the look with it attached.
The Klipsch R-26FA is two speakers in one. There is the tower design with its two woofers and the tweeter in the horn. And placed at the lower end is the front-firing bass port. Then you have the upward-facing topper for Dolby Atmos with its extra woofer and tweeter in its horn.
The power ratings are 100 watts RMS or 400 watts peak for the front-facing speakers. The top-mounted speakers will give you 75 watts RMS or 150 watts peak. There is a crossover that comes in at 1800Hz. An indication of the impressive sound capabilities is the frequency range, which sits at 38Hz – 24kHz +/- 3dB.
Linear Travel Suspension tweeters…
This design has been used on previous Klipsch reference speakers. It has also been used on one flagship product, the Klipsch Palladium series. It is an important component of quality speakers for increasing performance and minimizing distortion.
Front-firing bass port…
Let’s go back to this port. There is a lot of discussion about which is better. Front or Rear-facing bass ports? There are only a few minor issues when discussing the differences, but there is a much larger situation that can arise.
The minor issue is that sometimes you can hear what they refer to as “port noise.” However, this only seems to apply to front-ported speakers. This “chuffing,” as it is known, only rarely appears and not on high-quality speakers.
Near the wall…
The bigger issue is speaker placement. If you have a rear port, then placing the speaker near a wall will change how it works and hence the sound. Of course, this is not an issue with a front port.
Therefore, speaker placement becomes an issue. A rear-facing port will need space between the enclosure and any wall or obstruction behind it. That might not be an acceptable situation, especially in a small room.
Low distortion levels…
The port on the Klipsch R-26FA is matched with woofers and to the cabinet. The placement at the front creates an efficient airflow system that produces minimal distortion.
Dolby Laboratories developed Atmos as a surround sound technology. Its job is to improve and enhance existing systems by giving the sound height. Sounds then are heard as 3D objects.
Following its development, speakers companies designed systems using and including the basis of this technology. This has resulted in either in-ceiling speakers or up-firing speakers. The latter is what we have here.
We have already mentioned the frequency response of this speaker. It gives you an indication of the range of sound. And in many ways, it is impressive. Let’s deal with it individually…
The aluminum tweeters are located in the Tractrix Horns. As we have said, one is front-facing, and one is located on the top. They deliver a crisp and very clear sound. Certainly one of the best high-end responses you will hear from similar products. But importantly, it is not shattering when the volume increases as some can be.
The Tractrix horns play their part. Horns can play a big part in improving the performance and, therefore, the sound of the tweeter. The horn is used for sound staging and sound separation.
In the middle…
There are no massive boosts, just a steady, balanced sound. Klipsch realized the importance of the mid frequencies. It is where the most important elements of any performance come from.
The mids are balanced. Not overpowering, they also do not get swamped from below or above. That can be a common failing with some speakers systems.
Down at the bottom…
The lower frequency range of down to 38Hz is more than adequate for most modern music. On this system, soundtrack music is exceptional. The low frequencies are prominent but not overpowering. The bass port doing its job.
If there is a potential problem here, it is this. Symphony orchestras have frequency response needs that can go down to 16Hz. That is quite common. Therefore, with a 38Hz bottom-end, you might miss out on a few of those very deep sounds.
They will be audible but might not have the warmth and richness they should have. However, that is a rare occurrence and not worth losing sleep over. However, all in all, this is one of the best home cinema speakers you can buy.
This is where this speaker system scores points. The elevated sound gives you the 3D experience we mentioned. It’s powerful and gives the sound room. With sound coming at you and from over your head, the experience can be thrilling. The result is one of the best 3D immersion speakers available.
Klipsch R-26FA Review – Pros and Cons
- A good solid build using MDF.
- Front-firing bass port design.
- A nice elegant black finish that will match with most decors.
- Removable front grille.
- Great looking and sounding 6.5-inch copper spun woofers.
- Tractrix Horn tweeters.
- Dolby Atmos compatible.
- Woofer and Tweeter are located at the top for elevated Dolby Atmos sound.
- 100 watt RMS power rating and a very good frequency response of 38Hz – 24kHz +/- 3dB.
- Good sound staging and separation.
- The very competitive price point for a speaker of this quality.
- The 38Hz lower frequency level may miss some of the very low frequencies produced by orchestras.
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Klipsch R-26FA Review – Final Thoughts
We should start this summary by saying that it is very hard to find something negative to say about this speaker. Being slightly negative about the bottom-end is a rather trivial complaint.
How many speakers systems go lower than 36Hz anyway? And they don’t seem to lose the orchestral effect. Also, how many of us can actually hear that low, especially as we get older? There will still be plenty audible with this speaker.
It is impressive in every way. And when you consider the price point, it makes it very special indeed. If you are thinking of replacing or upgrading your home surround system, you need to take a look at this. We don’t think you will find better value for the money anywhere else.
So, until next time, happy listening.