Klipsch 3 Forte III Review
The 3-way horn loudspeaker Forte III is offered in a vintage retro style. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the Klipsch products, such as the five-year guarantee and the fact that the Forte III is also produced directly by Klipsch in the USA, more precisely in Hope, Arkansas.
Loudspeaker protection grille covered with thin lambswool. Not particularly deep, not particularly high, but quite wide. Of course, the chassis is attached with visible screws.Visually, the Forte III speakers, each weighing a whopping 32.7 kg, are very classic. This is what loudspeakers used to look like.
This “vintage style” is particularly well expressed in the version we tested in “Distressed Oak,” with light protective grilles made of lambswool. The dimensions also show that the Forte III is not a floor-standing speaker like it is today or has been in recent decades. Sound transducers with similar dimensions were found in the 1960s and 1970s. The Forte III is only 91.4 cm high but 41.9 cm wide. The depth is 33 cm, not too much.
- Beautiful classic styling
- Bold lows, pristine highs
- Massive soundstage
- Built to last
Active bass chassis in front
The 8-ohm speaker reproduces frequencies between 38 Hz and 20 kHz and has an efficiency of 99 dB (2.83V/1m). The datasheet states 100 watts of continuous load and 400 watts of short-term peak load. Klipsch 3 Forte III generates a maximum sound pressure of 116 dB. The K-100 TI with a 2.54 cm titanium tweeter on a K-79T horn attachment is used as the tweeter. The mids are presented by a K-70 445 titanium midrange driver and a horn attachment (K-703-H-Horn). The K-281 bass driver with a 30.48 cm membrane made of fiber composite material acts as a gigantic, large active bass driver. There is also a passive bass driver (KD-15) with an incredible 38.1 cm membrane of fiber composite material.
The MDF housing with real wood veneer is also available in the color variants American walnut with a black grille, natural cherry with a black grille, and black ash with a black grille. A base is integrated under the box. The quality is good; the Forte III seems robust; we like the high-quality-looking bi-wiring terminals at the back.
We start the sound test series with Diana Krall’s adaptation of the Eagles classic “Desperado” from Diana’s “Wallflower” album. Can the acoustics meet our current requirements, or have they remained at the level of the 1960s? We have to say, well done, Klipsch, clean performance. Unlike the RF7III, which was extremely dynamic, the Forte III focuses on a calmer, more measured playing style.
Nevertheless, boredom never arises since the box carefully picks up details and vividly reproduces them. Also, thanks to the large additional passive bass driver on the back, an excellent volume is provided, the spatiality is convincing in depth and width. Volume, spaciousness, and the coherent, pleasant sound, are the advantages here. Come in addition; we have hardly heard a Klipsch box that separates vocal parts from the speaker chassis so well. Diana appears directly on a well-defined virtual stage if you close your eyes.
What about Elton John’s #1 hit from the ’80s, “I’m Still Standing”? The source material isn’t the best; the midrange and high-frequency reproduction are mixed a bit tinny. But the Forte III gets a lot out of it. Quite homogeneous, spatially dense, and clear, one can be very satisfied. But, of course, it cannot keep up with the RF7 III regarding level stability. You’re welcome to listen at a higher room volume, sometimes even higher for a short time, but the Forte III can’t come up with the “club-ready” levels of the RF7 III.
When the volume is turned up a bit, the sound is refined, with harmonious transitions between highs and mids and between mids and bass. Elton’s voice seems tidy and detaches itself perfectly from the chassis.
Joe Bonamassa’s “Drive follows this,” performed live at the Royal Albert Hall. Again, this type of music goes well with the Klipsch 3 Forte III. Overall, the sound is nuanced and charismatic; Joe’s voice sounds clearly defined and is distributed relatively freely with the right volume even in the listening room, which measures almost 30 square meters – a performance that we would not have expected.
The three-dimensionality is excellent again anyway; the Forte III gives the music room to develop, and the separation of the vocal from the instrumental parts is also well done. The high-frequency range is decent and not nearly as undetailed and restrained as one might assume when writing about a homogeneous, well-rounded construction. The whole sound is tidy, spatially well-balanced – more relaxed. It brings harmony and space into the listening room -Forte III.
Then, it’s time for the next classic; this time, it’s “You Win Again” by the BeeGees. The well-founded and powerful bass comes out great, and the homogeneity and sound culture are again at a remarkable level. The voice is very well focused and separates perfectly from the instruments. The three-dimensionality and uniformity, which are outstanding, are also clearly evident in the BeeGees classic. They also increase the listening pleasure. The two large bass drivers, one active and one passive, are making themselves felt again in a positive way.
By the way, Forte III does not react as slowly as one might think due to the large membrane diameter, even with smaller low-frequency impulses. She hits the point relatively cleanly, especially when the piece’s rhythm isn’t too fast and demanding.
“The King” Elvis Presley enters the virtual stage in our listening room with “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Some loudspeaker lovers will feel the same about the Forte III because if you are looking for a “traditional floor stand loudspeaker,” you could fall in love with the Klipsch construction. This is especially true since the sound has not remained in the 60s or 70s but represents a modern interpretation of classic virtues, which is also good for the Elvis song. Pleasantly full sound, round voice reproduction, great spatial depth – the Forte III caresses the audience with a pleasant reproduction, which at the same time also works out finer vocal and instrumental contours excellently.
Now let’s deal with a completely different kind of piece. “Celebrate Youth” by Rick Springfield from the 80s. Does this song move forward powerfully and emphatically? The bass has substance and control, and up to a significantly higher level, vocal and instrumental parts are perfectly separated. The Klipsch Forte III uses the emphatic rhythm very well, even in the larger listening room between a good 20 and almost 30 square meters. The passive bass radiator and the active bass chassis work excellently and ensure a very appealing overall volume.
So, it’s also massively emphatic – that gives us the courage, and that’s why we dare to let “Self Esteem” by The Offspring run. This powerful diet doesn’t upset the Forte III. Control, punch, power – all these properties of the Forte III also ensure a lot of listening pleasure. Sure, the American isn’t the fastest box globally, but let’s be honest, anyone who understands this box doesn’t care, as the Forte III has plenty of other advantages.
Of course, the intended aggressiveness in the piece is not achieved 100 percent. Still, you can listen relatively loud in a very relaxed manner without the sound being reproduced too shrill or exaggerated. The Forte III always seems solid and robust; its character is always clear even with Self Esteem.
Conclusion on the Klipsch 3 Forte III
The Klipsch 3 Forte III is not particularly cheap at first glance, but it is worth the money. The customer receives an all-around convincing box in vintage-retro style, taking over this role completely. Nothing seems fake or artificial – Klipsch has a long tradition, and therefore the Forte III fits very well with the image of the robust, problem-free “men’s box.” However, this is due to its style factor – retro is “in” – certainly some should appeal to women.
In terms of sound, that’s the beauty; it fits perfectly into today’s hectic times – because it creates a harmonious, powerful, authentic oasis of hearing, perfect for switching off completely. Behind the antique facade is a loudspeaker that can easily compete with modern competitors. She gets along with many styles of music and rarely seems overwhelmed. “Made In The USA” and a five-year guarantee creates trust and shows that Klipsch is also convinced of its products. No “Mee Too,” but a product that looks honest and exudes charm, the Forte III has earned an outstanding test result.