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Klipsch is one of the most legendary companies in the world of home and professional audio. Started in 1946 by Paul W Klipsch in a garage in Arkansas, the company has continued to grow and expand over the years, manufacturing personal speakers, headphones, and speakers for professional sound systems.
One of the most popular on the side of personal speakers was the Klipsch Heresy. The original was introduced over 50 years ago, and now, many years later, the third iteration was here. Still claimed as one of the most compact speakers on the market (that still sounds huge), the Heresy III sport an all-wood cabinet hand-made in Hope, Arkansas, just like the originals.
At a decently affordable price point with absolute monstrous quality, the Heresy III proves that legacy is sometimes the most powerful tool for companies to thrive.
Klipsch Heresy Specifications at a Glance
|Frequency Response||58Hz– 20kHz +/-3dB|
|Nominal Impedance||8 Ohms|
|Maximum Acoustic Output||116dB SPL|
|Powerhandling||100W max continuous (400W peak)|
|Crossover Frequency||5kHz (HF), 850Hz (LF)|
|Dimensions||15.5″ x 23.81″ x 13.25″|
Appearance and Design
From the top, the Klipsch Heresy III is one beautifully designed speaker. The cabinet captures the timeless spirit of the original, while still not looking too out of place in a modern setup.
Speaking of the cabinet, it is comprised of MDF with a high-quality Black Ash, Cherry, or Walnut wood veneer finish, and, of course, assembled in the USA.
The entire speaker measures 23.8 x 15.5 x 13.25 inches with a slight tilt upward. This compact design allows a lot of flexibility in the placement of the speaker, being just slightly larger than the bookshelf size.
Overall, I can’t get over the look of the Heresy III. While the design is classic, it never comes off like an old pair of speakers in your Grandma’s basement. Instead, it brings the classic design to life and exuberates elegance in a subtly beautiful way.
While the Heresy III is compact, the sound is certainly not. The speaker kicks out thumping lows while still maintaining clarity in the midrange and top end. Most speakers in this price bracket crush the top end, making instruments that sit higher up sound weak and thin compared to the low-end. That is not the case with the Heresy IIIs. Across the spectrum, the speakers allow every bit of frequency to come through, creating an experience as if the piece of music was being performed right in front of you.
Most impressive of the sound was the low-end extension of the Heresy III. The claim to extend down to 58Hz reigns true. These speakers punch even slightly below that range, experiencing very little roll-off down here. While the Heresy III doesn’t reproduce what can be achieved with a subwoofer, the speakers still pack enough low-end punch to satisfy.
Outside of music, the Heresy III performs just as well. The more powerful woofer in the Heresy III (over the Klipsch Heresy II) is something featured in Klipsch’s pro cinema line. What comes through in-home theater setups is clear dialogue and perfectly replicated sound design. With modern films relying more and more on synthetic sound design to create an atmosphere for the film, it is hard to beat the Heresy IIIs to have all of this translate.
Efficiency and Sensitivity
One of the most interesting parts of the Heresy III (and many speakers in Klipsch’s line) is the incredible efficiency of the speaker. The Heresy III can still produce monstrous sounds with very little power, down to around the 10W range.
This efficiency can be created for the horn-load midrange and tweeter drivers. The 1-inch compression tweeter and 1.75-inch compression midrange driver kick out sound like it’s no one’s business, knocking you to the floor with the right record. Both of these drivers have been upgraded over the Heresy II with titanium diaphragms for more extended response and low distortion.
The heftier 12-inch woofer helps below this frequency range, punching you in the chest with the thump of low end.
Klipsch Heresy III is also incredibly sensitive, able to produce sound exceeding 100dB SPL with very low power. This is much higher than many speakers on the market, meaning that these bad boys can crank out the sound even with minimal power. To provide perspective, 100dB would be the equivalent of starting a chainsaw at 1m away and only 20dB where hearing discomfort begins. Needless to say, the Heresy III can get pretty damn loud.
Best Feature of the Heresy III
Overall, the Heresy III stands out among a host of other speakers on the market for one reason – value. It is next to impossible to find another pair of speakers on the market that provide the loudness and low distortion characteristic of the Heresy III at this price point. The Heresy III can crank out the sound with the best of them with minimal power and a low asking price in comparison to the sound.
Speaking of sound, the Heresy III just sounds great. Not surprising with the legacy of Klipsch, the Hersey III produces audio that sounds smooth, rich, and full and does so at all volumes. Close your eyes and you’ll be engrossed in the music (or film) you’re consuming, providing a glimpse into the world of superb audio.
Worst Feature of the Heresy III
In retrospect, there is very little wrong with the Heresy III. Sure, a $999 speaker won’t beat out everything on the market, but the incredible value outweighs any mishaps the speaker may take, resulting in money that feels completely justified in being spent.
That is not to say that the Heresy III is the pinnacle of speakers because it certainly is not. The biggest fault of the Heresy III is that it falls just short of a perfect speaker, something that would make any audiophile happily rip out their wallet, especially at this price point. However, a perfect speaker is more of a pipedream than reality, so it’s hard to fault the Heresy III on this point.
Outside of that, the Hersey III is very revealing of the amplifier it is paired with. While this isn’t a fault of the speaker, it should be considered the Heresy III will not sound as good as it sounds paired with a cheaper amp.
Alternatives to Consider
While Heresy III is a fantastic speaker, it is not the best fit for everyone. If you’re having a hard time choosing what set of a speaker to by, then check out some of our favorite alternatives:
The KEF LS50
- 79Hz-28kH/ -+3dB and -6dB point of 49Hz Frequency Response
- 85dB/2.83V/m Sensitivity
- About $1,199 USD/Pair
Full Review: You can read my full KEF LS50 Review for additional info.
The ELAC Uni-fi UF5
- 42-25k Hz Frequency Response
- 85 dB Sensitivity
- About $999 USD/Pair
Final Thoughts on Klipsch Heresy Speakers
The Klipsch Heresy III is one monster of a speaker for the price. While the compact size and low price tag may suggest otherwise, this made in the USA cabinet produces great sound quality at a timeless design at a fraction of the cost of other speakers. The Heresy III is truly a modern take on a classic design, proving once again that Klipsch sits at the top of the game.
Be forewarned though that the Heresy III is truly being sold short with a cheaper amp. If you skimp in this area of your setup, then the Heresy III will not do much to improve the quality of the rig. Paired in the right setup, however, the Heresy III shines through in all of its sonic glory.
For value, construction, legacy, and sound quality, it would be more difficult to not recommend the Heresy III than to recommend it to everyone. If you’re in the market for a mid-priced speaker that produces high-priced sound, you can’t go wrong with the Heresy III.
Go to see your coloring options. Personally, I liked (and tested) the set with the cherry wood veneer panels.