PROS / It has a high, 95 dB sensitivity rating.
CONS / The bass is quite weak compared to similarly priced speakers.
VERDICT / Klipsch is a big name in the audio world, but for us, these entry-level floor standing speakers fall short of the competition.
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Klipsch has always been a leader in speaker manufacturing. The company started out with solid goals to produce highly efficient speakers with low distortion and a wide dynamic range. For the most part, it has stuck to that, but it seems like it has fallen a little short in a few areas over the last few years. The Klipsch RF-42 II is, sadly, an example of that. For an entry-level floor standing speaker, it doesn't quite stand up to the competition. However, the company was sold off to Audiovox not too long ago, and hopefully, the new ownership will result in a few improvements to change that in the future.
When it comes to bass, size does come into play. The Klipsch RF-42 II's bass is a bit on the weak side. That is because this floor standing speaker only has two 4.5-inch drivers to reproduce both the bass and the midrange. For the midrange that is fine, but for the bass it would have been best to add an additional driver that is dedicated to handling low frequencies.
The two low/midrange drivers are made with Cerametallic cones, which is standard for Klipsch. The tweeter on the Klipsch RF-42 II is a 1-inch driver with a titanium cone. Together, these drivers are only able to cover a frequency range of 59 Hz to 24 kHz. Granted, you can always get a separate sub woofer to handle the bass, and in fact, that is what we recommend for all floor standing speakers. However, with the RF-42's limited low-frequency range, it is pretty much mandatory.
The Klipsch RF-42 II does have one of the higher efficiency ratings though. Its 95 dB at 8 ohms of impedance is quite impressive. It has an RMS, or the average amount of amplifier power required for each channel, set at 75 watts. The company does not mention the minimum or maximum amount, but the RMS will put you about where you will want to be by default anyway.
The cabinet is a standard ported design and looks fairly simple. The one feature on the cabinet that caught our eye is its feet. The front two feet are standard, located just underneath the tower, but the back two feet have actually been given legs and are extended out to the sides for additional support to help prevent the speaker from tipping over. That is especially nice with the Klipsch RF-42 II because it is the skinniest floor standing speaker that we reviewed. The exact measurements are 34.9 inches tall, 6 inches wide and 9.7 inches deep. Also, each tower weighs approximately 27 pounds.
We would have liked to see a little more from the entry-level Klipsch speakers. The bass is weak, mostly due to the lack of a true low-frequency driver, and they only have a two-year warranty. Had those aspects been different, the Klipsch RF-42 II wouldn't have ranked at the bottom of our top 10 floor standing speakers. The company had the right idea, but with its competition offering the exact improvements that we are talking about for roughly the same price, Klipsch just can't stand up to them in this round.