Reference vs. Reference Premiere: What's the Difference?
One of the most routinely-asked questions the Klipsch Customer Service Team gets asked is, “What’s the difference between Reference and Reference Premiere?”
Klipsch Reference Series and Reference Premiere are both amazing speaker lines. Both are great testaments to modern engineering and a nod to our company's heritage of crafting premium speakers that deliver a mind-blowing home audio experience.
*Note: First and foremost, before we compare anything, know that just because something has a smaller price tag does not necessarily mean it is an inferior product.
Nothing gets Paul W. Klipsch’s name on it unless it meets his four sound principles;
● High Efficiency
● Low Distortion
● Controlled Directivity
● Broad and Flat Frequency Response
With that in mind, let's take a look at these two fantastic premium speaker lines.
Klipsch Reference Series Premium Speakers
Klipsch Reference Series Basics
The Klipsch Reference Series has been a hallmark of Klipsch premium speakers for many years. The latest iteration combines modern materials and technological advancements to deliver a more powerful, impactful music and home theater experience.
The series is comprised of 13 models — including Dolby Atmos® enabled speakers and powered monitors — all infused with cosmetic and material upgrades from previous Reference speakers, as well as the latest technological advancements in audio.
The Klipsch Reference series features our proprietary 90° x 90° Tractrix horn technology to ensure the best clarity, dynamics, and detail possible. Klipsch Reference speakers also come with aluminum tweeters and injection molded graphite woofers to give a broad and flat frequency response at the low price point that these speakers offered.
These speakers produce ample amounts of clean and immersive bass with a full midrange, yet smooth and open high end that is unmatched for any comparable speaker that you’d find sitting in a display next to it. If you’re looking to get that signature Klipsch sound that you’ve always heard about, but don’t want to take out a second mortgage, the Reference series is the ticket.
Reference Series In-Depth:
The biggest benefit of the Reference series is its price - you get a lot of power and performance for the money. Major big-box retailers carry them and offer live demos as well. You can also purchase the speakers at Klipsch.com or any one of our authorized dealers.
Okay, it’s affordable, but does it sound good? Well, of course, it does. It’s Klipsch! Bass fanatics will love the Reference series due to its front-ported design on floor standing towers because it gives a more dynamic, musical, and immersive experience from the speakers by venting the lowest part of the speaker’s frequency response to the listener.
Reference speakers have presence and air. I think that the high frequencies in Reference speakers are not as damped as other speakers, they breathe life into music! There’s a great balance in Reference speakers for the critical listener who wants natural music, sound, and movies that come alive and deliver an emotional experience.
So, what should you expect in your listening experience with a Reference speaker? Expect vocals to have a great airy-ness in frequencies, guitars, and cymbals will cut through busy instrumentation and arrangements, and reverb trails will finally be audible, but not out of place.
Klipsch Reference Premiere Basics:
The Reference Premiere series was released early in 2015 and then was reimagined in 2018. It is widely considered our flagship series of home theater speakers. Many of our other premium home audio product lines get their sonic signature and tone from Reference Premiere as well.
You’ll get titanium tweeters and our patented Cerametallic woofers on the Reference Premiere series. They also have two features that sonically set them apart from the Reference series and give them the perfect most transparent sound:
- The Tractrix® bass port located on the back of the speaker models
- The 90° x 90° hybrid tractrix horn lens
These features were developed so the speakers reproduce your music and movies with absolute fidelity while giving you the widest and fullest frequency spectrum as possible. Once you listen to a set of Reference Premiere speakers, you’re going to be hooked.
Klipsch Reference Premiere In-Depth
What makes Reference Premiere more kick-ass than other flagships we’ve released in the past?
For starters, we have nearly three-quarters of a century of audio experience and take every step possible to engineer these speakers to be the most transparent and cleanest sounding with the least amount of distortion. Any component in a speaker that emits sound and moves air is going to have slight distortion by nature.
These woofers and tweeters are designed to remove virtually all distortion, so you get as close to your music as possible, almost as though you're at the show or in the recording studio.
Let’s look at the woofers first. They are made out of Cerametallic material, which is a unique process of hardened anodized aluminum sandwiched by ceramic layers. It gives the woofer a high amount of tensile strength, while still being well damped. This added strength means that the woofer can vibrate as fast and far as possible without losing any energy due to flex, which is a huge benefit because this also makes the speaker very efficient.
Moving up the frequency spectrum, the new titanium tweeter on the Reference Premiere features a Linear Travel Suspension system which, guess what, minimizes distortion and improves transparency to the speaker's high-end frequency response. Since we have extended bandwidth capable woofers, the tweeters are not going to be as susceptible to distortion. That means we are getting the widest, flattest frequency response, and the lowest distortion possible. The new 90x90 hybrid tractrix horn around the tweeter is the best sounding 2-way horn system from Klipsch to date.
Listeners will also notice a much more natural bass response and tone from any Reference Premiere speaker due to the tractrix ports. What horns do to high frequencies, in essence, is achieved by adding the tractrix port as a bass reflex tuning. Low-end frequencies can emanate from the port without turbulence, thus giving the speaker a deeper sounding and wider frequency response. Klipsch fans will notice the smooth baffle design on the Reference Premiere layout, as opposed to older Reference II speakers. Say, if we were comparing the RF-82 II to a new RP-280F, the baffle and motor board on the RF-82 II is a separate part that houses the woofers. The new baffle design on Reference Premiere ensures minimal diffraction from baffle reflections.
Thanks to the excellent directivity and efficiency of the silicone-horn loaded titanium tweeters, you should be transported to the studio your music was recorded in. Listen to how instruments have their space and the soundstage of a live performance is recreated. You can touch the instruments. Lastly, Reference Premiere speakers should have clear, dynamic response and headroom, thanks to their efficiency and low distortion components. You should get a great response from any genre of music.
Reference Premiere will take any kind of music or movies and make it sound as amazing as it was when it was originally produced...just like Paul W. Klipsch intended when he designed the first Klipschorn.
We know we've thrown plenty of information your way, but we do with the very best of intentions for your home audio needs.
Before you finally decide to grab your dream home audio system, we would consider these points:
● What am I primarily using the system for? Listening to music, watching movies, gaming, or a combination thereof?
● How big is your room?
● Do I have the right accessories and power to support the speakers? We provide the RMS wattage for each speaker, so you know what your receiver needs to put out.
● What effect did the system have when I test-drove it? Did I get goosebumps or was it just “good enough?” (Klipsch speakers are the former)
In general, Klipsch premium speakers will deliver the power, detail, and emotion of the live music experience, even when you can't attend a live show. In our humble opinion, you really cannot go wrong.
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